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#301 Lt Mike Hobritz

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Posted Star Date 21801.06 @ 15:34 (03:34 PM)

Mike nodded and removed his hand from Eliana's face, a weak smile formed on his face as some emotion appeared in his eyes.  What he was feeling was curious, was he happy?  Hobritz couldn't answer that as what he was feeling was nothing, but at least he wasn't he angry right?.  Another day of firsts for the young engineer, though this one should have and did hold a lot of significance and would undoubtedly change his life forever.

 

"I suppose what I'm....."  Words abandoned him there, what was it he wanted to say?  No he knew what he wanted to say or ask as that was more appropriate, but what was worrying him was the way it would come across.  "What I want to know is simple and please don't take this the wrong way Eliana....but do you want to be a Mother and do you want me in the boys life?"  The intention was not to appear heartless or uncaring in any way, the questions he had put to McKenna were simple enough and he hoped received the way they were meant to be.

 

Once his words were out Hobritz wrapped his arms around Eliana's shoulders and lead her towards the seafront and away from the chilling open sea air.  The question was at that point was where to go, somewhere warmer was clearly a wise move as the cold air was descending on them.



#302 Lt Eliana McKenna

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Posted Star Date 21801.06 @ 15:56 (03:56 PM)

Eliana smiled again as he removed his hand from her cheek and smiled at her, it was a highly emotional moment for her and no doubt for him as well and yet she did feel a kind of calm now that he knew and that she was able to tell him face to face as opposed to him reading the letter. This way had been infinitely better because they could now talk about it properly and make whatever arrangements that needed to be made without having to worry about communications getting lost or waiting days or weeks for a reply due to the nature of their jobs and life in different fleets.

 

Yes there was still some uncertainty but at least she wouldn't be alone and when Mike then started to speak, she knew he wouldn't want to cause any offence or anything or for her to take it the wrong way as he didn't have a bad bone in his body. His question was simple and it was easy for her to reply without any hesitation as it was something she had thought about from the moment she was told about the pregnancy. 

 

" You know I asked the same question when I first found out but once I was told how many weeks and the baby's gender, it all became real and I knew what I wanted " she replied " And that was I do want to be a Mother, I guess its something I've always thought about deep down and there was no doubt in my mind that I also wanted you to be involved in his life".

 

Then as he wrapped his arms around her shoulders and led her away from the seafront, the calm she felt continued and looked forward to going somewhere warmer so they could talk more and would happy wherever that would be.


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#303 Lt Mike Hobritz

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Posted Star Date 21801.06 @ 16:16 (04:16 PM)

It hadn't occurred to Mike that Eliana might have had the same questions, but upon reflection it was the most logical thing to have considered.  Of course she must have had questions of her own, why the hell wouldn't she.  They continued to walk as she mentioned her desire to have a child deep down and that she also wanted his involvement in the boys life.  He wasn't sure of his rights in the matter, he assumed he had the right to have a say and have contact, but also didn't the mothers wishes have a large bearing?

 

"Alright."  He said and thought hard about what to say next.  "So how much involvement do you want me to have I suppose is the next question?"  Hobritz took a deep breath and looked at the path ahead they walked along.  It was symbolic to the new path his life had just taken.  Foremost on his mind he wondered about what she would ask naturally and what he was willing to offer in return.  One thing was for certain, he did want something to do with the boy and had always thought about if he ever became a Dad.  Yes he would want to have something to do with the child and would also do his best to keep up with his responsibilities.



#304 Lt Eliana McKenna

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Posted Star Date 21801.06 @ 17:22 (05:22 PM)

Even though she had finally told him and the weight of her shoulders had lessened considerably she was still very much enjoying their walk and spending time with Mike yet now it felt slightly different with them being parents to be and embarking on this new scary yet fulfilling journey together. She was glad that she had made the decision to return to Earth for Christmas and hopefully when it was time to leave things would be more clearer and she could relax a little more and fully enjoy the pregnancy.

 

When he then answered her, of course she was expecting more questions after all it was a natural response given the news she had just shared with him and would happily answer them for him or as much as she could if she didn't know the answer to some still. His next question about how much involvement did she want him to have and again this was an easy one to answer without too much thought.

 

" You can be involved as much as you want Mike " she replied softly " I'm not going to deny you anything when it comes to our son, I know I'm in a different fleet but I'll keep you updated with the important appointments and his progress and when the time comes, I'm sure we can figure out something so you can be there when he's born".

 

She meant every word and wasn't going to be one of those mothers who denied the father access or little involvement in their child's upbringing just because they were no longer together and besides she wasn't a nasty or vindictive person either only wanting what was best for all of them for this to work out.


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#305 Lt Daniel Hawk

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Posted Star Date 21802.19 @ 09:24 (09:24 AM)

== Hawk family estate, near New Orleans ==

 

It had been a long and busy day at the medical clinic, but not unusual for the time of year. The early harvest season always brought in its fair share of farming accidents and there had been a nasty strain of the flu making its way around the city and surrounding country side. Jaden was tired, in addition to his long day, he had not been sleeping particularly well at night and as he entered his house he felt the weariness of middle age.

 

Jaden was surprised to see his son sitting at the kitchen table eating a bowl of gumbo. "Did you get kicked out already?" Jaden asked jokingly.

 

"Haha, funny," Daniel replied with his mouth full.

 

Daniel was dressed in civilian clothes and he reminded Jaden so much of himself when he was that age. The red hair, the green eyes, it was like looking into a mirror. For a long time he favored his mother but as Daniel had gotten older he started to resemble his father more.

 

"I see you found the gumbo I made last night, how is it?"

 

"Good, real good," Daniel manged to get out in between bites.

 

Jaden poured himself a glass of Irish whiskey and then sat down at the table with his son.

 

"I'm surprised to see you home. Anything wrong? I mean you only left a few days ago," he inquired.

 

"No, everything is fine. I got assigned to a new class ship. The USS Beckett, it is a exploration star cruiser. Sort of a cross between your old ship the Copernicus and a heavy cruiser, but bigger. It isn't ready to launch yet, hopefully in a few weeks. Maybe you can come to the launch," Daniel replied, the excitement building in his voice.

 

"Maybe," Jaden answered before taking a sip from the glass."

 

"So, named her after President Beckett did they?" Jaden mused.

 

"Yeah, and he was former Command-In-Chief of Star Fleet," Daniel added.

 

"Most of the crew isn't there yet and once we launch it is a deep space mission, so I don't know when I'll get back home. The Captain let me have a few days leave. That's why I'm here," Daniel offered. 

 

Jaden nodded and took a another sip of whiskey.

 

"I like my Captain. Captain Malone, seems like a good guy. He and I took a shuttle to the ship the other day, I got to pilot the shuttle, first time to land one on a starship, I was nervous but it was a smooth landing. Oh and all that time working at the clinic came in handy. When we got aboard, a plasma relay or something exploded and one of the workers got burned in the face pretty bad. There was some sort of trouble beaming a medical team over, so Captain Malone and I had to help out. I stabilized the injured worker until the medical team finally arrived," Daniel explained.

 

"A lot of excitement for a ship that hasn't left space dock yet. And see, you should have been a doctor," Jaden observed.

 

"Don't start that again. You know medical school would have delayed me graduating the Academy and besides, I like tactical," Daniel responded annoyingly even though he knew his father was joking.

 

"She's beautiful, state of the art in everything. I'm lucky to be on the newest ship in the fleet," Daniel said changing the subject.

 

"You gonna eat?" Daniel asked.

 

"Maybe later, not hungry right now," Jaden answered.

 

They were both quiet for a few moments. Daniel continued eating the gumbo and Jaden finishing off his whiskey. It seemed they both had so much to say, but neither knew how to get started. It was Daniel who finally broke the silence.

 

"Do you miss it? Star Fleet?"

 

"No, no, I guess I don't," Jaden replied.

 

"You could go back you know. I'm gone now or will be gone, no reason for you have to stay around. I mean, I know you gave it up for me, and I really appreciate it, but now..." Daniel's voice sort of faded off and there was silence again.

 

"You weren't the only reason I left Star Fleet. Yes, you were a factor, but don't ever think you were a burden to me, I know that is what you think. I love you. I wanted to raise you here in my grandparents house, your great grandparents house. And I have no regrets. Not my career in Star Fleet, not my decision to leave and certainly not my decision to raise you here," Jaden explained.

 

"No regrets? None at all?" Daniel shot back.

 

"I thought this was behind us. You know I regret not knowing about you until seven years ago. But that wasn't my choice. It was your mothers. And even though I wish she had made a different choice, I respect it. I'm sorry we lost touch, I am sorry I didn't get to know the woman she became after we graduated the Academy. But I can't change the past.

 

I am happy that you reached out to me after she died. I love you. I never thought I could love anyone the way I love you...my son. These past seven years have been the happiest of my life. Spending them with you, seeing you grow from a teenager into a young man, graduate the Academy. You are carrying on the Hawk legacy. Your grandfather, me and now you. 

 

I enjoy the clinic, we are doing good work there. Besides, I think Star Fleet isn't big enough for two Hawks."

 

Silence filled the room once again. Jaden got up to refill his glass and Daniel finished the last of the gumbo.

 

"I love you to, I just want you to be happy. I'm going to worry about you here all alone while I'm gone." Daniel said quietly when Jaden sat back down.

 

Jaden laughed out loud. "You are going to be exploring the galaxy, facing unknown dangers and you are worried about me, here on Earth, treating patients at my clinic. Son, I am the one who is worried, terrified. I know what it is like out there, I know what death and destruction look like. And I am scared. The thought of losing you eats at my soul. But I can't do anything about it, you have your own life to live, your own destiny to fulfill, just as I had mine. I am proud of you. I am proud you chose a career in Star Fleet. I just pray you are able to retire someday."

 

After another long period of silence Jaden placed his hand on Daniel's foreman. "Listen, I'll take the day off tomorrow, we can go into New Orleans, walk around the city and have lunch. It will be a while before you get back so lets be happy to have this extra time together."

 

Daniel smiled. "I'd like that very much."


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#306 LCdr Addison Donaghue {Crawford}

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Posted Star Date 21802.20 @ 14:39 (02:39 PM)

== Undisclosed Coordinates, North America ==
 
For the fifth time in the last hour, Addi found herself tipping her wrist so that she could see her chronometer, her other hand shielding it from view so that the illuminated face didn't act as a beacon in the dark. 0234 hrs.  The subsequent sigh came out as a heavy cloud of steam, a reminder that not only was it a ridiculous hour of morning but it was cold as Hell too.
 
"Did anyone tell the kid that we could all be waiting somewhere warm until the sensors go off?" Matt grumbled from next to her. There was a slight creaking noise as he shifted on their makeshift overlook in disgruntlement. 
 
"He's new and he's worried that his first case could get screwed over by malfunctions... we all use to be like that," she reminded her long-time partner, though the cold seeping through her thick thermal wear was starting to cause her own disgruntlement. 
 
"They're late." He mumbled as he rolled over onto his back to look at the expansive night sky filled with stars that would have been unnoticeable had they been anywhere other than the middle of nowhere.
 
"Because the scum of the earth have always been able to claim 'timeliness' as a positive attribute..." Addi mumbled as she pulled her hat down further over her ears and rolled over as well, ignoring the feel of cold metal that seemed to push straight through her layers. Maybe an abandoned shipping crate hadn't been their best choice but it had been one of the only vantage points over the landing strip and surrounding corn fields. 
 
But the stars were so pretty...
 
She must have dozed off because the sound of her ear piece squawking to life jarred her back to reality as their newest investigator stumbled over his words in excitement. Their target was on set. As Addi rolled onto her stomach and grabbed the NVGs, she could just make out the shape of a small craft with the ramp down on the makeshift landing strip. They must have flown in dark to avoid detection. She could also make out the arrest team moving in from the south and then, it looked like pool balls scattering during a break.
 
[**** **** ****. They're running!]
 
"Matt..." 
 
The only answer was the sound of someone jumping off the shipping crate and the 'thwak' of corn stalks being pushed out of the way in the process of a forward charge. She paused long enough to use the NVGs to see the nearest target enter the corn field, a trail of swinging corn stalks left in his wake.  She could hear the alarms from the sensor net wailing from multiple directions, signaling there were multiple runners now scattered about.
 
We're not letting the new guy plan the next op... she thought as she jumped down and pushed forward through the corn, trying to shift her trajectory towards the runner's location.
 
== 10 Hours Later, CID HQ ==
 
"Comfy down there?"
 
The smirking face of her supervisor caused a Addi give him a rather pitiful look from her spot on the floor, her back pressed against one of the wall panels that they had a million and one service requests on because it let off way too much heat. A large cup of coffee was cradled in her lap, more for warmth than any desire to drink caffeine. 
 
"I can't feel my fingers... or the side of my face. Probably for entirely different reasons," she answered.
 
Mofrin grimaced as he examined the rather large bruise blossoming along her cheekbone. There were an assortment of other cuts and bruises to go along with but none quite as obvious. "You do look like you went a few rounds... nothing compared to Holguin though. The kid looks like a shuttle landed on him BUT he got his targets one way or another."
 
"Probably the only thing saving the poor kid... has Sickbay given you an update on Matt and Company?" she asked as she decided taking a sip of coffee might keep her teeth from chattering.
 
"Well, they've accounted for everyone's fingers and toes so that's a start," Mofrin offered with a grin before sombering up. "Everyone is stable and the worst on our side was a broken rid. I know that might not have been the most ideal situation but a win is a win. Plus, an important lesson was learned."
 
Addi was opening her mouth to offer a counter critique of the supervisor's assessment when a smaller figure breezed past Mofrin to stand at the edge of Addi's desk. The supervisor's young assistant looked puzzled for a moment before her eyes dropped down to Addi's current position with a slight frown.
 
"Hmph," Abigail mumbled before shrugging slightly. "Maggie left you a message. She wants you to contact her immediately," she stated simply, tapping her finger on Addi's PADD that sat on the edge of her desk before dramatically spinning on her heel to retreat back to the upper level of the squad area.
 
"Donaghue...remember what we talked about. Don't meddle," Mofrin warned with a pointed finger in her direction. "It's not ours to screw up," he added as he offered a hand to assist the blonde investigator to her feet. 
 
Addi didn't answer immediately, her gaze rather cold as she regarded him before finally nodding her head. She didn't like the situation but she also understood that, while her sense of justice found non-involvement to be abhorrent under the circumstances, he was incredibly right. Meddling would cause nothing but trouble in this instance.
 
"I know..." she finally answered and at that statement, he released the light hold of her arm he had maintained. He even offered her a look of what might be dangerously close to sympathy as he gave her shoulder a squeeze before following his assistant's retreat and leaving her to gather an item or two from her desk before departing.
 
== TBC ==

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#307 LCdr Vari Toreen

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Posted Star Date 21804.10 @ 22:19 (10:19 PM)

==Subplot with Sebok==

==Mallaig, Highlands of Scotland==

 

When Sebok had initially suggested a road trip as a good way to travel about, she'd been dubious, but her family was getting increasingly annoying about meeting him. After she'd seen the girls on Alpha Robert had been almost desperate to meet her 'beau', and Arya had always been desperate. Her mum had been asking near-daily when she'd be 'popping over with her Vulcan fellow', and her stepfather had sort of just glared next to her.

 

Which, really, she was thirty years old. She could make her own decisions.

 

They'd gotten a hotel to stay in, and Vari had been considering a lie-in, until Arya cheerfully informed her they'd be arriving at half ten, on the morning ferry. This didn't mean, of course, that when her alarm went off at half seven she was ready to get up. Making a decidedly grumbly noise at the sound of the insistent beeping, she reached out and slammed her hand down multiple times in its' general location, quite happy to shuffle back in the direction of warm bed and completely ignore it. "Stupid alarms," she mumbled into her pillow, face down. Of course, that moment was when her stomach chose to cheerfully remind her that she was hungry. "F*ck my life," she added, helpfully, poking Sebok's shin with her toe before turning over in bed.

 

He looked ruffled after sleep as much as she did, which was adorable. It was also making her reconsider the food idea. Surely if they just cuddled for another half hour the world wouldn't end, the eggs wouldn't have run out...

 

"Do you think, if we stay in bed, the egg supply'll run out and we'll be forced to starve?" she asked, a lazy smirk making its' way onto her face as she looked him over. God, she'd missed him. Being on different ships sure took its' toll, but messaging had tided her through. "Alternatively, we could just ignore the fact we paid for breakfast and stumble out of the hotel at ten. I doubt Arya and Robert will be too offended if we're not there waving our handkerchiefs at them to welcome them to port."

 

==Tag Sebok==


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#308 LCdr Sebok

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Posted Star Date 21804.10 @ 23:52 (11:52 PM)

Sebok had laid back with his eyes closed, though not for the purpose of being asleep.  Over his chest and just below his chin, the Vulcan held his hands together with his index and middle finger on each hand extended.  Said fingers were pressed together in a typical meditative pose.  His mind was processing what had happened recently and organising them accordingly, he was also contemplating the future of his relationship with Vari.  Since their reunion the previous day Sebok had been dealt with an influx new thoughts and emotions that demanded immediate suppression.

 

The unfamiliar sound of Vari's alarm halted his medication, as did a curious choice of words that she delivered.  The first were "Stupid alarms."  Though he could not fathom her meaning in that respect, alarms were a necessary function and could not have had a redundant function such as stupidity could they?.  Then followed "F*ck my life."  At that point he opened his eyes and briefly observed the ceiling while interlocking his fingers and clenching his hands together.  Sebok turned his head towards Vari, following the nudging of a toe to gain his attention.

 

Her usual symmetrical features were obscured by the looseness of her hair, it had lost its common groomed standard that during the night.  Her appearance held some appeal to the Vulcan, though it was difficult for him to understand why.  He had always found it very agreeable to be in her presence, her closeness offered a soothing feeling to his being.  Many new experiences and sensations had developed since the day they'd met on Starbase Alpha.

 

"I do not agree with your assessment of the alarm, like all alarms they have serve a purpose and I do not believe can ever be stupid."  Sebok said in his clear and common concise tone.  "I am also uncertain how the words Fu....." 

 

He was cut off when an even more curious query was made.  "Do you think, if we stay in bed, the egg supply'll run out and we'll be forced to starve?"  A scowl with a co acting raised eyebrow appeared on his face.  He noted the smirk on her face.  "Alternatively, we could just ignore the fact we paid for breakfast and stumble out of the hotel at ten.  I doubt Arya and Robert will be too offended if we're not there waving our handkerchiefs at them to welcome them to port."

 

"I do not believe that our staying in bed would adversely affect the supply of eggs, logically it would take a planetary disaster to cause the supply to run out.  Further I believe the effect would have to be instant, or at the very least happen in the time we remain in bed."  Sebok gave a single shake of his head.  "No I do not believe there is cause for concern."  The expression disappeared and his attention returned to the ceiling above them.  "I am capable of functioning adequately for several days without food Vari, however I believe as a medical Doctor it would be inadvisable for you to offer such advice, unless of course there is a medical reason to do so.  However I do not believe there is such a situation occurring at the moment." 

 

He tilted his head to one side and considered what Vari had asked about her relatives.  "As I have yet to meet Arya and Robert, I believe it would be unfair to make any assumptions regarding the two of them."  Sebok frowned with obvious confusion and turned his face towards the vision that Human's would call beauty.  "May I ask as to the purpose of waving handkerchiefs at a port, also I do not own a handkerchief am I required to possess one?"


==Tag Vari==



#309 LCdr Vari Toreen

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Posted Star Date 21804.11 @ 00:08 (12:08 AM)

Grinning, Vari propped herself up on one arm, hair puffed out around her face. This new, shorter cut had it's advantages- but it also had it's drawbacks, like the fact she could no longer tie it up. "I was just calling the alarm stupid to express my annoyance at being woken up. I was warm. Though I did notice you moved, I seem to remember falling asleep draped over a handsome Vulcan," she winked and leaned over to press a quick kiss to his mouth. For a moment, she considered convincing him to just stay in bed all day, but breakfast and siblings awaited, and she knew that Arya and Robert would be annoyed if she were to tell them she chose a day in with Sebok over them.

 

"The eggs were just another figure of speech. As was the handkerchief," she added, digging through her drawers to find suitable clothes. Quickly changing into a t-shirt and a pair of jeans, she leaned back against the dresser, grabbing a brush and starting to work it through her hair.

 

This... she'd never done it before. Her relationships were swift and over by the morning, and she wouldn't have domestic discussions about getting breakfast and meeting her family. Of course, she still had to meet Sebok's parents- something she was a little bit nervous about, admittedly. On the one hand, she was fairly sure they wouldn't be too difficult to deal with- after all, it wasn't logical to be too protective of one's son, right? On the other hand... if they decided she wasn't good enough for him, then logically she supposed he'd be advised to take a different path.

 

In comparison, Ewan's over-protectiveness and her own father's general, chilled-out reaction to the whole thing was cakewalk. 

 

Tugging a little harder at her hair with the brush, she eventually decided it was good enough and placed it down.

 

"Remember, Arya's gonna be making jokes constantly. Don't take much of it seriously. And Robert..." her lips thinned. "I should've banned both of them from coming. Mum and Ewan are so much more normal. How did I end up with the weirdest brother and step-sister in the entire universe? Actually, we should've just met your parents, instead. Provided they're not going to hate me, because that'd be easy, and I'm babbling... feel free to shut me up..." she gave him a sheepish smile.

 

==Tag Sebok==


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#310 LCdr Sebok

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Posted Star Date 21804.11 @ 15:52 (03:52 PM)

"I was just calling the alarm stupid to express my annoyance at being woken up. I was warm. Though I did notice you moved, I see to remember falling asleep draped over a handsome Vulcan."  The wink Vari gave suggested he was the handsome Vulcan she spoke of, the only response he could give was a nod.

 

"I do recall your closeness Vari, it was agreeable."  Sebok replied returning his gaze towards the ceiling, a look of puzzlement crossed his handsome features.  "Though I fail to understand your logic on this occasion."  Once again he observed his girlfriend directly.  "You yourself programmed the alarm to sound, it is curious that you would find it frustrating when it completed the task you set it perform.  I believe Richard Carson's expressed similar frustrations at the Academy, though his metaphors were more colourful."  A raised eyebrow and a face of sincerity swept across his face.  "Perhaps I should recite them for you...for future reference?"  The last three words saw a change in pitch in his voice, again it would show his sincerity.

 

"The eggs were just another figure of speech.  As was the handkerchief,"  Vari said as she began to route through her personal attire.

 

"Hmm."  The Vulcan replied though the response was strange, it did seem to project one was in thought or uncertain about something, which in his case was both.  The response was something he had come across many times, many times at the Academy and more recently on the Copernicus, Lieutenant Hobritz would do the very same thing at times.  "It appears that though I trained for most of my life, to get to the position that I am currently in, both professionally and in your case personally."  Sebok sat up on the bed still bare chested and held his head to one side to continue.  "I still have much to learn do I not?"

 

"Remember, Arya's gonna be making jokes constantly.  Don't take much of it seriously. And Robert.."  Vari paused and her lips narrowed, if Sebok was reading it correctly then she was concerned.  "I should've banned both of them from coming.  Mum and Ewan are so much more normal."  Vari placed some emphasis on the word normal, were there serious deficiencies in her other family members?.  "How did I end up with the weirdest brother and step-sister in the entire universe? Actually we should've just met your parents, instead.  Provided they're not going to hate me, because that'd be easy, and I'm babbling... feel free to shut me up..."

 

His eyebrows rose as if to say 'really?', he had spoken many times about Carson's and the way he would poke fun at Sebok.  Though he was immune to the effects of humour, it was certainly not alien to him.  At that point he rose from the bed and approached Vari.  "Think nothing of it, I would not want anybody to change who they are on my account.  Jokes are something I am use to, though at times they may be lost on me until someone explains it was a joke."  He lifted a hand and cradled her left facial cheek.  "The universe is such a complex place, filled with individuals from many walks of life, for the most part they are all unique.  I think it is safe to say Arya and Robert fall into that category."  His head tilted to one side and he gave a look that was as close to a smile as a Vulcan would give.

 

"You are indeed babbling, however it is not a cause for concern and I have no objections to you doing so.  The situation is new for both of us and uncertainty has a way of altering our day to day thought processes."  He retracted his hand and moved across the room to begin a search for his own attire for the day.  Dark grey trousers and a long sleeve blue shirt were the selection made and neatly placed onto the bed.  "As for my parents we will meet them when time permits, hate however is an emotion and they would not display it in any way towards you Vari.  You may find that they will make personal inquiries, but I do not believe it will be as uncomfortable as you think."

Sebok fell silent for a moment, though he was sure Vari was already aware, he felt it was right to give her a reminder of his upbringing.  "As you are aware both of my parents are biologically full Vulcan's, though they do not conform to every way of Vulcan life, specifically the practice of prearranged marriages.  I was brought up to see their way of thinking and that the choosing of a potential mate should be a personal choice."  He gave her a single nod.  "As it was with you, they will respect my decision and above yourself in this matter."

 

==Tag Vari==



#311 Capt Jason Simmons

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Posted Star Date 21804.12 @ 07:04 (07:04 AM)

==En route to Addi's condo==

 

Travel down to Earth had seemed a lot quicker to Jason than the last time he'd been. Maybe it was due to the fact that Addi was with him this time around.

 

And now, they were traveling from the docking area to the condo. It was a nice ride, as the sun was setting on their trip there. He looked over lovingly to his wife.

 

"I can't wait to see the place," he said.

 

==Tag. Sorry it's short. Feel free to set the scene up for us. :)==


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#312 LCdr Addison Donaghue {Crawford}

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Posted Star Date 21804.19 @ 06:15 (06:15 AM)

When it had come time for Addi to select an area to live in, it had been natural to fall into old habits. After all, she had grown up along the California coast as a child and teenager, enjoying the water and the weather. It had made sense for that to be the first place she had looked and it had only taken a day of scouting to find an available condo in the area that she was familiar with. It had only taken an offer of beer and pizza to get help with moving and unpacking, making the entire process an easy one.
 
The set of condos she lived in set high on a bluff above the ocean.  A winding set of stairs cut through the bluff for a long, scenic path to the small beach that rested underneath the overlook. Disappointingly, the geography of that beach didn't make it an ideal spot for surfing, a past time that Addi had gladly taken back up but it was secluded and quiet. Perfect for walking Doc, relaxing with a book or just taking a quick dip.
 
The condos themselves were in sets of four, Addi's being an outside corner with a decent view. Even without the view, there was something to be said for opening a window and smelling that ocean air. From the outside, they looked to be two stories but it was hard to tell. The population was a healthy mix between retirees, young family and single commuters. Despite a busy schedule, Addi had managed to make a number of friends within the community.
 
Addi had shot Jason a warm smile as she had guided him towards the correct entry way, leaning down slightly to let the biometric lock do its thing before granting them access. She hadn't bothered doing any painting when she moved in, leaving the cream walls intact, but she had decorated to give the condo a feeling of being a home, not just a place to sleep. 
 
Upon entering, there were stairs in front of them but Addi shifted into the room to the left, an obvious living room. 
 
"Hey, leave that alone," she called out, seeing Doc's hind end and tail sticking out of a crate next to the entertainment console. "Those aren't your toys," she called out as if the Basset Hound could understand that statement. She needed to remember to return those toys to Barb now that they weren't needed, and she needed to remember to pull the teddy bear out of the guest bedroom for Barb as well. Ali would probably appreciate the bear more than her empty guest room would.
 
As soon as she had corrected Doc, the dog had briefly sat down, giving her the soulful look that only a hound could. However, as soon as he realized that Jason was there, his pity act was over. His tail whipped back and forth with enthusiasm and vigor as he moved to jump on Jason with more speed than one would expect of a dog with his short legs.
 
"Someone missed you..."

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#313 Capt Jason Simmons

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Posted Star Date 21804.27 @ 17:48 (05:48 PM)

==Apologies for the delay==

 

As they pulled up to the condos, Jason was amazed. Addi had truly found a wonderful spot here. She led him to the right condo, giving him a warm smile that he returned.

 

As soon as the doors opened, he looked ahead to see the stairs. He had actually kind of expected it, given the layout from the outside. Addi turned just to the left, where the living room was.

 

"Hey, leave that alone," she called out, and Jason could see Doc's hind tail sticking out from near the entertainment console. "Those aren't your toys," Doc had listened and went to sit down, giving Addi the pitiful look of innocence.

 

"Someone got caught," Jason said to the dog. He guessed that was the cue, as the basset hound looked at Jason, and immediately came bounding to him. Jason knelt down to receive the dog, and the force of Doc's impact almost knocked Jason over.

 

"Someone missed you..." Jason chuckled as gave Doc a got petting on the sides of his face.

 

"I see that." He stood up as Doc continued to practically magnetize to Jason's legs. Jason draped his arms around Addi. "Was he the only one?" He gave Addi a passionate kiss as he walked them over to the couch, Doc finally pulling enough away to give them a path.

 

Jason gently laid Addi on her back on the couch before hovering above her, fixing himself where he was comfortable while not crushing her. He pulled back just a little. He looked at her lovingly and stroked the back of his hand across her cheek and neck, into her hair.

 

"I missed you so much."

 

==Tag==


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#314 LCdr Vari Toreen

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Posted Star Date 21804.30 @ 22:54 (10:54 PM)

The reassurances helped more than Vari would have imagined. When Sebok’s hand lifted to her cheek, she turned her head to kiss the palm, eyes focused on him. But it was that look after he finished speaking that melted her heart. She didn’t even hear his next words, that almost-smile burned onto her mind, and she flushed slightly when he moved away, averting her eyes.

 

If she didn’t know any better, she’d think he was perhaps betraying himself just a little, like a slip that showed his feelings. Ones she knew were there, of course, but… to see that, and to know what it could be… she shook her head and looked away. It really was different, and that ache in her chest…

 

Oh Lord. I’m turning into a girl in a romance novel. I’m actually in lo-

 

Eyes widening, Vari whipped around slightly, hoping to hide her face and her own reaction to her thoughts. Love. She wrapped her arms around herself, wetting her lips and trying to figure out if that was what she was feeling. She reached to get out some socks. Gone were the boring black ones she wore under her boots when she was on duty- gone, in fact, were a pair. Digging out two random socks- one covered in bees and the other in cats- she slipped them on, trying to pay attention to his words again.

 

“…we will meet them when time permits, hate however is an emotion and they would not display it in any way towards you Vari.  You may find that they will make personal inquiries, but I do not believe it will be as uncomfortable as you think."

 

His parents, of course. Vari managed to turn and give him a smile, feeling something in her unfurl, because… well, of course she wanted his parents to approve of her. Especially if that complicated ball of emotions was, in fact, love. For a few beats, Sebok was quiet, before he spoke again.

 

"As you are aware both of my parents are biologically full Vulcan's, though they do not conform to every way of Vulcan life, specifically the practice of prearranged marriages.  I was brought up to see their way of thinking and that the choosing of a potential mate should be a personal choice. As it was with you, they will respect my decision and above yourself in this matter."

 

Moving forwards, Vari looked up at him through her eyelashes, one arm going around his neck, and the other going to rest over his heart. She felt more vulnerable in that moment than she had at any point in their relationship- which was odd, given how much they’d revealed to one another already. She frowned, eyes moving down to his collarbone, and she froze for a moment.

 

“Sebok, I-” she paused. Why was it so hard? Her mother and Ewan said it to each other all the time. Then again, they’d also been married for almost sixteen years. Robert had been very comfortable saying it to his ex-wife.

 

Hell, Arya said it to men she’d met that night if she had enough beer in her.

 

“I- I lo-” once again the word caught in her throat. It felt harder than she thought. But exchanging messages, and seeing him when she could, contact even when they couldn’t be together, it had built. But the words still felt hard to get out, and she laughed a little in annoyance at her own inability to say it, head falling forwards to rest at his throat. “Oh, God, I’m hopeless. It shouldn’t be this hard to just say it. People say it all the time.”

 

==Tag Sebok==


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#315 LCdr Sebok

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Posted Star Date 21805.02 @ 00:17 (12:17 AM)

==Mallaig, Highlands of Scotland==

 

==Vari & Sebok's Hotel room==

 

 

Sebok gave a slight nod as Vari turned her head to kiss his palm, it seemed that his attempt at reassurance were well received.  Once they had separated physically he observed Vari and the odd selection of socks.  Of course the right eyebrow rose, simply indicating his curious side was active, as it quite often was in general but more around her.

 

"Your selection of footwear has triggered a memory Vari", he looked down at his own bare feet and then over to where he'd placed his socks the previous night.  Though they were not visible at that moment, he knew they were neatly folded and placed in compartment of his luggage for garments that required cleaning.  "Do my feet offend your nasal sensitivities at all?."  His head flicked to the side for a second as he continued his query.  "I was told that my feet were offensive at the Academy, for the record it was the then Cadet Carson's."  Sebok closed his mouth after taking in a breath and releasing it through his nose.  "He went on to say all I would need to do is shout them and they would follow me.  Curious there is no scientific basis to that conclusion, I spent many hours in my room attempting to communicate with my socks.  Though it may not have escaped your notice, that I fell victim to many of Richard's practical jokes."  Both eyebrows came up at that point.  "However he did seem to be quite sincere."

 

It was agreeable to see that his words concerning his parents were comforting to Vari, if she trusted his words then everything would be as he said it would be.  The distance between them shorted again and tactile contact resumed.  A frown creased her symmetrical features, which understandably brought about a questioning gaze from Sebok.

 

“Sebok, I-”  Vari said apparently breaking off in mid sentence, a common indication with some Humanoids, that they wanted to say something but found it difficult.  Even if what they wished to share was not unpleasant.  “I- I lo-”  Was what came next in a similar state of difficulty, as were which followed a moment later.  “Oh, God, I’m hopeless. It shouldn’t be this hard to just say it. People say it all the time.”

 

"That is not so Vari, you are not hopeless."  He said with his usual calm tone.  "If I am understanding correctly, you are trying to tell me something of great personal importance."  He paused briefly.  "And it is something that you find hard to say, because it is not a common thing for you to say?"  There was only one logical deduction to make from that and therefore in his mind only one logical response.  The Vulcan stepped back a little and raised his right hand and held it not quite close enough to touch her left facial cheek.  "May I?"  He asked assuming she understood what he wanted to do, which he did not doubt for a moment.

 

==Tag Vari==



#316 LCdr Vari Toreen

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Posted Star Date 21805.02 @ 00:39 (12:39 AM)

Raising an eyebrow at Sebok’s question, Vari shook her head. “Nah, you’re fine. I think that was Carson taking the mick, again. Sounds like he enjoyed that,” she told him, waving a hand in the air. She certainly hadn’t noticed anything particularly offensive about them, anyway.

 

When Sebok noticed the difficulty she was having getting her words out, he raised his hand. She frowned a little, trying to figure out what he meant, before it suddenly occurred to her. A mind meld- one of the most intimate things a Vulcan could do, really. Her cheeks flushed, eyes drifting up to meet his again. She didn’t feel the need to ask if he was serious- he wouldn’t even offer if he wasn’t. Gently, she took his hand and placed his fingers a little closer to her cheek, letting the tips of them brush against her skin.

 

They felt hotter than they should, like a brand, though that was mostly her own imagination. She could hear her heart pounding, but she lead them over to the bed, perching on the edge of it and nodding.

 

“Go ahead,” she murmured at his soft question, voice not even trembling, no hesitation required.

 

==Tag Sebok==


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#317 LCdr Sebok

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Posted Star Date 21805.02 @ 23:34 (11:34 PM)

Vari's reasoning was logical, Carson's character did suggest he had been fooling the Vulcan.  Unfortunately there were times, too many times, when Sebok fell prey to those pranks.  Despite that he still considered Richard as a friend and made a mental note to contact him, in an effort to remain in touch as friends did.  

 

His question of whether he would be permitted to meld with her was answered, not verbally but by tactile contact as Vari gently pushed his hand onto her cheek.  The tips of his fingers were immediately granted with the feeling of velvet like skin, warm and agreeable to the touch.  A further acceptance of the meld was when she ushered them both to the bed and allowed them both to be seated.

 

"I am compelled to tell you Vari, that melding is not the same as hearing spoken word.  You will hear my thoughts from within, your consciousness will be aware of anything that I am thinking while we are connected."  At that point he gave a short nod to indicate he would begin and as such he closed his eyes.  "My mind to your mind..."

 

If the meld proved successful Vari would be treated to memories of Sebok's past,

 

A young Vulcan boy walking the streets of ShiKahr City on Vulcan.  A taller Vulcan male with features that were very similar to the grown up Sebok.  A good feeling was associated with that memory, though the reason for it might not have been obvious at that point.

 

The same young Vulcan boy could be seen in a large building, it was the Federation Embassy on Vulcan.  He was with a female Vulcan, as was with the man she was taller than the boy.  She was attractive by human standards and her Ambassadorial robes were pristine and looked to be perfection.

 

Another memory that was readily available was a little less profound, more like a residual after thought.  A Cadet at Star Fleet Academy, he had a mop of red hair and was laughing.  Confusion could be associated with the laughter, perhaps a little bit of anger was present as the laughter was a common occurrence.

 

The parade square at Star Fleet Academy, being surrounded by many Cadets and a feeling of pride and achievement.

 

The Last Call Pub and being rescued from a large overbearing man, by a blonde haired female.  The feeling of gratitude, friendship and the word Pon-dy were forged in that memory.

 

Then came the deepest thought of all, the most intense of any he had felt before.  Vari stood in a thoughtful pose with one hand over the other held in front of her, it was his mental image of her.  There was attraction for certain, the desire to stand by her side always and the hopes of a long life of love together.  The feeling of love was strong, as was some frustration in suppressing the emotion.  The words  'My Vari'  would ring out like an announcement on a ships annunciation system, though they would not be heard except in their minds.  The love Sebok had for Vari Toreen was unquestionable...

 

A question, what use does a canary have in a coal mine? 

 

 

==Tag Vari==

 



#318 LCdr Vari Toreen

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Posted Star Date 21805.10 @ 22:57 (10:57 PM)

A short gasp left Vari’s lips once she was in Sebok’s mind. Suddenly, it was like she was seeing things through his eyes, an entire lifetime. The childhood ones were odd, but it was interesting to see his parents- so similar to him in looks, and the positive emotions she could feel. It was stronger than her emotions had ever been- even the vague, strong ones she could remember feeling before her inhibitor was put in- and it was breathtaking, in a way. Then they skipped to a redheaded cadet, and… well, that had to be Carson. Then Pond, and then…

 

Oh.

 

The words that echoed around her image in his mind- mine, and God yes, she was his- made her heart almost stop, and that feeling of love, it hit her like a train. She felt like the breath was knocked out of her, like her heart had stopped. She was still, unsure of what to say, how to respond, and then…

 

A canary in a coal mine.

 

They’re used to sense danger. It was… an old earth thing…

 

She didn’t feel like going into it. She could care less- because Sebok loved her, and…

 

Vaguely, she could figure out how to give similar things back to him, so she focused hard on her memories, of a childhood she tried hard to forget and an adulthood that had only recently gotten better.

 

Tiny, green hands encased in her mother’s- tall, blonde, young- fingers tight as they go towards the school. Everyone looks different here- and it takes all of five minutes for them to start sneering, for the little girl to sit in the back of the class, knees to her chest, and try to block it out, try not to cry.

 

Getting pushed over in the school yard, and bleeding green. A boy sneered, commented on how she doesn’t even bleed green. She ran home that night and refused to come out for two days afterwards.

 

Curled up on her bed, brother’s hand on her back. She was older, and her brain was overrun with hormones, human and Orion, trying desperately to control her pheromones. It hurt, it was like a dagger to the chest, another reason she was different. She just wanted to be human, expressed that to her brother, the desperation that raged inside for an inhibitor.

 

She had to pause after those, because… they hurt, more than anything else. Instead, she skipped forward, only pausing on short memories- the first time she held both her nieces, meeting Pond and Blue and Doctor Robert and then…

 

A Vulcan in a bar. He was handsome, and she found the way he spoke charming. Her aunts always said Vulcans and Orions don’t mix- but he was gorgeous and when he kissed her, it felt right. In her mind, he had his head tilted to the side, his eyebrow raised, and her thoughts were filled with mirth, a tinge of amusement, and a deep, crippling devotion, adoration, love. Something that made her sit in her bunk on the Ozaki, staring at a picture of him with a smile on her face, tracing over his features. She missed him, when he was away, and sometimes- when she was feeling particularly hopeful- images of wavy-haired, pointy-eared children ran through her mind, small and perfect, a boy and a girl, hanging off their arms and sleeping between them in bed.

 

Perhaps… we should stop this before I get carried away.

 

==Tag Sebok==


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#319 LCdr Sebok

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Posted Star Date 21805.12 @ 09:40 (09:40 AM)

The connection of their minds intensified the emotional states of both of them, Vari's reaction to his image of her was a clear indicator of that and the sensation was unlike anything the Vulcan had experienced before.  It was phenomenally spectacular and the pleasure of the feeling almost caused a characteristic Human facial reaction.  But he was still maintaining control for the most part.  

 

His question as to the canary in a coal mine was answered, clearly a product of Earth's well documented troubled past, which ultimately proved fatal for canaries it seemed.  

 

Vari in turn revealed her own memories of being young and the hardships she was forced to endure.  The small green hand cradled in that of her Mothers, hand holding was a symbol of connection, loving and support that was very Human.  His closed eyes squeezed closed for a second, when it became clear that Vari had endured racial bigotry at the hands of her peers.  Again something that Earth's past was known for, though it was not only that one planet with such prejudices.  It was a concept that Sebok had found difficult, not that he had fallen victim to it like Vari had, but he simply could not understand such reasoning behind the acts.  The closest he could think of was when Carson and others would prank him, but he had not been the only victim in that, so by his definition it was a different scenario all together.  Her trauma's had turned physical, resulting in injury and laughter from onlookers.  A slight danger of anger breaking through came and went inside Sebok.  It past when the image of her Brothers support became apparent and it was good to see she had people who had been there for her.

 

I am so sorry Vari.  

 

Next up were more pleasant experiences and memories, her thoughts began to dwell on her meeting with her nieces and how she had cradled them.  Then meeting with Doctor Robert and Pon-Dy, both of whom he was acquainted with and considered them to be friends.  The desire to see Luna would become apparent to Vari, it had been some time since they'd met and a reunion would be most agreeable.

 

Then the emotions and memories were shrouded on the night the two of them had met, a very if not the most significant and exciting memory that the Vulcan possessed.  It was the day his life changed for the better in every way.  The shared feeling of love and devotion was shared completely.  It also appeared that she would sit in her quarters and observed her framed images.  In the same way that he would spend time in his quarters on the Copernicus, though his mind was well focused when it came to her and how she appeared.  He still found the practice of observing her image very pleasing.

 

The connection made it apparent of what Vari might desire in the future, children, they were a logical outcome of their union.  Vari would feel his thought of becoming a Father fascinating and above all appealing, there would be no doubt that he would be committed to such an undertaking.  Nor to his commitment to her.  If Vari's eyes were open at that point, where he saw the projections of their children that she had generated.  Then she would undoubtedly see a smile flash onto his face, as some of his emotional suppression control was lost temporarily.  Quite literally he'd let himself go for a moment and for her he would happily do that.

 

The idea of becoming carried away was present for both of them and as such he was in agreement to severing their link.  His hand moved away and his opened to see her symmetrical features, an image he never failed to find agreeable.

 

As the Vulcan began to spoke the characteristic head pose came about.  "I trust that experience was agreeable to you Vari and that you have not been caused any discomfort by it?" 

 

Sebok left the bed and proceeded to finish getting dressed for their trip out.  Something had been on his mind, that he had managed to block from the meld.  He thought it was best to talk about it verbally and it was a matter of concern for his girlfriend.  

 

"Vari I am considering applying for a transfer to Starbase Alpha, where I will join one of the Engineering teams there."  His attention moved to his clothing as he continued to talk.  "There may also be the possibility in furthering my studies, specifically in designing technology for Star Fleet."  After his outfit was tended to and looked as Vulcan as ever.  "I would be interested to hear what your thoughts are on this matter?"

 

==Tag Vari==


Edited by Ens Sebok {Hobritz}, Star Date 21805.12 @ 09:51 (09:51 AM).


#320 LCdr Vari Toreen

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Posted Star Date 21805.14 @ 20:31 (08:31 PM)

Before the connection broke, Vari felt unadulterated devotion, fascination and appeal at the idea of having a family together, and she was grinning, eyes filled with happy tears when they pulled apart.

 

"I trust that experience was agreeable to you Vari and that you have not been caused any discomfort by it?" 

 

Shaking her head, Vari watched as he continued to get ready, holding her hands in front of her, clasped. Moving to Starbase Alpha? She raised her eyebrows and moved closer, arms going to wrap around his waist at the end of it all.

 

“At the risk of sounding selfish, I’d like that. There’d be more time for moments like this, and…” she shrugged. “The Ozaki isn’t a very big ship, when it comes to having a family, you can’t keep them on board. I suppose, if I ever wanted to progress, or anything like that… get married, have children, whatever…”

 

She shrugged, glancing up at her boyfriend, shrugging one shoulder.

 

“Well. I think it’s safe to say we’d want to be in the same place. There’s gonna be a time where seeing you and not leaving again isn’t going to be enough for me any more,” she coughed, and then remembered he was talking from a professional point of view.

 

“Well, Ensign,” she sang, only slightly using his title because she outranked him after her promotion to CMO and Lieutenant. “As a senior officer, in my professional opinion, I’d say… go for it. Any chance for development is a good thing, and Starbase Alpha will offer challenges you just wouldn’t get on a Starship.”

 

Kissing the corner of his mouth she stepped back, before she caught a glimpse of the time. “Oh, sh*t. The ship’s gonna be here soon,” she said, grabbing his hand and jogging down the familiar way to the port. It was the only real way on or off the island, and so she remembered the route like the back of her hand. As soon as they were there, she was relieved to see the large ship had just docked, and it didn’t take long for her to spot her brother- freakishly tall, and green as he was- wandering off with Arya next to him, the short, olive-skinned woman all but skipping over to them as soon as she saw them. It was Robert who got there first, of course, sweeping Vari into his arms and lifting her high off the ground in the process- damn him for being well over six foot and built like a damn house- before putting her down again.

 

“Sister dearest, you’re looking radiant. And you’re panting. Did you run here?” he glanced over at Sebok, lips twitched up into a smirk. “Seh-bok, are you being a bad influence on my sister already? Or are you the bad influence, Vari, keeping him in be- ow, hey!”

 

He hopped away when Arya punched him in the kidney, before she jumped up on Vari. In a stark contrast to both of the Toreen twins, Arya Jones was not even five foot, dark-haired, and very Australian.

 

“Vari Juliet Toreen, as I live and breathe, you look like someone replaced you with a version that smiles,” Arya said when she stepped away, glancing over at the Vulcan with a smirk. “And Robert, she’s said over and over again that it’s See-bok, honestly, you’re just doing it to be annoying. She talks about him enough for us to know his name.”

 

Robert smirked and ruffled Arya’s hair, which got him a glare. Vari rolled her eyes. “Sebok, this is Arya, this is Robert, they’re both quite mad,” she told him.

 

If he hasn’t already noticed it of course, she thought to herself, going over to take his hand. Arya just laughed and skipped over, poking him in the chest.

 

“Damn. Are all Vulcans like this?” she asked, tilting her head to the side. “You’re hot. Where can I get one?”

 

Vari groaned, and Robert just snorted.

 

“Arya, for the love of God, stop being so thirsty for two seconds, please.”

 

==Tag Sebok- welcome to the family xD==


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#321 LCdr Sebok

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Posted Star Date 21805.22 @ 20:32 (08:32 PM)

Sebok was uncertain as to whether his revelation had been well received, the move to Starbase Alpha was after all a logical course to take.  It was logical for a number of reasons, one was for their budding relationship, being on the base would allow him to be more readily available to her.  Another was to pursue a dream he had and that was to work on new technology and even design it where possible.  Which could afford him some scope to elevate through the ranks, not that it was impossible on board the Copernicus.
 
“At the risk of sounding selfish, I’d like that. There’d be more time for moments like this, and…” Vari had also come to one of the same logical conclusions. “The Ozaki isn’t a very big ship, when it comes to having a family, you can’t keep them on board. I suppose, if I ever wanted to progress, or anything like that… get married, have children, whatever…”  His head moved to one side during the pause, curious as to what Vari was thinking.  “Well. I think it’s safe to say we’d want to be in the same place. There’s gonna be a time where seeing you and not leaving again isn’t going to be enough for me any more,”
 
"Safe..to..say."  He said slowly as he attempted comprehend the meaning of the words.  There were no safety implications that he could think of, that might cause a problem to her desire for them being together more.  "I believe I understand and yes I also think it is safe to say.  I would also like to say that I find your company the most agreeable sensation I have experienced of late and I have found you a positive distraction also."  Though the words were clunky and even robotic in delivery, they hopefully relayed the information that he would like to remain at her side more.
 
“Well, Ensign,” Vari said in a somewhat lighter tone than before, it was a curious way to address him, though he more or less immediately deduced it was her playful side.  “As a senior officer, in my professional opinion, I’d say… go for it. Any chance for development is a good thing, and Starbase Alpha will offer challenges you just wouldn’t get on a Starship.”
 
In addition to the use of his rank, Vari also stated she was talking in a professional capacity.  He was uncertain of how a Medical Officer's expertise, could stretch to giving career advice.  However she was correct with the chance of development being good.  Perhaps it was with her recent promotion to Lieutenant and therefore a Senior Officer's position, that she was speaking from a duty of care stand point.
 
"Agreed."  The Vulcan simply replied.
 
Vari made a movement that was becoming a regular occurrence to him, though he did not mind it at all.  She kissed off to one side of his mouth and then said what was not expected. “Oh, sh*t. The ship’s gonna be here soon,” she said, instinctively he reached up to search for the offending excrement which must have been on his mouth.  His task was hindered by Vari who grabbed said hand and proceeding lead the way out of the hotel.
 
They reached the islands only natural point of entry, a port where an old fashioned mode of transport was utilised.  It was interesting to see such transportation still in use and Sebok had hoped he might have time to study the vessel in depth.  However his time may have been limited, his immediate desire was to spend as much time as possible with Vari and to meet her family.  His Girlfriends Brother was not difficult to spot among the disembarking passengers, he was in close proximity to an olive coloured lady.  They both made a move towards Vari in an affectionate style of movement, the man Robert arrived first and hugged his Sister.  Sebok simply stood back and held a thoughtful posture as he observed their reunion.
 
“Sister dearest, you’re looking radiant. And you’re panting. Did you run here?”  Robert asked with a look towards Sebok, his lips twitched up into a smirk. “Seh-bok, are you being a bad influence on my sister already? Or are you the bad influence, Vari, keeping him in be- ow, hey!”  In what might have looked like a startled expression, Sebok's eyebrow rose as Vari assaulted Robert into silence.  Sebok had noticed the way his name was mispronounced, he had been given what was known as a 'Heads Up' by Vari, that her family were teasers and that was not an alien concept to him.
 
“Vari Juliet Toreen, as I live and breathe, you look like someone replaced you with a version that smiles,” Vari's sister said with a look and then a smirk to Sebok.  “And Robert, she’s said over and over again that it’s See-bok, honestly, you’re just doing it to be annoying. She talks about him enough for us to know his name.”
 
Arya and Robert engaged in a curious embrace, unlike anything he had seen before.  His head tilted to one side as the brow rose.  “Sebok, this is Arya, this is Robert, they’re both quite mad,” Vari said.
 
Sebok's eyes flicked across to his Girlfriend and then back to the other two.  "Indeed."  He replied watching the tactile exchange.  "It is very agreeable to meet you both, Arya I would like to alleviate any concerns you may have in regards to my name.  It is something I have grown use to since I moved to Earth and the Academy.  However it is appreciated."  The Vulcan said with a simple nod to Arya. 
 
“Damn. Are all Vulcans like this?” Arya asked apparently sizing Sebok up. “You’re hot. Where can I get one?”
 
"I can assure you my temperature is quite comfortable, though it should be noted that Vulcan's come from a warmer planet than the Earth and our tolerances are understandably different."  His eyes slipped across to Robert, then Vari and then back to Arya.  "I find that you are a compassionate individual Arya, a most admirable trait.  And as for my Vulcan's you may find more of my species on our home planet, to which I am sure transport could be easily found."
 
Vari groaned, and Robert just snorted.
 
“Arya, for the love of God, stop being so thirsty for two seconds, please.”
 
Thirsty, a drink, a common undertaking when people on Earth meet.
 
"I believe a drink would be a good idea and I believe is a custom at these types of gatherings."  The Vulcan observed his beloved and arched an eyebrow.  "Since you are familiar with this location Vari, I believe your judgement as to where to purchase refreshments would be wise to consider."  He said raising his right hand and holding out his index and middle finger in a typical Vulcan gesture of affection.
 
 
==Tag Vari, sorry its late had some personal stuff to deal with.==


#322 LCdr Vari Toreen

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Posted Star Date 21805.25 @ 23:05 (11:05 PM)

"I can assure you my temperature is quite comfortable, though it should be noted that Vulcan's come from a warmer planet than the Earth and our tolerances are understandably different." 

 

Arya’s eyebrow raised, and she looked between Sebok and Vari as if to say ‘really?’ with her gaze. It wasn’t a surprise, even before she moved to Islay Vari knew her step-sister hadn’t seen many non-human species, other than the odd person passing through. And, to the best of her knowledge, Arya had never met a Vulcan.

 

"I find that you are a compassionate individual Arya, a most admirable trait.  And as for my Vulcan's you may find more of my species on our home planet, to which I am sure transport could be easily found."

 

At that, Arya’s face lit up, and she glanced back to Vari again.

 

“I like him. He thinks I’m compassionate. I’m going to find a Vulcan boyfriend. Got any brothers, Sebok? Cousins, uncles…” she waggled her eyebrows, and Robert just snorted.

 

"I believe a drink would be a good idea and I believe is a custom at these types of gatherings. Since you are familiar with this location Vari, I believe your judgement as to where to purchase refreshments would be wise to consider." 

 

Raising her own index and middle finger, Vari applied some pressure for a few seconds before twining their fingers, the smile on her face softening and becoming far more affectionate.

 

“There’s a coffee shop just down this way,” she murmured, leading them in that direction. Robert was watching them carefully, and it was his expression that kept Vari from being completely shocked when they sat down and he steepled his fingers, leaning across the table to stare down her boyfriend.

 

“So, what are your intentions with my sister? I figure in a one-on-one fight we’d be fairly evenly matched- if you break her heart, I’ll break your neck in retaliation. You’d better not have touched her virtue, I swear to G-”

 

Flushing a darker shade of green, Vari hit Robert on the shoulder.

 

“I am thirty years old, I can take care of myself! My ‘virtue’- as you put it- was long gone by the time I met Sebok, and besides, I don’t recall doing this before you got married and had two children! And I clearly had more cause to, given what I’ve heard since you announced your divorce,” she gave him an imploring look, and for a few seconds they seemed to conduct a silent conversation, made up of head movements and eyebrow raises. Arya sighed and looked at Sebok.

 

“They do this a lot. Talk without talking. Vari mentioned you had a friend called Carson who annoys you, is he single? I feel like we could be a power couple, annoying both of you simultaneously,” she told him, and both Robert and Vari turned to her at the same time, with matching expressions that really showed their twinhood.

 

“Arya!” they said in sync, and Vari rolled her eyes, snorting.

 

“You totally did that just to get our attention,” she muttered, looking up when the waitress approached, ordering herself a tea and some scrambled eggs on toast- problems with skipping breakfast, she supposed. She let her siblings order and then leaned her head on Sebok’s shoulder.

 

“Not scared you off yet?” she asked, vaguely teasing, though there was a hint of real concern.

 

==Tag==


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#323 LCdr Sebok

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Posted Star Date 21805.28 @ 11:00 (11:00 AM)

The expression Arya gave indicated that his words were well received, even greatly appreciated.  Her following response gave credence to that logical deduction.  “I like him. He thinks I’m compassionate. I’m going to find a Vulcan boyfriend. Got any brothers, Sebok? Cousins, uncles…”  A further facial expression followed which he thought was either flirtation or joviality. 
 
Robert make an unintelligible noise, to which Sebok raised his eyebrow and looked back to Arya.  "I am what Human's would term as an only child, but of course that is only in relation to the production of offspring with my parents."  Vari raised her fingers at that point, to join him in his typical Vulcan way of showing affection.  She then went a little a further and wrapped her fingers around his own.  It was a new sensation and a unique way of expression between them, to which he gave a simple nod and a slight narrowing of his eyes to attempt to express warmth towards her.
 
“There’s a coffee shop just down this way,” Vari said gesturing along the street, before leading them in that direction.  Roberts attention to them had not gone unnoticed, neither on the way to the cafe or once they'd circled the table and sat down.
 
A moment later Robert began to speak, in what appeared to be a semi hostile manner.  “So, what are your intentions with my sister? I figure in a one-on-one fight we’d be fairly evenly matched- if you break her heart, I’ll break your neck in retaliation. You’d better not have touched her virtue, I swear to G-”  
 
"I can assur...."  Sebok began to reply at the same time as Vari, to which he response was physical.  The eyebrow rose as it did often.
 
“I am thirty years old, I can take care of myself! My ‘virtue’- as you put it- was long gone by the time I met Sebok, and besides, I don’t recall doing this before you got married and had two children! And I clearly had more cause to, given what I’ve heard since you announced your divorce,”  With that said Sebok did not feel compelled to argue the case, Vari was strong and could more than adequately defend herself.  The group went quiet for a few seconds, with only a look exchange between Sebok and Arya.
 
Arya broke the tense silence.  “They do this a lot. Talk without talking. Vari mentioned you had a friend called Carson who annoys you, is he single? I feel like we could be a power couple, annoying both of you simultaneously,”.  Robert and Vari turned their attentions to Arya and showed a joint expression of possible disapproval.
 
“Arya!”  Robert and Vari said in a way to silence their Sister. 
 
"Please there is no need for concern, I believe the purpose of this gathering to get to know each other?."  At that point he eyed the three of them.  "Therefore is it not illogical to argue about questions that have been asked."  He nodded towards Robert.  "I believe that Roberts defensive nature of his sister is admirable and in a roundabout way shows his love for Vari."  The Vulcan next looked towards Arya.  "As for your question about Richard Carson, I am uncertain as to his relationship status at this time.  However I believe you might find his attentions limited, he was described at the Academy as a...."  He paused for a second and swallowed.  "Man...slut?"  He said the words slowly not completely understanding the title.  "I believe as a potential friend and maybe even a Brother in law, that I should advise you that you could do a lot better." 
 
Vari spoke then.  “You totally did that just to get our attention,”  A Cafe Waitress made her presence known at that point, his Girlfriend ordered scrambled eggs on toast, which was a fairly common meal with Human's and not limited to breakfast.  After resting her head on his shoulder, she asked.  “Not scared you off yet?” 
 
"Not at all Vari, I am here because I want to be and you did in fact warn me that such events might take place."  He looked up at the Waitress and made his order.  "Green leaf tea please and I will decide on something to eat later."  
 
With that said he looked towards Robert.  "Robert perhaps you could tell me about your abilities to talk without talking?"  He held his head to one side, clearly uncertain as to how that was done.  "I was not aware that Orion's possessed any kind of telepathy, I am reasonably certain that Human's are the same.  I find it quite fascinating."
 
==Tag Vari and the Family :)==


#324 Lt AJ Chambers

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Posted Star Date 21806.20 @ 14:41 (02:41 PM)

==Chambers Homestead - Canada==

 

==A few weeks ago==

 

AJ watched as the last few dishes were cleared away from the table. 

 

"Mom, come sit down, I'll get those," He protested, but for the third time, his request fell on dead ears. 

 

"Son, it is her way of keeping her mind busy," AJ's father said with a bit of a grin. "Come on into the sitting room with me, she'll join us in a minute."

 

AJ nodded and then rubbed his left leg subconsciously as he slowly rose from his chair. The sitting room was right next to the dining room and it was a short walk from the table to the comfortable chair. As AJ sat his eyes scanned the familiar surroundings of his childhood house. Books lined the room as did both leather chairs and wood furniture. As a child, AJ had disliked this room. He had seen it as formal, boring, and a place to get in trouble. It was where his parents entertained friends and family and where he and his cousins so carefully avoided as they preferred to be outside. 

 

As AJ grew so did his love for this room. It was a place to relax, a place to talk, a place where nothing else had to matter. For the last few years, AJ had been living on Earth and would often visit his parents for a meal at least once a week. Those meals often ending with them sitting in this very room sharing a drink and discussing various topics. AJ had gotten to know his parents in a whole new way these past few years and as excited as he was to return to a ship, these visits are what he would miss the most. 

 

"She's a much bigger ship than the Yeager," Stephen, AJ's father, said. 

 

AJ nodded his head, "From five decks to twenty-three decks. Safe to say I won't find myself bored."

 

"And over 800 people onboard. I'd say finding privacy will be tough too."

 

AJ shrugged slightly, "I think I will have private quarters. And with a holodeck, I can have all the privacy I need."

 

Within a few minutes, AJ's mother entered the room and sat with them. The three of them spent the better part of two hours simply talking. They talked about AJ's return to a ship. How excited ... and nervous ... they were for him. They talked about Stephen's work at JAG and Alura's work at the lab she worked at. They shared funny stories from childhood vacations, the time AJ fell off his bike and vowed to never ride again, and the day that AJ joined Star Fleet. It was a sweet time that came to an end all too soon. 

 

Eventually, however, AJ bid his farewells and returned to his own home to finish packing. The next morning, he would be catching a transport to Star Base Alpha, to then catch a transport to Star Base Bravo, and then eventually onto the USS Gettysburg. Finally, back where he belonged; the security department of a ship.  



#325 LCdr Vari Toreen

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Posted Star Date 21806.21 @ 21:13 (09:13 PM)

==Mallaig, Highlands of Scotland==

 

Sebok’s description of Carson had Arya laughing loudly, covering her mouth with a hand. She stared at him, wide-eyed.

 

“Something tells me you don’t often have to use words like that,” she said, after a moment, and she kept grinning when their food arrived, though an eyebrow quirked at the doctor resting her head on Sebok’s shoulder. Vari didn’t answer the silent question she saw in her sister’s eyes- though she could see she was pleased as well. After a few seconds, Vari pulling away to get started on her food, Sebok spoke up again.

 

“Robert perhaps you could tell me about your abilities to talk without talking? I was not aware that Orion's possessed any kind of telepathy, I am reasonably certain that Human's are the same.  I find it quite fascinating."

 

After a couple of seconds of looking at one another in slight amusement, the twins looked back at Sebok. Robert shrugged.

 

“We don’t really talk, it’s just… we kind of know? It’s hard to explain. I’m sure my sister can give you a more detailed, psychological explanation,” he said, sticking his tongue out. Vari sighed and shrugged.

 

“Quite simple, really. We’ve spent time in each other’s presence pretty much since we were born, and due to that familiarity we know how to interpret one another’s minute changes in facial expressions. Nothing to do with mind reading- I’ll leave that to you, dear- just a case of… subconsciously figuring it out,” she replied, before shovelling some eggs into her mouth.

 

Robert snorted, “And this, darling sister, is why you were always the nerdy one,” he told her, reaching out and ruffling her hair. She looked up and narrowed her eyes at that, hair suddenly piled up in a mess of curls on her head. She shook her head slightly, trying to get it to go back to a semi-normal state, but it stayed put. Arya just grinned at their antics, rolling her eyes.

 

She leaned forwards to address Sebok again, “So, when am I getting half-Vulcan nieces and nephews? I want to teach them to be troublemakers, just like I did with Robert’s children.”

 

Snorting, Robert glanced over at her. “Please, I managed that all on my own. Admittedly, you and Liz didn’t help, but I managed to make them troublemakers all on my own.”

 

==Tag! And sorry for the long delay- things have been quite hectic!==


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#326 LCdr Sebok

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Posted Star Date 21806.27 @ 16:20 (04:20 PM)

“Something tells me you don’t often have to use words like that,” Arya replied.
 
"That is correct Arya, I do not like to use such expletives."  The Ensign raised his eyebrow and gave an expression of thought.  "However I have also found that such descriptors have their place, particularly where a failure to communicate is taking place."  Sebok was aware of how nicknames or the like could be perceived by receiving parties and in his opinion there should have never been a need for such things.
 
“We don’t really talk, it’s just… we kind of know? It’s hard to explain. I’m sure my sister can give you a more detailed, psychological explanation,”  Robert explained with an exposure of his tongue towards Vari.
 
"Perhaps that will prove to be an interesting conversation, at a later date."  Sebok said.
 
“Quite simple, really. We’ve spent time in each other’s presence pretty much since we were born, and due to that familiarity we know how to interpret one another’s minute changes in facial expressions. Nothing to do with mind reading- I’ll leave that to you, dear- just a case of… subconsciously figuring it out,”  Vari said.
 
As they'd already clarified, Sebok was an only child and therefore couldn't quite understand what he was told.  He understood what they were saying, it was more that he couldn't quite how it worked.  The closest he could think of through his own experience, was how his fellow classmates would react at the Academy, when he would observe them attempting to communicate discreetly.  After which he would fall foul to a prank.  Logically speaking as siblings they must have had a deeper bond.
 
“And this, darling sister, is why you were always the nerdy one,”  Robert said with a strange noise and proceeding to mess up his Sisters hair.  The way he'd titled his sister was curious.
 
"Nerdy?"  Sebok asked holding his head to one side and displaying a look of Vulcan confusion.
 
“So, when am I getting half-Vulcan nieces and nephews? I want to teach them to be troublemakers, just like I did with Robert’s children.”  Arya asked in her obvious very open manner. 
 
Snorting, Robert glanced over at Arya. “Please, I managed that all on my own. Admittedly, you and Liz didn’t help, but I managed to make them troublemakers all on my own.”
 
Had he not been Vulcan, then no doubt Sebok would have blushed.  But he wasn't and nor was he rude, therefore he would answer the question.  "You will become an Auntie following further...."  He paused and observed his girlfriend for a moment, then turning back to Arya and Robert he continued.  "Interactions between Vari and myself, which may or may not result in fertilization of Vari's reproductive organs.  After which there will be a gestation period, after that time you will become an Auntie."  
 
Sebok turned to Vari and took her hand gently.  "Of course that is providing Vari desires children, also it would depend on how far we would like the relationship to progress, perhaps you would prefer to be married first?"  He asked tilting his head to one side.
 
==Tagsy Vari==


#327 Cdr Jaden Hawk

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Posted Star Date 21807.06 @ 01:59 (01:59 AM)

== Hawk family estate, near New Orleans ==

 

Jaden sat back in a big leather chair with his feet reclined on the foot rest sipping on a glass of real whiskey, none of that synthehol crap for him, he never cared for it and couldn't understand why anyone would have ever invented something so vile. It had been a mildly busy day at his medical clinic but not as hectic as last week. The house was empty except for him and a quiet stillness that permeated throughout the half-lit room.

 

It had been three weeks since he had been aboard Star Base Alpha to see his son off at the USS Beckett dedication and launch ceremony. Being back and seeing some old friends and acquaintances brought back plenty of memories, some good, and some not so good. Life was like that it seemed. For those dead and gone, they were a treasured memory, for those lucky or unlucky enough as some might feel to still be among the living were left to carry on with the scars, physical and or emotional, as the case may be. Jaden has had his share of those scars and now sitting alone he feels much older than his years.

 

His thoughts soon turn to his son. He wonders how Daniel is doing, how he is getting along with his new ship and crew-mates. Star Fleet is for the young and idealistic he mused something he was neither anymore. He hoped his son would never become as jaded as him but he knew if his son was fortunate to live long enough he probably would. Then a regretful thought slipped into his conscience; would he rather have Daniel die with those ideals or live to be scared and jaded. He tried to push the thought from his mind as he took a gulp from the glass.


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#328 LCdr Vari Toreen

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Posted Star Date 21807.08 @ 00:17 (12:17 AM)

"You will become an Auntie following further.... interactions between Vari and myself, which may or may not result in fertilization of Vari's reproductive organs.  After which there will be a gestation period, after that time you will become an Auntie."  

 

Vari and Robert, who’d both taken a sip of their drinks, started to cough at the same time at that, eyes wide- Robert’s in horror, Vari’s in embarrassment. Arya, for her part, just let a slow grin creep over her face.

 

“Ooh, there we have it. Confirmation you deflowered the Vulcan,” she said, getting finger guns and shooting them at Vari, who promptly dropped her head to the table with a groan.

 

“My sentiments exactly, sister,” Robert said, patting her shoulder before glancing up at Sebok. “If you’re anything like me, you won’t be getting them without some serious medical intervention.”

 

His face brightened up then, and he pulled out his PADD, flicking through until he got to some more pictures.

 

“Look! Ally is walking, and Beth’s a great big sister, just keeps encouraging her along,” he said, and Vari grinned at the images as he flicked through them all, eventually getting to one of the ones he’d taken when he’d visited her on Alpha, and she pulled it closer at that, staring at the image of her holding the little one, her other niece on one side, Vari looking at her with a grin. She forwarded it to herself without a second thought before she handed it back over to Robert. If her eyes were a little bit wet, nobody mentioned it.

 

“I’m glad. Need to see them again soon. They’re getting big so fast.”

 

That was one of the few things Vari regretted about being out in space. She missed a lot. Her half-sister had barely been a toddler when she left, and then suddenly she was fifteen. It was odd. She swore it wasn’t going to be like that whenever she had kids. She’d be around for them. She turned her head into Sebok’s shoulder for a moment and grounded herself by grabbing his hand before coughing, squeezing it lightly.

 

“Well. Shall we go for a walk? Best to clear the head, yeah?” she said, gesturing for the waitress and paying before anyone else could step in, blinking back the emotion.

 

==Tag Sebok==


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#329 LCdr Sebok

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Posted Star Date 21807.21 @ 10:50 (10:50 AM)

“Ooh, there we have it. Confirmation you deflowered the Vulcan,”  Arya replied.
 
“My sentiments exactly, sister,” Added Robert with a pat of Sebok's shoulder, an odd custom among some humanoids. “If you’re anything like me, you won’t be getting them without some serious medical intervention.”
 
Sebok for his part narrowed his eyes and looked the Vulcan version of confused.  "De-flowered?"  His head tilted to one side and eyed Vari's sister closely.  "I do not understand to what you are referring, perhaps you could elaborate?"  His focus shifted to Robert.  "Thank you for your concern Robert and I am sure we will take note of it."
 
Robert produced a PADD and searched through it for some information, that time in the form of photographic imagery.  Sebok showed interest and maneuvered his head to better observe the images.  He was intrigued and thought it logical to learn more about the Toreen family, especially if he were to one day join them as family.  “Look! Ally is walking, and Beth’s a great big sister, just keeps encouraging her along,”   Robert and Vari clearly took great pride in the accomplishments of the children, he wondered if his parents had a similar reaction to when he did things for the first time.  The picture of Vari with the children was most agreeable, a natural with them it would seem.  Her damp eyes were noticed by the Vulcan and as such he reached across to place his hand on hers.  In an effort to show compassion and reassurance.
 
“I’m glad. Need to see them again soon. They’re getting big so fast.”  It was curious how humans would describe growth as fast, when apart from any medical condition, or of course unless it was in a species' genetic makeup, the progression of growth was usually nearly the same as far as he knew.  However it wasn't for him to comment on and so he respected how Vari perceived things.
 
With her head on his shoulder, Sebok's symmetrical featured girlfriend asked.  “Well. Shall we go for a walk? Best to clear the head, yeah?”
 
The Vulcan raised his eyebrow and thought about what had been asked.  His did not require cleaning, in fact his thoughts were in perfect harmony, with only a few unanswered questions that did not affect him.  But despite his Vulcan nature and his lack of intimate experience, family gatherings and so on.  He deducted that it was Vari who needed the walk and to clear her head.  Of course her happiness was one of the most important factors in his life, so therefore he would comply and go willingly.
 
"Certainly."  Sebok said, as Vari paid the bill.
 
The Ensign stood up and arched his arm for her to hold onto.  "I am at your disposal Vari, we shall go wherever pleases you.  I am unfamiliar with this location and would not know where would be a good place to go."
 
==Tag Vari - Sorry its late.==


#330 LCdr Vari Toreen

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Posted Star Date 21808.15 @ 19:43 (07:43 PM)

"I am at your disposal Vari, we shall go wherever pleases you.  I am unfamiliar with this location and would not know where would be a good place to go."

 

Vari bit her lip before pulling him towards the coast, her fingers entwined with his. Arya and Robert had confusion written all over their faces, but followed, and when she got to the coast, she pointed out some of the features- landmasses, only just visible, some closer than others.

 

“That’s Skye, there. It’s beautiful, filled with history. I’ll take you there, someday,” she said, softly, her voice lilting over the words. Her accent was coming through more strongly- both from the emotion of seeing the children and being around Robert again, and it was clear in her voice. She cleared her throat and kept pointing. “And that’s Eigg. Bit smaller. And over there,” she strained to see it, it was barely visible beyond all the other islands. “That’s Islay. Where I’m from.”

 

Sometimes, Vari got homesick. And it was weird, because while she’d been there, she’d been desperate to leave. But then she remembered her grandmother’s cooking, her mother ruffling her hair, Ewan pulling on her pigtails and Robert patting her on the head when he surpassed her in height. And even though everything had seemed like a disaster when she’d left- it hadn’t been all bad. She leaned against Sebok somewhat. Robert raised an eyebrow at her, and Arya leaned against the railing.

 

“It’s not too bad, the view,” her sister commented, before looking over at them. “So, Vari, have you met Sebok’s family yet?”

 

Spluttering a little, Vari shook her head. She was still nervous, despite his earlier assurances that there would be no problems- because meeting the parents, that was a Big Deal. A Massive Deal, really, and she was scared regardless. Robert snorted and patted her head.

 

“Now, now. They can’t be as bad as my former in-laws,” he told her, before looking at Sebok. “My mother in law used to refer to me as a mongrel. I mean, how hurtful. Mongrels are well known for being more handsome and more friendly.”

 

Vari snorted. His ex’s parents really had been… something else. She honestly wasn’t sure how he’d put up with them for so long.

 

“The crazy things you do for love, hm?” Arya said, voice holding just a little disbelief. “That’s why I won’t ever subject myself to it. I’m an independent, beautiful, single woman with a great career and a dog that treats me better than a man ever would.”

 

She held up her fingers in the peace sign, and Vari rolled her eyes. “Yeah, you’ll be the cool spinster auntie for the rest of your life.”

 

Arya stuck out her tongue, snorting at the words, and looked up at Sebok. “So, c’mon. Spill. When’re you gonna have Vari meet your folks?”

 

==Tag==


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#331 Cdr Jaden Hawk

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Posted Star Date 21808.16 @ 03:22 (03:22 AM)

== Hawk family estate, near New Orleans ==

 

The Tennessee whiskey went down smooth and the potent elixir warmed Jaden's throat. He felt a slight warming sensation in his chest and then in his stomach as it continued through his digestive tract. He placed the empty glass back on the table and took a half full bottle and filled the glass again.

 

None of it made any sense. He couldn't figure out what was going on. There was something wrong, terribly wrong but he couldn't get any straight answers. The Star Fleet bureaucrats were stonewalling him. All his old contacts claimed they didn't know anything while others refused to take his calls. Someone knew something but they weren't telling him. 

 

Frustrated and angry he hated Star Fleet more now than he thought possible. Retirement was the best damned decision I ever made.

 

He took a swig from the glass and set it back down on the table half empty. He wasn't drunk, not yet anyway, but he was pissed and wanted answers. And the one person he turned to, the one friend he still had in Star Fleet that he could count on was coming to visit him. He had sent a frantic plea for Admiral Dan Wueste to come to his home. Jaden was cryptic in his request only informing Dan that he needed to see him urgently and privately.

 

Jaden felt it was better for Dan to come to him. No damned Star Fleet security, no prying eyes, no questions. Dan would feel free to talk in the privacy of Jaden's home. He knew his friend would tell him the truth if he knew anything. He prayed Dan knew something and could give him answers.

 

The glass was back in his hand. He titled it up and emptied it. Placing it back on the table, he filled it up again as he waited for his guest to arrive.

 

== Tag Dan ==


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#332 Adm Daniel Wueste

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Posted Star Date 21808.21 @ 05:00 (05:00 AM)

==Hawk family estate, near New Orleans==

 

It had been some time since Dan had received anything resembling an urgent summons.  Rarely was the need for his presence so great as to require any sense of urgency.

 

He had slipped into something that more resembled freelance service than it did any sort of normal Star Fleet deployment.  Dan would be assigned projects, everything from proposal reviews to low level management oversight, he'd complete the task and then move on to the next.  Most of the work could be completed from his home office, some required a trip to San Francisco or up to Alpha, but those assignments were more the exception than the rule.  He'd recently wrapped a multi-month review of crop reports from Sherman's Planet.  It was dry analytics and statistical evaluations.  It was work that had to be done, work that was sensitive, in so much as the information was confidential, but it was not exciting.  In a way, he'd grown to appreciate that.  In another sense, he longed for the days now passed where he had felt like the master of his own destiny.

 

Is that only the rose colored glow of nostalgia? When were the choices ever really yours?

 

So, when the message had come in from Hawk, he'd beamed right over.  In all the years they'd known each other, Jaden had never called in a favor, even though Dan owned him a hundred times over.  

 

He was dressed casually, as this trip was off the books, at least in so much as it related to his official duties.

 

Materializing near the estate's entryway, Dan pressed the signal chime to alert Hawk of his arrival.


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#333 Cdr Jaden Hawk

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Posted Star Date 21808.22 @ 02:21 (02:21 AM)

== Hawk family estate, near New Orleans ==

 

Jaden lifted the glass up to his mouth and was about to take a drink when the doorbell chimed. He stared at the glass for a few seconds before setting it back down not having taken a sip from it. He breathed deeply and slowly trying to compose himself. He didn't want to seem like he was going off half-cocked when he spoke with Dan.

 

Making his way across the room to the door, he pushed the button on the panel and the doors swished open revealing his old friend. It had been about six weeks since he last saw the Admiral back on Star Base Alpha for the USS Beckett commissioning ceremony. Then Jaden had thought Dan looked pale, worn out and quite frankly older than he should for a man his age. But then again, Dan Wueste had been through a lot. Any other man probably wouldn't still be in Star Fleet, but Dan wasn't like other men. His dedication and zeal for Star Fleet was strong as where Jaden's had faded long ago.

 

Now Dan looked better than the last time Jaden had seen him. His coloring was much better, he didn't seem as worn down and he even looked a bit younger. He was glad his friend was in civilian clothes, perhaps that is why he looked different. But he saw in Dan's eyes the look of concern. Of course he would be, Jaden didn't make requests like this, but he had no one else to turn to.

 

Jaden smiled as best he could, "Dan, please come in, come in and thank you for coming so quickly," he said in a thick North American southern accent.

 

Once Dan was inside, he offered his friend a drink. After a few moments of silence, he continued.

 

"You are looking well, in fact better than I last say you," he added trying not to rush things.

 

Jaden manged a smile.

 

"I know you are curious why I have asked you here like this and I really do appreciate you coming. You know I wouldn't unless it was important," he began trying to control his emotions. 

 

"It is my son. Daniel. You met him at the Beckett launch," Jaden managed a smile at the mention of his son's name.

 

"Dan, what the Hell has happened to the Beckett? I heard a little on FNN, but there wasn't much. I contacted Star Base Bravo, and they told me the information I requested was classified. I haven't heard from Daniel since the ceremony. I inquired about him at Barvo. And this is why I asked you here. Dan, they told me that there is no record of a Daniel Hawk ever being in Star Fleet. I pressed for more information, I even contacted Command and got the same runaround," Jaden's voice was now raising and becoming frustrated.

 

"Damn it Dan, you met my son, you saw him get on the Beckett, why is Star Fleet now telling me he doesn't exist?. Just what the hell is going on?"

 

Jaden paused for a minute then gulped down his drink before looking back at the Admiral. "Dan, is my son dead?"

 

== Tag Dan ==


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#334 Adm Daniel Wueste

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Posted Star Date 21809.08 @ 17:52 (05:52 PM)

It was clear this wasn't going to turn out to be some sort of clandestine social call.  Jaden's demeanor was deadly serious.

 

Dan managed to stifle a laugh when Hawk commented that he looked better than at last they'd seen one another.  He didn't feel any better, but he supposed it was a good sign if he was managing to keep up appearances.

 

Hawk's frustration mounted and culminated in a question that Dan had not expected.

 

Star Fleet didn't typically engage in the act of making people disappear.  That was the sort of insanity that had occurred during the height of the neural parasite conspiracy.  Still, the present situation did not make sense.

 

"Jaden..." He began, taking a large sip of his own beverage between words, "I don't know what happened with the Beckett.  My security clearance access is on something of an as needed basis, which was a partial condition of my otherwise retaining my rank and status.  That isn't to say I can't get information, but I haven't received a daily security brief since I stepped down from Fleet Command.  I haven't, in truth, been following the news much lately, so I wasn't aware anything had happened with the Beckett."

 

He finished his drink before continuing. 

 

"I do remember meeting your son, I'm sure he must be alive.  If something had happened to him, Star Fleet would just say so.  There's no reason to cover up a death, it raises more questions.  That's why so many deep cover operatives get started by faking their deaths.  A loss, no matter how devastating, if explained in a believable and convincing way, settles things.  So, for them to be claiming there is no record of your son, well, that's sloppy, disappointingly sloppy, but it likely means your son is very much alive and on some sort of assignment we aren't meant to know about.  My worry is what sort of assignment would begin with such an embarrassingly transparent cover?  There are a million ways to make someone disappear that would keep family from digging for answers, this isn't one of them."


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#335 Cdr Jaden Hawk

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Posted Star Date 21811.01 @ 23:59 (11:59 PM)

Jaden frowned a bit. He felt sorry for Dan and a little angry with himself. He'd been selfish and hadn't considered the possibility that his old friend was out of the loop. It was hard for him to comprehend that his friend, his mentor was well, to put it bluntly, mothballed by Star Fleet. But Jaden wasn't surprised and it only further gladdened him that he had left Star Fleet when he did.

 

Still, his main concern was his son. Where was Daniel? Dan was right, it appeared Star Fleet had gotten sloppy. If he was dead or missing, they certainly would have contacted him. Perhaps he was on some sort of covert mission, but Jaden dismissed this since his son was a greenhorn just out of the Academy. Even Star Fleet couldn't have become that desperate.

 

He began to calm down as he took another drink from his glass. "You're right, you're right," Jaden half-smiled at Dan. "See what becoming a parent has done to me," he sheepishly added.

 

"I guess a lot has changed at Star Fleet since I left, and it doesn't seem for the better either. I am sorry I dragged you all this way to hear me go off half-cocked. I'm sure he is fine. It's just, all that I've seen, experienced, I know.....we know the dangers better than anyone," he offered.

 

Noticing that Dan's drink was empty, Jaden held up the bottle. "Another?" he asked.


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#336 Adm Daniel Wueste

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Posted Star Date 21812.12 @ 20:22 (08:22 PM)

Dan held out his glass and kept it still until Hawk had finished refilling it.

 

After taking a small sip, he put the glass down and sighed.

 

"I'm the one who should be sorry, Jaden.  What's the point in having friends in 'high places' if they know less than the local weather control net operator?"

 

He shifted slightly in his seat.

 

"I more than understand your worry, this whole thing doesn't smell right.  Star Fleet was so quick to write-off everything negative they'd done over the course of so many years by blaming it all on the neural parasites.  They weren't wrong to do so, but it doesn't seem like any lesson has been learned about the need for above board transparency.  They shuffled out those they could, pushed aside those they couldn't, and now it's new faces, same lies."

 

Dan grabbed his glass, downed about a quarter of its contents before putting the drink back down.

 

"Honestly, I'm glad to see you, Jaden.  I've been meaning to drop by, to apologize for the way you got dragged into things while I was infected.  I think back to the first time we met, back when you were an Ensign, doesn't feel that long ago... you know that whole mess with Copernicus and Nimbus III was a ploy by the parasites, right? So many of my memories, over so many years, are a blur.  Sometimes it can be hard to tell which are my memories and which belonged to that thing..."

 

He shook his head in frustration.

 

"I may not know anything helpful, Jaden, but what can I do? I could make some quiet inquiries... We could go looking for him... what can I do to make this better?"


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#337 Cdr Jaden Hawk

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Posted Star Date 21812.26 @ 06:08 (06:08 AM)

Jaden listened to his former commanding officer and friend apologize for things that didn't need apologies. Dan Wueste was one of the finest Star Fleet officer's he had ever served with during his career and no one cared more for the Federation or given so much for the principals upon which it stood than the Admiral. And what was his reward? To be shelved away, put out to pasture, to be treated as a pariah. Since Jaden's own retirement, he had lost touch with Dan and Star Fleet for that matter. He had focused on raising his son and the medical clinic.  As Jaden sat there he realized had he not retired this could have been his fate one day, if he'd been fortunate enough not to get killed.

 

While others might consider Dan a blatherskite, Jaden certainly did not. He respected and now felt somewhat sorry for his friend. He regretted now asking Dan for help, not because he couldn't help, but because of the reason he couldn't.

 

When Dan finished, Jaden emptied his glass with a single gulp and refilled both with the nearly empty bottle. "First of all," Jaden began.

 

"You have nothing to apologize for. It is not your fault Star Fleet is keeping you out of the loop and of course I know you weren't yourself on Nimbus III and you are not responsible for that. I'm just glad that those damn things got out of you before they killed you.

 

It is good to see you. It has been too long. If anyone needs to apologize, it is me dragging you here and expecting...well frankly expecting to much from you. I would appreciate those quiet inquiries though, I would like to know what is going on," Jaden offered.

 

He then added with a grin and slight chuckle, "As for us going to look for him, I wouldn't know where to start, plus I'm not sure Federation space is ready for another Hawk, Wueste adventure."

 

Jaden was about to continue when he was interrupted by the communication terminal beeping located on the nearby wall.

 

"I don't know who'd be calling me at this hour? I better take it. Excuse me a moment Dan."

 

Jaden got up from the table and moved over to the wall and pressed the button. When the view screen came on he was filled with excitement, relief and joy.

 

"Daniel!"

 

[Hi Dad. How you doing?]

 

"Me? I'm fine, what about you? I heard something happened with the Beckett..Are you alright? What happened? Where are you?"

 

[I'm fine. I knew you'd be worried. I couldn't really communicate until now. But I am fine. I'm really not supposed to talk about it but needless to say, there was a design flaw with the Beckett, it has been taken out of service and the crew transferred.]

 

"Where are you? What ship are you on now? Will you be coming home anytime soon?"

 

[Uh, not assigned to a ship. I...I have been assigned to SOCOM, And I'm stationed on Andoria but right now I am on the new Pioneer Outpost, my team was sent here to inspect the SOCOM facilities aboard the outpost. I'll only be here a few days before I have to leave. I'm not sure when I will be able to make it home for a visit. But I am fine. Don't worry about me.]

 

"SOCOM? Really, I just didn't think..well I am glad that you are OK. You look good."

 

[Dad...I'm fine, really. I just wanted to check in and you know, tell you what I'm doing now. I have to go soon. Inspection as all. But it's good to see you. Is someone there with you? I think I see someone in the background.]

 

"Yes, that is Admiral Wueste, he dropped by for a visit. Well, I am glad you are alriight..."

 

[Please tell me you didn't contact Star Fleet looking for me...Do you know how embarrassing....]

 

"Of course I didn't. I wouldn't do something like that, Admiral Wueste just stopped by to catch up on old times is all"

 

[Well, OK. I need to go. I love you. I'll call again when I can.]

 

"I love you to son. Be careful and safe. Don't.. just don't do anything stupid."

 

[Dad, seriously. Love you.]

 

The screen went dark. Jaden stared at the terminal for a few seconds trying to process the conversation he just had with his son. Finally he turned around and looked to where Dan was sitting.

 

"SOCOM. What do you make of that?" he asked.


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#338 Adm Daniel Wueste

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Posted Star Date 21901.16 @ 06:19 (06:19 AM)

Dan couldn't help but feel a growing sense of embarrassment as Hawk replied.  Jaden's response seemed to be jumping from topic to topic, almost at random. 

 

That's my fault...

 

Dan had spent so many years under the control of the parasite that he'd almost become dependent on it to form a coherent thought.  Since the earliest moments of his recovery, he'd found it hard to focus on any one thought for more than a moment before his mind would launch itself on tangents.  The doctors at Star Fleet Medical had explained that the condition had something to do with how long his conscious mind had been pushed behind the wall of control from the parasite.  They'd explained that it was almost as if his brain was having to re-wire itself on the fly to deal with the reality that his thoughts could once again be expressed verbally.  In essence, it was easier to express thoughts and feelings as a stream of consciousness than it was to filter them into coherent topics and themes.

 

It wasn't an issue when he was alone or kept rigidly on topic, as he was on the written reports he was occasionally asked to prepare for Command and SFSEC.  It was clearly still an issue during more casual circumstances and it didn't help that so often such gatherings involved alcohol.

 

Dan didn't have a chance to say anything else before Jaden's comm terminal signaled an incoming transmission.  Frankly, he was thankful for it.  Jaden was a gracious host and a good friend.  As such, it was no surprise Hawk wouldn't bring undue attention to the situation.  All the same, the interruption offered him the opportunity to attempt a mental refocus.

 

It quickly became clear that the caller was none other than the heretofore missing son.  It was an odd, but welcome coincidence of timing.

 

In his youth, Dan hadn't believed in coincidence.  The notion of coincidence had seemed to belie the endless possibilities of the universe.  These days however, especially after everything he'd been through, he had come to accept that when anything was possible, sometimes good things happened at the right time.

 

As the terminal deactivated, Dan smiled.

 

"His ear's must have been burning," he said.

 

"I'm glad he is ok, though knowing now that the outcome of an investigation would have been a positive one, I'm rather sorry we didn't have the opportunity for another adventure."


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#339 Lt (JG) Benjamin Elias

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Posted Star Date 21902.10 @ 23:47 (11:47 PM)

==Elias Timeline: Two days until the Gettysburg Decommissioning==

 

==Vanderbilt Medical Center, Nashville, TN==

 

Benjamin hurried down the hallway on the third floor, his duffel still over his shoulder. The charge nurse had directed him back to a room, and he was hurrying his way back there. His eye itched like crazy, but he didn't want to stop for even a second. If he did, he might think about what he was walking into and stop.

 

It had been so many years since he'd actually talked to Mary. When she'd finally graduated high school and gone off world to get her music degree, Ben had wished her the best, but he hadn't kept in touch. He'd gone off on his own, starting to work out on the rim as an engineer. He'd felt like he'd hold her back from following her passion, weighing her down with his problems and the weight of memory. He knew how much he had tried to get away from the mines of their home and the baggage that home carried; he let her go her own path.

 

He'd kept appraised through their father, at least until Benjamin had stopped talking to him, too. If he remembered right, she had started a band and was doing great work at school, graduating from the Blair School of Music here in Nashville. She'd always loved to sing, and had been great at it; a skill she'd gotten from their mother, as Peter couldn't carry a tune in a bucket, much less with his voice.

 

Coming up to her door, his hand hesitated as he raised it to knock. What are you doing, he asked himself. Surely you can't expect a warm welcome, not after all this time. He still didn't even know exactly what she was in for; despite the time he'd had on the trip here, he still hadn't called his father. He'd spent the time reading the latest technical journals: new updates to Transwarp theory, an article about the soon-to-be christened Vesta class, some advancements in terraforming, things like that. Anything to avoid thinking about what he was doing. Anything to keep his mind from focusing on it and stopping him.

 

Like it was trying to do here.

 

Man, could I use a drink.

 

He scowled at the closed door and brought his fist down, knocking on the door and entering when she called out.

 

He stepped inside slowly and closed the door behind him. She was laying in the room's lone bed, looking out the window across the university campus. Benjamin was looked at her in shock: one leg was in a temporary cast, lifted off the bed, while her arm on the same side was in a sling across her body. He dropped the duffel with a thud against the wall, too shocked to care. She turned her head at the noise, red hair shining in the sun. She had a black eye, and winced in pain when they widened in surprise at the sight of him. "Ben!" she called. Surprise, delight, and confusion warred across her face as she instinctively tried to get up, quickly stopping when her leg twisted from where it was suspended.

 

"Mary," he said, still confused. "What the hell happened?"

 

"Dad didn't tell you?" she asked innocently.The guilt that flared must not have hit his face, as she continued, "One of our concerts here in town got a little... heated." She chuckled before leaning back again, trying to get the bed to cooperate with her change in position. "But that's what happens when you play Irish music in an Irish bar with good old fashioned Irish whiskey flowing freely," she laughed.

 

Benjamin pulled a chair up beside her and couldn't help but chuckle himself. "Yeah," he said, "that would do it."

 

"Besides, you should see the other guy." She smiled at him knowingly. He simply nodded at her; he wasn't surprised that she would give as good or better than she got. More than once he'd had to get her out of trouble when she took on a bully at school, usually one much larger than the undersized girl that she was. Usually, though, it wasn't that she was in danger of being seriously hurt: it was that she was going to hurt them. She must have caught his mind wandering, because she cut to the heart of the matter as she was prone to do: "So why didn't dad tell you what happened?"

 

He sighed, rubbing his eye instinctively. He was about to start talking when she gasped in shock. "What happened to your eye!" she asked, her earlier question forgotten.

 

Benjamin was glad for the distraction, though he knew it wouldn't be for long. "The dangers of using old parts in high energy systems," he said. "I was testing a replacement part I wasn't sure of before installing it in our EPS grid, and it blew up in my face. Quite literally, as you can see," he said as he gestured at the scarring around his right eye. "Fortunately it failed at only 10% pressure, or else I would likely have just died. As it stands, the Ferengi who sold us the part also paid for my medical care. At his brother-in-law's medical clinic. Using Ferengi public insurance, which is terrible as you would think." He chuckled at the absurdity, even though it wasn't really funny. "It's functional, but definitely not as good as what Starfleet could give me now, if it weren't for the fact that they botched the surgery; it's bonded so closely with the nerves in my eye that if we tried to replace it now, there's a good chance I'd just wind up blind instead."

 

"What Starfleet could give you?" she asked. "Why would Starfleet do anything for you, I thought you were running cargo out near the frontier."

 

He sighed again. "Well, it's a long story," he said, "but I'm actually a Midshipman now. Graduated from the Academy last fall, and was on the Gettysburg up until recently."

 

"That's wonderful!" she exclaimed. "I'm happy you're doing so well! But why didn't dad tell us? What does Iris think?" Benjamin grimaced, the moment he had been dreading having finally arrived. "What happened?" she asked at his reaction. "What's wrong?"

 

He had thought he might lie, might come up with some other convenient story to tell her just to allay her fears and keep her from finding out. Some way that he wouldn't have to see her pity, or suffer her wrath. But in the moment, he couldn't. "She left me," he heard himself say softly. And the story came spilling out: the divorce, the years spent in the bottle, his eventual recruitment into Starfleet. He didn't know when he wound up in tears, but he did, his head laying on the edge of her bed, her hand trying to comfort him.

 

At some point, a nurse came in but quickly left when she saw what was going on. It was enough to get Benjamin to try and pull himself together, though. He got up, drying his tears, and walked to the window. "Ben," he heard Mary say, "you know I love you. You're my big brother. You've gotten me into and out of more jams than I can count, so when I say this, know that I care about you." He turned around, leaning on the window sill as he saw the serious look in her face.

 

"But seriously, Ben. You. Are an idiot."

 

He couldn't help but grin, and so did she. He'd used the same line on her numerous times.

 

"Something major like that happens, and your solution is to run away from everyone who knows you, dive into a bottle, and fall in with criminals? Really? Because all you needed to do was call me, and I'd have come beat her up right then and there."

 

"Well, maybe I knew you would've," he replied, "which is why I didn't call you." He grinned, though, still trying to wipe the puffiness out of his eyes.

 

"I know you love her," she said, and pointed at his hand. "You wouldn't still be wearing your ring if you didn't."

 

"I don't think it would've ever worked," he replied. "If all it took to tear her from me was suspicion, would anything I could've done worked?"

 

Suddenly a pillow hit him. "Stop that," Mary said. "You don't know that either way, and there's no way sitting there and brooding will help. So stop it and get yourself together. We're Elias's. We're better than that."

 

He grinned at her. He couldn't help it. She was just as stubborn and strong as he remembered her being. "Maybe you're right."

 

"Of course I'm right. I had the best teacher in the world."

 

Benjamin sighed and brought the pillow back over, settling it behind her before sitting back down in the chair. "Thanks for saying so," he said, though he didn't really believe it. He may have taught her everything he knew, but she'd had a decade out in the wider world since he'd last seen her. Surely that had more of an effect on her than anything he'd done. "I'm sorry for missing your graduation, by the way," he said.

 

"Eh, you didn't miss anything," she said. "Now, the concert we put on afterwards... that was awesome." She smiled at him. "They should have these limbs good as new in a day or so, and we're got another show planned for this weekend. You should come."

 

He sighed. "I'll see what I can do," he said honestly. "I'm due to report to Utopia Planitia in two days, but if I'm still in the area I'll try and drop by."

 

She nodded at him. She started to speak again, but the nurse came back, and this time she stayed. "I'm sorry, but visiting hours are just about finished, sir," she said. "She does need her rest."

 

Benjamin looked out the window, finally noticing the sun setting over the West End, and nodded. "Alright then. Just one second, if you don't mind?" The nurse nodded and stepped back into the hallway. He stepped to the bed and kissed his sister on the forehead. "I'll stop back by tomorrow," he told her. "Just one favor? Don't tell dad what we talked about."

 

She started to protest, but saw the stubbornness in his eyes. It was a family trait, after all. "Alright," she agreed. "But you had better do so soon. I can't guarantee how long I can keep it a secret. And don't be such a stranger from now on." This time, the tears were in her eyes. "I missed having my big brother to talk to."

 

He smiled, mostly to stop his own from falling. "I'll do my best," he said. "And I'll see you tomorrow." He squeezed her hand one more time, then grabbed his duffel and stepped back out the door into the hallway.

 

He managed to get all the way to the elevator before he started crying again.


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#340 Lt (JG) Benjamin Elias

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Posted Star Date 21902.14 @ 01:28 (01:28 AM)

==Elias Timeline: One Day until Gettysburg Decommissioning==

 

==Vanderbilt Medical Center, Nashville, TN==

 

Benjamin knocked at the door and went inside his sister's room. This time, he was only mildly surprised to see her standing, holding on to the nurse for support. "That's it," she was saying. "How does that feel?"

 

"Feels good," Mary replied. "Still really weak, but it at least feels like it's stable."

 

The nurse smiled at her as she helped his sister sit back on the edge of the bed. "That's good; in a few hours you should have some of the strength back." After settling her back in, she continued, "Rest for a little bit, and we'll try again when we bring your lunch." Mary nodded, and the nurse left, acknowledging Benjamin with a nod as she went.

 

He settled back into the chair by the window. "Seems like the doctors are doing a good job with you," he said.

 

"That they are," she replied. She waved a hand at her left side before saying, "Someone took offense to something someone else said - you know, typical bar fight reasoning - and me being me, I tried to stop them." She chuckled. "We weren't even halfway done with our set; I wanted people to hear it, you know? One thing led to another, and I wound up being thrown into a table which shattered, and then a pillar came over and smashed my arm and leg." Benjamin winced. "Shattered bones take a bit longer to heal than just waving an osteoregenerator at it, so here I am."

 

Benjamin nodded. "You pressing charges on anyone?" he asked, knowing her answer.

 

"Bah," she exclaimed, "was just a drunken bar fight and bad luck." She ran her hand through her hair, a nervous tick of hers that he remembered. "Nothing worth getting all worked up over."

 

"I would point out to you that property was destroyed and that a couple of your limbs were shattered," he said with a hint of a smile, "but I doubt that would change your mind." She smiled back in agreement. "So, how have you been? How's the band doing?"

 

"Band's doing great," she said. "We finally settled on a name, Between the Travelers and Me, though Thran didn't really get it. He enjoys the music, but doesn't really get the old Irish lyrics," she laughed.

 

He laughed with her. The thought of an Andorian singing old Irish tunes was definitely amusing, and enough to make him wish he could actually get to their next show. "You sure you're going to be able to perform tomorrow?" he asked.

 

She gave him a look that would've burned through a lesser man, but he still remembered her running around and climbing trees; it didn't quite have the same effect on him. She then began to sing: "A sailor and his true love sat doon to mak' their moan; When by cam' ane o' their ain countrymen; Sayin', Rise up my bonnie lassie, mak' haste and come awa'; There's a vessel lyin' bound for Caledonia."

 

"Okay, okay," he replied with a bit of applause. "I get it, you'll be fine." She smiled at him and took a sip of her water. "Just don't push the leg too much for me, okay?"

 

"Of course, Ben," she said. "I'm not an idiot, just stubborn." She set the water back on her tray and leaned back again. "Speaking of stubborn, have you talked to dad yet?" He sighed, which was all the answer she needed. "Why am I not surprised? You realize that dad called me last night, and is on his way here?" Ben wasn't surprised, though he hadn't really thought about it. "If you don't call him and tell him what's going on, I'll tell him when he gets here and wonders where you are."

 

"Mary," he started, but she cut him off.

 

"Don't try to sweet-talk me," she said. "You've haven't talked to me in nearly eight years. From what you said yesterday it's been five since you spoke to him." He could hear the iron in her voice now. "You walk back in here like nothing happened? Yes, I love you, and I'm happy you're here. But you need to get your head on straight and make things right." He tried to get in again, but she didn't let him. "You don't have to tell him everything," she continued. "But you need to talk to him, at least. Tell him why he hasn't heard from you or Iris in years. Tell him you're in Starfleet. Tell him you still love him, and that you didn't cut him out of your life on purpose.

 

"Just... tell him something." She said, tears forming in her eyes. "Because when I told him you were here last night, you should've seen the way his face lit up. Like I haven't seen it in a long time."

 

Benjamin knew when he was beat. He nodded and said, "Okay. I'll do that soon."

 

"You better."

 

"I will," he said. He smiled for a second before continuing on. "You know, I've tried to write him quite a few times in the past couple of years," he said. "I've got two dozen or more letters I've started and never finished. I just... I can never figure out what I need to say."

 

"You dummy," she said, the mischievous look spreading back across her face. "Anything at all would've done."

 

They talked a while longer before the nurse came back in, ready for her next session of therapy. He gave Mary a hug and a kiss on the head. "I've got some errands I have to do while I'm on Earth, and my ship to Mars leaves in the morning, so I likely won't be able to come back to see you," he said.

 

"Alright, then," she said. "At least give me a call every once in a while?"

 

"Whenever I can," he replied and headed towards the door. "Oh, one more thing: send me a recording or two of the band?"

 

She smiled back. "Soon as I get out of here." He nodded, and headed on towards the elevator.

 

==For anyone curious, the song she was singing: https://www.youtube....h?v=jTuTydTi83E==


Edited by Mid Benjamin Elias, Star Date 21902.14 @ 01:30 (01:30 AM).

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#341 Lt (JG) Benjamin Elias

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Posted Star Date 21902.23 @ 04:37 (04:37 AM)

==Day after the Decommissioning Ceremony==

 

==Downtown Nashville==

 

You wouldn't expect to find an honest to goodness Irish pub in the middle of Music City, but every once in a while you get a surprise. As Benjamin walked up to the walkdown into the pub, he saw a couple of posters for his sister's band, a bar slapped across them reading "BACK FOR ONE NIGHT ONLY!!" in bold letters. He smiled and stepped into Macanally's Pub.

 

He was hit by a wall of sound as he walked in, and the air inside had to be several degrees warmer just from sheer body heat. Evidently, Between the Travelers and Me had proven to be a hit in their short time in Nashville. He negotiated his way through the press to the bar and got the bartender's attention. He was a tall man, anywhere between 30 and 50, bald and with an immaculate white shirt. "One of your best," he asked, and the man simply nodded and turned to retrieve a brown bottle from a crate in the back.

 

He didn't often drink beer, and usually it was chilled, but he thought When in Rome, saluted his host and took a sip. He stopped, stared at the bottle for a moment, wondering how something so unassuming had any right to taste as wonderful as that, and took a longer pull from the bottle. Almost is gonna make the rotgut I make on the Get-- well, used to make on the Getty taste even worse. He added 'make sure I can rebuild the still' to his list of things to accomplish when he finally was able to board the Artemis.

 

Clasping his bottle careful, Benjamin turned and surveyed the room. There were a dozen or so tables scattered around the room, and an almost equal number of columns breaking up the space. He noted where a column should have been, and assumed that was the one that broke in the scuffle that sent Mary to Vanderbilt. He briefly considered staking a claim to the table nearest the stage, but decided not to when he saw a couple sitting down at it. Instead, he got close to the same area, determined to lean on the pillar there for the forthcoming concert.

 

At least, he was going to. "Ben?" he heard someone ask before realizing it was the man sitting at the table. He stood up with a spreading grin. "Ben!"

 

It was his brother, David. I should have known, he chided himself internally. Externally, however, his own grin took over. "David!" he exclaimed and reached out to grab his hand, only to be pulled into an embrace.

 

"Mary had said you couldn't make it," he said. "Said you were all high and mighty with Starfleet these days." His grin took the bite from the words, though not all of it.

 

"Got lucky and caught a shuttle for the afternoon," he said, despite the fact that it was sliding on towards 9 PM local time. "Gonna be a long shift tomorrow, but I had to take advantage of being this close and catch the act."

 

"Oh, you'll love them," David replied. "Come on, join us, we've got a spare seat." Benjamin nodded his thanks and stepped back to the table, and the woman that David had been with. "Oh, I can't believe I forgot," he said when he realized. "Sarrai, this is my brother Benjamin that Mary and I were talking about this afternoon. Benjamin, this is Sarrai, my fiance."

 

"Oh, well, congratulations!" Benjamin said as he shook her hand warmly. The Trill woman brushed a strand of her auburn hair away from her eyes and spots, smiling her thanks as they all sat down. "I didn't even know he was dating," he said somewhat sheepishly.

 

"That's because you never call, you never write, and you heard all of this two days ago so I'll spare you now," David said. "I'm just glad you're here."

 

Anything else he was going to say was cut off as the band finally came on stage. They all applauded loudly as the four of them took their places, Mary stepping forward with her guitar and shouting her thanks to the crowd with Than the Andorian stepping forward with his bass and waving at the crowd as well. Meanwhile, a half Cardassian, half Bajoran man stepped on stage with a fiddle, and a woman who was part Vulcan, part human stepped up and sat behind the drum kit, a broad smile on her face. Benjamin leaned over and said to David "Mary always did know how to pick a group of friends." David just laughed and kept clapping.

 

Mary looked down and found David, and then Benjamin and smiled broadly before turning to the band briefly. "So," she said to the crowd as the rest of the band conferred, "thank you all for coming back after the unpleasantness of the other night." Benjamin couldn't help but smile; Mary normally had just a bit of an accent, but was playing up an Irish one for the crowd, and quite well. "But tonight, we're going to celebrate. Not just that Mister Macanally let us come back to finish out our time here with you all - let's give him some applause," which was met by a round of applause almost as good as the one the band got, "but also because for the first time in far longer than I like to think, me and my brothers are under the same roof." She applauded in Benjamin and David's direction, which drew a bit of a laugh and more applause. "As such, we're gonna start off tonight a little differently, with the song my big brother taught me that started me on my road here."

 

A nod at the drummer and an enthusiastic count off, and the song began. "Was up in the Bluestack Mountains, Darcy kept a bit of a still," his sister began, and the crowd loved it. Benjamin just blushed, laughed, and sank down a bit in his seat. He couldn't believe she remembered the song, and also that he had taught it to her. David crowed with laughter, even more so when he saw his brother's embarrassment.

 

Eventually, the song finished, and they went on through their set. Traditional Irish songs like 'Leaving of Liverpool' were interspersed with more modern songs like 'Sunset on Pacifica', original pieces by the band, and even traditional Andorian songs like 'Ice Floe to Aenelion' which somehow fit in with the old Irish songs perfectly. Maybe an Andorian doing Irish music isn't such a stretch after all, he thought. "We're going to take a break," she said almost breathlessly after an energetic rendition of 'Caledonia', "but we'll be back in a minute. Get up to the bar before we do!"

 

Benjamin got up and hugged his sister as she came over to the table and sat down with them, breathing heavily. "So, what do you think?"

 

"I think you've got a new fan," he said with a smile soon returned. "Definitely an interesting bunch you've got up there with you, and all of them fantastic musicians."

 

She threw her head back and laughed. "That they are, that they are." She turned to David and jerked her head towards Benjamin. "So, have you told him the news yet?"
 

"Of course he did," Sarrai said before David could. "You think he could keep quiet about it? He's never been able to keep a secret."

 

Benjamin just chuckled at that. "Not even when we were kids," he said with a knowing smile at his brother. There were some secrets he could keep, but never the good news, or when it affected people besides just him. But then, Benjamin could keep secrets just as well. "So where did you two meet?" he asked to change the subject. "We didn't quite get that far before the show."

 

"We worked together at the Federation offices on Pacifica," he said. "She's part of the security team, I work on the minister's policy team. We got to know each other last year, and before you know it--"

 

"--I grab him and convince him to marry me," she interrupted. They all laughed as she leaned over and kissed him. Benjamin sighed and worried at his ring under the table, trying not to let it get to him. He was happy for David, but it still wasn't easy.

 

Mary saw it and nudged him. "Why don't you go get you and me a drink," she asked, tapping her leg. "Getting a little worn out." He nodded gratefully and went back up to the bar for a pair of ales. Upon his return, they talked of the past few years, about David finishing up his Master's degree in Xenolinguistics and getting hired into the Federation staff on Pacifica as a result, and made promises to keep in better touch - which, considering the complete absence of communication before, shouldn't be hard.

 

Finally, though, Mary got up and Between the Travelers and I finished their set. The music was fantastic, the ale was amazing, the company was all he had hoped for. For the first time in a long time, Benjamin was content. He had missed being a part of something, missed having his family around him. Eventually, though, he had to leave, lest he miss his transport back to the Artemis' berth at Utopia Planitia.

 

As he bid his brother, sister, and future sister-in-law good night, Benjamin couldn't help the gnawing inside him, though. For years, he'd convinced himself that he needed to let his siblings focus on their own lives, their own careers, after he had spent so many years essentially raising them while their father worked in the mines. And now, he saw them successful and happy, but overjoyed at being reunited with him. He felt guilty that he'd let it go so long before getting in touch, and guilty that even now he couldn't bear to tell them everything he wanted to.

 

He walked through the chilly night air to the nearest transport hub, and chided himself. "One day at a time," he said aloud. "One day at a time."

 

==ETL==


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#342 Cdr Jaden Hawk

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Posted Star Date 21903.05 @ 04:05 (04:05 AM)

== Hawk family estate, near New Orleans ==

 

"His ear's must have been burning," Dan said.

 

"I'm glad he is ok, though knowing now that the outcome of an investigation would have been a positive one, I'm rather sorry we didn't have the opportunity for another adventure," he then added.

 

Jaden was relieved to hear from his son. Daniel was safe and that was the most important thing, but that certainly didn't end many of the questions he had, in fact it only generated more. What exactly had happened to the Beckett? A design flaw, enough to transfer the entire crew off of her? And more importantly, how did his son get involved with SOCOM? He had just graduated the Academy. Usually the Special Forces only took seasoned candidates. Have they gotten that desperate, their taking them fresh from the Academy now?

 

After a few moments of silence, Jaden collected enough of his thoughts to answer his friend.

 

"Yes, If they were burning, I'm glad he contacted me. And as for adventures, I'm afraid my adventures are far more behind me than ahead of me," he chuckled.

 

Walking back over to the table he sat down and poured them another drink. "Now, we can visit and catch up without me being a worried parent," he smiled.

 

After finishing filling the glasses, Jaden put the bottle down. He then looked at his friend in a more relaxed and relieved manner. "It really is good to see you. I've missed my friend."

 

== Tag Dan ==


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#343 Adm Daniel Wueste

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Posted Star Date 21903.11 @ 20:04 (08:04 PM)

Dan smiled as he replied, “And I you, Jaden, and I you.”

Settling back into his seat, he couldn’t help but wonder when they’d gotten old.

“I wonder when we went from representing the future of Star Fleet to being just a couple of old war buddies reminiscing about days long gone.”

He shook his head.

“I’m not sure if its been made public yet, but I trust your discretion either way. Have you heard about what they’re doing with the Gettysburg?”

Dan had received an invite to an as yet to be held ceremony on Mars. It seemed as if the whole universe had gone and gotten itself into a damn hurry. The question was, when the leaders of the present seemed to have no time for the past, what use remained for those most ably trained in the tools of yesterday?
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#344 Cdr Jaden Hawk

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Posted Star Date 21903.14 @ 00:49 (12:49 AM)

The truth was that Jaden did feel old. He was only forty-six years old, but it had been a hard forty-six. In his almost twenty-year career with Star Fleet he had seen his share of death, destruction and darkness. Some memories never leave, like when he was fresh out of the Academy and assigned to the USS Yeager. During the battle to retake Sierra-18 from the band of pirates that had seized the then derelict station, he had treated a wounded marine. Despite his best effort, the young marine not much older than him, died in his arms. Jaden never forgot the marine's eyes. How the light just went out; death, then oblivion.

 

In his career, he had saved many lives, but it was the ones that he couldn't that haunted him. He mentor and former boss, Yeager's Chief Medical Officer Callum Hicks had attempted to console him at that time. You can't save everyone Jaden. With all out modern technology, sometimes death just can't be cheated.

 

He smiled a little at the thought of Doctor Hicks. I wonder what he's up to these days. That was a life time ago.

 

Dan then offered the information about the Gettysburg. “I’m not sure if its been made public yet, but I trust your discretion either way. Have you heard about what they’re doing with the Gettysburg?”

 

"The Gettysburg? Your old ship? Last I remembered that was Admiral Grant's old command. No, I haven't heard. What are they doing to her?" Jaden asked as he took a drink from his glass.


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#345 Adm Daniel Wueste

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Posted Star Date 21903.24 @ 17:04 (05:04 PM)

Dan had intended the thought to speak mainly to the time that had passed since their time serving together. He could tell though, watching as Jaden became briefly lost in thought, that his friend felt the passage of time more keenly than Dan had perhaps considered. He had to admit having a hard time thinking of Hawk as ‘old,’ after all, Dan was nearly a quarter century the man’s senior. There could be no question that Jaden was in no way the kid that he remembered first meeting. The age of Hawk’s son certainly spoke clearly to that. All the same, he tried to remember his first encounter with Jaden. It had been aboard a shuttle, perhaps on the way to the Yaegar? The memory was foggy. His sense of friendship and camaraderie with Hawk however, was not.

Jaden’s response to his inquiry brought his attention back to the present.

He realized that Hawk’s connection with the Getty was not the same as his own, but if what he was hearing was accurate, and he had every reason to assume it was, the news meant other changes to come.

“They’re retiring her. I’ve been asked to some event at Utopia Planitia for it, some sort of decommissioning ceremony. From what I’m hearing though, this isn’t isolated. Evidently, the new folks up at Command have instituted some sort of Fleet revitalization effort. Seems to be code for taking most of the vessel classes I have training on out of commission. The carrier and battleship classes have, apparently, already been scrapped. Pulsar, for example, had been on duty here in Sector 001, but she’s apparently now back in spacedock awaiting the surplus yard or worse. The entire consolidated Heavy Cruiser line seems to be next. Other than Gettysburg, I’ve heard other active vessels like Intrepid are being decommissioned with more or less immediate effect. It seems change has no room for nostalgia.”

He hadn’t intended to slip into a rant. To a degree he understood the changes being made. All the same though, many of the designs being scrapped were far from old. The Constitution, Miranda, Excelsior, Constellation, Galaxy, and even Nebula classes had all had much longer life spans.

He sighed. He’d never been one to stand in the way of progress, and he had no intention of trying here. Still, he couldn’t help but feel a sense of sadness over the situation. It was, if nothing else, a reminder that the Star Fleet of today was quickly moving away from the Star Fleet he’d known.
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#346 Cdr Jaden Hawk

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Posted Star Date 21903.30 @ 18:34 (06:34 PM)

Jaden took another sip from his glass. It was true that a lot had happened since his retirement. In Seven and a half years a lot can happen. He had been so busy raising Daniel that the elder Hawk had not kept up much with Star Fleet. He'd hear a few things on FNN but he had mainly focused his efforts on the medical clinic and family. However, he wasn't surprised by the latest news regarding Star Fleet. Times change, new priorities arise and like people, ships get older and in time outlive their usefulness and are retired. But Jaden also realized that sometimes those old mothballed ships had a away of making their way back into the fleet.

 

He did sympathize with his friend. Dan no doubt felt that he was like these ships and with each one being decommissioned, it was a reminder that one day the Admiral would be joining those ships.

 

"Yes, it is a shame about the older ships. But I guess newer ships are needed for the priorities that Star Fleet now faces. I'm sure many others felt the way we do about retiring ships and the future of Star Fleet during their generations," finally said.

 

"But one thing is sure, those new ships and even new officers need experienced officers to help them along the way. So, I don't think you've lost your usefulness old friend. You are now in a position to offer that experience and all the knowledge that you have gained during your distinguished to this new generation. So don't go thinking that Star Fleet still doesn't have a need for you. Because they do," he continued.

 

He then raised his glass in a toast. "To the Gettysburg, Pulsar and all the other ships. They have served faithfully and gallantly like all her crews. May the finally find peace."

 

== Tag ==


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#347 Adm Daniel Wueste

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Posted Star Date 21904.05 @ 01:42 (01:42 AM)

He nodded and smiled.  Jaden was being supportive.  That meant quite a bit, even if the words were those of a friend whose perspective was far from impartial.

 

What use Dan still had was a matter very much up to the determination of others.

 

Hawk offered a toast and, after raising his glass, Dan finished what was left in it.  

 

"Enough of my moping about.  The last few years have been difficult, no question about it, but that's still no excuse for me to wallow in it.  So, my friend, what's next for you? I'm sure there's more to your day-to-day than waiting for your son to call."


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#348 Cdr Jaden Hawk

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Posted Star Date 21904.08 @ 02:23 (02:23 AM)

Dan's question was a bit unexpected. What was indeed next for him. Jaden took another sip from his glass and he pondered the question for a few seconds. Finally he sighed and said "Well, I guess I will continue working at the clinic. I really haven't given it much thought. These last years, I've devoted myself to raising Daniel, having him close to me on earth and working at the clinic."

 

He then continued, "I've built up a nice medical clinic here and there was clearly a need for one when I opened it and still is. We stay pretty busy. And I've got my grandparent's place here to look after. So, I guess that is my life now. I'm not sure that is how I expected it, but I guess that is how life works out sometimes. After all I've seen and done, I guess my journey among the stars has brought me right back home to live out the rest of my days."

 

When the words came out of his mouth, Jaden realized that something did feel lacking in his life, perhaps even unfinished. He had hoped to do research and now with a few extra doctors hired to help out around the clinic, he would finally have the time. He'd thought about writing, perhaps now this was the time.

 

After a few more sips, he added "Writing, I might do some writing and research."


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#349 Adm Daniel Wueste

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Posted Star Date 21904.13 @ 05:21 (05:21 AM)

Jaden sounded restless.  It was a feeling Dan understood all to well, albeit for very different reasons.

 

"If you decide to publish anything, I'll gladly give it a read."

 

He chuckled, "That is, unless it's something too technical on the medical side of things.  The sciences have never been my strong suit."

 

As he considered his next words, he found his mind moving into more contemplative territory.

 

"I wonder sometimes where we'd be right now if we had, in fact, truly had full agency over the most important moments of our lives.  If events had progressed as we'd intended them, rather than how they did.  I think sometimes I might still be in the house in Gettysburg, but then, at other times, I can't help but picture myself back on the bridge of a starship."

 

He leaned back in his chair.

 

"So, Jaden, I know what your responsibilities are.  I know what you feel like you ought to be doing... but, what would you do if you actually had the choice to take your life in whatever direction you actually wanted?"


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#350 Cdr Jaden Hawk

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Posted Star Date 21904.17 @ 01:58 (01:58 AM)

Dan's own thoughts and then his question to him reminded Jaden of a couple of quotes he remembered from a biography of the famous Captain Spock he'd recently finished reading.

 

 "Change is the essential process of all existence." Jaden offered before adding "One man cannot summon the future. But one man can change the present."

 

He smiled at Dan. "Pretty profound huh. I just finished a biography of Captain Spock. The wisdom and logic of a Vulcan. Too bad we humans aren't as logical. Jaden then took a gulp from his glass and sighed.

 

"The truth is I don't know what I want. At least don't think I know. Part of me wishes I was still in Star Fleet but another part says I'm glad that I'm not. Daniel was my anchor here, but now he's gone..off living his own life. I really have enjoyed these last years, raising Daniel, the medical clinic," he offered and then filled his glass again.

 

After putting the bottle back on the table he continued. "As a boy, I used to lay under that big live oak tree out in the back yard and stare up at the stars. I dreamed of being among them one day. Well, my dream came true. For awhile I was up there. It certainly wasn't what I expected. But then again, when you're young do you really understand? That is really the tragedy of youth, you know, the loss of innocence that comes with age."

 

He realized that he was rambling on and that Dan probably thought him drunk or a fool, or both. The truth was Jaden didn't know himself.

 

Smiling, Jaden looked over at Dan with his green eyes. "Sorry, it seems I'm rambling. But I really don't know how to answer your question. I do have the choice, the problem is, I really don't know what I want. I wish I could tell you, but it is simply not that easy for me."


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#351 Adm Daniel Wueste

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Posted Star Date 21904.21 @ 04:11 (04:11 AM)

He smiled as Jaden finished speaking.  He hoped the expression offered some reassurance.  Hawk was being, as ever, characteristically hard on himself.

 

"Join the club, my friend.  I keep waiting to figure out what I want to be when I grow-up.  Somedays I even miss sitting behind the desk at Fleet Command."

 

Dan shifted in his seat, trying to get more comfortable.

 

"The only constant is that everyday when I look into a mirror, the face of an old man looks back at me.  He looks friendly enough, but I can't say I completely recognize him."

 

Now who's rambling?

 

"I asked the question not because there is a correct answer, or even because I expected an answer, but because I think it's important we keep asking ourselves that question every day.  Who do we want to be? What do we want to be? Damned if I know, but what I fear is the day I stop asking myself those questions."


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#352 Cdr Jaden Hawk

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Posted Star Date 21904.23 @ 10:55 (10:55 AM)

Jaden smiled slightly, "At least you can look in the mirror, meaning you are still above ground. Think of it as being one less day from dying young," he offered.

 

"And yes, I agree it is important that we keep asking those questions. And I think those questions vary at different stages in our lives. It is a metaphor, but our lives really are like the four seasons. Spring when we are young and the world is new, summer when we are at the height of our lives, then autumn, when we reach a certain age of knowledge and life experiences and then finally winter, the time when we have less time ahead of us than behind."

 

Jaden paused for a moment and then said with a broad grin. "My friend, I think you are in the autumn of your life. And that you still have much to offer before winter. Star Fleet needs you, probably more than ever, even if they don't see it. Your knowledge and experience just can't be discarded. Now all you have to do is figure out what you want to do, which as we've discussed isn't an easy thing to do. But, I've always believed that things work out as they should, the universe has a funny way of making that happen."

 

He paused for a moment, thinking that he'd been rambling on a bit too much. Finally he said, "Right now, what I want most of all, is another drink and this bottle is empty. Fortunately, I have another. I shall get it for us."


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#353 Capt Aitrus Colso {Elias}

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Posted Star Date 21906.25 @ 01:12 (01:12 AM)

==Huntsville, Alabama==

==Approximately one month ago==

 

Aitrus smiled, looking up at the class in the auditorium. “Who can tell me,” he asked the assembled faces, “what the most important vehicle in human space travel was?” He could see a collective sigh cross the majority of them. They knew an open-ended question with one right answer when they saw it.

 

A few hands shot up, though, and Aitrus dutifully called on one. “The NX-01,” the first answered.

 

“Important, yes, but more to Starfleet and the Federation than to humanity as a whole,” Aitrus replied, and called on another. They posited the Phoenix, which Aitrus had to concede was definitely important. “Cochrane took us to other stars, but even then he was making an evolutionary leap, not pulling up from the start.”

 

Another hand, this time trying the Saturn V. “A good guess,” Aitrus said with a smile, “and definitely one for the hometowners. A lot closer, but not quite there.” The class looked confusedly at each other, until one last person tentatively raised their hand from the side of the classroom.

 

“The Redstone?” the girl asked tentatively.

 

“Exactly,” Aitrus replied with a broad smile. “The Redstone Rocket. It wasn’t the first rocket. It wasn’t the most advanced rocket, even for its time.” He walked out from behind the podium, getting comfortable as he looked from person to person in the class. “The reason it's one of the most important vehicles in human spaceflight is what it represents.

 

“The Redstone Rocket was a modification of the German V-2, a weapon of war. Even the early American uses of it were as missiles, targeted at their enemy. But in the repurposing of it by first the Air Force and then Nasa proper, they took this weapon of terror and death and remade it into a tool for exploration. It may never have reached orbit, but it paved the way for Nasa to reach orbit, then the moon, and then beyond. Without that first sword beaten into a plowshare, the cooperation required to get us beyond our own orbit might never have materialized.”

 

He looked around the room, and saw that most of the student’s faces had glazed over. He wasn’t entirely surprised at that; this was an introductory class, the history of space propulsion technologies. Some of the students were here for an elective, and even the ones that were here for a required credit would rather be dealing with anything other than the history of the field. Aitrus pressed on anyway, latching on to the few attentive faces and trying to draw some of the others back in.

 

He went on, talking about von Braun and his team, the early American and Soviet programs, and how the Space Race eventually turned into cooperation between the two. Slowly, of course, but cooperation nonetheless. By the time he finished with the loss of the Ares IV and the decline of pre-warp spaceflight in the years leading up to World War III. “The international cooperation required to send that flight to Mars would have been unthinkable even fifty years before, but they made it. And the consequences of the craft’s loss were devastating; the nations of Earth turned inward in the wake of the tragedy, with some politicians even calling the mission a waste of resources, or even a ‘boondoggle’ doomed from the start. Many of those same voices were the loudest calling for war even as the bombs started dropping.”

 

He looked around; he’d gotten many of the students back, though not all. He raised a hand and called on a student in the back, an Andorian who had barely been paying attention. “Ms. zh’Fellris, what can we learn from this?”

 

“To never listen to the politicians?” she said, which drew a chuckle from the room, Aitrus included.

 

“Often a good idea, but not the point today.” He looked around the room again, meeting the eye of a few of the young men and women as he wrapped up. “The point is, hope and cooperation are the best way to make progress. War can foster innovation, but for its own ends. With hope, we can begin to look to our former enemies and see friends; we can look at our weapons and see tools of peace; we can look at the stars and see a frontier unexplored.”

 

He smiled and stepped back to the podium. “Thank you for being attentive, class, and you know who you were.” There was another chuckle, this time a little nervous energy added to the mix. He turned to his friend seated next to the door, the class’ normal instructor. “And thank you, Dr. Martin, for having me. He’ll be back up here for you on Wednesday. Class dismissed.”

 

The students all got up and started to file to the exits, and Aitrus smiled and gathered up his notes, what few there were. “Not bad,” his friend said as he approached the podium with a smile. “For someone who hasn’t taught a class in years.”

 

Aitrus just laughed at him and shook his hand when offered. “Yeah, well thank you James,” he said. “I’m sure it wasn’t any worse than when I started here.”

 

That drew an even bigger laugh. “Oh, this was much better than that.” He waved a hand and they started walking out of the building. “As I recall, we had to wake up several of your students that first day so we could get ready for the next class.”

 

“Don’t rub it in,” Aitrus replied with a chuckle, punching James in the ribs as they walked, headed for the University Center and the cafeteria contained therein. “As I recall,” he said as he looked out over the students hustling to and fro, “I had much better success with the grad students.”

 

“Aye, that you did,” he replied. “You always did have your head in the clouds, Aitrus. These entry level classes were never your style.”

 

“And yet, you still made me teach them.”

 

“Rank hath its privilege,” James replied. “As I’m sure you’re well aware nowadays.” He waved at Atirus’ uniform, its red trim, and the four gold pips on his collar.

 

“Well,” he said, “I just couldn’t stand by and let people suffer. I may be a man of science, but there’s only so much I can take before--”

 

“I know, man, I know,” James said, cutting him off. When Aitrus had left to rejoin Starfleet back at the height of the Krynar War, they had argued round in circles about it. In the end, though, they had agreed to disagree; James knew Aitrus wouldn’t work well if he wanted to be elsewhere, and Aitrus was growing disenchanted with their work anyhow. The fact that the slipstream project had paid off in the interim was salt in an old wound, but the breakthrough had been something they had all longed for. He was glad that James and his team had finally gotten it to work well enough to pass on to the Corps of Engineers.

 

Aitrus sighed. “Sorry, guess it's just being here again, has me a bit defensive.” They settled into a table, finally, and he looked around at the students. So young, he thought wistfully and sighed, wondering if he’d ever been that young.

 

James dismissed himself to get some food, and Aitrus saw why just a moment after as his yeoman, Lieutenant (j.g.) Li Nadia, walked up from behind him and sat down, a small collection of padds in her hand. “Sorry I missed your lecture, sir,” she said. “I was checking in with headquarters and the like.”

 

Aitrus chuckled, and took a sip of the water she had brought for him. “You’re not sorry,” he said. “You get enough of my lectures as it is.”

 

“As you say, sir,” she said with a smile. “I’ve got your upcoming mission briefing here, along with the personnel changes, the quartermaster’s requisitions and disbursements, and a draft duty roster.”

 

He sighed, and looked at the summaries she had prepared. “A captain’s work is never done, is it Nadia?”

 

“No sir,” she said. “Especially with an assignment starting in two days.”

 

“Very true,” he said, not pleased at the reminder. He was going to have to say goodbye to Samantha and Lily tonight, something he wasn’t looking forward to despite having done it dozens of times. It never got easier. Fortunately, it wouldn’t be quite as far soon, once they were able to all relocate out to Pioneer. Speaking of which… “Were you able to get that visitor information for Pioneer like I asked? We’ll need it for when we tell my mother-in-law where we’re moving.”

 

It took a moment before Aitrus realized that Nadia hadn’t answered, and was in fact looking at him with a wide-eyed stare. “I did,” she finally said, “but you had asked me to send it to her. I sent it this morning.”

 

Oh, crap, he thought, along with several more colorful expletives he had learned over the years. “No, no, no,” he said quietly, “I just needed you to…” He stopped and took a breath. He could very well have mistakenly said to send it. He couldn’t blame Nadia for being efficient. He stood up and started walking out of the hall, the view of the rockets at the Space & Rocket Museum he had intended to enjoy ignored. He had to get home, hopefully before Samantha found out, though he knew his luck never went that way.

 

Nadia had gathered the padds and caught up to him quickly. “I’m so sorry, sir,” she was saying, “I should have known--”

 

“How could you?” Aitrus interjected. “It’s my own fault. Go on back to headquarters and make sure transport is ready for first thing in the morning. I’ve got a feeling this isn’t going to be a good night for me.”

 

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#354 Cdr Samantha Colso {Elias}

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Posted Star Date 21906.27 @ 21:59 (09:59 PM)

==Fayetteville, Tennessee==

==The Colso Homestead==

 

Samantha smiled and hugged her mother as she let her into the small foyer of her home. “Hi mom,” she said, “I didn’t expect to see you today. She led her back to the kitchen, where she had a pot brewing some tea already. “I didn’t expect to see you today; Lily is at school, you know?”

 

“Yes, I know dear,” Jennifer Hart said, smiling at her daughter. “I just wanted to come and talk, you know?” She took a seat at the counter while Samantha grabbed a pair of glasses and checked the tea. “We spent so long not doing so, I thought I’d make up for a bit of lost time.” She smiled with the words, but her eyes put a bit of a lie to it.

 

Samantha sighed. “I know, mom, I know,” she said, and poured the tea. “It was everyone’s fault, and no one’s fault. We’re all just too stubborn for our own good, I guess.” She circled the counter as she talked, kissed her mother on the forehead and took a seat, setting the glasses in front of them.

 

“So,” Jennifer said, “just how is little Lily doing? It’s been so long since I saw her.” The smile was genuine this time, and a bit of sparkle coming back to her eyes.

 

Samantha couldn’t help but smile, too, her auburn hair shimmering as she laughed. “Oh, she’s doing just fine since you saw her a week ago, mom. She had a math test this week, she did excellent at it as usual. Bit more trouble in language, as usual, but she’s doing fine.” She took a sip of her tea before continuing, “You got the invitation to her recital next week, right?”

 

“Yes, I’ll be there,” Jennifer said. “I wouldn’t miss it. Any idea what she’s going to sing?”

 

Samantha shook her head. “No, she wants to keep it a surprise.” She smiled again, a mischievous look spreading across her face. “Of course, when she’s practicing up in her room is tough not to hear her. It sounds like an old musical number; I don’t know it, unfortunately, and I haven’t been able to sneak a peek at the sheet music. She’s hiding it from me.” They both chuckled at that.

 

“You know, you used to do that, too,” Jennifer said. “We’d come up to your room to check on you and you’d quickly shove whatever you were working on under a pillow and yell at us to go away. It was cute for a while,” she added, a touch of sadness creeping in. “Of course, you did your Academy application the same way.”

 

Samantha sighed and took another sip of her tea. “I know, mom,” she said. “But you and dad would never have let me go if I’d asked.” It was an old argument, worn and comfortable, but still one that would creep up from time to time.

 

“I know, dear,” she replied. “I know. And I’ve admitted we were wrong. You took to the service like you were born to it, and never compromised your ideals either. You did us proud, even if we were too stubborn to admit it while your father was alive.”

 

Samantha leaned over and hugged her mother again. The fact that it had taken Thomas’ death to bring them back together was still a struggle for them. It had been four years, but it had been nearly five before that since he had spoken to his daughter. He had gone to his grave unable to forgive her for joining Starfleet, something he was adamantly against and that he ultimately saw as a betrayal of his pacifist ideals.

 

Jennifer had been the same up until her husband died. His death had driven home just how short life was, and just how silly it was to leave people out of it based on one decision. For a while, they had still had a rough relationship - fifteen years of estrangement will do that - but eventually they had come to trust each other again. And Lily loved having her grandmother around.

 

“It’s okay, mom,” Samantha said. “It all turned out okay.” They leaned back from the embrace, and Samantha could tell that there was definitely something on her mother’s mind. “What’s wrong?”

 

Jennifer bit her lip for a moment before sighing in defeat. “When were you going to tell me?”

 

Samantha looked at her in confusion for just a moment. “Tell you what?”

 

“You know what,” she said, venom in her voice. “That you were planning on moving away!”

 

“How did you--” Samantha began before sighing. “Aitrus did something stupid, didn’t he?”

 

“Of course he did,” Jennifer confirmed. “He had some nice young man at headquarters send me procedures for visiting you on Pioneer Station.”

 

Samantha sighed and stood up, arms crossed over her chest as she started to pace. It was thoughtful, and they had even talked about that just a couple of nights ago. But he knew we weren’t ready to tell her yet! She thought. “We were going to tell you soon,” she said aloud.

 

“Soon?” Jennifer scoffed. “Soon?”

 

“Yes, soon. I’m not going anywhere until the school year is over for Lily,” Samantha replied. “We didn’t want to pull her out in the middle of it, after all, and we weren’t going to tell her until then either.”

 

“But why?!” her mother said, standing now as well and looking at her daughter across the countertop. “Why are you leaving again? I just got my daughter back, and here you are running away again.”

 

“I am not running away!” Samantha cried. “You think I want to abandon you? Get away from you again, is that it?” She turned away for a moment, trying to keep her temper. “We’re trying to get back to our roots, mother. We’re scientists. Our goal has always been to be out there on the edge, exploring. And now Starfleet is sending ships out there, and we want to be a part of it.”

 

“But you can’t now!” Jennifer cried. “What about Lily? What about what’s best for her? She needs stability, not life on some border station!”

 

“You think I don’t know what’s best for my own child” You think that just because we’re taking her off this rock, that she won’t be cared for? Tht she won’t learn what she needs to learn, to be who she wants to be?” Samantha stood there, staring at her mother for a moment. “You don’t think I can do this right, do you?”

 

“No, Samantha,” Jennifer replied. “No, I know you can raise Lily to be a wonderful person. I just don’t think that a place like that is any place for a child. She should have solid ground beneath her feet--”

 

Samantha cut her off. “Plenty of children are raised on ships and stations. Aitrus spend most of his life on starships. The place for a child is with their parents,” she said. “No matter where they go, that’s where they should be.”

 

“Mom, mom, guess what!” they heard as the front door opened and Lily ran into the room. “Grandma!” she cried upon seeing Jennifer and ran to her, whatever she was about to say forgotten.

 

“There you are,” Jennifer said, bending down to give the girl a hug. “So good to see you.”

 

Lily stepped back from the hug and looked between the two older women. Samantha was wiping tears from her face, fighting to keep herself under control. “What’s wrong?” Lily asked.

 

“Nothing, baby,” Samantha said, trying to smile. “Grandma was just about to leave, and wanted to see you before she did.”

 

“Awww,” Lily whined. “I thought she was going to stay for dinner.”

 

“No,” Jennifer said, “I can’t tonight Lily. I’ve got to get back home.”

 

Lily pouted, looking at her shoes. “Okay, if you have to,” she finally conceded. “But you’ll be at my recital, won’t you?” she said brightly, a broad smile splitting her face.

 

Jennifer looked up at her daughter, who nodded back to her. “Of course,” she said, a weak smile on her face. “I wouldn’t miss my favorite granddaughter’s recital, would I?”

 

“Grandma,” Lily whined, “I’m your only granddaughter!” They both laughed, and Samantha joined in.

 

Jennifer smiled and stood back up. She walked up to Samantha, who crossed her arms, jaw set. Jennifer nodded. “I love you,” she said.

 

Samantha sighed. “I love you too, mom,” she said. “We’ll talk later.”

 

Jennifer nodded at that. “Of course we will,” she said, and went on to the door.

 

Once the door closed, Samantha bent down and took Lily’s backpack. “So, what did you do at school today?”

 

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#355 Capt Aitrus Colso {Elias}

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Posted Star Date 21907.03 @ 01:08 (01:08 AM)

==Fayetteville, Tennessee==

==The Colso Homestead==

 

Aitrus rushed up to the house and quickly came through the door. “Samantha!” he called to no answer. He stopped in the foyer, pulling off his uniform jacket and hanging it by the door. “Anyone home?”

 

He was answered swiftly by a little blur running around the corner shouting “Daddy!” A smile broke across his face as he knelt down and picked up his little girl. He still counted his blessings that Lily got her looks from Samantha rather than from him, though her golden eyes definitely came from his side of the family.

 

He ruffled her long brown hair, much to her squealing laughter, as he walked with her on into the house. “I’m not gonna be able to do this much longer,” he told her. “You’re getting too big!”

 

She crossed her arms and pouted. “Well, maybe I don’t want you to,” she told him, though he could tell she was just being contrary. Like usual. Something else she gets from her mother, he thought perhaps a bit uncharitably. Just as quick as she said it, though, her eyes brightened again and she got excited. “I want to show you what I did at school today!” she exclaimed, and wiggled out of his arms and ran across the living room towards the stairs. “Come on! It's in my room.”

 

“Okay, okay,” he laughed, and followed her. It still amazed him how much energy she had. If only we could find a way to harness it, he thought as he turned the corner towards the staircase. Lily was already at the top of it, but he saw Samantha standing in the doorway to the kitchen down the hall, as well. He could tell by the look on her face that she’d already found out he’d screwed up again, her green eyes stormy and reddened from tears.

 

He paused at the base of the stairs, looking at her with an apologetic look on his face, tinted with sorrow. He was about to head towards her when Samantha looked away suddenly and then jerked her head towards the stairs. As always, she knew the priority here: Lily. They’d talk later. I just hope its a talk and not an argument. He walked up the stairs, taking the time to try and banish the gloomy thoughts.

 

Finally, he pushed open the door to his daughter’s room. Or tried to; there was a pile of toys that kept the door from opening all the way. “Lily,” he said, “didn’t we talk about keeping your room clean?”

 

“I know, dad,” she said, the smile waning just a hair. “I’ve just been so busy! I’m trying really hard to get ready for my recital next week, and picking up just didn’t seem so…”

 

Interesting, he finished for her as she trailed off. “Important,” he said aloud, though. He smiled and ruffled her hair again. No matter what else, she was definitely his daughter. He couldn’t blame her for getting lost in a project to the detriment of all else; after all, it still happened to him on occasion, though not as often now that he was in command rather than simply a scientist. “It may not seem like it, but keeping your room clean is important, too.” She half-heartedly agreed with him. “Now, what is it you wanted to show me?”

 

What he had expected was some new project, or maybe something she had doodled while in her math class - she hated math, unlike both of her parents, and he wasn’t entirely sure where she had picked that one up. Probably Samantha’s side, he thought. Instead, he got a walkthrough of her entire day, with several pictures she had drawn as illustration, and an impromptu concert as she went through what her choir was working on.

 

The entire time he sat in a small clear space on her floor, he was in awe. Maybe it was just because he was about to head back out yet again, and so he was trying to savor every moment. Maybe it was because he wanted to focus on anything but the upcoming argument with his wife. But most likely, it was because he was still amazed at the fact that this little aspiring artist was really his daughter. Sure, sometimes she made him mad when she wouldn’t do her chores, or worried him sick when she would go play in the woods far too late in the evening, or made her afraid when she was sick. But she was theirs, and he every so often he just couldn’t help but marvel at her, at the very fact of her. Some things, you just can’t quantify.

 

Eventually, though, he had to stop her. “That’s amazing, sweetie,” he said. “Sounds like you had a fantastic day at school.”

 

She smiled back at him. “Oh, it wasn’t anything special,” she said, and gave him a hug as he laughed.

 

“Somehow, I knew you were going to say that,” he told her as he stood up. “Now, if my nose isn’t broken I think your mom is working on dinner. Why don’t you try and clean up in here for a bit, and then wash up and come downstairs.” Lily’s face contorted into a grimace, but a resigned one. “I know, but it needs to be done.”

 

“You just want to talk to mom for a minute, don’t you?” she asked, a look on her face that just told him to be honest with her.

 

“That too,” he said. Not that I want to, he added to himself. “So just try and clean your room for a bit, okay?” She pouted, but finally made a noise that sounded like an agreement if you turned your head just right. He nodded at her. “I love you,” he said.

 

“Love you too,” she said back, and he stepped out of her room and closed the door behind him. He sighed, and headed back down the stairs, turning down the hall and entering the kitchen.

 

Samantha was in the middle of making dinner. Spaghetti, garlic bread, salad - they’d talked about it a while ago, and it was what they’d decided to do on his last night of leave. Lily’s favorites. She moved around the kitchen with ease, though her movements seemed more deliberate than usual, and of course he knew why.

 

He walked up and leaned against the pantry doors as she continued to work around the counters. He’d considered sitting at the counter, using one of the barstools there, but he didn’t want to put the counter between them. “I’m sorry,” he began. “I misspoke when I asked Nadia to--”

 

“What were you doing asking her to begin with?” she cut him off, turning towards him swiftly. Her hair swung around behind her, the lengthy ponytail nearly hitting the food on the counter before coming to rest again. “This was something we were going to do, something we needed to take care of. And you get your yeoman to make the call for you?!”

 

Aitrus had his hands up, opened flat towards her and defending against her words. “Yes-- I mean, no, I didn’t want her to make the call for me! I agree, it's something that we should have spoken to your mom about together, and something I wanted to do together.” He took a breath, shoulders sagging. “I’d just asked her to get the forms and procedures together for me, and I guess I phrased it wrong. She thought I’d asked her to get all that information to Jennifer, not so that I could handle it, and she just took care of it as efficiently as always.”

 

“I could see that,” she said, arms crossed over her apron, more spattered and stained than usual tonight. “Say what you will about her, but Nadia has always been efficient.”

 

He felt a tug of a smile at that, but let it go just as quickly. Nadia had been a friend of theirs for over a decade at this point, ever since their escapades had gotten them captured by terrorists briefly and she had helped to free them. “Don’t blame her,” he told his wife, and held out his hands to her. “Blame me.”

 

Eventually, she took his hands and pulled him into a hug. “Oh, don’t worry,” she said. “I definitely blame you.”

 

“Was it bad?” he asked, already grimacing as he expected the answer.

 

“Oh, it could have been worse,” she said. “Fortunately Lily came home from school before we could really get going.”

 

He sighed, massaging the back of her head as he held her close. “That just delays it, though.” He closed his eyes for a moment, just feeling her breath. “And now I’m not going to be here for it.”

 

She pushed back a bit, looking up at him. “I know,” she said. “But there’s nothing that you can do about that now.” A kiss, and she stepped out of his arms to continue cooking, while he stepped over and started to get plates and silverware together to set the table. “Of course, if you wanted to patch in and give me a hand with it some time, I’m sure we could arrange a call.”

 

He smiled at her as he walked by to the table. “Oh, I’m sure my yeoman can arrange something for you.”

 

Fortunately, he’d already set down the plates when she threw the towel at him.


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#356 Lt (JG) Benjamin Elias

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Posted Star Date 21907.24 @ 19:23 (07:23 PM)

==mispost==


Edited by Ens Benjamin Elias, Star Date 21907.24 @ 19:24 (07:24 PM).

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#357 Cdr Samantha Colso {Elias}

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Posted Star Date 21907.24 @ 19:25 (07:25 PM)

==Colso Homestead==

==Fayetteville, Tennessee==

 

Samantha couldn’t help but smile as she watched Lily run back into the house laughing and smiling. Sure, the princess costume was a little much, but she loved it so much. And she needed it for her song, she thought as she hung up her coat there in the foyer. “Don’t forget, it's time to get ready for bed!” she called after the bundle of energy that was her daughter.

 

Inevitably, whining came from the stairwell, but Samantha didn’t press the issue. She knew Lily was too wound-up from the recital to go to sleep soon anyway. Everyone had been on their feet once she finished her rendition of “On the Steps of the Palace,” from a classic musical called Into the Woods, and she had just been adorable as she went through the number - though Samantha wouldn’t tell her that part.

 

She sighed, remembering how she had been at that age. Already ready to be a grown-up, but really still a child and straining against being treated like one. Samantha counted her blessings that they hadn’t had any real knock-down, drag-out fights yet, though she knew they were likely coming.

 

As if on cue, her mother set a hand on her shoulder. “You know, you used to have a dress like that,” Jennifer said, a smile still on her lips. “And for a couple of weeks, it was everything I could do to peel you out of it just to take a bath, much less wash the thing.”

 

Samantha turned and led her mother into the kitchen. “Oh?” she said. “I don’t really remember it.”

 

“Oh, you couldn’t have been older than four at the time,” Jennifer replied, heading for the counter while Samantha grabbed a teapot and began to fill it with water. Sure, they had a replicator, but sometimes you wanted to do things the old-fashioned way. “Not long after that was when you discovered that princesses did not do things like climb trees or go swimming, and you decided you were done with it.”

 

Samantha chuckled. “Okay, that part I do remember,” she said. She had spent so many summers running and playing through the woods near her home that she wouldn’t be surprised if some of her clothes still smelled of pine.

 

“I still can’t believe you’re going to deprive my granddaughter of that joy,” Jennifer said, grabbing a pair of cups from the cabinet as she did so. 

 

And here we go, Samantha thought as she set the teapot on the stove to boil. She’d known this was coming; if it hadn’t come up in every conversation they had had since Aitrus’ mistake, then it had been in at least every other one. Can we not just have a simple night enjoying my daughter’s success? She asked herself, though the answer was obvious. “Mom, I really don’t want to do this right now,” she said aloud. “It’s been a long day--”

 

“I know that, Sam,” she cut in, “but how many more times will I have to try and convince--”

 

“You mean how many times until I give in and you get your way?” Samantha interjected in turn.

 

“My own way?” her mother replied, a hand at her breast as if she were offended. “Since when do I get my own way with you?”

 

It was a fair point, Samantha would have conceded were this any other argument. After all, her parents had been vehemently against her joining Star Fleet in the first place. They hadn’t approved of her getting married, much less who she had chosen as her husband. There hadn’t been many decisions they had approved of from the time she was a teenager until her father died. But this was about her child, her daughter, and she would raise Lily how she and Aitrus saw fit, not how her mother dictated.

 

“That’s never stopped you from trying,” Samantha countered. “And what will you do when we do go despite your protests? Cut us off again? Refuse to talk to us?”

 

“I never--” Jennifer began, turning away suddenly.

 

“You never what?” Samantha followed. “Never stopped talking to your own daughter when she went to the Academy? Never refused to acknowledge her letters when she got her first posting? Never looked at her career and achievements with shame when all she wanted was a little…”

 

She trailed off, fury and tears taking her voice. Turning back to the stove, Samantha placed a hand on the counter to keep her balance as she wiped tears from her eyes. She hadn’t realized how close to the surface the argument was for her, too, and how much it hurt to see her mother acting like this yet again.

 

“Oh, Samantha,” her mother said, coming up behind her with tears in her voice. She brushed her mother’s hand off her shoulder when she tried to put it there, turning further away as the teapot started to whistle. She put teabags in the cups, trying desperately to stop the tears of rage and sorrow, but the well was old and deep, and they kept coming. “Samantha, my darling,” she said again. “I never wanted to cut you out,” she said, “but your father--”

 

“Dad wouldn’t let you?” Samantha cut in, whirling back around. “You’ve used that excuse before, but I don’t believe you. If you’d wanted, really wanted to talk to me, you could’ve found a way. He didn’t control you that much.”

 

Silence reigned for a minute. Jennifer had the teapot, and poured the boiling water in the pair of cups while Samantha added sugar to them. They each took one and went over to the counter, Samantha leaning against it still inside the kitchen proper, while her mother took a seat at one of the barstools on the other side. Eventually taking a sip, Samantha sighed and spoke. “We’re going to come back and visit. We’re going to send messages, and when we can we’ll talk live.” She took a second sip, savoring the warmth as it spread through her. “We can’t make you reciprocate. We can’t make you visit, or write back to Lily. But all three of us would like it if you would.”

 

“I…” Jennifer started, her throat closing on her from where the tears had made it raw. She took a sip of her own tea to soothe it before trying again. “I would like to,” she finally said. “Very much.”

 

Samantha nodded, another tear falling, though this time of relief. “Good,” she said. “Because Lily loves her grandmother very much.” A lump in her own throat forced another sip of tea before she kept going. “I love you, mom.”

 

Jennifer came around the counter and they embraced for a long moment. “Mom?” a small voice broke the tension in the room. Mother and daughter turned to look, and found Lily standing in the doorway, still in her princess gown. Or at least, partly in it. They chuckled a bit to see her, having tried to get out of the gown and having trouble. “I think I need some help.”

 

Samantha walked over and knelt down in front of her daughter, kissing her on the forehead. “I love you,” she said. They embraced, Lily kissing her mother’s cheek, before she stood back up. “Now, let’s go get you ready for bed,” she said, and they started walking towards the stairs.

 

They stopped, and Samantha looked back. “Coming, mom?” Jennifer smiled, and followed them up.


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#358 Mid Leanne Burke

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Posted Star Date 21907.31 @ 23:21 (11:21 PM)

== Burke Family Household, San Francisco, CA ==

 

Stepping into her family’s house, Leanne could feel a tension in it almost immediately. Walking in from the kitchen, she noticed in the distance that her dad’s study was open. She almost felt like a teenager sneaking in from a long night out. It was a good bet her father was in there, but she would try to play ignorance for a little while.

 

Hopefully, I can get my stuff packed without having to worry about him yelling. That’s something he’s extremely good at, and I don’t think I’m ready for right now. I hope I can get him to simmer down first, and not be as emotional. I know I screwed up, but I wasn’t about to let that atrocity of a simulation keep going.

 

Even with it being broad daylight, Leanne tried to tiptoe past the study. If she could reach the stairs, she would mostly be home free; she could even sneak out a window again if she needed to. For a moment or two, Leanne figured she was going to make it as he almost passed by without interference. However, that reality was crushed.

 

“Where do you think you’re headed, young lady?”

 

I don’t know why I thought sneaking by was going to work. Dad probably knew I was here from the moment I walked in the front door. There’s not any reason to try and pretend I didn’t hear him, is there?

 

Deciding to at least face the music, Leanne walked into her father’s study. The first thing she noticed was that he was stilling wearing his duty uniform, sporting the single boxed pips on both sides of his collar. That was enough to tell her; it was as bad as she thought. It was going to be more of an official talking to, from a superior officer to a junior one. Leanne hoped she could keep it from devolving that far.

 

“Hey, dad.”

 

The first horrible sign was that Commodore James Burke did not look up from the terminal he was using, at least not right away. The second, her father’s face looked hardened. She’d seen that look countless times before, right before he began to chew someone out. Leanne had to assume this was going to be one of those times. His voice didn’t convince her otherwise.

 

“Sit down. We need to have a talk about how you royally screwed up at the Academy just now. Is there anything you want to tell me?”

 

Leanne wasn’t surprised in the slightest. If she were a weaker person, perhaps her dad’s question might’ve been hard. However, not only had she been in Star Fleet before, but she had learned much from her flag officer father. Perhaps, it wasn’t the best to thing to use his mannerisms until she was of equal rank. She just tried her best to do what she thought was right. All she could do now was to try and defend her actions.

 

“They tried to make a mockery out of me, and the crew of the Democracy. Being in a no-win scenario is one thing, but for it to be just like what I’d already experienced was in bad taste. I wasn’t going to be a part of that anymore.”

 

Her words did not sway her father as his expression didn’t change for the better. It just made his stare that much colder. That was a sign that even if she believed she was right; she was wrong. He leaned down on his elbows and stared directly at his daughter.

 

“Where in the hell do you think you got the right to make that judgment call?”

 

Leanne wasn’t exactly sure how to answer the question. She had prior experience but having to go down back to Midshipman was still a little unsettling. People were less likely to accept what her gut instinct was, even if it was one hundred percent right and foolproof. Her voice was a little broken as she tried to respond.

 

“From the….time I actually….fought the Krynar.”

 

For a moment, Leanne could see her father’s face light up just a smidge. Even years later, the underlying reason still hit home for the two of them, if not the whole family. Again, he went back to his full-on Commodore appearance. His words even stung as he spoke, but James knew his daughter needed to hear them.

 

“He’s not coming back, and for better or worse there’s nothing you can do to change it. You’ve got to remember we follow all lawful orders, and whether we agree with them or not is irrelevant. Lieutenant Shanth has submitted her report from your examination, and I agree with the conclusions, and there will be a notation placed on your record.”

 

Leanne was kind of hurt and felt betrayed that her father would side with the witch that seemed to enjoy putting her through hell. That’s something the young woman should’ve seen coming because at the end of the day her father was one who tried to always follow the letter of the rules. Leanne just sat in silence as there didn’t seem to be anything she could say to save face.

 

“Because of that blemish on your record, Command no longer feel justified in assigning you to the Artemis as originally planned. Assignment to a new state-of-the-art class of ship is something that you lost the privilege of the second you acted out. Instead, you will be assigned to the Magellan. I’ll send a communication to you new Cee-Oh, Commander Zan, myself to make sure you don’t get lax and for her to push you harder than ever before. If you can’t handle it out there, perhaps sponsoring you back into the fleet was a mistake on my part. Pack your bags immediately for shipment out to Pioneer Station. Dismissed, Midshipman Burke.”

 

It was harder for Leanne to accept her father addressing her by rank. It was something he usually didn’t do. Even when he’d been mad at her before, he still called her ‘Leanne’. She knew she screwed up, and she was going to have to deal with the consequences and fix them to earn his trust back.



#359 Alexis Tregelen

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Posted Star Date 21908.09 @ 08:06 (08:06 AM)

== Written by and posted for a retired member ==

 

== Location, the Nielson Residence, Earth ==

 

The sound of the crashing waves a soothing balm to a long day for Julia Nielson. She was curled up on her back porch, feet up on the railing, blanket curled around her, and a steaming hot cup of tea in her hands. The steam from the tea curled up to her nose, mixing with the scent of salty ocean air, a smell that she could only associate with home. The late summer evening sky was giving Julia a delight of entertainment as the setting sun painted everything in hues of purple and red.

 

Julia’s days were much more relaxed since she’d hung up her uniform. No more did it feel like the fate of the universe was in her hands. No longer did she have to worry about conspiracies, or sabotaged starships, or people (figuratively and literally) stabbing her in the back. She didn’t have to deal with junior officers who would kick you on their way up the rank ladder, or senior officers who condescended to make up for their lack of expertise. Danger still lurked, but it wasn’t a constant presence in her life any longer.

 

She realized now why her father had also resigned his commission when he had. When you had family, the associated risk of being a Star Fleet office was just too much. Fleet painted a pretty picture of being in the service--deep space adventures and all that--but the reality sadly ended up being much grimmer.

 

Civilian life was peaceful. She still got to work on the next generation of starship design. She still got to explore the galaxy and meet new people. Some of her friends had stayed in the Fleet, but many had also left over the years, choosing instead a civilian life. She actually had more time to spend with her friends. With her daughter, who was now a rambunctious ten year old. Now there was never a crisis that interrupted her time with her daughter. Nothing that couldn’t wait until the next day.

 

Julia’s life felt whole in a way that hadn’t for many years.

 

The familiar sound of floorboards creaking brought Jules out of her inner reflections. At the sound of the glass door sliding open, a smile broke out on Julia’s face as she looked over her shoulder. Standing there was Captain Benjamin Vaughn, in his Star Fleet Security uniform. But he didn’t return her smile. His face was sad in a way that Julia hadn’t seen in many years. It made fear creep into her heart. Julia was up off her chair in a flash, crossing to her partner.

 

“What is it sweetheart?” Julia asked, her voice a bare whisper, afraid to ask. There wasn’t much that put that could that amount of grief on Ben’s face.

 

Ben struggled to meet Julia’s eyes. He’d delivered this news far too many times in his Star Fleet career; it wasn’t an easy task, but now it felt impossible.

 

“It’s Alex,” Ben finally choked out.

 

The cup of tea that Jules had been holding slipped from her hand and smashed against the deck boards.

 

“The runabout he was on… we found it… pieces of it...”

 

“No…” Julia whimpered. She suddenly felt impossibly cold.

 

“Do you mind if I ask…sir…” Julia asked timidly as she pushed past some more ferns, keeping her tricorder held high to follow the signal. They were here to investigate a planet that had somehow replaced a Tholian planet. “What do you think of Captain Valiant?”

 

“He’s kind, if you can get past his grumpy grandpa exterior,” Lieutenant Commander Alex Tregelen responded from behind Jules as he followed. The words made Julia flush in embarrassment; Valiant had intimidated her. She’d never had a senior officer who was quite so honest with his words.

 

Her hands, her feet, her whole body were going numb.

 

“Jules, we have to go now!” Alex said, his words hurried, but firm. He put a hand on Julia’s shoulder, trying to drag her away.

 

“But… but… Ben!” Tears were streaming down Julia’s face. She’d just watched one of her closest friends be vaporized by a Romulan weapon. One minute Ben Vaughn had been there and the next….. “We can’t leave Ben!”

 

“Julia we have to go! We don’t have time!” Strong arms wrapped around Julia’s waist as Alex hauled the engineer up off the deck. “You can do this.”

 

Julia looked up at Alex, who was smeared with dirt and grim from the battle that had just occurred. He looked sad, but there was a reassurance in those familiar eyes. The look said ‘the grief will happen, but you will be okay’. Through her tears Julia nodded, grabbing a hold of Commander Tregelen as he helped haul Julia into the runabout and off Sierra-18.

 

Tears filled her eyes and her vision swam.

 

“Well hello there little one,” Alex cooed as he held a small bundle in his arms. A little hand came out and plucked one of his fingers, holding it tight. “You’re going to be big, and strong, and smart, just like your mom.”

 

The words made Julia tear up all over again. She didn’t know where Vladimir was. He’d disappeared just after Jules had gotten pregnant, and none of her contacts could find a trace of him. She was a single parent now, and that task seemed insurmountable. But seeing her friends crowded around her--Jaden, Ben, Dietrich--their support and friendship felt like a blanket of safety. She could do this.

 

“She’s beautiful, Jules,” Alex smiled.

 

Her lungs couldn’t get enough air. She felt light headed.

 

It had been a fools’ errand to try to find Valiant after all these years. And whoever had set them up had dangled the perfect carrot. Julia trembled at the sounds approaching the cell door. She was afraid. More afraid than she’d been in her whole life. The things she’d been through, the things that they were going to do to her. When would it end? When would it be enough?

 

Alex put his arms around her and pulled her close. They were in this together.

 

No!” How could somebody who had been so supportive of her, had been such a force in her life, suddenly be…. Gone? Jules had dealt with the deaths of many of her closest friends, but this one hurt a lot more than the others. Alex was her oldest friend. He’d gotten her through hell and back. If it hadn’t been for him, she would not have survived her abduction by the Cardassians. Actually, she probably wouldn’t have survived many of the day to day foibles of being a Star Fleet officer. His kindness, his friendship, his cheeky humour…. The galaxy was a sadder place if Alex was gone.

 

Ben had reached for Julia as she was about to stumble to the ground. He pulled her close, into the protective shield of his arms. She looked up into his eyes--his eyes were also damp--looking for reassurance. “You…. you’re sure he’s really gone?”

 

He seemed to hesitate for a moment. “Short of a body… yes. There was just too much biological matter for him to have survived that.”

 

“Alex….” Another round of sobs wracked Jules. The loss of one of her best friends was a wound she would carry in her heart until her end of days.


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#360 Cdr Jaden Hawk

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Posted Star Date 21908.13 @ 01:37 (01:37 AM)

== Hawk Family Estate, outskirts of New Orleans ==

 

The reddish-orange star had nearly set in the western sky, that last gasp of shadowy light in the dusk before surrendering to the dark, by the time Jaden finally had a chance to sit down and rest for a moment. It had been a whirlwind of a day and still there was more to do.

 

He poured himself a glass of whiskey. Placing the bottle back down, the glass was soon to his lips, then the intoxicating elixir was soon coursing through him, warm and burning slightly, as it cleared his esophagus. I’ll have to take a few bottles with me for special occasions. Copernicus won’t have anything this good.

Since returning from Star Base Alpha and his meeting with Captain Fields, Jaden had been franticly trying to get his affairs in order. As much as he wished he could, he couldn’t just grab and bag, throw a few things in it and be off on the next transport to Pioneer Outpost.

 

Jaden had spent the better part of the afternoon making sure that both the medical clinic and his family estate would be looked after now that he was returning to Star Fleet. Doctor Nolan would take charge of running the clinic and Armand, the estate’s part-time caretaker would take on the role in a fulltime capacity.

 

Now all that was left to do was pack. He decided to take only a few things, mostly personal items of sentimental value, a few clothes and of course a few bottles of whiskey. As he continued to sit there and sip from the glass, he realized that this would be his last night to spend at home for a very long time. He had spent the eight years sleeping in the same bed and that was all about to change. When the sun rose in the morning he would put on a Star Fleet uniform for the first time since his retirement.

 

A life is like a book and in that book is a story. The beginning, the middle and finally the end. And within that book are chapters. Everyone’s book is different with some longer than others. I am about to enter another chapter in my book. It was a chapter I never thought I would be part of again, but that is the funny thing about one’s story, you never know what the next chapter will bring.

 

Taking one final gulp from his glass, Jaden stood up. Looking at the empty glass for a few moments, he finally set it down on the table and wearily moved towards the next chapter in his life.


Edited by Cdr Jaden Hawk, Star Date 21908.13 @ 01:37 (01:37 AM).

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#361 Lt Sallea T'Prell {Kotho}

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Posted Star Date 21910.12 @ 04:57 (04:57 AM)

== North Dallas, Texas, Porter Residence ==

 

== Mrs. Beatrix Porter, Civilian ==

 

It was a lovely late morning as Beatrix looked out from the kitchen window as she performed the ancient ritual of using soap and water in the cleaning of the morning's meal's dishes. Replicators had their uses for sure, speed mostly and virtually no waste. It was a very efficient system. However, the ritual of gathering fresh eggs from hens, cooking humanely raised stock for food and cooking it on a gas range with the hood fans humming and the smells of freshly cooked bacon, eggs and toast...short of a holo-suite, nothing came close from a replicated meal to match the smell and taste of the real thing.

 

Beatrix was a woman in her mid to late forties (or so she told herself), she was but about a year and half away from the big five-oh. Her hair was salt and peppered, black and silver making her look older than she was and how she felt. Doing the dishes, the suds and warm water, the running facet to rinse the last of the plates; the exercise was truly one of the meditative arts. One's inner voice fell silent as her hands and scrubber did their work; her eyes idly looking outside, across the front porch to the street, and the lone figure Beatrix spotted walking from the South side.

 

Normally, the roadway, a cul-de-sac, was quiet until school would let out, and the figure approaching had a certain shape that even from this distance, was unmistakable...

 

"Lordy..." she said; and then turned off the tap, took the blue and white patterned dish towel and wiped her hands dry. Beatrix's husband wouldn't be home for hours yet, but he'd be excited too. She made a mental note to send William a message shortly. Next, Beatrix made her way out of the (very) old-fashioned enclosed style kitchen, heading through the doorway that led to the dining room and then one more doorway to foyer, stair case up on her left and the front door to her right.

 

Beatrix opened the door and stepped onto the porch as the figure's features became defined in the sunshine: an extravagantly well muscled individual; her dark, deep auburn hair was down and loose. She sported blue denim jeans and a simple pull over off-white blouse and she was carrying a knapsack that her bulky right arm hefted (apparently) easily.

 

"Mama Bea..." the (light tinge of) green skinned woman greeted Beatrix with a shaky smile.

 

"Oh muh lord...Tee-Prell, just look at ya!"

 

Sallea T'Prell embraced Beatrix, mindful of the amount of pressure delivered and Bea squeezed her adopted daughter right back with all the strength she could. Beatrix could sense the underlying pain that seemed to permeate T'Prell's whole being...

 

"Oh Bae..." Beatrix offered

 

"Mama..." T'Prell began burying her head on the older woman's shoulders:

 

"...it's been so hard on me..."

 

And Beatrix had difficulty not succumbing to the raw emotions radiating from T'Prell; the young woman, incredibly powerfully built humanoid, Star Fleet Officer, was now crying as she had come home for succor...

 

"Come ohn Sweetie..." Beatrix said; guiding the young woman, highly curious of what had brought the indomitable Sallea T'Prell to such a state... 

 

"...let's go'on inside. Ya can tell me all 'bout it. Ah'll make ya some tea."

 

T'Prell nodded and Beatrix guided her adopted loved one inside...and then T'Prell began to relay what she had gone through...


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#362 Ens Nathan Ramius

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Posted Star Date 21912.14 @ 22:14 (10:14 PM)

== San Francisco, Potrero Hill – after the events of Back to School subplot ==

 

Seagulls filled the air with their cries, along with a light crackling from a small fire contained in an insulated brazier. Surprisingly, there was not a cloud in sight despite the fog that had inundated the City in the morning. The West Coast was funny like that, Nathan mused. Or perhaps, it was just San Francisco. With the sun having past behind the horizon, a bright dusk had crept up with long fingers of light still peering out from behind the landscape. As it set, the slightest of breezes passed through the rows of housing on Potrero Hill. Sitting in a reclined wicker chaise, Nathan sipped quietly on a pint of Sapporo – a ritual that went as far back as his first visit to the City with his friend, Ada Miller. Of course, it only continued when he went to the Academy. Patio parties always made for exciting evenings after passing a tough exam.

 

Except tonight it was just Nathan on the rooftop, with not another soul in sight. In fact, he’d arranged it to be so; renting the very same private floor studio style apartment for a night, from the same concerned woman that had rented it to him during Academy breaks. Thinking back to those days, Ramius considered that he probably should have went home to Massachusetts and visited family, or at least, for more than just the occasional important holiday.

 

“Hmph,” tossing back the final swig of beer, Nathan poured himself another round. By his count, he was on track for a fantastic sleep – eight pints in, and going for his ninth.

 

“Ninety-one bottles of beer on the wall…” Ramius giggled to himself, being careful not to spill a drop of his precious suds.

 

“Eight in?” a voice called from behind him, startling him enough to push the glass in his hand away suddenly. Clumsily, he managed to grasp the drink in an awkward two-handed clawed catch, but not before spilling a bit on his pants.

 

Who the hell…?

 

Whipping his head about, a great big smile lit up as he recognized the face to the voice.

 

Ada!”

 

Jumping up from the chaise, it took a few steps for him to find a good footing, before Nathan finally grabbed his old friend in a tight embrace.

 

“What are you doing here? Why are you here? Wait. How did you know I was here?”

 

“Calm down Inspector Clouseau,” Ada returned the embrace, before pushing Nathan away to get a good look at him, “you are worse for wear, aren’t you?”

 

“Oh thanks,” Nathan scrunched up his face, and then stuck his tongue out, “Yeah? Well, you look tired!”

 

Faking shock, Ada gasped, then gave a playful punch to Nathan’s shoulder.

 

“Ow! Right in the bone Squeaker! Stop,” he started laughing as she chased him back to his seat.

 

“The 'famous' Nathan Ramius returns to San Francisco, his old stomping grounds, and you think no one would talk? And then, the same man returns to the Academy to commiserate with an old instructor? No… a current instructor… but why?”

 

“More like infamous. Anyway... wh-who said?” Nathan asked rather sternly; surprised that someone had ratted him out.

 

Tossing her head and hair back, Ada laughed,

 

“Everyone talks for the right price. You should know that better than most Natey. Angela told me. The moment you stepped through the doors of the Academy, you were made. I think she still has a thing for you.”

 

“Noooo?”

 

“Yes! Apparently, she waved to you, but you were way too gung-ho about something to even notice. Then it just took a little bit of chatting with the right people to find out where you were off to, but no one could figure out why you were there.”

 

“Well, the fewer that know, the better,” Nathan solemnly nodded and then took a good-sized sip of cold beer.

 

“Is that so? Not even your best friend can know?”

 

“Wait. You didn’t finish answering my question. Why or how are you here?”

 

“Teleporter to the Hill, then I walked here,” Ada made a sarcastic grin as she poured herself a round.

 

“Funny. I mean, on Earth.”

 

“I’m on shore leave. Heard you were here. So… I teleported over. Anyway, ‘why or how’,” she imitated Nathan, “isn’t important. What is important to me is that you are here. There has been some hub-bub about more than a few people from the Artemis being spotted in and around the Sol System.”

 

“Shore leave,” it wasn’t a lie, but Nathan was keeping something from Ada, who knew him better than most should.

 

“Mhmm. Just shore leave?” Ada pressed, taking her first sip.

 

“I… I can’t say more. Not about the others at least. As for me. I came back to the Academy…” a long pause filled the air between them, until Ada shook her head,

 

“Yes, we’ve established that already with the whole Angie thing. Are you really not going to say?”

 

Across and slightly down the street, a noisy group of people exited a small café, laughing and carousing as they did. It was enough to take Nathan’s attention for a moment until he heard a familiar huffing sound from beside him. Turning back, the features on Ada’s face reminded him so much of their past. There was so little that he could hide from her, because Ada knew not just when Nathan was lying, but when he was withholding information. It meant trying to keep surprise parties secret from her was all but impossible. In fact, it got to the point where their friends wouldn’t even tell Nathan when a surprise party was being held, so that way Ada wouldn’t be able to divine it from him. It wasn’t a choice he had; it was apart of who he was. Or, at least, it was a part of the relationship the two had.

 

“Oh Squeaker, I really don’t want to talk about it,” Nathan slumped onto the chaise, lazily grabbing a small log from beside the fire pit, and stoked the flames.

 

“That bad huh?” Ada relented some, taking another swig from her glass and looking out over the skyline.

 

“Yeah.”

 

The sound of the people who had exited the café echoed off the walls of other buildings; their laughter filling the air. Of course, being as loud as they were, they were bound to attract the attention of someone or something. The sound of two dogs baying at the rabble-rousers added to the noisy exfiltration of said coffee group. A shiver slid down Nathan’s back, while a smile cracked his lips apart. Being back on the rooftop, next to a fire, with Ada beside him, and the sounds of the City was like a warm hug. An embrace that seemingly had been missing for some time, Nathan realized. Just how long though, he couldn’t be sure. Nor was he sure that it mattered.

 

“Nathan…”

 

“Huh?” Ada’s voice snapped him back to the present like an elastic band.

 

“Okay, enough joking around, cause you are kind of scaring me a bit. What’s going on?” all the previous playfulness was gone from his friend’s voice; replaced with sincere concern.

 

Letting out a long sigh, Nathan only rotated his head to look at her, while his body was still draped across the chaise.

 

“Ponm.”

 

That one word was enough to make Ada nod her head, and take several minutes of silence, to allow everything to process between them. Both drank in between. And both knew exactly what needn’t be said, because it was completely understood between the two of them. Yet, that wasn’t all of it, and Nathan’s conscience wouldn’t let the conversation dwell on only that point for too long.

 

“And not just Ponm,” Nathan finally offered up, “but a lot of other things that have happened since I joined the Fleet.”

 

“Oh?”

 

“There was a point, after the last mission where… where I didn’t know what I was doing any more. I was questioning everything. Overthinking, yes, but at the same time I needed to do that thinking, because… things happened, and…” there was a big gap of air, gulped up by Nathan through several deep inhalations, before dramatically let out in several hefty sighs.

 

“There are some things that happened that I legitimately cannot tell you. Unless you want to get debriefed and watch me get carted away to do brig time…”

 

Ada’s face grew into anxious apprehension, and a worrying furrow ran along her forehead.

 

“The stuff that I can tell you about though, isn’t really anything that would be news to you. It’s almost embarrassingly… it’s about things… roads, that we’ve been down before. Things that we… or maybe I, thought I had dealt with, but didn’t. And now, I just don’t know. You know? I’m at a point where I can’t quit, but I can’t see the way forward either. Where do you go from there? I’m stuck in a vortex I can’t escape, and I feel like I can’t breathe. We aren’t talking for just a few days… we are talking months now.”

 

“Oh Nathan. Why didn’t you tell me?”

 

“Because, like I said… some of it is old stuff that I thought I had moved past. Things that were between you and me. Things that hurt you. Do you know how hard it is to bring that sort of stuff up to you? That’s the lowest point our relationship had ever been in, and I feel like we never recovered from that. I failed you in a spectacular way, and now I just keep failing forward in time.”

 

Having not realized it, but somewhere in between all that speaking, Nathan had both sat up and finished his drink. Ada hadn’t responded, but quietly had a few sips herself, as she measured her words. It made Nathan nervous, as she took her time to formulate whatever it was that she was going to say. Of course, he thought the worst, because why not at that point? So far, Ramius felt like he had failed every test of his character and code up until that very moment between them on the patio. Having Ada walk away from their friendship would only add another notch.

 

“Nathan… you never failed me,” Ada didn’t look directly at her friend, but her words very much caught his attention.

 

“Did you screw up back then? Sure. But you never failed me. In fact, you probably helped me to see what was happening around me, more than I would have had you directly confronted me about it. Actually, if you had just talked to me about it, it probably would have pushed me deeper into Chad’s arms, because everyone was against him at the time. I couldn’t see past how people were treating him, to realize how he was treating me. I loved him. I really did, despite everything.”

 

“But if you hadn’t stepped in the way you did, I dunno. Maybe I might still be with him. Maybe I wouldn’t have ever joined Star Fleet. There are a lot of ‘maybes’ and ‘what if’ scenarios that we could play out, but all of it really amounts to nothing. Because you stepped up. Yeah, you went overboard in typical Nathan Ramius style…” Ada chuckled a bit, “but you never failed me. Now it’s my turn.”

 

Ada rose and walked the couple of steps over to cuddle in directly beside Nathan,

 

“I’m sorry,” her eyes peered deep into his, “for making you think that. For not addressing this sooner. This isn’t something you should have ever had to worry about. Or have it hanging over your head with everything else that you’ve been dealing with. Of everything you have to worry about, me… us… the past is not something you should spend energy on. Yes, it should still inform your decisions. Like maybe not throwing elbows at people,” Ada nudged him playfully again, with another lighthearted chuckle.

 

“Please Nathan,” she wrapped one arm around him, “forgive yourself. And if you can, forgive me too.”

 

Nathan turned and burrowed his face into her neck, wrapping both of his big arms around his friend.

 

“I… I…” Ramius stuttered, his voice cracking.

 

“It’s okay. You don’t have to say anything right now. Just hug, okay?”

 

A small nod was the only response, while the cry of seagulls from overhead pierced the silence, and the sun finally finished setting.


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#363 LCdr Mara Rexan

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Posted Star Date 22003.20 @ 08:54 (08:54 AM)

== Harbour View Cafe, San Francisco ==
 
Having found herself on extended shore leave, whilst waiting for confirmation of her new assignment, Mara had made the most of her unexpected time off, by visiting some of her favourite places on Earth. This also included, the Harbour View Cafe, a regular haunt, where she had spent many a morning and afternoon, indulging in both their savoury and sweet treats. During this time, the Trill doctor had developed a love for Earth food, especially cake and more importantly the cafe's famous triple chocolate and strawberry layer cake.
 
So after catching up with old friends and acting like a tourist, considering that she hadn't been back to the planet for three years. Mara was looking forward to returning to where she had learnt so much about herself and found happiness, after her rebellious phase,that could of ruined everything and force her to return to Trill. Not like she hated the place and had ensured to visit when she could, but for Mara, it reminded her too much of what she used to be and so her visits usually only lasted a week at the most.
 
Also just because she was on leave, didn't mean that she had avoided anything work related, not that she could if wanted, especially with the news reports about the Borg, the horror at what had happened and how if she hadn't been half way to Earth when it occurred, she would of very much liked to assist in any way that she could. That aside, all she had been able to do was catch up and prepare for what would be her first assignment as a DH. Part of her was nervous but excited at this new challenge. 
 
But until she received orders as to where to report into, she would indulge in cake, reading and whatever else took her interest. For now, she found a table outside that would give her a decent view of the harbour and spoke with the owner's daughter who had recognised her from her previous visits as she then ordered one of their seafood specials for lunch, a slice of her favourite cake and a non alcoholic cocktail. Sitting back to enjoy the view, an old book in her purse, should she decide to read, as she waited for her order to arrive. 
 
== TBC ==

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#364 Mid Richard Lincoln

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Posted Star Date 22003.21 @ 11:07 (11:07 AM)

==Harbour View Cafe, San Francisco==
==Here with Mara's permission==

Dick had sat for quite some time in the outer dining area of the café, his mug of coffee was half gone and his plate was left with the remnants of his B.L.T sandwich. Beside the plate and mug was his makeshift stogie case, made of scrap pieces of metal from one piece of equipment or another, it had been a gift from Jenna when he'd left to become the Top Engineer on the Endeavor. The case was open and the tins usual complement of five stogies was down to three, one was nowhere to be seen and the other laid in an ashtray on the table.

The cafe was a haunt of his and several of the others from the Academy, it was ideally located and one of the few places in San Francisco where he felt some form of comfort.

Lincoln had just finished reading a letter from Jenna and was in the process of responding to her, passing on the news of his graduation from the Academy and how his first assignment was to come. In her letter, Brocksby had written about her new job with Crenya Construction Limited. It sounded interesting and even had some appeal to the newly minted Star Fleet Officer, the company built some of the finest habitats, spatial and planetary for various projects. Jenna had secured a post of one of several Team Leaders and was at that point putting together habitats for miners.

 

He'd chuckled with one part she'd written. 'Hey if Star Fleet doesn't work out, give me a call I'm sure I give you a job, haha!'

His eyes lifted in time to see a group of Cadets rising from around a table and moving off back in the direction of campus. Was it odd that he kind of envied them? His envy soon faded when he saw another patron enter the outer area, dark-haired and at first, he thought it was Jenna and by extension one of her prank attempts. But this lady wasn't her, Jenna was not a Trill, one of the few species he was familiar with on sight. This lady was slim and athletic-looking, attractive for sure and wearing dark blue jeans and a purple sleeveless top. Her attire was nothing too extravagant and that was appealing to Lincoln, he didn't go for the whole glamour look that some women he'd met went for.

Dick brought up his stogie and dragged on it before exhaling the resultant smoke, then as if fate was dealing him a bad hand a slight gust of wind sent the blue-grey cloud towards the Mara...

 

Oh God no, dammit...


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#365 LCdr Mara Rexan

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Posted Star Date 22003.21 @ 11:45 (11:45 AM)

== Harbour View Cafe, San Francisco ==
 
There was nothing better than sitting in one of her favourite spots, looking out at the ocean with the feel of a gentle sea breeze against her skin. Drinking in the sights in front of her, wanting to make the most of this time off, before she became occupied with the normality and hours associated with being back on duty.
 
No these moments were few and far between, that made Mara appreciate having the opportunity to have proper leave, before she departed for Starbase Alpha and find out where she would be headed next. So as Melia the owner's daughter returned with her cocktail and a side of their famous cheese bread with dip, until her seafood special was ready, Mara smiled at the added bonus to her order, before thanking Melia and reaching to tear off a piece of the bread.
 
It was still warm and the delicious smell of it all, was met with appreciation from Mara's stomach as she then proceeded to dip it. Poised to eat it, before it went everywhere and making it, as the doctor's senses and the moment, was interrupted by the distinct smell and blue gray cloud of cigar smoke.
 
Unable to swat it away, as it caused her to cough slightly and for a moment was transported back to Trill and the habits of her former older lover. It had been some time, since she had last spoken to Patrick or saw him for that matter and her insides instantly clammed up at the thought that he had been responsible.
 
Once the air around her was clear and she took a deep breath, she wondered if she dared look in the direction that the smoke had come from. Thinking if she could deal with seeing her ex, especially since she had remained happily single, ever since they had ended their relationship. Having no desire to get involved with anyone else or wanting to complicate what she had achieved since then.
 
Finally after her internal debate, Mara drew up the courage to look, relieved to see it wasn't Patrick but rather someone she had never seen before. Unsure what to say at first, before realising that simply looking his way, might look odd.
 
" Nice choice of cigar" she said, quickly kicking herself mentally and then clammed up, as she reached for another piece of bread, followed by a sip of her drink to give her something to do. 
 
== Tag Lincoln ==

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#366 Mid Richard Lincoln

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Posted Star Date 22003.21 @ 22:18 (10:18 PM)

== Harbour View Cafe, San Francisco ==

 

Richard felt more alarmed than ever, the woman waved away the smoke in a futile gesture, Lincoln's eyes widened with embarrassment. He swallowed hard when she spoke to him, " Nice choice of cigar"

 

Lincoln had to consider whether she was being subtle in annoyance, or did she actually approve of his choice? He opened his mouth to speak but stopped when she turned away to give attention to her order, that had just been delivered by the young woman who worked at the cafe. The waitress smiled and nodded to Richard as she moved back to the cafe building, a gesture he returned to her as part of recognition and respect. Lincoln wasn't sure but he'd heard that the waitress was the proprietor's child.

 

He quickly stubbed the lit end of his cigar into the ashtray, before placing it back in the case, giving it the look of a little kid with three big brothers.

 

"I'm so sorry about that Ma'am," He said politely as he turned to face her once again, "It was the..." He paused in the middle of trying to point out the wind change of direction. "Sorry." Lincoln finished with an open hand gesture and a slightly dumbfounded and honest look on his face.

 

 

He quickly stubbed the lit end of his cigar into the ashtray, before placing it back in the case, giving it the look of a little kid with three big brothers.

 

"I'm so sorry about that Ma'am," He said politely as he turned to face her once again, "It was the..." He paused in the middle of trying to point out the wind change of direction. "Sorry." Lincoln finished with an open hand gesture and a slightly dumbfounded and honest look on his face.

 

Dick, you're living up to your name you fool!

 

The off duty Engineer stood up, he was clad in navy blue cargo pants, black boots and a white t-shirt covered with a battered and worn looking brown leather jacket. At the top of his right sleeve bore a ships logo patch, it was a white-backed circular style with a dark blue image representing the Greek god Neptune who was holding a trident in one hand and reaching out with the other. The rim of the patch had bold black letters reading 'Earth Freighter Neptune's Reach'. The clothing would no doubt suggest he was anything but a Star Fleet Officer.

 

"Hi," He said holding out his right hand while quickly observing the Trill ladies order, it looked appealing enough but was probably a diet buster. "I'm so sorry about the smoke, the names Richard," His ruggedly handsome features formed a broad and charming smile, "Richard Lincoln, Dick to my friends," He paused and chuckled, "I try not to live up to the name though."

 

He eyed the Trill woman for a moment while waiting for a response, for a moment he forgot she wasn't human and that his joke might have been lost on her. She was still quite the looker though and found himself wondering about the dark spots, which identified her species.

 

How far down do they go I wonder?

 

Star Fleet and by extension The Federation, was very diverse and inclusive in terms of those who were part of it. Dick had come across several of the different races, some he knew without much thought, but there were others he wasn't completely sure about and what they could do. 

 

Betazoids are the ones who can read minds and emotions or something like that, or is it the Bajoran's? Pretty sure it's not the Trill!

 

 

==Tag Mara==


Edited by Mid Richard Lincoln, Star Date 22003.21 @ 22:22 (10:22 PM).

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#367 LCdr Mara Rexan

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Posted Star Date 22003.22 @ 11:40 (11:40 AM)

== Harbour View Cafe, San Francisco ==
 
Mara couldn't blame the man for being at loss for words, following her comment about his choice of cigar. As much as she was used to being around people and liked to be sociable with friends, she knew how easy it could be to say the wrong thing, despite her best intention of wanting to reassure, that it wasn't a problem.
 
Even as he attempted to apologise, before stopping and simply saying sorry, the newly promoted Doctor, appreciated his need to apologise for what had happened and it became clear to her, that it wasn't intentional. " It's okay, apology accepted" she replied softly, thinking it was safe to speak, without causing any further
embarrassment for both of them. 
 
When he then stood up, Mara took in his appearance properly, noticing his choice of attire, especially the patch, that denoted the Earth god Neptune and the reference to the freighter. Aside from her colleagues on her last assignment, friends and such, Mara hadn't met many people who weren't in Starfleet, so this was definitely a first for her, as he then approached her table and greeted her.
 
Seeing the way he then observed the appetiser, that had brought to her, Mara realised it wasn't probably the healthiest option, but she wasn't the typical diet kind of girl, especially since Earth had become her adopted home. Yet as he then smiled and introduced himself, his smile was very charming and even his chuckle, as he quipped about his name and how he tried not to live up to it.
 
There was something lost in translation for a moment, having not been too familiar with names being shortened or his reference to it. However being polite, Mara did appreciate humour as she shook his hand and returned the greeting.
 
" Pleased to meet you Richard, I'm Mara Rexan and as you can probably tell, I'm from Trill and ... yes the spots go all the way down" she replied, noticing the way he had looked at her and even if it wasn't said out loud, it was something that always came up in conversation, whenever she met someone, who had never met a Trill before.
 
" Sorry, its a force of habit, when I meet someone new for the first time and who may not of been around Trill's much".
 
== Tag Richard ==

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#368 Mid Richard Lincoln

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Posted Star Date 22003.22 @ 23:06 (11:06 PM)

== Harbour View Cafe, San Francisco ==

 

 " It's okay, apology accepted" The lady in the purple top replied softly, that gave Richard at least a little relief. They exchanged a handshake which came with her return introduction, " Pleased to meet you Richard, I'm Mara Rexan and as you can probably tell, I'm from Trill and ... yes the spots go all the way down"

 

Dick's mouth dropped open at the response about the spots, the feeling of horror, utter dread burned through him like a sweeping flame.

 

'Oh my God the Trill do read minds, you complete retard Richard!'
 

" Sorry, its a force of habit, when I meet someone new for the first time and who may not of been around Trill's much".

Lincoln closed his eyes and took a deep breath at the further information from Mara, the feeling of having a narrow escape shot through him. "You've got me,"  He said putting his hands up grinning, as though he was surrendering to an opponent. "Of course, I do know a little bit about Trill, or do you prefer Trill's? ...Sorry, I'm talking complete crap aren't I?" He was still grinning at his foolishness, or perhaps it was some curiosity? As an officer in Star Fleet was meant to ask questions right?

Richard stopped and put a hand over his mouth, before raising it to rub his brow, he was still grinning and totally out of his depth. He'd spent so long on freighters and with the same people on the whole, which limited his exposure to new people. That might have explained his somewhat reclusive nature at the Academy, the truth was he did like his own company, but he wasn't opposed to making friends with folks. Though deep down he knew it was part exile, he was older than many of his peers and felt that he would have been too old to socialise with them. It was probably all in his head, but what hadn't been in his head was the fact that he struggled with the Academy classes. He still asked himself how he'd gotten through.

His blue-eyed gaze lifted and noted two Bolian patrons who wanted a table outside the cafe, a man and woman who were excited to be in each others company. Richard turned to his table and picked up his plate, cup and other belongings, before turning back towards Mara's table. "Over here," He said with a nodding gesture to the now vacant table, which he intended for the Bolian couple to sit down. "Do you mind?" He asked the Trill Lady with another gesture at her table.

 

Richard hoped he would get the chance to sit at the table and additionally hoped he wasn't being rude, his intentions were good and he thought gentlemanly to allow the Bolian lovers to make use of his table. Truth was Mara had sparked his interest and gave him pause to reflect on his time of late and perhaps he should have made more effort to learn about the different cultures. But as Jenna would frequently tell him, "Life would be boring if it was simple, get your hind out there and make it what you can!"

 

 

==Tag Mara==


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#369 LCdr Mara Rexan

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Posted Star Date 22003.23 @ 13:20 (01:20 PM)

== Harbour View Cafe, San Francisco ==
 
The reaction to her comments, was one that Mara had seen a few times, whenever she had mentioned the spots and answered a persons naturally curiosity about them. Not that she was ashamed of the markings that denoted her as a Trill, proud of how they made her slightly distinctive to others and only covered them up, when she had too. Mara then watched Richard closely, as he put up his hands in mock defeat and grinned about how she had got him, before explaining what he knew about her species.
 
Even his apology about talking rubbish, wasn't going to deter the Doctor, from getting to know a potential new friend and quickly wanted to put him at ease again.
 
" Don't worry about it, it's a question that I often get and I will admit, sometimes its fun when I catch someone out ..... as to what you can refer me as, I'm okay with either as I don't have a particular preference".
 
Mara hoped that would quell any further embarrassment on his part and if he had any further questions, then she was happy to answer them to the best of her ability. Although it seemed as though they would now have more of an opportunity to talk further, as Richard gave up his table to a Bolian couple, thinking it was kind of him to do so. The cafe was popular and seating was often at a premium, so after he had gathered his belongings, plate etc and then asked if she minded if he joined her. Mara smiled as she considered his request and soon answered him.
 
" I don't mind at all, please join me" she said as Melia returned with her seafood special, consisting of shrimp, calamari, scallops and lobster in a garlic sauce with veggies. Thanking Melia, Mara then waited for Richard to sit as she took another sip of her drink. 
 
== Tag Richard ==

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#370 Mid Richard Lincoln

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Posted Star Date 22003.24 @ 22:05 (10:05 PM)

" Don't worry about it, it's a question that I often get and I will admit, sometimes its fun when I catch someone out ..... as to what you can refer me as I'm okay with either as I don't have a particular preference".

Richard tilted his head to one side and listened with intrigue as Mara responded, a slight curve of a smile began to form as she revealed a piece of her nature, or at least what looked to be a part of her.

 

A Teaser huh?

The Engineer was beginning to feel easier, more so when Mara allowed him to be seated. It was a good thing really since he'd relinquished his table for the Bolian couple.
 
" I don't mind at all, please join me" She had said at more or less the same time as the second part of her order appeared, at least it looked to be somewhat more of a healthy selection. Seafood was good for the most part, brain food some would say.

An awkward silence fell across Lincoln, he was lost for words at that point and couldn't think what to say after he'd sat down. The obvious question would be what she did for a living, but he hated shop talk on first meetings, he prefered to get to know the person first and not their role in life. His eyes were drawn to her racial spots and then came a question.

"So your people have worms..." He bit his bottom lip and berated himself within, "I mean the slug things? Do you need those to survive or something and are they part of you from birth?"

 

Richard was giving his warmest smile to the Trill lady, he really was interested in what she would say if of course, she cared to reveal details of her heritage. His hands clasped together and rested on top of the table, he dropped a nod to the Waitress who offered a refill of his coffee cup. She poured some of the brown liquid goodness into his container and then made her way to carry on with other chores.

Dick sat back in his chair and brought the cup rim to his lips, the heated liquid graced his insides as it made its way through him. "Best coffee in San Francisco, no doubt about it," He said grinning again.

 

 

==Tag Mara==


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#371 LCdr Mara Rexan

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Posted Star Date 22003.25 @ 10:25 (10:25 AM)

== Harbour View Cafe, San Francisco ==
 
The slight curve of a smile was certainly noticeable to Mara and she had to admit, that her honesty and playfulness, got a variety of reactions, usually from close friends. So it was nice to know that Richard hadn't been put off by it, in fact it seemed as though he was keen to know more about her, which wasn't a bad thing for the Trill. Of course there was the concern that it could be misconstrued as flirting, but that concern was quickly pushed to one side, as Mara had vowed that past experiences, wouldn't dictate or stop her from having fun. 
 
Besides just because she had decided to remain single and had been happily so, since the leaving the Academy, didn't mean that she was put off from talking to people and getting to know them or putting them straight when needed. 
 
As silence descended between them when Richard sat down, Mara hoped that it wouldn't become awkward. Thinking of something to say as she picked up a forkful of seafood and ate it, before her new acquaintance then asked a question about the symbiont. He wasn't far off in his description of them being slug like. Plus it wasn't often when she was asked such things and was more than happy to answer any and all questions.
 
" You aren't far off with your description as they do look like that, but we're not born with them, although all Trill are born with the ability to carry them, via a pouch. A select few are chosen to be hosts and once they are joined, both host and symbiont need each other for survival unless a new host or symbiont is found, but as for me, I'm not joined".
 
Mara hadn't spoken this much about her background in some time, but found it easy enough to do so, as Richard then received a coffee refill and made a comment about it. His grin was infectious and she had to agree with his assessment regarding the amber nectar, that was the harbour view coffee.
 
" I'd have to agree with you, it might of been three years since I was last here, but nothing compares to the harbour view coffee".
 
== Tag Richard ==

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#372 Mid Richard Lincoln

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Posted Star Date 22003.26 @ 21:16 (09:16 PM)

== Harbour View Cafe, San Francisco ==

 

Richard found himself nodding as Mara spoke again, this time she was responding to his mention of the symbiont.

" You aren't far off with your description as they do look like that, but we're not born with them, although all Trill are born with the ability to carry them, via a pouch. A select few are chosen to be hosts and once they are joined, both host and symbiont need each other for survival unless a new host or symbiont is found, but as for me, I'm not joined".
 
Lincoln had certainly learned something there, the Trill creature things weren't in all of them, those who had them were known as joined? The way it sounded only select people were chosen to host, which would suggest some kind of selection process. Perhaps only the wealthy could afford to have one?
 
" I'd have to agree with you, it might of been three years since I was last here, but nothing compares to the harbour view coffee". She said concerning the coffee.

As the Engineer took a sip of his drink he noted a female stood nearby, she wore tight-fitting black attire which clung onto her nice and slightly curvaceous frame. Her skin was pale, her hair was dark brown and swept back and practical looking.

Richard looked towards Mara again and felt a little awkward as she tucked into her meal, that was following her mention of not being there for three years and he felt as though he was an intruder and above all being nosey. His gaze shifted to the woman at the edge of the food court, by that point she too had noticed Lincoln and nodded in his direction.

"I must apologise for my intrusion," He said nodding to her meal, "I'll leave you be and bid you farewell," Richard said pushing himself to a stand and gathering his belongings.  A moment later he moved to the cashiers counter and paid his owes, before moving to the brunette.

"Well well well," Richard said grinning, "Marita Bertaniss, how long has it been?"

"Eight years, ever since I left the Neptune's Reach!" The lady replied before gesturing to his chest and more precisely his jackets inside pocket. "Have one going spare?"

Dick smirked and took his stogie tin out, after flipping it open he offered one to Marita, to which she happily took one before allowing Richard to light it for her. A few moments passed before she broke the silence, she'd been lost with the pleasure of the stogie. "I hear you joined Star Fleet then?"

"Yep, had nowhere else to go," Richard replied shrugging and with a flat tone.

"Don't give me that, there are loads of opportunities out there for an engineer with your skills," Marita replied, "In fact, that's why I'm here," She added gesturing for her to follow him out into the connecting streets and away from the cafe.

 

 

==OOC Richard has left the cafe==


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#373 LCdr Mara Rexan

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Posted Star Date 22003.26 @ 21:44 (09:44 PM)

== Harbour View Cafe, San Francisco ==
 
Just when she thought that the conversation was going somewhere as she was enjoying not only Richard's company but talking to someone new, his attention seemed to drift for a moment. This left the Trill wondering what she had said or done wrong, especially when he then looked towards her meal and apologised for his intrusion, before stating that he would leave her be and bade her farewell. 
 
Momentarily stunned into silence at his sudden change and subsequent departure, watching as he picked up his belongings and honestly began to feel as though she had done something wrong. As far as she was concerned she had only been truthful with her last comment and as for her taking a bite of her food, well that wouldn't stop her from talking. 
 
Then as she noticed him walk over and start talking to a dark haired woman, wearing black, perhaps she hadn't been the reason for him leaving after all. Although it would definitely bug her for a little while, but in the end it was something she would probably never get the answer too as she doubted that she would see him again.
 
Sighing slightly to herself and her mood soured somewhat by this strange series of events, Mara returned her attention to the seafood, eating it in silence, whilst ordering a refill of her drink. Once lunch was over, Mara paid for it and then left the cafe, keen to get moving and maybe go to Starbase Alpha, a little earlier than planned. 
 
== ETL Mara ==

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#374 Cdr Samantha Colso {Elias}

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Posted Star Date 22003.28 @ 22:37 (10:37 PM)

>>Pioneer Station, Officer Habitation Decks>>

 

==Colso Homestead, outside Fayetteville, TN==

==Approx. two weeks after Commiseration==

 

Samantha smiled as she stood on the front porch of their home, watching Lily play in the yard. A friend she had from school had come over to play, and they were laughing as they ran around each other, playing some game Samantha couldn't catch the rules for. She had been afraid that the several months they had been away would strain the relationships she had had with the other students, but despite her still homeschooling to finish out the semester, the other kids had welcomed her back outside of class as if she had never left.

 

She shivered as a shadow fell over her from the late-afternoon sun. Who knows if we can stay, though, she thought. With Aitrus still going through some after-action stuff, and Samantha getting them settled back in at their home, she hadn't had much time to think about the future. Long discussions with her husband, mostly late at night after Lily was sleeping, had borne some fruit. Unfortunately, it was mostly of the "I can't go through this without you" variety, as neither of them could see themselves forcing the other away from their chosen life.

 

Because despite her other complaints, her work was being fruitful. The Terraforming Council was greenlighting her plan, pending the locating of a suitable world to test. Despite the abundance of aquatic worlds that were in Federation and nearby space, most of them were teeming with life, and terraforming research preferred to use lifeless worlds in case the worst happens. Given how oceans tended to be fertile breeding grounds for life of every kind, she was getting less and less hopeful that they'd ever find a suitable candidate.

 

She turned around as she heard a noise from inside the house, and headed in. She smiled as she saw her husband step out of the living room, having just transported back in from San Francisco, and a smile on his face, one he hadn't worn since before the Borg. He gave her a hug that stole her breath away, and a long kiss as he lifted and twirled her around the room. "Well," she said once she could speak again, "you're in a good mood."

 

He laughed. "Yeah, I guess you could say that I am." His golden eyes were twinkling at her, and she couldn't help but smile back at him. "They offered me another ship," he said.

 

She took a step back, her smile wavering a bit. "Oh?" she asked, leaning against the back wall. "And what is it this time? Another frigate? A scout?"

 

His grin got wider, but he tried to calm down and leaned on the back of the couch. "A science ship, a brand new one. The USS Luna."

 

This time, the smile came back to her face. "That's wonderful!" she said. "Just what you would want! You'd be a perfect commanding officer for one!" She stepped up to him and gave him another embrace.

 

Aitrus returned it, but then leaned back to look her in the face. "Not me," he said. "We." She looked at him, a little confused, and his smile wavered as if other emotions were trying to surface. "I... I can't be away from you and Lily, not for the lengths of time a science ship would mean. I want you to lead my science department, I want my wife and daughter there with me."

 

She stopped and looked at him, waiting for the joke and knowing it wasn't there. "I can't... Aitrus," she said, "we can't put our daughter in harms way like that."

 

"Samantha, she's in harms way no matter where she is," he replied. "Even here on Earth, who knows when the Borg might show back up, or the Romulans attack, or Cardassians, or something we don't even know about like the Krynar were."

 

"Not exactly a stellar argument," she retorted as he took a breath. "She's still safer here than out there."

 

"But with both of us to protect her, to raise her, she'll be just fine," he said. "And besides, think of the kind of education she could get on a starship, one that she couldn't get here at home. I remember growing up on a ship, going from place to place, and the breadth of knowledge I got... we just can't match that anywhere else."

 

"But you said it: here at home, Aitrus," she said. "She deserves to have a home."

 

He reached out and put his hand on her elbow gently, a smile still there. "Home is where we are, as a family." He sighed and nodded at her. "I just want you to think about it, okay?" he said. "If you don't want to, then I'll turn it down. We can go back to the private sector together; I'm sure your research is about to bear fruit, and I still need to study the ramifications of my wormhole designs."

 

She nodded, but weakly. "Just out of curiosity," she asked. "Do you know where they were going to send the Luna?" Quite often, science ships like that - especially new, top of the line models - were sent to specific areas to study and research them, especially on the fringes of known space.

 

"Oh," he said as he turned and walked up the stairs to the bedroom, "they did tell me." He kept walking, and she wasn't sure if he was just drawing it out of if he really wasn't going to answer her question.

 

"And?" she finally prompted as he reached the top, calling up the stairs at him.

 

"The Delta Quadrant."

 

==TBC==


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#375 Capt Tyra Crawford

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Posted Star Date 22003.31 @ 01:26 (01:26 AM)

== Jackson Hole, Wyoming ==
 
Tyra's lips were pursed together as she took her time walking up the long driveway that led to the residence she now called home -- at least, on Earth.  It had taken months of looking before Thomas had been satisfied with a piece of land to call their own and it had taken just as long to drawn up a blueprint that had satisfied both of them equally. The exterior look, a majority ranch style with a sweeping front porch popular in her home region, had been largely her design, whereas Thomas had taken to crafting the upstairs office with all the care of a great architect. She'd jokingly dubbed the room his kingdom, even though it had been designed to be used by both of them, but it was most definitely his space. Personally, she was fine with that -- when possible, she preferred to work from the front or back porch, having claimed the outside as her domain to deal with as she pleased. Given that Thomas was hardly the outdoors man, there had been no arguments but while the house had been finished about a month earlier under Thomas' watchful eye, she just hadn't gotten around to working on the plans for the exterior structures. It would have to wait for another break in service, it seemed.
 
Lost in thought, Tyra had barely registered pausing at the bottom of the porch's steps to brush her fingers along the petals of the pink flowers that were slowly climbing their way up the trellas that leaned against the large wooden upper rails of the porch. While she might not have had time to work out plans for a barn or an exterior gym, Thomas had made sure that the front of the house was landscaped prior to her seeing the house completed for the first time. She had her suspicions that Cera had been consulted on the greenery installed unless Thomas had hidden an innate knowledge of flora from her for all these years. It was possible as he did occasionally still surprise her after ten years together but somehow, she just didn't think this was one of those moments. 
 
There was the tiniest of squeaks as the heavy wooden door to the house unlocked and she pushed it open, making a note to oil the hinge when she had a chance. There was a noticeable lack of toddler giggles and running footsteps that usually greeted her upon her return from a day of work, though having to leave the house for work had been rather rare over the last three months. Yes, her days had still been filled with work since the battle. She had toured the Artemis as it was fixed and had met with crew members as needed but it had been rare for her to need to travel to the HQ building for meetings. However, this time, the brass had been adamant that her presence was needed.
 
The house was a fairly open floor layout with a very short entry hall dumping into what she called the reading room before funneling into the more centralized portions of the bottom floor. It was so quiet on the bottom floor that she almost walked right through the reading room without noticing the petite occupant of the room's overstuffed leather couch. It was the slight bob of wild red curls as bright blue eyes barely shifted up to acknowledge her that caught her attention and caused her to stop and turn.
 
She hadn't batted an eye when Rachel, almost pushing 13 years old, had asked to stay the week at the house during her break from school and Thomas had required no arm twisting to agree to the girl's stay, having been found of her from the moment they met when she was just a little girl. If anything, Tyra remembered how difficult the teenage years had been within the Crawford household, though she knew her father wasn't near the authoritarian he had been in her youth, and had felt that offering a refuge to her youngest sister was probably the best support she could offer. She remembered how important it had been that Kath had always let her sleepover when her father was just a little too much for a teenage girl with exploding hormones to deal with. 
 
Of course, she also forgot how standoffish teenagers could be and having a teenager in the house had certainly been an adjustment. However, on the grand scale, Rachel was the harmless attitude type, content to read and suntan her break away. Today, it seemed she was reading the introduction to emergency medicine, which seemed awfully heavy for 13 years old but Tyra could hardly comment given she had been well versed in historical battles by that age. An idle comment on the book's topic before she continued through was met with little more than a grunt -- it was amazing how much attitude could be pushed into such a basic noise. 
 
After shedding her uniform jacket and kicking off her boots, she found Thomas upstairs, sitting at the desk to his kingdom, while Evie happily played with the stuffed bunny that Jenny had bestowed upon her what seemed like both a lifetime ago and only yesterday.  Her husband had smiled broadly at her before he seemed to register the expression on her face, which was still set into the slightest of frowns even as she scooped Evie up for a hug.
 
"How did your meeting go?" he asked after a moment, carefully setting his PADD down before folding his hands on the desk. For the tiniest of seconds, he looked ever the admiral, peering across his desk as a captain gave their report, before he seemed to catch himself and softened his expression.
 
She set Evie on the couch, smiling ever so slightly at the squawk of dissatisfaction Evie unleashed at being put down before she turned to pour herself a drink from the tray under the window. "Good. Great, actually."
 
"But?" Thomas prodded as he stood up and joined her at the couch.
 
"They're assigning Artemis to Pathfinder. To long range missions in the Delta Quadrant. That's the kind of assignment that I dreamed of when I joined Starfleet, before someone pushed a rifle into my hands and told me to go fight. But... we've just found our balance, Thomas. We just built a home and we finally have some semblance of stability. And... the timing is horrible," she punctuated that with a mouthful of whiskey.
 
"The timing is never good with the fleet," he remarked with more calmness than she had expected. However, without the stresses of fleet command, she had noticed he had reverted back to the even tempered, rationalizing man she had originally fallen in love with before things were so messy and complicated in their lives. "However, we've survived long term assignments before. We survived being assigned to opposite ends of the fleet's AOR. We've survived multiple wars apart, Tyra. This isn't insurmountable."
 
"I don't want to just survive, Thomas. I don't want one of us having to miss out on months upon months of our child's life. I don't want to make do with video calls when possible. I'm tired of making do but I also feel like...I feel like I deserve to be more than one of the fleet's harbingers of death and they're giving me the opportunity to be more than that. Admittedly, my best asset to the project is probably that I can definitively handle a fight but let's overlook that for a moment," she said, her tone wry on the last part.
 
Thomas' expression was questioning, his darker blue eyes looking at her sharply, and she could sense the tiniest signs that he was prodding along her surface thoughts for an answer to something. "You aren't wanting to turn this down, are you? So what are you --" His voice dropped off as his expression showed that he had stumbled upon her idea, though she had a hard time deciding whether he approved or not.
 
"You, yourself, said that was one of the selling points of you working as an independent contractor. You would be able to work the projects that fit our needs and work them from where fits our needs," she pointed out, eyebrowing arching slightly.
 
"And what about Evie? We agreed she needed to remain with you for the sake of her development but statistically speaking, a ship isn't a safe place for a child in the long term," he countered.
 
She almost rolled her eyes but stifled it with another mouthful of whiskey, letting the smokiness coat her mouth before she swallowed. "Safety is nothing more than an illusion, Thomas. You, of all people, know that intimately. And out there, we, at least, won't be complacent to the risks and concerns. There will be contingencies for families and civilians with us and believe me when I say that the family Evie has on the Artemis is more capable and willing to keep her safe than any here. I wouldn't be suggesting this if I thought it couldn't be done with her best interest in mind."
 
She still couldn't read his expression as he leaned back on the couch, one hand resting on her thigh while the other twisted one of Evie's curls around his finger. She could feel that he was considering it, mulling over each possible decision and outcome like the tactician he was. "Give me time to consider it," he asked, his hand squeezing her leg gently.
 
Her fingers curled around his hand, squeezing it affectionately before she leaned over to press a kiss to his cheek. "I know, I know. You need to crunch the numbers, create a chart on risk versus reward and likely work out a probability equation or some nonsense," she said, seemingly use to her husband's decision making methods.  "But remember... I have some very persuasive arguments on my side that I can demonstrate later," she whispered to him with a salacious smile and a wink, topping the offer off with a drawn out kiss before she scooped Evie up from where she had waddled towards the desk during the conversation.
 
Thomas was deep in thought, his expression once again difficult to read, as she left the office with Evie in one arm and a topped off glass of whiskey in the other hand. She considered it a victory that he was even considering it and not just demanding she take a desk job as he had in the past. And for now, that needed to be enough.
 
== ETL ==

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#376 Lt Sallea T'Prell {Kotho}

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Posted Star Date 22005.10 @ 05:42 (05:42 AM)

== North Dallas, Texas, Earth ==

 

The choreography was progressing nicely. The band director had designed a show that visually represented two highly dense gravity wells circling each and then throwing in a less dense body that bounced around the dense bodies until consumed/combined by gravity well A; and then as A and B circled each other, the tempo, volume and intensity would peak as the two bodies collided with each other in a discordant sonic explosion from the wind and percussion instruments…

 

…yes! A little veiled added science aspect incorporated with the Mighty Jaguars marching band…

 

 Sallea T’Prell also taught a couple of Basic Science courses to get young people interested in it, or at least come away with some sense of awe or wonder. And because of her extravagantly muscled build, she was definitely an example of having both brains and brawn.

 

She also tutored for students who had a desire to go into Star Fleet. Sallea had gotten a medical discharge from Fleet Medical, though all outward appearances she appeared whole…her legs had recovered completely from injuries sustained from her last posting, but the damage (or alteration) of her mental state was profound...’emotionally compromised’.

 

T’Prell had experienced some of the most extraordinary wonders that the galaxy (at least a portion of the Alpha and Beta Quadrants) had offered up. She remembered her first arrival on Copernicus and the Victorian Christmas party…it seemed so long ago, and in some ways, it seemed as yesterday…

 

…must be all my exposure to things temporal…

 

Sallea had been assigned to Copernicus as their temporal/Space-Time expert…Science Officer. She had performed quite well in First Contact missions by keeping an open, adaptive mind and respecting unique and different sentient life forms. There was also her work on a piece of equipment designed by her mentors Sring, the diminutive Vulcan (one of, if not the preeminent expert on Spatial-Temporal mechanics, and Alora Dys (an exotic and exceptionally beautiful Ferengi-human hybrid that also had an innate concept of non-linear Time, and her older twin-self, Gloria Dys) and there work on a what was essentially a portal between Space-Times (with the caveat that the whole was predicated on using the Dys women’s unique temporal signatures as a stabilizing way point)…

 

…and then the arrival of the youngest Dys…

 

Sallea mentored the new temporal transplant in the working concepts of the ‘portal’ device, as both the original Dyess and Sring performed a temporal ‘transport’ to a new (past) Space Time fabric to apprehend a temporal fugitive. And as seemingly fate would have it, Sallea was temporarily transferred to the Ozaki for a mission when the extraction portion of the Dyses/Sring mission occurred…

 

WEEET WEEET WEEET!

 

The Drum Major’s whistle snapped Sallea’s attention back to the present…

 

The sousaphones made up the core of both the gravity wells, seven in A, six in B…each group of basses formed a circle, their large bells pointing away from each other outward. Next was a ring of saxophones and trombones, the slide movements of the ‘bones giving a sense of radiant movement even when the band stopped its marching movements, while the music was yet playing…a marching band arrangement compilation-medley of portions of "Space is the Place" by Sun Ra, "Cygnus X-1" by Rush and the rousing ending piece: "Supernaut" by Black Sabbath after the A and B groups become one and then the transcribed rock tune blasted out by the perc and sousas…the lyric portion were scattered to the trumpets, clarinets and alto saxes, the flutes took on the guitar riff solos…and the percussion beats there way with an extended feature section and then the basses and bones come back in.

 

Sallea was sitting midway in the bleachers, looking and mentally critiquing the on-field choreography and musicality. The band was close to achieving true competency and the visuals were spot on for any computer simulation showing of two black holes circling each…and then as the big finale portion started…the band suddenly stopped; not in a quick silence of everyone, but in a near musical train wreck as coursed (wave function-like) through the band until there was silence…

 

…what the heck is going on…?

 

The Bajoran-Vulcan hybrid stood up, looked at the band and noticed that their attention was singularly on the figure that had come into view from across the field…

 

The top-knot ponytail was the initial giveaway. Normally, a new person dropping buy wouldn’t cause such a reaction, (the mostly human students had seen the occasional Vulcan, Betazoid, Trill or Klingon) but the woman could hardly be considered normal and she traced her path across the field through the band like she owned the place…

 

…Prophets! what is she wearing…?!

 

Sallea made her way down the bleachers to meet the woman at the tracks. The highly attractive Ferengi-human hybrid was sporting a silver-white bikini top and a pair of blue denim cut-off shorts and white athletic trainer footwear. The woman’s bronze skin (and she was showing a lot of it) complimented the bright brass of the students’ instruments. Once close enough, Sallea greeted the woman:

 

“Commander Dys, this is…” Sallea looked at the immodestly clad former colleague, shook her head in disbelief and smiled:

 

“…quite a surprise.”

 

 

== To be continued ==


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#377 Lt Sallea T'Prell {Kotho}

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Posted Star Date 22005.14 @ 05:55 (05:55 AM)

== Continued… ==

 

== North Dallas, Texas, Earth ==

 

Sallea had turned over operational duties for the band to continue the show routine to the Drum Major and the extravagantly muscled woman directed Dys to her office in the Performing Arts Center building.

 

After taking seats, Sallea looked over at the exotic hybrid expectantly.

 

“It’s just civilian Gloria Dys now…” Dys opened:

 

“…though I was onboard Copernicus during Preemptive Strike operation against the Borg, an offshoot, successor to the Collective called Contingency.”

 

Sallea’s right eyebrow rose in mild surprise at the information and she chose to remain silent and let Gloria continue.

 

“There’s was just enough scuttlebutt about then operation on Pioneer and Jane allowed me to come aboard...”

 

It was known to T’Prell that Captain Fields and Gloria Dys (as well as Alora Dys) were close friends. Sallea had heard about the Star Fleet military operation (and success) from news feeds days after the fact…

 

“…Jane gave me a field commission of Lieutenant Science Officer…the ship itself suffered minimal damage, but…there were a few casualties…”

 

The news reports and very selective quick cut holo-images of the battle showed horrific damage to the Fleet but buried in the minutia was a mention of Copernicus being virtually unscathed in the aftermath. Jane Fields of course was still alive. And the Sallea hadn’t gone through the massive list of the dead, missing and wounded. She noted no ‘Dys’ on the list, or a certain Mathew Briggs (last known assigned to USS Artemis)…

 

“…Kristina…” Gloria said…

 

A sudden sense of foreboding clasped T’Prell’s lungs…

 

“…Star Fleet directly asked for her to volunteer for a sui…a high-risk mission within the main Borg vessel. She had the opportunity to refuse…”

 

Sallea already knew…the youngest Dys was as headstrong and determined as the rest of them…and the human version (felt that she) had a lot to prove…

 

“She accepted…and prior to that she took Talion’s name?” Sallea said flatly.

 

Gloria nodded, the older Ferengi-human hybrids reddened slightly, and then she continued:

 

“Officially, she’s listed as MIA, but I was with Alex when he suddenly sensed her presence…gone.”

 

Alex Talion was Betazoid, and Kristina at one point had mentioned that since she became human, she had been in intimate, telepathic and empathic thought with him. Such bonds were known to extend spatially across vast distances, and with the Dyses’ and Sallea’s own temporal experiences, it most probably included Time as well.

 

“There’s no way know what her end was like…” Dys continued:

 

“…was merely killed, assimilated? And it seemed unlikely that anyone could have survived when the main their main vessel blew up.”

 

Sallea could imagine the shock of what the Copernicus CSO had gone through and the aftermath. The not knowing of Kristina’s final fate was like an open wound…it was just too easy to imagine the worst horrors of Kristina’s final moments…or had she been assimilated and aboard the fleeing Borg escape vessels?

 

“Thank you for letting me know.” T’Prell stated and then she added:

 

“And as illogical as it sounds, considering how connected we all were…”

 

…Sallea’s thoughts conjured up the temporal flux that had interconnected the group of the Dyses, Sring, Kromanhock and herself…

 

“…you would think Ah would have felt her passing…or somethin.”

 

I was there…” Gloria responded:

 

“…and I can’t say felt anything either. But the look on Alex’s face…”

 

Gloria had to wipe a tear from her cheek at that. Out of all the new faces that had occurred when Sallea joined back up with Copernicus, Talion was one of the few who didn’t offer up too much resistance to her (should been open knowledge) presumed temporal authority. She had grudgingly come to accept the others, the Counselor (Dr. Tate) was the most open minded of them all…

 

“…she’s gone.” Dys said finality.

 

There was a period of silence between the two former Star Fleeters…

 

…reflections…

 

…and then Sallea finally said:

 

“You know, there was ah brief window of opportunity to fix that whole mess.”

 

Gloria nodded in the affirmative and said:

 

“I know.”

 

It wasn’t the universe that had conspired against them, it all came down to communication and trust…fallible human…or rather fallible humanoid nature…

 

“Gloria…” T’Prell said softly, with a touch of sadness…

 

“…Ah just don’t understand it…Ah was with the Ozaki for one mission…”

 

…and she had been very lucky to survive it (the whole Frigate was almost lost with all hands)…

 

“…and then on the Promenade with all those temporal eddies, Ah had tuh get tuh the ship…and…Ah was treated lack ah gawd-damned interloper.”

 

“I initially experienced some of the same upon my temporal arrival back…” Dys offered, and then continued…

 

“…now that I think about it…your assignment to Ozaki, removing you from the Cop, effectively made my team’s extraction extraordinarily difficult...certainly minimizing any chance of success. It comes down to Occam’s razor, either Star Fleet bungled their job, miscommunications or something, or it was a deliberate act of sabotage.”

 

“Ah don’t know what’d be worse…” Sallea said:

 

“…but if Ah had to pick one, incompetence gets muh vote.”

 

“Probably…” Gloria agreed:

 

“…because if it was intentional, I’d take that very personally.”

 

Sallea silently agreed with that last point…Temporal Affairs was a contradictory organization…one-part protector of the Space-Time fabric and totally mercenary in how it accomplishes those ends…

 

“You said Star Fleet explicitly requested Kristina tuh volunteer…” Sallea began…

 

“I did.” Gloria answered.

 

“…but why her? This was ah massive preemptive strike operation…ah critical Ah assume…infiltration mission of some kind?…And they chose a young Junior Science Officer, capable yes, but not experienced like you are or me…”

 

The look between them, each knew the other would have accepted the mission without hesitation if offered…

 

“I know what you’re thinking T’Prell, and I thought about it too…” Gloria responded:

 

“…Kristina’s entire team didn’t make it…if you or I had been there in her stead…”

 

“…then Kristina and one of us could discuss the other who didn’t make it…” Sallea finished Gloria’s audible thought.

 

And Dys added:

 

“And she would have had her life with Alex Talion.”

 

Silence fell once again between the two women as their thoughts for a time, wondered about…

 

...what if…?


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#378 Adm Daniel Wueste

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Posted Star Date 22005.19 @ 18:47 (06:47 PM)

==Personal Residence, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania==

 

The corridor felt endless and familiar.  The lights pulsed red.  He was running, but he was not sure from what.

 

He heard a voice call to him.  He ran faster.

 

A door ahead in the darkness.

 

He read its signage.  

 

[01-Bridge]

 

The voice called out again.  No, it was a whisper, the voice whispered his name.  Why?

 

He reached the door.  It did not open.

 

Instinctively he reached for the wall control.

 

​His arm was covered in some sort of metal.  A tube ran from near his wrist to by his shoulder.

 

The door opened.  She was there.  His wife.  The borg queen who had been his wife.

 

"...Dan..."

 

The Admiral's eyes opened, the room was dark, his heart raced.

 

"Bridge, this is..." 

 

He stopped, his eyes focused, he remembered where he was.

 

Home.  Earth.

 

"Computer, lights."

 

Dan's master bedroom illuminated.

 

He checked the time.

 

[0430 EDT]

 

Just a dream, only a dream.

 

It had, after all, only been a dream.  An old dream, a nightmare from long ago.  He'd had it most nights now since the recent Borg attack.  Since he'd read the after action report.

 

The Admiral had asked Star Fleet to let him lead the 1st Fleet's response.  He would have planted the flag on Pulsar.  He had been ready to lead his old ship and fleet into battle.  Against the Borg he would have done whatever was necessary, if it had meant helping to assure victory.

 

Command had declined his offer.  They had been kind about the rejection.  They had not questioned his ability or his desire to see the job done.  No, they had been all too understanding.  Command had instead sent Thrawn.  Now Matt was in a hospital, too many others were dead, and here Dan sat, safely home.

 

Matt Thrawn was the best of Star Fleet.  Dan was under no illusion that he could have done any better.  Still, he wished it had been him.  

 

I'd gladly have Matt safe and sound and me be the one recovering in a hospital bed.

 

It was vanity, ego that drove those thoughts.  Dan knew it.  He wanted so badly to do right and show the people of the Federation that they could trust him again.

 

The humor of the situation was that the people of the Federation, those who even remembered him, seemed to have already forgiven him.  There seemed to be no wide-spread malice.  Not from the average citizen on the street, not even from his fellow Star Fleet officer.  On the whole, it seemed, people understood.  If anything, they seemed to pity him.  Most seemed to recognize that the neural parasites had been the true enemy, that those actions had not been his own, but those of the being that had taken over his body.

 

None of that changed how he felt.  Not even after so much time.  No amount of forgiveness could ever erase the guilt he felt, the sense of profound failure.  

 

He stared at the ceiling, reached over to his nightstand and grabbed the PADD he'd left there.

 

Then he did what he had done 2-3 times a night, every night, since he'd received the report.  He read about the battle against the Borg and, as it always did, his attention settled to the ships lost.

 

Enterprise, Beckett, Intrepid, Drake, Pegasus, Yeager, Cicero, T'Plana-Hath, Ian Fleming, Jacques Derrida, Surak, Ozaki, Philadelphia...

 

It was a blessing that somehow his former commands, Pulsar and Dauntless, had survived.  

 

The destruction of the Beckett had meant a tabling of the entire production line.  He remembered her launch day.  It had been a day of great hope for the future.  Still, Jon Beckett having a ship named in his honor had made sense.  The end of the Beckett-class, sad as it might be, did have the fringe benefit of preventing the launch of the next in line USS Wueste.  It was the closest to a silver lining he could find.  Having a ship named after you was the sort of honor that should happen only to the greatest of leaders and even then only after they had retired, or maybe even a century after their death.  It was a lifetime achievement award or perhaps best meant as a way to memorialize those long gone.  

 

​I warranted none of that.

 

Placing the PADD back on the nightstand, he rolled over, tried to get comfortable.

 

He needed to be up in only a few hours.  He had work to do. Reports to be filed.  Paper work was still work.  Dan's signature on official documents still carried some weight and Command still had use for the statistical analysis and data review he could provide them.  

 

He closed his eyes, tried to will himself back to sleep.

 

The early morning hours were quiet, still.  A loneliness gripped him.  


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#379 Lt Sallea T'Prell {Kotho}

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Posted Star Date 22007.18 @ 06:12 (06:12 AM)

== North Dallas, Texas, Earth ==

 

Gloria’s visit had left T’Prell feeling saddened at the passing of her young friend and apprenticed Science Officer. T’Prell didn’t imbibe much in alcohol to dull her feelings or mood, but she sure imagined the downing of ‘a fifth’ of whiskey.

 

The retired Star Fleeter was alone in her room in her adopted Terran home. Thoughts of the Copernicus were never too far away, but her days of being a high school band instructor and science teacher provided focus in the mentoring of young minds…a responsibility that Bajoran-Vulcan-hybrid took seriously…

 

…still…

 

Her friend would now be in space and headed back to Pioneer. The Outpost according to recent news reports, was minimally staffed and its future as an exploratory Federation steppingstone was in doubt. The new Borg presence had initiated a new alignment of priorities. To date, Sallea T’Prell had not been contacted by Star Fleet, for anything…no call up for the Reserves, no picking her brains for her temporal expertise…

 

…Sring must have that covered…

 

The temporally switched diminutive Vulcan Science Officer was last known sequestered by Temporal Affairs and no information of her whereabouts was forthcoming. Any inquiries were outright ignored. Former Science Officer Sallea (at least from Star Fleet’s point of view) was persona non grata.

 

When she thought about it…Star Fleet was right in keeping her away…Sallea had refused any counselling sessions and she realized that she suffered from substantial PTS symptoms and insecurities. She possessed physical strength that on Earth, almost seemed super-human…

 

…pure physical strength means little out there…

 

Mental fortitude, adaptability, and a curiosity that often-superseded self-preservation is what made Star Fleet a viable and successful organization…and which humans by and large had as a people. From the Bajoran-Vulcan hybrid’s observations, non-humans who spent any significant time amongst Terrans, tended to absorb a portion of their traits and become more-like them…

 

…almost as if curiosity were a contagion…

 

T’Prell was more at home on the 3rd rock from Sol than her birth world (Vulcan) or her Mother’s world (Bajor). She switched off the monitor she had been staring at without really seeing and made her way to her bed and slumped down onto it. As her eyes looked ceilingward, she wondered what her life might be like in an alternate universe where she had returned Marcus’ bold, impromptu kiss during her first Christmas/Victorian Christmas Holo-Simulation aboard Copernicus…

 

…you just had to rebuff him, and he ended up with Doctor Morgan…

 

T’Prell couldn’t fault the Marcus’ relationship with the Good Doctor, Sallea counted (now) Morgan-Vesner as a friend. And then her thoughts turned to the Klingon Engineer Korok…

 

…oh why did I turn down the sex…?!

 

Korok had gotten somewhat inebriated and Sallea had wanted to show him the (then, latest) Quiet Room apparatus away from a party…

 

…was it the same Christmas party…?

 

…Korok had had other expectations. And alas, she sobered him up quickly with her skittishness, and that was the end of a potential friendship or physical liaison partner…

 

…another path not taken…

 

** Knack knack ** …a pair of light taps was heard from the other side of her bedroom’s door…

 

“Come.” Sallea said simply (a Star Fleet habit instead of saying ‘come in’).

 

The wooden door was ancient style, hung up on hinges with a frame and a turn knob to release the securing mechanism when the door was ‘closed’. It had a slight screech (likely only something she could hear as it was in the 20 KHz audible range)…

 

“T’Prell…?” the male voice said before he entered through the portal…

 

…Teddy…?

 

Sallea T’Prell sat up and was on her feet before the slender, almost gaunt form of a very bearded Theodore Brandon stepped into the room. Her breathing and heart rate increased noticeably with the surprise…

 

“Oh muh gawd!” the extravagantly well-muscled woman with light green tinted skin squealed in delight as she rushed to him and they embraced…

 

“Whoa! Not too hard now!” Teddy laughed at her constrictor-like initial embrace…

 

“I heard you were back…”

 

T’Prell wanted to squeeze her early adulthood good friend, so so tight, but she resisted the urge that would crack his ribs. She hadn’t seen Teddy in 5 years, he had given her a kiss on SBA prior to her taking up her assignment to Copernicus. It was obvious that she was back…

 

“Are ya serious with anyone?” the girlie side of her blurted out…and quickly added:

 

“Ya know…intimate with……mare-eed…”

 

Teddy’s hazel eyes, a combination of russet and green, were darker than she remembered, looked down into her own unremarkable brown eyes and he said:

 

“No T’Prell…” his deep voice, belying his slender frame stated, and then he made his own inquiry…

 

“…you…?”

 

Sallea shook her head side to side indicating…

 

“…me neither…” she said, and raised a hand to touch his left check (really the dark/brown, wiry hair growing out from his face), her eyes locked onto his…

 

The man, her longtime friend, leaned ever so much downward and courageously placed his lips on hers…

 

…and she welcomed it…

 


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#380 Cdr R'Karr Archen {Jadaris}

Cdr R'Karr Archen {Jadaris}

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Posted Star Date 22011.17 @ 04:55 (04:55 AM)

==Outside the Star Fleet Corps of Engineers HQ==

 

R'Karr sat in a patio chair, drinking coffee with his mate, or the Mirak who was his mate. R'Karr set down his cup and said, 

 

"You know Keladari, I'm going to be on quite a few difficult missions for the foreseeable future, so I think I'll do quite well in the years to come."

 

His mate pulled their hybrid cub into her lap and replied, 

 

"We know. K'Taar is old enough to understand, remember he's a hybrid of Kzinti and Mirak. And we've received a request from my home clan back in the Star League. Apparently they know of K'Taar, and are offering my clan a state-sponsored scholarship for him to be trained for the future as a geneticist. Apparently, there's some pride in wanting to add in some of the better genes of the Kzinti, so that your race isn't entirely lost. Naturally, they're offering him citizenship as well."

 

R'Karr mulled over what his mate was telling him. He'd lose access to his child for quite some time, at least until he retired from Star Fleet, though the clan would take care of him. 

 

"Does this mean the MIS won't hunt the pair of you?"

 

"Yes, though the Huntsmasters will not seek your death for now R'Karr. You're a Star Fleet officer, and that keeps you safe, at least until you retire. Afterwards, I'd be careful, and find somewhere quiet to retire. The two of us will be safer with the Star League looking out for us, and keeping track of K'Taar. He'll be allowed to keep his Kzinti clan name alongside my clan name, though what he'll do in the future, I know your legacy will be on his mind. Speaking of which, I heard you've signed on for treatment for the genetic errors present in Kzinti DNA, though I hope your future is brighter that way. Did Star Fleet Medical estimate how long the Kzinti would have lived if they didn't have that war?"

 

"The next generation was supposed to be the last, though my generation is the last viable source of Kzinti DNA. Without interbreeding to correct the errors, K'Taar there would have been a losing battle."

 

K'Taar smiled at his father and replied, "Father, don't worry about me or my future. I'll make sure the tale-keepers sing of how the better legacy of the Kzinti was passed on, even if our progenitors are mostly dead. Plus, I think I'll like Oranth better than here. I'll have others my size and age to play and learn with."

 

R'Karr got up from his chair along with Keladari and said, 

 

"Well, then one last piece of business. Keladari Rakeri." He used her Mirak clan name on purpose. "I release you from the Fanged God's mate oath, and allow you to return to your clan to choose another more suitable as your mate, as the needs of our child in the Fanged God's plan are greater than those we made together now. K'Taar Rakeri Ragarrim, you are now a scion of the Rakeri clan and of the Ragarrim clan. Wear them with honor, and may your hunt be swift and successful."

 

Keladari returned the ceremonial dissolution of Mirak/Kzinti marriage with, "As a scion of the Kzinti, you are of the dying remnants of the Fanged God's first ones, but know that what your son will do, will one day correct the faults of the first ones, and make their successors a more perfect hunter. I release you from your oath of protection, and though you cannot return to a homeworld, may the Fanged God guide Star Fleet along their path of peaceful hunting."

 

Lastly, K'Taar had his own ritual words to say, that he had memorized, "R'Karr Ragarrim Archen, of the First Ones to Hunt. I accept the mantle of both clans, and the Fanged God's guidance. I will aspire to eclipse the Father that I knew, and become a stronger hunter as a child of two clans. May we meet again as equal hunters in the Fanged God's hunting grounds, should we not meet again in this life."

 

With that, Keladari and K'Taar headed out to the shuttlepad, where a shuttle was waiting to take them to a passenger transport heading to Oranth. Everything had already been packed, as this was something that had been planned since R'Karr's return from the Delta Quadrant. Now, he had no ties holding him back to the Alpha Quadrant. He could explore his career in Star Fleet to his fullest, and not have to worry about his children, or their future. The Fanged God would take care of them all.

 

==end==


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#381 Mid Klomak

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Posted Star Date 22011.17 @ 06:05 (06:05 AM)

== Plaza, Vulcan Embassy, San Francisco. ==
 
The unexpected return to earth gave Klomak the opportunity to visit the Vulcan Embassy on earth. This would not be a diplomatic meeting, rather a personal one. P'tem and Klomak had become close friends during his years at the Vulcan Embassy.
 
P'tem, a tall, dark, unattractive Vulcan female with the appearance of a 25-year-old, was 50 (Earth) years of age. Standing 190 cm (6 foot 2 inches), she carried herself like royalty. A warp theory specialist and engineer attached to the Vulcan Embassy she had the responsibility for the excellent functioning and meticulous maintenance of all Vulcan vessels station on earth. A Vulcan equivalent of the Star Fleet ‘Head of the Engineering Core' only for the Vulcan enclave on earth.
 
P’tem had one flaw which attracted Klomak the most. She understood and participated in human humour, unlike Klomak who didn’t have a humours bone in his being. She had tried to teach him, but for all her efforts was unsuccessfully.
 
Ptem’s hair style was also different. It was curly and hung down over her ears. Very unusually for a Vulcan.
 
Klomak beamed into the plaza at the Vulcan Embassy to see P’tem waiting for his arrival. Seeing her good and faithful friend again caused her to smile. She wasn’t expecting him to return to earth so quickly. They greeted each other in the normal Vulcan way.
 
“Peace and prosperity, Klomak.”
 
“Peace and prosperity, P’tem.”
 
“This is highly unexpected Klomak. You couldn’t stay away from me!” P’tem said using her skills in human humour, knowing that Klomak wouldn’t get it.
 
“I am on earth because my ship needs extensive repairs...   It is good to see you again P’tem.”
 
“And I to see you, my friend,” said P’tem. The smile had diminished a little and she moved forward and gave him a slight kiss on the check. “I know you desire to try new foods so I have organised lunch for us both at a new bistro on the waterfront. The food is excellent I am told. You will find the coffee extraordinary, I believe. I remember how you enjoy coffee. The bistro is a pleasant walk from here. Walk with me?”
 
“Lead the way P’tem.”
 
== to be continued ==

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#382 RAdm Kinziri Jal

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Posted Star Date 22011.23 @ 23:53 (11:53 PM)

== Kyoto, Japan. Residence of Rear Admiral Kinziri Jal and family ==
 
"Honey I'm home." she called out as the front door closed behind her and she propped her closed umbrella in the corner. She took off her long winter coat and hung that in the porch too, the rain dripping from it onto the floor. 
 
November in Kyoto could be chilly and she had been caught in one of the irregular showers of rain for her walk between the public transporter station and home. Luckily she had been prepared though, having seen the weather forecast before leaving for work that morning. The previous day it had been warm, but the sun had still set at 1700 hours, reminding of the seasonal change taking place.
 
One of the best things about her assignment to Starbase Alpha was the ability to use the Transporter Relay Network to get to her home on Earth at the end of her duty shift on the starbase. It could be quite surreal to spend her day in an office on a starbase, glancing up through a viewport out at stars and a slowly revolving planet, then at the end of the shift beam down to the surface and walk along the tranquil Philosopher's Walk in Kyoto to her home. Kyoto could be busy with tourists in November, as it was the traditional 'foliage season'. Even after sunset there were couples walking along the pathway beside the stream, lit by lanterns, as they descended from the shrines and gardens such as Kiyomizu in the hills above Kyoto and gradually made their way to the downtown district and famed restaurants.
 
Removing her shoes, she placed them neatly on the rack in the porch then stepped through the doorway into the house and felt the comfortable carpet under her stockinged feet. She was looking forward to changing out of her uniform too and relaxing for the evening.
 
Entering the living room she saw her son, a pale gangly youth of twelve years old now, sitting in almost a zen meditation position on the sofa. She knew from the controllers in his hands and the VISOR covering his eyes though that he was engrossed in some game that only he could see.
 
Theirs was a more traditional house, or rather a blend of traditions from old Japan where it was sited and touches of Trill and Andorian furniture and artwork around the place. There was little in the way of obvious modern technology, although they did have the essentials, just hidden away from view unless in use. Jihan had his own tech for his gaming and studies but even that was quite discrete. 
 
She ran her fingers through her son's shock of white hair as she stopped behind the sofa. He smiled at the touch, but the curl of his antennae told her that he was already aware of her presence before she even crossed the room.
 
"Hi mom. How was work?" he asked, still playing his game.
 
"Oh, you know." she replied. "Ships came in, ships went out."
 
It was the simplest summary of her duties as Fleet Commander that she could think of, but she couldn't exactly give any real detail to starship deployment in the sector while at home.
 
"Any Ferengi?" the boy asked.
 
"Ferengi? Why do you ask that?" Kinziri frowned, as while it was common for him to ask about what she might have seen on the starbase or about some new class of starship, he rarely asked about any race of people in particular.
 
"We're studying them in class at the moment. Rules of Aquisition and stuff. Kinda boring. Can you tell me any cool stuff about them?" 
 
"I guess so. Although I don't know what kind of 'stuff' you want. Later, after dinner."
 
"Okay." replied the boy, and as there were no further questions Kinziri figured his attention had returned to focus on his game.
 
At her mention of dinner, she noticed the house smelled rather more aromatic than usual. 
 
"Is your father cooking?" she asked her son, not really expecting a reply now his game was taking his attention away again, but he wasn't too far gone after all.
 
"Huh, no" he snorted. "Cally's home." and then he was gone again.
 
"Oh! Good." Kinziri smiled. It would have been highly unusual for her husband to be cooking a meal from scratch. The last time he attempted it was like he'd tried to summon a demon. Tonight though, it looked like the whole family would be together for a change.
 
Leaving her son to his game she walked through to the kitchen, where she saw her adopted daughter standing with her back to her as she faced the stove.
 
"Hey Cally, they let you sneak off campus for the night?" Kinziri asked as she walked up to the young woman. 
 
Callico, or Cally, was still wearing her Starfleet uniform, just as Kinziri was, so must have transported over at the end of her day at the Science facility which was part of the Fleet Operations Center in San Francisco. 
 
"Hey mom. Good, you're here. You can tell me what this stew is missing." the young ensign said with a grin as she turned to face Kinziri. She offered a large spoonful of stew to taste, which Kinziri did.
 
"More salt?" Callico asked, but Kinziri shook her head. "Not a single thing, it's perfect just the way it is."
 
"I had the feeling that dad would want more salt though." 
 
"Huh, he always wants more salt. He can't have any. That stew is perfectly fine. I'll go tell him to get washed up ready to eat. I take it he's in his studio?"
 
Callico nodded and turned back to the stove.
 
Kinziri left her daughter to her task and headed through the back to where her husband had set up a studio for his art. It was handy and he could work from home, which was useful for paying attention to Jihan out of school hours.
 
As expected Jhesev was engrossed in his latest sculpture when she entered his lair and he didn't notice. In her stockings Kinziri could pad silently up behind him to put her arms around him from behind before he knew she was present - or that was her plan at least. She should know after the years of marriage though that it was not easy to sneak up on an Aenar. He would either detect a change in the air through his antennae, or he would feel her mind touch his through his telepathy. Whether he knew or not, he let her do her creeping and only reacted when her hands snaked around his chest and her body pressed against his back.
 
"Hi honey. Busy day?" she asked as she leaned around to kiss his neck.
 
The ivory hued Aenar stopped what he was doing and sank into her embrace.
 
"Always busy." he said in his slightly hoarse whisper.
 
"Too busy to eat I expect. Well dinner is nearly ready, you should come and clean up. After all the work Cally has put in over cooking you aren't sitting at the table covered in clay and dust." Kinziri said in a tone he knew well and had learned not to argue with.
 
---
 
After dinner the family gathered in the lounge and shared updates on their day. Kinziri was feeling really content as she leaned against Jhesev on the sofa and listened to Cally talk about the latest experiments she was working on in the lab. Even Jihan stayed for the full thirty minutes she had made him promise to stay for family time, before he slunk up to his room with armfuls of snacks.
 
Sighing, Kinziri relfected that she was really quite lucky to have moments like this, given her chosen career path. Her family was a colourful one, literally and figuratively. A Joined Trill married to an Aenar, their natural son, and their adopted human daughter who currently sported purple hair, although that might change by morning.
 
Of course, the tranquil moments never last, and sooner or later reality would intrude on the peace.
 
On this particular night it came from a low chime telling of an incoming message. With a different kind of sigh Kinziri pushed herself upright then stood to cross over to the single armchair beside the comm unit.
 
There was a single message addressed to her. As it was marked private she picked up an earpiece and inserted it into her right ear. Activating the message she listened, frowning at first, then her expression changed to one of surprise and shock.
 
Jhesev felt the change in his wife's mood and automatically sat forward on the sofa and reached over to touch her hand placed on a knee.
 
"What is it? Has something happened at work?" he asked aloud, not wanting to intrude into her thoughts without permission, even those of his wife.
 
There was a long pause before the Trill replied and when she did her voice was barely a whisper.
 
"No, not work. It's about my sister. Kendri. She's dead."
 
== To be continued shortly ==

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