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Ensign DeTroyes: Alone

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((OCC: This is the start of a mystery. The first 8 posts will set it up. After that, anyone who wants to join in can do so. This is Part 1 of 8 Flashback Scenes))
((Epsilon Argyros, Scylanthia, Alastriona’s Office – 239606.10 – Four Months Ago))
::And she finally stopped playing their song when she realized that she was dancing alone. 
– Anonymous::
::Like a dying firestorm, the red star Epsilon Argyros began to set below the horizon, bathing the room with fading passion.  Alastriona looked up at her long bare legs, which were perched up on top of the glass table of her office, high above her homeworld, Scylanthia.  It was summer outside, and she had chosen a pair of jean shorts, a red t-shirt and sandals to wear.  Her pale skin warmed up nicely, even though the large glass windows were tinted.::
::The building hovered over two thousand feet in the air above the city Cleeia.  Outside, hundreds of multicolored balloon-like people – Scylanthian’s – drifted about.  She could see the beaches far below, near her house.  The ocean, tinted with a rainbow of colors cast down from the exotic atmosphere of the planet, turned cherry red as the sun fell into the sea.  A scattering of stars came out:  Theta Tauri, Gamma Tauri and Delta Tauri were first, followed by Epsilon Tauri and Aldebaran.::
::Alatriona leaned back in her chair, stretched out her arms, and yawned.::
::The computer was undeterred by her behavior.::
Computer: The mass segregation of the star cluster is consistent with the observed distribution of stellar types – 
DeTroyes: Ordinateur, arrêt. :: Another yawn filled her face. ::I’ve studied long enough today, ::she grumbled.:: 
::The computer’s refusal was simple.::
Computer: Negative. ::The machine continued to drone on.::  Stellar evaporation occurs in the cluster halo as matter. . .
::Irritated, she dropped into English.::
DeTroyes: Computer, halt!
::In a condescending tone, the computer argued,::
Computer: The study schedule, programmed by YOU, continues for another two hours.
DeTroyes: What’s with the attitude?  Ten hours is enough for today! ::she complained:: If  I can’t pass the science exams when I get to earth, maybe I’ll quit Starfleet altogether!
:: She was grumbling, but knew the computer was right, or rather, she was right to have programmed the computer to try to force her to continue on.  She was a hundred and twenty years out of date.  It had been nearly a year since she’d asked for a leave of absence from Starfleet, so that she could study the current scientific theories.  It was so embarrassing to ask people such simple things as how to use a modern tricorder.::
Computer:  Starfleet re-certification exams begin in 56 Earth days. Since you’re scheduled to leave on the transport La Fayette in thirty six hours, and it takes 53 days at warp 8 to reach Sol, it is advisable to . . .
DeTroyes: I know!
::Exasperated, she reached over to shut the thing off, but she hit the wrong button and it triggered a very old message buried inside the computer.  Whispers came out of time, bringing back old memories.  It was the voice of her sister, Genevieve.::
Genevieve: Alastriona, I don’t know if you’ll ever hear this message – Starfleet tells us that you’re science station at the edge of the milky way was destroyed, but I had a dream about you. . . . and I know that you’re still alive. . . .
::There was a pause where Alastriona thought she heard her sister crying.  Then Genevieve continued,::
Genevieve:  I have some terrible news to tell you.  Everyone in our family is dead.  Both of our parents, our cousins – everyone – are gone.  They say that a curse killed them.  I’m leaving Scylanthia and moving to a planet called Bijou Bleu, which is in the Gliese 777A star system.  Hopefully, I’ll be okay there.  I wanted you to know so that you’ll be careful if . . . I mean, *when* you get back.  I hope this message really does reach you.  I love you. 
::Her sister’s words hit her like a thunderbolt. Alastriona felt a cold tingling sensation dribbling over her body.  Her parents, Telfour and Chantel were both dead.  All the rest of her family were gone too.  She knew that they were dead of course, since they lived a hundred years ago, but to hear the news that they had died prematurely, that they had never had a full life, was too terrible to bear.  The shock of it filled her with silence.::
::Occasionally, she had entertained the thought of trying to contact the descendants of her family, but never did so, feeling uncomfortable at the idea of getting to know her great-great-great-grandchildren.  But they had never been born.  Or had they?::
DeTroyes: Computer, locate the DeTroyes family on Scylanthia.
Computer: There is no one with that surname on Scylanthia.
::Alastriona put her feet on the floor and whirled to face the computer monitor, as if it was another person, listening to her shock and grief.  She shook her head. ::
DeTroyes: Let’s make it simple.  Computer, take my Starfleet file and extrapolate all data for my relations and descendants.  Locate any of my living relatives in the Federation.
Computer: Working. . .
:: Alastriona leaned back in her chair, and looked down on the coastline near the city of Cleeia.  She had walked those beaches with her sister, so long ago. . . ::
Computer: There are no matches to be found anywhere within the worlds of the Federation.
:: It felt like someone had punched her hard in the stomach.  Alastriona felt dizziness whirling around and around.  Getting up, she grabbed the computer and threw it at the window. ::
DeTroyes: NO!
::The monitor bounced off the glass, which had been reinforced against the storms of Scylanthia, to keep out the sometimes poisonous gasses that drifted down from the more dangerous bio-zones above.::
DeTroyes: What happened to them?
:: But the computer was silent.  It lay in ruin on the floor of her office. ::
::Genevieve’s message had been like a death knell.  Was it some kind of disease or was it really some kind of curse, laid onto their family by some angry mystic?  Alastriona walked over to a white couch and dropped onto it.::
DeTroyes: Superstition and nonsense.
::If it was some kind of familial plague, was she infected?  Could she become infected?  How long did she have?  Shaking her head, Alastriona didn’t really care if she died.  She began to cry.  All that her family was, all that her family could have been today, all that they might have been, were gone.::
::Truly, Alastriona was alone.::
Ensign Alastriona De Troyes
Science Officer
Starbase 118 Ops
((Disclaimer: All wicked, evil, dastardly comments by Alastriona are purely IC.))
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