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

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

    Star Trek: The Yorktown Chronicles

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

    It is January 15, 2270.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Kylah, in her quarters, reads this message:

    Esteemed Kylah,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    Rangin decides that going camping again might not be such a hot idea given what happened last time. Relaxing in a bar He checks to see if Pourtash or Kylah are heading down and want to meet up and unwind? If there is anyone else in the science area, then he'll ask them as well.
    In the land of the blind, the one-arm man is king.

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    Graham is able to make the necessary arrangements, and is soon beamed aboard the Yorktown. The transporter tech, an older Asian man in Engineering red coveralls, looks at him expectantly from behind the console.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    "Vargas here."

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

    "Yes, please. Vargas out."

    "Aye, sir."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    My quarters when you return from shore leave.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    "Please accept my apologies, Kylah."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    T'Var lies down and falls asleep without difficulty.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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