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JP: Ensign Asmara & Commander Blueheart - Window To Tomorrow


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(( Deep in the heart of the Jenatris Cloud ))



:: For an astrophysicist, that experience was most noteworthy. How else would it be possible? To experience a giant hot gas cloud, with plenty of anomalies, without the aid of a spacesuit, without a shuttle, and without some friggin’ long range sensor or probe. He felt at home, literally among stars, or more precisely, stellar dust. Here it was possible to test gravity playing with matter; collapsing matter, cycling matter, igniting matter, bringing light to the darkness, bringing darkness to the light. And inside all that euphony of feelings, images, a powerful thought came to him. ::



oO I once had a revelation on Vulcan, that somehow my destiny was entwined with the Federation. That feeling was strong enough to motivate a lot of changes in my life. And now, here I am. Dead. Floating to some afterlife place and about to learn who killed me. Is this what I am destined for? After a lifetime’s work, to die like this? I can't believe it. I can't accept it. Oo



:: He was so immersed in his thoughts that he didn't realize a distant object in the heart of the cloud. What seemed to be a faint and inoffensive black dot grew bigger in size. It soon obtained a shape. Obtained colors. Had motion. Had emotions. And finally it was close enough to receive a name. ::



oO Wow. What graceful design! Clearly a Nova Class but with some augmentation. Wait a minute. What is a Federation starship doing inside this cloud? Oo



:: As he approached the hull, he could read the name of the ship and registry clearly, although they were a little scratched. ::



oO USS Kalypso. NCC-72511. What a strange name for a ship! Oo



:: He came even closer until he crossed the dome on the external hull. From the top of the dome, he flowed into the command bridge. It was not an abandoned ship after all. It was full of life. The ship was on red alert and everybody was working at their stations with heightened activity. It was evident that the starship had come under the heavy fire of recent combat; there was much wreckage, blown up bits of panels, conduits dripping from the ceiling and electrical sparks raining all around. The medical team entered the bridge and headed for the command chair. It was at this time that he noticed the captain trying to revive his fallen first officer. ::



oO What is going on here? Oo



:: Tarsii was compelled to help the bridge crew. But the unfolding scene scared him more than he had expected it to. Lacerations streaked the face of the captain. He seemed to not feel any pain, or perhaps he was too worried about his first officer and his crew that he didn't pay any attention to himself. The captain was a tall, strong, and bald man, with four golden pips on his collar. He looked like an old man but his eyes were more alive than ever. His eyes expressed trust, strength, and leadership. A true Starfleet captain. But something was peculiar about his face. It was not the wound. His eyes were brighter than normal. At least brighter than Tarsii had remembered. ::



oO Oh my! This is me. Oo



(( USS Kalypso - Bridge ))



HELMSMAN : :: Turning around quickly. :: Sir, we have a ship approaching dead ahead.



ASMARA: :: Eyes wide opened. :: What?



TACTICAL: Readings indicate that it is a Federation starship sir.



:: The captain helped his fellow doctor to lift the first officer and make seat him comfortably in his chair. Then he took his own chair and glanced at the viewscreen. ::



ASMARA: On screen ensign.



:: The image of Jenatris cloud came alive on the view screen, with a massive starship seen maneuvering just ahead of it. The captain smiled with relief. He sat back down in his chair with a sense that he was about to meet an old friend. ::



TACTICAL: Sir, it is an Odyssey Class Cruiser.



ASMARA: Yes, lieutenant. I guess the cavalry just arrived. At the right time. Open a channel.



HELMSMAN: Channel opened, sir.



((Bridge, USS Discovery-F))



MARKS: They’re hailing us, Sir.



::The man seated in the central chair grunted a response and shifted slightly in his chair. The main view screen snapped to life, revealing the bridge of the Kalypso, and the wounded face of her commanding officer.::



ASMARA: Hi old friend.



BLUEHEART: Who are you calling old, pup? ::He burst out in lively laughter. That same old laughter.::



ASMARA: What are you doing in the sector Admiral?



BLUEHEART: Saving your scrawny little a$$, that’s what.



ASMARA: ::embarrassed:: I guess I will never get used to those slangs but I am very grateful. :: smiling painfully ::



BLUEHEART: Yeah, yeah. Just don’t expect any medals from me. I don’t exactly have bottomless pockets, you know. oO Gods. When did I get so cranky? [...] I’m getting old way too fast! Oo



ASMARA: They sent an Admiral out to save this a$$?



BLUEHEART: ::snorting:: No way I’m flying a desk in my remaining years! oO Besides, this is YOU we’re talking about here, not just some green captain stranded in a cloud.. Oo ::pause, face turning serious:: What’s your status, Captain?



ASMARA: :: Trying to convey optimism. :: So far so good Admiral.



BLUEHEART: In other words I wasted my time coming all the way here when I could be sipping mint julep on Risa?



ASMARA: No way Admiral. :: Changing his position on the chair. :: I could bet with you that those scavengers withdrew just to avoid a confrontation with the Discovery. :: relieved :: But we are good now.



BLUEHEART: ::eyes roaming about the wrecked bridge of the Nova Class ship:: Doesn’t look good from where I’m standing. You sure you’re okay?



ASMARA: We could have been destroyed. Therefore, from this point of view, we are good. :: Pauses to read the first reports. :: But we have wounded and some casualties, sir.



BLUEHEART: Beam your sick and wounded to our Sickbay, followed by your civilian crew. You got power, Tarsii?



ASMARA: Warp core is disabled. Thrusters only. Several systems are down and we have multiple hull breaches. :: He nodded to his chief medical officer who was watching over the first officer. :: You heard the admiral.



BLUEHEART: Yeah, guessed as much. Okay. Here’s what we’re going to do. ::He stood up, tugged on his uniform, then took several steps closer to the view screen.:: I’m beaming over a team of engineers to start repairs on that bucket of bolts you call a starship. Leave behind a skeleton crew to man the ship. The rest of y’all beam over. We’ll tractor that rustbucket and haul your a$$ out of this infernal cloud and back to civilization. You.. ::raising his voice and jabbing a finger in the air, directed at the Angosian captain:: beam directly to my ready room!



ASMARA: I will not argue with that, Admiral. :: Smiling, trying to make a joke. :: But this rustbucket served me well until today. I will want her back.



BLUEHEART: You know how much taxpayers’ money we spent coming here to find you? You better make it worth all that money and effort, Tarsii!



::The commlink was severed. The view screen went back to depicting the purple Jenatris Cloud. Raj made his way to his ready room, a cheeky smile playing on his face as he awaited his long-time friend from a long-ago time that still felt just like yesterday.::



((A while later))



((Ready Room, USS Discovery-F))



::He heard the soft tinkling sound of the transporter beam before he saw the shimmering blue haze. Within seconds he was peering into the same bright and lively eyes he remembered from all those years ago.::



BLUEHEART: Hello, Captain. ::gesturing:: Please, sit.



ASMARA: :: His face had been almost completely regenerated thanks to the Kalypso’s doctor. :: Thank you Admiral. :: Realizing he was being too formal again. :: I mean Raj. :: Smiling. ::



BLUEHEART: Can I get you anything?



ASMARA: Spiced tea please.



BLUEHEART: ::moving to the replicator behind his oversized oaken desk:: I was going to offer you just cold water. You know, budget cuts and all. ::returning with two glasses of the hot beverage:: But I guess I can make an exception for a dear friend. ::He half winked.::



:: Tarsii placed a large carved metal box on the Admiral’s desk. ::



BLUEHEART: ::smirking:: Aw, you shouldn’t have. ::scrutinizing the box with his keen, age-defying eyes:: A souvenir from your last travels?



ASMARA: :: reaching for the teapot. :: Under heavy costs sir.



BLUEHEART: I gather the plan went south?



ASMARA: The plan worked fine... until we found it. :: Pausing to sip the tea. :: But the escape plan was a complete mess.



BLUEHEART: [...]. ::Then he shrugged abruptly.:: Happens. Don’t get your knickers all in a bunch fretting over it.



ASMARA: Sure Raj. :: pause :: Did you remember when I first came aboard Atlantis? :: smiling ::



BLUEHEART: How can I forget?? You tried to steal my ship!! ::He burst out laughing again, his eyes lighting up with mirth and nostalgia.::



ASMARA: I really thought I would pass the rest of my life in a detention camp. :: His eyes got a little brighter while they both shared a jocular laughter. ::



BLUEHEART: We ALL thought you would! ::laughter slowly dying down:: I thought you’d forgotten about it.



ASMARA: Trust me, Raj. I will never forget that.



BLUEHEART: You scared the crap out of me! ::another paroxysm of hearty laughter::



ASMARA: Yes I was not quite myself, but people wouldn’t have believed if you hadn't supported me.



BLUEHEART: ::shrugging nonchalantly, but with a tinge of pride:: Meh.



ASMARA: I never asked you, but… How did you know?



BLUEHEART: Ocano. ::His eyes twinkled mischievously.::



ASMARA: Ocano?



BLUEHEART: Yes. Ocano. You-- I mean, whoever it was that was controlling you, almost killed her!



ASMARA: Oh yes! That [...] who was pulling the strings almost killed her in cold blood.



BLUEHEART: Well.. she was the one who tipped me off. She found the device on you while you two were doing the horizontal tango.



ASMARA: She never told me that. :: Embarrassed, he diverted the topic elsewhere. :: And the others?



BLUEHEART: ::enjoying another bout of laughter:: Oh, the look on their faces back then! Priceless!



ASMARA: :: Laughing out loud. :: Yes. Foster, Sylkar and especially Mitchell. They all demanded I be thrown into the Brig until we reached DS26.



BLUEHEART: They sure did!



ASMARA: Yes. Mitchell almost killed me. But I had a little bit of luck that day.



BLUEHEART: ::smiling warmly and swirling the amber-colored liquid in his glass:: Sylkar. ::He nodded slowly, the memories seeping back into consciousness.::



ASMARA: Sylkar got so angry with me. :: smiling:: I miss her so much. :: He starts to get emotional. ::



BLUEHEART: I miss her too. ::voice pregnant with emotions of his own:: I miss them all..



ASMARA: You know her. She would never admit to that, but I know for certain that our story began that day.



BLUEHEART: It did. All our lives changed that day. ::His eyes grew moist from flashbacks of yesteryears.::



ASMARA: Ok, Admiral. :: rising for a toast ::



::Raj stood up too, and held out his glass.::



ASMARA: To the great and unforgettable crew of Atlantis!



BLUEHEART: ::adding:: Best crew I ever served with!



:: They clinked their glasses and took a sip out of them. Raj pushed his left hand into his trouser pocket and stared at his desk, as if seeing the entire history of the Atlantis under his command, play out on the surface like an old Terran motion picture. He smiled fondly, the memories threatening to overflow into his eyes and down his cheeks.::



(( Present ))



oO I am not dead. I am not dead. Oo



:: It became clear to Tarsii that he was being controlled by someone else. An unseen, unknown terror. It was also clear to him that he was all too willingly accepting death. His own death. He was simply accepting the fact that he was putting all his new and future friends in great danger. If he could only manage to find a way to send some sign to his own possessed body what a big mistake this would turn out to be, then at least Atlantis stood a chance at defeating this formidable enemy. ::



oO But how do I return? I have been dragged to this cloud ever since I came aboard the Atlantis. Oo



:: His superconsciousness hovered aimlessly and desperately inside the cloud. Then, just as abruptly as he had been transplanted into the future, he found himself back inside the terrifying darkness of the embattled Atlantis once more. ::



oO Oh no! It is too late. The captain. Sickbay. Oo



:: This first thought that appeared in his mind propelled him to seek out the captain. In the blinbk of an eye, he found himself amidst the chaos of Sickbay. He saw the captain lying motionless on the biobed receiving the Andorian’s care. But others were not so fortunate. It was then that he spotted Nurse Ocano leaving Sickbay. And she was not alone. Tarsii was with her, and enveloping the Angosian science officer, he saw a frightening and bizarre dark orange cloud. His gaze drifted back to the unconscious, younger version of his now and forever friend Raj. He made a solemn oath. ::



oO You saved my a$$ several times. I will save yours now. This is me speaking. The true Tarsii. I will save you and the Atlantis! I swear this to you!! Oo



-----------


A JP by:


Ensign Tarsii Asmara


Science Officer


USS Atlantis


NCC-74682



and



special guest appearance:


Admiral Raj Blueheart


USS Discovery-F



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