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Thread: Star Trek RPG - Mission #3: "Some Other Side of Paradise"

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    Default Star Trek RPG - Mission #3: "Some Other Side of Paradise"

    Star Trek: The Yorktown Chronicles

    Setup thread: http://www.mellophant.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10960
    Mission #1: "On the Brink": http://www.mellophant.com/forums/sho...the-Brink-quot
    Mission #2: "Primum Nil Nocere": http://www.mellophant.com/forums/sho...il-Nocere-quot

    It is January 15, 2270.

    Capt. James T. Kirk and the starship Enterprise completed their historic, and soon to be legendary, five-year mission not long ago.

    The United Federation of Planets is strong, expanding, and prosperous. Some fifty worlds are now represented in the Federation Council, united in their commitment to peace, democracy, the rule of law, free trade and mutual protection. The Federation's longtime rivals, the Klingons and Romulans, are now loosely allied, but to date have not mounted a major, concerted challenge to Federation interests in the quadrant.

    Starfleet, the Federation's exploratory, scientific and military arm, has grown in the past few years. Twenty Constitution-class heavy cruisers remain its backbone, but a host of other vessels - light cruisers, destroyers, scouts, couriers, tugs, research and other specialized craft - have more than tripled the size of the Fleet. Starfleet is committed to extending its reach to every corner of the Galaxy unclaimed by others or granted to the Federation by treaty.

    It's a good time to be a Starfleet officer, and those aboard the USS Yorktown often find themselves on the front lines of the challenges now facing the Federation.

    So prepare yourself for adventure where no one has gone before....
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 16 Sep 2013 at 09:39 AM.
       

  2. #2

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    Captain's Log, Stardate 6003.4. After three days we remain in orbit of Starbase 27, loading supplies, making minor repairs and arranging several personnel transfers. We also await the arrival of two VIPs whom we'll be taking to Omicron Ceti III. The research station, resort and spa there are due for a visit from a Starfleet ship, and it looks like we're it. I've granted shore leave to off-duty crew and may beam down myself.

    Will you remain aboard the Yorktown yourself, or enjoy some shore leave?
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 21 Aug 2013 at 04:13 PM.
       

  3. #3
    Ape must not kill ape! general_urko's avatar
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    There was a clear distinction in Ens. Booker Graham’s mind between a crap assignment and a punishment assignment. “Crap” to him meant a tour not quite far enough from Starfleet Command and/or Earth to escape all the bureaucratic B.S., with a ship captained by a C-plus player, or on a planet where local customs cramped your style.

    You could chalk up crap assignments to the luck of the draw: everyone—unless your name was James T. Kirk—drew a losing hand once in awhile. But with punishment assignments, you could tell somebody went out of their way to make sure you suffered a whole new level of miserable. Recon on a planet where the (constant) rain carried fungal spores that infect human skin: “Federation scientists have developed a vaccine that prevents any ill effects, but have as yet been unable to do anything about the smell….” Security duty on a long-range scientific mission of indescribable interest to the eggheads onboard, but so boring that you start hoping a competitive Klingon kickboxing team would chose the damn sector for a field trip, just to liven things up.

    Booker assumed his order to report to Starbase 27 presaged a crap assignment. It was a small, tame outpost mostly populated by Starfleet personnel. A perfect place to put an old Security specialist out to pasture handling…well, routine crap. It was far enough away from anything important to keep a troublemaker out of trouble—or to sweep any embarrassment he managed to create under the rug. The one thing nagging at him was the vagueness of the order: “Report to the Starfleet Personnel Officer on arrival.” No details about commanding offer or mission whatsoever. His guess was that whichever ship’s captains and installation commanders had spent the time to review his record had balked, and he was being dumped on Starbase 27 as part of a request by the Portmaster for a bunch of warm bodies to spread across various departments.

    In contrast, his Starfleet colleagues on the Swift, the little packet ship that had been the earliest transport from San Francisco, had clear marching orders. One was the biggest human he’d ever seen, so big Booker wondered if he had a glandular disorder that even the wonders of modern Federation medicine couldn’t fix. In fact, he was an affable xenobotanist without a violent bone in his body, a gentle giant most at home analyzing exotic plants.

    Then there was a Vulcan logistics expert who was pretty hot—except for her bowl cut. Booker couldn’t figure it out: a planet full of super-geniuses apparently lacking competent barbers didn’t make any sense. He wondered if the unflattering hairstyle showed off their ears better, or maybe the subtle contours of their pre-frontal cortexes. He didn’t ask her about it, instead making small talk about her assignment. This was a mistake: the longer Haircut went on about the application of game theory in supply-chain management using the principles of Tri-D chess, the more he wished he’d asked Hulk about nuts and flowers.

    He did feel a tug of regret as the ship’s CO announced the approach to Starbase 27. To be sure, he was glad to arrive: Haircut had misinterpreted his attempt to pass the time by undressing her with his eyes as interest in what she was saying (which was just as well, he thought: the last thing he needed was an inappropriate conduct complaint added to his record, and every time he had suffered a Vulcan nerve pinch—mostly in Starfleet combat training, but once or twice in a bar—it had left a knot in his shoulder that took weeks to work out) and had progressed to drawing complex graphs on a tablet to explain particularly important points.

    But Hulk seemed like a decent sort. Booker could imagine serving with him on ship and talking shop with the other Security lifers: “That’s what we do, people --we get bitten, shot and stabbed so the big guy can get his Denebian Dingleberry samples safely back to the lab.” Booker was good at that, very good, and he knew it, without being stuck-up about it. He supposed he’d be good at protecting the Portmaster's wife from unlicensed cats and after-hours noise violations by over-exuberant young ensigns on shore leave, too. But whether it was his own fault that he was damaged goods or not, he did wish for just one more shot out on the edge of danger on a ship of the line.
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 21 Aug 2013 at 10:38 PM.
       

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    Collins suggests to Ben that he meet her on the Starbase for some R&R and one-on-one time after her meeting with Vargas and Singh that afternoon.

    In the Captain's office, Collins tells her CO and the Captain "There is a personal matter of which you both should be aware. I am pregnant. Less than two months along. No, this was not planned. No, I have not yet made up my mind about keeping the baby. Yes, the father knows. I've already been to Sickbay, the baby is healthy. I know you two needed to know about this, but I hope we can keep it from the rest of the crew until I've made a decision."
       

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    Singh and Vargas look at each other. The Captain breaks into a big smile, shakes the Security officer's hand and says, "Congratulations, Mr. Collins! I'm glad things are going well so far. I know you'll think through and explore all of your medical options with Dr. Villa. There's a JAG Office here at the starbase if you have any legal questions, and of course if there's anything I can help with, I hope you'll let me know. You're a valued part of this crew and I hope you'll remain aboard as long as possible."

    The First Officer clears his throat and says, "Please allow me to add my congratulations, as well, Lieutenant," but doesn't sound especially encouraging.

    Cooper agrees to Collins's suggestion of R&R.

    As Ens. Graham beams down from the USS Swift, he's surprised to see an older man in a yellow Starfleet uniform shirt with a vice admiral's thick cuff rings go just ahead of him, accompanied by a Tellarite woman who looks a good bit younger than Graham, also in Command yellow but with a lieutenant commander's rings. He doesn't recognize either of them. The vice admiral's presence aboard the Swift had not been announced or even gossiped about during the trip from Earth. He must've stayed in his quarters all or most of the time, or Graham is sure he would've seen the man at some time aboard the small ship.

    Still mulling over that, Graham reports, as ordered, to the starbase's Personnel Officer, a worlds-weary Nigerian man with the look of a bored perennial lieutenant. "Graham," says the PO, tapping at a few keys on a data tablet. "Graham... Graham... ah, yes. Right, then. You've been assigned to the Yorktown as a Security officer. No change in rank or pay. Thumbprint here, please, and... here. Any questions?"
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 21 Aug 2013 at 10:55 PM.
       

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    Given the last few days, Rangin is definitely going to go for some shore leave and a chance to unwind away from the Yorktown.

    He checks to see if anyone else is going down to relax.
    In the land of the blind, the one-arm man is king.
       

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    When Kylah finds the cabin she and Collins share empty, she exhales in both relief and resignation. She's been putting off a task she should have performed ever since returning to the ship; perhaps now, while the ship is less populated, is the best time to endure it.

    Even now she procrastinates by first composing another message to T'Var. She asks the doctor whether she'll be taking shore leave, and if not, whether they might meet at T'Var's earliest convenience.

    Kylah hesitates before sending. If only she felt more comfortable--as in, not petrified out of her wits--revealing one of her secrets to yet another Starfleet officer, she suspects she'd be better off seeking out the ship's psychologist. In the short time since the Sakathian mission, Kylah has yet to pass a single night in a sound sleep, and this time she can't blame it on Collins's various emotional and physiological disturbances that have caused the older woman to toss and turn and get up for a trip to the head.

    Well, she can't entirely blame Collins, anyway. Kylah can almost always find room to blame Collins a little.

    But she knows her own nightmares aren't going away and the ship's psychologist is likely better equipped to deal with such things than T'Var, who--while kind and supportive--is still a Vulcan. She tries to solve problems with logic. There is no logic in Kylah's situation.

    Kylah grimaces and sends the message. T'Var remains her only option. Like it or not, she cannot bear the thought of confiding in another crew member merely to ease her mind. That is an indulgence she cannot afford. Only the dire circumstances and life-or-death necessity of her last mission, which required her to communicate her knowledge with T'Var, were capable of tearing the truth from her.

    Finally, Kylah hesitates while staring at the monitor. Closing her eyes for a moment to gird herself, she logs in to her personal communications to see if she's received any messages from Elas. It's her duty to report back to Aldaan, her guardian, but she's stubborn enough--and conflicted enough--to wait for him to press her for information. Which Aldaan had assured her he intended to do prior to her assignment with the Yorktown, under the guise of bidding her farewell with a congratulatory embrace. His intimate--and thus purposely intimidating--murmured promise to keep in touch still makes her shudder, accompanied as ever by his usual tight, unwelcome grip on her arm.

    Kylah enters her encrypted password and opens the folder.
    Last edited by choie; 22 Aug 2013 at 10:42 AM.
       

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    T'Var sits with Fujishiro. The doctor holds the comatose woman's hand. She spends a good deal of time here in meditation.

    Finally, she heads to her quarters. Once there, she acknowledges Kylah's message and replies that she looks forward to their meeting -- which can be on board the ship or perhaps a bit of shore leave would do them both some good. T'Var leaves it up to Kylah.
       

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    "Bullsh..." Gragham checked himself and covered his outburst by clearing this throat. His first instinct was that this deck jockey was having one over on him: the Yorktown was a Constitution-class starship. Every hot shot top-of-the-class Academy grad and newly minted Lieutenant who'd just made her bones by breaking the record for most commendations-per-hour of active duty time were fighting for a spot on those ships. But this guy had no reason to pick on him--and, moreove, if this were a joke Graham thought the Personnel Officer deserved the title of "world's most convincing straight man." He stood up a little straighter. "Ahem, excuse me--sir--I must have msiheard I thought you said the Yorktown...the Constitution-class ship?"
       

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    "Thank you, Sirs." Collins stands "I will keep you updated. Permission to disembark for shore leave?"
       

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    Several of Rangin's acquaintances will be taking shore leave. Anyone in particular he'd like to ask? The starbase itself has the usual amenities of bars, restaurants, theaters, gyms, gaming, dancing, shopping and the like, and a long, jagged mountain range to the west offers climbing, hiking and camping. The planet's oceans are filled with large and rather dangerous fish - somewhat similar to Earth sharks, but bigger - while the beaches are rocky and unsuitable for swimming in any event.

    Fujishiro's condition is unchanged, and she remains unresponsive. Dr. Villa smiles when she sees T'Var enter Sickbay, and nods ruefully.

    The PO raises an eyebrow and says, "You heard right, Ensign. You're going to the Yorktown. Report to the First Officer, a Cmdr. Vargas... says here he asked for you particularly."

    Singh says, "Permission granted, Mr. Collins. Have fun."
       

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    Graham squared his shoulders and snapped off a salute. "Thank you, sir."

    He immediately set out with a sense of purpose; a few minutes later, he had achieved his goal of finding the nearest bar.

    "Whisky, one..." he was tempted to say "bottle" but made peace with the fact that in short order he needed to present himself to this "Vargas" character at his new ship. A top-of-the-line ship. "Glass, neat. The real stuff, not the synthetic crap."

    Graham slammed the drink and sat, rolling the glass in his hand. "Asked for me specifically, eh," he wondered. He hadn't heard of this Vargas fellow and couldn't imagine why he would have done so. Graham supposed he's find out soon enough--but first things first.

    He settled his bill with a hefty tip to the bartender and found a public comm terminal. "Message to Elizabeth Haighton, Earth..." She didn't answer--she never answered. Graham didn't blame his daughter; maybe it was a small mercy that she didn't put him in the awkward position of trying to act like a dad in real time. He felt sure he's screw that up worse than he usually biffed leaving a message. "Hi, I...just wanted to let you know I have a new assignment. On a ship, the Yorktown. I..." Graham paused. He wanted to say "I love you," but he felt compelled to say "I'm sorry."

    What a jerk, he thought, clenching his fists as the pause lengthened. What a pathetic piece of garbage excuse for a father. "I hope your studies are going well," he said quickly and signed off.

    Now for something I'm good at, dammit, he mumbled, cracking his knuckles. Attacking the commlink with every legal method he knew for collecting information--and a few that crossed into gray territory--he asked for everything he could get on a "'Commander Vargas' on the Yorktown."
       

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    Graham is able to find out quite a bit about Vargas. Cmdr. Pablo Echevarria Vargas, First Officer and Chief of Security of the USS Yorktown, was born an only child near Lima, Peru. He went through public schools, graduated near the top of his class from Starfleet Academy and then moved rapidly up through the ranks. He formerly served as First Officer of the USS Essex and Deputy Chief of Security of the Valiant, among other postings, and has received several decorations for both valor and merit. His most recent official image in the Starfleet personnel database reveals a tall, balding man in his sixties with an aquiline nose and an aristocratic air. Comments by subordinates, past and present, on various Starfleet-related anonymous-opinion netsites reveal that many consider Vargas to be a difficult superior: he expects excellence in his subordinates, demands results, and is accustomed to getting his way. He is a skilled chess player but has no other known hobbies.

    Kylah, in her quarters, reads this message:

    Esteemed Kylah,

    It has been a while since His Serenity, the Council of Nobles, and I, your loving Guardian, have received any news from you. His Serenity shows considerable graciousness in asking me to send his adopted sister his good wishes, which I am fortunate enough to direct to you.

    All of us would delight in hearing of your experiences thus far. Indeed, I expected to have heard from you long before I needed to send you such a reminder. It is, of course, understood that yours is a new posting and thus you are no doubt busy. A position such as yours aboard a vessel of such repute is a great privilege as well as a responsibility, one that I am sure you do not take lightly. Rest assured none of us take it lightly either.

    Nevertheless, I scarcely need remind you that as the only Elasian in Starfleet you have a duty to uphold your position in a manner that does honor to your exalted role in His Serenity’s household. This includes imparting any tales of life in this new society that might enlighten us, so that we, as new Federation members, may have a more thorough understanding of other unique and worthy cultures.

    Kindly send word of your health and any news of your duties that you feel may be of interest to us. As a personal aside, I also hope you are keeping up with the music studies in which you showed such promise. Please do not hesitate to send any recordings or compositions you may have created. I urge you not to think we have forgotten your talents in this area.

    Yours, with the grace of His Serenity your brother, as well as the personal affection I bear for you,

    Aldaan
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 25 Aug 2013 at 02:57 PM. Reason: Ital portion by choie.
       

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    Graham reviews what he's discovered, ensures the appropriate requisitions are in place to send his personal effects along to the Yorktown, and then makes his way to the ship in order to report in.
       

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    Collins beams down to the Starbase and messages Cooper to meet her in the coffee house in the promenade. She orders a no-caf latté and sits. While she waits, she tries to imagine herself as a mother. She thinks back to her own childhood and what a little devil she'd been at times. Suddenly, she finds herself missing her mother very much. Jeremi knows should call home, but she hasn't the slightest idea what to tell her parents. She can small-talk until the end of time with them, but the important stuff never came easy. I'll wait until I've decided before I call. No sense in getting their hopes up. She sips her latté and stares ahead, lost in thought.
       

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    Rangin decides that going camping again might not be such a hot idea given what happened last time. Relaxing in a bar He checks to see if Pourtash or Kylah are heading down and want to meet up and unwind? If there is anyone else in the science area, then he'll ask them as well.
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    Graham is able to make the necessary arrangements, and is soon beamed aboard the Yorktown. The transporter tech, an older Asian man in Engineering red coveralls, looks at him expectantly from behind the console.

    Collins is on her second no-caf latté, watching the world go by, when Cooper appears from the passing crowd and kisses her on the cheek, saying, "Sorry to keep you waiting, Jeri. Last-minute holdup on the ship." He orders a mocha and takes a seat across the small table from her. Handsome devil, Collins thinks.

    Pourtash tells Rangin he's going to skip shore leave this time; Kylah doesn't immediately respond. Among Rangin's Science acquaintances, Lts. Katrin Gunnarsdottir, the ship's geologist, and Vivien Devereaux, the planetologist, as well as Ens. Chris Johnson, a sensor specialist, all plan to beam down within the hour. Others are already on the surface.
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 23 Aug 2013 at 02:54 PM.
       

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    "Let's walk around and see what's here," Jeremi suggests to her beau, "Then maybe dinner and a show? Or perhaps some racquetball and a swim? Then we can find a quiet corner for other physical pursuits." She smiles and winks with a little mischief in her eyes. She has missed being with Ben.
       

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    Kylah massages her temples as she rereads Aldaan’s message. Just the sight of his familiar greeting made a lump of dread tighten her throat, and the rest of the text hasn’t improved things. After years at the Academy she’s easily able to translate her Guardian’s words. Despite the apparent warmth, flattery and benign interest within, each line has a meaning that ranges from flat disapproval to warning to insinuation to outright demand that she comply with his intelligence-gathering.

    The music comments are particularly deft. Anyone reading them would simply consider Aldaan’s interest in her artistic ventures almost… paternal. A word Kylah would never want associated with this man; since she reached 18 (and some years before, in truth), Aldaan has made his preference for an entirely different relationship very clear. Not for the first time, Kylah blesses the light years that lie between them.

    She shifts her gaze to the dresser compartment where she keeps her zither. Using the musical notation code she herself devised years ago, composing a song to impart the desired information will likely only take an hour. And, once decoded, her news about the Sakathian mission will surely make Aldaan’s storm-cloud gray, ever-acquisitive eyes beam with pleasure.

    Kylah grits her teeth, turns back to the screen, and—for now—closes the despised message. The last words she sees are “the personal affection I bear you…” Another flush of anger rises within her, but before it bubbles over she switches to the two new message notifications on her internal communications screen. The request from Rangin lightens her spirits; someone asking to spend time with her, without her even initiating it? That is a rarity. Her mood improves further when she sees T’Var’s message as well.

    Perhaps shore leave is a good idea, if only for an afternoon or evening. Kylah quickly agrees to meet with T’Var, though she does request that they speak on board the ship—perhaps tonight, if she’s not busy? Kylah can’t imagine anywhere on the starbase that would afford her the privacy she needs.

    To Rangin, she replies that yes, she would be interested in joining him. She’s almost shy as she types this; a tiny part in back of her mind still wonders if he has some ulterior motive, because she’s simply never been someone with whom people willingly spend free time. But her knowledge of Rangin belies this unfair suspicion. During the mission he was truly a refreshing and valuable companion. Offering to beam down with him, she sends the message, then—with a final dark glance at her waiting zither—goes to wash her face before heading out.

    Shore leave should be a relief. At the very least, it buys her some more time before she’s forced to perform her duty toward Elas.
       

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    Graham takes a slow, deliberate look around. “Ensign Booker Graham, Security. My orders are to report to a ‘Commander Vargas.’” He relaxes his posture and tries to look friendly. “This is one heck of ship—it must be good to be on her engineering team, Mister—?“
       

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    Cooper says, "Whatever you like, Jer. Your choice." They finish their drinks, join hands and take a stroll. Starbase 27 is by no means a fleshpot, but there are diversions to be found. As the violet sky darkens into night, they find a nice hole-in-the-wall Italian restaurant for dinner. Walking off the pasta afterwards, they see that the base's theater is showing the latest vids: the Andorian drama Dear Enemies, Bitter Friends; the comedy Fart in Your Own Damn Spacesuit; a Rigellian remake of Macbeth; and the Hollywood action-adventure The Romulan Gambit. There are several racquetball courts at a nearby gym, free to Starfleet personnel, and an Olympic-size swimming pool as well.

    Kylah and Rangin are able to coordinate plans to beam down.

    "Chief Nguyen," the transporter tech says to Graham with a nod. "Welcome, Ensign. It's customary to say 'Permission to come aboard,' but of course you knew that. Permission granted. Cmdr. Vargas is the First Officer and Chief of Security." He punches a comm button. "Transporter Room to Cmdr. Vargas."

    "Vargas here."

    "Chief Nguyen here, sir. Ens. Booker Graham has just beamed aboard. Would you like him to come to your office?"

    "Yes, please. Vargas out."

    "Aye, sir."

    The Asian man says, "Mr. Vargas's office is on Deck 17. I have to remain here, I'm afraid. Would you like an escort, sir, or can you find your own way?"
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 23 Aug 2013 at 11:28 PM.
       

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    Graham raises his hands. "No disrespect intended, Chief. I've been...let’s call it ‘grounded’ ...for a while. I don't take it lightly that I have a chance to be back on a ship of the line."

    Graham takes a moment to take stock of the room: anything similar to or different from what he’s seen on other ships? If angry Klingons were burning their way through the door, where would he want to be positioned for the best field of fire? How many people could one person at the console get off the ship, and how fast? He files away his observations for future reference.

    “I suppose I can find deck 17…one above 16, one below 18, right? But…uh…when I walk out that door, which way is the turbo lift?”
       

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    Collins mulls over the choice of vids for a moment, then says definitively "Racquetball." She grabs Ben's hand and runs towards the gym.
       

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    The Transporter Room looks much like any other Graham has ever seen on a Constitution-class heavy cruiser. Chief Nguyen smiles. "Out this door, to your left down the corridor, sir." Graham thanks him and leaves. The hallway is not too crowded - Graham realizes that much of the crew is probably down on the planet - but several passing crew nod, smile or say hello, including one curvy young Latina in Science blue. He finds the turbolift without difficulty.

    Cooper kind of wanted to see the comedy movie (the ancient term still persists alongside the more modern "vid"), truth be told, but yields to Collins's wishes with only a little good-natured grumbling. They get athletic wear, shoes and racquets from a Bolian attendant, and play several fast-paced rounds of racquetball, working up a good sweat.
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 24 Aug 2013 at 10:59 AM.
       

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    T'Var acknowledges Kylah's reply and offers her the option of meeting in either the doctor's quarters or her own. Or perhaps Kylah has another place in mind on board the ship?

    Once their meeting is over, T'Var will strongly consider a bit of shore leave -- though she will find it difficult to relax and enjoy herself while thinking of Fujishiro. Still, she must once again come to terms with losing a patient and move on. It is not only the way of a Vulcan, but also the way of the physician.
       

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    Collins walks over to Ben, puts her arms around his neck and kisses him. "That was fun," she says "How about a swim to cool down?"
       

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    Her face washed and hair combed, Kylah is about to leave the cabin when she spots the incoming message from T'Var. She quickly types: "Your quarters, if they're private, please. I do not know Mr. Collins's plans for this evening." Though I can well imagine. Kylah realizes she has no idea of Collins's partner has his own quarters, or if he dispossesses his roommate for their trysts. Perhaps I should meet him. Wickedly, she envisions coordinating their schedules one night to ensure both she and this hypothetical roommate are busy in their cabins, thus forcing the romantic duo to relocate... possibly in a storage closet somewhere. A smirk pulls her lips sideways at the thought.

    Shaking her head, she finishes her message with: "I am meeting Mr. Rangin on the Starbase but am certain to return by 21:00. I will visit you then if that is convenient."

    Kylah's actually dreading talking with T'Var--not because she dislikes the Vulcan, but because she's spent so much effort for the past few days trying to ignore this particular topic. It's the only way she's managed to fulfill her duties. But she knows it must be done. Bottling things inside is not helping her sleep.

    In the meantime she makes sure the metaphorical cork is tightly containing the bottle's contents, and then heads down to the Starbase to see what enjoyment she can take from a day off.
       

  28. #28
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    Graham is a bit distracted, ruminating on why Vargas could possibly have requested him. But he tries to take stock of his surroundings like a good security officer—noting things like access hatches, emergency bulkhead locations, or potential choke points.

    He also tries to make it a point to nod or crack a smile (perhaps a little grimly) to acknowledge greetings from crew members—including an attractive female science officer who seems friendly.

    Having found the turbo lift, he asks for “deck 17.”
       

  29. #29
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    Certain that her roommate, Cecilia Bennett, would be more than willing to provide T'Var some private time in their shared quarters, the doctor confirms her meeting with Kylah.

    My quarters when you return from shore leave.

    T'Var sends the message to Kylah, then settles down to catch up on a few interesting medical journal articles.
    Last edited by WES; 25 Aug 2013 at 11:39 AM.
       

  30. #30

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    Collins and Cooper get swimsuits from an attendant and change into them. They enjoy a cool and refreshing swim in the large pool, which they have to share with only a half-dozen other people.

    Kylah and Rangin beam down to the surface and begin discussing what to do.

    Graham finds his way to the First Officer's office and Vargas invites him in. The decor is quite austere; a framed picture of an elderly couple is the only personal touch that Graham observes. Vargas is seated behind an uncluttered desk and is much as he appeared in the image which the Security man saw earlier.

    Graham stands at attention and says, "Ens. Booker Graham, reporting for duty, sir."

    Vargas nods. "Welcome aboard, Ensign. At ease." He does not invite Graham to sit down. "I suppose you're wondering why, given your career to date, you were assigned to the Yorktown?"

    Lt. JG Cecilia Bennett is on duty on the Bridge; T'Var hasn't seen her for several hours. The Vulcan healer soon finds herself quite engrossed in a lengthy article in The Lancet on a multiyear study of Argelian pulmonary diseases.
       

  31. #31

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    While letting Rangin decide their agenda, Kylah takes advantage of the opportunity to assess him--it's the first real chance she's had to look carefully at her fellow crew member since they entered quarantine. She's very glad to see Rangin looking as well as he does, and tells him so warmly. "You seem much improved since... everything," she says, ending somewhat awkwardly. The less she refers to the research station the better--there will be enough talk of that tonight with T'Var.

    Her peripheral gaze is noting the many sights of the promenade and the planet beyond. The mountain range is especially captivating. But she focuses mostly on her crewmember. "How have you been feeling?"
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 27 Aug 2013 at 09:56 AM. Reason: Edited by GM at choie's request.
       

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    Collins hoists herself up to sit on the side of the pool and playfully splashes Cooper with her feet.
       

  33. #33
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    Graham relaxes into parade rest position. He nods. “I confess it has crossed my mind, sir.”

    The First Officer says, "Well, I will...." He stops, frowns, and sniffs the air. "Have you been drinking, Ensign?"

    Graham smiles ever so slightly. "You know, Commander, I was all the more curious about this assignment because I dug up everything I could find about you. And it was obvious that you would never be careless or cavalier about who you let on your crew. But apparently my research failed to discover the fact that you have a nose like a Terran bloodhound." Graham nods and the smile disappears. "I'd tell you I daintily toasted my luck, just a sip of brandy or wine, but that would be bull. I found a bar and had a belt of whisky after I left the Personnel Office. A few years ago I might have made it a bottle - but that's in the past."

    Vargas raises an eyebrow. "I've never been told that my sense of smell is particularly acute, Mr. Graham. Whatever vintage you chose is quite... pungent. I otherwise commend you on your diligence in finding out more about me. To be blunt, I was aware of your past alcohol abuse, but your more recent crew evaluations have been much more encouraging. I asked that you be assigned to the Yorktown because I think you have the potential to be a better officer - a much better officer - than you've generally let yourself be over the course of your career thus far. The Captain agreed. Were we mistaken?"

    Graham stands a little straighter. "I don't believe in redemption, sir." He pauses a moment, clenching his jaw. He continues slowly and deliberately. "But I do believe in payback. I still owe Starfleet a debt...and you can count on me to make good on it if you give me the chance."

    "I see. Why don't you believe in redemption - as I do - and what is the nature of that debt, Ensign?"

    Graham shifts a little uncomfortably. "You know how it is in Security, Commander--when you screw up, people get hurt. I'm not talking about beating yourself up about circumstances beyond anyone's control, or bad luck..." he leans forward and points at his own chest; his tone is biting. "I'm talking about arrogantly ticking off reason after reason why you're right and everyone else is wrong...and then counting the bodies afterward."

    "I screwed up," he goes on. "And then I screwed up some more. But when 'the rules' and politics gave Starfleet every reason to drum me out of the service, there were people who didn't let 'the process' grind on and throw me to the wolves. I won't let them down....down again." Graham resumes parade rest and shakes his head slightly. "But once upon a time I was oh-so-certain I could keep people safe. I don't think I'll ever believe that...or deserve to believe that... again. But I'm good at drawing fire and hurting bad guys, and if that can keep some people safe too, so be it."

    Vargas steeples his fingers before him and looks intently at the younger man. "I expect you'll have more than a few opportunities to do so here, Mr. Graham. You would do well, I suggest, to obey my and the Captain's orders implicitly, and to be mindful of your more self-destructive tendencies. You're no good to this ship and crew if you beat yourself up so much as to deprive us of the full value of your services. So. Anything further?"

    "No sir," Graham replies. "I appreciate the opportunity...I'll earn my right to a place here." Graham almost adds "...or die trying," which comes to mind as a bit of grim humor--but given the conversation so far he concludes doing so might win him a trip to Sickbay for a psych eval. "I'm ready to get to it, Commander."

    "Very well. Get settled into your quarters," he consults a data pad, "that's 7G33, on Deck 7, Mr. Graham. Then we have a VIP coming aboard in 40 minutes. Report to Transporter Room 1 at that time in dress uniform, with white gloves, for honor guard duty. Dismissed."
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 27 Aug 2013 at 08:47 PM. Reason: Graham's dialogue by general_urko; Vargas's by Elendil's Heir
       

  34. #34
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    "Well there's plenty to do here, we could play some sports, relax in a bar, catch a movie, eat a proper meal cooked in a proper kitchen. There's a few others from sciences around if you want to meet some more people. I'm probably not up to..." he suddenly realises Kylah has been watching him and is now speaking.

    He listens to her questions and waits for her to finish.

    "Sorry, I'm going on a bit.", he pauses, thinking, before speaking in a lower,perhaps wearier tone. "I'm recovering, physically at least. Although I don't think I'll be up to a long distance hike for a while. Shame really, there are some good trails around." His voice tails off as his eyes go distant remembering what happen on the station. "It will probably take me a lot longer to get over thinking about it. I don't think I have ever been that scared and terrified before. I'm hoping I can forget about it, if only for a few hours doing something fun in pleasant company, if only to take the edge of it. Remind myself, that there is...." His voice tails off again as his thoughts once again drift back.

    Shaking his head, he looks up at Kylah and smiles. "Listen to me, burdening you with my problems. After all, you're one of those who already pulled me out of trouble the once," there's a wry smile on his face, "and I don't even know that much about you. Well, the least I can do is buy some drinks for starters..."

    There's a light pause while he waits for some sign of acknowledgement from Kylah.

    "...that is, if you're interested?"
    In the land of the blind, the one-arm man is king.
       

  35. #35

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    Kylah watches her companion carefully. Rangin seems more anxious than she would have thought him considering his decisive behavior during the mission; his nerves, oddly, somehow put her at ease. They appear to have much in common. She has not forgotten that he shared her outrage regarding certain decisions by Collins, and was more active in fighting the slime devils than Pourtash. And his admission--that he, too, is haunted by the experience--immediately fills Kylah with gratitude for his honesty.

    "Of course, something to drink," Kylah says, nodding toward what looks like a not-too-raucous pub and trying on a rare smile, though it lasts only fleetingly. Likely he did not see it. She keeps her voice warm and soft. "I am sorry you are still physically affected by your wounds. I hope they improve sooner than expected. And I--" Suddenly embarrassed about revealing anything like this, even though Rangin was open and brave enough to acknowledge his own feelings, Kylah glances down at the ground. "I think I shall always remember that mission. I was not expecting my first assignment to be anything nearly so... disastrous. Dangerous. I never thought, as a communications officer, I would see such things..."

    Her nervous gaze returns to examine Rangin. She's surely not cheering him any, and she forces a lighter tone. "I dare not say much about myself, as whenever I do, Dr. T'Var warns me off the subject. I might expect her to appear and chastize me again, no matter where we are," she adds, trying to affect a friendly manner similar to how others interacted at the Academy, or how her mother used to entertain her guests with such style and grace. Of course now Kylah's worried that she sounds as if she's insulting T'Var. It is absurd, this should not be so difficult...

    Kylah hurries on. "I--I would much rather hear of you. How long you've served in Starfleet, what led you here... How you became interested in xenobiology?"
    Last edited by choie; 26 Aug 2013 at 06:08 PM.
       

  36. #36

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    Cooper splashes Collins right back, then grabs her feet and pulls her back into the pool.
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 27 Aug 2013 at 08:33 PM.
       

  37. #37
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    Rangin isn't sure how to take Kylah's words, but her concern for him is warming.

    "Look, it was an assignment that went horribly wrong and we did the best we could. None of us, who were there, are going to forget it in a hurry."

    He stops and looks at her, wondering what thoughts are running through her head, she seems so uncertain about how to act. In the mission, she seemed a lot more confident, or perhaps forward when acting, but now she seems unsure. Strange that she doesn't want to talk about herself because of Dr T'Var. But it could just be a reason to try and stay private without saying so.

    Letting it slide, he could probably talk enough for both of them, and hopes that whatever stories he decides to tell, whether it be of Coridan or of discovering creatures, hopefully will be enough to make her relax and possibly smile. Yeah, she really should smile more often, he thought. She has been so serious, but a mention of what happened last time he went camping might break through that concerned exterior. Dr T'var might only crack a smile, perhaps he can get Kylah to laugh.

    "Ok, let me tell you of the beautiful sights of Coridan and how I wound up where I am today. Although perhaps I should start with the reason as to why I am not going camping today, apart from the welcome company of course."

    He gestures to the bar she nodded towards and starts to move in that direction while waiting for her to walk with him. He suddenly realises he's not sure if Kylah is her first or last name.

    "By the way, while we are down here, just relaxing, please call me Velir."
    In the land of the blind, the one-arm man is king.
       

  38. #38
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    T'Var finishes her reading and yawns several times. The doctor realizes that she's quite tired despite her strong Vulcan constitution. She will attempt to rest a while -- at least until Kylah arrives later on.
       

  39. #39

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    Kylah thanks him for allowing her to call him 'Velir' and adds, "I would return the honor but I am already just called Kylah. There are other titles we Elasians add onto names, those signifying one's patrilineal descent and finally the family's House, but of course, they are inappropriate in Starfleet and I haven't used them since I was back on Elas." She doesn't add that she's actually been stripped of her patrilineal name; no need to get into that.

    She follows Rangin--Velir--into the bar and will be happy to listen to his tales and drinking any sweet beverage the pub might offer. It seems like a pleasant way to spend the hours--though she does briefly mention that she must return by 21:00 in order to keep an appointment.
       

  40. #40
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    "You mean a surname. You have a surname but its inappropriate in Starfleet." Rangin starts trying to hold back a laugh, "I dread to think what would be so inappropriate."

    He turns slightly red as he tries to prevent himself corpsing. "I'm sorry, there could be a hundred reasons as to why, it's...just...". He takes a deep breath and starts again.

    "Please accept my apologies, Kylah."

    Rangin orders drinks for them of whatever looks good and assures Kylah that there is no problem with her going if is she has an important appointment to go to. He then tells her of what happened last time he went camping on Morra III and why he won't be going camping for a little while longer. Looking back on it, its funny, though at the time, his mishaps didn't feel so good. Then he just talk about Coridan and how he fell into his current line of work.
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  41. #41

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    The bar, Bevin's, offers libations from at least a hundred different worlds. There are several Coridanite beverages available, including semmin beer, daul brandy and hyen, a type of sweet liqueur, but nothing from Elas - or Troyius, for that matter. Despite the many patrons crowding the place, about half of whom are in Starfleet uniform, Rangin and Kylah have no problem hearing each other.
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 27 Aug 2013 at 02:03 PM.
       

  42. #42

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    It takes a while for Kylah to relax after Rangin's not-well-hidden amusement; like most in her family, she's not one to take kindly to perceived mockery, and Kylah's particularly defensive when she thinks she's the object of ridicule. But after a glass of hyen--well, two--she unstiffens her shoulders. The alcohol also makes her more receptive, and she senses no disrespect in Rangin. Kylah would probably need to order a third glass in order to join in his laughter but she's not willing to meet T'Var in such an inebriated state. Or even more of an inebriated state. This liqueur is stronger than expected.

    She does appreciate his stories, and searches her mind for some light tale to respond with. "I'll tell you a secret," she says, patting his hand for emphasis just before realizing that's probably inappropriate and withdrawing immediately. "We should play the earth game of poker. I'm unbeatable. In fact in order for me to be allowed to play at the 'cademy, I had to lose on purpose. They wouldn't have let me in otherwise. Only reason they did the first time was b'cause they thought I'd be a--what is it called? An easy mark." She shakes her head and smirks. "Couldn't hide anything, they thought. Fools. I hide plenty, believe me. 'Ventually they stopped inviting me but I did not care. Do not care." She looks at the drink in her hand and curls her hand around the small glass. Better stop now, a warning voice murmurs somewhere inside her.

    Pushing the glass away, Kylah turns back to Rangin and points a somewhat unsteady finger at him. "And it is not a last name," she adds suddenly as if their conversation from an hour ago is still continuing. "It's my father's name. Tyrohn, that is... or that is what I thought it was. But that doesn't matter. We only call ourselves by our full titles in very very formal occasions. I was Kylah out of Tyrohn of the House of the Silver Weeping Tree. That's my family crest. This big tree with droopy branches, silver leaves..."

    She tries to show him how the branches fall downward but then gives up. "Now I'm just Kylah of the House of the Silver Weeping Tree, and I'm lucky to even get that much. But would you want to be called that on duty? 'Open a channel, Mr. House of the Silver Weeping Tree.' 'Sit down and don't talk until you're told, Mr. House of the Silver Weeping Tree.' Absurd. Can you imagine? No, Vilar... Velir." Her chin lifts as proudly as she can manage it. "I was called Kylah and they cannot take that from me!"
    Last edited by choie; 27 Aug 2013 at 02:55 PM.
       

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    Having spent the majority of the time talking and not drinking, Rangin notices Kylah's hand patting his and can see the slightly looser attitude she has. He pretends not to notice, putting it down to her unfamiliarity with the drink. Although the smile that's creeping across her face, well the smile is impressive.

    He's about to respond to her comments about poker, when she launches into something about her last name. It take Rangin a couple of moments to realise what she was talking about.

    He looks at Kylah swirling the remains of the drink in the glass, wondering what to say next without possibly insulting her, or making it worse.

    "Good for you, and I, Velir Rangin, salute you," he says raising the glass in salute, "Kylah is a great name and I'm glad they can't take it from you. I would also be delighted if you want to teach me how to play poker. I tend to get cleaned out when it comes to poker night. But lastly....".

    He pauses hoping it won't be taken the wrong way, "...that hyen is a bit stronger than you might think. If you have an appointment later tonight, you might want to switch to something different."
    In the land of the blind, the one-arm man is king.
       

  44. #44
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    Still in the water, Jeremi hugs Ben. "What would you like to now?" she asks.
       

  45. #45

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    T'Var lies down and falls asleep without difficulty.

    In the bar, a waiter comes by, grinning. "Another round?" he asks Kylah and Rangin.

    Ben hugs Jeremi even harder. "A nightcap," he says, "or off to bed...?"
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 27 Aug 2013 at 08:48 PM.
       

  46. #46
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    Tough old buzzard, Graham thought as he retraced his steps to the turbo lift—but worthy of respect. Vargas was neither a bureaucrat nor a politician, a compliment in Graham’s opinion. He heads for his assigned quarters with the intention once there of quickly taking stock of his new berth, confirming the location of Transporter Room 1, and changing into his dress uniform in order to be on station in time for the arrival of the “VIP.”
       

  47. #47

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    It takes a few seconds for Kylah's brain to process Rangin's words of caution, and since they echo her own, she has to agree and thus shakes her head so vociferously at the bartender that her brown curls tumble loosely over her eyes. Sweeping them aside in irritation, she looks at her nearly empty drink, and a flush warms her cheeks. She almost never drinks except for ceremonial events. Has she been injudicious? What did she just tell Rangin? And what will the logical, rational T'Var think of her if she arrives in such a state? The things she wishes to discuss must not be mistaken for some drunken ramblings.

    Kylah leans toward Rangin, as serious and trepidatious as if she expects a slime devil to jump out at them. "I do think I had too much," she whispers, staring deeply into his eyes. "I cannot meet the doctor like this! Is there an anecdote?" She pauses, scowling, and before Rangin can respond, she almost barks out: "Antidote, I mean! Something to clear me up? My..." She gestures vaguely towards her head. "My mind?"
    Last edited by choie; 28 Aug 2013 at 02:30 AM.
       

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    As Kylah had leaned across, so had Rangin to hear her whisper and gets the full force of those deep eyes. For a moment he is lost in them, while the rest of his brain tries to process what Kylah is saying. He blinks a couple of times to gather his thoughts through the alcohol before leaning back slightly and asking the waiter for two coffees and some food, preferably slightly greasy and stodgy for both of them.

    He tries to remember just how many drinks Kylah had, and guesses it was more than just the two or that she has no alcohol tolerance at all. He leans back in and speaks quietly to her, keeping his eyes fixed on her face.

    "Ok, I think you've had enough. Now normally, I would suggest going to the good doctor to get something to help, but that might not be the best idea. We have a few hours left, so have a coffee and some food, it will help. We can take a walk to get some fresh air into you and then I would suggest you head back to your quarters, shower and freshen up before your meeting."

    He smiles at her and enquires, "You haven't done that much drinking before have you?"
    In the land of the blind, the one-arm man is king.
       

  49. #49

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    Graham finds his quarters, 7G33, without too much trouble. It's a big ship but is laid out logically - his cabin is on Deck 7, Section G, Room 33, which is in the starboard aft quarter of the primary hull. The door swooshes open when he thumbs the entry button, and he sees that his personal gear has already been delivered. Graham is surprised and pleased to see a familiar figure rise from the desk; Ens. Faisal Mahmoud strides forward to shake his hand.

    "Booker, you ornery old redshirt," the Libyan man says, "it's great to see you again!"
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 28 Aug 2013 at 10:35 AM.
       

  50. #50
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    "Both" Collins answers. "Maybe we could find some accommodations here instead of going back to the ship yet?"
       

  51. #51

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    Cooper smiles. "I think I know just the place."

    They shower and get dressed, and he leads her to the Nebula, a gleaming duranium-and-glass hotel a few blocks away. He reserves a bedroom for later. There is a stylish bar, not too crowded, on the top floor with a breathtaking view of the mountains. A neojazz combo is playing quietly in one corner. The couple settles into a leather banquette and Cooper orders a Saurian brandy.

    "And what'll you have, miss?" the waitress asks.
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 28 Aug 2013 at 01:44 PM.
       

  52. #52

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    Listening to Rangin's advice attentively, Kylah nods and lets him order the coffee and food, which makes her realize somewhat belatedly how hungry she actually is. She finds herself staring at the bartender in hopes that this might somehow encourage the meal to arrive more quickly. When it strikes her that Rangin asked her a question, Kylah reluctantly breaks her imaginary psychic link with the kitchen and returns her focus on her companion.

    "No, I do not drink very often. Some ceremonies require it... we have a lot of ceremonies, even more since my--since Aldaan became ambassador to the Federation." The word ambassador is oddly hard to pronounce and when she finishes she tests it a couple of times under her breath to figure out why it's so difficult. Shrugging, she continues: "But I just have some wine to fulfill my duty. I was relieved once we allied with the Federation in the end. Bloodwine is revolting. I could not bear more than a sip. I don't know how Aldaan manages it. Those he wishes so greatly to impress just laugh at his attempts. As do I. To myself, anyway. He may have grown better at it by now."

    She looks down at Rangin's glass. "You have not had much yourself. Do you not drink? Alcohol, that is? I know you drink water. Do you think the food will arrive soon?"
       

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    "Cosmopolitan, with Iotian vodka please." Collins answers the young woman. She turns to Ben "Should we get something to eat as well, Sweetie?"
       

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    "Food will arrive when it does, and a watched kitchen always produces food for another table." is Rangin's reply.

    "Oh, I know how to drink and I know when to drink, but as I have been regaling you with a variety of tales, I haven't had that much this time round. Thank you for listening by the way and I hope at least some of them were entertaining enough for you."

    Rangin checks to see how much longer they have before Kylah needs to return.
    In the land of the blind, the one-arm man is king.
       

  55. #55

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    Ben says gently, "I'm not hungry, but do you think you should be drinking alcohol, with the baby...?"

    The waiter brings coffee to Kylah and Rangin. She is due to meet with T'Var in just under two hours. What did they order to eat?
       

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    "Yeah, about that." Collins was hoping to avoid this conversation until breakfast, but well, here it is. She holds Ben's hands in hers. "I do love you, but I am not ready for a family. We've been dating for less than a month. I don't know what kind of father you'll be - I barely know what kind of mother I'd be. Let's hold off for a while and get to know each other much better before we inflict ourselves on life dependent on us."
       

  57. #57

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    The waitress's eyes widen and she tactfully withdraws.

    Ben's face falls. "That's... aw, crap. I'm sorry to hear you say that." He squeezes her hand and pulls his own back. He sighs. "So... an abortion? Or would you put the baby up for adoption?"
       

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    "I'm going to Sickbay tomorrow when we get back to the ship." Jeremi senses Ben closing off to her. "I know you're disappointed, and I'm sorry if I have hurt you. This is the right decision for me. If you want to cut our evening short, I completely understand."
       

  59. #59

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    He seems stunned. "I don't... I just... well, come on, let's talk about this. Is there anything I can say to get you to reconsider?" He takes her hand again and looks deeply into her eyes. He pauses and thinks, then takes a deep breath. "I know you love me, and I love you. You know that, Jeri. You should... you do. I know it sounds corny. And please, forgive me for asking, but...," he hesitates, "is there any love in your heart for this new life we've created? This new life that's growing inside you, taking shape, even now?"
       

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    Kylah nods at Rangin, whose politeness is endearing. Many men she has known--and several women too--are happy to chatter on without a care of how much listening the other person must do as a result. "Yes, I found your stories entertaining," she says seriously. "And thank you for them. I have not been able to keep my mind occupied on much other than my duties and the mission. This was a much needed change."

    She can't help glancing toward the kitchen again, despite his playful words of warning earlier. "I am not good at waiting for food," she says by way of an apology. "Yet I don't even know what you ordered aside from the coffee. I hope it is something I can eat with my hands." Kylah lifts her hands up and mimes grabbing hold of the air in front of her. "That is one thing I do miss about our time before the Federation. Back then meals were so much more... physical, I suppose? None of these forks and knives and so on between you and your food. If we wanted a hart's leg we could just grab it from the tray and eat it at once. The experience was a treat for every sense, especially the one of touch. The moist softness of the meat in your grasp, the warm juice on your lips..."

    She sighs with almost dreamy nostalgia, absently running her fingertips along her mouth at the memories. Then her brow lowers with a slight frown. "But if I were to eat that way now? I would be called a barbarian. So I use the knife and fork, just as our Federation betters insisted. I suppose it is neater and offends fewer people, but I regret that eating has become less sensual. Sensory," Kylah corrects, dropping her hands back on the table and fiddling discontentedly with the soggy coaster beneath her glass. She suddenly squints and looks back at Rangin. "I am sorry, I cannot remember... have I already asked you what you ordered?"
    Last edited by choie; 28 Aug 2013 at 11:23 PM.
       

  61. #61
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    "That's a hell of a question," Jeremi is a little taken aback "If I say 'no', I sound heartless; If I say 'yes', then I am evil for not letting it grow" She shakes her head in disbelief. "How am I supposed to answer that kind of a question? This wasn't planned. We've not made a long term commitment to each other. I know myself well enough to know I am not ready for this. Being a parent is major commitment of time and energy. What's to say that after the baby is born, something happens to one of us, or we get reassigned to separate ships? No, this is not the right time for me to have a baby." In an effort to lighten the mood a little, she adds "Now, if you can figure out a way for you to carry it to term, I might reconsider." She smiles weakly.
       

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    "Oh good," replies Rangin, "Then I hope you like what I ordered. I wasn't going for anything fancy, but perhaps something more enjoyable. After all, we are meant to be relaxing and enjoying ourselves. I ordered two large flame grilled burgers with side orders of fries, or at least the nearest equivalent this bar serves. I wasn't sure you would enjoy the Coridan version at this point in time, so maybe another time. I hope they are acceptable."

    If she wants to use her fingers, and feel more comfortable that way, then Rangin is happy to join in. It's not something he would normally do, but he smiles back across at Kylah. "Now if I was Vulcan, like the good Dr T'var, she would probably be appalled by our eating habits while doing nothing more than raising an eyebrow, but I firmly intend on using my fingers as well. Formality may require utensils, but I don't think this is one of those occasions."

    He glances across to the kitchen while taking a sip of the coffee, realising his stomach is also letting him know just how hungry he is as well.
    In the land of the blind, the one-arm man is king.
       

  63. #63

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    "It's a hell of a question," Ben says quietly, "because it's a hell of an important issue, Jeri. I'm not trying to box you in, but I wouldn't ask if I didn't feel I had to. This is important to me. It really is. We didn't plan it, but it's happened." He looks down. "I've thought about it, and you know, I would resign from Starfleet to raise our child if it meant we could be with you, or if it meant you could continue with your career. My career is important to me, too, but not like this. Not like a new life we can bring into the universe. That's the kind of commitment I'm willing to make." He looks up and squeezes her hand again. "I understand you're scared - hell, I'm scared too - but I don't want us to do something without really thinking it through, something we'd both really regret later."

    The waiter soon brings Rangin's and Kylah's burgers and enormous piles of fries. They dig in; it's delicious and filling. Across the room, Rangin sees Chief Engineer Edgardo Cheverez, his husband Lt. Joseph Bancroft (the Yorktown's astrophysicist), and a woman Rangin doesn't recognize, enter the bar and take a booth.
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 29 Aug 2013 at 09:13 AM.
       

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    Rangin doesn't pay the trio much attention, a lot of people are on shore leave from the ship. She might be someone they knew elsewhere or even someone new they have just met. He makes a brief mental note of what the woman looks like, some old Coridan habits die hard, but then tucks back into the food with gusto.

    "How are you finding it?" he asks Kylah between mouthfuls.
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  65. #65

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    Graham can't help but crack a smile. "Faisal, are you kidding me?" He shakes his head, but steps forward to shake Mahmoud's hand and clasp his shoulder. "All right, now I know this Cmdr. Vargas guy is nuts. First he requests me, and now I see he's got a hardcore butt-kicker like you on this luxury liner. What made you leave the Invictus... you wanted soft beds? Loofahs in the sonic showers? Or did you lose the itch to constantly chase the lowest sort of scum through the worst sectors of the galaxy?"

    Mahmoud grins. "Vargas is a tough old coot, but he's all right. As for me, I made ensign two years ago, applied for the Yorktown and got it. Was I surprised! But don't worry, there's plenty of work to be done here. It's a good ship." They both sit down. "As it happens, this is my cabin, and my previous roomie was just transferred. Vargas checked your record and saw that you and I go back a ways - what's it been, seven years? eight? - and put us together, but you could probably get single quarters, if you want." He shrugs goodnaturedly. "You wouldn't, you know, hurt my feelings or anything."

    "You still snore?" Graham jokes. "Hell, it'll do me good to room with somebody solid...help keep me honest now that I have a shot to be back in the thick of things. First drink is on me wherever you can get one on this ship, when we have a chance to catch up. But first things first - obviously Vargas has bigger things on his plate than the day-to-day. What's our chain of command look like in Security? And then - where's Transporter Room 1? Some VIP I need to dress up nice for is coming aboard soon."

    "First off, new roomie, I never snored. Just so that's understood. Secondly, there's Vargas, who's both XO and Chief of Security, as you probably know, and then Lt. JG Jeremi Collins, who's Assistant COS. She's young and has some impulse-control issues, from what I've seen, but I think she's basically OK. Pregnant, scuttlebutt has it, which could definitely get interesting. We lost our previous ACOS a few months back - reassigned on very short notice, along with all the other assistant department chiefs, all at the same time. Some Starfleet screwup - don't ask." He shakes his head. "Third, Transporter Room 1 is on this deck. You'll want to check out the deck plans before too long, or just ask anybody. It's a big ship. I'll be commanding the honor guard. It's for an admiral and his flag aide we're taking to Omicron Ceti III."

    Graham smiles. "Uh oh, then I'd better not be late, boss." He stands and jauntily snaps to attention for a moment. "That must be the guy I saw disembark from the same ship that brought me here. I thought it was strange I didn't see him during the trip. Anyway, isn't Omicron Ceti III some kind of resort?" He looks through his bags for his dress uniform. "In any event, I like the universe's sense of humor. If you told me a week ago I'd get assigned to a Constitution-class ship I'd have said you were crazy. But now a motley crew including you, me, and a pregnant lieutenant is escorting some introverted big shot to his intergalactic full-body salt scrub appointment. I'm guessing we won't need to break out the phaser rifles on this one." He pauses. "Which may be just as well - I wouldn't want a demonstration of my superior skills to make my new roomie look bad."

    Mahmoud laughs. "Not a chance, buddy. Not a chance. So... which bunk do you want?"

    Graham chooses and then finishes unpacking, and they are soon both in dress uniforms and on their way to Transporter Room 1.
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 29 Aug 2013 at 02:23 PM. Reason: Graham's dialogue by general_urko; Mahmoud's by Elendil's Heir.
       

  66. #66

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    The somewhat sloppy burger is exactly what Kylah wanted, and the combination of protein and the starchy fries seem to help solidify her dizzy mind. She turns to Rangin with an appreciative nod and an "mmm hmmm" since she's too busy enjoying herself to take the time to tell him that she's enjoying herself. Her stomach thanks her, even if her waistline won't. She couldn't possibly care less--the meal, the continuing warm glow from the alcohol, and Rangin's comfortable presence are all unbelievably relaxing.

    When she's finally stuffed herself as much as she can, she uses her napkin and wipes her fingers with a small, contented sigh. "Thank you, Velir," she says quietly. "You have helped me more than you know. Not just for the meal, but... for taking me away from Starfleet for a few hours. You have been very kind."

    She glances down at the napkin in her hands, folding it contemplatively. Now she must face her plans with Dr. T'Var. As important as the discussion is, and as much as she knows she needs it, it would be a relief to spend one pleasant night unmarred by dark thoughts.
    Last edited by choie; 29 Aug 2013 at 07:49 PM.
       

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    Rangin polishes off the last of the fries with a contented sigh. "You're welcome, Kylah. It has been an very enjoyable and relaxing evening and I'd love to do it again. One last thing before we leave though. This isn't kindness, me just being nice to you to for the sake of it. This, I would hope, is friendship. Two people just getting along and enjoying themselves for a while. Having fun with the little things in life, while the big things can go hang."

    It may be a little bit of a white lie, Rangin did feel like Kylah could do with getting out and it was one reason he asked if she wanted to go down on shore leave. After the events on the station, they all could have done with it. But he's glad he did, she has been great company for the evening.

    "Come one, time to head back to the ship. You've got a meeting, and I'm gonna crash out."

    Rangin stands up and looks around the bar. If he catches the eye of Cheverez or Bancroft, he will give a polite nod, one crew member to another in recognition, before heading to the exit.
    In the land of the blind, the one-arm man is king.
       

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    Collins stares at Ben "Why do you want this baby so much? Why is it more important to you than I am?" More than anything right now, Jeremi wants to run away, but that would only delay finishing this conversation. "I'll think about it one more day, but then you have to respect my decision." she says assertively.
       

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    T'Var awakens from a fairly restful sleep. She feels refreshed and ready to handle whatever Ensign Kylah wishes to discuss with her.

    The doctor hopes she can be of assistance. T'Var is not a counselor of any kind, but she is a good listener and usually gives sound advice to those who seek it from her.
       

  70. #70

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    The waiter comes over and Rangin thumbs the checkpad, deducting 27 Federation credits from his shipboard account. The Chief Engineer's party doesn't notice him and Kylah as the younger officers leave.

    Cooper says, his voice tight, "I want this baby because it's a helpless new life that I helped create. Children are very, very important to my family. I tried to run away when you first told me you were pregnant, but now I see how wrong I was. That was cruel to you, and unworthy of... of the kind of father I want to be. You're important to me, Jeri, of course you are - please don't ever doubt that. But we're grownups. We can take care of ourselves. This baby.. well, it can't."

    Graham and Mahmoud are approaching the doors to Transporter Room 1 when a slim, beautiful young woman in a yellow Command dress rounds the corner ahead. "Hello, Faisal," she says in a refined English accent. She smiles, and Graham finds himself a little dazzled. "And you must be Booker Graham!" She sticks out her hand. "I'm Cecilia Bennett, a navigator and the New Crew Liaison Officer. I'm so sorry I wasn't there to greet you when you beamed aboard. Lots going on today, you know. Anyway, any questions you have, any Yorktown trivia to which you absolutely must know the answer, any bad advice from Mr. Mahmoud you need rebutted, just let me know." The brunette bears the half-stripe of a lieutenant junior grade on her cuffs.
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 30 Aug 2013 at 07:49 PM.
       

  71. #71
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    Graham prides himself on having made good security practices second nature, including assessing every crew mate he meets for the first time: handedness? Any behaviors that suggest combat or martial arts training? Any apparent physical strengths or weaknesses? In a crisis, could they be deployed as an asset, or would they need a little extra help?

    He completely forgets to do this at the moment. “Uh…me too.” He shakes her hand and quickly adds, “I mean, Faisal and I used to serve together. Maybe we should find some time when I can set the record straight on all the tall tales I’m sure he’s been spinning.” It takes him a second to process the rank insignia. “…Sir!”
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 30 Aug 2013 at 06:25 PM. Reason: added handshake
       

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    Jeremi is feeling very overwhelmed at this point, not to the point of tears but close. She gets up from the table "I need some time. I'm going back to the ship. I'll see you tomorrow." She leaves quickly; once outside, she opens her communicator. "Collins to Yorktown. One to beam up." and awaits the tingling sensation of being transported.

    Once on board, she messages Doctor Noel to set up another appointment.
    Last edited by anyrose; 30 Aug 2013 at 01:07 PM.
       

  73. #73

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    Rangin's thoughtful words about friendship finally elicit a small, almost bashful smile from Kylah, and she thanks him warmly for paying for their meal. Only as they walk out does she suddenly wonder why he would pay for both of them; perhaps it is a Coridian custom? She inwardly promises to pay if they again take a meal together. Credits are certainly not a problem for her.

    When they prepare to beam back to the ship, the thought reminds Kylah of a question she's been meaning to ask one of her fellow mission team members since they returned. "Before I forget," she begins, placing a light hand on Rangin's elbow, "May I ask... Do you happen to remember the young male human transport technician who sent us down to the laboratory? I believe his name is Ferguson?"
    Last edited by choie; 30 Aug 2013 at 01:55 PM.
       

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    Rangin can't quite believe his ears. A good time spent relaxing, Kylah getting perhaps slightly closer than she should and out of nowhere a question about some other guy from the ship. What is she playing at?

    Naivety? Something cultural? An attempt to make him jealous or get a reaction, she is hanging off his arm after all. Perhaps she just wants some information and actually feels confident enough to ask, but then why him instead of someone like Dr T'var and why now?

    He's disappointed, more in her lack of tact than anything else, but he's not going to let it ruin the evening. But there's probably a good reason for her asking, don't worry about it. Hey, she might be nervous and just need a boost to her courage to go up to him. Live in the now and so on. Shame he doesn't know much about him.

    After the slight pause while these thoughts run through his head.

    "Ferguson. I know vaguely of him, but don't know him personally. But I'm sure it won't take you too long to find him on the Yorktown. I guess you'll be looking him up after your meeting. Good luck to you, hope it goes well."

    He flips open a communicator with a free hand, "Rangin to Yorktown, two to beam up."
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  75. #75

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    The instant stiffening of Rangin's arm muscles is evident just from Kylah's light touch, as is the coldness emanating from him in waves. Astonished by the change in his demeanor as a result of her question, she backs away slightly and falls silent as they wait for the beam-up.

    Does he dislike this Ferguson and resent her bringing him up? Kylah supposes she should have just gone the direct route and confronted the engineer himself, but the memory of Ferguson's unpleasant, hostile attitude toward her, so clear even in the few seconds when he addressed her prior to beaming her off the ship, still gives her a chill. Perhaps Rangin feels the same way about Ferguson. But if that's true, why suggest she seek the man out? That seems almost... cruel.

    Hurt and indignation battle for supremecy within her. And a sense of loss, too. Rangin had actually seemed willing to be friends with her. How could she have ruined things so quickly?
    Last edited by choie; 30 Aug 2013 at 05:59 PM. Reason: god forbid I should be able to get through one short post without editing.
       

  76. #76

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    Dr. Noel replies within a few minutes, and suggests Collins come by her office at 0900 the next day.

    Rangin and Kylah are beamed up at once.

    Bennett laughs and Graham's heart seems to skip a beat. She says, "Call me Cecilia, please, or 'ma'am' if you really must."
       

  77. #77
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    “Of course, ma’am. Cecilia.” Graham feels acutely aware of being scarred and old, but smiles gamely. “Ah…we may need to have dinner urgently—“ He glances at Faisal. “To rebut all that bad advice. For example, our New Crew Liaison Officer is clearly not a Gorn. And my current understanding is that Commander Vargas really loves practical jokes.“
       

  78. #78

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    Once she rematerializes on the ship, Kylah automatically glances over at the transporter controls. Having just spoken of Ferguson she's now alarmed that he might be there, as if she's invoked him.
       

  79. #79

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    "I think you were misinformed on both points," Bennett says with a smile, as Mahmoud rolls his eyes at Graham behind her back. "As to that urgent dinner... you certainly don't waste any time, do you, Mr. Graham? I think I'll have to get back to you on that. Good afternoon, gentlemen." She leaves, and Graham and his friend enter Transporter Room 1, where five other Security officers, also each in dress uniform with white gloves, are waiting. One has a bosun's whistle on a lanyard. You are each issued a phaser-2.

    Kylah and Rangin have come aboard in Transporter Room 4, and the Elasian sees to her relief that the woman behind the controls is not who she imagined - or feared.
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 31 Aug 2013 at 12:44 AM.
       

  80. #80
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    Graham takes a deep breath.

    OK Booker, don’t be an idiot, he says to himself. In twenty-four hours you’ve gone from expecting to be ground-bound indefinitely on crap assignments to serving on a top-of-the-line ship, and from managing to not get thrown off the boat by a tough department chief to tripping over your own tongue like a randy Academy plebe.

    Point one: stay frosty and get focused on your damn job.

    Point two: doing your damn job doesn’t change anything—neither what you’ve done nor who you are.

    Point three: there are things that need to get done that are bigger than you. You may never get a better chance at that than right now. So see points one and two.

    In order, Graham wants a drink and to punch his fist through a bulkhead. But, he reminds himself: Faisal’s in charge of the honor guard and I’ll be damned if I let my old friend down.
       

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    Ok, now Rangin is really confused. Kylah's heard his comment about looking Ferguson up, and she backs away and goes all moody and silent. She obviously didn't like the answer given, though Rangin was trying to be as neutral as possible about it, because she would still be on his arm if so, wouldn't she?

    What is going on in her head? Has something happened between her and Ferguson he doesn't know about and isn't quite as friendly as he first thought? Maybe she isn't as confident as he thought.

    No matter, it was a good evening and even if she is going to be like that, he's going to remain friendly. If she doesn't want to be friends, let her say it first.

    As the transporter beams them up, Rangin wonders what to do next and by the time they materialise, he knows any action he takes will either be seen either by Ferguson or one of his colleagues and will obviously get back to him in five seconds flat.

    On the transporter pad, he turns to Kylah with a reserved smile. "Well, thanks for the excellent evening, it really was good fun and we should do it again. By the way, if you're not doing anything in the next couple of nights, you mentioned teaching me how to play poker properly. Still interested?"
    In the land of the blind, the one-arm man is king.
       

  82. #82

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    Kylah is at a loss to understand the changing emotions she's sensing from Rangin, but she's relieved enough not to see Ferguson--and to find Rangin a bit less icy toward her--that she is glad to return his not-very-enthusiastic smile with a warmer one of her own. "Yes, of course. I was not so drunk that I forget my promises, Jeril."

    She hesitates, uncertain how Coridanites handle greetings or partings, and decides on the human custom of hand-shaking as a neutral enough option. Before she does, however, Kylah still senses something strange, almost irritated, as Rangin looks back at her.

    Likely she overstayed her welcome with him--two hours, most people never spend such a long time with her. Perhaps he was just being kind after all; it wouldn't be the first time someone told Kylah a polite let's have lunch sometime or the equivalent, only to dodge further invitations. Humans did this all the time at school. She learned to stop paying attention to such false rituals of manners.

    Then again, perhaps his motives are less politeness than avarice. The poker reference... perhaps he just wants hints on how to win credits from others? Oh, what a fool she was to brag about it, a loose-tongued boast in a silly attempt to gain friendship! Has she not learned from past experience that her skills are easily taken advantage of? That is one of the many things her guardian warned her about--even while doing so himself.

    Rangin does not seem the sort to use Kylah in such a way; he's been gallant and charming and gracious. Yet does Aldaan not appear that way too, in public? she thinks in dismay. She's never met a Coridanite before, as there were none in her Academy class; maybe she is not good at reading their motives.

    All this runs fleetingly through her mind as she extends her hand to Rangin. Kylah has more than enough pride that she doesn't wish to impose herself on someone who might not like her after all, but merely tolerates her presence long enough to benefit from it. She lifts her chin and says, "I too enjoyed the evening, and look forward to repeating it--if you wish to," she adds, unable to keep a hint of longing from her tone.
    Last edited by choie; 31 Aug 2013 at 10:50 AM.
       

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    Collins returns to her quarters and gets ready for bed. But she's not sleepy and her mind is racing. She throws on some civvies, goes to the Observation Room and stares out at the planet and stars.
    Last edited by anyrose; 31 Aug 2013 at 11:38 AM.
       

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    Rangin can't believe the response he just received from Kylah. Did she just call him Jeril?! Not drunk enough to forget her promises, but his name, oh that doesn't count at all. He tries to control the irritation and anger inside masking his face politely.

    Her hesitation gives him pause for thought, something else is wrong. She seems so sincere, and yet so tactless, but at same time something does come to mind...

    Without reaching across he asks gently, "Kylah, who is Jeril and are you still drunk?"
    In the land of the blind, the one-arm man is king.
       

  85. #85

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    Jeril? Kylah's eyes widen in mortification. Did she really get his name wrong? Blood rushes to her face and she has the sudden instinct to flee--to run as fast as she can and hide in the nearest crawlspace. But she's not a little girl anymore and there's nowhere to run, even if it were the appropriate response for such a gaffe. She can almost hear her childhood tutor clicking her tongue and sighing that this, this is yet another reason others do not like her.

    She takes a deep breath. "Please forgive me. I--I would blame the drink but that would be false. I am distracted and... I think you misunderstood..." Face burning, she flicks an embarrassed glance around the room before returning to Rangin. "Can we be alone for a moment, so I may explain? Just the corridor would be fine if there are no others around."
       

  86. #86

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    Collins's thoughts are interrupted when the Observation Room door opens. "Oh, I'm sorry, ma'am," says Masum Topçu, the Captain's Yeoman. "I didn't know anyone was in here. The door wasn't locked." Collins had met him only briefly once before; he is a Turk, tall and proud in bearing.

    The transporter tech, Chief Belinda Brady, is carefully not paying any attention to Rangin's and Kylah's conversation, but they step out into the empty corridor anyway.

    Graham checks the stun setting on his phaser-2 and has just been introduced to the other members of the honor guard by Mahmoud when the doors whoosh open. Vargas enters with a dark-skinned woman of late middle age. She is stocky but fit, with a plain face and black hair just going to gray. She wears a Command-yellow dress uniform shirt with a dozen triangular decorations across the left side of her chest; Vargas is also in dress uniform - Security red, of course - and has an equally impressive array of decorations.

    "Fall in... Atten-hut!" Mahmoud says, and the honor guard quickly lines up at at attention.

    "Thank you, Mr. Mahmoud," Capt. Sundri Parvinder Singh says. "At ease, gentlemen." She speaks in a cultured, New Punjabi-accented voice, and has a friendly, easy manner and bright eyes that seem to miss nothing.

    Cmdr. Vargas says, "Captain, may I introduce you to Ens. Booker Graham? He just came aboard earlier today."

    "Ah, yes." The first woman named to command a Starfleet vessel shakes Graham's hand. "Welcome aboard, Mr. Graham. The First Officer and I expect great things of you."
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 02 Dec 2014 at 02:50 PM.
       

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    The massive blush and indrawn breath from Kylah shows her error was sincere. Rangin nods at her request gesturing for her to lead towards the door.

    As they enter the corridor, he smiles ruefully. "Ok, I guess this time round, you get to do all the talking. Let's find somewhere quiet and you can tell me what I'm missing about Mr Ferguson. If we get disturbed we can go and find somewhere quieter, I guess."
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    "No problem, Yeoman, I was just leaving anyway" Collins walks slowly back to her quarters. Cooper's attitude seems odd and borderline obsessive. I wonder if he'll be as obsessive with the child's development or if he's just really anti-abortion. Jeremi never thought about the pros and cons much herself - she never imagined being pregnant and having to make that choice. But this isn't a hasty decision. I know I am not ready to be a mother.

    Once back in her cabin, she gets into bed, lays back, and stares at the ceiling until sleep overtakes her.
       

  89. #89

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    The empty corridor is a blessing to Kylah, as is Rangin's agreement to speak with her. His mood has subdued somewhat, she can tell, and when he offers to take her somewhere even more private, Kylah feels less afraid of his response when she shakes her head. "This is fine," she says with another glance around them to make sure no one is around. "I must get ready for my meeting with Dr. T'Var, but I cannot leave things the way they are now."

    She tries to gather her words in a way that won't make her sound paranoid or flighty--or drunk, which is apparently a harder task for her than expected. Rangin's expectant face seems patient but she is still so wary of revealing too much...

    "Velir," she says softly. "You seem to have been upset ever since I asked about Ferguson, and I admit I do not understand why. But I apologize for it anyway. And now this stupid mistake with your name..." She still so embarrassed about that she has to look away, aiming her gaze somewhere near his Starfleet insignia. "Regarding Ferguson... the fact is that I do not know him. Indeed, I have only seen him once--the first time we all beamed down to the research station together. He was the technician on duty that day.

    "Until we were about to leave there was no indication that he knew me whatsoever, and I did not even notice him. Then, before I stepped onto the transporter pad, he said--well, he merely said 'Up you go, princess,' and that was all. I know it sounds inoffensive. Of course, I am not a princess, merely a minor member of the royal family, but that is not what bothered me. In truth it is not what he said but how he said it."

    Though Kylah can still see Rangin's insignia before her, she's easily able to evoke the image of the technician's face and his unpleasant expression. "He purposely said it quietly, to me alone, and there was this strange insinuation there. I cannot explain it. Then when I turned back to him, he gave me this disturbing smile--bitter, even hostile."

    She shakes her head, wishing she could express herself more fully but of course, that is impossible. No doubt she sounds as if she's reading too much into a mere smile, and without explaining more she can't rectify that. All she can do is whisper: "It frightened me. So much so that I did not even want to let him beam me down."

    After a pause Kylah lifts her gaze to Rangin's again. "In truth, I have not thought of this man for some time; the mission has been haunting me far too much. It was only when you and I were about to beam up again, when suddenly I realized that he might even be there--" She lifts a hand weakly toward the transporter room entrance. "I wish he had not entered my mind again. But he did, and I thought perhaps you might know something about him. I know I should not have said anything, I should not have brought a personal matter to you like that; clearly you were affronted. Besides, I may have mistaken the whole incident anyway," she adds, trying to sound convincing. "Tomorrow I will find him and ask him directly what he meant. Surely it was a misunderstanding. I seem to be very good at those."

    Kylah bows her head ruefully. "So that is it. I was just... letting myself get distracted and worried, likely for no reason, and I ruined a pleasant evening with you by doing so. Again, I am sorry."
       

  90. #90
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    Rangin leans against the wall as Kylah talks to him, and listening carefully to what she has to say and waiting for her to finish. Once she has, he speaks up.

    "Ok, regardless of the missteps and misunderstandings, I had a good time tonight. Yes, I would like to do it again, when we feel up to it."

    Rangin composes his thoughts and continues.

    "Personally, when you mentioned him tonight, I thought he was someone you were interested in and were asking more for information so you could get to know him better and I apologise for misunderstanding your intentions towards him. However, that kind of question is not normally asked when you are holding on to the arm of someone else who you have just spent an evening chatting away with, hence my reaction."

    He pauses and fixes her gaze. "However, if you want to talk about it as a friend, I'm quite happy to listen. Any advice I may give should probably be taken with a pinch of salt though. As for the person in question, I would have suggested talking to your room mate, as if anyone is likely to know if Ferguson does have a problem - it will be Security. Like I said, pinch of salt."

    He ponders for a moment "Of course, if Dr T'var is your friend, then mention it to her, and I'm sure she can give you better advice than I ever could. Now with that said, thank you very much for the evening. I hope your meeting goes well and I'm sure I'll see you round. Remember, poker lessons."

    He steps back slightly holding a hand out to be shaken.
    In the land of the blind, the one-arm man is king.
       

  91. #91
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    Graham tries to both remain fully at attention and reciprocate the Captain's handshake. Perhaps a little stiffly he replies "It's a privilege to be on this ship, Captain. I won't let you down."

    Inwardly he kicks himself: in spite of his background research on Vargas, he hadn't bothered to find out that the captain was a woman. Not that it mattered either way--rather, it made him feel he'd been lax doing his homework. Glancing at her medals, he felt conflicted: for a moment, he imagined his daughter as a Starfleet captain. He had no doubt she had it in her. But better she stay on Earth, he thought, clenching his jaw slightly. Where her father's mistakes can't hurt her..
       

  92. #92

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    "Thank you, Ensign," the Captain says, nodding. "It's good to have you aboard."

    The transporter tech, the same man who beamed Graham aboard earlier, says, "The starbase signals that Vice Adm. Hardin and his aide are ready to come aboard, ma'am."

    "Thank you, Chief," Singh replies. "Mr. Vargas, are we ready?"

    "Yes, ma'am," he says, after a confirming glance at Mahmoud.

    "Very well. Beam them aboard, if you please, Mr. Nguyen."

    "Aye, Captain." As the hum of the transporter fills the room, Mahmoud again says, "Atten-hut!", and Singh, Vargas and the honor guard snap to attention as one. Graham sees the same older human man from the Swift and his Tellarite assistant shimmer into view. "Present... arms!" The honor guard bring their phasers up to shoulder height, arms tight against their sides. The yeoman pipes the guests aboard with the ancient, shrill, rising and falling tone of his bosun's whistle.

    "Permission to come aboard?" the vice admiral asks in a jovial voice.

    "Permission granted, Vice Adm. Hardin," says the Captain, stepping forward to shake his hand. "And welcome aboard the Yorktown. We're honored to have you here. This is my First Officer and Chief of Security, Cmdr. Vargas."

    "A pleasure, sir," Vargas says, shaking hands in turn.

    "Likewise, Commander. This is my flag aide, Lt. Cmdr. Ebling."

    "My pleasure."

    They briefly converse and Graham quickly observes that the admiral seems tired but cheery; the young Tellarite woman is considerably more reserved and says little.

    "When did you plan to break orbit, Captain?" Hardin asks.

    "I still have some crew enjoying shore leave, sir, and we're almost done loading supplies. We could be on our way in two hours, if that suits you."

    "Fine, fine. Let me inspect this impressive honor guard of yours, and then I'd like a word in private with you and Mr. Vargas."

    "Of course, sir."

    The admiral walks down the line and looks them over briefly, nods his approval and says, "Thank you. Excellent, as expected. Shall we go to your office, Captain?"

    "Certainly, sir. Right this way." She leads him and the Tellarite out. Vargas nods his approval to Mahmoud and goes with them.

    "At ease, gentlemen," Mahmoud says after the doors have closed behind the brass. "Thank you for your assistance - dismissed. Mr. Nguyen, please beam up the admiral's and his aide's baggage, and see that it's delivered to their cabins."

    "Aye, sir."
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 01 Sep 2013 at 12:38 AM.
       

  93. #93

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    Kylah takes Rangin's hand and shakes it, grateful at least that he is no longer angry with her. "Thank you for your advice, and for letting me explain myself," she says somewhat weakly. She then echoes his own words: "And yes, I am sure we will see each other around."

    Realizing she had better leave before she gets more upset and things grow more awkward--if possible--she bids him a good night and quickly walks away. She waits until she turns a corner before brushing aside a few tears, which she doesn't understand at all. Why is she crying?

    Perhaps because despite his politeness, Rangin still seemed so... she can't explain it... Remote? Dismissive? Not at all how she thinks he would have been if she'd never told him about Ferguson. She should never have brought him up in the first place, and once she did, she probably should never have told Rangin the truth about the situation. It gained her nothing except a feeling of... of not being cared for.

    As she heads to Dr. T'Var's cabin--it's too late now for her to take a shower as he'd recommended earlier--Kylah tries to imagine how she would react if Rangin had told her he was afraid of someone. She doesn't think her first reaction would have been to talk about their enjoyable evening and to lightly remind him of the etiquette against mentioning someone else in her presence. She would probably have offered sympathy. Indeed, she'd probably even get angry on his behalf.

    But all this is hypothetical. She is obviously over-emotional, and has been told this many times. And perhaps Rangin's reaction is simply the way of Coridanites. Are they as cool and logical as Vulcans? Or was it typical of male behavior? Her knowledge of such things is... not exactly very broad. On the one hand Rangin almost seemed jealous of her bringing up Ferguson. On the other, after her honest explanation, he told her to tell her problems to others, emphasized that they were friends, said he'd 'see her around' and seemed no more interested in anything further than he would with Pourtash or Delaney.

    The more she thinks on it, the less like crying she feels and the more annoyed she gets. Telling her to talk to Collins! After the mission, Rangin should know precisely how she feels about Collins by now, as well as how Collins feels about her. And what would she tell the Security officer, anyway? About a man telling her to hop up onto the transporter pad? Collins would probably respond with sarcasm or telling her to stop being a brat. Perhaps someone else in security... but no, even that seems unlikely to reap any benefits. The man didn't threaten her. Not in any way she could relate to anyone, at least. Except T'Var.

    Kylah shakes her head and by the time she arrives at the doctor's quarters, she is past thinking of what had been a pleasant evening turned into a strange, inexplicable mess of emotions. One crisis at a time. Rangin was certainly right about one thing: T'Var is as good a person to talk to as anyone else on this ship. Wiping her eyes again to make sure her face is dry, Kylah presses the panel by T'Var's door.
       

  94. #94

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    Pourtash is on the Bridge, enjoying a turn in the big chair, when the Captain calls from belowdecks. "Vice Adm. Hardin and his aide are now aboard, Mr. Pourtash. Have Mr. Thalen pass the word to all shore parties to return no later than one and a half hours from now. All cargo loading should be completed by that time, as well."

    "Aye, Captain. I'll see to it."

    "Thank you. Singh out."

    T'Var hears her door buzz. Kylah is right on time.
       

  95. #95
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    T'Var greets Kylah at the door.

    "Please come in, Kylah," she says with an even tone. "I have been expecting you."

    The doctor can sense Kylah's turmoil. Her Vulcan nose can smell alcohol as well.

    "How may I assist you?" T'Var asks as she offers Kylah a chair. "And please speak freely. Anything we discuss is just between us," the doctor says with a reassuring smile.
       

  96. #96

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    Kylah thanks T’Var for seeing her and sits down in the offered seat. With so many issues troubling her, Kylah has to focus for a moment. She did not ask for this meeting to discuss Rangin’s confusing behavior or her own ineptitude in dealing with others; nor to talk about a transporter technician who may or may not have some grudge against her. And it certainly wasn’t anything to do with Aldaan and his plans for her.

    She looks into the older woman’s eyes. “Doctor. After our telepathic communications… both on the ship and back during the mission… you know a little of what I am about to tell you. If this were not completely confidential I wouldn’t say any more, but I know you are trustworthy.” She takes a deep breath. “As long as I can remember, I have been… different. I am affected by others around me. Their emotions. Their thoughts, to a certain degree, though only those that are particularly powerful. It is like… being battered by a constant wave of subspace transmissions. I try to tune them out but I cannot.”

    She swallows, her throat very dry. “This is not an ability known to my people—or at least, no one seems to have made such things public. When I was little, my parents thought I was just strangely perceptive, but soon they realized just how much I knew of what they were feeling. Then they knew I was a… a freakish abnormality. They forbade me to tell of this to anyone. Especially when I was young, a possible successor as Dohlman; they could not allow such a deformity to become public. And I had to keep silent even after I was supplanted by the birth of their natural son. Indeed, I would have to do so even if I had nothing to do with the royal family. On Elas, there are many old superstitions and myths. We are a private people. If the truth were known, my parents feared I would be put into a hospital, or even imprisoned—subject to scientific studies like a lab animal.

    “Which brings me to why I am here—the Sakathian mission,” she says, now turning her head away from T’Var to face the windows and the stars beyond. She has to hesitate to gather her strength and recover. The enormity of what she’s just revealed—after an entire life of hiding—feels both like a weight lifted from her shoulders and a new, utterly unknown burden replacing it. Because there is so much more to tell, and so much risk for her—and in a way, for T’Var, if she keeps this secret from her superiors.
    Last edited by choie; 01 Sep 2013 at 01:58 PM.
       

  97. #97
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    T'Var takes Kylah's hand and gives it a gentle squeeze. "You have nothing to fear from me," the doctor tells her. "I would never betray any confidence -- as a friend or as a physician."

    The doctor sighs. She thinks back to a time when her own emotions were a chaotic swirl of restlessness and irritation.

    "You may find this hard to believe, but I have also struggled with strong emotions. Even with the proper study and meditation, I still struggle with this from time to time."
       

  98. #98
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    “Nice to see you, Mr. Nguyen.” Graham says, nodding toward the transporter chief. “Well Faisal, VIP on-boarded without a hitch. He seems friendly enough.” He claps his roommate on the shoulder. “Not the most hair-raising mission we’ve ever completed together, but you know what? I like a ship without drama. There’s nothing bad about a ship where everybody—you, me, visiting brass, New Crew Liaison Officers—all get along like one big happy family. “ Graham pauses and shrugs his shoulders. “Not that the opportunity to put some rowdy Orions in their place at a random bar wouldn’t be unwelcome once in awhile. Speaking of bars—I’d better get something to eat. Want to come along?”
       

  99. #99

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    "We were on an anti-Orion-piracy patrol not long ago, as it happens," Mahmoud replies. "Didn't get to zap any greenies, though. Dinner sounds good. Let's check out Mess Hall 3 - best coffee on the ship."

    Collins sleeps on.

    Rangin checks in at the Xenobiology lab but sees that all's quiet.

    Hayes drops by Sickbay to sit with Fujishiro for awhile. Dr. Bucci is on duty and gives her a friendly wave.

    Pourtash monitors the return of those on shore leave and the completion of the Yorktown's cargo loading, mainly foodstuffs and supplies for the Omicron Ceti III colony.

    Delaney is wrestling with a recalcitrant deuterium fuel pump on the lower decks.
       

  100. #100

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    Moved by T’Var’s kind touch, Kylah peers anxiously into her eyes. “I cannot imagine ever having control such as you do. You and I are opposites in many ways—you take command of your emotions, and I cannot even protect myself from others’.” She bites her lip, looking down again. “That is what caused me such problems… causes me such problems… about the mission.” A wave of claustrophobia hits her and she stands up, needing to pace.

    “Doctor, I—I cannot express how tormented I was during our time down there. I still am. The altered Sakathians…” Kylah swivels to face the stars again. “Many of us called them ‘zombies.’ But they were not. They had thoughts and feelings—raw, barely sentient, but absolutely real. And I felt them. Mrs. Porr… everything she was going through, I felt too, like an echo. I tried to reach out to her, mentally, hoping to understand what was experiencing, to see if there was any her left. But it was too much. That is why I was so desperate for you to put her to rest, Doctor. She was suffering so greatly and I could not bear it.”

    The stars are obscured by Kylah's tears. “In the transporter room, when all the Sakathians were coming toward us… there were so many…” She halts, knowing she has to explain it all but afraid of continuing. Her entire future in Starfleet could be destroyed if T’Var, despite her reassurances, is duty-bound to report what she’s about to reveal. Without Starfleet Kylah will have to return to Elas, return to Aldaan, and the thought terrifies her.

    But this is what prevents her from sleeping at night and she can’t keep it inside any longer. She slowly turns to T’Var, though she aims her gaze somewhere above the Vulcan’s head. “When they attacked us, I had to fight back. I know it was the only thing to do. But every Sakathian who rushed toward me, I felt. With so many in such close quarters I could not block them out. I sensed the rage, the hunger, the madness. And when our phasers struck them…” Her eyes close. “I felt that too. Their shock. Their fear. Then… nothing. These same sensations, over and over again until the very last one lay dead.”

    After a staggered breath, Kylah stares at the floor in shame. “I had never killed anyone before. On Elas we are taught to use throwing knives at a distance. At the Academy we were taught to defend ourselves in hand-to-hand combat, and to shoot at targets. But this? This was nothing like I had ever expected. This was my first mission. And suddenly I was not just killing, I was being killed—with every shot of my own phaser.”

    She lifts a hand to her eyes, wiping them angrily, and then sits down to stare in naked desperation at T'Var. “How can I forget this? How can I sleep without remembering what it is like to kill, and to be killed? And how can I trust I’ll be able to defend myself or anyone else again?”
    Last edited by choie; 02 Sep 2013 at 01:22 AM.
       

  101. #101
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    It's while checking in over the xenobiology that Rangin lets his mind wander back over the conversation he just had with Kylah.

    She had seemed ok when she left and he had headed off in the other direction. She had apologised for getting his name wrong and then there was her business with Ferguson. Rangin couldn't understand why would someone in Starfleet would act that way towards one of their colleagues, let alone one of their shipmates, and considered that Kylah was probably just reading too much into it. Back on his own planet, Rangin would have steered well clear of the matter, a bit of corruption and intimidation still existed, although it was certainly much reduced from previous times. But then he had joined up with Starfleet precisely because it was wrong.

    Rangin didn't really know Ferguson, so it was possible he was just a bit of a creepy guy anyway, they exist and in general you have to accept it. Given her lack of tact on shore leave, perhaps Kylah didn't realise this. But the one thing Rangin couldn't doubt was her sincerity. If she thought it had happened, it had probably happened, although it was more likely to be a misunderstanding on both parts. It was not like she was an actual princess, she had said so.

    Rangin tried to remember what she had said she was. He had almost missed it first time around when she was speaking about Ferguson and her voice had dipped slightly.

    "She's not a princess," she said, "just a minor member of the royal family" or something like that. Perhaps that was why she was being so coy about saying anything about where she had come from. He had assumed she was human, which could now be considered a mistake, but he wasn't sure which planet she came from.

    Rangin felt himself getting a headache, possibly for the trials of the last few weeks and possibly because he had just bought burger and fries for nobility, which she had appeared to enjoy immensely. He cringed inwardly at the thought he had had a princess on his arm and wondered if his manners had been up to scratch. He shook his head and took a deep breath. She was an ensign just like himself, the same rank, nothing different, equals.

    He could go and see if he could find out something about where she had come from, but that...that just seemed wrong. No, it would be better if he was her friend, plain and simple. Ferguson on the other hand. Well a brief bit of looking where he came from wouldn't hurt. Something to do while finishing off here. Actually, a brief look at everyone might be a good idea, and hopefully it would prevent him from making the same mistake again.

    He sighed and settled down to look over the ships compliment.
    In the land of the blind, the one-arm man is king.
       

  102. #102

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    Rangin clicks a switch on the Xenobiology lab's access terminal. He is alone in the room. "Library Computer," comes the almost-feminine voice over the familiar quiet metal-chattering noise.

    He clears his throat. "Ship's personnel records, USS Yorktown. Nonclassified."

    More chattering. "Working... ready."

    "Engineering personnel. Last name Ferguson."

    More chattering, then a beep. "There are two USS Yorktown Engineering personnel named Ferguson."

    Hadn't thought of that. "Uh, a transporter technician."

    The computer says promptly, "Ferguson, Lt. JG Mark. Engineering. Transporter specialist. Age 32. Born Portland, Maine, United States of America, Earth. Public schools. Graduated University of Maine. Graduated Starfleet Academy. Previous service, USS Constitution and USS Jakarta, also as transporter specialist. Assigned to USS Yorktown eight months ago. Two commendations for Engineering excellence."
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 02 Sep 2013 at 11:24 AM.
       

  103. #103
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    Rangin rubs his eyes wondering what he is doing. A normal human from Earth, what's the deal with that.

    "Any non-classified issues concerning females. Also any connection to Ensign Kylah in Communication."

    He waits for the answers but expects nothing. It probably is just a big misunderstanding. Perhaps his room mate from Engineering might have some gossip on him that would be of more value.
    In the land of the blind, the one-arm man is king.
       

  104. #104
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    "Thank you for sharing this with me, Kylah," T'Var says in as gentle and reassuring a tone as possible. There are times when T'Var's words come forth and sound cold, heartless -- though the doctor tries to inject a bit of "humanity" with every word. Not an easy task for a Vulcan.

    "Perhaps I can train you with several Vulcan techniques to help control your emotions and neutralize -- as much as possible -- the emotions of others."

    The doctor smiles. "I have used these techniques on myself and have trained others. They seem to work quite well."

    T'Var pauses a moment. She has her own secrets buried deep within her. Would sharing them with Kylah help the young woman now? Would she feel less alone?
       

  105. #105

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    The Library Computer buzzes. "Clarify inquiry, 'non-classified issues concerning females,' or rephrase." More whirring. "No known connection to Ens. Kylah, Communications, USS Yorktown."
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 02 Sep 2013 at 03:07 PM.
       

  106. #106

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    Just being in such close proximity to the Vulcan has always seemed like a balm to Kylah's often churning emotions. T'Var's offer seems like a possible lifeline.

    Kylah leans forward, her hands clutching her knees to keep from grabbing at T'Var in a plea for help. "Yes, please, Doctor. If there were anything you could teach me that might help... I would be extraordinarily grateful. You must possess remarkable powers of control and if anything could be imparted to me... if you ever knew of someone who had been so uncontrolled and managed to find a solution..." She shakes her head at the thought. "At least I would have some sense of hope that has eluded me, ever since..."

    Kylah realizes she should probably mention the last time she dared hope for a cure, even though it relates to an unpleasant memory. "My parents once tried to solve the problem by consulting with our family's private physician--someone sworn to secrecy, of course, but that is true of all royal healers. I was... seven, I think? Eight?" She shrugs, as the precise age probably doesn't matter. "He used a variety of brain scans, flooding with electricity, medications... anything he had available short of surgery in attempts to shut down whatever is causing this. But he could not identify the precise malformation. I do not know exactly what he determined, those records would be back on Elas and either sealed or destroyed. All I know is that the treatments were ineffective, aside from some lost memories and slow-wittedness for a period after the sessions.

    "Finally they gave up. By the time I was ten, I was no longer their only hope for a Dohlman--they'd had two children of their own and could give up the facade that I was their natural child. Once they told me of my true origin, that I had a human parent, they seemed certain that it was my mixed heritage that caused the problem. Humans and Elasians should not interbreed, they said." She flushes, somewhat embarrassed by the recollection of that discussion. "And besides, I was old enough to understand the need to hide the condition, as best I could. They were content with that. Soon they were dead anyway, and though my uncle--by now our Guardian--knew of the problem he followed my parents' choices and did not try to find a solution." This, of course, is putting it mildly, but the exploitation of her skills is far beyond the scope of what she dares reveal.

    Kylah keeps her gaze trained hopefully on T'Var's. "I just thought I should mention all this in case a medical cure might be a possibility. The physician had little of the technology you possess here, so perhaps more could be done...?"
    Last edited by choie; 02 Sep 2013 at 03:28 PM.
       

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    "Yeah, that was probably not the greatest question I could have asked", Rangin muses to himself. "Besides, his boss is female, so I doubt that's a good line."

    A slight pause.

    "Perhaps he just doesn't like royalty on principle."

    "Computer: any affiliation or connection of Lt Mark Ferguson to monarchist or anti-monarchist groups or connection to the royal family associated to Ensign Kylah, Communications."
    In the land of the blind, the one-arm man is king.
       

  108. #108

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    The computer whirrs. "Working... Lt. JG Mark Ferguson has no known affiliation or connection to any monarchist or antimonarchist group in Federation records. No known connection to the family of Ens. Kylah."

    Rangin reminds himself that he's accessing only the nonclassified personnel database; there may be more information of interest, perhaps even much more, deeper in Ferguson's file. The young xenobiologist has a basic security clearance as a Starfleet ensign but must, under the regs, have an official, lawful and non-personal reason for inquiring more deeply about any other member of Starfleet. He could do so, but might also get in trouble....
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 02 Sep 2013 at 09:04 PM.
       

  109. #109
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    Graham nods. “Great—lead the way buddy.”

    It would be a stretch—no, a lie—Graham thinks—to say he felt “at peace.” But at the moment, he does feel as if things are coming together for him in uncharacteristically positive ways. It’s good to be a on a ship again—a great ship at that. The time he served on the Invictus was not a happy one in his life—but the comradeship-in-arms he felt with some of the crew, foremost among them Mahmoud, was a key factor that helped him work through it.

    And tonight, he reflects, I can give my demons the night off. I can have an unhurried meal, and a drink—a civilized drink, not an I-want-to-crawl-into-the-bottle drink—relax, and get rested up for whatever the upcoming days would bring.

    Don’t worry, demons, he adds mentally. You’ll never be out a job. I’m sure you’ll be back with a freakin’ vengeance soon enough.
       

  110. #110
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    Rangin leans over and turns the connection off. Much as he might like Kylah, getting into trouble again and so soon after being confined to quarters for a day. just isn't worth it. Besides this guy is a Lt and Rangin's superior, not to mention Kylah's. Same rank as Collins, but the chances of Kylah going that way were none. Shame, because if they really hated each other that much, how come they were still sharing the same quarters.

    He shook his head thinking over it. Maybe it was as simple as that. Rank. In any other situation Kylah would outrank Ferguson and he was just trying to rub it in. Maybe it rankled with Ferguson. Rangin chuckled out loud at the bad joke. However, the best thing Kylah could do was just to steer clear of him, confronting a superior officer was only going to end in trouble. Like that hadn't happened already.

    Finishing tidying up the lab, Rangin considers heading back to his quarters to get some long overdue sleep.
    In the land of the blind, the one-arm man is king.
       

  111. #111
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    T'Var nods in understanding. "I once dealt with emotions that were certainly 'out of control' -- for a Vulcan at least."

    The doctor grins a bit sheepishly. "My parents were quite concerned."

    After a moment, T'Var continues....

    "I could research possible medical solutions, of course," T'Var says. "Quite frankly, I believe learning to control your abilities and use them in a positive way would be the best course of action."
       

  112. #112
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    Collins awakes with a start from a very disturbing nightmare. She sits up and stares at her otherwise unoccupied quarters. She wants to talk to someone, but Kylah has not returned, and how could she talk to her roommate about this anyway. She checks the chronometer to find out how much sleep she's actually had this night.


    if she's slept more than 5 hours, she'll get dressed and go to the gym; otherwise, she try to go back to sleep.
    Last edited by anyrose; 03 Sep 2013 at 10:57 AM.
       

  113. #113

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    Kylah's face falls slightly with disappointment. She was hoping for some medical solution--something to fix her, something to make her like other Elasians. And something that would help her avoid both the psychological and political ramifications of her strange and usually unwanted skills. Academy poker winnings aside, she is not the only one who has used her 'gift' for unmerited gain.

    But no. Life is not that simple, and in a way, she knows it shouldn't be. Her people are not cowards, and she suspects if she were stronger she would be able to fight her battles regardless of what biology has saddled her with. The fact that she hasn't been able to has been a lifelong shame to her.

    "I understand," Kylah says softly. "I will do whatever you say, within my abilities, to learn control. I just... I just want answers, I suppose. Why I am so different. What deformed me in such a way from the others of my race. I admit I am no scientist, but I cannot believe it is all from being tainted by human genetics." Kylah hastens to explain: "The 'tainted' is not my word; my relatives and our physician used it. Constantly," she finishes with a sigh.

    After a moment of thought, she clamps down on her tongue before speaking. "You--you do not think it will be necessary to inform your superiors, do you? I mean, regarding whether I am fit for assignment on another mission. If I work very hard perhaps I can get past my fears of having to harm someone else. Or, to be honest, I suppose I most fear feeling the act of harming others. I do not wish to hesitate to defend myself or a crewmate." Finally, she can't help adding shyly: "And if it is not too intrusive I would be grateful to know how you conquered your own emotions... the ones that worried your parents."
    Last edited by choie; 03 Sep 2013 at 05:04 PM.
       

  114. #114

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    Lt. JG Pourtash is still on the Bridge, which is now fully staffed, when Capt. Singh steps out of the turbolift. "Captain on the Bridge," he says, rising from the big chair.

    "Thank you, Mr. Pourtash," she says, smiling warmly. "Anything to report?"

    "Yes, ma'am. All crew present and accounted for. All scheduled cargo and supplies loaded. All systems nominal; the ship is ready for deep space. We have departure clearance from Starbase 27."

    "Very well. I relieve you, sir."

    "I stand relieved, ma'am."

    Singh takes the big chair and leans back. "Mr. Bennett, set course for Omicron Ceti III."

    The navigator has been ready for hours. "Course plotted and laid in, Captain."

    "Time to destination at warp factor four?"

    She double-checks. "Three days, nine hours, ma'am."

    "Very well. Take us out of orbit, if you would, please. Ahead, warp four."

    "Warp four, aye." The thrum of the great engines grows in volume and power as the Yorktown pulls away from the planet.

    Bennett has plotted a scenic route out of the star system, and Pourtash lingers on the Bridge for a few minutes, watching the outer gas giants and lifeless, rocky worlds grow large and then swiftly drop behind on the main viewscreen before the starship plunges into the great dark void beyond. With the Captain's permission, he leaves the Bridge, deciding as the turbolift descends to take a late swim before bed.

    Graham and Mahmoud have some coffee and a long talk before turning in for the night. Graham falls asleep at once on his new bunk and sleeps like a rock.

    Rangin also soon drops off to sleep.

    Collins rubs her eyes, checks her bedside chrono and sees she's only been asleep for a little over two hours. She punches her pillow a few times, rolls over and tries to forget her nightmare, but sleep returns to her only with difficulty.
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 03 Sep 2013 at 11:46 PM.
       

  115. #115
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    T'Var once again gives Kylah and reassuring smile. "What we have discussed here is confidential and shall remain so." she says.

    "And you are not 'tainted'. You have a gift which you must learn to control. With training, this is possible. I am certain of it."

    T'Var will share her own emotional struggles with Kylah as long as these memories are helpful.

    "This path we take together is a long one," the doctor warns. "It is not an easy path. Yet I believe it will prove useful to us both," she says.
       

  116. #116

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    Kylah exhales in relief at the doctor's reassurance--though the difficult road lying ahead does feel intimidating. She stands up, shaking the other woman's hand in gratitude and friendship. "Thank you, Dr. T'Var," she says, wishing her voice weren't so shaky. "This has meant a great deal to me, and I truly appreciate that you have been so understanding and... and nonjudgmental. Revealing this after so many years remains frightening but you have let me dared hope there might be a way to..." Kylah searches for the right words. "...To find some measure of peace."

    Kylah bows her head again in gratitude and heads to the door. She is very aware that T'Var remained silent about her own private struggles, which seems to indicate that they are, most likely, truly private. Kylah hopes she has not crossed a line, and that in time T'Var might trust her with the tales of how she personally conquered her own emotional battles. Having kept her own secrets nearly all her life, Kylah knows she would never divulge anyone else's, even at great risk to herself.

    Before she leaves, she asks T'Var when they may meet again. Once they schedule another time, Kylah quickly thanks her and hastens to allow the Vulcan her solitude. Kylah has much to think on herself on the way back to her quarters--and in the long hours that she suspects will inevitably pass before she falls asleep. I should have asked for some sleeping medication, she thinks ruefully.
    Last edited by choie; 04 Sep 2013 at 11:33 AM.
       

  117. #117

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    The rest of the night passes quietly for all as the Yorktown moves deeper into space.

    The next morning, you each wake to find an invitation in your comm account for dinner with the senior officers and Vice Adm. Patrick Hardin, Comptroller General of Starfleet.
       

  118. #118
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    Collins dresses and heads to the Mess for coffee and something to eat, although she's more nauseated than hungry. She grabs what she wants from the dispensers, then heads to one of the lounges to sit quietly by herself before heading to her appointment with Dr. Noel.
       

  119. #119

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    Kylah is surprised by the invitation and mulls it over, trying to figure out why she would be involved in such a gathering--and with a comptroller? She shakes her head.

    After dressing, she faces the reality that she can no longer procrastinate in her duty to her Guardian. She pulls her zither from its ancient leather container, activates her tricorder's audio recorder, and--after some contemplation--composes a melody and harmony, banal enough, but containing a counterpoint line that will encrypt her hidden message using the notation code she created long ago, at Aldaan's behest.

    When finished, Kylah listens to the recorded tune. Not a particularly pleasant composition, with more dissonance thanks to the counterpoint melody than Kylah prefers, but musical beauty is hardly the point. She sighs and looks down at her tricorder, distaste and guilt gnawing at her. But her role is her role, and she must play it.

    Replying to her uncle's letter, Kylah types:

    Honored Guardian Aldaan,

    I send my own humble greetings and thanks to my brother His Serenity for his generosity in addressing me. I hope the Dohlman thrives and is wisely counselled by both you and the Nobles.

    I apologize for not having communicated to you earlier. My first weeks and initial mission did indeed occupy my attention and responsibility, as of course they must. I assure you I am well aware of the duty I owe Elas as well as Starfleet, and hope to perform both as well as I possibly can.

    The work on the Yorktown is challenging yet rewarding. Having recently returned from my first mission, I do regret to say there were some difficulties, and I must blame myself and my inexperience for not rising to all occasions. I hope you will forgive me for not excelling in this. My superiors expect much of me, as do I, and I plan to do everything possible to learn from mistakes and meet these expectations.

    You ask of tales of life in my new society. The cultures here are indeed manifold and I learn more each day. My roommate is a human female and a highly-respected member of the ship's security team. I believe I shall learn patience through her, as our temperaments differ, but as you have told me, such challenges often reap the most rewards. I have also met a kind Vulcan doctor who has done her best to teach me the ways of the ship, and I think will be a highly fortunate role model for me. There is also a Coridanite xenobiologist with whom I hope to believe I am forming a friendshi
    Kylah suddenly stops typing and bites at her lower lip, almost hard enough to cut the skin. What was she thinking when she started this sentence? This is not a diary. She would not send anything like this to Aldaan.

    She deletes the last line and continues.

    There are others including a Coridanite and many humans, all of whom are diligent and worthy Starfleet crew members. I know I will learn a great deal and am looking forward to serving by their side. Of course it is my greatest hope to prove valuable and do justice to the trust Starfleet has shown me by giving me this honorable assignment. I also hope my family, and my people, will find some measure of pride in my service here, but that will be up to me.

    Please send my love and continued pledge of obedience to His Serenity, and my love and affection to my dear sister Her Grace Ditraa. I hope the lack of reference to her in your last communication was simply an oversight rather than an indication that something is wrong with her. But then, she has always enjoyed good health and I pray that continues. Perhaps the Council of Nobles have selected her groom at last, and she is occupied thusly.

    To all the household staff who remember me, please pass forth my warmest regards. To you I send my respectful gratitude for your patience. In addition, since you thoughtfully remembered my music studies, I am also sending a brief song I have composed in my off-duty hours. It is a trifle but perhaps you will find it passably pleasing.

    Kylah
    She rereads the letter. She has no doubt that her young sister Ditraa is perfectly well; Ditraa barely acknowledges her presence when Kylah is right in front of her, much less now that Kylah's light years away.

    Finally she attaches the uploaded recording and, after fighting with the guilt that makes her fingers hover over the control panel ready to remove the attachment, closes her eyes and sends the message... and the song.

    The song's hidden message, once decoded, will translate to:

    Code:
    Mission revealed ulterior
     motives by Sakath government previously unknown to Federation. Possibly
     sought genetic engineering using Earth and Federation scientists. 
    Disastrous results. Our mission proved dangerous. Multiple deaths. 
    Cooperative effort appears to be failure. Current Sakath relations with 
    Federation uncertain but likely unstable at best. No more known.
    Once her reply has been sent, Kylah quickly deletes the recording from both the system and her tricorder. It is likely an unnecessary precaution, as there is only one key to the code and Aldaan is the sole possessor of it--outside Kylah's own mind.

    Then she puts away the zither and heads out to the mess hall, walking fast and standing tall despite the self-loathing eating at her. She hopes to see T'Var again this morning, that would be pleasant. Or Velir. Mr. Rangin, she corrects herself quickly as she enters the mess and scans the tables.
    Last edited by choie; 04 Sep 2013 at 04:15 PM.
       

  120. #120
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    Graham can't help but laugh that it now seems that their mission to a spa planet involves transporting one of Starfleet's most senior pencil-pushers. He dresses and heads to the mess. Since it seems like he'll have some free time, he intends to grab coffee, eggs, and potatoes, and then get some exercise. His usual routine would be fine, but he wonders if he might meet someone at breakfast interested in sports or sparring.
       

  121. #121
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    Rangin wonders out loud how on earth he has an invite to the Captain's table and along with a Vice Admiral as well. He check the comms again just to make sure its not a joke, only to find out it isn't. Of course, this means getting any work done early, getting prepared for later and making sure he does not let Coridan down. He decides that later on it might be worth just brushing upon what is required at one of these, especially with someone of such a high rank.

    He is on half days anyway, under Doctor's Orders that hopefully will not last for too long. Time for breakfast and see what else is going on. Then he remembers last night as the other things going on make it past the mental block of dinner tonight, As he heads out to the mess, he wonders if Kylah made it to Dr T'var and had a good meeting. Perhaps he should mention about Ferguson, but that might have to wait for a better time. Also, he wonders what the rest of the science crew got up to on shore leave, he'd have to find out what he missed.

    Somehow, he thinks, it's going to be an interesting day.
    In the land of the blind, the one-arm man is king.
       

  122. #122

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    Kylah, Graham and Rangin all arrive in Mess Hall 1 within a few minutes of each other; Collins has already been and gone. It is just before 0700. Kylah is expected on the Bridge to begin standing a Communications watch at 0800, and Graham is due in the Security office at that time for a general orientation. Rangin, still on doctor-ordered half-duty, is not expected in the Xenobiology lab until 1200.

    Delaney also soon shows up, looking tired, and gets a mug of coffee. He smiles when he sees you. Pourtash comes in moments later.
       

  123. #123

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    As Kylah searches the Mess, she returns Delaney's smile with a respectful nod. There was a time when his smile would have made her heart beat a little faster, but things during the mission seem to have chilled her a bit.

    Then she notices someone entering shortly after her--someone she's never seen before. He's not as tall as most Elasian males, or even most human males, but he's still about a full hand taller than she is, and his well-muscled and fit body would do any man half his age proud. In truth, in years he is likely the same age as Aldaan, but this is no bureaucrat: even if the thin scar weren't evidence enough, everything in his bearing speaks of... someone walking on an edge. This is most obvious in his eyes, a vivid green in contrast to his gray hair; they are eyes, Kylah senses, that have seen a lot.

    She starts to move a little closer, wondering if the fact that he's alone indicates that he's new, like her, or just someone who prefers solitude. It would be nice to commiserate with someone else to whom the ship is still largely a mystery. But then she sees Rangin enter as well, and immediately all the insecurity of last night returns. As does the shame. How she acted! He must think her a paranoid, sloppy drunk.

    Nevertheless she's still flushed with pleasure at seeing him. Or maybe it's just embarrassment. Should I return to calling him Mr. Rangin? Would using his first name seem too familiar? Or will he think I've forgotten it again? She decides on a neutral tactic. "Good morning," she says carefully, wearing what she hopes is a friendly expression. "How are you feeling today?"
    Last edited by choie; 05 Sep 2013 at 12:12 AM.
       

  124. #124
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    Rangin bounces into the mess hall feeling better than he has for a while. The Yorktown had left for somewhere new and interesting and it probably couldn't get worse than last time...actually that was asking for trouble, so never mind.

    He was about to get some food when he sees Kylah approaching looking slightly tentative and judging by her greeting perhaps slightly unsure about how to follow on from last night. No problems.

    He fixes her with a happy smile and speaks informally and friendly.
    "Morning Kylah, yeah I'm feeling fine thanks. How are you and mind if I join you for breakfast? Oh, and how did last night go, get things sorted?"
    In the land of the blind, the one-arm man is king.
       

  125. #125
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    T'Var prepares for duty in Sickbay.

    She reflects on her meeting with Kylah. How best to help the young woman? Perhaps using her own struggles with anger -- and at times outright rage -- as an example, Kylah could learn from T'Var's mistakes and how a Vulcan was able to overcome them.

    T'Var heads to the Mess Hall for a light breakfast and, of course, a cup or two of Vulcan Spice Tea.

    She walks over to the assembled group of shipmates. "May I join you?" T'Var asks.
       

  126. #126

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    Delaney has already sat down with his coffee, and says, "Yes, please do. Good morning, Doctor." Pourtash is coming near with a breakfast tray, too. T'Var sees he has a glass of orange juice and a plate of small pastries.
       

  127. #127

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    Dr. Helen Noel welcomes Collins into her office at 0900 sharp. "What can I do for you, Lieutenant?" she asks once the door has whooshed shut.

    "I'm a wreck, Doctor," Collins says as she goes to sit in the chair opposite the doctor. "I thought I had this all figured out. I know who I am, I like who I am. But Ben - Ensign Cooper - is making this very difficult for me." There is a little anxiety in Jeremi's voice, even though her body language is calm.

    "Concerning your pregnancy, I presume." She nods. "What can I do to help?"

    "I'm not sure. We took shore leave yesterday and had a wonderful time. Until we started talking. I want to terminate. I'm only 26 and I'm just not ready to be a mother. But Ben wants the baby very badly. He won't listen to reason. Then last night, I had a nightmare that he ripped the baby out of me and left me bleeding on the floor!" Collins pauses briefly to catch her breath. "I'm a little worried about what he's capable of."

    The psychiatrist frowns, and she leans forward. "Has he said or done anything that makes you think might act violently against you?"

    "Not as such. But he's so insistent that I keep this baby. He's being very passive-aggressive, coated in kind words. But underneath it all...." Collins sighs heavily and shakes her head. "He says he cares about me but he's more focused on the baby. A baby I'm not ready for. I don't know why this is getting to me. I'd already made up my mind, but it's almost as though he doesn't care what I want."

    "Mr. Coll-- I'm sorry, but may I call you Jeremi? Or Jeri?"

    "Jeri is fine."

    "Thank you, Jeri. Tell me, what do you really want to do? What is the ideal outcome for you?" She pauses. "You say you wish to terminate, and of course you have that right, but have you fully considered your options? It's not an either/or situation. You could arrange for surgical transfer to a gestational surrogate, or carry the baby to full term and then either give Ens. Cooper full parental rights, or give the baby up for adoption outright. Would any of those courses be more appealing to you?"

    "Gestational surrogate?" Collins pauses and mulls this over for a few moments. "Who would be the carrier? Would I get to meet her? I think I like this idea, but I want to think about it some more."

    "Well, we'd have to find someone, either on board or elsewhere. There are lists of interested, willing women kept by various medical associations and parenting organizations. Dr. Villa might have some suggestions of her own, as well. But would you want Ens. Cooper to play any role in the child's future?"

    "If I go this route, yes; he is the father, after all." Collins pauses to create a mental flowchart of future events. "Definitely have to let it sink in, and talk to him, of course. This certainly puts a different spin on things." She gets up to leave, and extends her hand to the doctor. "Thank you, Dr. Noel. You have been very helpful. May I come back after I've spoken to Ben?"

    Dr. Noel stands, takes Collins's hand and looks her in the eye. She smiles encouragingly. "Of course. Take all the time you need, Jeri. This isn't the kind of decision you'll want to rush into. Just let me know when you next wish to meet. Keep your chin up and remember you're not alone."



    Collins's dialogue by anyrose; Dr. Noel's by Elendil's Heir.
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 05 Sep 2013 at 11:03 AM.
       

  128. #128
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    "Thank you," T'Var says as she sits down. The doctor looks about her as she takes a sip of tea. She notices the newest member of the crew.

    "Welcome aboard," she says with a nod. "Mr. Graham, I believe?"
       

  129. #129
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    Graham glances around the mess. He’s starting to feel “in the zone again:” maintaining situational awareness, assessing the lay of the room, who’s coming and going it, and what’s happening around him. Some argue that the latest inertial dampeners reduce the vibration of a ship during normal conditions below levels humans can feel—Graham disagrees. The hum of activity and motion at the back of his mind doesn’t leave much room for dwelling on the demons of the past. Maybe you bastards have today off, too, he thinks.

    Out of the corner of his eye he notices a young, attractive woman who seems to be staring at him. At first glance she doesn’t seem like the type who’d be interested in sparring (although Graham muses tat if she had a thing for Greco-Roman wrestling this just might be the best ship to be on in the fleet) but he realizes that he may not have time for a workout before his orientation anyway.

    He’s about to take his tray and walk over to introduce himself when she reacts visibly to the entrance of a short, olive skinned ensign. Graham shakes his head clear. OK Booker, he thinks, Vargas worries you’re a drunk, Bennett thinks you’re a idiot—so let’s not start day one by stumbling into provoking the jealous boyfriend of a woman half your age.

    There looks to be a friendly-enough looking group assembling at a table: Graham decides he’ll introduce himself there. As he approaches the table, a striking Vulcan woman welcomes him aboard—now she, Booker thinks, may want to spar, and just might kick my ass…but I’m totally OK with that. “Thanks—Booker Graham, Security. Just came aboard yesterday. Mind if I join you?”
       

  130. #130
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    Collins decides she needs another cup of coffee before reporting for duty, so she heads to the Mess. She sees her "crew" sitting together along with someone who looks like he'd belong in images she's seen of Old Earth Hell's Angels. She sees he's an ensign which surprises her. Surely someone his age in Starfleet is at least a Commander, if not a Captain or an Admiral. She goes over to the group.
    "Good morning all. How is everyone feeling?" She holds out her hand to the new guy "Lieutenant Junior Grade Jeremi Collins, Assistant Chief of Security. Nice to meet you, Ensign...?"
       

  131. #131

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    Rangin's obvious good mood puts Kylah more at ease. He certainly doesn't seem to look down on her for her conduct. She gives him a soft smile in return. "I am well, thank you. Yes, I would be happy to join you." As they walk to get some food, Kylah adds after a bit of thought: "My meeting was... productive. I cannot say if everything was sorted out, but perhaps it will be. I hope it will be."

    Choosing a bowl of fruit, she glances over at Rangin. "Thank you again for last night. I apologize again for my mistakes in communicating with you. Perhaps I am in the wrong field," she says with a rueful shake of her head.
       

  132. #132
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    Before Booker can sit down, a fit redhead about his own height approaches and extends a hand. He takes it in a firm but restrained grip. “Ensign Booker Graham…boss. Security. I’ve heard a lot about you.”

    If he could go back in time 30 seconds and shoot himself with a phaser set to heavy stun he would do it: why did I say that? What am I supposed to say if she asks—“I’ve heard rumors you’re a loose cannon and preggers to boot?” He hopes against hope their interchange triggers a quick round of introductions, allowing his last line to slip quietly into oblivion.
       

  133. #133
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    "Oh?" Collins raises an eyebrow, but smiles "Only half of it is true. Welcome aboard." She takes a seat an listens to the conversation resume.
       

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    Rangin piles some bacon and eggs on to his tray with some coffee, while listening to Kylah.

    He then quietly talks back to him below the background hum. "Kylah, please stop apologising for last night, once is enough. Look we had a good time, despite the missteps, and I'm sure some of it is my fault as well. Its also good to hear your meeting went well, here's hoping for the future. "

    "Come, on, let's find somewhere to sit and eat. Anywhere in particular?" Rangin asks Kylah, while looking round the mess hall.
    In the land of the blind, the one-arm man is king.
       

  135. #135
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    T'Var observes Graham closely.... Scanning the room for potential threats -- even when there are none. Assessing carefully each crew member he comes into contact with. Definitely Security through and through. Also, quite human. The doctor allows herself a brief smile. Then again, she finds humans rather interesting.

    Perhaps T'Var will invite him to join her for a bit of hand-to-hand combat training. She may be a physician now, but the V'Shar still flows through her veins. Mr. Graham might prove to be a worthy opponent, T'Var muses.
    Last edited by WES; 06 Sep 2013 at 11:07 AM.
       

  136. #136

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    Kylah nods at Rangin, glad to be reassured that he does not bear a grudge--and suddenly feels a lightness she rarely gets to enjoy. "You are right," she says. "It was at least half your fault." But while her tone is serious, her eyes gleam playfully at him, and she holds the look just long enough for the Coridanite to notice. Then, with a raised chin that her old governess taught her was the proper demeanor for a royal daughter, she turns back to the Mess with new confidence. "I see some empty seats at the end of Dr. T'Var's table. Thus we may be sociable but also separate enough to speak privately."

    She moves toward the table where their colleagues are seated, casting a beckoning glance at Rangin as she does. Kylah isn't certain why she's feeling so unburdened right now, but doesn't wish to examine it--although she does suspect it's likely due to the combination of the presence of the friendly Rangin by her side, her meeting with T'Var, the unusual and admittedly flattering invitation to dinner tonight, and perhaps most of all, the fact that her duty to her Guardian is behind her and she needn't think of it or even Aldaan himself at all for some time.

    When she reaches the end of the table, she pauses to greet T'Var warmly, Collins... not as warmly but not coldly either, and finally the stranger, with more shyness than the other two. Never certain how to handle such things--when she was growing up, the correct protocol was for others to be introduced to her--all she does is say quietly, "I am Ensign Kylah. I do not believe we have met."
       

  137. #137
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    Graham inwardly breathes a sigh of relief that Collins lets his comment slide. He is encouraged that she seems to have a sense of humor—and also a little shocked to see what looks like a quick smile from the Vulcan. That’s not something he expected: he wonders for a moment if his eyes are playing tricks on him. He discounts this when the woman he thought was watching him earlier greets her with a lot more affection than he’d expect either a typical human to show toward a Vulcan—or a typical Vulcan would be inclined to appreciate.

    Almost everyone around is younger than he is—except of course the Emo Vulcan, who is assuredly much older than she looks—but up close he realizes this “Ensign Kylah” is even younger than most: probably his daughter’s age. She seems vulnerable—actually, almost nervous about speaking to him. Just like my daughter, he thinks, with a pang of regret.

    And much like when I speak with my daughter, he thinks, I have no god dammed idea what to say. At least a joke’s a better coping mechanism than a drink…

    He tries to look disarming (something he’s not always successful at doing). “Don’t let the red shirt and the ugly face worry you, Ensign. I don’t bite.” He gestures toward Collins. “At least not unless the L-T* were to make it an order.”

    *"ELL-TEE"
       

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    Rangin looks at Kylah while attempting to be serious about it, but his eyes also show his mirth creeping through.

    "Those seats will be fine, besides there's something else I need to mention to you. Later is fine if we don't get a chance now." He follows Kylah across to the table where the others are currently seated.

    "Good Morning all", says Rangin as he sits down with his tray opposite Kylah. Once he's put his tray down and Kylah has introduced herself, he nods a greeting to the now surrounded new Ensign. "Hi, Ensign Rangin, although I guess you're used to everyone asking who you are?"
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  139. #139
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    Knowing Kylah's hyper sensitivity, Collins catches Graham's eye and quickly, briefly, shakes her head 'no' letting him know some folks don't appreciate that kind of joke, then she smiles. I'll have to keep an eye on him, she muses to herself, he could end up alienating the entire crew with that sense of humor.
    Last edited by anyrose; 06 Sep 2013 at 05:55 PM.
       

  140. #140

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    Rangin's comment about having something to discuss with her puts Kylah on alert. What could this mean? She just watches him move nearer the stranger--whose name she still doesn't know--and then switches her focus back to the older man.

    There's something unusual about the way he's looking at her but she resists the urge to sense more. If she is to gain control on being affected by others' unwanted emotions, she knows she should exert some discipline on her own actions. Then, when he greets her with such a self-deprecating remark, Kylah's eyes widen slightly. Not having the best experience with men of his age, she's usually guarded around them, but something makes her assure him with sudden, quiet candor: "Your face is not ugly."

    Flushing a bit at having made such a personal remark, Kylah sits down and looks away. Of course, she says nothing about his joke about biting, but does not miss Collins's warning look at the newcomer. Let us hope he has not given her ideas, she thinks, and hides a wry smirk by stabbing a piece of melon with a fork and lifting it to her lips.
       

  141. #141
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    “Uh, thanks…” Graham mumbles, a bit taken aback. He catches Collins giving him the evil eye and is momentarily annoyed: what the hell is her problem? I’m just trying to be nice…

    Then again, Kylah’s behavior was a little odd: she looks human enough, but maybe she’s from a species—or a culture--that doesn’t get humor? For all he knew maybe they euthanize everybody over thirty over and that’s why she’s acting strange around me? He tries to give Collins the benefit of the doubt that she’s trying to give him a helpful warning as opposed to needlessly busting his chops.

    He’s relieved when Kylah’s—boyfriend? Husband? Friend? —Rangin breaks the silence. “Um, yeah,” Graham says a little too loudly. “I mean, there’s not much to say, you know? ‘Graham, Security.’ And folks can guess the latter from the shirt. I…” he tries to address this to the whole group. “I was going to try to hit the gym later…I wasn’t sure if anybody was interested in sparring? …If they’ll go easy on the old guy, of course,” he adds earnestly.

    He loosens and subtly shifts his shoulders a bit. Now he’s feeling more comfortable: when he was teaching combat tactics at the Academy, that line never failed to draw out the cowboy—or girl, it was often but not always a male—who was gunning to show off in front of the class by dumping the instructor on his butt.

    Not that he had any desire to embarrass his new crew mates, but the line brought back some positive memories. Not because—or, he mentally conceded, solely because—the next five minutes involved him giving a young punk a clinic, but because people who went into Security eager to show off usually got themselves and/or people around them killed. He liked to think a red face on the first day of his class might have saved some lives down the road.
       

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    "I'll go a couple of rounds with you after I get off duty." Collins offers. And let's make me too tired to meet ben for dinner, shall we? she thinks
       

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    Well son a gun, Graham thinks: Collins was right before, exactly half of what I've heard is in fact not true. She's obviously not pregnant if she's keen to hop into the ring.
       

  144. #144

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    By now this particular Mess Hall table is quite full, but no one seems to mind. The good food and the easy camaraderie of those gathered helps the time fly by. Eventually Pourtash wipes his mouth on his napkin and asks, "Does anyone know anything about this admiral we have aboard? I've never heard of him. What's a 'Comptroller General' do, anyway?"
       

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    "My guess?" Collins chimes in, "He's the bean counters' bean counter. Someone has to keep an eye on the bureaucrats" She finishes her coffee and stands "I'll see you all later." Collins heads for the turbolift to report to duty.
       

  146. #146

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    Kylah raises an eyebrow and waits until Collins leaves, then murmurs with a brief glance toward Pourtash: "In simplistic terms, she is correct. A comptroller general is charged to ensure that the government's assets or treasury have oversight and are used properly according to the laws of the republic, or democracy, or whatever system is used by the state. The intent is to maintain fiscal transparency. Ideally, anyway."

    As she recites the facts she learned at a very young age when learning about different--and according to her tutors, inferior--government systems, Kylah tears absently at a piece of pineapple, watching the fruit's yellow strands fall apart in her fingers. "It is... not always a popular position within the government. Nor is it one every government finds necessary or desirable."

    Elas certainly has no such equivalent. The idea of the Council of Nobles, much less the Dohlman, allowing such oversight is laughable. The Elasian coffers are used however the Council chooses--except during reigns of a particularly strong Dohlman, in which case she--or he--has complete control of the royal treasury.

    She sucks the sweet juice off her fingers, then wipes them delicately on her napkin. Her gaze lifts to examine Rangin across from her. Did he receive an invitation to dinner tonight? She wants to ask him but is afraid of being tactless if he was not. Perhaps that's what he wished to speak to her about.

    Rather belatedly she looks around the table. Perhaps it was not her place to speak. She is the least senior in age and experience. But I know about governments! Why should I not speak if that is the case? She hates how uncertain she is, how she continually must balance her desire to prove herself with her childish yearning to fit in. Did her unpopularity on the mission teach her nothing? Kylah quickly returns to her meal, again picking up the fork and hoping her response wasn't inappropriate.
       

  147. #147

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    "That's my understanding, too, Kylah," Delaney says. "I looked it up after I heard he'd come aboard. He's like the chief financial officer for Starfleet. Billions of credits pass through his office - purchasing, payroll, R&D, starship construction, general contracting, all that. He's the Fleet's money guy. He's been a desk officer practically his whole career."
       

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    T'Var finishes her breakfast of a biscuit with butter and honey, then takes a last sip of her tea.

    "I would enjoy a good workout," the doctor tells Graham. "I am certain we can both learn something from each other."

    T'Var stands, then addresses the assembled group. "I am off to Sickbay. I look forward to seeing you all at dinner this evening. I am sure we will learn more about our guest at that time."
       

  149. #149
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    Graham nods an acknowledgment of the Vulcan's offer as she leaves.

    For a moment, he watches as she walks away: he can't put his finger on it, but there's something in the way she moves that strikes him as more like "Security" than "Medical." He supposes he'll find out soon enough if they hit the gym.

    He stands. "Well if the big shot who pays the bills is onboard, I guess I'd better get 'on the clock' as they used to say back on Earth. Thanks for making a newbie feel welcome."

    Well sort of, he adds mentally. The fact that this young ensign almost exactly his daughter's age seems uncomfortable around him bothers him--more than it rationally should, he acknowledges. The prudent thing to do is probably to let it lie given Collin's--what: warning? admonishment?--not to mention his stellar skills at complex social interactions.

    Yeah just walk away-- like you did from Jane, and from Elizabeth. Coward.

    He winces as that unbidden thought crystallizes and lances through his brain.

    For a moment he feels physically ill; he wrestles to pull himself back together, and gives Ensign Kylah what he struggles mightily to make a very brief, reassuring little smile as he leaves...quickly.

    Looks like the demons are back on the today clock, too, he thinks as he heads to his scheduled orientation.
       

  150. #150

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    Kylah says goodbye to T'Var, and then belatedly processes what she just said. So all of them are invited to the gathering tonight? She's relieved--this means she can discuss it with Rangin--though curious to know what a special dinner with such a disparate group of shipmates could mean.

    As she's about to address Rangin, she senses an odd wave of... jumbled emotions, conflict and disappointment and even some anger?... from the new security officer. She's compelled to face him, and discovers he's looking down at her. With a smile--a smile that seems hard-won, somehow.

    She doesn't smile easily herself, so she can empathize. But she gives him what she hopes is a welcoming acknowedgment in the form of a nod with warmth in her gaze. Or as close as she can get to it.

    When he leaves--putting Kylah more at ease thanks to the loss of his strong, warring emotions--she turns to Rangin again. Pourtash and Delaney are at the other side of the table and she and Velir are more than able to talk in privacy. However, it's nearly time for her shift and she's anxious to hear what he wanted to say. Unbidden, the thought occurs to her that perhaps he's about to tell her that he's married or otherwise attached. Not that it would be any of her business if he were. In fact, she's not even sure why that should be the first thing that springs to her mind, and she's as embarrassed by the thought as if she'd spoken it aloud.

    "Did you... want to tell me something?" she asks, her hands toying nervously with the utensils near her bowl.
       

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    "I'm sure it is not logical to question how the Doctor knew about dinner, but how does she do that? Probably why I still have difficulty beating her at chess." grins Rangin.

    He looks at the departing Graham, "Good to meet you", he acknowledges him with a nod and then turns back to Kylah.

    "Thank you the detail on the Comptroller, I didn't know what he did. I wouldn't worry about your roommate or our new security ensign. They are likely to spend the new week or so working out where the boundaries lie in terms of humour and good taste."

    He drops his voice slightly. "As for something else. Well, I was a little curious about the gentleman you mentioned last night. The one who doesn't appear to like you at all. I don't know whether you did, but I took a look at his record to see if there was any reason. I'm sorry to say I couldn't find anything. All I can say is probably just steer clear of him as best you can." Rangin finishes off his coffee.

    He raises his voice again. "That aside, and given that we are both at dinner tonight, are you doing anything tomorrow night? Poker?"
    In the land of the blind, the one-arm man is king.
       

  152. #152

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    "Yes, poker," Kylah says automatically, so stunned by what Rangin has just told her that she finds herself staring at him like a fool until she corrals her thoughts. "But wait. You--you looked up his record?" She lowers her voice in wonder. "I had not even considered that."

    Her heart races. She had forgotten all about Ferguson again. And now Rangin has brought it back, along with multiple questions. He took it upon himself to investigate? Why would he do this for her? She's torn between wounded pride--that he felt she could not handle her own problems--and being touched that he took her words seriously after all. Last night she had thought him dismissive of her fears, perhaps not surprisingly considering the alcohol's effect on her ability to communicate. Apparently she was wrong. Rangin had believed her, at least enough to look into the matter.

    Curiosity forces her blurt, "What exactly did you look for? Was it not a risk to do so--I mean, surely he might learn who has been looking up his records. Can you get in trouble for this?" And finally, she must ask in a softer tone: "Why would you do such a thing?"
    Last edited by choie; 07 Sep 2013 at 03:52 PM.
       

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    Rangin shrugs his shoulders and looks slightly non-plussed back at her. "You're a friend, aren't you? Why wouldn't I try to help out?"

    He smiles again as he realises that Kylah thinks he might have been snooping in sealed records to get info.

    "I only looked at open records, nothing further. I was just looking for any kind of link to give reason to what you said his actions were. I had some free time last night in the lab, after we came back. Everyone else was on shore leave, and I got to thinking. That's all."

    "I don't think much will come of it.", Rangin shrugs again before looking slightly embarrassed at Kylah. "I hope you're not upset with me for looking are you?"
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  154. #154

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    A friend. Why do the words both warm Kylah and disappoint her at the same time? Irritated with herself, she pushes the disappointment away. She has not had enough experience with friendship to discount it when offered.

    "I am not upset," she says at last. "Surprised, yes. I do intend to learn what caused our strange interaction, although if there is nothing in his recorded history, I suppose there is no sense in pursuing it." Not down that avenue, at any rate, she thinks, her mind already tempted to run through other strategies. But she quickly focuses on the here and now--particularly, Rangin's kindness. "I just... I would not have expected someone else to consider helping me in such a way. It was thoughtful of you to do so, Velir." She smiles in gratitude. Then she gathers her tray and stands up. "My shift on the Bridge is starting soon. I suppose I will see you at dinner tonight? Have a good day--and thank you again."

    She hurries off to deposit her bowl and utensils--which reminds her that she must replace her lost throwing knife; she should have used shore leave for that purpose, how forgetful of her. Then again, if she had, she might not have spent dinner with Rangin, and that would be regrettable. Kylah almost smiles to herself again, but returns to her usual impassive expression as she hastens to the Bridge.
       

  155. #155

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    Pourtash and Delaney say goodbye and leave the Mess Hall - Pourtash to a meeting of Command staff, and Delaney, having pulled an all-nighter with the deuterium pump, to bed.

    Collins checks in at the Security Office but sees that all's quiet. She next goes to the Bridge. Cmdr. Vargas is in the big chair and wishes her a good morning. Settling in at the Security console, she sees that Lt. Thalen has forwarded her a message from Starfleet Tactical about somewhat menacing Klingon visits to two border worlds not far away.

    Graham has time to look in the Ship's Gymnasium before his orientation. The Gym is bright, clean and, he's a little stunned to see, at least four times as big as that of the Invictus. It includes open space for general exercise, a variable-G running track, weightlifting and rowing machines, a sauna, steam room, squash and handball courts, and several rooms that may be configured as needed for boxing and martial arts, fencing, yoga, gymnastics, dance, and so on. There are changing rooms, athletic gear available in lockers, neat piles of towels, and laundry chutes. A large swimming pool with a low diving board and two whirlpool baths adjoins the Gym complex. About three dozen people are in the general area.

    In Sickbay, Dr. Villa has some lab results that she'd like T'Var to look at, and physical exams for the Vulcan to perform on three Yorktown crewmembers over the course of the morning. Fujishiro's condition is unchanged.
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 07 Sep 2013 at 08:39 PM.
       

  156. #156
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    Graham is gratified to see the exceptional fitness facilities, and only with effort succeeds at fighting off the urge to immerse himself physically and mentally right now in a long, intense, and all-consuming workout.
       

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    Collins taps the panel in front of her to get more information about the two border worlds mentioned in Thalen's message. She types the following queries:
    1. What are the names of the worlds involved
    2. How far are these worlds from our present position
    3. are they en route or are they a major detour
    She waits for answers before she brings this to Vargas' attention.
    Last edited by anyrose; 07 Sep 2013 at 10:36 PM.
       

  158. #158

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    Graham successfully fights the temptations of the Gym and reports on time to the Security Office for his orientation. He and two Security ratings, Spec/1 Daniel Smith and Spec/3 Aidan Williams, have just come aboard the Yorktown and are briefed by Ens. Mary Three Crows, a tall, stately Amerindian female who wears her dark hair in braids. She explains the ship's standard operating procedures (most of which come as no surprise to Graham), and gives the three a tour of the small Security Office, the bigger and adjoining Brig, the Armory, the Phaser Control Room and the Photon Torpedo Bay.

    Three Crows says in conclusion, "Cmdr. Vargas, as you know, is both our First Officer and Chief of Security. This might make you wonder if he can give his full attention to this department." She chuckles. "Let me assure you, he can. Mr. Vargas is quite capable of multitasking, and you just may live to regret the day you assume he's distracted or unaware of what goes on here. This is, to be blunt, the best department on one of the best ships in the Fleet, and he expects us all to keep it that way. Any questions?"

    Collins may make her inquiry verbally or by typing. She learns that the Klingons, as permitted by the Organian Peace Treaty, claimed their rights to shore leave on Anubis and Haran V. The same Klingon battlecruiser, the Klothar, went to both worlds a few days apart. At Anubis, it ignored orders of the planet's space-traffic control center upon entering the system and forced a Rigellian freighter and an interplanetary shuttle to change course to avoid a collision. On Haran V there were several fights between Klingon personnel and the locals, apparently provoked by the Klingons, but fortunately no one was killed. A Klingon lieutenant made remarks to an officer of the Haranian police, who was investigating one of the disturbances, to the effect that "this planet will be ours soon enough."

    At standard cruising speed the planets are four and five days away, respectively, from Omicron Ceti III. On her current course and given her current mission, they would be a major detour for the Yorktown.
       

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    Collins now asks the computer if there are any Federation ships closer to those two worlds who could investigate and mediate.
       

  160. #160

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    Collins checks the Fleet disposition database and sees no ships closer than the Yorktown. Sending a ship would be a decision of Starfleet Command, of course, she knows.
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 08 Sep 2013 at 01:54 PM.
       

  161. #161
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    Before T'Var assumes her normal duties in Sickbay, she spends a moment sitting with Fujishiro. Though it would probably be best to let the young woman pass away in peace, the doctor finds it very difficult to accept this.

    T'Var leans down and whispers in Fujishiro's ear, "Fight the enemy within. You have much to live for. Fight for your life."
    Last edited by WES; 08 Sep 2013 at 01:20 PM.
       

  162. #162
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    Graham nods. This is more like it: Three Crows seems solid, no B.S. here. “Understood. Is there anything that newbies should know about what pushes the old m—ah, the Commander’s or the Captain’s buttons, positively—or negatively? I’d like to avoid stepping on any landmines--” he gestures at Williams and Smith and smiles slightly. “If only so collateral damage doesn’t take out my partners here who may have bright careers ahead of them.” He pauses for a moment. “I suppose Collins too. No disrespect intended but she seems…a little young…as ACOS.”
       

  163. #163

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    Three Crows smiles. "Nothing in particular, Mr. Graham. Do your job, be well-prepared, know what's going on, and you should have no problems."
       

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    "Commander," Collins addresses Vargas, "There have been some disturbances on Anubis and Haran V." She relays all the information she's found, including the fact that there are no other ships in the area."
       

  165. #165

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    This is only Kylah's second time on Bridge duty and she's already hyperalert, even though sitting at Communications during a several-day journey, as she's been told, usually means a lot of time patiently monitoring the vast emptiness of space, waiting for the off-chance of a passing vessel or occupied planet making contact.

    Now she hears Collins's report, and the mere mention of Klingons makes Kylah swivel her head briefly toward her roommate. She then quickly yanks her attention away, focusing on her comm panel. Above all, she tries not to think of the consequences--and her own obligations--should the Yorktown act on this situation.
    Last edited by choie; 08 Sep 2013 at 04:05 PM.
       

  166. #166

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    Vargas says, "Thank you, Mr. Collins. I'd seen that report already. If Starfleet decides anyone should go, it'll probably be us. The Klingons have proved themselves to be less-than-ideal houseguests time and again, but it's rarely necessary for Starfleet to respond." He does not seem especially concerned.
       

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    Collins nods and turns her attention back to her panel.
       

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    No problems with them, at least, Graham thinks--but that still leaves a whole galaxy's worth of problems to have...
       

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    "I'll see you tonight at dinner then." Rangin smiles as he watches Kylah leave and then bids farewell to the others as they leave. Sat alone at the table, he wonders what he should do until his watch starts in a few hours.

    He decides on a slow workout in the gym, get things ready for this evening and head for his watch. He could do with a quiet day.
    Last edited by CatInASuit; 09 Sep 2013 at 10:56 PM. Reason: watch - not shift
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  170. #170

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    The rest of Collins's and Kylah's watch on the Bridge is uneventful. Their relief arrives - Ens. De La Paz and Lt. Thalen, respectively.

    Graham's orientation is complete; what would he like to do next?

    Rangin goes to the Gym. What would he like to do there?
       

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    Rangin goes swimming for a while, not at pace but just for relaxation. Get some rhythm and get all his muscles working again, easing out some of the soreness from the enforced bed rest.

    He will probably do that for an hour or so.
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  172. #172
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    "Be prepared and know what's going on," Graham thinks. May as well take that to heart. He looks for a data terminal in the Security offices. First he checks his own duty roster, as well as when Collins goes off duty--with the intention of following up on her offer to spar. After that, he reviews Security records for anything major he ought to know: all recent reports over the past week , and any major incident reports over the past 30 days. Assuming he's free to do so, he'll familiarize himself with the armory and then head over to check out Sick Bay.
       

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    Collins checks to see if she'll have enough time before the dinner to spar with the new guy. If so, she'll head right to the gym at end of shift. If not, she'll message Graham and apologize, then after shift, return to her cabin and get ready.
       

  174. #174

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    Rangin has a good swim, and feels tired but good when he's done. Another five people are in the pool. Two are swimming laps, one is just floating around, and the other two are cuddling at the far end, obviously enjoying each other's company but not getting too far out of hand.

    Graham easily finds a Library Computer terminal in the Security Office. He sees that he is to report to Lt. JG Ryan Jones, the Security duty officer, at 0800 the next day for an eight-hour watch, starting with foot patrol around the ship. He knows that about a third of the ships in Starfleet maintain this custom; others regard it as quaint, unnecessary or even a waste of resources. (Vargas, it seems, is a traditionalist). Security incident reports from the last month are routine, but for two: a silver hairbrush was stolen from a Science officer's cabin nine days ago, and there was a fistfight in the Aft Crew Lounge three weeks ago between two Engineering ratings. Both of the crewmen involved in the fight later went to Captain's Mast, declined courts-martial and were disciplined.

    Although Graham had seen the Armory with Three Crows and the others, he now takes a closer look. There are two dozen racks of phaser-1s, phaser-2s, phaser rifles, communicators and Security tricorders. The latter are armored and have specialized functions, much as Medical and Engineering tricorders do.

    He is greeted in Sickbay by Nurse Michelle Brown, a brisk, plain-faced woman in her thirties with a data tablet under one arm. "Welcome, Ensign. What can I do for you?"

    Collins has more than enough time to spar with Graham before dinner.
       

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    Once he's finished, Rangin returns to his quarters, preps a few things for dinner that Night and then heads to the Science area to start his watch.
    In the land of the blind, the one-arm man is king.
       

  176. #176
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    Graham is a little disappointed as he was hoping somewhat to run into the Vulcan doctor he'd met earlier in the mess, but remains focused on learning about the ship. "Being in Security sometimes our colleagues are being brought into Sick Bay--or, sometimes, we're landing people in here. This is a hell of a ship, so I suppose it's foolish to ask about any limitations to the facilities. But I'll ask anyway, he says. "More likely I guess you might have some capabilities that other ships don't. I just wanted to get a sense of anything unique about this ship's facilities and crew, as a new guy."
       

  177. #177

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    Her shift over, Kylah visits the Comm Center and, using one of the terminals, makes certain she's unobtrusive as she proceeds to type in questions about Ferguson.

    Not surprisingly, as Rangin didn't give her many details about his precise research, Kylah ends up asking several of the same fruitless questions. The unhelpful responses makes her scowl. She does, however, add some specifics that Rangin couldn't have:

    >>Cite any known connections between Lt. Mark Ferguson and the planet Elas or any of its people?

    >>Cite any known connections between Lt. Mark Ferguson and the planet Troyius or any of its people?


    After receiving her responses, she hesitates only a moment before typing:

    >>Communications Protocol 7A. Password Kylah 903 Alpha. Locate Ferguson's communicator now.
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 12 Sep 2013 at 11:33 PM.
       

  178. #178
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    T'Var is sitting in her office looking over several patient files when she notices Ensign Graham entering Sickbay. Curious as to why the newest member of the crew would be here, she decides to find out. The doctor leaves her office and joins Graham and Nurse Brown.

    "May I be of assistance?" T'Var asks. "Are you ill or injured, Mr Graham?"
       

  179. #179
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    Collins heads to the gym, changes into workout gear, and warms up while waiting for Graham.
       

  180. #180
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    Graham shakes his head, then shrugs. "No, I'm not hurt, Doctor--not yet. As I was saying to Nurse Brown, it tends to be only a matter of time in Security before you're either being carried in to Sick Bay or carrying someone else in. I thought I'd get the lay of the land on the facility and medical personnel. I suspect it's more likely you can do things here above and beyond what I'd find on a typical ship." He smiles slightly. "For one I'd bet money our ACMO could take the average ship's doctor two-out-of-three falls, hands down."
       

  181. #181

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    Rangin finds all is quiet in the Xenobiology Lab. There are journals to read, or experiments he could plan and submit for approval by the Science Officer, or whatever else he'd like to do to pass the time.

    The Library Computer whirrs for a moment and then replies to Kylah, "No Lt. Mark Ferguson is listed as serving aboard USS Yorktown. Did you mean Lt. JG Mark Ferguson, Transporter Specialist, Engineering?" Pedantic damn computer. When Kylah indicates she does, the feminine but metallic voice goes on, "There are no known connections between between Lt. JG Mark Ferguson and the planet Elas or any of its people. There are no known connections between between Ferguson and the planet Troyius or any of its people." A longer pause, then: "Ferguson's communicator is currently in his quarters, 7B41."

    Collins gets nicely warmed up. There are several dozen other people around in the Gym at this hour. Security Spec/2 Alex Nivens comes over with a pair of Antarean rattan swords; he is wearing padded armor and has a light helmet and facemask. "Care for some swordfighting, ma'am?" he asks.

    Nurse Brown raises an eyebrow at Graham's comment, and looks at T'Var. "Do you know something about the doctor I don't, Mr. Graham?" she asks wryly.
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 12 Sep 2013 at 11:37 PM.
       

  182. #182
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    Graham shakes his head. "No ma'am, it's fair to say I don't know any facts about the doctor at all beyond the obvious. But in my line of work I try to make educated guesses about people by looking at them. Of course, my hunches have been wrong before," he adds while tracing the line of the scar running down his face.
       

  183. #183
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    Collins looks around the room for Graham. "Why not, Nivens," she says when she sees the ensign hasn't shown yet, "Thank you," she adds as she takes one of the swords from the Specialist, and faces him on the mat.
    Last edited by anyrose; 12 Sep 2013 at 12:25 AM.
       

  184. #184

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    Kylah's jaw juts out in stubborn irritation. Ferguson might be in his quarters, or he might not, having left his communicator behind there. She wants to speak with him in person, and preferably off-guard if she's to gain any insight. Self-control be damned, she will use her abilities if need be.

    She gets up and heads to her quarters, her mind occupied with contemplating her options. Delaney is Ferguson's superior; he might know his schedule. A frown wrinkles her brow slightly. But Delaney would surely ask why Kylah wishes to know such a thing, and what would she tell him? No. Delaney is not an option.

    Could she just scout out all the transporter rooms? Certainly, if she wants to waste all her time from now until dinner exploring the whole ship. And the man might not even be on duty.

    She sighs. A surprise visit is clearly not feasible. She will have to contact him through other channels first.

    When she reaches the cabin, Kylah is actually a little disappointed that Collins is not here. It's barely possible that her roommate might be willing to help her with no questions asked; it's clear Collins knows how to keep her own secrets--or at least tries to. Someone in security should certainly have the ability to ascertain where a crew member is stationed.

    With an even tighter clenching of her jaw, Kylah moves to her compuer terminal and for the second time today must write a message she would rather not compose. After some thought, she writes:

    Lieutenant Ferguson: Please pardon my forwardness, as we have not been formally introduced. However I would be extremely grateful for an opportunity to talk to you. Please let me know if it is possible to meet, at the time and place most convenient for you. If you see this tonight, I am available from now until 19:00.

    Thank you, sir, for your consideration.


    The humble tone of the message makes Kylah a little ill, but she has to admit she's glad she seems to have learned something from the multitude of obsequious toadies she's known throughout her upbringing. Grimacing at the screen, she sends the message off.
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 12 Sep 2013 at 11:36 PM.
       

  185. #185
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    Rangin starts reading up on Omicron Ceti III and the biology of the planet as that is where they are heading.

    As he reads about it, he starts to get an inkling of an idea.

    Given the effect of certain of the plants on people, he wonders if it is possible to replicate the effect or it can be applied to those who are not on the planet, in terms of the beneficial biological effects that they had. Is it a long term exposure or a short period? Could it be done without a psychological dependence? Does it require Berthold rays?

    The more he looks into it, the more one word sits at the front of his mind.

    Fujishiro.
    In the land of the blind, the one-arm man is king.
       

  186. #186
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    "I think you will find our department more than capable of handling any medical emergency," T'Var replies. "And I am quite capable of handling myself in most emergencies as well."
       

  187. #187
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    Graham shakes his head. "No doubts here, Doctor. But speaking of emergencies--I think I'm late to meet Lt. Collins in the gym...maybe we'll meet up there sometime as well." Graham nods to both T'Var and Nurse Brown and double-times it to the gym.
       

  188. #188

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    As mentioned in the setup thread, see my revisions to posts 177, 181 and 184, re: Kylah's attempt to locate Ferguson.

    Nivens asks, "Antarean Classic rules, ma'am?" and Collins agrees at once. He waits while she gets and dons her padded armor, helmet and facemask from an equipment locker. The two bow to each other and begin fighting. Collins immediately proves herself faster and more dextrous, but Nivens is stronger and slightly more aggressive. Graham arrives after the two have been battling for about four minutes.

    Rangin sees that there's a Starfleet medical research station on Omicron Ceti III that is exploring those and other questions. Very little of its work has been published, however.

    Ferguson replies to Kylah a few minutes later: I could meet with you at 0930 tomorrow, if you wish, but not tonight. What did you wish to discuss, Ensign? FERGUSON.
       

  189. #189

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    Somewhat surprised by the swiftness of Ferguson's response, Kylah feels a ripple of nervousness down her spine, and she's not entirely sure why. Gnawing at her lower lip, she hesitates, then checks her duty schedule for tomorrow. As she does, she ponders about the fact that he did not mention where he wishes to meet. Honestly, she has half a mind to visit his quarters now, but considering he does outrank her, disregarding his wishes would be a poor choice... even for her.

    Kylah inhales and responds:

    Thank you for your swift response, Lieutenant. That time is clear for me as well. Shall we meet in one of the rec rooms, or is there a place more convenient for you? As far as what I wish to discuss:

    She pauses. Her lip gets redder and somewhat sore as she continues to grind her teeth against it in thought.

    As far as what I wish to discuss: this is my first posting following my graduation from the Academy, and I have little knowledge of the protocols of beaming crew members on and off a Starfleet ship. As I recall from the mission to the Sakathian research lab, your performance while transporting my group was especially noteworthy and I would greatly appreciate a better understanding of it. Thank you.

    -- Ens. Kylah


    She rereads the message, frets a bit about a word or two, but then sends it on its way. She's satisfied that her meaning is clear, yet also banal enough that he can hardly take offense.

    Kylah hopes he'll choose a rec room or some other public place, but one where there will be some measure of privacy. She can't imagine she's at any risk--Ferguson can't be insane enough to harm someone he doesn't know--but neither can she forget the hostility and indefinable yet clear anger she sensed in that brief moment when their eyes met.

    Yes, she definitely prefers a public setting, yet one quiet enough for her to get a good read on him and perhaps a straightforward answer.

    Kylah stands up, then decides to take a quick shower prior to tonight's dinner. As she looks in the mirror, she suddenly shakes her head in wry amusement at her overthinking of this one incident. For all she knows, Ferguson's rationale for looking on her with such contempt might simply be that she reminds him of an ex-wife or girlfriend.
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 13 Sep 2013 at 09:09 PM.
       

  190. #190

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    A half hour passes before Ferguson replies: Hmm. 0930 tomorrow in Rec Room 3, then. FERGUSON. Kylah is free at that time.
       

  191. #191
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    "Oh look. Another remote scientific outpost with little published to its name. How ironic," thinks Rangin to himself before reading further on what they are up to.
    In the land of the blind, the one-arm man is king.
       

  192. #192
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    Well that was more like what I expect from a Vulcan, Graham thinks. Maybe I was imagining the smile.

    Arriving at the gym, he worries he's kept Collins waiting since she's already sparring when he arrives--nonetheless, he watches for a moment to assess the styles, strengths, and weaknesses of Collins and her opponent as much as he can before either they notice him or he says anything.

    "Ah, sorry if I'm late, L-T" Graham says from the sidelines. "Don't let me stop you beating the hell out of each other, though. It's never a bad thing for your opponent to be as tired, bruised, and battered as possible. Of course I'll also take kind of hungry, a little sick or mentally preoccupied, anytime as well--little things that are the 'icing on the cake' that tilt the odds in one’s favor."
       

  193. #193
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    Collins sees Graham out the corner of her eye, but stays focused on the bout. In between thrusts and parries, and punctuated by the clang of metal, she says "You weren't here." "Nivens offered." "I'm just." "Blowing off steam." "Maybe." "Next time." "Big deal dinner." "Tonight". and with that she makes a definitive lunge towards her opponent, intending to end the bout.
       

  194. #194

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    Kylah decides what to do before dinner, trying not to let her meeting tomorrow morning with Ferguson distract her too much.

    Rangin sees that Starfleet is conducting research in gerontology, coronary heart disease, organ regeneration and radiation sickness at the Omicron Ceti III research station, which is on the planet's surface. Nothing especially flashy has come out of the research since the planet was colonized a second time.

    Nivens dodges, but not fast enough, and Collins lands a solid hit on his abdomen. He grunts in pain. He drops his sword, the signal for surrender under Antarean rules, and says, "You got me, ma'am. That would've gutted me for sure. Good match." They doff their helmets and shake hands. Nivens asks Graham with a grin, "Want to take on the winner?"

    Each of you sees, or will see when you next check your comm account, a reminder from the Captain's Yeoman that the senior officers' dinner requires dress uniform.
       

  195. #195
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    "I'm game," Graham says. He turns toward Collins. "That is unless the L-T wants to quit while she's ahead."
       

  196. #196
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    Smiling, Collins says "Rain check that, Ensign. I have to go get ready." That was one helluva work out, she thinks, a nice hot shower will be welcome before dinner. "Tomorrow after watch?" she turns back asks as she picks up her towel and heads to the changing room.
       

  197. #197
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    "You're the boss," Graham says, good-naturedly. He's relieved she doesn't seem irritated he was late. His mood sours when h's reminded of the dinner: more social B.S., he thinks. He'll be relieved when he can start his shift on foot patrol tomorrow. He gives Vargas credit for sticking with an old-school tradition; moreover, there have been Graham's walking foot patrol since his ancestors were beat cops in Boston in the 1900's. It's something he know, likes--and does well.

    But in the meantime...he thinks... Graham checks the time: if he has enough time to squeeze it in before cleaning up and dressing for dinner, he'll do a quick, intense plyometric workout. He doubts he'll be doing any long-distance running while on the ship, but quick bursts of speed and power that surprise, disorient, and overwhelm always come in handy on the job.
       

  198. #198

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    Now wrapped in a towel, Kylah gets out her dress uniform--which she's never worn, of course--and holds it up to view it critically. It's very plain compared to even everyday outfits on Elas, but the glint of gold braid on the cuffs, neckline and hem pleases her eyes. She's rather surprised to realize how much she's missed some of the pomp and finery of her former existance.

    There are still two hours left. Since not even the most elaborate Elasian formal hairstyle would require two hours of prep time--well, not any of the styles she's able or even wishes to create herself--Kylah decides to take a quick nap. Her insomnia over the past few weeks has left her constantly in need of more sleep, and she doesn't want to risk yawning through an important dinner with a Starfleet bigwig. She sets her alarm for one hour and, still dressed in her towel, slips beneath the covers. Trying to avoid any thoughts of Ferguson, Sakathians, slime devils or uncles, she closes her eyes and concentrates on the most pleasant experience she's had recently: her time on shore leave, walking with Velir Rangin in the starlight.
    Last edited by choie; 13 Sep 2013 at 11:32 PM.
       

  199. #199
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    At the end of his watch, Rangin files the notes for working on the following day, heads back to his quarters for a wash and then and to get ready for dinner.

    It has been a while since he last wore dress uniform, but it still fits reasonable well. He wonders how everyone else will look, dressed in their finest.
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  200. #200

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    You each appear in the Wardroom on Deck 2 for dinner at the appointed hour. Stewards are circulating with trays bearing appetizers, glasses of wine (Chateau Picard ‘50 and a more recent vintage of Dorwinion chablis, most notably) and other refreshments.

    The rest of the senior staff, all of whom, like you, are in dress uniform, are already gathering. The First Officer, the Science Officer and the Chief Engineer are chatting with Delaney. The Chief Medical Officer bids a warm welcome to Dr. T'Var when she walks in. Dr. Noel is just recommending a Riskian cheese pastry to Pourtash. Lt. Thalen and Lt. JG Bennett are swapping jokes. Capt. Singh, Vice Adm. Hardin and his flag aide have not yet arrived.

    The Wardroom’s large, long table is covered by a crisp white linen tablecloth. Well-polished silver, fine china bearing the Starfleet arrowhead, and fluted Rigellian crystal glassware show that the Yorktown senior staff knows how to entertain when the occasion arises.
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 15 Sep 2013 at 11:19 PM.
       

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