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

  1. #201
    Ape must not kill ape! general_urko's avatar
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    "That's why you're the right person for the job, Mr. Kylah," Graham says quietly, looking over her shoulder.

    At the same time he's thinking: one, what would he have done if he were assigned to the CAG? Established a series of code word with my Security liaison in advance, he thinks, suppressing a growl of frustration.

    And he's turning over what Kylah said in his mind: I'm actually having a hard time squaring this with Rangin's...style...melted communicator? Too...gauche, crude, not oh-so-clever enough... What would his angle be that would make it clever enough?

    He tries to put that aside to focus on the task at hand - SI2, as well as not screwing up the fact that Kylah was willing to stop trying to go it alone...

  2. #202
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    All of the weekly check-ins by Lt. Cmdr. Robert "Bob" Hadley, a xenosociologist and the CAG commanding officer, have been unremarkable since the Potemkin left SI2. Hadley did not use any of the under-duress codewords provided for under Starfleet communications protocols, and did not report any particular difficulties other than what you already knew about from the briefing.

    Included in Starfleet records is a roster of the other members of the CAG: Lt. Sarah Wilder, economist; Lt. JG Joseph M. Morris, historian; Ens. Beatrice Erickson, accountant; and Lt. Erich Stendahl, political scientist. All have good records and Wilder, in particular, is noted in her field.

  3. #203
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    Kylah sits back slowly, shaking her head. She had a feeling all along that there would be nothing to find. Lt. Thalen had listened; others had listened. She does not presume to think her abilities to detect nuance--not from a recording, and certainly not with her empathic sense, her one unique skill, so sharply diminished--exceed that of her superiors.

    "I am sorry, Mr. Graham. I wish I could have helped you. If there is anything else you believe I can research, please let me know." She tries to sound professional; it will do nothing for his estimation of her capabilities as an officer if she cannot rebound from failure.

    Taking a deep breath, she turns to him. "By the way, if I remember Earth's calendar and its customs correctly, today is a holiday for you, is it not? Do you celebrate St. Valentine's Day, where you are from?" After a pause she holds her hand out awkwardly. "If so, I wish you a happy day."

  4. #204
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    Ajay takes a breather and looks down the long list of things he is being asked to do that evening. Valentine's Day is always busy, no matter where they were in the Galaxy, it always seemed to be something that people from Earth just wanted to celebrate...in all its forms. Ajay is no different, of course, he is hoping to celebrate it with T'Var, but there are still a lot of people who looking for that little bit extra for someone they fancy.

    Speaking of which, there is someone missing from the list who normally took every opportunity going, but had a few admirers with gifts for her, and Ajay pulls out a communicator to drop a message.

    Hey Nia. I've got several inches of exquisite, culinary pleasure just waiting for you. And a few other things besides. Happy Valentines Day.

  5. #205
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    On the Bridge, the buzz of Nia's communicator tickles her lower hip. Since the Yorktown is cruising speedily along with its usual smooth efficiency, Nia feels it's safe to check to see who's contacting her. It's unlikely to be an emergency given its text nature.

    The sender's name makes her eyes crinkle with a hint of a smile; the message itself nearly leads her to lose her professional composure with a chuckle at A.J.'s irrepressible humor. She controls the impulse and just shakes her head in amusement while replying.
    You're currently corresponding with the woman sitting in the captain's chair, in command of the Bridge. And while she's intrigued by Johnson's much-praised inches of delight (mostly praised by himself), she'll reluctantly have to wait to give them a taste.

    Happy V. Day to you, too, dearest AJ.
    She sends the note, and then pauses. Oh, go ahead. Who else are you going to lean on, Bennett? Almost snorting, Nia promptly flips open her communicator again and taps out a second response:
    Addendum: Actually I didn't even remember what day it was. Mr. G. said nothing about it. We were due to have A Talk later, but our plans are likely to be scuttled by the ship's upcoming mission. Be prepared: I might need some chocolate.
    That accomplished, Nia slides the communicator back in place and crosses her legs, watching the stars ahead for a few thoughtful moments before asking each of the Bridge officers for their status updates.

    Once business is taken care of, she continues to keep her fellow officers engaged in conversation. Her current chosen topic: whether the current non-Terran Bridge officers have any equivalents to Valentine's Day in their respective cultures.
    Last edited by SidonianGal; 29 May 2016 at 06:50 PM.

  6. #206
    Ape must not kill ape! general_urko's avatar
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    Graham's about to tell Kylah she has nothing to apologize for when she extends her hand with a reminder that it's Valentine's Day, and that his--girlfriend? Is Nia a "girlfriend?" Well, whatever the word back on Earth she'd be "somebody who'd expect me to say something on Valentine's Day--is sitting on the Bridge he vacated not long ago.

    "Oh...shit," Graham blurts out. "Uh, I mean..." He flushes slightly. "Yes, ah, you know Earth's holidays better than me, I guess--I'd forgotten." He clears his throat. "It's, ah, kind of a romantic holiday...."

    Memories tumble together: clumsily cutting out red paper a card for Fiona as soon as he was old enough she was getting none--or at least none she wanted--from anyone else...dinners with Jane, surprise visits home...what would Nia make of a box of Valentine's Day chocolates?

    "But it's for friends, too." He takes her hand, then folds his other had on top and squeezes gently, smiling slightly. "I wish you a happy day, too."

  7. #207
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    The Yorktown continues speeding on its way; status reports from each Bridge station show that all is well. Sasok raises an eyebrow, smiles ever-so-slightly and says, "You will not be surprised to learn that there is no Vulcan equivalent to 'Valentine's Day,' Lieutenant."

    Ten minutes before the mighty starship is to enter the Sigma Iotia system, the Captain returns to the Bridge.
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 30 May 2016 at 12:13 AM.

  8. #208
    I'm the Cute one! =^.^= anyrose's avatar
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    The talk of Valentine's Day makes Collins smile as she thinks about what she and Cooper will be up to later, or after the mission. I'd better let him know. She composes a message to her paramour We might have to postpone dinner "and". We'll be at Sigma Iotia II soon and I still don't know if I will be in the landing party, but if I am, I may not be back aboard by dinnertime. Hugs, Jer.

  9. #209
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    Kylah inhales sharply when Mr. Graham clasps her hand with both of his. There is something that passes from him to her. Strangely it is not an emotion, exactly, but a color that flashes in her mind: Red. Of course her first thought is blood--he is a Security officer and he was recently injured, and there have been deaths in his past. But the red is warm, comforting, affectionate. It is not the angry color of violence.

    She almost wants to remain here, in this position, to see if she can gain any more insight to what she is sensing from him. Kylah suddenly remembers that this is how she first began experiencing the emotions transmitted from others when she was very, very young: she saw them as colors, or even vague shapes. It was back when she was pre-verbal, or at least had a very limited vocabulary, and thus had no way to express or comprehend what she felt when people touched her or were merely nearby.

    It has been almost a week since she touched anyone other than Dr. T'Var. And Kylah cannot sense anything from Vulcans, not with their emotions so tightly controlled. Too, Kylah has stayed away from almost everyone during this time. So it is no wonder that this new development was noticed only just now. The effect is remedial compared with how vividly Kylah has often been barraged with the feelings of others.

    Somehow she must find a medium between emptiness and overwhelming chaos. But then, that has been the chief challenge of her entire life thus far, and she has yet to master it.

    Now, instead of keeping her hand where it is, she squeezes Mr. Graham's large hand in return, nodding in gratitude by his sentiment before letting go. "Thank you, sir. I suppose I should return to the Communications Center. We are likely almost at our destination." Kylah pauses and chews her lower lip again. "Sir, doubtless I will not be participating in the mission. As I said before, I have heard nothing, and I cannot see how I would be of value. Not after my past--"

    She is not sure how to complete that sentence, so she starts again. "That is... Dr. T'Var once told me she would ensure I did not put a mission at risk due to my... instability. I would not be surprised if she has done so by now. I do not blame her. I expect I will not be trusted, that I will have to earn the responsibilities I wish to take on. Maybe I am wrong, but... I just... I do not expect people to forget the trouble I have caused so soon."

    Kylah shakes her head and tries to hold her chin up. "So--so I just want to say that, if you do go on this mission, I hope you will be careful, and wish you the very best. And--if there is anyone along who--" Again she pauses. There is little use in being so delicate; they both know whom she means. Inhaling, she rushes forward: "If Mr. Rangin is there, you will try not to say anything about... anything? I am sure you will be too busy with the mission goal to think of me, but I do know that he has the ability to--well, the both of you have the ability to get underneath each other's skin. Do not let him."

  10. #210
    Ape must not kill ape! general_urko's avatar
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    "You won't say anything...anything!"

    Lizzy is looking up at him, chin held high, adamant and worried at the same time.

    But I don't like the guy, he thinks. But under her gaze--both imploring and withering at the same time--he can't bullshit himself, let alone her.

    Would you ever like any guy trying to date your daughter? The galaxy's greatest braniac wouldn't be strong enough. Some Security goon like you wouldn't be smart enough. And anybody with any purpose in life but to lay it down without the slightest hesitation for her...well, that's a lot to ask of a 16-year old who just wants to take her to a dance...


    Kylah's stance and rush of words evokes a memory that hits Graham like a photon torpedo.

    "I..."

    The pause is too long, but he doesn't have words for a moment.

    "Your secret is safe with me," Graham replies. "I should go," he mumbles, nodding and turning to the door.
    Last edited by general_urko; 30 May 2016 at 06:25 PM. Reason: typo

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    Gotcha, Cooper responds to Collins. Let's play it by ear, then. XOXO.

    Singh walks to the big chair. "I relieve you, Mr. Onn. Report, please."

    A few minutes later the bosun's whistle on the conference room's tabletop comm panel sounds, followed by, "Ens. Graham, Ens. Kylah, please report to the Bridge."
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 01 Jun 2016 at 07:47 AM.

  12. #212
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    Graham heads for the Bridge.

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    Kylah watches Mr. Graham start to leave when she hears the hail. Her eyes widen in surprise--she was not expecting to be needed on the Bridge again--and she turns to join Mr. Graham, only to discover that he has already left without her. For an instant she wonders if she has offended him. Then she hurries to follow, leaving a respectful space between them as she obeys the command to get to the Bridge.

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    "I stand relieved, ma'am," Onn says before giving a brief report to Singh, who takes the big chair.

    Graham takes up his Tactical post again. Thalen, at Communications, motions to Kylah to take his place, then stands nearby, his blue hands folded behind his back.

    Before giving up his spot at the Helm to Onn, Leventhal says, "Approaching Sigma Iotia II, Captain."

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    After sitting, then turning toward the main viewscreen so that she can view the approach to their destination, Kylah looks up at her superior officer. "I am sorry I have nothing useful to report, sir," she says in a hushed tone. While she speaks, she adjusts her earpiece to see if she can discern any outgoing communication as the Yorktown heads nearer to the planet.

    But her gaze remains on Lt. Thalen as she continues. "I learned a little more about the missing team members, though probably nothing Security did not know. Otherwise I could glean nothing new from their messages. I would not expect to, after you had already been through them."

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    When Nia crosses over to the Helm, she catches a glimpse of Booker entering the Bridge. She doesn't exactly do a double-take--she's not some overemotional human teenager--but once she's in her chair and puts her hands at the ready to bring the ship out of warp, she tilts her head to aim a welcoming smile at him. A very welcoming smile.

    Please don't let Singh order him down there, she thinks anxiously, though her face doesn't change its calm affect. Or at least let me go down there too. Can't see why I'd be part of a landing party, admittedly, unless they might need an engie around, and...

    That's where Nia's imagination fails her. If they need an engineer, Singh'd probably ask any member of the actual engineer crew, not Nia. Why order her down to the planet, just because she can also fly? Well, if they do need a pilot and an engineer, in me they'd get two for the price of one. So the party could be smaller, or pack more Security worker bees.

    All well and good. But she still can't think of a logical reason why a pilot would be useful in the first place. Especially on what looks like it might be an undercover mission. C'mon, genius, you're supposed to be good in off-the-cuff thinking. What rational use would they have for you?

    Finding nothing that fits the bill, she switches to ideas that aren't so logical. Okay, maybe the gangster weirdos travel around in those, what do you call 'em, blimps? Weren't they around on Earth at the time of 'The Book' and all that?

    Oh grief, as A.J. would say. Nia rolls her eyes both at the adherents to this bizarre cult and her own crazy speculation. Yeah. Right. Okay, forget blimps. But they might travel in biplanes. Certainly simple prop planes, anyway. If we need to fit in, and for--um, some reason I can't even begin to fathom--we need to travel... someone who can fly one of those ancient deals could be useful? Maybe?

    Truth be told, Nia wouldn't mind tooling around in one of those rickety things. Five years ago, during a lengthy Earth-based shore leave between ship assignments, she had the chance to fly some recreations of those ancient flying machines--a nice perk of her affair with a handsome young French curator at Le Musée des arts et métiers.

    In fact, she didn't just fly those replicas. Using authentic reclaimed materials from the early 20th century, Nia and her tres bel partner spent a summer building an aircraft recreating the famous Aéroplane Blériot XI--even crossing the Channel, just as the famous pioneer did in his astonishing achievement four centuries earlier.

    It had almost made her homesick. Damned if that light, dangerous but curiously elegant overgrown matchbox wasn't awfully similar to the airships Nia and her parents came up with on Sidonia.

    Except I bet neither my parents or M. Blériot performed some of the aerobatic maneuvers Raphaël and I managed to in that single tiny seat.

    All this flickers in her mind while looking at Booker. When she remembers her activities with Raphaël, her eyes gleam and turn speculative. Booker wouldn't fit in one of those minuscule aircrafts: too bulky. But if she's lucky and she ever gets him alone--whether it's in a shuttle or in her quarters or in a hammock somewhere on Risa--she'll have fun teaching him a physical approximation of the famous Adlion's Tail Over Nose aerobatic stunt. And he can show me the Vertical Erect. Not to mention Kamin's Cobra.

    Her grin widens at the thought and her silent amusement threatens to erupt into a throaty chuckle. She keeps herself together. Damn, do I need me some action or what? I sound as bad as A.J. Frankly, if she were the type to flush, she would.

    Instead she conscientiously drags her attention back to the Helm. And joking aside... Nia still hopes she won't have to worry while Booker's off on a mission. These people might be silly and freakishly devoted to an appropriated culture from centuries ago, with weapons so dated in comparison to Starfleet's arsenal that they might as well be the animal skin slings used on Sidonia not too long in their past.

    But that just means it's all too easy to underestimate how dangerous they really are.
    Last edited by SidonianGal; 03 Jun 2016 at 08:42 AM.

  17. #217
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    Graham's still a little off-balance as a result of the memory evoked by his interaction with Kylah as he enters the Bridge--when he's hit by a hell of a smile from Nia.

    Far from being pissed I didn't say anything on Valentine's Day--assuming she knows what it is--she looks like...well, she looks like it's Valentine's Day and she does know what it is...

    His initial reaction is--well, almost kind of a shell-shocked, deer-in-the-headlights stare, he realizes. But he quickly returns a small that's not as effusive as Nia's, but entirely sincere before clearing his throat and turning his attention to his duty station console.

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    "Thank you, Ensign," Thalen says quietly to Kylah. He smiles. "It's always good to have another pair of eyes look over one's work."

    Graham sees nothing amiss at the Tactical station.

    The Communications officer begins receiving some very faint transmissions in the ancient AM and FM bands from the planet ahead. It appears to be popular entertainment, news and music.

    The Captain leans back in her chair and says, "Put us into a synchronous orbit, Mr. Onn, over the main city. Full scan, Mr. Rangin. Mr. Kylah, hail the CAG on standard frequencies, and encrypt it."
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 05 Jun 2016 at 12:10 AM. Reason: Fixed name.

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    Rangin quickly moves his hands over the panel bringing the full spectrum of the ship's sensors to bear on the planet below.
    In the land of the blind, the one-arm man is king.

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    SI2 is a typical Class M world with a nitrogen-oxygen atmosphere, large saltwater oceans and the usual mix of plains, mountains, forests, deserts, tundra, etc. Surface gravity is 98.2% that of Earth. The Human-genome population is approximately 130 million, settled primarily in eight major cities. There is air and water pollution generally comparable to that of Earth's early 20th century industrialized society. Comparing his readings to those of the USS Potemkin from less than a year ago, Rangin sees no significant changes.
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 03 Jun 2016 at 11:17 PM.

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    Kylah attempts to hail the CAG, encrypting the message as ordered.

  22. #222
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    Assisted by her colleague at the Nav, Nia locates Northside Territory, the largest nation-state on the planet, and pinpoints what appears to be the most densely populated area within. She then calculates and establishes a GSO above it. She says nothing, but can't help being curious about the captain's intentions. Maybe we're not intended to be hiding our presence after all. If we are, let's hope they haven't got any advanced astronomers down there, because for sure they'd be interested in a moving body that suddenly appears to stop in its tracks above their biggest city.

  23. #223
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    Graham pulls up whatever information on SI2 weaponry--both small arms and heavier military armament--he can find in Federation files. His emphasis is on confirming they don't have anything that could threaten the ship (which he suspects is true) but more importantly what a landing party could expect to deal with.

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    Kylah begins her transmission. There is no immediate response.

    Onn and Leventhal smoothly bring the Yorktown into the orbit requested by the Captain.

    Graham finds that Starfleet's records of native armaments list only the typical handheld primitive projectile weaponry of Gangland Chicago, primarily machine guns and pistols. (A Potemkin report did refer to relatively-rarer sniper rifles). There is no military on the planet, as such. The Iotians don't, as far as is known, have anything capable of reaching an orbiting starship. Kirk's senior officers noted that they were repeatedly menaced by Iotians with firearms, and personally witnessed one "hit" using weapons closely resembling Thompson submachine ("Tommy") guns.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thompson_submachine_gun

  25. #225
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    Graham unconsciously rubs a...body part...where he'd been previously shot by a gunpowder-based projectile weapon. Primitive compared to phases, but still nothing to sneeze at...

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    Collins finishes compiling her glossary and turns to the main screen to watch the planet come into view.

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    Rangin gives his brief report on the state of the planet to the Captain: it is as expected.

    He then leaves the scanners humming away while turning to the viewscreen to watch the planet come into view.
    In the land of the blind, the one-arm man is king.

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    "Thank you, Mr. Rangin," Singh says.

    Cmdr. Vargas comes onto the Bridge and stands next to the Captain as the Yorktown eases into orbit. Sigma Iotia II, blue, green and cloud-wreathed, lovely as all such planets are to those who come from Earth, slowly turns on the main viewscreen.

    After a couple of minutes, Ens. Kylah finally has an audio response, also encrypted.

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    Kylah's fingers tighten around her earpiece, an instinctive act that does nothing to assist her, before she begins the steps to process the message. "Message response received, Captain," she says quickly. "Decrypting now."

    While doing so, she also asks the computer to refine the communications sensor sweep in an attempt to locate the source's coordinates on the planet below--even if it is only possible to narrow it down to a region, it could be helpful.

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    Kylah sets up and runs a real-time decryption program, and at once hears a male voice. "Yorktown, is that you? Thank God. Do you read me? Come in, Yorktown."

    The transmission is coming from the large city directly below.

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    Kylah sends a questioning glance over to Captain Singh, uncertain whether the captain wishes to speak directly with the man with whom they have made contact. Still, his words seem desperate enough that she does not want to delay a response. She takes a chance to share only the most basic information--and request some, as well. Nothing she will say would be unknown to any captors, if they exist.

    "Yes, sir. This is the Yorktown, and we are reading you clearly." Her voice is low and calm as she speaks into the mic, encrypting the message as it goes out. Meanwhile, her left hand pulls forward the datapad to call up the names of the CAG she and Mr. Graham researched earlier. "Can you please identify yourself, and share your current status? Is anyone with you? Please maintain encryption protocol," she adds quickly.

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    The Captain leaves her seat to move closer to Kylah, but says nothing, only listens.

    The voice from far below continues, "This is Joe, er, Lt. JG Joseph Morris, Civil Advisory Group member. I'm a historian. I'm, uh, uninjured and alone in this hotel room. The rest of the group is gone - kidnapped, I think. Don't worry, I won't break encryption. I don't want to do anything to help whoever landed me in this mess." He sounds tired but a little frantic.

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    Multiple questions invade Kylah's head--how was he left behind, why does he not know how the rest disappeared, and what does he mean 'whoever landed me in this mess'? But these are not questions to ask a fearful man who might be in imminent danger.

    "Lieutenant Morris," she says, still composed and trying to reassure him. "My name is Ensign Kylah, and Captain Singh is right beside me. We are directly above the planet and are here to assist and ensure your safety. Can you tell us your exact location? We can--" She hesitates and looks from Singh to Vargas to Collins, then back at Singh as she continues. "We might be able to beam you aboard."

    Muting the mic for a moment while the encryption does its job, she blurts out, "I hope that was right, Captain. I know we must learn about the rest of the group, but I thought we should secure him first. Once he is safe, he can tell us more. Is that not right, ma'am?" Her gaze tries to take in the various security officers. "What other information do we wish to proceed?"

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    The Captain nods. "It's all right. Put me on, please, Ensign." When the channel opens again, she says, "Lt. Morris, this is Capt. Singh. We're here to help. Are you in any immediate danger?"

    "No, ma'am," he says. "I'm pretty sure nobody followed me here."

    "All right. Is your hotel room secure?"

    "Pretty much, I guess. I've got the door locked and I have a phaser-1."

    "Have you had to use it?"

    There is a pause. "No, ma'am."

    Kylah notices the Captain's eyes narrow slightly. "Would you prefer to beam up, or to stay there for now?"

    A longer pause. The historian's tone is firmer now: "I want to see this through, ma'am. These are my friends. I'll stay."

    "Understood. Is your room big enough for a standard landing party of six to join you?"

    "Uh... just. Yes, I'd say so."

    "Very well. Stand by." She makes a gesture for Kylah to mute the channel again, rubs her chin for a moment and looks around. Her eyes light on the Coridanite. "Mr. Rangin, you're about to see why you were at the briefing. You will command the landing party. Select five others and prepare to beam down immediately."

  35. #235
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    Nia has been listening with interest, and then some suspicion when the voice on the other end of the conversation suddenly sounds deceptive. But when Singh names Rangin to command the landing party, it's all Nia can do to keep from barking out a laugh.

    On the plus side, she can stop worrying about Booker going planetside, that's for damn sure. But still...

    What in the name of Seht'Dar's holy balls is Singh thinking? A biology geek heading up a manhunt on a planet full of gangsters?

    Her gaze doesn't move from the viewscreen, but she shakes her head almost imperceptibly. By now nothing should surprise her. This is the same sharp crew deployment strategy that placed a Security officer in charge of a medical experiment mission, and then chose that same Security officer to lead a fact-finding assessment of a luxury hotel's accounting and health-and-safety practices.

    They must throw darts or roll dice to pick mission leaders. Maybe next time, A.J.'ll get a chance to lead an undercover mission to infiltrate the Vulcan High Command. His pasty skin, bright blue eyes and wiseass manner should make him a natural. Or how about Ensign Kylah, maybe she'll be chosen to...

    Nia thinks a moment, her lips tightening in a tiny smirk. Frankly, Ensign Kylah would be staggeringly ill-suited to lead any mission. Except maybe one that requires histrionics and attracting inappropriate male attention.

    Which means, sure as Nia's sitting here, Kylah will get the nod the next time the Yorktown gets involved in some massive interplanetary war that has dire consequences for maintaining the unity of the Federation.

    A sigh escapes her as she glances toward Rangin. Honestly I'd still like to go and see what the little dude is made out of. But... I don't get it. If she wants a Science Officer for some reason, why not choose Hayes? At least Rachel specializes in different cultural societies, so at a stretch it makes some sense.

    Meanwhile, Rangin didn't even rate highly enough in Singh or Vargas's estimation to be named Fujishiro's successor. Sure, he got a commendation--as he deserved, and as Nia had suggested in her reports on his actions during the Kylah-gets-kidnapped debacle and the Naradraen/Klingon rescue.

    But an ensign leading a mission? Aside from Booker's stepping up to replace Collins during the murder case on OC3, Nia can't remember when that last worked out well. At least Booker had the specific background experience that made his leadership of a criminal investigation understandable. What in Rangin's background or expertise makes him suited for this--

    Oh. Oh shit.

    Nia's eyes blink and she quickly looks back to her panel. Of course. It's because he's a Coridanite. That's gotta be it. Fuck me, he's not going to like that. Any more than I'd like it if I was chosen for some mission involving black market...

    She doesn't finish the thought. Instead she swivels her chair, casts a quick look of commiseration toward Booker--Damn, I wish I could read his mind. Then again, I probably don't need to--and finally switches to aim an open, somewhat sympathetic, ready-willing-and-able-to-serve gaze at Ensign Rangin.
    Last edited by SidonianGal; 08 Jun 2016 at 04:13 AM.

  36. #236
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    Kylah gives a little start when Singh announces the mission leader. It is all she can do to avoid flushing--or rather, being seen to flush, because nothing can control the blood that rushes to her face at the pronouncement of Ensign Rangin's name. Little more than a week ago, she would have been so proud for him, and worried, too. Now... now she does not know what to think or feel.

    But she bites her lip and forces her messy, battling emotions aside as best she can. Uppermost in her mind is the confusion at the captain's choices regarding Lt. Morris. Her prudence urges her to remain silent, especially given the presence of Cmdr. Vargas, who intimidates her even more than the captain does. But she feels she must express her doubts.

    "Forgive me, Captain," she says, her hand curling around the back of her chair as she turns toward the older woman. "But--with respect--may I suggest that it might not be best to defer to Lt. Morris's wishes about remaining on the planet? It seems to me..." Kylah cannot help searching for Mr. Graham's visual support again, and she says some of this to him before looking back at her captain. "He is apparently the only one who managed to escape, which seems... unusual. You heard his responses, they were--well, I think it is clear that he is lying regarding his use of a phaser--and I can think of no reason why, if he is not hiding something else more sinister.

    "We cannot ignore the possibility that on such a planet, where extortion and underhanded dealing are rife, it is possible that he has betrayed his comrades. And perhaps he is now trying to lure us down there, as even better hostages. Even if it is a low probability, I think it must be considered, for the safety of--of those who are chosen for the landing party."

    She finds it very, very difficult to avoid looking at Ensign Rangin, but she manages. Her shoulders lift in a tiny, apologetic shrug. "I just think... might it not be safer to beam Lt. Morris up, gather whatever information he possesses about the situation... and also judge whether he is truthful, as best we can? If--if officers such as Cmdr. Vargas and Lt. Collins deem him to be trustworthy, and he still wishes to join the search for his friends, he can beam down with the rest of the landing party."

    Kylah turns to Collins. "Would that not be prudent, ma'am?"
    Last edited by choie; 08 Jun 2016 at 04:42 AM.

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    Collins was about to voice her disagreement with the Captain, respectfully of course, but Kylah beat her to it. "Precisely what I was thinking, Ma'am" she tells Singh, and sneaks a smile towards her roommate. "Let's get him up here, check him out medically, get the intel, then go back down."

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    Singh shakes her head. "Thank you for your good counsel, but I've reviewed Morris's record and have no reason to doubt him. Still... Mr. Graham, scan the hotel and see if he's alone, and if there are any concentrations of people near his location that might suggest an ambush."

  39. #239
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    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 08 Jun 2016 at 11:34 PM. Reason: Ninja'd; removed at g_u's request

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    Rangin is facing back towards the console checking the general scans as the voice comes over the comms. Paying little attention to it, he is caught completely unawares when Capt. Singh announces he will be leading the away party.

    It must be a mistake, a mishearing of her command. He is not the right person to be on the away mission, let alone be in charge of the group itself. But the deathly silence that follows confirms his worst thoughts.

    He could guess why though; set a thief to catch a thief. At least that was the ploy he had used successfully in the past on the USS Lexington with the Security team there. Every so often, someone would hear he was from Coridan and assume it meant that not only did he have access to all sorts of illegal things, but that he was corrupt enough to go along with it.

    All he wants is an opportunity to show that someone from Coridan can be as upstanding as any Federation citizen, but it seems that time and again he is going to be treated as guilty by reason of birth. Rangin wonders what else is in his records that he doesn't know about.

    Regardless it still didn't change the fact he is being asked to form an away team. He's only been there a few weeks, how could he possibly know the right people to choose.

    Given the situation, Collins is a necessary evil as the ACSO and slso the person who had prepped the info on the planet. He would also need people he could work with and there are scarce few on board suited for a trip to such a planet who weren't in Security. But two people did spring to mind.

    A request comes in for some scan results and Rangin autonomously pushes the results of the scans back to the requester without considering who could be asking. His mind tries to re-engage with the fact that the next two best people are two he would rather be a million miles from. But for the sake of those kidnapped on the planet, it doesn't matter what his feelings are, saving them is more important.

    Rangin turns around, face fixed in stone, to face the Captain though angry that he is being put in this position. He can feel his cheeks begin to burn as he struggles to keep his composure.

    "Very well ma'am. Team as follows: Lt T'var, Lt J.G. Garcia, Lt J.G. Collins. Ens Kylah and..." Rangin steels himself and chews out the final name "... Ens Graham."

    "As for Lt. Morris, can I recommend two to beam down to confirm the situation followed by the others or a beam out as required." Rangin doesn't try to change Singh's mind about beaming down, but at least this way less people will be in danger.
    In the land of the blind, the one-arm man is king.

  41. #241
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    Graham realizes that at the moment he sends it, his request to Science has been obsoleted by the Captain's request that he perform a scan of the area.

    For what it's worth, he's at least slightly gratified the Captain decides on her own Tactical is the best choice, but then he sees his request was summarily rejected.

    Son of a bitch...

    He spares only a moment to glance toward Rangin, ire rising, jaw clenching... then turns back to his board.

    He scans for life signs in the immediate area, and then on a wider band, looking for a large group in close proximity...like a hit squad laying low...

    As best he can he tunes sensors to look for gunpowder, blue steel...any concentrations of material that would suggest a bunch of folks with small arms.

  42. #242
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    Singh says, "Very well, Mr. Rangin. You may proceed. Mr. Kylah, have Dr. T'Var and Mr. Garcia report to Transporter Room 1 on the double. Advise Lt. Morris of our plans, ask him to stand by, and end transmission for now." She turns back to Rangin. "Which two will beam down first?"

    Graham's Tactical scan finds a typical room layout for a hotel of that era, with no more than three people in any room above the first floor. Morris's room is on the 14th of 20 floors; he is alone in his room and has a communicator, phaser-1 and tricorder. There is an armory of some kind on the first floor of the hotel with almost two dozen weapons, but only a total of three firearms on all the floors above - on the 3rd, 7th and 18th floors - and none on the 14th floor itself. There are three other people on the 14th floor other than Morris - two together in one room, and one alone.

  43. #243
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    "Captain," Graham reports when there's a pause--but not waiting for Rangin's response--"three lifeforms on our guy's floor, but no weapons detected. Three firearms on other floors but only one man, one gun, so to speak--in short, no sign of an ambush in immediate proximity."

  44. #244
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    Kylah cannot believe her ears and she has to freeze in place in order to process what is happening. First, Singh's inexplicable trust in a man she does not know in a situation they cannot guess at; a man who appears to be lying, and who has lived on a lawless planet for a year and may well have done anything, betrayed anyone, in an attempt to save himself.

    And then, she hears Mr. Rangin utter her name. He chooses her to go on the mission.

    For two terrible seconds she instinctively inhales, about to blurt out a sharp "No!" But she turns away just before disgracing herself. She vowed not to cause any more problems, to draw any more attention her way. Lt. Thalen and Cmdr. Vargas are right here, they will be watching her.

    So with almost supernatural strength she locks her expression into an almost lifeless mask. Whereas she has spent most of her life trying to develop some sort of mental shield in hopes of blocking the barrage of emotions forced on her by others, now she must contain her own feelings within that same shield.

    Inside she is almost sick with distress. She does not want to go with Mr. Rangin. She most certainly does not want to be under his command. A swell of panic rises in her chest and she only barely manages to clamp it down again.

    Even if there were none of this unspeakable awfulness between them, Kylah cannot fathom what use she will be on this mission. Especially with his having chosen Lt. Garcia. Kylah's skills are nothing compared to Garcia's, especially now with her empathic abilities so constrained. Not that anyone else would know that but T'Var. Still... Why two Communications officers, why not a third person from Security? Her inclusion must mean something.

    He is trying to break me. I cannot let him. I must not. Kylah will have to go, she promised Lt. Thalen she could return to duty. At least Mr. Graham will be along. But... why him, for that matter? She stiffly turns toward the older human and tries to see if he is as stunned by this as she. He has ignored her and ignores her still, doing his duty like a professional. She must follow his example.

    Dimly she hears Singh's order. "Aye aye, Captain," she says hoarsely, and contacts her colleague and Dr. T'Var to pass along the orders. Suddenly she is struck by the memory of Garcia's poor decision making on OC3--leaving her to face Mrs. Hsu alone in that transporter room. But of course, it was the former Lt. Kjaerstad who was far more to blame than Garcia.

    She finishes sending the messages. And when that is done, she slips her clammy hands onto her lap, wiping them on her skirt while waiting for further instructions.
    Last edited by choie; 09 Jun 2016 at 12:45 AM.

  45. #245
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    Nia's hands clutch the edge of her station like a pair of vises. She didn't really expect Rangin to pick her. This morning in the Mess, his inability to let his attitude of cool politeness melt into genuine amiability made it clear he probably thinks of her as Yet Another Enemy. Or at least, someone sleeping with the enemy.

    If only.

    She turns to Booker, giving a pointed stare at his leg, then returns to glare at Rangin in sheer disbelief at his uncharacteristic--at least in her opinion, she's sure Book has his own POV on that--irresponsibility. Really? You're sending down a guy who was laid out flat in Sickbay only a week ago?!

    Nia grits her teeth and presses her fingers more tightly against the panel, the tips turning from mocha to nearly white. Is no one gonna say anything? Booker won't because of course he won't. Male ego. He won't refuse Rangin's order and let the pipsqueak enjoy his defeat. At least, Nia knows, that's how Booker would put it.

    Singh won't mention the injury because she's not the world's best multitasker and probably confused Graham with Double-T anyway. Vargas wouldn't give a damn enough to take it into consideration, he's too focused on his retirement party, may that happy day come soon. And we all know Collins has the memory of a goldfish. 'Injury? What injury?'

    Nia almost growls and feels her heart pounding more rapidly as she makes her quick calculations. She's just ruled out the logical line of command. So who else? T'Var. T'Var might mention it. Surely the doctor's the most likely candidate to be concerned about a patient so recently and gravely injured heading down to a possible ambush.

    But what if Rangin decides to send Book down to the planet with Collins before T'Var gets a chance to say anything?

    Nia jerks her hands from the panel before she crushes it or breaks her finger bones. To hell with it. Booker won't forgive her but Nia will be damned if she'll stand by while everyone else ignores their responsibility to one of their fellow officers.

    "Excuse me, Captain. Commander," she adds to Vargas, and then nods at Rangin with a respectful deference and as calm an expression as she can manage. "With the greatest respect, I think Mr. Rangin might've forgotten that only a week ago, Ensign Graham was in Sickbay after having nearly lost his leg via a Klingon disruptor."

    She can't bear to look at Booker, he'll probably consider her a traitor. Except, damn it, he would absolutely do the same for her or Collins or the little princess or any one of the people he cares about, colleague or not. But that's different, he'd say. Why? He won't have an answer, but Nia does: Because he lives for pain. He swallows it up like medicine he thinks is necessary to survive. Medicine he thinks he deserves, the worse-tasting, the better.

    She nods her chin toward Booker, afraid to meet his gaze. "I have no doubt Mr. Graham is anxious to perform his duty as ordered. But Ensign Rangin was put on the spot, and chose in a hurry. Perhaps he didn't recall the injury, and didn't take it into account when picking his team. So... isn't there another Security officer who'd be a better fit?"

    Nia's voice has risen only a few notches above its usual serene level, but she takes a breath to keep calm anyway. Emotions won't help her here. "Captain, as we all are, I'm just concerned about the safety of the group as a whole, as well as Mr. Graham personally. Not to mention the missing Potemkin crew members. I think Dr. T'Var would agree with me--and as she'd say, a replacement seems most logical." The weak joke aside, she turns to Rangin suddenly. "Or... what about this. If Mr. Graham is integral to whatever plans you have, maybe instead of substituting him, you'd consider adding another Security officer to the group? Maybe swapping out someone who isn't really as, uh... battle-ready?"

    Her head doesn't quite tilt toward Kylah, but it's not tilting away from her, either. "Or if Communications needs to be represented twice, you can still add more Security to back up Collins and Graham. If we're sending in two people first, that means there's still room to send down six more in the next batch. I'm not saying you'd want a whole flotilla of redshirts, but one more won't cause any harm. And it could save a life."

    With those words, at last Nia turns to Booker, her eyes intent on him but unable to show him what she's feeling, that she's sorry, that she doesn't want to embarrass him, but she absolutely had to say all this. Any good leader would do what she's doing.

    The fact that no one else on the Bridge did it doesn't exactly say great things about the upper echelons of the Yorktown crew.
    Last edited by SidonianGal; 09 Jun 2016 at 01:53 AM.

  46. #246
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    Collins sends a quick note to Cooper "I'm on the mission team. Wish me luck. XOXO"

  47. #247
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    Rangin stands up from the chair, feeling the air prickling around him at the choices that both Capt. Singh and he have just made.

    "Ma'am if I may, I have good reason as to why I picked Ens. Graham, even though my preference would be for him to remain here. We're not going down to fight, we are going down to talk and find out what is going on. The situation requires those who are good at communicating, can pick things up from other people and have the nous to put it all together. Mr Graham is in the unfortunate position of being the person with the [i]second[/] most knowledge on the ship in the area of dealing with people like this. It's that, that is required, not his ability to wield a phaser."

    He then turns to Capt Singh. "Ma'am, Lt J.G. Collins and I will go first. Perhaps Dr T'Var can confirm Ens. Graham is physically ready while we confirm the situation and before anyone else needs to join us. Just in case."

    Rangin looks across at Ens. Graham and smiles thinly back at Lt. Onn. He doubts she will be grateful, because Graham certainly won't be. "But if it does come to a firefight, we'll make sure he is the first to beam up."

    "Ma'am?" Rangin's questioning tone says it all needs to about being dismissed to head down to the planet as he walks partway across towards the turbolift before halting to await her command.
    In the land of the blind, the one-arm man is king.

  48. #248
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    Graham has enough on his mind already--most of it bad--when Nia, however well-meaning, makes things worse...

    Why the hell put Rangin in charge of what's probably a search-and-rescue mission? And of course he's going to pick Kylah...the Captain literally just handed him control over her.


    At least I'll be along--but that's small comfort. Being able to order them both around would play right into Rangin's type of game. "Mr. Graham go stand watch over that pile of dogtshit. Kylah, come with with me...'

    Nia's obviously concerned about him--which would be nice, touching--but not here now...

    It takes some effort to return her gaze with one of his own that shows he understands her concern, but he shakes his head just slightly.

    He clears his throat. "Ah, with all due respect to Mr. Onn's concern, he begins, turning toward the Captain, "I'm cleared for duty. And I've had experience with small-arms combat with similar gunpowder-based weapons on a previous mission, should it come that." He glances at his board, confirming his sensor readings. He can't help but clear his throat briefly again, not really wanting to get into a debate with Nia in front of the Captain. "But unless the Sigma Ionians come at us with fists and clubs, we won't be in immediate danger on beam-down--re-confirmed, no firearms on Morris' floor."

  49. #249
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    Collins also starts towards the turbolift. I'm ready for a shoot first ask questions later type of sitch, but heck, I'll try diplomacy.

  50. #250
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    "Thank you, Mr. Graham," the Captain says in response to his report on the hotel.

    Thalen notices Kylah's reaction and leans over. He asks quietly, "Are you all right, Ensign?" After the briefest hesitation, he adds, "Would you rather I tell the Captain you're still needed here?"

    Vargas gives Onn a look but the Captain says to her calmly, "Thank you, Lieutenant. Mr. Graham, you have indeed been cleared for active duty. If you feel up to it, you may beam down. If you think, on balance, it would be better for you to remain aboard, no one will think the less of you." To Rangin she says, "Mr. Onn suggests adding another person to the landing party, given the two-stage beamdown. What do you think?"

    Cooper replies to Collins, Thanks for the update, Jer. Glad you get a chance to go. When will you leave?

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