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Thread: Star Trek RPG - Mission #2: "Primum Nil Nocere"

  1. #551
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    Pourtash draws his brows together and looks mildly puzzled by that comment from Kylah. Oh, of course. She caught what he almost said and interpreted it in an entirely different way than he'd meant. Telling her that he found the idea of Elasian Tears more horrifying than titillating would probably not help matters, he mused, but he couldn't help but laugh. Knowing now that she was Elasian, he could recognize the aspects of the culture he'd read about in what had seemed slightly odd behavior for a human before.

    "That is the only experience of yours I'm interested in, Ensign Kylah," he assures her, not unkindly. "I can imagine being the first has to be a very isolating and frustrating experience, particularly since so few at the Academy have had experience with your people."

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    Though bridling at his laughter--no Elasian woman takes kindly to being the object of mockery--Kylah takes a moment of examination, reading Pourtash's eyes, his expression, his sincerity, which almost radiates from him. Finally she relaxes. In truth, the young man has articulated much of how she's felt for the past few years.

    But her pride will not let her admit such a weakness. She keeps her tone casual. "There have been some necessary adjustments required to my habits and behavior, as well as the natural sense of... of being different from those around me. But this is a state with which I am familiar, of course. My status on Elas set me apart from others, so I am used to it." A blatant lie, but no one around the table--except perhaps T'Var, but she doesn't appear to be concentrating on Kylah at all--would be able to call Kylah's bluff. So she just gives Pourtash one of her quick, rare smiles, and looks down at her plate. To her surprise she realizes she's grateful for his kind insight, and now she doesn't know whether to hope he asks another question, or to dread it.

    Dread wins out, and she races to find a question to stave off any of Pourtash's curiosity. "You are from Earth," she blurts, as if accusing him. "From where in particular?"
    Last edited by choie; 06 May 2012 at 06:40 PM.

  3. #553
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    The fact that Kylah isn't accusing Pourtash of lechery relieves him and he returns her smile warmly. He gets the impression she doesn't smile often. Just as well, he thinks, as those smiles could be as dangerous as Tears. The descriptions of Elasian beauty had not been exaggerations. It's likely for the benefit of everyone aboard the ship that she's either unaware of the devastating effect she could have on human males, or simply disinterested in it, he decides.

    "What was your status on Elas?" he asks curiously. "If it isn't rude to ask, that is."

    When Kylah blurts out her question about his origins, Pourtash raises a brow slightly, somewhat surprised. He considers for a moment how best to answer that question, since he's unsure of how much she knows about Earth cultures. Simply saying 'Iran' wouldn't necessarily tell her much. "My family is part of the Persian people. The region they came from is also called 'Iran', which is in the western part of the continent Asia. It ranges from desert to subtropical forest; it's fairly dry and warm. As the home of the Persian people it has a history that dates back thousands of years. It was once the largest empire Earth ever saw, controlling almost half the population of the planet. It's significantly less influential now."

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    "Less influential, perhaps," Kylah says, tilting her head and trying to understand his expression. "But your homeland clearly has an esteemed history of great power and might. You are justly proud of it. I admit that until I left for the Academy, I knew nothing of Earth save for it being the seat of the Federation. When I arrived, and throughout my training, I was somewhat overwhelmed by its history of land wars and divided terrain. My own planet has never been divided in this manner. Of course," she adds with as little bitterness as she can keep from her tone, "that has recently changed. Now we are bound to Troyius, and further bound to the Federation, as our Council so decided."

    Dangerous territory here. She decides to back swiftly away. "To answer your question, I belong to the Elasian royal family. My cousin Elaan, now Queen of Troyius, was our Dohlman--the leader of our planet. Now that position is held by His Glory, Telarias. Though, since he is yet too much a child, our Council of Nobles must appoint a Regent to rule in his stead. The position is naturally much sought-after, and the decision has not been made though nearly two years have passed."

    She takes a long sip of water, sighing with relief into the glass. She's almost proud of doing such a neat job of explaining--downplaying, really--the intricate web of ambition, greed, manipulation and deceit that constitutes her planet's leadership, and her family in particular.

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    "Division seems to differ wildly planet by planet," Pourtash agrees thoughtfully. "I know some races have been as divided or worse than Earth used to be, but many others aren't and don't appear to have ever been. Sometimes it amazes me, with how different cultures can be, that it's even possible for any of us to speak to one another."

    The science of astrophysics and warp technology all made far more sense to him than the somewhat less glamorized world of communications. That such wildly different species could communicate with one another often seamlessly thanks to translation never failed to strike him as miraculous.

    When Kylah identifies herself as a member of the Elasian royal family, Pourtash's brows raise nearly to his hairline and he glances at T'Var, wondering if she had known about Kylah's background. "That has to be incredibly difficult, going from the royal family to being treated like any other ensign."

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    "If I may interject...." T'Var says, then takes a sip of her tea. "Whatever our individual history may be, service in Starfleet is of equal value -- whatever our rank or position."

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    "Sorry, Ensign," the human doctor says, putting down his fork. "You caught me in the middle of a mouthful. Dr. Giancarlo Bucci, at your service. I'm a medical officer and a virology researcher. I'm very pleased to meet you." He hears Dr. T'Var's last remark, and raises his glass. "Well said, T'Var! We all swore the same oath, and we all serve the Federation, of course, regardless of where we came from or how we ended up here."

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    Pourtash smiles wryly at Dr. Bucci's raising of his glass to T'Var's comments and raises his own glass of...well, tea. Probably not the most appropriate toast, but the sentiment is there. "True enough, T'Var. I can't argue with that."

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    "I am pleased to meet you as well, Dr. Bucci," Kylah says, a bit slowly. The large man's gregarious, breezy charm almost overwhelms her, but she senses a keen and focused mind behind those laughing eyes.

    After T'Var makes her comment--which appears to be tacitly warning Kylah not to boast of her background--Kylah watches as the others echo this paean to Starfleet loyalty with the drinking ceremony Kylah knows is common on Earth.

    Kylah does not follow suit. instead she practically glues her gaze to her plate and falls silent. She has no wish to earn a third rebuke, tacit or not, from the kind and well-intentioned T'Var.

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    Pourtash finishes off the last of his tea, then collects his things to get to his feet. It's been a rather long day and he's already promised his free time to some obligations, so sleep seems the most reasonable use for the rest of his night. "It was nice chatting with you all, but I should be going. Have a good night."

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    "Good night," T'Var says to Pourtash. And to the others, "Perhaps we should all get some rest."
    Last edited by WES; 08 May 2012 at 01:31 PM.

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    At 2245, Jeremi nudges Ben "I never did warn my cabin mate that I was going to have company. I have no idea how she'll react. Perhaps you should return to your cabin and I'll see you at breakfast."
    Once Ben leaves, Jeremi composes a message to be delivered at 0700 the next day. She addresses it to the members of her boarding party. It reads:
    "Good morning. I have been remiss, spending all my time with my partner and none with you all. I suggest we all meet for dinner in the Mess at 1830. *We could chat. *See you then. [signed] Lt JG Jeremi Collins"

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    Kylah does not look at T'Var or Pourtash as they get up to leave, preferring to remain in the Mess a little while longer -- both out of discomfort for what she might find if she returns to her and Collins' quarters, and from sheer bloody-mindedness. T'Var and her pointed suggestions are beginning to remind Kylah of her governess.

    When they've gone, she finally removes her gaze from the half-finished plate of macaroni. The other doctor has not yet left. "Dr. Bucci, if you wish to go as well, please do not wait on my account. I mean," she adds abruptly, "I would be glad of the company, but if you must go, I would not wish to keep you."

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    He glances at the bulkhead chrono and covers a yawn. "Is it really that late? Well, I don't have to go, but some sleep would probably do me good. I hope we can break bread some other time, though, Ensign. Good night." He drinks the last of his wine, returns his tray to the replicator slot and leaves. Only a few other people remain elsewhere in the Mess.

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    With a sigh, Kylah pushes away her tray and, noticing a few drops of the red wine spilled by the now-departed doctor, somewhat childishly places a fingertip on the droplets, drawing with them and mulling over her first day and looking ahead to the mission tomorrow.

    As she thinks, her lazy fingertip absently describes a looped figure that looks much like a blood-colored version of the seventh letter of the English alphabet, a language that, of course, she learned back at the Academy. Shaking her head, she scowls at the mess, not sure what prompted this silly bit of fingerpainting, and hurries to wipe it up before the few remaining crew in the Mess notice.

    At last she returns to her quarters, glad to find Collins sleeping--alone. Soon she too is lying in bed, looking out at the stars near her window until she finally falls asleep.
    Last edited by choie; 09 May 2012 at 01:33 AM.

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    Ben had been a little disgruntled at having to leave so soon, but a long kiss and a warm if regretful smile from Collins go a long way towards mollifying him.

    The Yorktown sails on through the night, her warp engines steadily driving her towards the Sakathian research station. Lt. Thalen, standing a graveyard watch as BCDO, somewhat drowsily passes the time in the big chair reading a classic Andorian novel, Once More A King, by Thulle. He sighs. The book never quite engages him; he can't tell if it's the book itself or his own slight fatigue.

    Time passes, the watch draws to a close, and a new shipboard day arrives. Corridor and duty station lights brighten throughout the ship. Kylah is due for her first watch on the Bridge at 0800; Collins has her annual checkup with Dr. T'Var at 0830. Delaney wakes to a message from the Chief Engineer asking him to check on a possible deuterium pump malfunction on Deck 15 by noon; it is not an emergency.

    Hayes and Fujishiro respond to Collins's message, accepting her dinner invitation. "Looking forward to it," Hayes adds.
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 09 May 2012 at 02:09 AM.

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    Delaney will take a junior Engineer with him to check on the pump. He pulls up the maintenance log on it and verifies if we have spare parts. He grabs his tools and goes to work.

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    T'Var accepts the dinner invitation from Collins, then heads to Sickbay.

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    Collins has only decaf tea at breakfast. She was about to select her usual egg and cheese omelet, then remembered her physical is this morning. "I'll have a heartier lunch," she thinks. When Ensign Cooper arrives, she greets him warmly and again apologizes for the shortened evening.
    "I'll be having dinner with the members of my boarding party. You are welcome to join us."

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    Kylah arrives at the Bridge much earlier than necessary, waiting outside the door so she doesn't seem even more over-anxious than she already is. Her early-morning chat with her roommate was brief, just accepting Collins's invitation for tonight before Kylah hurried out to grab an even briefer breakfast, and finally a dash to Deck 1 and the Bridge.

    At last it's 07:50 and she decides she's waited long enough. A few minutes early isn't a problem--she'll be able to get a briefing from the current occupant of the Comm chair.

    She enters and immediately turns to the captain's chair. "Ensign Kylah, reporting for duty."
    Last edited by choie; 09 May 2012 at 03:41 PM.

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    Delaney looks over the current Yorktown Engineering duty roster and chooses Ens. Mikhail Trigorin, Pourtash's roommate, to help him. The friendly, talkative Russian is an impulse drive maintenance and deuterium fuel management specialist. The Assistant Chief Engineer learns from the maintenance log that the pump was last checked four days earlier and was in good working order then. When he and Trigorin open up the access panel, however, they see that the pump is now somewhat burned and sooty. Trigorin whistles. "It's a good thing we didn't have a fire," he says. They have the parts, but Delaney knows repairs are likely to be time-consuming.

    Cooper tells Collins, "Don't worry about last night; I had fun. And dinner sounds good - thanks. See you then!" He gives her a kiss and grabs a chocolate muffin as he leaves for his watch in the Shuttlebay.

    Capt. Singh has just relieved Thalen on the Bridge when Kylah arrives. "Ah, here she is!" the Captain says with a smile. "Mr. Thalen tells me I should expect great things from you, Ensign. Take your post, if you please."

    Throughout the morning, Dr. T'Var conducts her five scheduled annual physical examinations. She is thorough, and each takes about an hour. Cmdr. Vargas seems impatient but is healthy as a horse, and she gives him a clean bill of health. Chief Harrison's cholesterol is slightly elevated and his vision has deteriorated a bit since last year, but nothing too serious. Crewman Dodson has had a persistent rash on her left elbow that is not responding to treatment, and Crewman Sinclair could stand to lose a little weight. Lt. JG Collins is in excellent health but is, T'Var sees with some surprise on her medical tricorder's screen, about a week pregnant. For the moment the Vulcan physician says nothing, but Collins notices her expression change.

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    "Whatever it is, Doctor, it better not keep me from this mission." Collins starts running through everything in her mind. What on earth does that tricorder say? I haven't indulged since boarding the Yorktown, so it can't be that.

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    "If you would excuse me for a moment," T'Var says to Collins. "I shall return shortly."

    T'Var finds Dr. Villa and hands her the medical tricorder. "I thought you should see this," she says to the CMO.

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    Kylah greets her Captain and takes a seat at the Communications station. After noting the reports and briefings from Lt. Thalen's shift, which seems to have been uneventful, Kylah begins to search for any incoming communications, as well as overseeing any outgoing communications, as necessary. In truth she knows her job is a fairly dull one during the majority of the ship's travels; 90% of the time, there are no incoming or outgoing messages. But the 10% of the time when Communications become vital -- ah, that's definitely worth waiting for. And her first mission off the ship, when her knowledge of specific cultures and other various abilities not covered by the Universal Translator will be coming to the fore? The very thought makes her blood race more quickly through her veins.

    Plus she's just thrilled to be sitting here, not three yards from Captain Singh herself, one of the crew doing her duty. At long last, she belongs somewhere. Her expression remains neutral but her gaze fairly dances with delight as it scans the panel in front of her.

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    Before anything else Delaney logs the visual problem including pics and then begins analyzing the pump for what went wrong and if something happened to it. He pulls the log from 4 days ago and calls that tech down to also assist.

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    Dr. Villa, in her small office just off the main ward of Sickbay, looks at the tricorder, and her eyes widen a little. "Well, I can't say it's the first time it's happened on a starship. Have you told her yet? How would you like to proceed?"

    Kylah finds no incoming transmissions from the previous watch. The last incoming messages the Yorktown received were late yesterday, a Starfleet advisory about ion storms far away in the Eminiar sector, and a listing of the latest promotions and reassignments among top admirals at Starfleet Command. Within her first hour on duty, there are three outgoing messages ready to be encrypted and sent out: an Astrophysics report, a transfer request, and a summary of the senior officers' log entries for the previous day.

    Engineering Spec/2 Jessie Barnes was the last tech to see the deuterium pump, four days ago. She is a somewhat plain young woman and seems nervous when she reports to Delaney. She glances at the pump and then back to him. "Wow. Um... is there something I can help you with, sir?"

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    "She is unaware -- I assume -- of her pregnancy at this time." T'Var checks the tricorder readings yet again. "I do not know how Mr. Collins will react to this news."

    T'Var heads for the door. "I will return in a moment."

    The doctor says to Collins, "Would you please join me in the CMO's office?"

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    Collins springs off the exam bed and sprints into Dr. Villa's office.
    Last edited by anyrose; 12 May 2012 at 12:14 PM.

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    As she prepares to encrypt the small number of outgoing messages, Kylah hesitates.

    "A career track in Communications will tempt you with many opportunities to indulge your curiosity, cadet," her mentor at the Academy had warned her. "It's caused the death of innumerable cats. Remember, there are some things it's better not to know."

    Of course, she hadn't understood the cat reference until learning it was some Earth homily. But Kylah had disagreed with her mentor then, and she disagrees now. Knowledge, as she's experienced time and again, is power. Those without it are vulnerable. With it, one is armed and prepared for anything.

    Accordingly, making sure she's unobserved, she listens to the outgoing messages, more out of idle nosiness than expecting anything unusual.

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    "Ms. Barnes, did you note anything abnormal when you inspected this deuterium pump? Is it possible you missed inspecting it? I know that can happen or perhaps you had some issue when you reassembled the inspection plates?" Delaney calmly asks while analyzing the damaged pump for when it was last touch and if anything abnormal happened to it.

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    Pourtash will accept the dinner invitation, then contact Lt. Bancroft about the cosmic microwave background radiation study he'd agreed to help with. If there's any data he needs assistance with yet, Pourtash thought he might start on it during his free time today. Assuming he manages much free time, between his soccer game and the dinner meeting. He thinks regretfully to himself that if worse comes to worst he'll just have to join the game on another day.

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    Barnes stammers to Delaney, "Uh, no, sir. It seemed to be in good shape when I inspected it. No problems, and no indication that there would be any, either."

    Kylah sees that the outgoing Astrophysics report is very lengthy and technical; she understands in basic terms what it's about, but it holds little of interest. The transfer request is by the First Officer, and is very brief; it does not state any particular reason for the request. The summary of senior officers' log entries for the previous day already has a low-level encryption for secure onboard data management. Does Kylah wish to decode and read it? She is technically capable of it, but also knows that it would be a violation of Starfleet regs to do so.

    Bancroft is more than happy to send Pourtash a massive raw data file of cosmic microwave background radiation readings from the previous three months. He appends a note reading, There's no big hurry with this, but the sooner you get started, the better. Let me know if you have any questions. Thanks! B.
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 13 May 2012 at 11:04 PM.

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    T'Var sighs, then looks directly at Collins. Better to come right to the point, she thinks.

    "You are pregnant," the doctor tells Collins. "Approximately one week along."

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    Collins stares blankly at T'Var and Villa. She says nothing for several moments. Her mind is racing. I'll have to tell Ben, but how? I can keep it a secret from everyone else while he and I decide what we want; everyone except the Captain. It'll be in the doctors' logs, I'm sure. It'll derail my career path, that's for damned sure; I should have had my booster shot before boarding when I had the chance. Who knew I was going to meet Ben? I wonder if any of the Petty Officers want to be a surrogate mother? Eventually, Jeremi slowly begins to nod her head. "I understand" she says. "I will talk to the father and then update you both."

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    Pourtash will settle in to start work number crunching while he can. It's perhaps not so exciting as taking the helm of a starship--few things are--but he does enjoy working with data. There's something both soothing and satisfying in it, as he loses himself in making sense of the readings. Some might engage in meditation to calm their minds and spirits; he finds that same peace in discovering minor correlations and ensuring things add up correctly. Of course, modern computers do a great majority of the work that would have been anguished over in past centuries, but being involved in the process at all is enough for him.

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    "The medical staff is here for you," T'Var tells Collins. "I would suggest speaking with Dr. Noel as you consider your options."

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    "Yes, sir," Collins says, "Permission to return to duty?"

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    "Permission granted," T'Var says.

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    Collins knows she still has 10 minutes until she is expected back at her station. She finds an alcove in a quiet corridor and sits on the floor, her knees up close to her chest. she hugs her knees and puts her head down on them. She tries to lose herself in the distant hum of the engines for a short while, and hopes no one has an overwhelming desire to use that corridor just now.

    Her mind runs through her relationship with Ben. Are they ready for this? Not likely. She'd like to think he'll be excited for her - hey! maybe *he* can carry the baby.

    At the sound of footsteps, she springs up and continues on to her station as though nothing has changed.

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    Does Delaney find the damage to be something routine or abnormal? Is their any evidence of tampering and is their any indication that it was inspected recently.

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    Kylah, who barely knows the First Officer, doesn't have much interest in the transfer request, although as she mulls over the ethical quandary in decrypting the staff logs, she does find herself wondering what circumstances would lead a second-in-command to voluntarily leave a ship, especially when it's not due to a promotion. They'd have to pry me away with a crowbar, she thinks absently.

    Even a lateral move to an equal position on a different ship means starting from scratch, in a way; it requires re-establishing the respect, the knowledge of how the shipboard interpersonal dynamics work, not to mention the unspoken political maneuvering amongst the staff. (Oh, the Federation can squawk all it wants about perfect equality; as far as Kylah's concerned, politics are everywhere, even in their idealistic Starfleet Academy.)

    But all this is just distraction, white noise thrumming in her mind as she contemplates the risks and benefits of decrypting the staff logs.

    It's my first day on duty, Kylah thinks pragmatically. She knows very little about the personalities on board yet, or even the background of what's been going on in the ship other than the basic briefing she received upon arrival. What meaning will these logs hold for her now? Is it worth breaking the rules just to satisfy her curiosity?

    And not just her curiosity, she remembers with a sour twist in her stomach. Her Guardian did ask for as much information as she could garner from this useful post.

    Well. That settles it.

    With an internal defiant smirk aimed directly at Aldaan several light years from here, she enforces the standard level of encryption on the staff logs and sends them on their way out to the transom, unmolested.

    ...But not before making a very quick, very private backup copy of the logs.

    Best keep them on hand, just in case. she thinks innocently as she continues the rest of her duties. Can't hurt, can it?

  42. #592
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    Before Collins leaves, Dr. Villa adds, "Your pregnancy is a private matter unless and until it interferes with the performance of your duties, Lieutenant, or you choose to reveal it yourself. Dr. T'Var and I will otherwise tell no one, not the Captain, not even any admiral, unless directly ordered to for a reason that I believe is clearly in the best interests of Starfleet. Just so you know, I've never had to do so, and I've dealt with probably a dozen or so crew pregnancies over the years. Even then, you would have the right to be present at that meeting, and to make a statement." She gives Collins a kindly smile. "What you do next is your decision. You should also be aware that, by law, pregnancy is no bar to continuing Starfleet service, although parenthood may limit your career options unless you make other arrangements for childcare. You have abortion and adoption rights as well, of course. Now, do you have any questions you'd like to ask me?"

    After Collins has departed, the CMO says, "Thank you, T'Var. She seemed to take the news relatively well. Do you think she'll talk to Helen, Dr. Noel, that is?"

    Pourtash has his hands full with the raw data. It could take him days, perhaps a week, to get through it all, even with computer help.

    Based on past experience, Delaney thinks the damage to the pump is somewhat abnormal. There is no indication of either tampering or recent inspection, but the latter would not be noticeable anyway, if it was just a visual inspection or scan by a tricorder or other instrument.

    Ens. Kylah encrypts and sends out the three messages to the nearest Starfleet subspace relay without a problem. Where and how would she like to keep backup copies of the logs?
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 16 May 2012 at 07:42 AM.

  43. #593
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    "I do not know Mr. Collins well enough to answer your question, Doctor," T'Var tells Villa. "We have made it quite clear to her that our department will assist her -- whatever she decides."

  44. #594
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    Delaney leads the pair in repairs, taking time to see if the cause can be determined and walking both techs through the steps being taken.

  45. #595
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    Collins checks the ship's clock every few minutes, but the time doesn't register. Should I reschedule the dinner and have it just be Ben and me?, she asks herself, internally. Maybe I should stop back at Sickbay before dinner and talk to Dr Villa a bit. She shudders slightly, shakes it off, and tries to focus on her current tasks.

  46. #596
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    T'Var tries to focus on her duties in Sickbay, but her thoughts keep returning to Collins. Will she still host the planned dinner? The doctor wonders just how she can help Collins in the best possible way without seeming intrusive.

    T'Var sighs. Perhaps it is best to do and say nothing for now, let Collins have some time to think things through and converse with the father.

    Once again, T'Var attmepts to concentrate on the tasks at hand.

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    Collins messages Ben: Meet me in the mess at 1800 - we need to talk before the crowd gathers [signed] Jeremi

  48. #598
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    Delaney thinks that the pump had some kind of unusual malfunction and seized up. He and the techs work together well, but it takes awhile.

    T'Var has a busy day in Sickbay, but remembers that she should check on her cell lines for eventual delivery to the Sakathians, too.

    Cooper replies to Collins, OK, will do. Everything all right? XOXOX, Ben.

  49. #599
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    T'Var continues with her regular duties in Sickbay. She also keeps a close Vulcan eye on the cell lines under her care.

    The doctor looks forward to dinner as she also wishes to keep a "close Vulcan eye" on Collins.

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    Pourtash continues working on the data, but decides that when the time comes for his soccer game he will take a break. Spending all of his free time on such a huge project will only burn him out faster, he reasons. A bit of physical activity and socializing will help recharge him, and then he can get a little more work in after dinner and before bed.

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