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  1. I've really enjoyed having @Tatash in our group. I love his very picturesque narration style. His sims are always well thought out and artfully done. ((CO’s Office – Starbase 118)) The party they had all enjoyed not that long prior was well and truly over and the mood was dour as he stood outside the Commodores office waiting for the invitation in. The dreaded talk, the one that had been alluded to during the ceremony was upon them. He had given the other officers a nod as he strode his way in, before internally wincing as he saw Nugra sat among them. The subject matter would not be enjoyable for anyone, perhaps doubly so for another Gorn when it came to hearing the rumours and terrible days that could be potentially on the horizon for their mutual race. He tensed his fingers, drumming an impatient tune on the PADD he held behind his loose-fitting jackets back, a leather one that sat above dark trousers and boots. Even his comm-badge was tucked away inside his breast pocket with no Starfleet markings visible on him at all. His business was to blend in, to be the invisible one, and to avoid the crosshair painted on him as a Starfleet uniform tended to attract. He looked like any other freighter captain or fairly well to do trader that visited the station on a daily basis with mundanity. That was the illusion he needed to portray. His eyes found himself looking out one of the small windows, no way near as grand as the one the Commodore had in his office but it gave a good enough view of one of the smaller civilian flight-lanes, held in the almost endless traffic queues waiting for permission to dock. Little specks they were, drifting back and forth, tiny civilian ships coming and going like fireflies on a summer’s night blinking occasionally from their little beacons and lights. He almost felt jealous of them drifting around in their blissful ignorance with their simpler lives. Unburdened by the horrors of potential war and terrorism, seeking only the next trade deal or shipment or vacation. As the saying went, ignorance was indeed bliss. With a pop-hiss the doors opened with the Commodore waving them inwards. Tatash took the invitation, although he let the more senior officers in. Taybrim: Welcome everyone. And Thank Captain T’Aven and Captain Nugra for joining up before you head out. As promised the information pertinent to the Marchlands is first on the agenda. Please, come in and have a seat. Tatash gestured to the chairs letting the others take them, he was content to stand at the back. If he didn’t have the luxury of pacing the room to keep the oxygen flowing to his brain at least standing could do half as good a job. Meeks/T’Aven/Nugra: ? A grid of light played over them from a series of projectors, along with a slight fizzing sensation on his scales. The light was solely there to prove a point to anyone present that the room was being sealed, and anyone trying to snoop would be given a millisecond to turn off their devices before a Security detachment hunted them down. Taybrim: As the security layer indicates what we’re about to talk about is classified. ::he turned towards T’Aven and Nugra:: That said, I have shared the majority of this information with Commodore Rajel and you are granted permission to speak with her about any of this information. I trust you will take precautions when you do; but we need to take extra care here in the Trinity Sector as we are directly in the middle of the conflict I am about to explain. The Constitution is removed from it in your patrols of the Marchlands so there is less of a risk to your ship. Tatash: For now. An ominous warning, but it set the tone for the torrent of bad news that was about to come like a volley of miserable little bullets from the briefing notes. Meeks/T’Aven/Nugra: ? Taybrim: I know the Constitution has tangled with the Orion Syndicate before; and I have spoken of it with Jalana several times. The Syndicate has grown in power without having any real territory and holdings over the past two decades; much of it done while Starfleet erroneously believed the Syndicate was stamped out. They resurfaced about five years ago and we’ve been dealing with them ever since. Tatash nodded in agreement. The syndicate was an endless, festering tumour that sunk its malignant little tendrils into every part of the quadrant. You could kill one cell, you could shatter one ring, and another would simply regrow and take its place. Somehow independent, somehow a terrible whole. Taybrim: One of the most recent ventures of the Orion Syndicate has been supporting and funding a splinter cult within the Klingon Empire that calls themselves the Followers of Molor. They worship the tyrant Molor, defeated by Kahless, and follow a path of pain, chaos and dishonor. For centuries they have been little more than miscreant maladjusted outsiders that have stayed at the edges of Klingon society, but with the Syndicate support they have been able to amass a considerable amount of power which they have used to focus on one major goal: overthrowing the Klingon High Council and initiating a new regime. Tatash: It’s important to note that the cult is just that, it’s a sect. It isn’t tied to one specific house, instead it has a trace amount of just about every single one of the main powers in Qo’nos. That’s what’s making it so insidious. It’s the absolute indoctrination of its members that make it equally dangerous. Meeks/T’Aven/Nugra: ? Taybrim: Correct. The cult in and of itself is not that powerful. But they have drawn support from houses that do not care for the cult’s doctrine at all, but are happy to see the cult tear down the current Chancellor Daeshon and his progressive policies. Policies that have brought prosperity to the Empire at large, but drawn power and influence away from certain houses. Those houses are all too happy to turn a blind eye to the Cult’s doctrine in favor of using them as a tool to spark civil war. And those houses were absolutely ignorant of the bigger picture. Vying for power without appreciating the destabilising actions that would come with it. Every battle would leave even the winner with cuts, and eventually they would simply bleed themselves out. Meeks/T’Aven/Nugra: ? Sal now turned and let his gaze fall on T’Aven and then Nugra in particular. Taybrim: I’m afraid it’s more worrisome than that. Starting Klingon Civil war is a task beyond the power of the Cult, so they have tried a different tactic which they are far more likely to succeed in. The Cult has been aggressing the Gorn Hegemony along the border, trying to incite a war between the Hegemony and the Empire – which would internally destabilize the Empire and leave it ripe for a revolution of the worst kind. Tatash met the Commodores gesture and nodded. He was up. Tatash: Before I proceed, I have to remind everyone that this information has been classified as top secret. Even then, the information has had the sources redacted and scrubbed to protect our intelligence assets in various locations. Everyone that has been given access to this information has been recorded, and even then it's only a handful. He looked at Nugra specifically. It was not a pleasant conversation to discuss intelligence about your own species, let alone when it was gathered through clandestine means. ‘Various locations’ always included allies, friends and neutral parties as well as hostile powers People seemed to forget that Starfleet Intelligence had just as many ears as any of the major powers' secret little clubs like the Tal Shiar or Obsidian Order, Starfleet was just far more pleasant about going about it in their day to day operation. Meeks/T’Aven/Nugra/Taybrim: Tatash pressed something on his PADD, projecting a map of the bordering space between the Gorn Hegemony and the Klingon Empire in mid-air, one half a golden colour, the other the default Red of the Empire. Various icons representing each powers fleets and battle groups hung in static locations. Tatash: This is the current fleet movements of both powers recorded by our deep sensor units, as it was a month ago. This is now. He pressed another button, large arrows of movement appearing from those various icons as one by one they began to drift towards each other, heading towards that diagonally-slashed line that denoted the buffer between the two. It was easily visible there was a far greater number of red icons than gold. Meeks/T’Aven/Nugra/Taybrim: Tatash nodded. Tatash: The cults actions are having an effect, these manoeuvres are not standard exercises or logistical movements. The discord that they have been sowing between the two powers is causing posturing on both sides. It was hoped that the fleet movements alone would be the sole demonstration of power. However… The screen changed, a new set of icons appearing on several Gorn planets near the border. Tatash: In response to the disparity of power fleet, these planets have been heavily rumoured to have received an unknown number of strategic subspace weapons on long range platforms, similar to the Cardassian ATR-4107 units, autonomous delivery systems with guidance systems designed to evade most countermeasures. Interestingly, the Gorn are being uncharacteristically noisy about their deployment spreading ripples deliberately in the right intelligence channels to get noticed. Meeks/T’Aven/Nugra/Taybrim: Tatash nodded, his finger hovering over the button. Tatash: They want to send a message. The Hegemony would never win an outright war with the Empire, so they are ensuring they have a visible deterrent. However, if the deterrent should fail… He pressed the button. The map changed, unrecognisably so. Swathes of the starfield had become blobs dotted with red ‘x’s, Qo’nos itself was surrounded by them, large areas of Gorn border space wrapped in a shroud of equally black unmarked space, and along the bottom of the horrible was a large number. Impossibly large. Billions large. Meeks/T’Aven/Nugra/Taybrim: Tatash: Those dark areas with the crosses are subspace rifts caused by prolonged use of subspace weapons, warp travel would be rendered virtually impossible inside them. The Hegemony would be defeated, but the cost would be catastrophic to the Empire and near extinction for the Gorn who would charisterically fight to the last. The figure along the bottom there is the predicted number of deaths by the conflict, and with an Empire on it’s knees and a subjugated race desperate for aid, the Syndicate would have absolute free reign over picking the carcass of both clean. This is what they would consider a -satisfactory- outcome. Meeks/T’Aven/Nugra/Taybrim: --- Major Tatash Marine Intelligence (Charlie Company) Starbase 118 Ops C239108T10
  2. The newest member of Ops has already worked her way into our hearts. She's completely new to this format of writing, but that hasn't stopped her from sharing her character and worming her way into our hearts. *** ((Whitburn, Scotland, Earth)) The wind had a cold nip to it, even though the sun shone in the sky. Winter always hit earlier and colder the further north you were. Even in summer there were several degrees of difference in some places compared to the south. Ariana pulled the collar of her coat up as she descended from the shuttle, to block the wind that the scarf wasn't able to. She was a few buildings away from the one she was looking for. The high street wasn't that busy as the morning rush was over. She waited for a family to pass before she headed in the direction that she needed. Walking briskly, the shop soon came into view. An old man was looking through the window at a plaque. Her heart felt a little sad for him. She turned the handle to the shop, which made the bell above it tinkle. It made her smile as it always did. She headed over to the flower stand, she passed the various trinkets that the shop sold to get to them. They ranged from ornaments, to greetings cards. She could smell the sweet flowery smell as she approached them. They had beautiful bunches of all colours waiting to be bought. But she looked for the ones with the most red, white and blue in them, as always. Spotting some that were blue and white, there was never any point buying pink. They always mysteriously wilted before she left. Taking the flowers to the desk, she waited for the lady to serve her. The young lady came over to her smiling. Tiffany: Hallo hen, how kin ah hulp ye'r? Ariana smiled at the lady. The woman's voice washed over her and made her feel warm. Amaase: Just these please. ::she handed over the flowers:: Tiffany: That'll be eight pun, please. ::she put the bunch of flowers into a flower bag:: Ariana took her purse from her inside jacket pocket and got the correct change out. Amaase: Thank you. ::she smiled as she handed the money over:: Tiffany handed Ariana the flowers as she took the payment. Tiffany: Hae a crakin' day. ::she smiled at Ariana:: Ariana gave a polite smile but had a somber look on her face. oOShe isn't to know. It's her role to be polite, she'd get no custom otherwise. Or grumpy custom.Oo She left the shop. She paused outside and placed her earbuds in her ears. Setting her music on shuffle, she started walking at a brisk pace. She had been walking for fifteen minutes and the highstreet had turned into houses about a quarter of her way there. She didn't have to divert down any turns up until this point, as it was a near straight road. She turned right and walked a couple of hundred yards before she stood back a little to wait until it was safe to cross. She wasn't waiting long before she made her way across. Before her there was a hotel to the left and hedges in front of her and they followed the corner around into the opening. She paused before she entered looking down the road as she always did. The memories it brought back. Taking a deep breath and followed the path into a shuttle park that held around 20-30 shuttles. that winded around the grass fields. There were bushes here and there. Infront of her, slightly off to the left stood the maintenance building. It was never open, so she was not entirely sure of it's full purpose. It took her around two minutes to reach the gate. As she did she paused to see his dog. It was clear to see from her viewpoint. She smiled. oO He's a good boy, sat protecting you as always.Oo She collected some water in a bottle she found in the bin and made her way over. She paid little attention to her surroundings, she had been here that often she knew where everything was. Her mind was full of her own thoughts. As she approached the path she looked up to see him. She took her ear buds out and placed them into her pocket. Amaase: Hey Acel. I'm back again. ::she felt the familiar lump in her throat:: She walked down the path and vered right slightly to be stood in front of him. Amaase: I have brought you flowers. They're blue and white, no girly colours, so no killing them. Hey? A single tear rolled down her cheek, she carefully walked down the strip of grass, careful to not step on her brother or his neighbour. She nealt down, his black stone in front of her. Amaase: You're dirty. ::she remarked looking at his head stone:: I best clean you up. She placed the flowers down on the plinth and undid the lid of the bottle of water. She had always liked that touch with the bottles, they always went back there empty for the next person to use. She poured the water over the headstone using her right hand, with the left, she wiped over the stone to remove the dirt. Setting the bottle on the plinth, she took the flowers out of the bag and the wrappings. Putting the rubbish into the bag, she placed his flowers into his pot. Amaase: That's better. ::she half smiled admiring her handy work:: She walked back towards the path placing the rubbish in her pocket. Reaching the bottom of his grave, she sat down on the floor in front of him, crossed legged facing him. She fought back the tears as she looked at the headstone which read: 'Acel Arron Amaase The blue eyed boy. 236707.24 -235107.03' On the actual head stone which was shaped like a heart either side at the bottom were two blue cartoon styled luck dragons. On the bottom plinth it read: 'Missing you always. Forgetting you never.' The lump in her throat burned. she choked back the sob that was about to escape. Amaase: Sorry bro. ::the tears started to fall thick and fast:: But you were one of the few who believed in me. ::she sobbed as she spoke:: I wish you could be here. I wish you could see what I have achieved. All that I have overcome. ::she had started to double breathe at this point, her heart hurt so much she thought it would burst right outside of her chest:: I made it Acel, I made it. ~END~ Ensign Ariana Amaase Counsellor Officer SB118-Ops O239710AA0
  3. Sometimes the inner struggles are harder than the external ones. ((Starbase 118 Ops -Promenade)) Bailey could hear the coughing and truth be told it scared her. Terrified her to no end. Last she had seen Yael he had been perfectly healthy, not a single complaint. And too based on the way he had talked then had definitely acted like the type of person that did not want to make any sort of bother. It was that last part that made the Elaysian woman nearly lose her breath as well. Yael needed medical attention and amediently. One couldn’t last long if they couldn’t breath. The growing problem though was the fear she experienced. Fear created not only from the memory of her uncle but from the intensity of the moment. The way her body moved on autopilot; picking up supplies, ordering around any medical officer standing about in main sickbay. Honestly the whole situation made her sick; nauseous. She wanted to vomit right then and there however her uncle, who she could almost see out of the corner of her eye, appeared to be telling her no, that she could only end up a patient herself if she could not solve her current problem. That she could not be weak. It was that bending of time. The way she blinked, her eyes closing one second opening the next medical crew staring at her. Staring as if to tell her to move, to do her dang job. From Sheila’s point of view she wondered at what had happened. It was like she had just woken up. In a hypothetical sense the morning was full of fog, smoke. The trigger was lost until she found herself practically on top of Yael. His skin clammy, and though he couldn’t see himself, his pallor was blue. Some unknown stranger had lowered him to the ground. Here Sheila had pulled out her tricorder moving the device over the counselor. Blink. Uncle. Blink. Sisters. Blink. Galven? Blink. Meeks. Her mind could see everyone who cared for her looking up at her out of Yael’s eyes. In the back of the woman’s mind, as if coming up out of a fog, came her uncle’s voice whispering “leave him.” Bailey: One of your ribs has punctured your lung. The Denobulan could only agree with another deep, alarming cough, hacking up more blood as the pressure in his chest increased. His hand reached out to attempt to shove the hands crowding him away, as if the space would give him more air. Blood, wet, dripping, blue, dropped onto Sheila’s uniform with each of Ensign Yael’s hacking coughs. Coughing in a situation like this not only looked painful but was. Sheila did not envy Yael or wish to be in his situation. What she disliked was having to clean up the mess. Course she would do it and with pride; she adored her work as a Starfleet doctor. Yet today everything was something different, something opposite to itself. As Yael’s hands reached out towards her he seemed to only manage to smear more blood down the front of her uniform. Bailey: Please don’t struggle. I know you are having trouble breathing but I’m going to need you to stay still Ensign. Sheila nodded to one of the medical officers nearby who then placed an oxygen mask over Yael’s face. It was one of those that fitted over the mouth and nose rather than having prongs to fit into the nose. Using the full mask allowed a struggling patient to take in more oxygen. Once the mask was placed Sheila only wished for a bit of relief. She would shoulder all the pain, all the hurt, the burning, choking, flaming pain as her own. If it was her’s not Yael’s then everything would be justified. Then maybe she would understand why she gave in and kissed him, not Yael, but him-him, a person, a man that she wasn’t going to mention. Yet they were the same man that had been consistent in her life. Her uncle had a profound affect. Bailey: Don’t talk. I only want you to concentrate on your breathing. Sheila too wondered how she was managing everything. To her, her brain had taken over and it was as if there were two people in the same body. Part of her was entierally afraid of messing up, of saying the wrong words. Shaking, numb, experiencing tight restrictive pain down her neck from intense hair pulling; hair pulling that currently wasn’t happening. A breathy voice making her take breath after breath in between each sentence. The other half was her normal unaffected self; a highly trained doctor. A doctor that knew a hundred percent what she was doing. Knew that her friend, if she could call him that, was going to make it out of the whole thing alive. Bailey: I’m going to talk you through everything I’m going to do. Just blink or squeeze my hand if you need me to stop. First I’m going to give you some pain medication. That should allow you to breath more easily. Then I’m going to run my bone regenerator tool over your ribs. That will allow the healing process to speed up a great deal taking the pressure off the lungs. Lastly, and this is the least fun, I’m going to have to insert a small yet fairly wide hollow needing into the space between your ribs. I need that extra air to get out from your lungs. You’re likely to have the tube in for a few days as a precaution. Some time in sickbay too I’m not taking any chances. To Yael Sheila must have looked like an angel what with the way her hair fell in loose waves over her shoulder illuminated by the bright lights around them. Bailey: ::Bailey reached over and gently squeezed one of Yael’s hands almost as a way to let him know everything was going to be okay:: Alright here we go. The young doctor turned her smile upside down at the pain both she and Yael were experiencing. Gratitude was a powerful tool which was likely why she matched the grip the Ensign gave to her hand. What happened next was just as quick as her arrival on the scene. The hypospray full of pain medication was administered. Before she knew it another blink and the other medical officers had managed to get Yael and her transported to sickbay. It was another moment as if her body was having episodes of absence seizures. The word went on around her while her body pressed pause. Pause was pressed. The movie skipped and then as if she was stopped from drowning, breaking the surface of the water, appearing out of a fog, body heating up making her dizzy, Sheila gripped her needle tight before plunging it into the space between Yael’s ribs. Relief was given, but not to her, as her patient took deeper breaths. Yael: ::weakly:: Sh… sorry… not being very… cooperative. Bailey: Tell me. Formalities. Now was not the time for them. Her brain was an upturned boat on the water. A boat with a hole, quickly filling with water. Slow, difficult to make stop. Yet Sheila needed to know why, what had caused the incident. Some life saving revelation could be revealed. Yael: Holodeck malfunction… the safeties failed, somehow. Took a rough blow… didn’t realize it was *that* hard. Tried walking to Sickbay. Didn’t make it. He tried reaching up to his ribs and barely glanced at the object inserted… and instantly pulled his hand back. Bailey: Don’t. I’ll take it out and then we need to take you in for surgery. My tools have been able to heal your injured rib yet it still needs to be fixed into place among other things. I’ll be putting you to sleep. I truly promise to do everything I can….. oO to make sure you don’t die. Oo Yael: Right. Yes. Do it. Sheila once again pressed a hypospray to Yael’s neck this time sending him to a peaceful sleep. For him the surgery would be over and done with before he even considered what was happening. For Sheila, despite her not being the one to perform the surgery, she would be there in the operating room the whole time acting as a damn fine scrub nurse; act as the one to monitor the vitals, organize the tools. Over the next 1-2 hours Sheila never sat down. She hardly moved from her spot between the monitor and the cart of surgical tools. She practically regretted it. During the whole process she had stood with her bad, left, hip jutted out, a way to shift her weight, yet by the end the whole area was a mess of painful nerves constantly firing; she could hardly walk even with her crutches. The use of her wheelchair would be required as soon as she had a free moment which was unlikely to happen. Frankly Sheila did not want to use her wheelchair. Not even an ounce of her wanted to appear weak. If somehow her problems became more important than those of her patient she would give in, make her uncle happy. At the same time her problems, her struggle was just as important. Bailey stood leaning against the biobed, painful pressure lacing through her hip, yet she ignored the irritation. Yael was slowly coming back into consciousness. Bailey: Hey, welcome back sleepy head. ::now she was starting to talk like she did to her two sisters as a way to comfort them:: Everything was good. Successful. You’re on some pain medication but I suspect you might not need them for much longer. Yael: Response Bailey: Yes you may talk, just be careful. We are keeping you here under observation for at least 24 hours. Yael: Response Bailey: ::air whizzed out of her lungs:: You need to be careful. Had me scared to death. I was in pain too. I couldn’t stop imagining walking away…. ::Sharp intake of breath:: Yael: Response Bailey: I’m sorry. I should leave you to rest. Yael: Response Lieutenant Sheila Bailey Assistant Chief Medical Officer Starbase 118 Ops M239512BG0 No woman should ever suffer at the hands of men - Sara Lance; Legends Of Tomorrow
  4. ((Starbase 118 - Marine Facilities, Lt. Meeks’ Office)) The typical day for a Marine involved many things, which included duty rotations, training, maintenance of equipment and the facilities, and whatever else needed to be done. For the company commander, the duties also included a ton of paperwork, reports, and recording all of the things done by the teams. For Tony, he felt he spent a lot more time doing the paperwork than actually doing the other stuff, so any chance to get his hands dirty made him jump at the opportunity. On this morning, Tony was at his desk (as usual), going over the training reports, checking on the progress of his team, and preparing future trainings based upon reports from the CIC. This allowed the teams to train for whatever may come, and prepare for whatever contingencies possible. He received a constant stream of messages over his PADD, and most of them only required a passing glance before they could be deleted and dismissed. One message caught his eye though, and he paused to read it a little more carefully. The message was from the last person he had expected to contact him, and even more unusual was the subject of the message. While it wasn’t unusual for requests to be made for training tutoring, there were a few people he never expected to make that request. After pondering the message, he tapped in a response accepting the request, and sent it. ((Timeskip - Later that afternoon, Holodeck 3)) Stepping into the dilapidated but usable gym, Yael found the program had supplied everything needed. Space, equipment, and the rudimentary padded floor. It was well equipped but worn, as if it had been used for years with hardly a cleaning. It was perfect. He was warming up, stretching, when the door to the gym opened again. Yael: Anthony! Thanks for coming. He’d asked the man to meet him here, and to be ready for some training. Admittedly, it might have been an odd thing for a counselor to say. But this would also give Ashley a good chance to catch up with the man and see how he was doing since their last session. Meeks: Of course, counselor. Happy to help. Yael: Is this okay? We could change programs if you prefer something else? Meeks: This’ll be fine. ::Looking around:: Your program? Looking around at the peeling paint, the air smelling like effort and sweat. He looked back to the Marine and [...]ed his head slightly to the side and smiled. Yael: I liked the ambiance. Meeks: Hey… ::Chuckling:: Whatever works. Tony sized up the Denobulan. The man was small in stature, which was not unusual for a Denobulan, but the typically passive nature of the culture intrigued the Marine. He wondered why a counselor, and a Denobulan, would have a desire to train in the combat arts. Meeks: So, what are we going to work on? The Denobulan hybrid slid off the pull-over and tossed it onto the floor aside them. The bruises on his arms and neck were probably still visible... gifts from his encounter with the Klingon from Verriar’s establishment… but thanks to Cadet Harper, his ribs felt good and he was walking fine. Now was time to choose a new aggressor… someone with the fortitude to literally punch past his defensive instincts. Yael: I need you to hit me. Now that was a request Tony had never had before. He had been asked not to hit someone, but to be asked to hit someone made him pause. Looking at the bruises that were visible on the man, he figured this wasn’t exactly the first time that request had been made by him. Meeks: ::Surprised by the request:: You want me to… what? Why? Yael: ::smiling again:: So I can learn how not to get hit. Meeks: Well, judging from those bruises, you’ve been getting hit a lot lately. The Denobulan tried not to smile suspiciously as he gave a quick thought to how he’d gained them. Yael: I’m pale. It makes them more apparent. Don’t let that stop you. Meeks: I’ll tell you what. Why don’t I help teach you how NOT to get hit. Yael: Also good. How do we do that? Meeks: The best defense is sometimes a good offense, but in absence of that, not getting your [...] kicked is better than the alternative. Ashley gave the Marine a good look now. He’d known the man would outclass him. He had a good nine inches on him in height, perhaps 80 or more pounds in weight? The blond hair, blue eyes, and friendly face were deceptive… if Meeks *wanted* to, he could simply flick him with a finger and knock him into next year's Bajoran Gratitude Festival. He had professional training though, and had probably taught before, seeing as how he was his unit leader. Yael: I’m not under any delusion I’m a heavy hitter, don’t get me wrong. But I don’t want you to go easy on me. Otherwise this is a waste of both of our time. Meeks: Oh, trust me, you’re gonna get hit... a lot. Don’t worry about that. Yael: ::taking a breath, steeling himself:: Okay. But if I cry, you can’t tell anyone. He joked with a light laugh as he stepped onto the mat. It wasn’t spongy by any means, but would buffer the harder hits and falls. Meeks: So, I have to ask. Is there a reason you are wanting to learn how to fight? A reason? Of course the Marine would want a reason. Semi prepared for the question, but still hesitating slightly with the answer, he certainly wasn’t going to give a long winded speech about evolving as a person. Yael: I’ve been through enough to know that… what’s the Human saying? Those who don’t carry a sword can still die upon them? Meeks: I suppose that’s true. Yael: I’ve got no experience at this. When it comes down to it… I have to depend on those around me, to preserve my own safety. I’m just trying to tip the scale. Meeks: I would imagine you would always have a security detail if you were on an away mission. Yael: Nobody wants to be a burden. That sounded a lot better than “Nobody wants to be a victim.” Meeks: I don’t think you would be a burden, but I get where you’re coming from. Yael: Shall we get started then? ((Time Skip - 23 Minutes)) Stepping to the center of the floor, Tony took a position facing Ashley. They stepped into motion and within a few moves, Tony had defeated Ashley’s advance and grounded him. This identified the counselor’s experience level, which was consistent with the basic training provided through the Academy. While this was essentially adequate as a foundation for self defense, as it related to Starfleet personnel under most controlled situations, the training was woefully inadequate for any real combat scenario. The pair reset and staged, facing each other once again. Tony explained some theories of the use of an opponent’s motion and inertia against the opponent, as well as assisting the defender using the forces applied by the attacker. After these explanations, Tony took the position of the attacker and demonstrated one of the theories at about half speed. Again, Ashley’s attempts to defend were easily overcome, leaving him facing the ceiling. Time after time, the results were the same, which was to be expected. Ashley was taking in the information though, even if he didn’t know it. Each reset lended a lesson, and the lesson was making it to action. With each reset, the effort Tony was having to take to floor his opponent was greater than the last. Unfortunately for Ashley, that might not have been felt by him. The sound of the body hitting the floor echoed in the rafters high above. A short yelp of pain that was more shock than actual pain. Panting. They’d only just started and he was sweating his choice already. Ashley stared into the ceiling for a moment, clenched his jaw at the spiders crawling INSIDE his skin. His lack of coordination was a real problem, but he couldn’t tell if it was that or the lack of skill that truly made him pathetic. He took one more breath and pushed himself up with a grunt. He gave a tug at one of his electro-stabilizing devices… they were firmly in place, it was his skin he wanted to claw off. Despite his internal struggle, he kept a relatively calm face… aside the now permanent furrow of his eyebrows. Yael: oO FOCUS. Oo Let me try that again. Meeks: You sure? Yael: I can get it. Meeks: Alright then. One more time. The end results were the same, but that would be expected considering the counselor’s experience level. There had been improvement though, even if Yael didn’t realize it. Tony had been instructing in hand to hand combat for a while, and had many students. He had learned to see the smallest changes in a person’s abilities, and there had been improvement. Meeks: Alright, counselor. I think that’s a good place to call it a day. Tired of his view of the ceiling, Ashley pushed up from the floor again, but remained sitting. Yael: So soon? Meeks: ::Tossing Ashley a towel:: If we push it too far, the learning stops. There’s no reason to get hurt here. The Denobulan was frustrated already, it was true. But too stubborn to give in to it, even if it was the smarter course. So he pushed, insisting. Yael: I can keep going. Meeks: Are you training for a prize fight tonight? ::Not waiting for an answer:: What you need now, is a hot shower and maybe a couple ice packs. That was a very firm “no” if he’d ever heard one, so he sighed in resignation, but he was unsettled and unsteady as he pushed up to stand, pressing the towel to his face to keep the sweat stinging his eyes. Yael: Okay … okay… ::giving in, he forced a smile:: … who am I to tell the unit leader “no,” right? Meeks: There’s always tomorrow. Let today settle in and we can come back to it. Yael: ::recentering himself:: How have you been sleeping, anyway? Is the medication helping? Meeks: ::Wiping his face and letting the towel settle on his shoulder:: Sleep has been hit and miss. I think it’s better though. The meds definitely help. Yael: Still dreaming? ::running the towel on the back of his neck:: Meeks: Not as bad. When they do happen, they're not in technicolor anymore. The dreams had come and gone nightly, but the severity was not as poignant. The perseverating thoughts were still there though, but were a bit easier to put aside. Suddenly, Tony realized the counselor had turned the tables, and the teacher had quickly become the student. Yael: Good. You’re on the right track then. I have a few other tricks up my sleeve, if you want to continue doing sessions. Meeks: Can I buy you a drink, counselor? Ashley blinked twice at that. What he really wanted to do was hit the sonic shower and claw his skin off. But if Anthony wanted to talk… now, while they smelled like this? Granted, Meeks had probably had to put out far less effort than he had. It could be important. He balanced the options, going to be alone and therapeutically screaming, or… helping his crewmate. He hesitated answering, but restrained said clawing and screaming. Yael: Now? ::unsure if he should, pausing briefly, but choosing:: Sure? Meeks: I bet wherever we go will smell better than this place. ::Smiling as he motioned to the room around them:: Yael: ::glancing around, and laughing lightly:: It *is* pretty ramshackle, isn’t it… ok. Lead the way. ((Promenade - Kael’s Pub)) Ashley carefully held his drink with both hands… they were shaking from the workout. In fact his entire body was vibrating with the leftover adrenaline. He’d put his pullover back on, and thankfully, the instinct to claw at the invisible spiders was lessening… more a dull hum now than an overwhelming wave. Being in public, with Meeks, made it difficult to let himself give in to it. He’d only wanted water… ice water… and he drank a bit greedily at first, leaving himself quickly with half a glass. Glancing over the small table at the Marine, he wondered. Tony on the other hand, ordered a pint of ale and a bowl of nuts. When the pint glass arrived, head of the ale spilling over slightly, cascading onto the table top, Tony collected the glass and took a long pull off the top. Yael: Was there something you wanted to say? ::pausing, but not really waiting:: If you’re not doing so well, it’s *ok.* There are other methods. Meeks: I think I’m doing better, Doc. I’m just not 100% yet. Yael: There’s an ultrasound therapy I was wondering if you’d like to try. Sort of a medical assist. It’s the little brother to electro-shock therapy. It helps the brain reset and form new neural connections. Meeks: Zapping my brain? Yael: It’s completely painless. I just have to give medical the word, and… He droned off slightly, as it seemed very much Anthony was thinking of something else. Ashley sent a hand up to rub his neck, fingers running over a few of his spinal ridges… he was a bit stiff and ached all over after being thrown around, and the ice cold condensation from the glass felt good against the heated skin. Meeks: It might be worth a shot. ::Noticing Ashley nursing his neck:: You okay? Maybe you need to see medical yourself. ::Chidingly:: Yael: Ah. ::laughing lightly:: No, I’m good. You didn’t break anything. I’m sure you were holding back for my sake. Meeks: So… you want to tell me the real reason we were in that gym today? There was a pause, a rapid moment of thought, and a forced smile. Yael: Was I that terrible at it? If you feel it’s a waste of your time, I understand. Meeks: Training is never a waste of time. I’m just looking for your motivation… your drive. Crap. Ashley needed to say something smart sounding. Yael: Just… I mentioned... improving my weak points? Well *that* sounded super convincing… the Denobulan hybrid internally facepalmed at having phrased it as a question. It was like he was *asking* Anthony to believe him. Meeks: Your position doesn’t necessarily put you into harms way, as a general rule. ::Nodding to the braces on Ashley’s forearms:: It looks to me like you’re trying to prove to yourself you can do this. Yael: ::leaning back, psychologically putting a little more space between them:: Is it that strange? He paused, glancing down at the ale in the Humans hands almost longingly for a moment, then continued. Yael: I’m pushing things, I know. ::glancing back up at the Marine, he gave a small smile that he hoped was convincing:: But it’s under control. Nothing to worry about. Tony watched and listened to the man. The words, the affect in the voice, the body language, all of what Ashley was saying in the totality of the communication spoke volumes. Tony knew and understood challenges, but what Ashley was facing was far beyond anything Tony had ever had to experience or endure. Meeks: Would it be too much to ask about the braces? What’s the story? There was an expansive moment of silence that dragged out into discomfort. Ashley had known that *someone* would ask eventually. Had at least half a dozen explanations prepared in advance to dismiss queries on the subject. But now that he was actually faced with the question… looking Anthony in the eyes… he found them all distasteful. Maybe it was because he was sitting across the table from someone he admired, but he didn’t want to hide who or what he was anymore. He had always hidden it… but wasn’t he becoming a different person? Could he emulate the bravery of a Marine, even if he could never fill those shoes? Yael: I have a neurological condition. It’s called Theorons. It starts with a loss of fine motor control. These are… ::he held up his hands, looking at the braces::... electro-stabilizers. They alter the signals sent from my brain to my hands, to control the tremor. Without these, I can’t buckle my boots, and it isn’t going to get better. He spoke calmly, matter-of-factly, but there was a growing knot in his stomach. But now that he’d started, he didn’t stop. Yael: I don’t tell people about it because I’m already the small guy in the room, and I’ve got a chip on my shoulder about it. People underestimate me from the start. I want to be known for what I *can* do. Not what I can’t. Trouble is… I grew up in the Federation, always protected… by people like you. So *I* don’t even know what I can and can’t do, and I’m trying to figure that out. He kept eyes on the man, trying to exude the confidence he didn’t feel… and waited. Meeks: ::Taking another pull from his ale, emptying the glass:: I think it takes balls to do what you’re doing. After signalling the waiter for another ale, Tony turned back to his conversation with Ashley. He took a moment and watched the man as he struggled with telling his story. He knew it was difficult for Ashley to give such intimate details, but his respect for his new friend grew by the moment. Yael: You’re… what? You’re not... Meeks: You gave me a prescription for twice weekly visits to try and get my noodle figured out. ::tapping his right temple:: Let’s do the same thing here. Twice a week, you and I will meet in that smelly ol’ gym. I’ll teach you what you want to know, for as long as you want to learn. Ashley felt something imperative but didn’t have the words to describe it. Balls? His brain had frozen watching Anthony take that last, long drink, motioning for another, and… the man had given not one shred of unwanted pity, or needed comforting at the knowledge, or apologized clumsily for what he couldn’t possibly control, or asked invasive medical questions, or treated him like he was *breakable*. None of the typical and terrible responses people always had. Meeks gave him instant acceptance with the ease of taking a drink. Yael: ::suddenly breathing… he hadn’t realized he’d been holding his breath:: You’re still going to work with me? Meeks: ::Thanking the waiter when his new glass of ale arrived, then turning back to Ashley:: I don’t give a squirt of snot about those things. ::Nodding to the braces:: Those are an obstacle, nothing more. Your… illness is only that, an obstacle. Yael: That’s right. The Denobulan agreed, and breathed, and the knot in his stomach unkinked. He took down the last of his glass of water, the ice having melted away. It felt good not to be made of glass. ~~~ Ensign Ashley Yael Counselor Starbase 118 Ops & 2Lt. Anthony Meeks Company Commander 1/292nd TMR D Co. Starbase 118 Ops/USS Narindra R238801IG0
  5. OOC: Kaycie's only been back with us a few weeks, but her writing makes it easy to get a sense of who Ashley is. Really enjoying getting to know her character. IC: ((Starbase 118 Ops - Promenade - Verriar’s Establishment)) Yael stepped past a nameless Bajoran and continued until he found what he’d been looking for. It was a rather hole-in-the-wall, seedy looking place, a bar, a gambling establishment, and the live Andorian Jazz was swinging from a small stage in the back, on the second floor… it was a little bit of everything, tucked away in a lesser-trafficked area of the Promenade. High above the entrance, a bright sign read “Verriars.” The clacking and jangling of a tongo wheel in the back of the establishment kept the noise level high, as did the music and the murmurs of all the conversations around them. As he walked in, his boots crushed some unswept glass, likely from a broken mug or glass. Two private holosuites were installed in the back of the establishment, and the drinks were ordered and delivered quickly. He wore plain clothes, civilian. Dark trousers, boots, a matching dark shirt, and a gunmetal grey vest with subtle gold lacing in its woven pattern. He’d worked hard for his uniform, so of course it was often what he preferred to wear, but anonymity was sometimes useful as well. His comm badge was on the underside of his vest, hidden from view. But it would be inappropriate to be without it. He gave a glance at a tray passing near him, at the brightly colored drinks. One was smoking with some dry ice concoction, another sparkled like tiny raspberry stars. Nothing here would be watered down. No. Not here for that. He took a seat at the bar though, and despite what he *wanted*, he ordered something else. Yael: Terellian Spiced Ale. The bartender was a Terellian woman in a delightfully bright purple get-up, so it seemed appropriate. The drink, despite the name, was not actually alcoholic… just decadent… and the Terellian only wasted a single of her four arms to offer a data padd, where Ashley gave his thumb print and sacrificed the credits. There was no tab at an underwater place like this. With another of her four arms, the glamorous bartender poured the drink and added the spice with expert proportions and, somehow, with grace, without even looking at the mug as she did it. She was a large figure, but moved with a precise knowledge of her space and her goods. The cold glass mug was then slid to him from a few inches away, and she smiled at him. Yael: Is this your place? Verriar: Why yes, it is. ::she smiled at him, her ridges wrinkling upwards on her nose:: And you’re new. With one of her free arms she produced a salt suck. A nasty habit, but still somehow enjoyable. She brought it to her tongue and licked it lightly. With a third arm she mixed another drink. He leaned on his elbows and smiled at her, enjoying the company already. Yael: Ashley. It’s a pleasure. Verriar: Of course it’s your pleasure. That’s what Verriar’s is *for*, darling. ::she paused, looking at him closely:: We don’t get many Denobulans in here. Too risque, they tell me. Yael: I’ll take that as a compliment. She smiled and lightly laughed, sliding another drink down the length of the bar to another customer who had run dry. Verriar: What are you here for? Yael: The company, no question. He smiled at her, and she laughed again. Verriar: Honey, my ex husband is *still* killing my boyfriends. ::she looked him up and down once more:: But some are *worth* the risk. I know *I* am. She laughed heartily now, licking her salt suck again. The Denobulan took a steady drink of his not-actually alcoholic ale, and found he liked it quite a bit. The spice stayed on his tongue, blossoming into a whole new flavour after the drink had already been swallowed. He could see the appeal… Terellians just did *quality*. Spices, diamonds, crude habits like salt sucks… among other bad habits... whatever the product was, you could bet it would be good. Turning, he watched the tongo board for a while, surveying the players. There were a few Bajorans, a Gorn eating a heavy looking meal of some sort of meat, and a small host of Klingons, along with a few other species. Of course, the tongo master was a Ferengi looking for marks… or, as a Ferengi might say, an opportunity for profit. Verriar: You’re not here to drink. Can I offer you something more enticing? She motioned to the back of her bar, no doubt where she kept the more illegitimate merchandise. Yael shook his head negatively. Yael: I’m not here for that. But I *will* take a holosuite, if you’ve got one? Verriar: Oh honey, I have *two*. Yael: You’ll make my day if you have something Klingon… some hopelessly romantic battle to the death? Verriar: Or something. ::she smiled, her hidden arm producing a box filled with holodeck program chips, and selecting one from the grouping:: Take this. Find a friend. And have fun. She paused as she held it up, then reached out a cautionary finger in the air with one of her free three hands. Verriar: This is no basic Mok’bara, and you’re such a wisp of a thing. Are you *sure* you can *handle* it? Yael: ::he grinned, closing his hand round the data chip:: Don’t you worry about me. I’m sure there’s an exclusion of liability waiver in the data pad I just signed. She smiled broadly again, pausing for one last moment, and then moved on to serve other customers who were filtering in. Ashley finished his drink and took his look around the room. There were two groups of Klingons, all who apparently knew one another. They were drinking and boisterous, but not out of control. He picked the smaller of the two groups which consisted of three armed men, waited, and listened. When they were drunk enough, but not too drunk, he lifted his mug… now empty, save a few drops clinging to the glass… and chucked it at the largest Klingons chest. It shattered on the tough leather across his chest and made him jump in surprise, black eyes locking on the small man who had dared to throw it, and became even *more* surprised. The tall Klingon, his black hair having caught a few of the remaining drops of ale, brushed off his leather and stalked over in three fast feet to stand over the Denobulan. The guy must have been seven feet tall, so quite literally *over* him at that. Klingon: You… *YOU*... dare throw your drink at *ME*? Ashley stood to face him at his full 5’7”. Yael: You’re being too LOUD! And you’re too UGLY to be making that much NOISE! The Klingons friends roared in laughter, and so did Verriar from the far end of the bar. The angry Klingon went silent for a moment as he glared down, his brain ticking in dangerously slow thought… this could now go one of two ways. Painfully… or slightly less painfully. But over the next moment the Klingons eyes wrinkled round the edges… as he smiled, and then threw his head back in a laugh, matching his friends. Klingon: This one thinks he’s a Klingon! His large hand came up to steady flat above Ashley’s head, measuring his height. Klingon: You weigh as much as a wet targ! The group laughed even harder, and so did the Denobulan. It was funny because it was true! He lifted the data chip to the Klingons face before he could lose his humor, and smiled widely. Yael: Ever fought the Battle of Klach D’Kel Brakt? The drunken Klingons eyes glazed over as he came to realize that this was an invitation, and he and his friends roared in excitement, finishing their drinks in one great gulp.
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