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Ens. Dakora - You Can Never Truly Go Home Again


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Excalibur's current mission has played out a bit like a Harold.  Our crew took the basic premise and spun it out into (figurative and literal) orbit with some amazing details, clever side plots, and strong characterization.  Now that we're hurtling toward a conclusion, @Talos Dakora has done a stellar job of weaving a unifying thread through many of these disparate details; tying them together logically and without feeling contrived; and setting the stage for what will inevitably come next.  All whilst giving the rest of the crew a wide berth to shape the unfolding plot.  Super storytelling here, Travis.  I want you on My improv team.

 

((Bridge - USS Excalibur-A))

It felt like a very long time had passed since the orb had reappeared on their sensors and Talos had sent their pieced-together message of peace. They had already seen the physics-defying way the Orbs had moved in the past, it seemed almost as if this one was now taking it's time on approach. It almost seemed to be easing up to them cautiously, like you would a friendly-looking dog that you hadn't met before.

Maybe. Just Maybe, the broadcast had worked. Maybe they weren't about to have their consciousnesses shuffled like deck of cards again.

Even if they found a way to stuff his consciousness back into the right body, would he even still be himself at this point? How much of the memories shared with him by the Yalu Symbiont were part of his own memories now? He still hadn't quite gotten used to the cavernous silence left behind by his lack of telepathic abilities, but Talos had begun to feel comforted by the presence of the multiple people whose memories lived on inside of him.

Did he even want to go back?

It was a stupid question. Of course, he did. It bordered on blatant narcissism, but Talos Dakora loved himself. Probably more than anyone else, save for his family. It was the driving force behind his penchant for the hedonistic pleasure-seeking that he indulged in at every opportunity. Even as he thought about it, memories of Eira surfaced; The struggles and joys of her 40-year marriage and the equal-parts harrowing and amazing journey of raising children. Ideas that Talos had either never even considered or had long since shrugged off as "not-for-him"

Staring at the sensor image of the Orb, he couldn't stop thinking about what life would be like on the other side of this experience.

Etan (as Nicholotti): Response

He snapped out of his thoughtstorm about the orb and the effect it had had on them at Iljor's words. He was right, now that the issue in sickbay had seemingly been resolved, they needed to loop the CO in on what was happening.

He tapped his/Yogan's comm badge.

Dakora (as Yalu): =/\=  Ensign Dakora to Captain Nicholotti =/\=

He'd immediately turned to Illjor, wondering if it would be his badge that received the call, since it was pinned to the chest of the raven-haired CO that he was trying to contact. Fortunately, someone had managed to reprogram the badges to match the person occupying the body at some point. That was nice.

Nicholotti (as Etan): =/\= Go ahead. =/\=

He stared at the Orb's sensor reading. It was still gradually approaching, though it hadn't yet responded to their message. The computer program that Hallia had initiated had continued crunching through the data though and had decoded a few more words, which would be handy when if it ever did decide to respond.

Dakora (as Yalu): =/\= The Orb that the ship encountered earlier is coming back around.  =/\=

He paused, considering if he wanted to add the information about their attempts to communicate with it, before requesting her return to the bridge, but she seemed to be of a similar mind.

Nicholotti (as Etan): =/\= I'm on my way. =/\=

((Time Skip - A Few Minutes Later.))

Nicholotti (as Etan): What's our status?

Etan (as Nicholotti) / Hallia (as Adea): Responses?

Dakora (as Yalu): We reverse-engineered a message embedded in the gravity wave the orb hit us with on it's first visit and attempted to reply with a greeting message of our own, but haven't received a reply yet.

The Captain approached her center chair and Iljor surrendered it, unbidden.  This was amusing because it looked for all the world like the exact opposite thing had just happened. At some point, Talos was sure he'd get used to who was displaced as who, but it clearly hadn't happened yet.

Nicholotti (as Etan): Very well. Keep an eye on it's approach.

The moment she finished speaking, a call came through from the away team. They'd been gone for a while and Talos had tried not to do the mental math regarding how long the suits would protect them from radiation versus how long they'd been exposed, but he had, and it was concerning. He'd hate to have to have an awkward talk with Yogan about returning things he borrowed in the condition he received them.

MacKenzie (as Tiberius): =/\= MacKenzie to Nicholotti, the orb following us is not a threat. In fact, they may just be our ticket out of this mess. =/\=

Talos head whipped around involuntarily towards the direction of the speaker emitting MacKenzie's voice. It seemed they weren't the only ones that had managed to communicate with the Orb-things. Though, it seemed the cohort of sex telepaths had seen a bit more success.
 
Nicholotti (as Etan): =/\= Care to elaborate, Commander? =/\=
 
MacKenzie (as Tiberius): =/\= It’s a long story, ma’am. Drop the shields so we can come aboard. We’ve had some significant radiation exposure. Doctor Adea will want to get us on a regimen as soon as we get aboard. =/\=
 
He winced as he heard the XO's message. He was concerned for his own earthy vessel, yes, but also for Adriana and Meidra and the others whose bodies had gone down there. Hopefully, Genkos had adjusted to being Hallia well enough to take good care of them.

Nicholotti (as Etan): =/\= Done. =/\

Talos listened as the CO and XO went back and forth a few more times, the familiarity between them shining through the strange voices they were using. When they finished, a sort of anticipatory silence fell over the bridge for a moment. Whatever was going to happen, would happen soon and he just hoped the news the away team brought would be positive.

A notification on his console flashed and drew his attention and his mouth fell open slightly. The message had originated from the orb-thing that hadn't come with the away team, but it seemed that they had been in communication or were parts of the same entity... or... he forced himself to focus on the task at hand. The message, thankfully, hadn't been sent on another wave of gravimetric distortion, which was clear because they hadn't been tossed all over the place. Instead, the orb had shown an impressive command of the radiation that seemed to follow it and had bombarded them with what was not all that dissimilar from an archaic tight-beam laser comm-link.

Dakora (as Yalu): The... um, Orb-thing just responded. ::He paused.:: The computer is decoding the message now.

Any bridge crew: Responses?

As the message descrambled, the computer assigned words to seemingly random strings of characters as it pieced together a message out of what bits of the alien code/language that it knew.

%!%%#####RETURNED^^^^****YOUR*$$$UNITS.%%%%%%%ASSIST.%REQUEST%ASSIST.$%^WHERE&&%(*LIGHT@@@&&&&$@$$$%SHAPE

He recited the readable bits aloud so the others could here, though his delivery was sort of stilted as he tried to pick through the random string of symbols.

Dakora (as Yalu): It says "Returned your Units." ::He paused.:: "Assist. Assist. Where Light... Shape." 

Any bridge crew: Responses?


TBC

======//////======>
Ensign Talos Dakora
Intelligence Officer
USS Excalibur-A
O238811CD0

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