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[ACT 1] Lt. Cmdr Robin Hopper: I'm hearing images, I'm seeing songs

Doz Finch

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Hilarious opening and a brilliant sim! @Robin Hopper stuck in isolation singing ABBA!? Are you kidding me!? It's actually genius. 😂 Thanks for sharing the first bit with me and then keeling to my demand to see the rest of the sim!

[ACT 1] Lt. Cmdr Robin Hopper: I'm hearing images, I'm seeing songs (google.com)

70s dancing GIF by ABBA


((Isolation Cell, Paak Military Complex – The Paak Planet))


Hopper: ::Singing softly to herself::  Soldiers write the songs that soldiers sing… The songs that you and I won't sing. Let's not look the other way… Taking a chance… 'Cause if the bugler starts to play,

we too must dance…


Robin trailed delicately along the last line of the song, then sighed. She sat in the isolation cell’s floor, alone, her legs tucked up to her body and her arms wrapped around her knees, staring across the room at the seamless door that closed her in. Surely their captors – the Paak people (if one even dared think the word!) – were listening in.


Hopper: Well, that was Side One of ABBA’s 1981 record album, The Visitors


With no way to tell exactly how long she had been in the room thus far, and no way of knowing how long they intended to keep her there, she had started singing to pass the time – and perhaps allow the locals to see that they really weren’t such bad people, after all. Her particular album of choice seemed particularly appropriate, given their circumstances…


Hopper: Let’s flip the record to Side Two. Starting off with I Let the Music Speak.


Closing her eyes, she began to hum the opening strings of the melancholy song, before beginning to sing gently.


Hopper: ::Singing::  I'm hearing images, I'm seeing songs, no poet has ever painted. Voices call out to me, straight to my heart, so strange yet we're so well acquainted… I let the music speak, with no restraints, I let my feelings take over. Carry my soul away into the world, where beauty meets the darkness of the day…



((Two Hours Later – “The White Room”, Paak Military Complex))


At least two and a half hours… Probably closer to three, given she’d needed to take a few breaks. That’s how long she’d been locked in that cell for before they dragged her out of it and back to the white ‘interrogation’ room – long enough to make it through The Visitors and Super Trouper and Voulez-Vous and eleven of the twelve songs on Waterloo… given that she did not know how to sing the Swedish version of the titular track.


Now she found herself, voice slightly hoarse, back in the room they’d started in after being brought to the facility… But at least Wil was there with her again and she wasn’t alone anymore. She was glad to see that he seemed no worse for wear. At least they weren’t getting tortured. Yet. 


Wil sat on the floor, as she had done in her cell, while Robin now paced about the room slowly as they both did what they could to stay sane given their relatively insane predicament. After Wil had shared another one of his own stories, it was now Robin’s turn – and, since she wasn’t sure they’d even escape the planet alive – she’d even been talked into sharing one of her more embarrassing memories.


Hopper: …Before I knew it, the tour guide said “Alright, everyone! Keep it moving.” I guess there was some sort of school group following us – a bunch of kids… I was so distracted, I didn’t even realize I still had it in my hand.


Ukinix: Really.  And then what happened.


Hopper: I… Must have stuck it in my pocket.  ::Pointing at him intensely to make her point::  Accidentally.


Ukinix: The whole thing?


Robin nodded.


Hopper: I haven’t been back to the Jonathan Archer museum since…  ::Shaking her head::  I’m sure they’d have come for me by now if they knew I’d walked off with a piece of history in my pocket – and now it’s been so long I don’t even know how I’d go about returning it.


She put a hand to her temple and grimaced.


Hopper: But, uhh, I will someday. When I can figure out how to do it and not face some sort of tribunal…  ::Sigh::  What about you?


Ukinix: ::Shake of head:: I once got entered into a cheeseburger speed-eating competition by a few cadets in my second year, at a burger joint in ‘Cisco.  Worst day of my life.


She furrowed her brow, sure that he couldn’t have understood the assignment.


Hopper: That’s what comes to your mind when you think about your biggest regrets?!


When he seemed unphased, she sighed again – more annoyed than remorseful this time.


Hopper: Alright, well, how many burgers did you eat?


Ukinix: Three and a half.  And they were *delicious*.  But not so delicious on the way back up.


Hopper: ::Rolling her eyes::  I mean, I know I’d regret eating even one burger – let alone three. Wait… you were beaten? How many did the winner eat?!


Ukinix: The guy that won it somehow got through eight of them…  And he was *tiny*.  Funniest part was he was a medical cadet.  ::chuckle:: Arrogant little bastard.  A medical tricorder that read his cholesterol levels afterwards would have exploded.


Robin’s face openly communicated her disgust at the thought of shoveling that much hamburger into one’s mouth, let alone the digestive regrets that would follow.


Hopper: ::Yucked right out::  Well, for what it’s worth, I’ll bet he had a worse day than you did. Probably a few days. Ugh.


Wil looked at the mirror on the opposite wall, and gave it a wave. Robin glanced at it as well, following Wil’s gaze.


Hopper: Is there even anyone in there? What are they waiting for?


Ukinix: There’s a bunch of them there listening to us.  I can sense curiosity and wonder, and concern.  I don’t think they know what to do with us.


Robin turned to face the reflective glass.


Hopper: ::Speaking to the mirror::  Well, whatever it is, I hope they do it soon before I spill anymore legitimately-incriminating secrets in exchange for…  ::squinting at Ukinix::  …”I shouldn’t have eaten that” escapades.


The door at the wall to the side of Wil opened, and in walked a Paak, this one wearing a grey outfit that looked velvety and more tailored compared to the military uniforms Robin and Wil had seen so far. The Starfleet officers both turned towards the door, Robin stepping back a few feet at the sudden appearance of the new and unfamiliar Paak.


Paak (Counsel): ::Flatly:: They *can* hear you.  But not any longer, they’re obliged to leave.  For now.


The door closed behind him, and the sound of locks making sure no-one could get in our out could be heard, clearly being locked by someone from outside.


Hopper: Oh yeah? And who are you? Some sort of… well-dressed… torturer?


The Paak casually and momentarily formed a triangle above his head.


Paak (Counsel): I’m Paak, your assigned Paak.  “With love” and all that.


Just as quickly, he lowered his hands from above his head, then took a seat on one of the free chairs. While his voice still had melody, it had nowhere near the same melodic sounds as the previous Paak that Wil and Robin had spoken with. She looked at her fellow captive, then back to the Paak sitting at the table. 


Ukinix: So you’re “Paak” too?


Robin and the Paak both looked at Wil with derision. The Paak blinked his eyes for a moment, before casually and nonchalantly pulling out a blue and almost spherical object from a pocket, then biting into it.  It crunched like an apple.  With his mouth half full, he answered Wil.


Paak (Counsel): ::Crunching, talking with mouthful:: Using offensive names like that is what got you into this mess.  ::Swallowing, chewing::  You’re just lucky the military has rules about the right for a Paak to represent you.  I didn’t want this assignment, representing “aliens” is probably the low point of my career.


Hopper: Sorry – so you’re a… legal… representative?  ::Glance to Wil::  So they have some sort of legal system… and more importantly, they’ve decided we’re eligible for protection. That’s great news!  ::Back to the Paak::  Did you say “low point?”


Paak (Counsel): Well, I’m not convinced you’re aliens, they don’t exist.  Half of the population agrees with me too, if you read the chatter on the wire.   You’re trending on Paak like no-one’s business.


Robin furrowed her brow again, then poked the space between her eyebrows, which had begun to grow rather sore over the last few hours of worrying. 


Ukinix: We’re definitely not Pa- I mean, not the same species as you.  I’m sure you could perform non-invasive scans with whatever medical tech your civilisation has to find out for sure, ::looking at Robin:: right?


Hopper: Right.  ::Pointing to her face::  I mean, for one thing, our epidermis – our skins – are clearly made of different materials…


Paak (Counsel): Cosmetic surgery could make me look like you. It would cost many Paak, but a qualified Paak could do it.


She tutted and crossed her arms.


Hopper: Tsk. Fine, well surely if you’ve managed warp travel you have some sort of radiometric medical scanning devices. I don’t know what your insides look like, but I’m betting they won’t look like mine.  ::Pointing to Wil::  Even our insides won’t match, seeing as he’s part Betazoid and I’m half-Centauran.


Ukinix: Response


The Paak, however, waved their hand dismissively, then indicated the two other seats across the table from themselves. They took another bite of the crunchy blue fruit(?) they were eating.


Paak (Counsel): If you want to discuss your legal rights, I recommend you sit and we focus on that instead of discussing your anatomy. Otherwise, I can always tell the Paak you have no need for me.


Hopper: No! No… We want your help. This has all been a terrible misunderstanding. I’m sure we can clear things up.  ::To Ukinix::  Right, Wil?


Ukinix: Response


Robin made her way to the table and sat down across from the Paak representative, hoping that they’d be able to work something out – ideally, be able to convince them that they were, in fact, from other worlds. The legal counselor pushed a dossier forward on the table and began flipping through pages.


Paak (Counsel): So, as I understand it, the two of you violated Paak airspace, unlawfully entered a Paak military facility – causing several million Paak in damage, I might add – and after being greeted with all possible honours by the Paak, decided to insult Paak?  ::Shaking their head::  This is certainly going to be a challenging case. Not to mention how the Paak are taking it.


Hopper: Okay. We need to stop you right here and clear something up – because otherwise we’re going to just keep stepping in the Pa–  ::cutting herself off::  see, I almost just did it again.  ::Taking a deep breath::  Even if you don’t believe we are “aliens”, surely you can understand that we speak different languages…?


Ukinix: Response


Paak (Counsel): I don’t see how that’s relevant.


Hopper: Well, there’s a word you keep using. Or, I suppose it’s probably several words – only, to our ears, they sound exactly the same. When we use that word, we’re obviously getting it wrong. Unintentionally. This is what happened when we talked to your Paak.




Ukinix: Response


The legal counsel across from them flared their translucent nostrils in distaste, but leaned forward – an intrigued look crossing their features… the first sign of genuine emotion they’d seen them express thus far.


Paak (Counsel): You mean to tell me that advanced aliens from another civilization have come to Paak and cannot even understand the difference between one Paak and another Paak? That you could have devices that translate your Paak to our Paak and vice-versa and yet cannot translate something as simple and plain as Paak? You expect me to believe this paak? And try to convince a panel of my fellow Paak to accept this explanation? You both must be out of your paak.


Ukinix: Response






Lt. Commander Robin Hopper (she/they)
Chief Science Officer, Amity Outpost


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