Jump to content

Search the Community

Showing results for tags 'sep/oct'.

  • Search By Tags

    Type tags separated by commas.
  • Search By Author

Content Type


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


There are no results to display.

Find results in...

Find results that contain...

Date Created

  • Start


Last Updated

  • Start


Filter by number of...


  • Start



Discord Username



Current Post

Wiki user URL

Wiki character URL

  1. As we leave summer and move towards the cool fall (for some, at least -- it was still over 100ºF for me today!), I ask you to throw your thoughts toward the future, and in the spirit of the maybe-not-so-distant-now Halloween, consider our newest Writing Challenge: RUN SHIVERS DOWN MY SPINE Writes Jess, the writer behind Jalana Laxyn and the winner of our previous Challenge, For the next challenge I would like to see something that would run shivers down our spines. Be it something unbelievable, something so touching one gets goosebumps, something so cruel you want to scream, or is it something spooky? What causes shivers for you? Surely there are no shortage of things to trigger your fears from Trek, whether you tend toward the bombastic villains of TOS, the body horror and loss of freedom that the Borg bring, or the frightening clash of political ideology in DS9. But what else might you write? What other fears lurk in the shadows of Trek? As Jess asks, what makes you shiver? We look forward to finding out! As of today, Wednesday, September 3rd, this Challenge is open! We'll ask that all of your submissions come in by Saturday, October 25th -- enough time for the judges to convene and to reveal our Master of Chills and Shivers on Halloween itself! As always, please remember:*Your work must be completely original.*You must be the sole author of the work.*Your story must take place in the Star Trek universe, but may not center upon canon characters. *Sign your final draft as you would a post on your ship.*Your story must be between 300 and 3000 words. For any questions you might have, remember that you can always post questions to this thread or visit the Writing Challenge website. Please also take a look at our new wiki page! And don't forget to get your copy of our mobile compendium of the July & August Challenge! Good luck!
  2. (( A Memory )) He had no memories before the age of five, and those memories were of smoke, rock dust, and blood. All of his memories of his early childhood were gone. For the boy, his memories began that dark, choking night on Lookout. He didn't remember birthdays, or the wonder of leaving Earth for a distant world. He didn't recall the pride he knew he must have felt in his parents for leaving everything that was familiar behind and making their destinies in the far reaches of space. He didn't even have a sense of what his parents looked like – other than the last picture that was burned into his right eye before the murderers brought a sharp rock down on it. The picture of his parents bodies mutilated beyond any description a five year old boy could ascribe to it. He did remember the last words he would ever hear his mother say to him. The words she screamed to him as she stood silhouetted in the doorway of their home, back lit by flames and underscored by the screams of the dying... “Lee! Stay here! Hide, Lee! I need you to hide! You are not to come out of this house, do you hear me? No matter what... Whatever you hear outside... Stay here, sweetheart... I love...” His fathers arm had pulled her through the door before she could finish. Into the night and into death. The killers came to Ceres IX shortly after the sun had set. The long shadows of their hulking forms blotting out the faces of their victims as their long blades closed in. The shadows... and then the wet sounds and screams cut short. Little Lee could not know why his parents had gone out into that dusky Hell. Only later could he speculate that were trying to lead them away from him. At that moment however, and forever in his memory... His parents left him alone with monsters at the door. He hid in a small dark space between his bed and the wall and listened as Ceres IX – Called Lookout – became a slaughterhouse. He wouldn't know until later that the monsters were Klingons, they very people who his father had come to negotiate with on that barren rock. In the fading light, they had become nightmare shapes barking in their strange language as they moved among the huddled homes of the colony. He saw them moving past the doorway... Past the window... Moving with their cruel knives and hunting down the people who's only crime was to be living on a planet that had suddenly become valuable overnight. He vaguely recalled a discovery... Or the talk of a discovery... In the mines. The adults had talked about it only a few nights before. It was something exciting... He remembered that. His parents friends were celebrating it... They thought that all their hard work would be rewarded. It was rewarded. With pain. Only later would he learn that these particular demons weren't the gruff, swarthy people his father had traded with for months. They were outlaws. Pirates who had intercepted a stray communication about the mineral strike and were looking to make a quick profit. He only learned it later, after years of studying their harsh and brutal language and reading Starfleet after-action reports. Reports that made what happened that night seem so... clinical. Lee had been a quiet little boy who loved his books and played games in his own imagination. Now he saw the children he would never get to know being pulled behind their captors. By their hair... By their legs. Sometimes to a dark corner, but more often simply to the center of the main road. He watched them being cut down and left in a growing pile. Children he would never know or laugh with. If he ever laughed again. The crashing, breaking, and screaming night seemed to last forever. More likely only an hour or more. An hour that ruined the innocence of little Leland Bishop (he would never be called Lee again) and set him on a bitter course that would twist him and tear at him for the rest of his life. His mother came to the door one last time, but he would never be sure if she could see his face in those final moments. Her face was a mask of blood. One side almost completely burned away by the green flame of a disruptor beam. For the last time in his life Lee allowed himself the luxury of tears, the luxury of screaming... He crept to the door with one last desperate hope that his mother might hold him again. But his movement caught the eye of one of the monsters. His hand had only brushed her hair when a grip like iron came down on his neck. All he wanted was to die in that moment. To be free of all this horror. His captor tried to oblige him. His feet scraped they gray rock as he was pulled by his hair to the pile of bodies in the center of town. When he was hurled atop them he landed cheek to stubbled cheek with the body of a burly man his father had known well... One of the geologists... Leland lay there screaming against the dead man watching as the dark creature above him put it's knife away. He could not see it's eyes but he could still feel their gaze. The beast had put its knife away because it didn't feel Leland was worth the stroke... Somehow he knew that. The shadow picked up a jagged rock and raised it over the little boys head. As it came down on his right eye to blot out the world, Leland Bishop thought: How sad it was that the poor man beneath him hadn't had time to shave. Leland Bishop Diplomatic Attache USS Victory
  3. Being an engineer and warp field specialist by training, I find myself needing to know why and how things happen. That is why ghost stories, especially ones that can't be logically explained, are what send shivers up my spine. There is a legend among my husband's countrymen, those humans that come from the little island that calls itself England, of their island's patron saint, St. George the Dragonslayer, and how he, in his benevolence, comes to the aid of brave bands of true Englishmen when in battle against overwhelming odds and facing certain death. I'm not so sure about this legend myself but I have heard a story that sometimes makes me wonder, when I think about it, if St. George really doesn't protect people from the little island of England. Across it when I was wandering through old intel files of a little-known battle on the edge of nowhere during the Dominion War. It was really a meaningless battle far from any lines that mattered in the true heart of the war, completely unremarkable except for one small fact: there was a battalion of Starfleet Infantry that hailed almost exclusively from a small island in the northern hemisphere of Earth. The battle was for listening station on the planet Archos VII. A small infantry battalion had been assigned to hold a mountain pass that was the main approach to the post. The battalion, a thousand strong and each with a small Union Jack on their shoulder, traced its lineage proudly back to His Majesty's Blues and Royals, in the days before Earth was united by a single government. This battle was one of inches, fought with the modern equivalent of sticks and stones. The Archosian atmosphere had been so saturated with energy disrupting aerosols that old fashioned firearms and rail-gun artillery had been resurrected to battle across the rocky terrain. The listening post in question had been obsolete for nearly a decade and neglected for longer than that but, as many times happens in war and peace both, people misplace significance onto objects and places that someone else shows a desire for, even when they themselves know their worthlessness. It was into this meaningless battle for a meaningless piece of technology on a meaningless rock that the infantry was dropped. A thousand strong, they dug trenches, built strong walls and had made themselves a fortress the envy of any castle of old. This was fortunate, as unknown to them, the Dominion had secretly dropped nearly 100,000 Jem'Hadar warriors nearby with orders to destroy the listening post. Their first notice of their new guests was when the artillery smashed into their newly finished salient. For two days and nights without stop, the thump-whistle-crash of the shells targeting them drained them somewhat of their usual upbeat cheeriness, tearing stone from stone... limb from limb. After the days of punishment, only half the original number remained. That is when the ground assault started. The sight of the wave upon wave of grey clad Jem'Hadar bearing down on them made even the bravest of those left realize that this was their time, their place and likely the end of their story. Among them was a young lieutenant, one who had graduated college only a few months before as a scholar of ancient languages. As he and his platoon opened fire in what they all knew was likely a vain effort, he began muttering an old Latin invocation: Adsit Anglis Sanctus Georgius - May St. George be a present help to the English. Over and over he said it as he fired his rifle into advancing grey horde. The Jem'Hadar were nothing if they were not loyal and determined. Up the hill they ran towards the Federation lines and by the hundreds the infantry cut them down. By the thousands, though, they kept coming, slowly gaining. There was no hope in the defenders, but they would do their duty as well. Suddenly, the young lieutenant heard a voice above and behind him, loud and sharp as a peal of thunder: "Array, array, array!" Over the din of the battle, he began to hear other voices calling from behind the lines. "Saint George! Saint George!" He rolled over to look behind his men. With what seemed like a soft white glow, he began to see shapes of men, standing behind the Federation trenches, indistinct, but he could see them wearing what seemed to be ancient armor and clothes. "Sweet saint preserve us!" "Heaven's knight, come to our aid!" The voices were deeply English, but no one else seemed to hear them or see the shadowy shapes arrayed behind their lines. As he watched, they drew their shadowy bows and with a shout there was a deep hum, as if by a thousand violin strings. The sky filled for a moment with pale arrows, then they smashed into the Dominion lines and the Jem'Hadar began falling by the thousands. "England! England and St. George!" The men of the infantry kept firing, dutiful though all their hope was gone. "St. George, succour us!" "Holy chevalier, defend us!" The arrows came so fast and in such numbers that the light from the dim star above darkened and the alien horde melted before them, finally breaking and leaving tens of thousands of dead on the field. The Vorta wrote the failure and losses down that the Federation had managed somehow to overcome the impediments to the use of technology. Most of the men of the infantry assumed that Starfleet had managed to get air support into place. Only that young lieutenant knew the truth: St. George had once more brought the bowmen of Agincourt to the aid of the English.
  4. Dawn's Early Light by Lt. Commander Hannibal Tiberious Parker (( Late 2373, Fire Base Sierra, Planet TR 144, Tyra System )) ::The planet wasn't much... Class M, smaller than Earth, similar gravity...unremarkable in its natural resources or of much importance other than a beachhead against the Dominion. It was here the 282nd of the Starfleet Marines had engaged Dominion forces for the previous two weeks. Time after time, they drove off the drug-addled monsters, managing to keep their base camp from being overrun. Neither side had managed a clear advantage over the other, and in the skies above, Starfleet and Dominion forces engaged in a deadly cat and mouse game of survival. There had been talk of a major engagement by the fleet, but as far as Sargent Hannibal Parker was concerned, it was all talk. They had supplies, comms, and ammo. Power for the base camp kept the Jem'Haddar out due to the force fields they had put up...but they had to go outside the force fields to engage the enemy.:: ::The Marines held the high ground, with the Jem'Haddar camp three clicks away. The land between them was a rabbit warren of scorched earth, craters, and destroyed foliage. Smoke rose from the gulf between the two camps, and from their vantage point, Hannibal and his men could see the beginnings of some sort of structure. Intelligence told them it was a ketracel white facility, and their job was to eliminate it.:: ::Going into the communications bunker, Hannibal went to speak to the commanding officer, Colonel Sampson. The look on his face never seemed to change...he would have been a good poker player, his grey eyes set into his head with a way that would look right through you. They had been on this rock for three weeks, and he had not ever seen the man smile...but there was not a great deal to smile about. There were once two hundred and fifty Marines here..they were down to one hundred and twenty five. Looking down on the much smaller man, the Colonel spoke, raising his voice over the whine of a fighter squadron swooping down on the Jem'Haddar..:: Sampson: Looks like those fighters are going to do the job for us, Sargent... ::A thunderous explosion, felt more than seen, rumbled through the bunker. Looking outside, four mushroom clouds, flecked with flame and smoke, rode their way ominously skyward, the booms from sympathetic explosions rocking the void between them...:: Parker: We'll see, Sir...those [...]s are proving to be quite hard to kill. Sampson: That should take care of them. Indeed it should. Starfleet at the moment ruled the skies and the space above it, which could only mean one of two things...the Dominion was busy elsewhere, and losing the facility was the cost of doing business, or they really were going to keep a grip on the sector...which meant the Sovereign Class USS Charleston would be back to pick them up in short order. No doubt he could use a shower, as could everyone else in the unit by then. ::Sitting at the Communications console, a Starfleet Lieutenant... Carlson? turned to speak to the General...his flushed face told Hannibal that whatever it was, had to be important...:: Carlson: Sir..this just came in from Admiral Ross. The fleet is engaging the Dominion. The Charleston is recovering their fighters and going to join the fleet. ::Hannibal didn't like that one bit. Sure, the Jem'Haddar had been dealt with for now, but there was always a chance there were survivors, or something would put them back in the fight. Without air cover. Looking back at the Colonel, he spoke..:: Sampson: All we have to do is sit tight till this thing is over, Sargent. ::Turning to a subordinate, Colonel Sampson issued another set of orders...::: Sampson: Stand down from alert status, and lower the shields. Save the power for when we need it. ::The subordinate nodded, and the hum from the shield went away. Something in the back of Hannibals' mind told him it was a very bad idea, and that feeling of dread only increased as the hours passed.:: :: Eating chow in the mess tent four hours later, Hannibals' worst fears were realized as the Starfleet Lieutenant raced out of the command bunker, his face white with fear and shock. The Colonel, sitting at the head of one of the mess tables, stood up as the man approached.::: Carlson: Colonel! The fleets' gone! :: All conversation stopped dead with the news. If what he was saying was true, they were marooned, behind enemy lines...:: Sampson: What the hell are you talking about? There were over a hundred ships in that fleet! Confirm that last report.. Carlson: I did Sir...I'm only getting ID's from ten ships. Ten out of 112......... :: Their worst nightmare was coming true. They were trapped, behind enemy lines, and it was only just beginning. One hundred and twenty five Marines on the verge of being slaughtered by a relentless enemy. The Jem'Haddar were not interested in taking Marines as prisoners, and everyone in that tent knew it. Colonel Sampson stood up, his face resolute, his voice calm..:: Sampson: Hannibal, get your men ready to fight. Set the perimeter. Carlson, get those shields back up and get an inventory of our supplies. Make sure our sensors can track incoming ships, friend or foe. ::Before Hannibal could answer, Carlson spoke again, his voice tinged with fear...:: Carlson: General...should I send a distress signal? :: With a finality as solid as permacrete, he spoke...:: Sampson: The only one who will hear it will be the Jem'Haddar, Lieutenant....on your way...Hannibal, you too. Lock this place down. Parker: Aye, Sir... Carlson: Will do, Colonel. :: Picking up his rifle, making sure it had a fresh power cell, he spoke to the Marines in the room...:: Parker: Get all the water, ammo, rations and grenades you can carry. You know the drill. We got company coming. Pass the word. Move it! :: The scraping of boots and clang of weapons as the Marines gathered their weapons and made their way over to the makeshift armory, all the while passing the word to the other Marines on watch. Marines took extra ammo, food and water to their compatriots on the line. Hannibal took his position forward, looking out over the now burned out Jem'Haddar position. The waiting game had now begun..::: :: Day turned to night, and with no moon and no lighting, the Marine camp was black as a tomb. The occasional shimmering from the shields was the only light, its brief illumination just enough to temporarily ruin his night vision. A light on the horizon, too low to be a ship, arched high into the sky, followed by a shriek that sounded like ripping heavy burlap...:: Parker: INCOMING!!!! :: The warhead slammed into the shields, the sound of the explosion cracking against his ears. Another. Then another. Screams from the Marines, holding their ears as those closest to the impact point had their eardrums shattered by the impacts. With each succeeding blast, the shields flared less and less blue, and began to flare red. The shields were failing, until one final fusillade took them down for good. The sounds of explosions now replaced by darkness and calls for medics, who rushed from the command bunker to treat the injured.Hannibal could hear the Colonel calling for status reports, wanting to know how fast they could get the shields back up. The reply was cut off as the assault began anew, this time the first shell slammed into the command bunker, the concussion knocking Hannibal off his feet, debris raining down upon the besieged Marines.:: :: Hannibal was furious. They were being methodically chewed to pieces by long range artillery they somehow managed to get to the surface. The command bunker, along with Colonel Sampson, was gone, consumed in the fire started by the artillery barrage. The power supply was gone. So far, their stocks of food and water were unscathed. They still had plenty of ammo, but no one to shoot at. The surviving medics did what they could, patching up the wounded, and those who could not be saved were given a lethal dose of painkiller. Fortunately, they still had medical supplies, so they could at least survive until the bitter end, which Hannibal knew was coming.:: :: A quick survey of the medics and surviving Marines told the tale. Hannibal and one other Sergeant, Thompson, were the only surviving officers. Twenty nine Marines, including the Colonell, were dead, with another nineteen wounded. That left only seventy seven fully whole Marines out of two hundred and fifty they hit the rock with. He didn't know if any would be left by morning:: :: There was no place to hide, no place for cover. Those who could fight stayed on the line, phaser rifles at the ready. Others were collecting weapons and supplies from the dead, and placing the dead in body bags.. They worked quickly, never knowing when incoming fire would interrupt the process of collecting the dead. Hannibal knew only one thing...if he was going to die on this rock, he was going to die like a Marine. He didn't fear it...he embraced it...The only possible good news was that they knew that they were facing Cardassian artillery, thanks to a few fragments they found...which meant that this part of the system the Dominion allowed the Cardassians to control. Now, if they would only come out and fight. Cardassians were brutal, but at least you could see them coming and they stayed down when shot.:: :: Working his way around the camp, Hannibal found one man, a Starfleet Ensign. He had dove into a shell crater to escape the bombardment. Curled into a fetal position, he was almost hysterical, shaking as though he was being electrocuted. Babbling to himself, Hannibal first felt pity for the man...then anger. Kneeling down into the crater, Hannibal jerked the man up, the Ensigns' eyes filled with terror..:: Parker: Ensign...ENSIGN! PULL IT TOGETHER! :: The young man tried to pull away, but Hannibals' grip only tightened on the mans’ uniform.::: Ensign: THE FLEETS' GONE! WE'RE GOING TO DIE HERE! THEY ARE GOING TO COME IN HERE AND KILL US ALL! WE GOTTA… :: Before he knew it, Hannibal backhanded the Ensign, then slapped him again, splitting his lip. Drawing his Bowie knife and placing it under his chin, Hannibal spoke to him in a voice more chilling than the enemy itself…:: Parker: WE are going to fight until we can’t. To the last man. WE are going to stay here and DO OUR JOB! If you try to run, I will kill you myself. IS THAT CLEAR!!! :: The young man was still shaking, but the haunted look in his eyes began to fade. Hannibals’ lip was quivering in anger, and only then did he realize his outburst had drawn a crowd. With Sergeant Thompson watching him from a distance, Hannibal continued…::: Parker: Fear is a choice, Ensign. Choose to live. Choose to fight. Choose to die. Now. :: Hannibal had no use for cowards, and he had decided if the young man wanted to die, his knife would make quick work of him right here and right now. Slightly moving the knife away from his chin, the man nodded..:: Parker: Good. Now get your [...] on the line. When they come over that hill, just keep pulling that trigger until you’re dry, then snap in a new clip. Can you do that? Ensign::nodding:: Yes sir…… :: Watching the young man take his place, Hannibal took his, and waited for daybreak. It wasn’t long before the sounds of incoming fire drew their attention…:: Parker: HERE WE GO MARINES!!!!!! :: Checking his combat tricorder, he could see it was being jammed. As the rounds began to fall around the compound, the explosions were smaller,which meant mortars..which meant a ground assault was imminent. They still had mortars, but because they could not see exactly where their enemy was, they could only guess in the darkness before dawn. The Marines lit the sky with their mortars, pounding the positions they thought the enemy was located. A bright flash from the former hilltop held by the Jem’Haddar told them they had hit paydirt. Round after round dropped on the enemy position, fanning out from that position, until enemy fire stopped falling. Lighting off a tracer round, they found what they were looking for as dawn broke above the embattled forces. Cardassian soldiers were moving through the no mans land between the two positions. This was the moment of truth. There were at least three hundred Cardassians moving towards them, spreading out so they were not such easy targets. Surprised by being lit up, they began to run towards the Marines. Thompsons’ voice rang out…:: Thompson: Wait for my signal. Make every shot count! Grenades at the ready! Let ‘em have it! :: The thump of grenade launchers put up a wall of shrapnel, slicing into the Cardassians, but they were not enough against them. Inside phaser range, Thompson sang out again…:: Thompson: It’s been an honor...FIRE AT WILL!!!! Parker: YES SIR! :: From behind their sandbag barricades, the Marines cut loose, the blue beams from their rifles contrasting the the red beams from Cardassian weaponry. It seemed like the more they dropped, more took their place. Shots hit the sandbags around Hannibal, one slicing through and catching him in the hip. He was grazed pretty deeply, but he ignored the pain and fought on. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the Ensign who had been cowering in a shell crater, drop his rifle and began to run away..:: Parker: ENSIGN! GET YOUR… :: It was too late. A disruptor blast caught him in the back, and as he spun around, another caught him in the head. He was finished..:: :: Only seventy five yards separated the Cardassians from the Marines. Most of the Marines had grenade launchers attached to their rifles, but once they had expended them, the fire was too intense to reload them. Throwing them from behind the wall blind was their only option as the enemy crept even closer. A Marine next to Hannibal went down, a perfect hole blown in his chest. Running between positions, Thompson was cut down. It was now only a matter of time before the Cardassians would move to outflank them...they still had superior numbers, and if they managed to accomplish it, game over. The Cardassians would pay dearly, but the Marines would lose the battle. Slapping another clip into his rifle, Hannibal was making his superior marksmanship work for him, cutting down the reptilian troops with abandon. Above the din of dead and dying men and women, a flash of light and heat blew Hannibal back off the line..:: Parker:Oo This is it..Oo :: Hannibals’ greatest fear was to die a dishonorable death. When he was younger, his father told him the greatest thing a warrior could do was to die with honor. There was nothing more honorable than dying in a last stand against innumerable odds , and he only wished that his day to honor his father would come a little later than today. If anyone found his body, there would be no doubt about how he died, facing his enemies, gun or knife in hand.:: :: Another blast..then another. Either the rounds were falling short and the Cardassians were cutting down their own men, or...hope beyond hope, there was a Federation starship up there providing fire support. Whatever it was, the rate of fire from the Cardassians was easing, and the Marines poured it on between the blasts. In another ten seconds, all firing had stopped coming from the Cardassians... the battle for Fire Base Sierra was over. An eerie quiet settled over the battlefield, and as the smoke cleared, it revealed a sea of dead Cardassians mingled with the previously killed Jem’ Haddar. Out of that quiet, a voice Hannibal thought he would never hear again came over his commbadge..it was Captain Taylor of the USS Charleston.:: Taylor: =/\= This is Captain Taylor of the USS Charleston. Any commanding officer please respond.=/\= :: Thinking it was a trap, Hannibal responded, and asked a question only the captain would know…:: Parker: =/\= This is Sargeant Parker, Captain. How many days did I get in the brig for drunk and disorderly at Starbase One?=/\= Taylor: =/\= None. The charges were dropped. You’ve got ten minutes to get your people together and get off that rock before we need to bug out. We’ll destroy what you can’t take from orbit.=/\= Parker:=/\ Copy that, Captain, and thanks for the air strike. Parker out.=/\= :: It was indeed Captain Taylor all right. Looking around at his spent Marines, he yelled out to them..:: Parker: We’re bugging out! Get the wounded ready to travel! :: In short order, the wounded, the dead, and the surviving Marines were back on board the Charleston. His first stop was Sick Bay, where he could get his hip tended to. They still had to make it out of the occupied area and into Federation space, but he felt confident that if Captain Taylor could escape the carnage of the battle, he could certainly get them home…:: Sargeant Hannibal Tiberious Parker Starfleet Marines Lt. Commander Hannibal Tiberious Parker First Officer Embassy, Duronis II/USS Thunder
  5. ( USS AMAZON ) ( IC ) -Captain’s log, stardate 240108.7, we’ve arrived at Romu’in space and we’ve detected one of their ships waiting for us. Starfleet had just a dozen of contacts with this species, they’re still a mystery to us, but other sources catalog them as strange creatures with even more strange ways of being. We just know that they’re bipedal reptiles whose population is mostly composed of male adults and most of them are dedicated to the military branch. The Columbus will be the first ship to be allowed to get to their home planet so I’ll need all my diplomatic skills to cause a good first impression.- :: Captain Rashuu stood from the captain’s chair and moved to the center of the bridge :: Rashuu: Open a channel :: The audio signal indicated that the channel was open. :: This is captain Rashuu from the Starfleet vessel Columbus to the Romu’in ship in front of us. Do you receive us? Romu’inan: Starfleet vessel Columbus, this is the vessel Krillari, we’re here to provide escort to our home planet. You’ll follow us and abstain to do any active scans as we progress in our territory. Rashuu: Understood Krillari, we’ll follow your lead. :: The channel closed and Rashuu returned to his seat. :: The probe is in place, right? Sheridan: :: The FO turned to his captain:: Yes sir, half light year away, ready to be activated upon need. :: The Saurian has always been one to be bold to get to combat but years of experience showed him that it’s better to have an ace up his sleeve, just in case. For about twelve hours they get inside the Romu’in territory at warp three. In the way, ships were gradually adding themselves as escort, first two, then two more, this way until there were ten ships enveloping them at a distance of about two hundred thousand kilometers. The Saurian didn’t like it, but he can’t do anything that would jeopardize the talks.:: :: Finally they get to their destination. The escorts left and remained on the outskirts of the system and the Krillari was the only one left. They guided them to a low orbit where they waited. Finally they’re given the transport coordinates. Rashuu moved towards the lift and was met on the transporter with his team and then beamed down. :: :: The reception hall was a bit somber, but enough to see clearly the group that was waiting for them. The place has a lot of holes on the ceiling and walls and some trees passed through those holes, he wasn’t sure if this could be an issue if a storm arrives at the place, but the place was humid enough for the Saurian to feel comfortable, unlike the standard Starfleet environments that were a bit dry for his taste. His gaze fell then on the group waiting them. There were four of them, Rashuu made a step forward. :: Rashuu: I’m captain Rashuu. Torka: I’m primer Torka, I’ve been assigned as your liaison with our people. Those are my assistants, Saruin minister of medicine and Lel’otep minister of external affairs. Rashuu: My pleasure. This is my Chief medical officer Dr. Scott , my Chief science officer Baldwin and the Lieutenant Shar’wyn. :: Rashuu avoided saying that it was a security officer, the woman nodded politely with his right arm just in front of the weapon holster, hiding discretely the weapon.:: Torka: I must say that I’m surprised that you’re the captain of a ship of this Federation. Rashuu: Really? I hope it’s a good surprise. Torka: You must say that. So far the only contact we had with Federation Vessels was with the ones called humans and two called Vulcans. Seeing that there’s someone with… a reptile ascendance… is good. At least you’re more… easy to see than those mammals. Rashuu: :: he looked at his companions :: I used to think the same when I first saw them after leaving my home planet, but what they may lack in that field, they compensate with a wide variety of attributes. Torka: I see… You may follow me, I’ll give you a tour of the province. I’m sorry but I’m not allowed to guide you to the main province, but the Master Leader believes that my province can show you how we are and teach you what you might want to know. Rashuu: I’m sure that your province is perfect for us. Given that we have never been here, I’m honored that you accepted to receive us. Torka: It’s not that I asked for it, I just follow the Master Leader instructions. This is how things work here. Rashuu: Similar to Starfleet. Being the military branch of the Federation we follow a chain of command. For example, they follow my orders as I follow those of my commanding officers. I understand that your people follow a military life. Is that for everyone or just the males? :: They walked through the building to an open street :: Torka: We all do military service and train for that since we are a child. Our jungles are dangerous so everyone must be ready to fight for their life’s. That’s how we live since we are born. Scott: You mean that since birth you’re ready to take some military training? Torka: :: The primer looked at the human that slowed its pace as it was being looked :: Kind of… our newborns fight for food since they hatch the eggs. The weaker ones either die on the fight or if they manage to survive and get food are relegated to simpler tasks. That’s how we become strong. Scott: I see… :: The doctor looked at the group with a different look. Obviously if they’ve reached those important positions, others may have suffered a worse destiny. It could seem cruel, but obviously it depends on the crystal you look through. Saruin: Maybe the good doctor would like to have a look at our medical station. We have a hatchling about to ‘bloom’. It should be interesting for him to see. :: The female looked at the doctor, to whom she was about a quarter of a feet taller. :: Torka: Are you interested? :: said the primer with a grin drawn in his smile:: Scott : :: gulping a bit :: I will, as long as my captain agrees. Rashuu: :: He looked at the good doctor and understood what was between lines. :: Yes, I have no objection, but I’m sure that Lieutenant Shar’wyn is also interested in that. Shar’wyn: :: she grinned at the comment but the look and years of serving with Rashuu allowed her to understand his statement :: Of course, they are an awesome species and I’d like to know more about them. Rashuu: Good, Baldwin, you’re with me. :: The good doctor along with the Security officer moved away with the female Minister of medicine while Rashuu accompanied the primer to a tourist visit and Baldwin tried to know more about their technology, given that they seem to be quite integrated in their environment. :: :: On their way towards another complex they could see the vast vegetation of the planet and how the Romu’ians developed their infrastructures bordering the natural ways of it, using the trees as part of them. They saw a clear in the forest that was used as instruction site, but only as a starting point. :: Saruin: We start learning to live in the jungle since we are very young. There you can see some kids, they are about seven rotations, but they already know how to survive in our jungles. Scott: What’s that? Is that a monkey tied up there? Saruin: Yes,… an anatomy lesson. They must learn how to hunt them and how to quicken up the resistance. It’s what makes us the greatest of this planet. Scott: But,.. It’s still alive… Saruin: Of course… :: She looked at the mammal surprised that such a fearsome creature was in the military of the Federation :: Shar’wyn: Nothing like a live prey to teach the youngling, right? Saruin: Exactly. It’s the fastest way to teach them. Shar’wyn: I see your point. We use holodecks for that kind of training. Saruin: Holodecks? Shar’wyn: Yes, holographic representations with physical form. Allows you to study whatever you want. You can see a body and pay attention to details. In your case you could have one of that augmented to show them clearly how their bodies work and then make a moving one or a hundred for them to practice. Saruin: mmm… interesting. Unlimited numbers of test subjects… I… doubt that the training could be the same, but we’ll have to see. Now come, they’re starting to pay attention to us, and they don’t like to be observed by outsiders. :: The group moved along but the instructor along with the kids followed them with their eyes and the gestures of the instructor weren’t exactly the most pleasing ones, and even less when he signaled the monkey-like creature and used his nails to open up wounds on major arteries… blood splitting the floor and then throw it to the kids to watch and… who knows, maybe have a little snack.:: :: Doctor Scott was amazed by the birthing bay, underground, with metal structures holding the place but with the humid soil being the resting place of the eggs. Some of the workers looked at them and hissed between them words that he didn’t understand, but soon he saw something that called his attention. :: Scott: What’s this man doing in there? :: It was a man, sitting on the ground inside a kind of cell, with only one door. He seemed to be waiting, barely dressed with some kind of pants and a light T-shirt. :: Saruin: Oh, this one comes to make a final service to our community. Shar’wyn: Final service? What do you mean? Saruin: Well, it’s a tradition of our legal system. This man was found guilty of continuously having diverted food and materials to his own benefit and of others around him. That made part of this province to have to endure hard times during the winter and some of our youngers died because of that. His sentence was to make a final act or repairing to the society. Shar’wyn: What does have to do with this place? Saruin: He… serves to two purposes. You’ll see… it’s about to start. I… hope that you’re not easily impressionable as we’re told that you are. :: Then a sound was heard and almost all the workers surrounded the cage where the man was waiting. He stood and looked at the door that started to open from downwards, there were a few moments of silence when the presents started to say something in their own language. It was repetitive and escalated in sound. A few moments later, a young Romu’inan appeared from the dark and looked at the man. A second later it let out a shrieekk sound and dozens of the little creatures appeared behind and all of them launched towards the man. They were ferocious and despite that the male started by kicking one, two, three of them, soon about four of them jumped over him and he started to grab them, but then three more jumped on his back and others on his legs. They started to bit him and despite that their fangs weren’t large, they were sharp and bits of blood started to taint the male’s body. He continued to spin around trying to get rid of them, but simply there were too much of them. Soon a pair of them crawled to the head and the man get rid of them, but not before one of them bites him in one eye, what made the man yell. The public began to chorus another word and the little Romu’inans overwhelmed the man’s legs, making him put one knee on the ground. Scott ceased to look at the scene and looked at the others presents in the room, almost making a step back, but Shar’wyn put his arm on his back to make him stay. :: Shar’wyn: Doctor, if you leave now, you’ll look weak to those people. This is not the time for that. Scott: But that’s… a carnage. Shar’wyn: Look anywhere else, but don’t leave. :: Shar’wyn knew that looking weak in front of predators was the last thing to do, less when you’re surrounded and in number inferiority. His gaze returned to the place where the man knelt the second leg and all the little ones started to cover him. It was a classical example of Death from a thousand cuts. Soon the shouts and yellings and shrieks muted to just a mumbling of the flesh being devoured of a corpse with no life. :: Saruin: Mm… :: she said finally looking at them. :: You were lucky, those cases are rare lately. As I told you this is a last service for the dishonored and punished for big crimes. They serve as food four our little ones, showing them to fight for their food if needed and second, it shows the little ones that a group is stronger than an individual, no matter how big and strong it might seem. This unity is what forges our strong community. Does your Federation have a similar ritual? Scott: I think… I don’t… :: Without being able to avoid it the good doctor vomit poured out of him. Saruin made a step back and Shar’wyn moved to help the good doctor not to fall on the ground. :: Shar’wyn: :: Trying to appear to be in one piece after the show :: I told him not to come. He wasn’t feeling well, but he wanted to do his duty nonetheless… Sorry for that. Saruin: Oh…:: suspiciously :: I see… very.. dedicated to be coming in that state. Don’t worry about that,… We always try to see the good point of everything. In this case, we’ll clean it and will help us to know the… human physiology. Specially their digestive system. :: She made a gesture with her fingers and a group of workers collected the contents of the vomit the doctor had just spilled around him in a container and cleaned the residual remainings as the doctor and the security officer moved away. :: Saruin: Perhaps this will be a good moment to get back with your captain… Shar’wyn: Sure. Saruin: Please this way… :: The two followed the female minister of medicine and entered a darker corridor of the underground very humid and with the roots of some trees showing up through the walls. Shar’wyn was not all relaxed as she didn’t like those corridors. Too dark, becoming narrower each corner, his sixth sense calling him to grab his phaser but his rational side telling him not to do it yet. :: Saruin: Take care of the roots. We try to co-exist with the fauna and respect them the most we can. You can easily trip over some of them. :: Then she turned a corner and when the two officers did something hit them in the back of the head and fell unconscious to the ground. :: :: Saruin turned and approached the two humanoids and drew a smile in her big toothy mouth. Calling up two other Romu’inans instructed them on how to proceed. :: Saruin: You know what to do. And make it quick! :: Meanwhile Rashuu and Baldwin were talking with Primer Torka and enjoying some delicacies freshly made for them. :: To be continued? Cmdr. Marcus Dickens 2nd officer & CSO USS Atlantis NCC-74682
  6. Blunt Forces She felt herself falling backward more then what she stumbled on. As she fell her mind seemed to be processing information at warp speeds which made time seem to stand still but in reality it only took seconds for her to hit the ground. Adrenal coursed through her body, training raged in her mind attempting to dictate her actions and fear fought to quash both of those survival mechanisms and more. As she touched the ground she immediately rolled to her left amazed she hadn’t broken either of her arms in her descent but in truth all she cared about was avoiding the black blade that landed where her head had just been a second earlier. Her eyes went wide in a terror that surpassed every feeling she had had since arriving in that ancient supposedly abandoned monastery. She felt like screaming but couldn’t get a peep out as she watched a second blade plunging toward her with unquestionably lethal intent. Though the monster, or automated weapon system drone, before her knew no other way. She didn’t want to think of that though just as the bladed weapon that was about to kill her seemed to be as black as the void of space and being swung with a force that would make even the most brutal of Klingon warriors fearful. No, if that was to be her last moment she wanted something else, anything else. She knew after everything that she had seen on that training mission that a pleasant thought wasn’t something that was so easily conjured to the point that she would have had an easier time reciting the temporal prime directive word for word. Despite her desire to defy the mental images plaguing her it seemed rather pointless as the blade was still being thrust toward her and it was too late to move again even if she could think of a direction or better yet a plan of attack. Time seemed to slow again dragging out the inevitable. But at the last second a brilliant flash of red light struck the beastly attacker pushing it back. Then another blast hit it and she found herself thinking more and succumbing to the terror less as if suddenly things weren’t so bleak. So without another second of hesitation she rolled to her belly and crawled away before getting to her feet turning to the newcomer feeling slightly relieved once the monster that had attacked her was render to a pile of incinerated flesh. That relief barely lasted a second though as her savior, who took the form of her commanding officer, spoke and not to kindly at that but she knew this wasn’t the time stand on formalities or niceties. "If you’re done sitting around waiting to be killed, grab your phaser cadet. We are still far from the objective and I don’t have the time to continually save your rear end." her CO said sternly. Looking around she saw the charred remains of several of those monstrosities and about a meter from where she was standing she saw her borrowed hand phaser. As she quickly knelt down to pick it up she found herself remembering the events of several hours before that when she had been given the weapon. As she grasped the weapon to stop her hands from shaking or at least hide the fact she found herself allowing the memories from when she had first been given that particular phaser to overcome her for the moment. *** Cadet Ellen Cain sat in the field laboratory tent feeling, well; she was trying not to feel at that point. In the wake of the first attack and the realisation that she, Commander Melitta Herodion and several civilian scientists had become trapped and besieged by creatures that Ellen could barely identify was becoming too much for her. In fact it was the first time since leaving the Academy on her “cadet cruise” that she wondered if her decision to accept the real world posting, instead of a standard placement on one of SB118’s holo-ships, was the right choice. For the first time she found herself without any answers and struggling to know what path to take as she stared at the analysis on the computer terminal in front of her. Despite that though Ellen jumped to her feet as she heard Commander Herodion approach who almost instantly said “at ease” then in her customary way requested a status update. “This equipment is designed more for imaging and text translation so I haven’t been able to do a full medical analysis.” Ellen said regretfully. Even though the work terminals offered more processing power over that of her tricorder which she patched into the terminal to gain access to its programming and functionality, what she could achieve was still extremely limited. She continued on anyway. “That said I haven’t found a match for the species in my medical tricorder. I would assume they have been genetically engineered based on observations during the attack. Also I have detected extremely high levels of nanites and the remains of other cybernetics.” “And the purpose of that would be?” Commander Herodion probed. “Control over the individual creature, self repair when injured and if I had to guess the limited shape shifting that we witnessed. Hands that turn into swords and the like. It would also explain why phasers had such little effect Sir.” Ellen replied. “I ask this because you are the most competent individual I have at hand, would you be able to form a counter measure to this nanotechnology?” Commander Herodion said simply obviously without a thought as to how Ellen would respond to such a comment. Ellen knew exactly where the Commander was coming from and accepted that but somehow it still felt like an insult. “This really is my brother’s area of expertise, not mine unfortunately. That said though we don’t have the resources on hand or the time to develop a solution even if I did possess the knowledge Commander.” Ellen replied somberly. “I have already reconfigured all available phasers so they should be more effective based on your preliminary data. While the scientists seek shelter in a nearby cave that is still accessible, we are going to find the source of the force field trapping us and destroy it.” Commander Herodion told Ellen. “Once the shield is down we will be able to call for help but it stands to reason that whoever is behind this scheme is also at that location.” Something must have been showing on Ellen's face because Herodion leaned against another nearby workstation and started to talk again but this time without that ice cold edge of detachment that she prided herself on carrying around. Ellen had never seen the woman like that and rarely heard of it either so she didn't know what to expect next. "You know when I was still a marine I went on a training mission which turned out very much similar to this one." Herodion started to say. "My CO hated the idea of using holodecks for training so I lead my squadron on what should have been standard practice manoeuvres inside an asteroid belt. On our way back to our ship, the USS Hornet, however we discovered that our ship had been boarded by pirates." Herodion told Ellen. "Star Fleet command decided that the Hornet could not remain in enemy hands and ordered all nearby forces to intercept which included my squadron. I lost more than half my fighter squadron before we regained control of the ship and it was hours later that additional reinforcements arrived to assist. Most would say that the Galaxy and Sovereign classes are the titans of the fleet but I don't having seen the far outdated Akira class shred a squadron of Star Fleets best star fighters.” The older woman paused to allow her words to sink in. Ellen saw at least on the surface where the Commander had been going with the speech. It was a stereotypical and dearly needed "nothing is impossible" speech. Though Ellen still wasn’t encouraged because in the simplest terms she wasn’t a super soldier like her commanding officer, or at least that was the perception she got from her CO. Ellen was simply a star fleet cadet who happened to be gifted with a photographic memory. "I am not telling you this story to encourage you." Herodion said which caught Ellen off guard. "I am telling you this because we both have a job to do. You may be a cadet but this is what it means to be an officer in star fleet. If you can’t hack it then stay here with the civies but I am not going to pretend that I don’t need your help today." "So you’re saying that the needs of the many...." Ellen started to say only to be cut off by Herodion. "Never ever quote Vulcan logic to me unless you are a Vulcan. We might put our lives on the line, sometimes futilely, for others but that is never a reason to pretend that you can approach these situations without emotion, the gods know I can’t." Herodion said sharply, her hand dropping to her waist holster where she withdrew her type II-D phaser pistol and offered it to Ellen. Ellen stared at the pistol for but a second before taking it. As a cadet she may have been in her rights to turn her CO down but despite everything Commander Herodion struck a chord in Ellen making her realize that she needed and wanted even more to help even if that meant traveling to the belly of the beast where she would probably die. *** A creaking sound was what brought Ellen back to the present as if a new wave of fear overrode her flashback. The sound while faint and coming from a far distance away was probably caused by a rodent or insect or maybe even the wind but in that near pitch black corridor sneaking behind Commander Herodion every sound seemed to set alarm bells off in Ellen’s head. As the pair moved as silently as possible through the narrow corridor Ellen couldn’t help but feel that another one of those monsters would leap out of the next alcove of which there were many. Her senses were going into overdrive again and it wasn’t helping. Knowing this, Ellen tried her best to focus on one thing so she chose to focus on her movement lest she bump into Commander Herodion or stub her foot and give away their position. In any other situation she might have allowed herself to joke that she was focusing so very hard on putting one foot in front of the other. It wasn’t the time or place for that though even if she could bring herself to make that joke. Thankfully that technique helped just as Ellen and Commander Herodion reached a T-juncture. Peering down one side of the new corridor Ellen saw natural light in what appeared to be a courtyard but in the other direction she saw several shadowy figures. Looking to her CO Ellen knew that Commander Herodion also saw them too. Herodion flipped closed her tricorder and returned it to her belt then readied her rifle before turning to Ellen. In the quietest of whispers Herodion spoke to Ellen. Despite the volume of her words Commander Herodion’s tone was dead serious. “Power readings suggest the generator for the force field is in that courtyard. On my signal run to it and disable it by any means Cadet.” Commander Herodion said firmly ensuring that there would be no confusion over her orders. Ellen’s mind was screaming to fight that order. Perhaps it was the safer role to take, or on the other hand what if there were more of those things out in the courtyard or maybe the better plan was to stick with Commander Herodion. Ellen liked that last one the most as she figured her CO would be able to watch out for Ellen. And there is truth to the adage that there is strength in numbers. Instead though Ellen nodded to Herodion signalling her agreement and readiness to Herodion’s plan. They each had a job to do and Ellen was going to play her part. She figured she came that far so she might as well see the job through. It wasn’t as if she was in the best location to argue with her CO anyway. Herodion was the first to move to a standing position in the middle of the juncture already firing her weapon. Ellen ducked past her, getting to her feet she started to run and didn’t stop until she had left the confines of the corridor and entered the courtyard. Rising the phaser pistol she scanned the courtyard waiting, expecting someone or worse to jump out at her. When it didn’t immediately happen and she eyed the power generator, she ran to it. Maybe it was rather convenient that the generator was there unguarded but Ellen didn’t care and didn’t think of the possibilities of an ambush. Kneeling by the inbuilt control console Ellen dropped her weapon as she furiously tapped commands into the generator but no matter what she tried she was unable to power the [...]ed machine down. Panicking she struggled to remember what Herodion had told her, she said to do the job by any means necessary. So taking a page from her CO’s book Ellen’s hand dropped down to the ground where the phaser pistol laid and picked it up as she moved back toward the corridor entrance. Ellen was a fraction over two meters from the corridor archway but she saw the red flash streak straight toward her. Her eyes went wide in terror but the instant later when she was still alive and a second shot again narrowly missed her, going an inch over her right shoulder, she turned to see another one of those things with a gaping hole in its abdomen. Even with that hole the drone didn’t look like it was going to fall over and die, they never did. Ducking behind what must have been the remains of a pillar; Ellen took aim and fired her phaser at the power generator which the humanoid monster was standing next to. Even though she shielded herself, as much as she could, as the power generator exploded she was still knocked backward into a wall ringing the outside of the courtyard. With her ears ringing and vision slightly blurred she noticed a human figure stalking toward her with great speed. Ellen shakily raised the phaser again trying to steady her aim fully intending to pull the trigger. “Careful with that Cadet,” Herodion said outstretching her hand to help Ellen to her feet. “Getting shot with my favorite phaser is not on my agenda tonight.” Taking Commander Herodion’s hand Ellen pulled herself rather shakily to her feet feeling her vision and hearing returning to normal levels or normal for her current condition. “You’re not usually one to act so bluntly Cadet.” Commander Herodion said, a faint smile could be seen on her face. “Finding the off switch was taking too long!” Ellen replied also smiling despite feeling as if the battle was far from over. The pair had done what they had set out to do, they might not have found the master mind yet but the shield was disabled and no more of those things appeared to be near. And yet Ellen eyes darted out into the darkness, expecting the worst. Ensign Atherton Grix USS Gemini
  7. "It started as flashes. At the time I wasn't what they really were. Perhaps it was just my imagination running wild, filling in gaps I hadn't been able to fill since I was a child. But as time passed, the flashes morphed into more in depth, clearer images. Whispers became voices," Rune said, her voice soft and quiet. She drew in a slow, steady breath. "The panic attacks began soon after the memories began to surface." She swallowed hard, not able to make eye contact. "Fits of sudden nausea, cold sweats, shaking hands, blurred vision, heart racing so fast I thought it would burst through my chest. I couldn't breath. I couldn't move. I became utterly paralyzed by fear." ((10 Years Ago - Sabahnuor Attitude Readjustment Center, Leya-I)) 16 year old Rune's heart began racing as soon as they stepped through the doorway. A few more steps and she got a sudden sick feeling deep inside her stomach. A few more steps and she stopped. Her mentor, Dura Refa, stopped a step ahead of her and turned to look at her. Looking up at the older woman, "I changed my mind," Rune said. "Runica..." Rune shook her head. "I don't need this," she said, forcing a nervous smile. "Really... I will try harder. I promise." Dura gave her a saddened look, her eyes scrunching into a frown. "Runica, you've tried. No one faults you for needing help." The woman's voice was gentle, yet firm. The doors at the end of the corridor opened. Rune's heart nearly stopped when she saw the two attendants emerge. One male, one female. Both dressed in standard white uniforms. The closer they got, the more panicked she became. She started to back up but Dura grabbed her arm. "Please, Dura..." Rune said, pleadingly as she tried to pull free. Dura's fingers dug into the girl's arm, holding tight. Her heart was racing, pounding deafeningly inside her chest. She struggled harder to pull away but it wasn't enough. Before she knew it, the two attendants were there. They grabbed her arms, one on each side. "I'm sorry, Runica. This is for the best," her mentor said, showing none of her earlier compassion. Rune kicked and screamed and pleaded but it was all for nothing. Two sets of hands held fast, their fingers digging deep into her arms. She couldn't break free. They dragged her towards the doors. Her screams and pleas completely ignored. Once beyond the threshold, the entire atmosphere changed. It was colder and her screams echoed off the metallic walls. She was taken into a small brightly lit room and stripped down to nothing, all the while fighting them. An elbow caught her in the mouth sending her head slamming back into the wall. Her vision exploded into a kaleidescope of colors and confusion. She could taste the blood in her mouth as hands grabbed her again and slammed her onto a cold, steel table. The lights overhead were blinding. Of course that was all part of the process to wear down the "patient". Her head, arms and legs were strapped to the table, making it impossible for her to turn her head away from them and it didn't matter how tightly she clenched her eyes shut. The light still penetrated her eyelids and the nectating membrane beneath. She was cold... freezing actually. Her heart was racing again and in spite of freezing, she was sweating. She could feel the tiny beads of sweat roll down the side of her face, mingling with the tears that escaped her eyes. She struggled against her bonds but she couldn't move. Her muscles tensed as she heard a ripping sound and then something damp brushed against her forehead. She tried to jerk away but it was pointless. All of this fighting was pointless. Then she felt it. Needles pierced her skin at various points around her body, along her spine, back of her neck and forehead. Pin [...]s turned into stinging, then burning and then excruciating pain engulfed her entire body. She tried to scream but the sound caught in her already raw throat. ((Present-time)) "Fear of what?" Nikki Ryan asked, her voice calm and soothing. Tears rolled down her face as her head rested against Nikki's shoulder. She took comfort from the arms wrapped around her as they lay in the dark. Rune's softly glowing eyes flicked up to meet the other woman's crystal blues. Her question hanging between them. "Of being taken back and having my memories ripped out of me again," she said, her own lightly accented voice trembling slightly. "Of not being allowed to be here with you, to feel what I feel and to love who I love." --- Lt. Rune Jolara Chief Counselor - USS Apollo-A
  8. "So this thing was found in a lab?" The question was asked plainly enough, but something about the wording had Professor Yuri Malenkov shooting a frown at the woman stood beside him. Like himself, Doctor Helena Kerr was one of the Daystrom Institute's resident archaeotechnology specialists, and she'd leapt at the chance to get in on a project like this one the very moment she'd returned from her extended holiday on Risa. It wasn't often that they were called upon to exercise their particular field of expertise, but when they did the reason was usually pretty compelling - and the humanoid figure laid out before them definitely ticked that particular box. "The artefact," he replied, stressing the way he preferred to think of it, "was indeed discovered in the remains of what appeared to be a cybernetics lab of some kind. It's hard to be certain, of course, given the age of the ruins, but the survey team made a reasonably educated assessment." "If that age is as big a number as I'd heard, I'm happy to cut them a little slack." Shoving her hands in the pockets of the lab coat she habitually wore, the Alpha Centauran red-head began prowling around the work table the artefact on question lay on, studying it from every angle as her brow furrowed in thought. Whatever it was, it was the right size and shape to be able to pass as most humanoids - if it weren't for the fact that it's exterior shell was nothing but a layer of smooth, featureless sliver. Internal scans had told them that it was more than the inert statue it seemed at first glance, and the sheer complexity of some of what those scans had revealed had led to the archaeological team that had discovered it shipping it off to the Institute as fast as they could arrange for it to happen. Which was where Yuri and his team had come in. For almost a week, they'd studied the figure as closely as they could without getting invasive, and they were starting to get a little frustrated with the limits of what they'd been able to establish. Quantum dating had confirmed the age, and from the data the discovery team had sent there was a good chance that where it had been found was where it had been built. Unfortunately, there'd been no hints at all as to what it had been built for, and if the theories about the last inhabitants of those ruins were right, there was no way at all anyone was going to be able to ask them. "You tried a HiMRI scan to get a look?" Given that Helena hadn't taken her eyes off of the subject of her scrutiny, Yuri's nod went unnoticed. With a wry little smile, he opted for a more obvious response. "High resolution MRI, quantum imaging, EM pattern analysis, even an old-fashioned radar scan. Everything comes back the same, and tells us that what we have here is the body of some form of synthetic life-form." Helena grunted and straightened up from where she'd been studying the artefact's 'face'. "Never seen anything like this one before, though." "Oh, it gets better." Lifting a padd from one of the workbenches nearby, Yuri handed it over before standing back to watch the reaction that he was pretty sure was going to be coming. One of the biggest puzzles they had faced was on the materials side of things, and what Helena had just been handed was a breakdown of the scan results gathered from tests on that silvery coating. Metallic, it might look, but... "It's organic?" And there it was, just as surprised as *they'd* been when the results had first come back. "You're telling me that shiny crap all over the thing is-" "Possibly," Yuri interrupted smoothly, heading off a singularly Kerr-esque head of steam, "the most advanced synthetic organic polymer matrix anyone has every seen. The hardware underneath it is impressive enough, but that shell..." He shook his head, lips twitching in another wry smile, and leant up against the workbench. "Terk nearly wet himself when he saw that data, and we almost had to threaten to nail his lobes to the ceiling to keep him from trying to find some way to sell it." "What do you expect, letting a [...]ed Ferengi anywhere near something like this?" "Oh, it wasn't that bad. We just reminded him of the pile of latinum he put up as security for keeping to the confidentiality agreement he signed." "Ha. Yeah, that'll do it." The two of them fell into silence again, both looking at the recumbent form that was the focus of this project's work. The vagaries of the Ferengi lust for profit aside, neither of them were ignorant of the potential secrets hidden within something like what they had on their hands, and the sheer scientific drive to know was tempered by an awareness of what that sort of curiosity could lead to. After all, Yrui mused to himself, it was curiosity about what was inside that led to Pandora's Box being opened and the story was quite clear on what had happened because of that little slip. "I could have taken another two weeks vacation, you know." This time, Yuri's frown was one of puzzlement at Helena's comment, apparently unrelated to anything else he could think of right now. "Sun, surf, little [...]tails with umbrellas in them... plus all the exceptionally friendly men with very big-" "Thank you, Helena. I am quite happy to live without that mental image." "Wimp. What I was going to say was that if I had, I'd probably have kicked myself for missing out on this." *** There wasn't enough to be called consciousness. Not yet. What did exist was little more than a reaction to the modulated emissions that had been detected by a collection of specialised nodes. Once that signal had been received, a cascade of instructions had flowed out of those nodes and into others. Induction charging systems tapped into the local power, building up energy within other components at a painfully slow rate. There had been no need predicted for them to have to work faster, and the idea that the cells they were feeding would be so utterly drained had been similarly unanticipated. It was working though, and as power became available it was used. Sounds were detected and analysed, hardwired coding assembling meaning from what was being heard whilst others identified what seemed like hard data and filed it away for future use. None of what was happening was running at the speed it had been designed to, but the tiny node who's sole job was to keep track of time gave an explanation why - once it had checked it's own calculations over thirty thousand times just to make absolutely sure it's count was right. A wait for deployment that ran into millennia had stretched even this mechanism's capacity to hold itself ready. Eventually, everything the system was ordered to do was done and it slipped into a holding pattern, settling in to wait with the infinite patience of a machine for the rest of the signal. Then, and only then, would the second layer of commands be brought into play... *** "Pass me that scanner, will you?" The hand being waved vaguely in Yuri's direction went well with the distracted tone of the question, and he had to smile - at least a little. Picking the device up from the worktop, he handed it over, then went back to looking at the results from the one he'd already been holding. "So you've gotten somewhere on those resolution enhancements?" Helena shrugged, most of her attention on the computer screen she was studying whilst she toyed absently with the scanner she'd just received. "Maybe. A more coherent scan pattern, adapting itself to the general level of... whatever it is that's going on in there, should - hopefully - give us a better picture of how things are set up to work in our little statue's head." "Which," Yuri agreed, "would be nice. The level of activity in there might be almost undetectably low, but it's certainly making things harder when it comes to tracking what's actually going on." And that had been a bit of a running theme over the last little while. It had taken some searching, but once they'd established that the artefact wasn't quite as inert as it had first seemed, they'd ridden the wave of enthusiasm that had provoked straight into a metaphorical brick wall. Now, three days later, it seemed like they might just have a way to get somewhere. "Here." Yuri dragged his frowning attention from the silvery figure and turned it toward Helena, who'd turned on her little stool to face him. Apparently done with whatever modifications she was planning to make to the scanner, she held it out to him and he took it with a murmur of thanks. A quick look at it's readouts showed him nothing new at all, but then there wouldn't have been... until and unless it worked. There was only one way to find out if that was going to happen... At first, there was no change from normal as he began his scan using the newly modified tool, but after a few seconds that changed fast. "Woah!" His startled exclamation had Helena surging to her feet and hurrying to stand beside him, craning her neck to get a look at what might have provoked it. Once he tilted the scanner to give her a better view of the readings, she let out a low whistle of appreciation - and managed to avoid looking even remotely smug. "Okay..." she muttered. "That's quite a result." "Right. But I think you're missing the point..." Which, by playing about with the scanner's controls a little, Yuri endeavoured to correct. Scrolling back through the data the device had gathered, he paused it when he found what he was looking for, then handed the whole thing over to his colleague. "Umm... Yrui? Am I reading this right? From what I'm looking at here, this spike in activity didn't happen until after you started the scan. In fact, the things had been cycling through frequency modulations for nearly thirty seconds before-" This time, Yrui's exclamation wasn't due to surprise at what he was seeing on a little screen. Instead, it was a quite understandable response to the fact that the silvery figure on the work table, totally unmoving and unresponsive for all this time, had just grabbed him. After a second or so, he managed to get enough of a grip on himself again to notice that the only part of the artefact that had moved at all was the hand - and arm it was attached to - that now held his wrist. "Yuri! Are you-" "I'm fine," he replied, somehow a lot more calmly than he felt he had any right to be. "It's not holding me tight enough to hurt, just... I don't know, keeping me here, I guess." "You guess? To hell with that, I'm calling security." There was little hope he could convince her not to do that, even if he felt any urge to try. The Institute's security set-up wasn't as comprehensive as, say, a Starfleet facility's might be, but that wouldn't stop them from reacting to something like this. Helena's voice making the call sounded far more agitated than the woman usually acted, and Yuri knew that someone would be coming through that door within only a few more moments. Which, if this turned nasty, was most likely not going to be soon enough to make any appreciable difference to him. He was considering whether to try and break the hold on his wrist when the decision was made redundant, the metallic-looking hand releasing it's grip and returning to where it had started with just as little warning or ceremony as it had moved to begin with. Absently rubbing his wrist, Yuri backed off well out of reach, eyes firmly fixed on the core of their project, and wondering just what the heck had just happened - and why. *** The signal had come, modulated just as it was meant to be, and when it reached the node that had been patiently awaiting it the results were precisely as designed. Power was routed to higher-order nexus groups, the command routines coded into their fabric coming to life and reaching out to each other. Within moments more, the basis of a command architecture had taken form, building itself further as it confirmed that everything that was meant to be at it's disposal, was. At that stage, there was nothing capable of appreciating the serendipity of having one of the external things it sought detectable literally within arm's reach - but this in no way impaired the system from acting on that proximity. As soon as the required physical contact was achieved, and the subject was prevented from immediate escape, data began to be gathered and analysed, projections of what would and would not be of use forming and being analysed in turn. Finally, a model was assembled and the proper coding assembled for use. One last check for errors, then that self-same coding was sent to the receptors that had waited for it since their creation. There was only enough raw material - and power - for a single activation, but that was part of the design. After all, done right, it only needed to happen once... Suspended throughout the dormant biopolymer matrix of the external shell in their little hives, nano-scale mechanisms came to life, surging out to latch onto the materials they needed to do their jobs. It was a laborious process, with endless repetition of the tiniest pieces of the whole essential to the desired result, but there was no hint of anything but almost mindless dedication to the task at hand and a total disregard of the fact that simply fulfilling their assigned role was going to leave almost the entire population extinct. *** The security guards that had responded to Helena's call had done it fast, and under other circumstances Yuri might have found their adrenaline-fuelled jumpiness amusing. As it was, he was more concerned that they were going to do something... unfortunate to his project. "Gentlemen, do I need to remind you that nothing harmful has actually happened?" That got him a disparaging look from Helena, not that he'd expected anything else, but he was more interested in the reactions of the people with weapons. Luckily, the man in charge of the team was someone who's judgement he respected - and the fact that he was a Betazoid and thus quite able to tell that Yuri was quite sincere in what he was saying - and after a few moments there was a curt nod to the other two officers and a definite, if slight, reduction in tension. Quite what was happening in the lab itself, none of them were particularly sure. Something had disrupted the sensors that might have told them, and there wasn't even a hint of sound to give a clue. This, of course, was not helping everyone stay calm. "Nothing," Helena put in sharply, "may have happened yet, but we have no idea what is going on in there. Tenna's not going to take any chances, and you know it." Tenna, the security chief, looked less than happy to be reminded that he was going to be held at least partly responsible for anything that happened, but since that was part of his job he limited his response to that. Or at least he did until the sound of a heavy thud made it through the lab door. Every hint of relaxation that might have slipped into the atmosphere vanished in an instant, with the trio of security guards immediately moving to take up positions by the door. "Umm... What are you going to do?" Yuri's somewhat hesitant query was ignored. Instead, Tenna gestured to his people to stand ready then, with his weapon in hand, touched the door control. The amount of tension in the air was enough to be almost palpable, and somehow managed to spike even higher as the door slid open. For seconds that seemed to feel like hours, nothing at all seemed to happen, until finally, weapon held ready in a white-knuckled grip, Tenna stepped cautiously through the portal. Yuri was pretty sure he wasn't the only one holding his breath as he watched the Betazoid's slow, wary advance into the lab, but he knew he jumped when Tenna's voice came back through the doorway at them. "Professor, Doctor... Remind me, would you, what you were working on in here?" Yuri and Helena shared a puzzled look, noting the fact that the Betazoid's tone had more than a hint of confusion in it. Carefully, and not totally certain it was a smart idea, the pair edged closer to the door, moving to get a peek at whatever it was that was waiting on the other side...
  9. “Horrifying Flashback” ((Flashback, Stardate 238301.13)) (New York University, New York, Earth) :: A cold, bitter wind whipped around her, lashing itself against AJ’s exposed skin as she she sat on the bench gazing idly up at the stars. It’d been a long day and a long night, and AJ realized how seriously under dressed she was given the weather and the time of year. AJ was sporting a pink tanktop and a blue denim skirt despite the cold and the snow. A man came out of nowhere from the shadows behind her, scaring her half to death as he clasped a cloth around her nose and mouth, instantly knocking her out. This man was large, muscular, and strong. He hoisted AJ up and carried her to his lair...a small underground fortress beneath the school. It wasn’t much, but it was his home. When Aurora woke up she was in what looked to be a locked prison cell. The small cage had iron bars and her wrists were shackled to the wall. The cold room smelled of dirt, grime, and sweat. The man smirked as he came near, he opened the door… he force fed her some bread and cheese with water…. it was all she could do not to choke on it. Then he gagged her. He had no remorse, almost no conscience it would seem, but he was enjoying it. He used whips, chains, and a myriad of other things that led to bruises, broken bones, and cuts all over her torso and inner thighs. He raped her...he tortured her….for seven days and seven nights she endured the same patterns of his malicious intent...then on that eighth day she caught him in his own mistake. He made the mistake of uncuffing her, what he had planned for her, she didn’t know and she didn’t stick around to find out. Aurora in the heat of the moment grabbed the man’s holstered phaser off his hip and shot him with it. It was self defense. She was hurt, violated and hungry, but she made it out alive. That was all that mattered. :: ((End Flashback)) Crewman Third Class, Aurora “AJ” James Counselor USS-Atlantis NCC-74682
  10. <b>((Forsythe Manor, Oxford, Earth)) Halloween - 2391</b> Time had passed since the USS Excalibur had been decommissioned and Charlotte Farnsworth had lost her position as proprietor of the Round Table lounge. It had, in truth, been the shortest job she had ever had. Suffice it to say, it had been ultimately unfulfilling, and understandably so. After all, there had been very little time to acclimate to her new civilian position aboard that vessel. Her entire time spent there; a ruse, meant to further her personal gain and expand her profit margin. For a human raised on Earth in the latter half of the 24th century, Charlotte was remarkably capitalistic and selfish, much like a Ferengi. However, with that deception over before it began. Now destitute with nowhere else left to go, she found herself on the first transport back to Earth; to the home she had grown up in. Once arriving in Oxford, she had decided to walk, and took a rather circuitous route to get home. The air was still as she walked there; the night dark and perfect, full of no disturbances, or nasty meteorological surprises. Earth’s weather modification network saw to that. Charlotte had remembered one time, when she was a very young girl that the network had gone down, and she had the fortune, the delight and the fear of observing her first uncontrolled thunderstorm. Her deep chestnut colored eyes had widened at the sight of violent tempestuous winds, and peculiarly purple green skies. Lightning had struck the old oak tree just outside her bedroom window, splitting it in two, sending wooden shards through the air, across the lawn. She stood still, all those years ago, paralyzed by fear, neither moving, nor breathing, until her father had come, spiriting her away in his arms, to safety—deeper into the manor. Now she stood before the entrance to her home, paralyzed by a different kind of fear. Many years had passed since that night, she was an adult now, and yet she felt herself frozen and unmoving, staring up at the great and dark manor house, wishing that someone would spirit her away again; take her to a place of safety. She wanted someone to hold her. She wanted Nate to hold her, not that he ever would again, she reasoned. Taking a deep breath, she gathered herself and placed one hand on the old wooden front door. The latch was an antiquated one. Her mother and father believed in preserving the old ways. A manor house should resemble a true English manor house, her father had once said. No automatic separating doors, no replicators, no electricity would ever enter their 600 year old ancestral family home; though her father eventually relented on the electricity. It was nearly impossible being an architect without designing your drafts on some sort of holographical interface computer. Still, once her parents had died, Forsythe manor had been removed from Oxford’s power grid, and remained dark, and cold. Charlotte clutched the brass handle latch and opened it. With no crime, it was not necessary to lock the front door, and it opened freely without incident. This astonished Charlotte greatly. Though she was only twenty four years old, she was remarkably jaded, having spent so much time onboard space stations, surrounded by aliens with a cornucopia of different philosophical veins. Not everyone believed in benevolent vision of the Federation. Some people pilfered the things they wanted…. Charlotte’s mouth crooked to one side, giving a snarky smile. “Small towns…” She said quietly to herself. The door creaked slowly open, allowing the all too familiar cracks and groans of expanding wood to fill her ears. Walking inside, Charlotte looked around the baronial old manor. An old fashioned longcase clock stood silently in the foyer, neither giving accurate time, nor ticking in the way she had remembered as a child. Carved into its old weathered case door, were the words: Imperious Rex. It was the Latin motto of their family crest of arms. She’d never really thought about its implied meaning until now, but there was something blatantly arrogant about it; like her. Long ago, families with supposedly royal blood claimed much for themselves, including the right to rule others. Charlotte did not wish to rule. She simply wanted to prevent others from having such complete control over her life. She would never allow such control to be given to another again. Not as long as she lived. Fumbling about in the darkness, she got to the matter of why she had come home in the first place. Reaching into the leather satchel she carried on her shoulder, she pulled out a plasma torch, and walked up the grand staircase, to the upstairs bedroom, at the end of the grand hall. This place was her room, this place, to some degree, still registered as home… Charlotte pulled the old door open and stepped inside. The room was completely empty, devoid of furniture. Upon the sudden and accidental death of her parents, the first thing the magistrate had done was to ask her permission to donate the pieces inside some of the rooms, to one of the local museums. Charlotte had reluctantly agreed and discovered that her bedroom was one such room that had been cannibalized. This made sense to her, since it was at one point, full of old Louis the 14th furniture, works of art, and unusual objet d'art. Charlotte panicked for a moment, fearing that it too, the reason she was here, might have also been discovered, and claimed by the Federation magistrate. However, that could not be. Had a Federation official discovered what was hidden in this house, it would have immediately come to her attention. Starfleet security might have been involved, and almost certainly she would have been detained onboard the Excalibur, until such time as an inquiry could be held. No, she told herself, it was here. It just had to be… Sweeping her long, brown hair from her eyes, and over her shoulder, she knelt to the floor, where her bed had once been. Taking the plasma torch, she cut a hole in the floorboards and separated them. The wood cut easily, like the old Earth metaphor of a hot knife through butter. She deactivated the plasma tool and took a moment, peering into the blackness of the empty void between the floor boards. A jewelry box sized hole stared back at her, daring her to explore its emptiness with her hands. With no reluctance, or fearful hesitation, she plunged her right hand into the floor space, without thinking. Would that her hands might brush a furry, living creature, or perhaps be bitten by the large and angry teeth of a rat, the empty, silent Oxford air would be filled with her sudden and unplanned bloodcurdling scream. Though rabies had been eradicated on Earth centuries ago, she had no desire to be bitten by vermin. Still, her hands found nothing, short of the object she had been looking for. She smiled, and her hands quickly returned from the hole, with the hidden treasure. It was an ancient dueling pistols case, covered in dust, but retaining every bit of its old charm, and regal elegance. It’s surface felt smooth to her touch, and it showed no signs of significant wear. Charlotte bit her lower lip and played with the metallic clasp, which held its ornate lid closed. Her grandfather, a midshipman in Starfleet, had claimed to have stolen this object from a high security Federation storage locker. He had told her stories of how it had been found on a rogue planetoid, near the star desert close to the Beta colonies. How such an antique of earth origins had found its way so far out into space, had been a mystery to her grandfather, and so he had held onto the curiosity, and passed it from one generation to the next. Once, when she was six years old, her grandfather had taken her aside. He told her the story of how “the find” as he called it, how it had spoken to him, and shown him visions of the future. He claimed the “find” was magic, and held special properties. Grandfather had told her that it was her destiny to keep the find hidden safe, to never show it to her father, who would, as she remembered it, “never understand the importance of it.” And so, she had done just that, whisking the case away, and hiding it in the floor beneath her bed. Years afterward, her grandfather had gone mad. The doctors at Starfleet medical had diagnosed it as a rare form of transporter psychosis. However, there was ultimately nothing that could be done for him, and he died alone, incredibly medicated and sedated, restrained by a forcefield, and rambling about the darkness that would one-day consume the Alpha Quadrant. Charlotte felt a tear come to her eye as she held the box. That would never happen to her, she told herself. She would escape the madness, even if she had to run all the way to the edge of the galaxy. Closing her eyes, she opened the box instinctively, and removed the find. It fit perfectly into her hand, as if it was always meant to be there. Its weight was real, and yet somehow, insubstantial at the same time; its textures both tangible and intangible. She felt lightheaded a moment, but then calm, and powerful. And then the thing happened, the thing her mind told her she had imagined, but yet was too real to ignore… A man’s voice spoke to her. The voice was light and yet aristocratic, commanding, and yet filled with the playful arrogance of a bullying child. <i>Ah yes, my fair maiden child. A powerful set of dueling pistols. My most favorite pair, I will admit…</i> Her eyes shot open, as the voice was loud and thundering and was heard not only by her mind, but by her ears as well. Charlotte’s eyes darted about the room, looking for the source of the voice, and realized that it was coming from the dueling pistol in her hand. As impossible at it seemed, the weapon vibrated with the rolling vibrato of a man’s voice. She startled and dropped the weapon back into the green velvet lined box. The voice in her mind was not pleased with her sudden start and chastised her. <i>Now, now, Maiden-fair, is that any way to treat such noble and honorable trappings of the aristocracy true? You and I are not so different, you must know. Your family from such a long and noble history and I being who I am…</i> Charlotte had no choice but to address the madness in the dark, and so hoped to steady herself by the sound of her own voice. The weak and trembling timidity that came from her throat embarrassed her, as she had never heard that kind of warble in her own tone before. She attempted to maintain a stiff upper lip and spoke with firm British resolve in her voice. …But the tremolo was still there. “Who… who are you?” She swallowed hard, “Where… are you?” The empty English bedroom filled with maniacal and echoing laughter, which came from everywhere and nowhere all at once, bouncing off the darkened, Victorian wainscoting. <i>I, my young child, am everywhere…</i> The laughter continued. <i>And would that you not yet recognize the nobility in my name, should look only to your hands, to learn my heritage true. </i> Charlotte’s eyes immediately shot down to her hands. The pistol, now fully [...]ed and loaded, rested firmly in her grip. An inscribed plaque, covered with centuries of old, smudged powder, was detected by the dim light cast to her eyes. Though in the dead of midnight, her eyes could still see a touch of moonlight gleam about its filthy inscription. The voice continued to speak… <i>Yes, I have become quite bored over the centuries, my little dear, so you will act as my ears and eyes to this new time. Though I am forbidden from playing outside, I was never told that I could not have my playthings outside.</i> Charlotte broke into a cold sweat at the disembodied voices use of the word plaything. What had turned into a selfish attempt on her part to sell a valuable antique to book passage back into deep space, had turned into a manifestation of the phantasma diabolique. Charlotte spoke in fear again… “What do you want from me?” The laughter continued. <i>You and I will do great things together, fair maiden. But such planning will come in time. For now, the General’s pistols require cleaning. Oh the humanity of storing such weapons of power beneath ones floorboards. For shame! For shame!</i> Charlotte’s cold, and sweating hands worked furiously at the inscription, cleaning it, wearing away at it, removing layers of ancient grime. She had to read the plaque, had to learn what this was about. She had to discover the truth, even it killed her. She was a woman possessed. Her hands moved with such intention, and seem propelled by invisible forces beyond her understanding. The reward for her obedience and sudden insanity, became clear. The golden plaque, now clean enough to be read, danced in the dim light of her bedroom. It was a single word, a single name. The voice continued to laugh as she read the word aloud. The laughter vibrated her hands, trembling her arms in fear, as her face grimaced in terror, and her heart froze inside her chest. Charlotte struggled on the word, as it formed in her brain, and then left her mouth, with portents that could not be described. “Trelane.” Charlotte choked on the name. “Your name… is… Trelane….” <b> Charlotte Farnsworth PNPC of Ensign Nathaniel Wilmer USS Apollo-A </b>
  11. (( Club Emporium, Capital City, Orion)) It was a short walk from the hotel to the establishment known as the "Emporium", a combination night club and pleasure palace known in unofficial circles as "The Tenderloin." It was known as the place in the nearly spotless part of town where the locals didn't go...it was a place for outworlders, mostly those who traded in illicit goods and information. The alcohol was real, the women beautiful, and the clientele deadly. It was this environment Kamela Allison was walking into with the express purpose of killing one particular man, Phineas Tredeau, a particularly dangerous weapons dealer. Her choice of outfits was designed to attract his attention, and as she walked along the street towards the club, she noted it had the desired effect on several non- Orion males who saw her walking by...one nearly slammed into a light pole trying to look at her instead of where he was going. It satisfied her that her look was catching...it helped to slow her thumping heart as she approached the front doors of the establishment, marked with two massive wooden doors, muted thumping base pounding through them. The building itself was fairly large in scope, taking up an entire block and reminding her of the warehouses along the old wharves in her native San Francisco. The bottom story was the actual club, which was divided into two halves. One half was devoted to actual dancing and set up like a normal club reminiscent of Risa. The other half was where naked and semi-naked women danced for cash, or walked among the patrons soliciting for more intimate favors which were consummated. This is where her quarry would be. Kamela calmed her breathing as she walked up to the two large two wooden doors. Two massive Orions stood sentry outside, both of them armed with purloined Starfleet hand phasers. Stepping up to them, one of them moved, effectively forming a flesh and blood roadblock. Smiling as sweetly as she could, she looked up at the towering green menace as he spoke to her... " Your purse. I must search it." " Go ahead. Nothing there that would interest you." Kamela gave him her purse, while the other one moved in a little too close for comfort... "Now, I must search you." As degrading and repulsive as it was, she had no choice. Taking out the two of them would be a tidy handful, and it would get her no closer to her mission...in fact, it would end right then and there. As one pawed over her body, the other one ran a scanner over her. She knew better than to be armed. Places like this tended to be heavy on security to keep the real outlaws reasonably secure. From her briefing, she knew Tredeaus' guards were armed, and went through no such scrutiny. She also knew "outlaw" working girls could ply their trade here, and could only be invited to the upper floors after paying a fee, which was sometimes greater than the amount for services...unless it was at the behest of a treasured client, such as Treudeau. Satisfied the only thing Kamela was armed with was a beautiful body, the two guards moved aside, the one who had personally searched her speaking again... "Enjoy yourself." "Thank you, gentlemen. I will." The Orion to her left opened the door, which opened outward towards the street, the music now pounding into her as she walked into the dimly lit club. Strobe lights distorted her vision as she pushed her way through the crowd and headed to the bar. She knew from her briefings that the doors to the other part of the bar were off to one side, at the wall which split the two bars. Eyeballing the crowd, she wanted to see if anyone was paying inordinate attention to her..undercover work was risky enough but she knew it paid to be paranoid. She was alone, with no backup, no weapons, no way to call for help. Her only solace was her pickup to take her back to the Federation Embassy would be outside, a local Orion who had been a good source of information over the years. Kamela, still playing the part of an "outlaw" working girl, walked towards the doors which led to the less savory part of the bar. She knew once she crossed that threshold,there would be no going back, no chance to abort the mission. She was committed, and that sobering thought pounded into her chest like the booming music. Taking a deep breath, she entered the world of the [...]ed... Phineas Treudeau was not a handsome man, with a large Roman nose, bulbous eyes and thinning hair. His clothing was tailor made and he was adorned in only the finest fabrics money could buy. He wore dark green pants with matching shirt, and his feet were adorned with a pair of ornate boots, rumored to be made from the skin of a Gorn who had tried to back out of a deal. He had made a fortune by selling weapons to those who could not easily buy them...pirates, smugglers, the Orion Syndicate. He enjoyed the fact that he could buy anything he wanted, or kill anyone he wanted, or have them killed. Here, on Orion, he could recline in relative safety, away from the Federation and their pesky Starfleet. Sitting on a couch flanked by bodyguards, he sat before a table with enough food fit for a king. Several people were also at the table with him, celebrating another successful deal of selling procured Starfleet photon torpedoes. He didn't care who bought them, as long as they paid his price. Treudeau had only one weakness...beautiful women. By virtue of his money and notoriety, he could have any woman he wanted, and this place allowed him to indulge himself with women from a dozen worlds...but his eyes were drawn to the tall blonde who had just entered.. Dressed in Aqua blue, with a pleasing body and exceptionally long legs, the woman was one whom he had not seen before, and therefore, one he must have. He watched her at the bar, her moves as graceful as a gazelle. Now this...this was a woman! He looked at the women he currently had around him, all bought and paid for. Beautiful they were, but the curly headed blonde was on a completely different level. He watched her have a drink at the bar, demurely sipping it if she had been there a thousand times before, but he knew she had not been...he would have noticed HER. Discreetly, he whispered to one of his guards to bring her over. This woman, he had to have... Kamela stood at the bar, drinking her Centauri Sunrise and trying hard to be not initially noticed. Thanks to the alcohol inhibiter she had taken, she could pretty much drink as much as she wanted without getting intoxicated...she needed a level head to do what she needed to do. The Ferengi bartender was doing his best to make conversation, but his words were meaningless to her. She was sure if she rubbed his ears a bit he would be in heaven. From her vantage point, she could easily see her quarry, sitting behind a table flanked by several women and two very serious looking guards. Kamela noted they were both armed, and when he leaned down and her target whispered in his ear, she discreetly paid attention as the guard moved from where he stood over to where she was standing...the mark had taken the bait... The guard moved quickly, but easily, his huge size making it seem like he floated instead of walked. As he approached, Kamela focused on breathing, calming herself before the next part of the operation began. Over the cascading boom of music, the guard was standing next to her, but it was she who said the first words... "Hello sailor. What can I do for you?" The guard hesitated for a second, perhaps unfamiliar with one of the galaxies' oldest pickup lines. The Orion was huge, approaching seven feet tall, but he quickly shook it off. His voice gruff, he spoke... "My boss wishes for you to join him." " Really?", she replied coyly." And just who would this boss be?" " That gentleman over there. He insists." Kamela knew she could not say yes instantly. She had to maintain the illusion of distance, of not wanting to go over until she was ready. Her resistance would make him want her more, and allow the arrogant pe'taq to begin to drop his guard. Looking up at the guard, she shook her head... "What if I do not wish to join him?" Clearly, this was something the guard had not anticipated, but as the guard looked over at him, she could see him beckoning towards them with a large, inviting hand, his pig face smiling while doing so. Kamela smiled back, but not in the manner of a working girl gaining an expensive client, but as a predator summoned by prey. Her heart thumped in her chest, duty overtaking her fear as she held out her arm and the guard gently took it... "Well, it seems like your boss does not wish to take no for an answer, so, my big friend, let's go." Treudeau watched the dialogue taking place between the stunning blonde and his trusted bodyguard. He was the gentler of the two when it concerned women, and he wanted to make sure she didn't spook...which meant that sometime during the night if she refused him, his other guard would make sure she and whoever she was with would be dead before sunup. No one refused his offers of companionship, especially an off worlder outlaw whore. As the two approached arm in arm, the weapons dealer stood up and embraced his would be assassin, his hands traveling down to her rear end, offering a slight squeeze as he did so. Kamela almost retched as he hugged, his breath smelling of garlic and othe sharp spices, his uninvited hand on her rear. She deftly removed it and broke the unwanted embrace, disarming him with a smile... "Slow down, cowboy. I don't even know your name." " I am Phineas Treudeau. And you are?" " I am (remembering her cover name) Tara Matthews. Pleased to meet you." " Sit Miss Matthews, and let us eat, drink, and talk." Making space on the couch next to him, Kamela sat down. Making small talk for the next hour, Treudeaus' eyes roamed all over Kamela, clearly only interested in bedding her. He was free with his money, and had pressed several strips of latinum in her hands...clearly a signal to go upstairs. From her files, she knew that once he made his choice, he would take her upstairs, dismiss his guards and would spend the night in one of the opulent suites upstairs. Ruthless as Treudeau was, his guards would have the pick of the girls he didn't want, all bought and paid for. The feared weapons dealer would be alone, drunk, and ripe for his own demise... Making their way upstairs, Kamela played along, laughing at his jokes, allowing his hands more freedom on her body. Kamelas' fear had been turned to focus, remembering every detail of the room in which she now stood. A balcony ran around the back of the suite, with a door opening onto it. It was a short drop to the fire escape, then down to a side street. Waiting on that side street was her getaway driver, an Orion in the employ of Starfleet Intelligence. His vehicle on the street would not be suspicious...he was a day driver for the hotel and it was not uncommon for him to be parked there. Kamela casually looked out the window, and indeed, the vehicle was there in its usual spot. Treudeau watched as Tara took in the suite. It was opulent, with deep carpeting and ornate furnishings, just the way he wanted it. He truly wanted this woman, an he was glad that she decided to join him. A woman as beautiful as this should not have to end up dead, and he would have regretted killing her...at least until the next one came along. Sitting on the bed, he watched as the woman in aqua blue seductively came over to him, her navel ring just about eye height, her perfume intoxicating in its closeness...it only made him want her more, and his thoughts were of bedding her. His initial caution gone, now replaced by lust, he moved in to kiss her exposed stomach... Sensing her opportunity, Kamela ran her hands seductively over his head, then quickly moved her hands...her right hand on the left side of his head, her left hand moving down to deftly grab his jaw and she twisted upward, hearing the snap of bone. The feared weapons dealer slumped forward, then Kamela pushed him back on the bed, his lifeless eyes staring at the ceiling. Making sure he was indeed very dead, Kamela left him where he lay on the bed and looked around the suite, looking for any files, data rods, or computer interfaces which might have been there. Finding none during her quick search, she was on her way to the balcony and escape when a thunderous knock at the door almost made her jump out of her shoes. She knew from its insistence that somehow, her mission was now on borrowed time, and she needed to get out of there now... Kamela knew it would not be long before whomever was knocking would either have a key or knock the door off its hinges, and as the shouting and banging increased, Kamela was out onto the balcony, just as the two Orion guards burst in... Out of time, Kamela did her best to measure her leap to the fire escape, and she hit it with a solid thump...she knew from the sound she would not be able to wear an outfit like this for awhile....too much bruising on her ribs. Fueled by fear, adrenaline, and the sound of crashing wood, she made her way down to the fire escape and to her getaway car. Opening the passenger door, Kamela spoke... "Gatta, we need to go, NOW!" The Orion didn't move. Gatta was not known as a sleeper, so Kamela shook him. The Orion slumped backwards, his throat cut from ear to ear. Fear almost turned to panic as the whine of disruptors and their impact on the street around the vehicle filled he ears. Reaching over the dead man, Kamela popped the door open and shoved the dead man out onto the street, the guards now seeing the door open, peppering the dead man with disruptor blasts and concentrating their fire on the groundcar. One shot shattered the side window, another, the windshield. Another shot came perilously close to her head, spending itself against the door frame. Kamela was now in the drivers' seat, and she fired up the groundcar. Driving it out into the crowded street, Kamela went the wrong way in traffic and quickly darted down a side street. She made sure her headlights were off as she traced a roundabout path back towards the Federation Embassy. She knew she could not take the groundcar there...doing so would point right at the Federation and Starfleet. She had no way to call for extraction, and really no way to be extracted...her navel ring doubled as a transporter/video scrambler so she could not clearly be seen on the many security cameras dotting the streets, or transported against her will. Knowing there was a lake near the Embassy, Kamela headed for it, determined to ditch the car in the water and destroy it. Hopefully, they would think she panicked and drowned...at least long enough for her to get off Orion. It would be a half kilometer swim in the dark before emerging two blocks from the Embassy. She told herself it was going to work...hell, it had to work. Aiming the vehicle at the water, Kamela set the controls and opened the door as the car sped into the water, with Kamela bailing out as the machine hit the lake. Kicking away from it furiously, the car sank, its power cell detonating itself one hundred yards behind and one hundred feet below her, the concussion nauseating her. She swam hard, her fear of capture powering her strokes towards relative safety. Half a click and twenty minutes later, Kamela emerged from the water, barefoot, bedraggled and exhausted. Looking along the shore, she could clearly see the lights of the Embassy two blocks away...and its back door which would give her sanctuary. Guarded by two Marine sentries, they had been told to expect a "delivery" and given the requisite passwords. Picking her way carefully, concealing herself as much as possible, Kamela arrived at the back door of the Embassy. Modesty was not a concern for her at the moment, and it took a moment for the guards to stop staring at her now see through outfit and ask for the password. Once Kamela replied, the two guards quickly let her in, and she slipped down the back stairs to her quarters. Locking her door, placing her phaser on the table next to her bed and contacting her handler. Only then could she stop shaking. Lieutenant Kamela Allison Operative Starfleet Intelligence
  12. Dust in the Wind “What’s wrong mommy?” Katya asked as Irina sat on the edge of the bed unmoving. “I’m scared” Irina replied. “But you aren’t afraid of anything. You said you are stronger than the monsters and bad people.” “I am Printzyessa, but it isn’t monsters or bad people I’m afraid of.” “Then…” Irina placed her finger to the child’s lips and then reached down and picked up her daughter. “Come on Printzyessa, we’ll be late. You want to go down to Ba’ku with the other kids, right?” “Don’t you want to go down to Ba’ku? mommy? “Yes, very much.” Irina walked out of her quarters on the Thunder and made her way to the transporter room. Like her daughter, she wore civilian clothes, though rather than the pretty dress and the correctly matched red socks (Katya matched them), Irina wore a pair of faded bluejeans, a black sleeveless shirt and the same brown leather marine bomber jacket that had survived over two centuries on the harsh planet of Kjenta II with her, patched bullet holes, road rash and all. Black leather boots and dark sunglasses completed her visible outfit, with nobody having a need to know about the 500+ year old Walther PP pistol its holster concealed within the jacket’s lining. She didn’t expect to need it, didn’t expect anything or anyone to remotely care about or even think about her on Ba’ku, but she was still convinced that this was, perhaps, the most dangerous place for her in the known universe. As she stepped onto the transporter pad her eyes caught those of Colonel Tyr Waltas, and right away his words from just over a year ago echoed in her head. The regenerative effects of Ba’ku were very well known to Irina Pavlova despite the fact that she’d never stepped foot on the planet. Ba’ku was a word that just about everyone brought up when they learned Irina’s true age. At 247-years-old, the only frames of reference anyone had was either stasis, or Ba’ku. Ba’ku was an idyllic fantasy to most humans. Eternal life in a place that they imagined as paradise. Gentle climate, lush vegetation and a rustic, peaceful society focused on the arts, philosophy and a simpler way of living. Of course, nobody who thought about Ba’ku could imaging that there were other worlds with similar regenerative effects that didn’t also have similarly paradisiacal climate, vegetation and lifestyle. Kjenta II shared Ba’ku’s regenerative qualities, but that was where the similarities ended. Unlike Ba’ku, Kjenta II was a post-apocalyptic wasteland, barely L class on a good day. 2.8G gravity, frigid winters and merely freezing summers along the equatorial belt, with anything North or South so cold as to be inhospitable. Then there was the near infrared radiation of the Kjenta star, so powerful as to fuse the cones in the eyes of most humanoid species in a matter of weeks, irreparably within a year. To the environmental pleasures of Kjenta II are added the joys of a sentient humanoid species that, five centuries before the arrival of the NX-class USS Columbia in 2171 had blasted themselves back to the stone age in an ionic and nuclear war, the residual ionization of the atmosphere, much like Ba’ku’s Briar Patch, made the planet both impossible to scan and extremely difficult to approach or depart, with the upper ionosphere serving to suck all power from anything and everything that passed through it. No communications, no sensors, and most importantly, no transporters could penetrate that ionization layer, which is why Irina Pavlova and the other 31 members of Columbia’s away team couldn’t leave for 219 years. No, the regenerative properties of Ba’ku didn’t scare Irina Pavlova, nor did the idyllic lifestyle and temperate climate, which she quite looked forward to. Not even the nefarious plans of Starfleet some 40 some odd years ago to claim the planet. No, it was the words of Tyr Waltas, former captain of the USS Discovery, just over a year ago after he had successfully rescued Irina and far too few of her shipmates from Kjenta II that scared her to her core. “My sons are mixed race" Waltas had said, "and somehow the radiation that normally regenerates the cell structures accelerated theirs. They went from infants to teenagers in several weeks’ time. My daughter removed them from the planet when she learned that a Federation Doctor was intent on studying them as they aged. I fully intend on bringing this to Starfleet’s attention as well. My point is, with as much outcry as the Ba’ku, my sons, and now you will create, the Federation will have little choice but to leave you alone. And if they don’t, then I will make sure no one can find you. You have my word.” It wasn’t Waltas’ promise or anyone messing with her that concerned Irina now. The other three survivors from Kjenta II were already dead and at least one attempt had already been made to grab Irina, but she doubted anything like that awaited her on Ba’ku. No, it was his words. “The radiation that normally regenerates the cell structures accelerated theirs” Waltas had said of his sons, aging them from infants to teenagers in several weeks. Irina was 247-years-old, and had lived that long due to the metaphasic radiation of the Kjenta star, as filtered through the second planet’s heavily ionized atmosphere. Would Ba’ku regenerate Irina’s cells like it did almost everyone else’s, or would it rapidly correct her cells to their correct biological age, which would most likely be a quite unpleasant, not to mention instantly fatal experience. “Energize” Fleet Captain Turner said clearly, and then Irina felt the transporter beam take hold. The sensations were very familiar, but somehow far slower, as though she could feel each and every molecule disassembled, separated to the atomic and then the sub-atomic level. Then there was a strange stillness that seemed to last hours as the atomic particles moved between the transporter pad of the USS Thunder and the surface of Ba’ku. Then came the familiar feeling of recombination, but something was wrong. She could feel, and then see the outline of her body appear and was happy that Katya had a big grin on her face as Irina held her in her arms. The tingling subsided, but the five-year-old was getting heavy. That wasn’t supposed to happen as she only weighed 40 lbs and Irina had the strength of a strong Klingon after 219 years in high gravity. Still, it was unmistakable, the little girl was getting heavier by the second and Irina was forced to put her down as the last of the transporter’s tingles faded. Katya looked up at her mother first with concern, but then screamed when their eyes met. Irina was briefly shocked, but as she looked down at her own hands, hands that were withered, spotted and frail, she knew instantly what her daughter must be looking at and quickly turned away. “Take her” Irina said pleadingly to anyone who would listen as she turned away, and saw Tyr Waltas quickly move in and take her child. Looking back to her hands, she saw the skin was cracking now, taught and brittle against aged bones. She felt someone take hold of her and heard shouting, but couldn’t understand the words. Her sight faded, the lush vegetation replaced by the void of the transporter and then the sterility of sickbay, but even that was fading as the damage had been done. She could only see shadow now, her eyes completely clouded, and couldn’t hear anything. She tried to speak, to call her daughter’s name, but even her tongue felt dryer than dust, and as her mouth opened to speak the name, that was the last thing she felt, her tongue crumbling to dust as her conscious did the same. The last thought in her mind was that there was no light, no tunnel. Her lips cracked as she forced them into a smile, satisfied that at least Katya would be taken care, and secure int eh knowledge that the struggle was finally over. It was time to rest. She felt a soft breeze across her face and could literally feel the dry and dead skin blowing away from her skeletal remains, just dust in the wind. Major Irina Pavlova Chief of Strategic Operations Duronis II Embassy / USS Thunder As always, I am inspired and moved by music. This story shares its title with a song that I loved when it first came out in 1977, quickly grew tired of as it was horribly overplayed, and now finally enjoy again almost 40 years later. As with everything to do with my character, it deals with the passage of time.
  13. Thanks to our great writers who entered this September and October Challenge! Just in time for Halloween, I'm pleased to bring you the judges' decision and our feedback. I was incredibly happy to see the diversity of stories here, from a character-action piece to a second-person mythos narrative to some alternate history via time travel to the story of a tribble fancier. Well done, all! The judges were unanimous, however, in deciding that "Yesterday's Tomorrow," courtesy of Chris, the writer behind Sinda Essen and Jhen Thelev, should win this contest. The Challenge's runner-up, then, is "Diplomatic Impunity (or 'The Tribble with Troubles')," courtesy of Sarah, the writer behind Saveron. All my congratulations to both of you, and please watch the Community News around mid-November and -December for more about these authors and their stories! My special thanks to my fellow judges for this round -- the writers behind Fleet Captain Toni Turner and our special guest, last Challenge's winner, Lieutenant Ben Livingston. Writers and all interested parties will find individual feedback posted below this message. Please feel free to use this thread to offer your congratulations to the winning writers!
  14. Greetings, everyone, and welcome to our second-to-last Writing Challenge of 2013! I'm glad you could stop by, and I hope you'll give this Challenge a read and then decide to enter your story for consideration. For this Challenge, Will -- the writer behind Lieutenant Ben Livingston and the winner of the July & August "Under My Skin" Challenge -- would like you to consider the topic "What Will Come." The Challenge dares you to consider the implications of action -- or perhaps of inaction -- upon the future, if you prefer, but remember that in Trek, what will come is not necessarily always in the future. Certainly, with the developments in 118 fleet in the past year or so, including the Small War with the Klingons in last year's blockbusters, the resurfacing of the Iconian gateways in this year's, and the recent addition of slipstream travel to many ships in the fleet, "what will come" has never been muddier. However, that's up to you to determine, and the judges look forward to receiving your entries! The deadline for this Challenge is Friday, October 25th, and as of today, Monday, September 2nd, this Challenge is open! As always, please remember:*Your work must be completely original.*You must be the sole author of the work.*Your story must take place in the Star Trek universe, but may not center upon canon characters. *Sign your final draft as you would a post on your ship.*Your story must be between 300 and 3000 words. For any questions you might have, remember that you can always post questions to this thread or visit the Writing Challenge website. Good luck!
  15. Yesterday's Tomorrow “Our people have never had it so good.” Harold Macmillan, 1957 Charles Warrington couldn’t help but smile as he opened the curtains and gazed upon the new day. A bright yellow summer sun was already shining in the clear blue sky making the River Thames positively sparkle.Only a decade on from the end of the war and London was rebuilt bigger, brighter and more beautiful than she had ever been before the blitz. Charles smiled again, relishing his not-insignificant part in that restoration.But there would be time for such happy thoughts later - right now Charles had to prepare for a busy day. The offices of the Federated Industries Company loomed over their surroundings. The rapid growth of the building over the last seven years or so echoing the fortunes of the company itself. The post-war years had seen a massive appetite for new products and new technology and FICo had been the ones to provide both. And now their designs were everywhere. Quite literally.Charles smoothed the creases from his all-in-one pinstripe UniFit as he stepped out of the tube station and gazed up at the building. A quick check of the time on his PIDD showed he was running exactly ten minutes early. Perfect. Today was a big day, a board meeting to discuss the development of their latest invention, one which Charles was especially proud of. It was no exaggeration to say that FICo had already changed the world, but this was the big one. After this, things would never be the same again. * * * “This, gentlemen, this is the big one!” Charles took the opportunity to share a smile with the assembled board members. “It gives me great pleasure to present to you…” he paused for effect. “The InstaReplimaker!” He gestured to his assistant and she unveiled the poster with a practiced flourish. The image of a large, bulky, complicated piece of machinery sat in the centre, surrounded by smiling families as a queue of happy people lined up to receive items from a hatch in its side - a toy plane, a new pipe, a steaming casserole.The board members sat around the table applauded appreciatively as Charles gave a slight bow and beamed. “Well I must say the chaps in advertising have done a sterling job once again.” This was Masterson, from accounting, a reliable old stooge. “And I for one am very keen to know exactly what it does.” “Of course, Mr Masterson. Simply put, the InstaReplimaker is capable of producing anything you wish for, instantly!” Charles held up his hands to bring quiet to the sudden eruption of excited voices. “Now, I know that sounds far-fetched, but didn’t people say the same about the Teleconferencer? Or the Translator-tron? And look at them now! Haven’t we always excelled at providing tomorrow’s technology today?” Sir Bainbridge was the next to speak up, of course. The head of the company had been knighted three years ago after the success of the Translator-tron in re-establishing the League of Nations. “Alright, Warrington, you’ve certainly got our attention. Now, this device, does it just create things out of thin air?” “No Sir, that would indeed be a little far-fetched. No, the InstaReplimaker simply transforms matter, any matter really, into new shapes. But the possibilities are quite dazzling. Imagine if the toy stores have run out of the one present little Billy truly wants for Christmas, why simply replimake your own! Or perhaps you have unexpected house guests for Sunday lunch and your wife doesn’t have time to pick up another roast, then why not replimake some extra dinner?” “Really? This thing can make food, too?” Chapman, head of HR. “Oh yes,” Charles nodded. “I myself had a cup of tea from the prototype this morning. What’s more, as it transforms matter, it will also revolutionize the waste disposal industry. No more landfills, just put your rubbish into the InstaReplimaker and turn it into something useful instead.” “Well, that is quite remarkable.” Chapman frowned. “Hold on, though, if this machine can do all these things won’t that put people out of work? Farmers, shopkeepers, factory workers. My word! Won’t this change the whole economy?” “I imagine so, Mr Chapman. And Federated Industries will be at the forefront of those changes. But I’ll leave such matters to you, gentlemen. Rather out of my league, I fear.” Sir Bainbridge cleared his throat. “How soon will your boys be able to produce these, Warrington?” “Some time yet, Sir. We’re having difficulty with the size and the power source. It uses quite a phenomenal amount of energy. I’ll be speaking to Dr Hope this afternoon. But we hope to have some factory models ready by the end of the year.” “Very good. I’ll be expecting regular updates. Thank you, Warrington, you may go. Masterson, do you have the growth figures for the second quarter?” Charles was still smiling happily as he watched his assistant gather together the presentation items. * * * The scientific research centre formed the central core of FICo’s building. Charles wound his way up the stairs to the top floor development laboratory, or the ideas room as they liked to call it, pausing to exchange brief pleasantries with the security guards along the way.The room was the usual quiet hum of activity, lit as always by the bright white glow emanating from behind the partition at the far end. Dr Hope himself was already there, flicking through something on a clipboard, and gave a warm smile when Charles entered. “Ah, Charles! Tell me, how was the meeting? Did the board like the design?” “How could they not, Doctor?” Charles replied. “Sir Bainbridge is keen to be kept informed. Have you made any progress on the power problem at all?” “Not so far.” Hope shook his head. “It’s causing some problems, but now we have the prototype running I have a few ideas for items which might help.” “You never cease to amaze me, Doctor.” Charles marvelled. “You have such a knack for getting these things to work. Speaking of which, have we received anything new today?” The pair of them turned to look down the room towards the light. Dr Hope drew a large collection of keys from his pocket and started forward. “Let’s see, shall we?” It took some time to navigate the locks before they opened the door and stepped behind the partition. The light here was almost blinding, pouring from the object which floated in mid-air in front of them. It always made Charles uncomfortable to look at it directly, it was like a large funnel much wider at one end and shrinking to a point at the other. It undulated slowly, constantly moving, a waterspout of pure energy disappearing eternally down a giant plug hole, although there was certainly no plug to be seen or any indication of what might be on the other side of the portal.But items would appear out of it from time to time, items of such fantastic technology they had the power to change the world. FICo’s main job was trying to adapt that technology for public consumption. “Nothing new yet, Charles. Although I must admit I’m rather glad. I have enough on my plate as it is!” Charles merely nodded absently. Nobody asked where the objects came from anymore, that simply wasn’t the done thing, and speculation tended to make Dr Hope rather upset. But everyone wondered, of course. Charles had formed his own opinion some time ago but for some reason today, staring into the portal, he felt particularly ill at ease, his previously cheery disposition seeming to evaporate in the white light. “Doctor, do you ever wonder if there’s someone on the other side there deliberately sending us these things, or is it merely chance?” “Not only do I not wonder, Charles, neither do I care.” He gestured towards the glowing portal. “I cannot begin to explain the science behind this thing, but I hardly think there is a person at the other end popping these things in! No, it is merely some sort of cosmic chance and a very fortuitous one at that.” He fixed Charles with a penetrating look. “I regard it as a gift, and so should you, Charles. If we didn’t make use of it I’m sure somebody else would have done. And it’s unlike you to be questioning this providence, is there something on your mind?” “I’m sorry, perhaps it’s just the excitement of the new Replimaker. It just started me thinking of what the future holds. For the company, I mean.” He hurriedly added. “Of course, dear boy, of course.” Hope placed a friendly arm around Charles’s shoulder and guided him back towards the door. “We’re all interested in the company’s fortunes, of course. But don’t you worry, I’ll sort out this power problem in no time, you’ll see, and we’ll soon get back to our good work.” “In no time… Yes, yes of course Doctor Hope. Thank you for you time, I’ll be sure to let Sir Bainbridge know how you’re getting on.” Charles glanced over his shoulder at the portal once more before Dr Hope pulled the door closed with a resounding clang. He seemed eager for Charles to be leaving and Charles, for his part, was eager to distance himself from that thing. Something had felt different about it today and Charles couldn’t shake the feeling that perhaps there was some significance in that, as if he was missing something important.Shaking his head he put the thought to the back of his mind and hurried down the stairs. He still had plenty of work to be done to prepare the world for the InstaReplimaker, after all. * * * Charles’s smile had been replaced by a thoughtful frown that evening as he made his way home, the train travelling to the very outskirts of the city. The station tended to be deserted at this hour, but tonight there was someone stood on the platform, waiting. As Charles stepped off the train the figure spoke. “Mr Warrington?” “Yes?” Charles frowned. The figure was a woman, quite short and with a peculiar accent. As the train pulled away the carriage lights flashed across her revealing the UniFit she was wearing. Charles noted the design; black with teal-coloured shoulders and three curious brass buttons on the collar. Some cheap version from overseas he surmised, only made more obvious by the triangular knock-off Translator-tron broach pinned to the front of her clothing. “Do I know you, miss?” “No yet, but I do know you and I know what you’ll do.” “What I’ll do?” Charles asked, confused. “I’m sorry but I have no intentions other than getting home, having a cup of tea and running a hot bath.” “I’m not talking about tonight, Mr Warrington. I’m talking about the future.” She took a step closer, the light falling across her short blond hair. “My name is Charlotte Carr and I’m from a planet in the Alpha Centauri system.” “An alien?” Charles scoffed “I trust you are not being serious!” “No, not an alien, I’m as human as you. I’m a time traveller.” The woman narrowed her eyes as Charles hesitated. “You find that easier to believe, don’t you, Mr Warrington? Because you know such a thing is possible.” Charles somehow found his voice again. “I’m afraid I don’t know what you’re talking about.” His tone was curt. “Now I really must bid you good night, miss.” “I know about the replimaker.” She smiled slightly as Charles stopped in his tracks. “Although where I come from we call it a replicator. Semantics, I suppose, it still does the same thing, turning one form of matter into another.” “How did you find out about that?” Charles tried to make his voice angry to hide his fear. “I told you, I’m a time traveller. Replicators have been common place since the twenty-third century but that’s the reason why I’m here, really. They don’t belong in the middle of the twentieth century. You’ve been cheating, Mr Warrington, you and Sir Bainbridge and all the people at your Federated Industries.” Guilt crept over Charles’s face as he chewed his lip. He’d seen so many wonders since the end of the world war, things he would never have even dreamed possible, so a strange woman claiming to be from the future seemed far from incredible. “Very well, I suppose there can’t be denying things from someone who knows my future. But why are you here? “You’re not ready for this technology yet, you’ve not earned it.” She paused a moment before continuing. “Maybe it’s not all about the money. Maybe you have lofty goals. After all, ridding the world of hunger and drought is a pretty big thing. But it doesn’t work like that, the world needs to be prepared first otherwise there will be consequences that you cannot even begin to fathom.” “But why now? If you’re from the future I assume you could have picked any time to return. Why not when we invented the Universal Outfit? Or the Personal Information Data Device? Or the Translator-tron? They were pretty disruptive, weren‘t they? Changing the way we communicate with each other.” “Oh yes,” Charlotte agreed. “But your replimaker will be the one that really tips the scales. What happens when everyone suddenly has everything they ever wanted, without restraint? Well, give it a few years and you’ll find out. You never developed these things so you don’t understand their dangers, you just want to put them out there and make a sale while claiming that you’re ‘doing good’. That makes you very naïve or very greedy, or both. But actually it’s not the technology which brought me here, now. It’s you.” “Me? What difference do I make?” “All the difference in the world, Mr Warrington. This is the exact day you started having doubts, isn’t it? Questioning the source of all these technological marvels?” “How could you possibly know that?!” Charles blanched. “Oh Lord, are you some sort of physic mind reader?” “Not quite.” Charlotte smiled slightly. “I’ve just read your biography.” “Ah, really? I write a book? Well now that is…” “Never mind.” Charlotte cut him off. “I’m here because your actions are changing the future. Your future that is, my past. And the changes are not for the better, believe me. You say you want to change the world? Well, believe me, you succeed on that front. You’re an educated man, Mr Warrington, I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that every action has a reaction.” “I see. But what about the things we have already invented?” “For starters, you didn’t invent them, you stole them. Secondly, if all goes to plan they won’t matter. If you reverse the damage then time will heal itself and you’ll have never got your hands on those things in the first place.” “But we’ve already sold millions of them. How can…” Charlotte held up a hand to stop him. “Just trust me on this. Temporal affairs tend to be very complicated and it’ll only give you a headache.” Charles sighed and nodded. “Alright, let us say I believe you. What can I do to put it right?” “In your offices there’s a portal, right? The source of all this technology? What you have there is an artificial wormhole. It was created in the future by someone who wanted to interfere with your recent war. Maybe that worked, maybe it didn’t, but now it’s being used for this personal gain and causing a lot of damage.” “I’ve seen it, today in fact.” Charles said. “Dr Hope is…” Charlotte interrupted. “Dr Hope? Is that what he’s calling himself now? That has a certain irony, I suppose.” “You.. you know him?” Charles was bewildered, just when he thought he was getting to grips with the conversation. “You could say we’re old friends. I’ve known your doctor for longer than you’ve been alive.” She paused. “Longer than I’ve been alive, too, come to think of it. But that’s not your problem, I need you to deal with the wormhole. Simply closing it won’t undo the problem, we need to get creative, prevent it from ever having existed in the first place. Luckily, that sort of thing isn’t so hard when you’re already dealing with fractured time.” “And how, exactly, am I supposed to do that?” Charles folded his arms. “I’m no scientist, let alone a time traveller. Why don’t you do it?” “Because you can get into the building, tonight, and I’ll guide you through it. Don’t worry about Dr Hope, I’ll take care of that.” “What?” Charles forced a laugh, trying to inject some humour into a world which seemed to be rapidly going mad. “I suppose you’re going to shoot him with your ray gun?” “Yes.” Charlotte gave him a flat look. “Oh.” “Now come along, Mr Warrington, we have a lot to do and only all the time in the world in which to do it.” Charlotte turned smartly on her heel and vanished into the dark street beyond the platform. Charles hesitated, considering the implications of everything she’d said. After a moment he straightened his back and smoothed the creases out of his Universal Outfit once again before striding resolutely after her.
  16. The white, ephemeral mist spiralled around your arms like tendrils. Each finger reached out to tug at your loose-fitting, lily robe, living only long enough to make a connection before vanishing from sight. The feeling was as good as you remembered it; this was the place where you always found solace. In this hall, you would wind yourself into the strands of myriad realities and watch as they birthed and died, taking comfort in your own eternity. And then you saw it. Long ago, your people took great pains to ensure their continued survival. Their tenure of multiple dimensions was assured by the deployment of spheres, each designed to transform local space into an area habitable by your species. When networked, these spheres could alter vast regions, their domain surrounded by a thermobaric cloud that protected it from sight and from incursion. To the explorer's eye, it would appear to be a spatial anomaly. It was intended also as a deterrent, as the area influenced by the spheres was as harmful to monodimensional beings as their space was to you. For aeons it worked; none but the bravest of explorers dared venture within the confines of the cloud. That was until your people became greedy. Talk of racial supremacy began as a whisper and built into a roar. It was difficult to turn a deaf ear to it as it swept through to permeate every molecule of the essence of your culture. Opinions changed from day to day; at first the idea of a regime based on superiority was opposed but, eventually, more and more began to march to the beat of its power hungry drum. Traditions of science, history, observation and documentation were abandoned as multigalactic conquest became your society's driving force. All fell to the temptation of a realm ruled by the 'sphere builders', as you had come to be known, the beacon of hope for your race's very existence now a symbol of your intent to crush reality itself beneath your heel. Amongst the mounting insanity, only a few of you remembered the old ways, clinging to them like the vapours from the Chambers of Observation linger on a scryer's robe. You were one of them. It was difficult at first not to bow to the unstoppable tide but, having seen from the cultures whom you had observed that the lust for power resulted only in destruction, your resolve held strong. Your race's progression to be able to manipulate multidimensional space to observe myriad potential timelines had been regarded initially as an educational boon. With some sadness, you realised that the knowledge that had been drawn from it had been squandered. And then, as more and more spheres were built, as more and more territory was conquered, something pierced the arrogance of your people's veil of assured supremacy. Panic. This time, there was no gradual gathering of momentum. No, hysteria spread like a cancer, fuelling your people's jingoistic cause with new perceptions of a battle against extinction. You were to meet opposition, they said. Monodimensional life forms who lacked in technological development but were determined enough to band together to destroy the spheres once and for all. This would not just happen in one reality. It would happen in all of them. That notion seemed ridiculous at first. The spheres were a symbol of hope! You refused to believe that the foundations on which your society was built could fall so easily. How could monodimensional life survive under their influence? That they might find a way seemed unlikely but you could not ignore it as a possibility. After all, had your own people not ascended to their multidimensional existence as the conclusion of their own evolution? The more you thought along these lines, the more they seemed plausible, even logical. Was not the survival instinct strong in all species, including animals? Was it not the reason behind evolution itself? As an accomplished scryer, there was an easy way to find out, to see with your own eyes whether or not rumours of opposition and annihiliation were true. The key to the secrets of the web of reality itself lay in your grasp but you did not dare use it. Until today. How could a feeling so familiar suddenly be so terrifying? How could the mesmeric reverse echo of each breath now carry with it the weight of crushing fate? The sensation of becoming one with the mist, usually a panacea, was now an intolerable irritant. Where you had succumbed to the embrace of the conflux of time and possibility, you now recoiled from it. It was as though you knew the answer already but you would not allow your eyes to see it; if the multiverse had once been a trusted ally, it had now become a hated enemy. Because there it was, right before your eyes, playing out in infinite stereo, in innumerable permutations. There was no escaping what was to come. Fleet Captain Diego Herrera Commanding Officer USS Vigilant NCC-75515 Deputy Commandant: UFOP: SB118 Academy
  17. Diplomatic Impunity or The Tribble with Troubles The battered, over-full leather satchel hit the floor with a thud as the door slid shut behind him and Ramsey heaved a great sigh of relief at finally coming home. The problem with being Professor Ramsey Bakewell, Xenosociologist extroirdinaire – he mused as he kicked his shoes off and shuffled into a pair of well-worn slippers – was that he was always being asked to speak, mediate, advise and intervene at all manner of conferences, peace talks, negotiations and so on. Which was all very flattering and of course the opportunity to assist in preventing inter-stellar war and such like was never something he was going to refuse, but it took up so much blasted time. The lights activating as he moved through the apartment, Ramsey headed over to the replicator for a mug of coffee to help him think. He had a new nutrient formulation to try that might just be the answer to the particular problem that he’d pondered for so long, turning it over in his mind on the trip back rather than worrying about whether the Bajoran Kai found his tie with the dancing Orionese slave girl on it to be in poor taste. There were far more important things in life, and this little problem was one of them. If a Tellarite diplomat offended the Arkonian Ambassador, it was probably because the Ambassador was looking to be offended, not because Tellarites were particularly argumentative. One of the reasons that he went to conferences such as this most recent one was to get that particular point across to the Federation's diplomats. It was one thing to be the Ambassador to a particular species, to learn their culture and fit in almost like a native, but it wasn’t practical for members of the Federtion as a whole, across hundreds of species and thousands of cultures, to learn them all. What was practical was to take a pragmatic view to inter-species relations, which was where his three Golden Rules had come from. Pulling a micro-PADD from his pocket, he checked the hastily scribbled formulation that had been vouchsafed to him by the Andorian Ambassador's sub-Secretary, and cross-checked it with his own fastidious notes on his personal computer. He absently set the mug down upon a haphazard stack of e-books, the top volume being the latest Mills and Boon. It made interesting reading; the culture of his own species was weird enough, never mind anyone else’s. ‘Be polite, be well behaved, be prepared to give the benefit of the doubt.’ That was how they taught his Rules in Federation Schools, and in Starfleet. That was of course the sanitised version, approved as being politically correct by the establishment, which just showed that they had missed the point entirely. Apparently ‘don’t be rude, don’t be a [...], don’t go looking for trouble’ had not been found acceptable. But that was the core of the issue; if someone wanted to be offended, they would find a way. If someone really wanted to start a war, they would find a way to do that too. And if you had to walk on egg shells around others the whole time then eventually something was going to go 'crunch'. No, the way forward was to establish a robust and tolerant relationship, where you didn’t get upset with someone over using their fingers to eat their dinner, just because your people didn’t. Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations as the Vulcans liked to say. Splendid people, if they’d only develop a sense of humour. Sighing, Ramsey took a meditative swig of his coffee and regarded the now modified formulation. Would it have the desired effect? The problem was, there really was only one way to find out. Just as, when you sat down to the negotiating table with no real knowledge of the intentions of one’s alien companions, one simply had to make one’s best effort, one’s best guess and be prepared to stand by one’s convictions; what ultimately came of it was beyond one’s control. So, in the end, was this. Once one accepted that one was a mote in the universe’s eye, everyone had their own agenda and Murphy was a prat, it was much easier to take a relaxed attitude to existence. One focused on the differences that one could make, and didn’t sweat the big stuff. And wore loud ties because one could. The small stuff now, that was where one could make a difference. Forgetting his precariously balanced coffee, Bakewell uploaded the new formula to his pocket PADD and shuffled back to the replicator. Feeding the formulation in he keyed the appliance's operation and watched as a dish with two pale brown pellets appears in the machine’s output. Would they be the answer that he was seeking? Only time would tell. Picking up the dish he wandered to one of the back rooms where a faint cooing rose suddenly in volume as the lights went on. Here they were, his pride and joy. Never mind sycophantic diplomats and arrogant Ambassadors, this was where things got serious. Balls of short fluff, long fluff, spots and stripes milled in cages and sang their brain-melting song. Tribble hybridisers became immune to the effect, or they stopped. Or their brains dribbled out of their ears. Ramsey didn't really hear it any more. The thing about Tribbles was that, unlike alien species, one had to be very precise when dealing with them. Too much food and they cloned themselves exponentially; too little and they went dormant. But just enough and the right kinds and they would hybridise with each other. The nature of native flora of their homeworld was the subject of great conjecture, as people like Bakewell studied and theorised and strove to find the right formulation to accelerate their hybridisation efforts. Such formulations were often jealously guarded and carefully traded. His was good, but he hoped this might be better. It might just be the key. There, in a cage near the back, nestled two tribbles that might just hold the answer. The long sought after Angora White, a long-haired pure white tribble. One was long-haired and predominantly white with a few black spots, the other was medium length and pure in it's lack of colour. The difficulty was combining the traits in the right combination. Highly inter-hybridised, these strains weren’t the enthusiastic breeders that their wild-type cousins could be, and this pair wouldn't breed at all. The Angora Pied with the minimum spotting had never bred, and if he could persuade it he might just crack the Angora White for good. Reaching in, Ramsey dropped one pellet in front of each tribble, watched as each seemed to wake and undulate forward to take its food which disappeared underneath the fur to be consumed. The offering was at least appreciated, as each sang contentedly. Now was the worst part, of course. Now there was nothing that he could do but wait and see what happened. See whether he might, in a few months time, have something worth taking to the next Combined Tribble Fanciers Association Annual Show. He supposed he might as well read that treatise from the Cardassian Senate Committee for Federation Relations in the meantime. Written by Lieutenant Commander Saveron Chief Medical Officer USS Mercury
  18. Jorey materialized on the transporter pad to see his childhood friend and imzadi, Koroth, standing at the door to welcome him. “Welcome aboard the USS Perseverance, Mission Specialist Jorey.” Jorey said nothing. He knew he didn't have to speak because his surprised expression and uninhibited smile told it better than any words could. Jorey moved slowly toward him. His limbs were nearly numb from the kind of shock that only true joy could cause. He wrapped his arms around the Klingon and kissed his cheek. Jorey felt Koroth's arms around him and the two lingered in a strong and warm embrace. A delighted smirk slowly emerged on Jorey's face as he heard his love unintentionally growl under his breath. “I almost forgot how good you felt.” the Klingon whispered before pulling away and taking a formal stance and tone. “The Captain is eager to get this test underway. We will have to catch up on our way there.” “Of course,” Jorey said starting for the door. “Lead the way.” The two men discussed their recent promotions, shared the details of their recent missions, and how much they missed each other. They reminisced about their more memorable times together and admitted the pain they often felt having been separated from each other. The conversation may have been rushed, but they were each grateful for the opportunity to see each other and hoped they would have more time together after the test. “Ah, Lieutenant Jorey,” The captain said, offering a warm, Betazoid smile. “welcome aboard the Perseverance. I'm so delighted to have you here.” “I've always hoped that I would serve a Betazoid Captain someday.” Jorey said honestly making his way to the tall, strikingly beautiful woman in command red. “Commander Koroth has told me that you are eager to get the first test of your new slipstream drive underway.” “Yes, of course.” The captain said, taking her seat and looking to her right. “This is my first officer Commander Lindt. Our Chief Engineer has just completed the warm up cycle and we are ready to launch.” Jorey nodded and smiled at the first officer. He looked down at the console on the arm of his chair. He brought up the ship's energy levels, deflector dish readouts, and external sensors to monitor the quantum field. “Lindt to engineering. Begin routing power through the deflector and initiate the quantum field.” The first officer ordered. The voice of the ship's Chief Engineer confirmed the order and Jorey focused his attention to his console. Everything seemed to look good. Serving on the USS Tiger-A as the Chief Helm Officer, Jorey was very familiar with what good readings for a stable quantum field and subsequent slipstream should look like. However, the external sensors seemed to be picking up something that didn't seem to fit with what he knew. Jorey wanted to signal out the anomaly and tapped the console. “Report!” The ship shook violently. “Koroth! By the gods, what is going on?” The captain's voice called out as the unprepared bridge crew were flung from their chairs. Jorey quickly picked himself up in the flashing glow of a red alert and got back in his chair. “It's like we hit a brick wall, sir.” Koroth's voice replied in confusion from behind them. “Systems are in and out, but it appears that we've been attacked.” “Ensign, get that viewscreen back up.” The first officer ordered. “Yes, sir!” The young Romulan replied. “We are receiving an incoming transmission... I can give you audio only.” “We are the Borg.” The bridge filled with the powerful, eery, and cold sound of the Borg collective. “Your biological and technological distinctiveness is incompatible to our own. Assimilation is no longer an option. You will be exterminated. Resistance if futile.” The bridge fell into silence from shock, terror, and despair. Jorey looked down at his console to try and see what was out there. None of this made any sense. Jorey looked up at the viewscreen hoping the helmsman had it working. The screen was filled with the familiar star spangled black space. Jorey looked around the ship to find that there was no damage, no attack, no Borg and no quantum field. “Lindt to engineering. Begin routing power through the deflector and initiate a quantum field.” The first officer ordered... again. However, this time, before the engineer could respond the captain interrupted. “Engineering, hold that thought.” The captain said leaning in toward Jorey and placing her hand on his should to get his attention. “Lieutenant, is everything okay.” Jorey thought he was going crazy. He was afraid to answer. The Betazoid captain could sense his apprehension, but pushed herself into his thoughts and assured him that he should speak his mind. “I just had the strangest... vision.” Jorey spoke softly, still trying to make sense of what he saw and piece it together. He explained that he was aboard what looked like their ship, but he somehow knew it wasn't. They had initiated the quantum field, but were attacked before they could enter into the slipstream. “It was the Borg,” Jorey said obviously disturbed by the experience. “But they were not interested in assimilation. They said they were going to exterminate us. Exterminate the Federation.” “Ensign,” The captain could sense that Jorey believed what he was saying and wasn't going to take any chances. “is there anything on long range sensors?” The young ensign at the helm turned toward them and shook his head no. The young human woman was speechless and growing frightened. “In the vision,” Jorey said looking at the young ensign. “you were a young Romulan.” “Sir,” The voice of the science officer broke the eerie silence. “I think I might have something.” The crew all made their way to the science station and huddled around the screen. The officer pulled up images and explained that theoretically, under certain conditions, if two quantum fields were opened simultaneously in parallel universes at the same point in time and space a gateway between those two realities could be opened. “Perhaps the Lieutenant's” the science offer seemed uncomfortable with the word, “... vision, was of such a parallel universe.” The whole thing seemed so far fetched to him. This all seemed like a lot of speculation, creative physics, and a waste of time on what Jorey was beginning to believe as nothing more than his imagination running wild. The team was continuing to discuss the theory and the possibilities. Jorey took a tricorder from the science station and headed back to his chair. He knew it happened when he tried to tap the console on his chair and thought it prudent to scan it. Nothing. Jorey was becoming more frustrated. It bothered him that the bridge was wasting it's time on his apparent awakening into insanity. Jorey put his elbow on the armrest and laid his forehead into his open hand. He closed his eyes and took a few calming breaths. “Lieutentant!” The scream from the captain beside him made him jump. “Are you okay?” Jorey opened his eyes to see a panel from the ceiling on the floor in front of him. There was blood on the corner. He lifted his head and looked down at his open hand to see it dripping with blood. He looked up at the viewscreen to see it filled with Borg vessels. “Sir,” The young Romulan helmsman turned to face them. “We are no longer able to maintain the quantum field, however it looks like the Borg have created one.” “I'm picking up another ship,” Koroth shouted from behind them. “It looks like it's coming through... but,” Koroth paused, confused by what the sensors were telling him. “It looks like it's the Perseverance!” “How can that be Commander...” The Captain was cut short as her ship took another direct hit. The tactical station behind them lit up in fury of sparks, flashes and smoke as Koroth was thrown back against the wall before falling to the floor. Jorey moved quickly to his beloved friend to help him back up. However, Jorey stood over him silent. Looking down at what was now just a corpse. His entire right side from his waist up had been completely burned away revealing scorched muscle and blackened bone. Jorey collapsed on the floor beside him and took him into his arms. “Koroth.” he was able to whisper through his tightening throat and painful uncontrollable sobs. He grabbed him tighter and pressed his tear stained face into his neck. He heard the sounds of more weapons fire and the low pitched screeching of the ship slowly being torn apart. The captain was frantically ordering for all crew to abandon ship, but Jorey just stayed there with Koroth in his arms. He decided the best place for him to be, the best place for him to die, was in the arms of the person he loved most. Jorey could feel and hear a gentle growling from the man in his arms. “I almost forgot how good you felt.” the Klingon whispered before pulling away and taking a formal stance and tone. Jorey opened his eyes to find himself standing in the transporter room. No damage. It took him a moment for the fog to clear from his mind. “The Captain is eager to get this test underway. We will have to catch up on our way there.” Koroth said gesturing toward the door. Jorey had no idea if what he had seen was real. A premonition or a delusion. He wondered if his turbulent time in Starfleet had finally started to affect his mind. However, he decided that either way, it wouldn't hurt to postpone the test. If that gate were to open maybe they would be sent to a parallel universe to die with their counterparts or worse all those Borg ships would enter into their reality. “You trust me, Imzadi?” Jorey asked sweetly. "With my life." Koroth said in heartwarming tone, stepping in with concern and purpose. "No need for Klingon dramatics." Jorey smirked, as he walked past him toward the exit. "Imagine! Everyone thinks that Betazoids are over the top!" Lt. JG Brayden Jorey USS Tiger-A Chief Helm Officer & CAG
  19. Welcome to November, everyone, and with its coming I'm pleased to bring you the results of our only two-month contest this season! The winner of the Challenge for September and October is Sinda Essen, with his story "Love is a Battlefield." We have two runners-up this month (I need scarcely say that judging was extremely difficult!): Tallis Rhul, with his story "The Perfect Moment," and Ben Livingston, with his story "One Last Dance." I would like to underscore that we had a large number of entrants and six contest judges, and it was still very difficult to come to a consensus. Thank you to everyone who participated for continuing to submit your best work! My special thanks to my fellow judges for this round -- Fleet Captain Toni Turner, Captain Kali Nicholotti, Commander Karynn Brice, Lieutenant Commander Velana, and Lieutenant Commander Arden Cain.
  20. Welcome back, my friends, to another Writing Challenge! This regular Challenge follows our special events in July and August, so if you placed yourself in the mindset of the monthlong affair, be sure to read this extra carefully for a restatement of the regular rules. Kristen, the writer behind Velana and the winner of the August round, has selected this Challenge's topic, "Isn't it Romantic?" How will you interpret the theme? Perhaps you read it literally? Ironically? Humorously? Whatever your take, I look forward to reading your entry! To participate in the challenge, please create a new thread. From the "Topic Prefix" selection list, choose "Sep/Oct" -- don't forget to do this, because without it your story won't be considered for this round! You may denote your story as a "Work in Progress," but please do so at the beginning of the story (not in the thread topic), and remember to finish it before the deadline, as any story noted as a work in progress will not be considered. As always, please remember: *Your work must be completely original. *You must be the sole author of the work. *Your story must take place in the Star Trek universe, but may not center upon canon characters. *Sign your final draft as you would a post on your ship. *Your story must be between 300 and 3000 words. As of today, Tuesday, September 4th, this Challenge is open! The very last day to enter is Friday, October 26th, so get in your entry before then! For any questions you might have, remember that you can always visit the Writing Challenge website. Good luck!
  21. Stanley Brown smiled as he graciously accepted the second prize rosette for his three dimensional holographic model of a hypothetical tricyclic warp drive assembly complete with a revolutionary energised dilithium articulation frame. The model had taken many hours of painstaking programming and days of research, tests and simulations. Stan felt he’d got it for sure this time when he had set everything up. But, no, Varin had sauntered in late as usual and casually unveiled his quadracyclic warp drive. Stan’s heart had dropped into his boots. The first prize, of course, went to Varin. An hour later, after everyone else had packed up and gone, Stan was still sulking around the library atrium. This had been his life for the last two and a half years since coming to the Academy in San Francisco. Stan was consistently second in all his subjects and projects, pipped to the post every time by Varin. The hybrid had beaten him in physics, biology, maths, stellar cartography, astrogation. You name it. Stan had tried on a number of occasions to reassert his authority, but his challenge to a game of 3D chess had ended in defeat, as had the holodeck Borg simulation - Stan had ended up assimilated while Varin saved the ship. But there was yet one challenge they had not visited. Stan had dismissed it in the past as being too tough. In fact the very thought of it made his palms sweat. But he couldn’t remain second best forever, something needed to be done. And at least in this arena they would be equally handicapped. Rubbing his hands absently on his trousers, Stan set off in search of his nemesis. * * * “So the neutron walked into a bar and asked, "How much for a drink?" The bartender replied, "For you, no charge".“ Varin smiled as he finished the joke. Around him the small audience broke into sycophantic laughs. They were all, Stan noticed, male members of the debating society. He stepped closer and called out. “Varin.” “Ah, Mr Brown! So sorry about your project. Three cylinders wasn’t it? It looked like you worked hard on it, too.” “Save it Varin, I have a new challenge.” “Oh Stanley, really?” Varin sighed as he ran a hand through his white hair. The overhead lights gave his blue-tinged skin a faint cerulean glow. “What this time? More chess?” “No, Varin, this time it’s a real challenge, equal footing. A chance to pit all our intellectual skills in new ways.” He flashed a smile. “You wouldn’t back down from that, would you?” “Back down? From you? I’ve beaten you all through the first year, all through the second year and I’ll beat you through this one, too, Stan. Go on, throw down your gauntlet and let’s get this over with.” “Very well.” Stan took a deep breath. Even saying the words was an effort. “Before the end of this term you must have a girlfriend. And I mean a proper one, with regular dates and everything. Whoever achieves the goal first, wins.” Varin jumped up from his seat instantly. Although at only five feet tall he was rather lost among his cohorts. “A girlfriend? By the end of term? That’s… impossible. Can’t be done.” “Oh?” It was Stan’s turn to sound mocking. “So you refuse the challenge?” “I didn’t say that!” Varin replied hastily. “I accept. We shall begin tomorrow at dawn, agreed?” Stan nodded. “Agreed.” * * * Stan gulped down half a glass of iced water in one go and winced as his teeth froze. The evening was not going well and they’d not even finished the starters yet. His date for tonight was Gloria Fairfield, a first year astrophysicist and daughter of one of the lecturers. Quite a catch, or she would have been if he hadn’t transported to the wrong halls of residence and turned up to meet her forty-five minutes late, thereby missing their reservation at the Presidente in Mexico City and winding up in some little side street bistro in the Portales de los Mercaderes. The situation, however, was not unsalvageable. The bistro had a certain historic charm, the evening was warm and pleasant with a full moon ripe in the sky. Stan had managed to catch Gloria’s eye with what he hoped was an alluring look. He’d even reached tentatively across the table to take her hand, which was when he’d knocked the carafe of sangria into her lap. Things had been rather uncomfortable since then. Stan sighed as he crunched on an ice cube. His date sat opposite him with her arms folded, staring towards the moon, clearly wishing she was in Tycho City rather than Mexico City. Stan was familiar with the look. Over the past month he’d seen several variations of it on the faces of Tiffany Strange (red-haired medical student, secretly into dressing as a vampire on the holodeck every other weekend, although it turned out this wasn’t something to mention in front of all her course mates), Karol Dearnes (half-Deltan computer whiz, highly allergic to kava nut soup and not at all fond of having her stomach pumped), T’lorra (Vulcan athlete, captain of the fencing team. Interested in; social experiments with otherwise undesirable male students. Not interested in; second dates). And, of course, Elizabeth de Grey (a post graduate, junior lecturer in planetary sciences, generally regarded as one of the most intellectually-gifted students to have passed through the academy in recent years. Keen on trying alien foods, not keen on cleaning vomit out of her hair when her date discovers that live gagh is too much for him after an aperitif of bloodwine). The rest of the evening passed in a bearable fashion - the food was good, the conversation just about polite. Gloria declined the offer of dessert, coffee and, unsurprisingly, a shared transport back her place. Returning home alone once again, Stan ran a tired hand through his hair. Perhaps, he thought, this hadn’t been such a good idea after all. As he removed his shoes a beep from his console alerted him to an incoming message. He reached over and gave it a tap. “Stanley Brown here.” The azure features of Varin appeared on the screen. He was grinning. “Ah, Stanley. I thought I’d give you a quick buzz, see how your date went this evening. Professor Fairfield‘s daughter, wasn’t it?” “It went fine. I mean well, it went well. Very well in fact.” “Oh good to hear. It must have been quite a short date though if you’re back already.” Stan muttered something about time zones and Varin cupped a hand to his ear. “I’m sorry I didn’t quite catch that, Stanley. Anyway, I’ll not keep you, I have Lizzie de Grey here waiting to play a game of Kal-toh. We’ve had quite an evening together already. In fact, it’s been so much fun we’re going to do the same again this weekend.” Varin paused and turned his smug smirk up a few extra notches. “Didn’t she go for a meal with you last week? I think she mentioned something about washing her hair. Anyway, goodbye for now!” Stan sat in silence for some time, a black shoe still clutched in one hand. Varin had a second date? With Elizabeth de Grey of all people? Then the competition was all but over, Stan had lost yet again and this time there would be no coming back. * * * “Oh, it’s you.” Tiffany Strange pulled her purple velvet cloak around her a little more tightly as she looked Stan up and down. “What are you doing here?” Stanley felt a little foolish in his Gothic ensemble. The cravat had taken ages to tie properly and the fake fangs gave him a slight lisp. Still, Tiffany had seemed the most promising, and least unsuccessful, of all his dates so far as he was running out of time. “I thought I’d come along and find out more about your hobby. You made it sound so interesting before.” It wasn't entirely untrue. “Yeah? When was that, Stan? Was it before or after my friends stopped laughing at me.” The look she gave him was full of venom. “Besides, I’ve already heard about your competition with Varin, he told me all about it when he asked me out.” “He asked you out, too?” Stan groaned. “Well, I, er… sorry?” “Don’t bother. The idiot never turned up for our date, too busy with that de Grey girl.” “Oh, so they are going out then?” Stan felt the overwhelming sense of loss wash over him and sat down dejectedly in one of the leather armchairs. “He wins again, I guess.” “Going out? You’d not heard?” “What?” “Varin and Elizabeth are on their way to Risa.” “Risa?!” Stan’s mouth dropped open. So not only had Varin won the bet but he was also on his way to paradise with the most sort after bit of thinking man’s crumpet in the entire Academy. There was no doubt that Varin would be even more insufferable when they returned. Stan frowned as a sudden thought struck him. “Wait, how could they have gone to Risa? End of term exams start next week, Varin’s not going to risk missing any revision time." “You’ve really missed all the gossip haven’t you, Stan?" They’ve left the Academy, both of them. Dropped out. They’re on their way to Risa to get married.” A faraway look crept into Tiffany's eyes, behind the heavy make-up, and she clasped her hands together. “Putting love before their Starfleet careers, isn’t that the most romantic thing you’ve ever heard?” “Yes.“ Stan’s eyes lit up. “Yes it is romantic. So very romantic.” Realisation was dawning. He may have lost the battle, but he had very definitely just won the war.
  22. "Adequate" Haven III During the Gorn War It happened so fast. My blood poured onto the sand of Haven III, green and vivid and coppery, flowing from the burned stump where, seconds earlier, my hand had been. Another Gorn disrupter blast flew over my head, then another, little green beams in the twilight. My team hit the ground with the trained precision of Starfleet Marines. I fell with them, trying to spot where the deadly beams of light were coming from. "It's an ambush. Contact right, six hundred metres, four foot mobiles concealed behind dunes." As an afterthought, I added, "Medic." "SERVAN! Servan's hit, he's hit!" Her voice. Katelynn Evans. Pure Louisianan accent, now thick with panic. Illogical panic. I assessed my tactical situation; we were in a depression between two sand dunes, which made egress to either side extremely difficult. If we moved backward, we would have no cover and our attackers would enfilade us. It was easy to hit a target moving toward or away from you. A green blast struck the meagre cover shielding me from death, the sizzle of evaporated sand filling my sensitive nostrils. "Remain in a prone position!" I called over the sound of further disrupter fire, trying to staunch the bleeding with my remaining hand. My phaser was too far away to reach and impossible to operate with one hand. Preserving my lifeblood was the optimal course of action. I heard the chirp of a combadge followed by Evans's southern drawl. "Marine Captain Evans to USS Carl Sagan, request emergency transport; lock on to First Lieutenant Servan's combadge and transport him directly to sickbay!" Twin whines of fire from behind me and two crimson lances flew through the night, impacting some target I couldn't see behind cover. I heard swearing, which indicated Evans had missed. "You hang tight, you dang pointy eared [...], we're going to get you out of here. We're going to get- contact left!" Two more shots. Suddenly we were exposed from our flank, too. This was an extremely disadvantageous tactical position. "Negative on the emergency transport," came a response through Evans's combadge, difficult to hear over the sound of exchanged energy weapon fire. "Can't lower our shields." "Fine! I'll get him myself! X'xxar, gimme that coagulant charge!" My eyebrows flew up and I dared to poke my head above the tiny ridge that was keeping me alive. "Captain Evans! I request you remain in a prone position!" A shadow, familiar and Human, clad in a Starfleet uniform, ran towards me through the gloom, highlighted on both sides by lurid green flashes, like the fingers of some giant trying to catch her and squeeze the life out of her. Marine Captain Evans crashed onto the ground beside me, panting wildly, her hands grasping my uniform. "Where are you hit? Show me where you're hit!" She hadn't been hit, somehow. I felt the beginnings of the insidious tempting tendril of emotion creeping into my mind. Relief for this fact. Worry that she had exposed herself to a statistically disadvantageous course of action. Concern for her well-being. My wound was extremely painful so my ability to shield myself from the pry-bar of emotional instability was reduced. "Hand." I held up the stump. I saw her face, illuminated by the weapons exchange, a mask of horror and shock. "Okay. You can't stay here." She propped her phaser rifle against the dune, firing at distant shadows. "I'm going to carry you out so we can get that little boo-boo treated. Ready?" Taking stock of our precarious position I shook my head. "Negative. That is a tactically unsound decision. We should wait for orbital support." "There ain't no orbital support." Evans fired again. I swallowed, glancing down at the growing pool of green blood seeping into the hungry sand. "Then I must remain here. I... require you to not endanger yourself unnecessarily." She turned, staring at me, confusion painted on her face. "What? What does that even mean?" I grit my teeth, feeling another wave of pain couple with a light-headed feeling. There was a high probability my blood-loss was affecting my ability to control my emotions but I couldn't stop myself from saying what came next. "I need you to remain physically unharmed. I need... you." Feelings. Emotions, worming their way into my head. Evans stared at me in confusion. "What? I..." I reached out with my remaining hand, placing it on her shoulder. "You are..." I struggled to find the right word. "... adequate." A low, confused laugh. "My, you really know how to charm a girl." She lined up another shot, firing into the darkness. "Your timing sucks, too, by the way." "My linguistics capabilities are not relevant at this juncture, and while I may not be articulating myself at the optimum chronological and temporal placement I understand that-" Her lips pressed to mine and, suddenly, the raging combat around me disappeared. I felt like I was being transported away and, for a moment, I thought that the Carl Sagan had come through for me. But the kiss ended and the battle reappeared like a paused holoprogram. "Time to go." She threw her rifle down and, with a groan, hoisted me up. I was too weak from blood loss and shock from the surge of emotions to offer much resistance, although I wanted to. I felt my body being upended and thrown over her shoulder. Then all I could see was sand as she ran through the night, back towards our lines. My vision swam and, slowly, I felt my consciousness slip away. ***** Later... I recognised the light from sickbay before I even opened my eyes, the faint red glow around my vision being too bright to be anything else. "Wake-y wake-y," came Katelynn's voice. "You made it, big guy." I opened my eyes and, just as I predicted, found myself staring at the ceiling of the Carl Sagan's sickbay. "How long have I been unconscious?" "A few hours," she answered, "we fought off the Gorn and made our way to a cave network south of the dune sea. Finally we got a beamout. Doc' T'arr gave you one of them fancy prosthetics, and you'll be good as new in a few days." I shifted uncomfortably, raising my right arm. There, on the end of my arm, was a perfectly functional hand. I gave the fingers a controlled squeeze to test the functionality -- it was like nothing had ever happened. "This is adequate work." "There's that word again." Katelynn crouched down by my biobed, resting her chin against the side. "You remember?" I remembered. I remembered the invading feeling of emotions creeping into my normally disciplined mind. I remembered feeling weak, saying things I wouldn't -- couldn't -- normally say. I remembered liking it. I didn't say anything and Katelynn smiled weakly. "Does this mean you're going to 'request I remain in a prone position' later?" I blinked. "I do not understand." She laughed, patting my side. "Of course you don't." Her smile became strangely impish and she leaned in, her face close to mine, whispering into my ear. "I'll show you later."
  23. “You’ve been sort of married once. What’s it like?” “You, married? Why is it I’m only hearing about this now? Spill!” Your friends had dragged you out with them to a local bar. It isn’t big or fancy; it isn’t a little dive either. But it never draws the attention of other cadets and it has yet to be graced by the presence of any teacher or Starfleet officer. So you all like it well enough, even on karaoke night, it’s your place to escape and unwind or just get [...] faced. The décor is ancient when compared to some of the newer bars and clubs in town and so much more human too. You're not against foreign cultures in the slightest, you welcome it in fact. But it’s nice to set back in a familiar place that screams home and human. Not alien and stranger. One of your friends motions for the bartender to bring some more drinks. You are not getting out of this you decide. Keisha has brought it up. Most likely because her long term on again off again fling with the Vulcan cadet, who is a class ahead of the three of you, is getting just a tad more serious. Jesse is like a dog with a bone, and the gleam in his eye is enough of a tip off for you. He is not letting this one go no matter what you try and bribe him or blackmail him with. But you try and deflect anyway. Even though you know it is as futile as trying to get a Ferengi to donate to charity. Plied with alcohol and good company you find yourself revisiting old haunts and poking at scabbed over wounds. You also realize that when you are buzzed you tend to try and wax poetically and fail at it. You start off with a name. It’s a simple name that even now means something to you. You hate yourself for the fact that it still conjures up memories of late night walks, dinner and dancing, sneaking into each other’s rooms even later. Just plain fun old times together alone or with friends. You are happy though because enough time has passed that you are no longer bitter. That you can now tell these people who are setting there hanging on to your every word about the good times. “We met in school and it wasn't love at first sight. It wasn't hate at first sight that turned into burning passion either. We were indifferent to each other; different social circles, classes and, goals. You see? We met in freshman year but didn't get to know each other until our senior year. We became friends hung out and partied together but didn't date.” “How romantic,” Jesse looks like he is getting bored but Keisha is listening with rapt attention, you still are not getting out of this. “No one ever accused Morgan of being a romantic.” You say and after tossing back your drink, after letting the alcohol burn its way down into the pit of your stomach, letting it warm you and give you a boost of that liquid courage you so desperately need. You continue. “We moved in together first as friends. Went to med school together and between all the studying and working together and just being in each other’s space all the time, will it wasn't too surprising when we woke up together one morning.” Jesse whistles, “Nice.” And Keisha slaps him up the side of the head. You smile at their antics and wait a moment for them to simmer down before you continue. It is surprising that you don't actually mind continuing. But everyone has to move on at some point right? Maybe you finally have. You tell them that it was good. For a while, a long while, it was really good, great even. You tell them about how two people can share their hopes and dreams together. You tell them how two people can work together to achieve almost anything, handle almost everything, together. You smile as you recount graduation day. You both worked so hard and it finally paid off. You laugh and your friends laugh at the after grad stories. Then you get serious. “It was a couple of weeks before the topic of residency came up. We knew there was a really good chance that we would not be matched to the same hospital. So we started discussing our options. The best idea seemed like trying a long distance relationship. Which never works out or so they say. We really started to think that was it. Good bye, good luck, so long, farewell, it’s been fun, be seeing you.” “But then you got the idea to get married and then you would have to get the same residency.” Keisha says. She’s got a wistful smile on her face and you just know that she is imagining some romance novel-esque thing here. You hate to burst her bubble but it would really be crueler not to set her straight, as far as you are concerned anyway. “No, marriage wasn't in the cards for us. My parents never did like Morgan. And Morgan’s parents, let’s just say they had denial down to an art form. Would only refer to me as the roommate and would always bring up the topic of dating one of their friend’s kids when they visited, even if I was standing right there!” You shake your head as if to dislodge those annoying memories. In your more bitter moments you like to blame yours and Morgan’s parents for your problems. “So what did you do?” “We talked it over and we decided that we wanted to stay together. So we made a plan, one of us would do our residency first and the other would wait until they were finished then do theirs. Morgan went first and I waited.” Jesse is giving you a funny look. You tend to forget that this jock, who loves nothing more than to fly, can be frighteningly perceptive from time to time, when he wants to be anyway. You shake your head, ‘no’ this is not a story you want to tell right now. You have no problem talking about yours and Morgan’s time together. Not anymore anyway, when you’re plied with enough alcohol. But you haven't really talked about the break up with anybody. Why start now? Keisha on the other hand is surprisingly stunned tonight. You blame the alcohol for your friend’s lack of common sense. Usually she is the smart one. She prods and needles away at you until you promise that later you will divulge the whole assorted affair. When you accidentally let slip that you’re and Morgan’s was a more open relationship, Jesse the horn dog, assures you that you will be keeping your promise. While your friends order you all more to drink. The night is still young, and there are no classes the next day till after lunch after all. You think that you don’t really know what surprises you more. The fact that you only had eight beers before you started spilling your guts. Because usually it at least takes twelve and it also ends with crying. Not too much blubbering really, ok a pathetic amount of tears and snot and it just is not a pretty sight. Or that you, like so many other ragging drunks before you, have made a startling discovery at the bottom of your glass of cheep watered down beer. Maybe it’s something you've really known all along. Maybe it’s not really some big realization of life altering proportions. Maybe it’s a simple truth that you've taken for granted. Maybe it’s time to stop taking things for granted. “I love you guys.” Maybe you've had too much to drink. But your friends laugh and from one moment to the next you find yourself grabbed in a big group hug. You're all laughing and waving around your glasses sloshing drink all over the place. You think that someone is going to come up to you three soon and tell you to cut it out. But no one does and maybe the bartender is just glad that you guys aren't starting a fight. “Love you too man, in a totally non gay way.” Jesse is grinning. “We are so drunk.” “We are not.” Keisha goes to sit back down and misses her seat. You grab her arm to keep her upright and when she thanks you. You tell her you did it to save the beer. “You asshole,” She dissolves into a fit of giggles and this time you help her set back down, the lightweight. And that’s it. You have moved on. Maybe not to some new bigger and better love, the kind they write about. But you're finally letting people in again, that is a big step in your book. You didn't just lose a lover after all. You lost your best friend and it’s kind of hard to get over that. If you're really honest with yourself, you really didn’t try. You took the easy way out and found your solace at the bottom of cheaper glasses of beer then the stuff you are drinking now. Apparently you were looking in the wrong spot. You might have also been looking for the wrong things too. But thinking about that stuff requires higher cognitive function that you just can’t muster right now. So instead you set there and you smile. You knock back a drink or two or five more. You laugh you cry because darn it you are drunk and it is hard to keep your emotions straight right now. You get dragged up onto the little stage up front and suddenly you really hate your friends. But you’re three sheets to the wind now so who cares how this happened. Though you suspect this is all Jesse’s doing after you swore up and down that you would never partake in karaoke night with him, ever! The display screen pops up in front of you and before your friends get a chance to do it. You are tapping out a selection. The screen starts off by giving you various eras to choose from, then decades, and when you've finally chosen the time frame you like best? You get to select the genera and then the song. In keeping with tonight’s theme you think you've made an excellent choice. The music starts and the words pop up in front of you. Keisha wraps an arm around you and you know that was a sniffle you just heard from her. Jesse is calling you out on being such a chick but then he’s right there with the two of you belting the song out of tone. “Into the night, the Milky Way.” You're singing to each other just as much as you are singing to the drunken crowd, trying desperately to get this one message across because you've never been good at this. At expressing your feelings and maybe you can try to blame Morgan for that. But really you can't because you've always been a little more reserved than others. The song comes to a close; there are drunken cheers all around, the only kind you'd ever get for performing like that. But hey you take what you can get. “We are so awesome, I bet we win!” Jesse says. “Free beer, woo!” Keisha laughs. And just to be different you say. “I meant it guys.” You’re grabbed up in another group hug and the drunk cheering gets even louder. And if you can’t remember this night when tomorrow morning comes? Well that will be ok because you are so freaking embarrassed right now it’s not even funny. “Thank you for being my friends.” You say not sure if they can hear you over the racket. But if the tightening of their grip on you is any indication, the message is received loud and clear.
  24. Every place has its presence; smell, touch and feel. Has the emotion to it, yes that is best explanation, emotion of the place. It’s about what it is and what it does to people. It’s how it makes you feel. Then there are songs; oh yes, songs can be really nasty. Even if you don’t understand words, they will incite emotions and make you remember. Some people don't like songs and will throw stones on a nightingale to kill the emotion. Right now Segolene felt like doing just that. Segolene spent days in meditation trying to forget how she felt when Daryl touched her, trying to forget his smell, trying to take him out of her heart. ‘If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, it’s yours forever. If it doesn't, then it was never meant to be.’ She hated wise sayings; there was always one usable for whatever occasion. This one seemed like made for their relationship. Walking through the Starbase, Segolene ended on a bench by the big window. For some time now she let tears flow and didn’t even attempt to brush them. Many people passed by her, watching her in surprise, scoff or even open disgust and noticing, not the look on their faces, but rather their emotions emanating, made her turn to the window, away from the station that made her feel so lonely and sad. It smelled like Starfleet, it felt same as Apollo, sensed like a happy days she remembered. ‘It’s better to never have, then to have and lose.’ She had that little bit of love, satisfaction, a touch of happiness… and then of a sudden just poof, gone as a soap bubble. Opening her bag she took out the padd and preparing it started recording the message. “I… I love you Daryl. They say, time heals every wound, but I refuse to remember you as a wound and I will keep, loving you. I had to go, staying would choke you and I love you enough to let you go and give you a chance to get along with yourself. When you’ll feel lonely, just close your eyes… because if you love me, if you really love me then just close your eyes and be sure I’ll know and I’ll be there with you. Close your eyes when you need a comfort and yes, if you love me, trust me I’ll know and I’ll be thinking of you.” She turned off the recording and shrugged. ‘This sounds like a love song, and a bad love song.’ She handed to erase the recording, but picking her bag she pressed the wrong button and a message was sent. Just then the sad love song started to play from somewhere down the corridor and in frustration; Segolene threw the padd that way and crashed it in the wall standing in the way. She shrugged again and went to docking ring to catch her transport. She looks back to the pieces of the crashed padd. ‘I hate cadences in minor key.’ Some people don't like songs and will throw stones on a nightingale to kill the emotion. Cadet Segolene LeMarnix Science USS Apollo
  25. OOC: I thought I might as well try my hand at a good challenge though I'm literally quite fresh off the boat, I pondered this topic while in the last leg of training and wrote this up tonight as the story just kind of flowed to me though it takes several notes from Verana's pre-established back story. I hope you enjoy, I loved writing this and getting to further establish Verana as a person defined by actions and thoughts as I did with my other post here on the forums... The air was… hot here, like the individual electric sparks of chemistry between two lovers had combusted to create an enveloping, but not quite smothering atmosphere of love, lust, and tension. To Verana this combination of emotions was nothing new, after all she had grown up in a society where love, lust… sex were worshiped, but what made her head spin in an almost euphoric ecstasy was that she was sensing the ambient emotions of aliens, humans, not Deltans. Verana had kept her ear to the ground so to speak, over the last few years of living in Paris and she knew the reputation that the human sub-culture called the ‘French’ were somewhat infamous in their rituals of love. Verana had observed several of these… rituals. Wine, chocolates, roses, starlight, the city of Paris itself, from what Verana understood it was all entirely and unquestionably cliché. But then why did so many women, and men, fall for the same trick that their ancestors had been using? Was love really that basic among humans? That plain? At first Verana had thought these clichéd rituals were just that, rituals, a sort of predicable foreplay that humans were expected to go through before mating. But Verana’s senses told her that wasn’t the case, many delighted in these experiences for whatever reason, and it wasn’t just going through the motions or simple ritual to them. To many it was a profound and romantic gesture to sip wine on the Siene, look up at the stars and feel the cool autumn air. So maybe these so called ‘romantic’ things and experiences were cliché at all, overused definitely, but they still held a deep meaning for many, and captured the imagination of the Parisian children Verana passed everyday on her way through the city. And now Verana was here in the middle of another so called cliché, a dark lit lounge in the middle of Paris, Piaf playing in the background, and a very handsome man standing across from her, gazing at her with eyes that were just as vibrant as the electric mood. Part of Verana wanted to turn on a heel and run right out of this situation and not be a puppet to an ages old idea of human romanticism. She would not be party to this insidious and tired concept of a foreign girl finding love in Paris. How dare a cliché come to life right around her! She wasn’t looking for anyone to make her bed warm, she wasn’t looking to fall in love or be a slave to someone else’s emotions, especially not a member of such a sexually immature species such as humanity! And still, a few minutes later, Verana was still there, in the same spot, precisely four meters from the exit, and precisely five meters towards the very… handsome human across from her, still looking at her, his gaze apparently unbroken. His head relaxed against the post he stood next to and the rest of his body followed. His eyes grew more intense and now he had shifted from simple observation of the seemingly human woman across from him to full blown admiration. There was something about his stance though, the look on his face, that kept his perceived admiration from turning into pathetic longing across a crowded room. No, his gaze was fixed, his face had a slight smile on it, like he found Verana both beautiful and somewhat amusing at the same time. Verana constantly shifted both her gaze and her body under his steady eye contact. Part of her melted under it, and part of her froze. She had not the will to run and she lacked the strength to move forward, Verana was paralyzed like prey in the sights of the most deadly predator. Did she really consider the man to be that dangerous? Or was it what he represented? As a Deltan Verana (Despite what her presently black dyed hair that made her appear human inferred) had signed an Oath of Celibacy, to break it and mate with an unprepared and immature individual would induce madness and brand Verana the worst kind of criminal among her people. A few pairs of people passed between the previously unbroken line of sight between Verana and her admirer. Her instincts told her to run, this was her chance to escape, she was out of the trance that his eyes had put her under, and yet her body did the unthinkable… she moved forward… There was a sort of urgency to her movements as she parted her way through the small crowd of people flowing from one end of this tiny bar to another. Perhaps once the crowd had moved past he would have taken her way out and ran or evaporated, or turned out to be a figment of her clinically depressed mind. And when Verana met the edge of the crowd and emerged into a clear line of sight she was met by the same eyes she had seen from across the room, and were now inches away from her own. For the first time Verana didn’t avert her gaze at the sight of those two beautiful green oculars, and she returned his direct eye contact with an unflinching, unmoving gaze of her own. And suddenly as the crowd passed and the air became slightly clearer, Verana smelled something in the air, something that provoked her heightened Deltan senses to drive her body to lean in and kiss the lips that accompanied those beautiful lips on perhaps the most symmetrical face she had ever seen on a human. Verana didn’t even know him a few moments ago but now as they both melted in the moment of the kiss, their respective scents, tastes, and minds betrayed their true nature as Deltans. Physical contact between two Deltans was intense and provided more than just an exchange of passions for their tele-empathic abilities allowed for the transfer of ideas, emotions, thoughts, and complex feelings to be absorbed in a simple kiss. The incredible sensations a simple kiss had brought Verana would no doubt have driven a human insane, well perhaps not, but in this moment, Verana didn’t care about accuracy, she could exaggerate her feelings of contentment, no, more than that… feelings of understanding and love, like a door had been opened within her. Verana didn’t know how long the only two Deltans (Or partial Deltans in this case) in the room stood there for, but as the Piaf played, the internal lighting dimmed, and Paris itself lit up on the outside, Verana didn’t care. Some would call this cliché no doubt but neither seemed to care, and in their tender kiss, two bodies and two hearts became one as only Deltans could experience and that element of foreignness made certain there had never been a night like this in the entire Parisian volumes of love stories. It had many elements of the classics within it to be sure, Paris, lights, strangers meeting, love at first sight… but in this moment Verana couldn’t care less and conceded to the point that just because something was old and tired didn’t mean it couldn’t be, dare she say it… romantic… Ensign Verana Intelligence Officer USS Discovery-C
  • Create New...

Important Information

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