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Thread: Star Trek RPG - Mission #5: "Of Captains and Capos"

  1. #151
    Ape must not kill ape! general_urko's avatar
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    Graham's has to suppress a chuckle as he listens to Roble's briefing. Only James freaking T. Kirk could come up with shit like this...but only Kirk could make it work out, he thinks.

    Nonetheless he can't help but notice when Kylah shudders as Rangin turns his eyes her way. His jaw tightens and his fists clench (fortunately, on his lap rather than on the table) reflexively just for a moment, but he forces himself to not stop and stare.

    He turns toward Roble instead, glancing along the way at Collins and Vargas. "Sir--were there no Security personnel assigned to the mission? If I may say that would strike me as risky given the, ah..local conditions."

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    Roble replies, "The advisory group's last communication with Starfleet was eight days ago. They indicated nothing amiss at the time. All of the officers had basic self-defense training and were issued phaser-1s and other standard mission gear. Starfleet believed that assigning Security personnel would most likely be futile, and would only provide any Iotian criminal with more potential hostages, if it came to that. All of the members of the group were volunteers and agreed with the policy." He shrugs a little uneasily. "I'm not convinced of its wisdom myself, but that was the decision."

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    "What could the Iotians hope to gain in a hostage situation?" Collins asks incredulously.

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    "Hard to say," Vargas muses. "The logs show that Kirk and his landing party were captured and escaped several times. Since the establishment of the Syndicate, it's possible one Iotian faction or another would try to extract particular advantages or concessions from the Federation, or try to scare us away, I suppose."

    "We'll learn more once we get there," Roble says. "Any other questions?"

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    Rangin drums his fingers a couple of times on the table. He knows it draws everyone's attention but it also helps him think.

    "Apart from who are they, what do they look like and what does the Syndicate have to say on the matter?" Rangin smiles at the lack of facts forthcoming. "However, this appears far more suited to a Security detail, so I would be interested to know why I am here?" Rangin looks up at the Captain. "I'm sure that there is a good reason, ma'am, but I am currently unaware of it."
    In the land of the blind, the one-arm man is king.

  6. #156
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    Graham scowls.

    "I think you're right about the first part, commander," looking at Vargas. He spares a glance over to Collins before continuing. "I've had experience dealing with organized crime, and the people who rise to lead those type of organizations don't get and stay there without taking risks--including those their rivals would shy away from."

    He taps the table with the fingers on his right hand. "It might seem crazy for a crime boss on a relatively primitive world to think they could stand up against the Federation--but it's not crazy for them to think we might back down from slagging half a city to find one guy rather than cough up a ransom."

    He pauses just a moment, thinking. "Captain, before any mission team lands I'd like to review any logs and transmissions of the missing team that we receive for any signs of worry about one faction or another or...threats, intimidation...any signs one player or another might have been on their minds as a threat. Preferably with someone skilled at reading between the lines like Mr. Kylah."

    He rubs his chin. "I'd hate for us to get caught with our pants down."
    Last edited by general_urko; 19 May 2016 at 01:26 PM. Reason: typos

  7. #157
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    Singh's expression clouds and she says to Rangin, "Are we keeping you from something more important, Ensign? You're one of this ship's designated landing party personnel. You will almost certainly be beaming down to SI2. I want you to understand the situation before you go."

    Roble says, "I'll send copies of the Civil Advisory Group's roster, including pictures, to each of your comm accounts. The Syndicate doesn't have a long-range subspace transmitter; we'll communicate directly with them once we enter orbit in a few hours."

    Thalen taps at a data tablet with a stylus. He says to Graham, "I'll give you and Ens. Kylah access to the CAG's transmissions. We don't have their logs; those were kept on-planet. My preliminary review of their weekly check-in updates showed no particular cause for concern, although you may see something I missed. Being on SI2 is no picnic of an assignment for those officers, that's for sure."
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 20 May 2016 at 12:33 AM.

  8. #158
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    Kylah looks down again, hiding the pang of distress she feels when Singh chastises Mr. Rangin. Even now, she cannot help her emotions where he is concerned.

    "I imagine the landing party needs a science officer with the expertise to refine sensors so that they may distinguish and identify non-Iotian lifeforms," she ventures, still aiming her words as if dictating to her datapad. "As to reviewing the transmissions, Lt. Thalen, I doubt there is anything I would find that you could not. But I will do my best, sir.

    "I have another question. Whoever is chosen for the landing party... would they benefit from a summary of this 'book'? I mean, to fit in with the culture... the clothing, the language, and so on. I would recommend it to those who go, sir. If not to blend in and go unnoticed, it would at least show respect to their culture. No matter how odd it seems to humans whose past was mimicked, I think the Iotians might appreciate the gesture."

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    At Kylah's last suggestion, Collins inwardly rolls her eyes. Respectfully, she asks "Why? We don't do that for any other world. Besides, the garments worn at that time on Earth were highly impractical. If that's how the Iotians dress, it's a wonder they got as far as they have."

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    "Of course you have greater experience in such missions and landing parties, Lieutenant," Kylah says in her soft, even tone. "It is simply my observation, as someone from one of those other worlds to which Starfleet has... made its presence known... as well as from my own experience meeting with dignitaries and so on, that acceding to local customs would be a gracious and much-appreciated diplomatic gesture. To be honest, if this is not standard behavior when meeting with extremely insulated cultures such as the Iotians, I believe it should be. If you will excuse the suggestion, ma'am," she adds quickly with a shy nod toward Captain Singh.

    She turns back to her roommate, her eyes full of genuine confusion. "I am sorry, I do not understand the objection. Both you and Lt. Cmdr. Roble have just told us of Starfleet's previous encounters with these people. The Enterprise team was not welcome and was captured multiple times. Now the Potemkin team is missing, possibly endangered. It seems--forgive me, I do not wish to presume to advise Security on how to behave, but--" Kylah's worried glance shifts to Mr. Graham to see if he, too, disagrees with her. "--But it seems to me that any landing party is very likely to be unwelcome among such volatile people, and in potentially dangerous territory. Would it not be prudent to blend in?"

    Suddenly aware that she has already said far more than she intended in this meeting, Kylah lifts her shoulders in mute apology and sits back further in her chair, privately vowing to remain silent unless spoken to.
    Last edited by choie; 20 May 2016 at 08:26 AM.

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    Thalen nods. "I'll send you links to The Book, too. Although it's out of print on Earth, the text and illustrations are in Federation records."

    Roble says, "The CAG wears Starfleet uniform, as Kirk and his landing party did - at least initially." He thinks. "Depending on what we find when we get there, it might be wise to wear local garb, as Kirk and his First Officer eventually did in order to infiltrate a boss's HQ. What do the rest of you think?"

  12. #162
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    Graham rubs his chin. "It's even possible that going in under cover, as it were, is the only way to get accurate information: I mean, if our folks really got caught up in some kind of power struggle, if we show up in Starfleet uniforms every side is going to bullshit us from the get-go to try and get us to do their dirty work for them..."

    He glances at the Captain. "Uh, excuse my language, ma'am." He clears his throat. "If these are like the gangs I've run up against before, there's a non-zero chance whatever happened to the CAG is a frame-up job, designed to lure us in to uh, 'whack somebody' is the saying from old Earth, if I recall correctly."

    He glances at Kylah with a small nod. "Even if we aren't under cover, the fact is that unless we're willing to use a prohibitive level of force, to some extent we're going to have to play the game by local rules...that makes me inclined to 'fit in' more rather than less."

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    I am *not* wearing one of those flimsy, fringey dresses. I'll wear a suit and hide my hair. Collins muses.

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    There is considerable further discussion, and eventually the Captain rises. "I'll reserve judgment on costuming for now. Thank you, everyone. You may return to your stations. Dismissed."

    Kylah checks a chrono and ship's status board; the Yorktown will arrive at Sigma Iotia II in an hour and a half.

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    Collins enters the Bridge and sees Lt. Onn in the big chair. Good for her, she thinks and takes her seat.

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    As Graham enters the bridge he experiences a strange moment seeing Nia in the big chair: funny, I always pictured Bennett in the captain's seat on a ship like this...not that Nia doesn't fit the role of a captain, but somehow, I thought a sleeker ship, a pilot's ship like a corvette...

    Nonetheless, she fills it well--from both a command presence and aesthetic perspective.

    He clears his throat and, if he catches Nia's eye, offers a crisp nod of his head as he resumes his station.

    "Ma'am," he says formally--although he's pretty sure th...playfulness...is visible in his eyes.

    Huh, playfulness...that's out of character for you Booker...at least these days...

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    Rangin takes his seat back at his station relieving the officer there and sits down to check the sensors and then start preparing for any journey down to SIII. The more he thought about it the more a sigh seemed appropriate.

    He had't really joined in the discussions as other seemed more content to discuss whether they should be in uniform or not. For himself, it is a simple choice. If they are going as open representatives of Starfleet to be noticed by all and sundry, then go in uniforms. If they are going to actually do some work which would require interacting with the natives on a native basis then, go in native dress. The uniform may well be fitting, clean, durable and impervious to most things but it stuck out like a sore thumb. It's hard to do any kind of tracking when you're the most obivous thing for miles around. But, the chances are that those in charge would want to see them in their finest before they were allowed to change.

    While glancing at the scanner logs, Rangin brings up the local types of garments worn on the planet and feels a small pain behind his eyes as he realises that they could be wearing suits. Last time he had, well that didn't work out so well. Of course, it appeared he had little choice being apparently part of the designated landing party. He had no idea when he had been granted that particular position, and while there were several who wanted the chance, leaping into unknown danger is not one of his current life choices. However, it seems the captain has chosen him for some, as yet unknown reason, although at least he could remain in blue, instead of the more ill-fated red that a certain other person would be wearing.

    Nevertheless, if he is going to be sent down to the planet's surface, it's better to be prepared and he starts collating information on the locals to be able to distinguish between them and any Federation personnel who just happened to be there.
    In the land of the blind, the one-arm man is king.

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    Rangin learns that the inhabitants of the planet have the same basic humanoid genome found (to the decades-long perplexity of Federation anthropologists) on Class M worlds throughout the galaxy. There is no way, by appearance at least, to distinguish a resident of SI2 from one of Earth. He finds extensive costume records in the Library Computer, including the illustrated Chicago Mobs of the Twenties.

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    Collins searches for info on SI2's legislative and constabulary set up

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    Swiveling in the captain's chair, Nia acknowledges the threesome entering the Bridge. "Well, welcome back, Lt. Collins. Ensign Rangin." She pauses just slightly to give Booker a bit of a glom, which he deserves thanks to that glitter in his eye. "Ensign Graham," she finishes, her voice unchanged but her eyelids lowering a fraction even as her left eyebrow rises. "Nice to have you with us again."

    The last words are intended mostly for Booker but her look includes all three. "Anything you can tell us about the plans once we get to our destination?" She hesitates again. "Will a party be beaming down?"

    Her concern is unspoken, but she can't help giving Booker's leg another glance. If there's any kind of landing party, would Vargas really include a guy whose physical condition's still probably not 100% after being blasted by a Klingon disruptor?
    Last edited by SidonianGal; 23 May 2016 at 09:53 PM.

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    After noting the time, Kylah tries to catch up with Lt. Thalen. As she does, she quickly sends off a message to Mr. Graham. I do not know if I am to return to the Bridge; did you wish to look over the communications from the Potemkin team together? -- KYLAH

    If she does reach Thalen, she says: "Excuse me, Lieutenant? I am afraid I am not entirely certain of my orders. If I should find anything, once I look over the data, do you wish me to send a report to you and the rest of the landing party? If so, may I know who is going, other than--" Kylah's voice catches and she hopes her awkwardness is not too obvious. "Well... Captain Singh did mention Mr. Rangin, so I... I know he is to beam down. But I missed any mention of the composition of the rest of the team. I assume you are going...?"

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    Graham clears his throat and glances at Collins, hoping he's not stepping on her toes, then back to Nia. "Well, we discussed what a landing party would wear, local garb or standard issue--and, ah, if I can speak freely--if this is really a culture based on organized crime, based on my experience, unless we're willing to issue ultimatums that we back up by bombardment from orbit, I suspect face-to-face interaction is the only way to find out what's going on with the missing team."

    "Ma'am," he adds after a brief pause, looking at Nia for slightly longer than necessary and thinking how truly awesome it would be to clear the bridge and take that uniform off right now...

    Then a notification from his console catches his eye, and he chastises himself: idiot, you didn't ask what Kylah's next assignment was...

    He taps a response. Yes we should get a room... He edits that: We should get a conference room so we can work undisturbed.

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    Collins learns, from the CAG's reports, that the Syndicate is guided by the President and CEO (Okmyx) and the Chairman of the Board of Directors (Krako). The Board is composed of the bosses - or capos, in the old Mafia parlance - of the various regional gangs. A rudimentary form of democracy has taken root in some of the smaller regions, but most of the bosses got their titles by force, threats or guile. There is no legislature, as such; the judiciary is small and relatively powerless, especially if a boss takes a personal interest in a case from his region. SI2 lacks a constabulary; armed mooks answering to each boss function as a de facto police. "It is not," one CAG member dryly wrote last year, "an especially healthy state of affairs."

    Roble and Thalen share the information they said they would, sending it to your individual comm accounts. Kylah soon has a response to her query: Share any report or recommendation of yours with everyone who was at the meeting, please. Not sure if I will be in any landing party; the Captain will decide based on what we find once we arrive. THALEN.

    The Yorktown is still racing along at Warp 8.

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    With another nod, Nia is about to thank Booker when he seems to get a message from someone. Rather than interrupt him, she just says a general "I see. Well, we should be there pretty soon enough. Mr. Sasok, those pesky sensors seem to be holding up just fine, right? I wonder if Engineering will consider running diagnostics on any other IFSs we have in stock--or whatever else we received from the same source--just in case."

    She thinks a bit more. "Y'know, either way, if we are the first ship to have problems with this batch, I think we'd better enter a note to the Starfleet database about the malfunctions in these two sensors. This way if anyone else does end up having the same issue, they'll get the info we didn't. Can you take care of that when you get a chance, Mr. Sasok? Make sure you get the lot and serial numbers." She smiles almost sheepishly. "Probably didn't need to mention that. Sorry."

    Noting out of the corner of her eye that Booker is done with his message, Nia turns back to him with a smile. There's worry behind it. She's curious--maybe even apprehensive--about whether Vargas just gave him orders to get ready for beaming down. Still she doesn't refer to it, saying only, "Thanks for the report, Mr. Graham. Your strategy makes sense. I imagine any humans who end up going down there will be in for quite a warped view of their own history. Can't even guess how I'd feel, finding some planet that had replicated ancient Sidonia..."

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    Collins has a hard time wrapping her mind around such an anarchistic society. She decides to read 'the book' that started this, to better get a handle on how to approach the Iotians.

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    Kylah pauses in the corridor to read Thalen's message, and then Graham's. She gnaws on her lip for a moment in thought, sends a quick "thank you" to Thalen, then responds to the security officer. Yes, Mr. Graham, I will check to see if any suitable rooms are available and, if so, reserve one for us. I will let you know shortly. -- KYLAH

    She searches for any space nearby that might have a Library Computer. If she finds one, she will login, search the ship's layout and try to find and book any available public space. (Indeed, she realizes that any room with the Library Computer might itself serve their purpose, if they would not be disturbing anyone.)

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    Graham notices Kylah's respone an dhis jaw tightens slightly. He looks and responds to Nia's comment.

    "It may all "the Book" from Earth did was give the Sigma Iotians some new slang and fashion advice. Whole societies that make preying on the weak a way of life crop up all over--places like Cordian, Orion..." He shakes his head and his tone darkens slightly. "Just like people who do too."

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    Sasok nods. "Of course, Lieutenant. I will see to it."

    Collins sees that reading all of The Book might take her quite a bit longer than the 85 minutes or so now remaining before the Yorktown arrives.

    Kylah does not have to look far before finding an empty conference room with a Library Computer terminal. Just as she's about to enter, someone calls her name from down the corridor. It is Ens. Jim Delaney, who walks up and says, "Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner, Ensign. I took a look at your communicator and scanned it."

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    Collins decides reading an abridged version of the book might be a better idea given the time constraints, and searches for one.

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    Kylah steps back in surprise. She starts to respond and cuts herself off when she realizes she was about to address him as Lieutenant. But of course... he was demoted. Partly because of her.

    Swiftly she changes her wording and greets him warmly. "Mr. Delaney, I was not expecting to see you! I greatly appreciate your taking the time to...to assist me." Kylah looks down at his hands and utility belt, wondering if he brought the device with him. The knowledge that her broken communicator might be connected to the sinister, mysterious events alluded to by Darren Zweller fills with her anxiety. Her mouth feels dry, while her clasped hands are paradoxically cold and clammy.

    Show nothing. Stay focused. She flicks her gaze up to Delaney's attractive face. "Did you--did you learn anything?"

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    Although she takes the time to thank Sasok, Nia is aiming a somewhat wry look at Booker. She lowers her voice to a level inaudible by anyone but him. "Very oblique," she murmurs, keeping her eyebrow raised.

    "Seriously, you know at least three of us know exactly who you're insulting, not to mention the damsel-in-distress you're referring to. I know how you feel, but try not to start any ruckus here on the Bridge, okay? You can challenge the little guy to fisticuffs later, if it floats your boat. But goad him here and you'll make me look bad. You wouldn't wanna do that, would you?" She smiles sweetly at Booker.

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    "I don't think it's possible to make you look bad," Graham whispers back--but he shrugs in acquiescence and nods his head slightly.

    Then he clears his throat. "Ah, anyway, I'd like permission to leave the bridge to review the the CAG's previous transmission with Mr.--" He pauses. "Uh to review the CAG's previous transmissions. I'd prefer to do that somewhere quiet."

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    Nia's head tilts as she scrutinizes Booker. His manner is suddenly cagey. "Okaaay," she says, the single word light but guarded. "Permission granted, Ensign. We've got a surfeit of Security in here anyway." One corner of her mouth lifts with a smile. "So by all means, go meet with 'Mr. Uh.'"

    Is it Cece Bennett? Is that why he's acting all shifty? I don't think she was part of that meeting, but maybe she was. Or... then again...

    Nia glances around the Bridge, somewhat unnecessarily because her situational awareness isn't so bad that she doesn't know the precise complement of crew currently under her command. Her focus homes in on the Communications station, where the person seated there is most definitely not a curvy little Elasian.

    Of course, Nia thinks with a sense of inevitability. She never did return from the meeting. So either she got stuck in a freak wormhole on the way back, she's had another one of her emotional breakdowns... or she's the one Booker's meeting on the sly.

    She nods to herself, understanding his attempt at discretion a little better, though unable to suppress a flicker of annoyance at this overprotective obsession Booker's got regarding this girl. Still, Nia gestures toward the stairs to the turbolift without losing her playful smile. "Dismissed, Ensign."

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    Chicago Mobs of the Twenties was published in 1992 and, as noted earlier, has long been out of print. Collins can find no abridged version of it, although Federation archives offer considerable historic material on the period.

    Delaney has the ruined communicator in his right hand. He scratches the back of his head with the other, raising a cowlick. "As far as I can tell, the metals and plastics in the device just melted; I can't determine precisely how it happened. You weren't holding it at the time, were you? Anything that fried the communicator would have likely affected you, as well... unless it were some sort of radiation that you're, uh, resistant to, as, you know, an Elasian. Um." He smiles nervously and looks down. "Is there anything on the ship that, uh, you're likely to encounter that would've had such an effect?"

    Various people have come and gone from the Bridge while the senior staff was being briefed. Currently, Lt. JG Ernesto Garcia is at Communications, with Lt. JG John Brooks at Nav, Ens. Horst Leventhal at Helm, Rangin at Science I, Collins at Security, Graham at Tactical, Sasok at Engineering and Ens. Nell Carmichael at Life Sciences.

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    Kylah stares in confusion at Delaney. He seems so nervous, or awkward, and she does not know why. "I cannot imagine what could have done what you describe... you say it was melted?" She shakes her head in disbelief. "I do not go many places on the ship--the Communications center, the Bridge, the Mess Hall, my quarters... that is really all. Except for the Sickbay, I suppose. Melted," she repeats to herself.

    She looks at the device in his hand as if trying to see through its case, which appears intact to her. "What could cause such a thing? You mention radiation... or I suppose some sort of electrical emission too, I suppose? Like a stun. But... the only time I have been stunned was back on Anubis. And I did not even have this communicator back then..."

    Her words fade as she thinks. Could Zweller have stunned her? Kylah unconsciously presses her hand against her stomach. He would have to be mad to use his weapon on a fellow officer while on board a ship. She knows the man is reprehensible, especially if the implication in that sickening note is true. But Zweller is not stupid. If a phaser were to be deployed on board, surely some Security sensor would be alerted, surely someone would have heard or seen it...

    Besides, she realizes abruptly, a mere stun, even on the highest setting, has never been known to do such damage to a communicator, or any such devices on the target's person. And during her check-up with Dr. T'Var, in hopes of finding out the cause of her exhaustion and the loss of her empathic abilities, the doctor mentioned nothing about stun burns or wounds.

    Kylah shrugs helplessly at Delaney. "I'm afraid I have no idea whether I was holding the communicator when... whatever... happened. I only knew it was no longer operational after I found it on my nightstand. I had been feeling unwell during the red alert, and went off-duty. After that..." After that I do not remember anything. What is wrong with me? Zweller must have done something, melted the communicator somehow, but with what? "I--I am grateful for your efforts, Mr. Delaney. Extremely grateful. I suppose it will remain a mystery. Maybe I will never know."

    She hears that her voice has an edge of bitterness and sorrow in it, and she clears her throat to recover herself. She then nods nervously at the useless device. "If you do not mind, may I have it back, in the meantime? I do not know why, but I just feel... there is something more there. Please?"

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    He hesitates for a moment, then hands it to her. "Sure. It's still assigned to you, technically. You got another communicator, though, right? A working one?"

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    Collins sifts through the historical archives, concentrating on the cultural aspects of the time. She compiles a glossary of slang and cultural icons to download to each member of the landing party, once she knows who they are. This will help us, them, to understand the Iotians better. She assumes she'll part of the team, but then again, she might not be.

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    "Thank you," Kylah says, gently taking the communicator in her hand and cupping it as if it is a fragile dove. "I have a new one--my third in as many weeks," she adds with a small, wan smile. "I suppose our quartermaster is getting tired of having to reissue them to me. I hope I will have no need of another for a very long time, if at all."

    She tentatively offers her hand to the Engineering officer. "Thank you again, Mr. Delaney. I am sorry to have bothered you with all this."

    When Delaney leaves, Kylah hesitates and, glancing up at the room number near the door, quickly texts the information to Mr. Graham so that he knows where to meet her. Next she sits down at the Library Computer and enters her password to get access to any files related to the missing team's communications.

    While waiting for the briefing materials to load, Kylah places the old communicator on the desk near her left hand, eyeing it with some lingering concern.

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    Graham proceeds to the location sent by Kylah.

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    Collins finds that there's plenty to work with but, in the time remaining, she's able to put a good chunk of it into a usable format.

    Before he leaves Kylah, Delaney says, "Oh, I thought of one more thing. I suppose exposure to ultrahigh-frequency soundwaves might do this, depending on the Kuehnle modulation - but again, that would affect you, too, and I don't know of anything on the ship that would do it."

    Just a few minutes later, Graham finds Kylah alone in Conference Room 6. On two bulkheads are large framed images of an ancient ocean-going warship.

    The pair which Graham sees lack inscriptions:

    https://c2.staticflickr.com/2/1685/2...4a0a4d36_b.jpg
    http://www.militaryfactory.com/ships...own-cv10_7.jpg

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    When Delaney leaves, Kylah just stands there, trying to extract some meaning from the engineer's words. Ultrahigh frequency... soundwaves? She has no idea what a Kuehnle modulation is, and starts toward the Library Computer to do a lookup, still thinking: How could that be? All that damage... from sound?

    Absently she reaches for the communicator. Then she freezes.

    There is a sustained high pitch lasting some milliseconds before it rises even higher, impossibly high, burrowing from her ears to her brain, until it is inaudible but definitely still there, and then--

    Her free hand jerks up to cover her left ear until the sensation--a memory, or a memory of a dream, perhaps--ebbs. Shuddering, Kylah searches the room, grounding herself in now, the reality in which there is no strange sound, nothing that hurts her.

    She has no idea what she just experienced. The more she searches her mind to recapture the memory, the more elusive it seems to be.

    "I am going mad," she whispers, hugging herself. After another few seconds she again moves to the terminal to look up that strange name Delaney mentioned. But then a noise alerts her that she is no longer alone. She pivots on her heel, not knowing what to expect, only to find Mr. Graham. He seems to be focusing on some pictures that Kylah did not even notice until now.

    "Mr. Graham." The words come out like a croak, and she clears her throat before repeating his name. She backs her way to the chair beside the terminal, turning it with one hand before she inhales deeply and takes a seat. "I am ready to begin when you are, sir."

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    Rangin continues to gather together data for a tricorder for any party member, apparently including himself according to the Captain, so that they would be able to tell the difference between the locals and Starfleet without having to rely on a uniform.

    Of course, from looking at the local situation, they Iotians seem to be in the same state as Coridan, only several hundred years ago and certainly nowhere near as corrupt and dangerous as his home planet. In some ways it was quite worrying in that he had left his home planet in order to assist with removing the corruption and setting an example. Now it appears he is about to go down to a planet that is in the same situation and created by the Federation. He isn't sure that bodes well for any future assistance, especially when the person who most closely fits the bill of general thug and all round bully was another earthling: Ens. Graham.
    In the land of the blind, the one-arm man is king.

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    Graham allows...well, pushes himself to be distracted by pictures of some ungainly sort of ship--although he's certain it's a warship--while Kylah, clearly not expecting anyone, does...whatever she's doing...

    His feelings--which, given Kylah's apparent distancing of herself from Rangin, Collin's outreach, and her acceptance of the idea of self-defense classes, were fairly optimistic--turn once more toward concern. Then he notices the...what the hell...?

    Graham shrugs slightly and gestures toward the near slag heap on the desk. "Did that communicator, ah...get on your bad side?" he asks softly, forcing a small smile (not without some hope there's a hilarious story behind it...but not banking on it either)....

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    Kylah tilts her head in puzzlement. "Get on my bad side? I do not... Oh. You are joking." She tries a fleeting smile to acknowledge his effort, then slowly covers the communicator beneath her palm, hiding it from his scrutiny.

    Still, her answer is mostly the truth. "I cannot explain what happened to it. All I know is, it happened either during or after the engagement with the Klingons. I was excused from duty since I had been up for too long and felt weak. I remember having the communicator in the turbolift, because there was a message from--"

    No, do not tell him, it will only start something! "From a colleague. After that, I think I slept. I think." When she repeats the words, her voice lowers in doubt. After all, this would have been the time when Darren Zweller got inside to write his note, and do... whatever to her.

    "Anyway," she presses on hurriedly, "when I eventually woke up, there it was, on my nightstand... like this." Her fingers lift briefly to reveal the communicator, then conceal it again. "I asked Mr. Delaney about it and he could not think of anything on the ship that could have affected it this way, melting its insides, not without harming me too. I did feel bad for several days, all told, but Dr. T'Var could not find anything."

    She waves it away with a brusque shake of her head. "It must have been some freak occurrence, a surge of electricity or radiation, or maybe even soundwaves." Kylah lifts her right hand in a gesture of casual dismissal. "I do not know. It is nothing. Except that I hope I do not lose anything else. I have already lost or destroyed two communicators, my knives, Mother's jewelry, even a uniform..." Kylah frowns, having forgotten that. Why did the muggers take her uniform?

    "I am sorry, that is more than you needed to hear. We should look at the data sent to us. Although I expect others have already analyzed it; I doubt I will find anything. I cannot analyze as well as Lt. Thalen, or any of the rest. Lt. Collins seemed to be doing things I would normally do. I suppose I am not really... trusted yet. Which is fair. I would not trust me, given the way I have performed and acted in public."

    Now she is getting too close for comfort to talking about the memorial service, and Kylah cannot let that happen. She takes a stab at another smile, self-deprecating, but looking up at Mr. Graham does not give her confidence that he is convinced. "Please, sir," she says, her smile fading but hidden when she pulls out the chair next to her, simultaneously drawing a little further away from it. "Sit down and tell me what you wish to do."
    Last edited by choie; 26 May 2016 at 09:23 PM.

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    Graham spends moment studying Kylah's demeanor, then nods slightly and takes the offered seat.

    "Well, I for one trust that as much--or more--than anyone you'd pick up on any changes in the tone or content of the CAG's transmissions, however subtle."

    He pauses a moment, "But before we dive into that, are you sure there isn't anything Security--or just a friend--maybe should know that, uh, is bothering you?" He he shrugs slightly and softens his tone. "Anything at all, not matter how small?"

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    Kylah starts typing instructions to access the transmissions, but when Mr. Graham's words cease, her fingers tap more and more slowly. Eventually she draws them away from the panel, shrinking back and staring down at it in silence.

    "Yes, sir," she murmurs, eyes fixed on the panel rather than Mr. Graham. "There is nothing you can do, not now, but... I am frightened. There is something strange happening to me and I do not understand it.

    "During the red alert, I remember nothing after being inside the turbolift. I just woke up, twelve hours later. That is nothing unusual, I know, sleep deprivation does strange things. But... it is more than that."

    She swallows. She still aims her words at the Library Computer's panel as if it is a recording device. "I--I am afraid that while I was asleep, during the red alert... someone was in my quarters. With me. Not Lt. Collins." Kylah's head lowers until she now faces the hands twisting in her lap.

    Her words fall still quieter. "When I woke up, there was a note. And the broken communicator. And I was... My uniform was gone. My uniform, my boots, my stockings... everything was gone."

    The embarrassment is so red and hot on her skin that it must be emanating toward Mr. Graham. Somehow she finds the strength to blurt out the rest. "All I wore was one of my night robes. Something not meant to be worn alone, because it is not--" Kylah gestures vaguely to her uniform. "It is almost completely sheer. The robe is for hot weather, part of a matching set with a silk nightgown and slippers.

    "I never wear the robe by itself, Mr. Graham. I know Elasian clothing is leered at for being less restrictive, but by itself the robe is only a--a pretense of coverage. I am not... I would never wear that on its own. Never. But there it was."

    Kylah sniffs, feeling tears coming on and knowing she must control herself. "I cannot remember any of it. Even Dr. T'Var could not identify why my memories are gone, or why I slept so long. So I will probably never know what happened for sure. Not how I got that way, or what--" She chokes, nearly a sob, then takes a breath and finishes in a whisper. "--What happened in between."

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    Graham is silent--hardly breathing--as he listens intently to what Kylah is (somewhat to his surprise--and relief, not that he knows the seriousness of what's been eating her up inside) revealing.

    In some ways, the horribleness of it makes it easier to deal with, and to respond: I'm shit at interacting with my daughter, or with a young woman who sometimes reminds me of her, or simply with Ens. Kylah so far...but I have some training and experience to fall back on dealing with victims of a crime...

    Graham leans forward, but this time he's in control of any instinct to put an arm on her shoulder: instead he turns the chair to face her directly and clasps his hands in front of him, just above his knees and between the two of them: close, but without any threat of making contact with her own anxiously twisting fingers--at least not initiated by him.

    He closes his eyes for a moment, then looks back at hers, leaning down a little bit so he's as close to speaking at eye level as he can be without unnatural contortions.

    It's almost...a relief...yes, I have to fight to not imagine what it would be like if it were Lizzy telling me this, yes, even though I know it's not Lizzy I want to do...something...to make it better, to...protect her or more accurately to have, somehow, known enough to prevent this from happening...but unlike not knowing what to do like the FUBAR on OCIII or the shit with Rangin...I...have a... path...to be useful...

    "Kylah..." he pauses a moment. "I know that must have been very difficult for you to share. I, uh--" He glances down just for a moment. "Unfortunately, I have some experience with incidents--bad, uh, mysteries--like these. With people who just like you had nothing to be ashamed of," he adds, shaking his head slightly.

    He rubs his chin, then re-clasps his hands. "I'd like to ask you to let me to investigate a bit--nothing formal," he's quick to add. "Confidential, Very quiet, off the record...and I won't do anything rash, even though I guess you have reason not to trust me on that..."

    He clears his throat. "Getting to the bottom of what happened--it's not just a matter of knowing, it's a matter of making sure it won't happen again to you or anyone else."

    "I know it's a lot to ask--" he tries to smile slightly. "But I recall you yelling at me that as an officer you want very much to do your part and be of use...let me be of use on this, please?"

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    Mr. Graham is a blur, with tears clouding her vision, but Kylah pays attention to his words. She almost objects the second he asks to investigate, until he hurries and says that he will be discreet. Of course, as he recognizes, Kylah does not have much trust in his ability to keep his rage--which is always simmering just beneath the point where it will inevitably boil over.

    His last comment makes her laugh. Not with humor.

    "I yelled at you," she repeats with a steel knife's sharpness--and coldness. "Yes, I can well imagine that. It is my way. Was. I have lost control too many times now. And that is the very reason why I..."

    The dampness on her face reminds her to dig into her utility belt for a handkerchief, something a responsible Elasian woman will always have nearby. After blotting her tears, she shakes her head slowly and starts again.

    "Mr. Graham, I appreciate what you are saying. I would not balk if I thought anyone else was at risk for something like this. Assuming anything did happen. I believe I am aware who is--or are--responsible. And why." Kylah gnaws at her bottom lip, now unable to meet Mr. Graham's gaze, no matter how kind he is to her.

    "If I am right, it was... it was a very specific and--and personal act. It was the result of who I am. What I am. What I said, what I did." Each word is emphasized by her fist tightening around her handkerchief. "This person sought to punish me for--"

    Kylah stops herself and uses her handkerchief to dry more unbidden tears. When she continues she does not finish the sentence. "I am not saying I am to blame, exactly," she goes on before he objects. "But I am the cause. My temper and my choices. Stupid choices. And selfish ones, too.

    "If something happened, it occurred during the red alert. They took advantage of the chaos. And they were able to do so because I left my post." Kylah looks up now, her tears morphing into bitterness. "While you were risking your life, and most of the other crew were on active duty, I went to sleep. Like the spoiled princess people call me."

    With another deep breath, she wipes her nose with the handkerchief and stuffs it back in her belt. Then she draws her chair closer to the terminal. "Mr. Graham, I am extremely grateful for your sensitivity and concern. I do think you would try to be discreet. But please... please... do not say anything to anyone. Especially not... anyone whom..." Kylah trembles a little. "You may suspect."

    She tears her gaze from his and looks at the material she called up earlier. "I do not know why I said as much as I did just now," she mutters. "I am sorry. I should not have burdened you. And once more I am being selfish and disregarding my duty." Her fists clench until the nails dig into her own flesh. "You are probably going on a mission, a dangerous one, and I should be doing what I can to assist you in the little time left before we arrive. Please, can we talk about it afterwards? There is nothing that can be accomplished now anyway, and... and you do promise not to speak of it, not to imply anything or to--to intimidate someone you might suspect?"

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    Graham closes his eyes for a moment, and nods. "Right...I'm sure you just want to get back to work. I'll be discreet...I promise, I can do that--honest."

    He clears his throat. "Anyway....so, here's what I thought, and maybe why I was peeved they didn't send any Security along with the CAG. If I was in their shoes, I'd assume: one, every transmission might be bugged; two, calling for immediate evac isn't an option giving the distances; three, if we left an obvious message like 'we're worried about being kidnapped come look for us at Joe Blow's compound on the south side' the bad guys would obviously adjust their plan."

    He shrugs/ "So it may be a wild goose chase, but I thought we"--he emphasizes the "we"--should take a listen to their recent transmissions."

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    Kylah quietly exhales, having held her breath waiting for Mr. Graham's response. He seems to be willing to let the matter rest. Perhaps he has finally reached his tolerance point regarding her constant trevails; Kylah would not be surprised, as most people would have done so long ago. At least he will not go after Mr. Rangin. Not on a landing party mission, I do not think he would be that reckless. Of course she knows it is almost certain Mr. Graham would have the advantage on his smaller colleague in a fight. But if Mr. Rangin were involved with Zweller's plan, there is no telling how crafty and dangerous he might be.

    The thought depresses her and threatens to bring on those blasted tears again. A man she cared so deeply about... to now think of him as a potential conspirator, someone dangerous... it destroys Kylah's confidence in her ability to trust her feelings. I must harden myself. If my empathic abilities ever regain strength, I will not avoid using them, as I did. If I had I might have realized what sort of person Velir truly is. If, indeed, he was partially responsible.

    Even now she holds out some frustratingly nave hope that he was not involved in whatever Zweller--and possibly Ferguson--did to her.

    All this flashes through her mind as Mr. Graham promises to be discreet. Aware that he is probably annoyed with her, Kylah does her best to appease him. "Yes, of course, Mr. Graham," she says quickly but quietly. "I am uncertain whether that era of 20th century Earth had such technology, but after the Enterprise visited them, they could have adapted... especially with one of the crew leaving behind a communicator." Unable to avoid glancing at the ruined device beside her, she tries to be surreptitious as she tucks it into her belt alongside her current communicator. "So--so yes. I will call up the transmissions now, sir."

    She begins the process of playing any recorded voice transmissions, if there are any. If so, she will concentrate as best she can to find any signs of interference, or hesitance on the CAG team members' part. Almost to herself, she murmurs, "If they really believed they were being audited, perhaps they tried to get some message across in subtext. Something others might not have recognized, and so they failed to understand what was being said."

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