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

  1. #251
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    Collins quickly messages back to Cooper "Now. "

  2. #252
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    It suddenly occurs to Graham that maybe Nia knew about Valentine's Day and had made plans for the two of them...

    He can't help but glance over toward her, shocked at his stupidity in not thinking about that possibility...

    But he quickly turns his attention back to his console for...no good reason, really, just to think for a moment...re-check the sensor readings.

    Well there's no going back even if I wanted to leave Collins and Kylah in the lurch now. Maybe the Captain's got it backwards, somebody will think less of me if a I do go...fuck...

  3. #253
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    Lt. Thalen's voice reaches through Kylah's thoughts. Does she wish to be taken off the mission, to be saved by Thalen's generosity and patience once more?

    When she was a little girl, Kylah once sat on her parents' bed and watched her mother having her hair dressed for some elegant event, while her father slipped on his elegant blue and gold jacket and complained about having to partake in formal dancing, something he had not done in years.

    Mother told him not to worry. Once the music starts, she insisted, his feet would know where to go, what steps to take, how to avoid bumping into others on the ballroom floor. Even the little conversational niceties would be recalled. "Such memories live in your muscles, dear one," she said to him. "You will see. The mind forgets, but muscles never do."

    Kylah knows the truth of it, and for once stops fighting how she was raised. She lets herself emulate to the hours spent by her uncle's side as the eldest female of her House--thus the de facto hostess for any gathering. Aldaan entertained groups of politicians and military leaders Kylah feared and detested--even people Aldaan detested--and she had to navigate the dangerous diplomatic waters that such gatherings churned up.

    She hid her feelings then, she can do it now. It is time to relearn the steps of the dance.

    "No, Lt. Thalen," she says, eyes looking up at him gratefully while she gives him a small but warm smile. Excessive smiling is not the Elasian way, but just as at those dinners--and as she tried in vain to explain to Lt. Collins--Kylah follows the customs of other cultures out of respect and necessity. "You are very kind to ask, but I am quite ready to go. There may be some danger, but this is an unusual society and I rather look forward to the mission."

    She thanks him and excuses herself before turning to the Captain. Her hand clasps her earpiece without trembling, and she is composed and professional. "I beg your pardon, Captain," Kylah says gently. "May I tell Lt. Morris that you are considering the best course of action? He may be concerned that we have lost contact."

  4. #254
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    Not much surprises Nia by now, so she is not astonished either by Vargas's fleeting expression of distaste--Yeah, how dare I show more concern and situational awareness about his staff's status than he does?--or by Rangin apparently believing himself unique in having come from a fucked-up planet.

    Of course, Nia says nothing in response to Rangin's remarks. But inwardly she's seething. Don't take it personal, Ensign, but while you may be a xenobiologist, you know absolutely fuck-all about the messed-up societies some of your crewmates escaped.

    Well, if nothing else, now she has a better understanding why Booker finds Rangin's personality so grating, his self-righteousness so distastefully smug. The guy has a chip on his shoulder he wears like a badge of honor.

    She wonders what Booker thinks about Rangin's gracious acknowledgement that only Booker Graham comes close to the level of understanding about corruption, crime and danger that Velir Rangin possesses. It might have sounded like a compliment, but she doubts Booker appreciates being lumped together with this specimen.

    She flicks a glance at Booker, but he's staring at his panel. I hope we get a chance to talk before he goes. I don't see how, but... With a sigh, Nia just shakes her head and swivels back to the Helm.

  5. #255
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    Thalen nods and straightens.

    Damn! replies Cooper. Hope it's a quick down-and-back - we still might have time to properly celebrate Valentine's Day. Good luck!

    Singh says, "Yes, go ahead and let him know, Mr. Kylah." She looks again at the older Security officer. "Hearing no objection, Mr. Graham...?"

  6. #256
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    I've got a lot of fucking objections, Graham thinks. The fucking idiot you just put in charge of the mission's plan is to beam out the member of the party more experience in firefights than the rest of the group combined at the first sign of trouble...

    And I think Nia had soft lights or a bubble bath or who knows what--something important to her--that I just put the kibosh on by going out of my way to volunteer when she obviously wanted me not to go...

    But none of those things are something Graham feels is appropriate to say to the Captain. His jaw tightens slightly. "No, Captain. I'll...proceed to Sickbay." There's a slight hesitation in both his voice, and leaving his station: but a hundred years wouldn't be enough time to figure out a way to have a private word with Nia on a packed bridge.

  7. #257
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    "Just a moment, Mr. Graham," the Captain says, frowning. "You were already cleared for duty, as I said - but Bridge duty is different from dirtside, of course. Report to the transporter room. I'll ask Dr. T'Var if she thinks you're physically up to serving in the landing party."

    To Rangin she says, "Better get moving, Mr. Rangin."

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    Rangin looks back at Vargas and wonders for just one brief moment if he should suggest the Security chief should join them. The words hang on his lips begging uttered, but he resists the temptation.

    But that still leaves him with the problem of should he take someone else along. Being honest with himself he doesn't even want to think about it, let alone be in charge of the actual mission. But then Coridan is the Federation poster boy for a corrupt society and no matter how screwed up other societies are, everyone points at Coridan. Perhaps he should ask Lt. Onn along, Sidonia is not exactly pleasant. Perhaps she and Graham have been swapping stories, it wouldn't be a surprise given their attraction to each other.

    Rangin digs his nails into his palm. No, he didn't know enough about Helm to justify those kinds of thoughts and it is hypocritical given he is constantly being tarred with the same brush.

    Then he hears Graham's request to head for Sickbay and Rangin wonders what kind of duty he is actually any use for. Out of the remainder of Security, there are painfully few he would consider let alone trust. "Sir. if Mr Graham is not able, would it be possible to have Ens. Rawlings and St. Croix on standby?" At least those two didn't react as badly to Kylah as some of the others had.

    "On my way ma'am." Rangin says crisply before heading for the turbolift.
    In the land of the blind, the one-arm man is king.

  9. #259
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    Kylah unmutes her mic but makes sure the input range is narrowed to directly in front of the mic. Morris does not need to know the internal dynamics involved in the figuring out the best way to rescue him--or even whether to trust him at all.

    "Lt. Morris," she says softly. "It is Kylah again. Our captain is finishing up choosing the rescue team to ensure you and your colleagues are safe. Our scans indicate that you are currently in a relatively safe position, so please remain where you are. A smaller party will arrive first; more will follow once the advance team assesses the situation."

    She moistens her lips, thinking how she would have felt if anyone had been able to contact her while she was in that warehouse on Anubis. Morris hardly seems to be in that wretched a state, but even if he is hiding something, he does sound nervous and alone. After a tiny hesitation, she adds, less formally, "By the way, sir, I believe my superior, Lt. Thalen, will be taking my place as your contact now. I have been chosen to be among the landing myself. So we will meet soon."

    Cutting the mic, Kylah lifts her gaze to Thalen. "I hope it was proper to tell him that you would be replacing me, Lieutenant. I suppose I had better go to the transporter room so that the second group will be prepared to leave as soon as we are needed."

    Her voice is unnaturally calm. She has compartmentalized herself to such a degree that she feels as if she can observe her own actions from a distance. "I will wait to see if Lt. Morris has any immediate questions, but if not, permission to leave my post, sir?"
    Last edited by choie; 10 Jun 2016 at 08:24 PM.

  10. #260
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    Graham realizes he misunderstood where he was supposed to find T'Var. When there's a break, he acknowledges the order. "Yes ma'am, transporter room. I'm sure the Doc - Dr. T'Var will find me fit for duty, Captain." He dithers at his console as if finishing something up in order to determine whether he can avoid being on the turbo lift with Rangin--or whether he needs to stick close to Kylah to make sure she isn't on it alone with him.
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 11 Jun 2016 at 09:23 PM. Reason: Spelling corrections at g_u's request.

  11. #261
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    Nia is, ostensibly, engrossed in the details on the Helm panel, but she's also listening to what's going on behind her. Hearing that T'Var will be checking Booker out, she closes her eyes in brief prayer. Please, T'Var. If he's at all at risk from that wound, don't let him go.

    Nia takes a deep breath and opens her eyes again. There's nothing more she can do. Truth is, if he's at 100%, she wouldn't want to hold him back. This sort of mission is what Booker seems especially skilled at, and most important, it's what brings him to life, it's what he loves best--probably more than being with anyone, at least anyone other than his late wife. One admittedly intense week with Nia can't mean nearly as much as his career--or rather, his personal mission to serve and protect.

    And that's the way it should be, really. Nia certainly wouldn't contemplate refusing a risky shuttle mission that demanded her skills, just because it might worry a man left behind.

    But I'm not on a mission led by a man who hates me. And who I despise right back. She shakes her head while distractedly tapping on her panel to call up the communications screen. That landing party... talk about a hotbed of personality clashes.

    If Kylah gets so much as a paper cut, Booker's gonna tear Rangin's stomach open. And Rangin won't be able to prevent himself from acting like Security officers are brainless goons devoid of rationality. Meanwhile, Kylah will probably spot some little broken-winged bird in the street, run into the middle of traffic, and wind up run over by one of those clumsy vehicles they have down there.

    Nia nearly laughs at the realization that it'll probably be Collins who'll get the fun job of playing referee. Good luck with that one, Lieutenant.

    But her brief amusement fades when she hears Booker announce his departure. Nia refuses to take a last look at him, that's morbid and sappy. Still, now that her mailbox has been opened, she quickly types a note.
    Hope you know I was only thinking of what's best for you and the others. You look great to me, but I've seen you wince a bit when you think no one's noticing.

    I notice these things, because I notice you. I like noticing you. And I expect you to return to the ship in one piece, all parts present and accounted for, so I can keep noticing new things about you.

    In short, be safe. Because I care about you, Book, and I want you back. I want you.
    She hesitates, nearly about to send the message, before smiling ruefully and adding:
    P.S. play nice with the other kids. -- NIA
    Last edited by SidonianGal; 10 Jun 2016 at 10:29 PM.

  12. #262
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    Collins slips by Graham and into the turbolift with Rangin before the doors shut. "I've got your back" she tells the Coridanite.

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    Rangin nods as the doors shut leaving the others on the Bridge and tells it to head for the Transporter room before turning to Collins.

    "Ma'am, I would hope we would all have each others backs as Starfleet professionals, but I thank you none-the-less. Regardless of what has happened recently, the only thing that matters now is to find and retrieve the team on the planet and I hope everyone can live up to that aim. Any disagreement or personal issues can wait until afterwards."
    In the land of the blind, the one-arm man is king.

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    "Very well, Mr. Rangin," the Captain says. "Carry on."

    "Of course," Thalen says, nodding encouragingly. "Dismissed, and good luck, Mr. Kylah."

    She and Graham are left behind by Collins and Rangin but catch the next turbolift, which arrives less than 20 seconds later.

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    With a bob of her head toward Mr. Graham, Kylah stands at the far end of the turbolift, unconsciously positioning herself against the side wall, and double-checks to ensure she has her working communicator, not just the ruined model. She fears losing contact again.

    She also feels compelled to fill the brief silence. "I hope we find them," she begins, and almost immediately chastises herself for expressing such a banal sentiment. Hurrying on... "I mean... after doing the research, I know them a little better, and wish to learn more."

    Looking up at him, Kylah wonders what he is thinking. Does he believe she asked for this assignment? No, he was on the Bridge with her. He must have known there was no time for such requests once the Captain surprised them all with the mission leader announcement.

    Still, she adds, "When you and I were together earlier, I knew there would be a mission, but I never expected... I could not think I would be taking part in it. In truth I do not know how I can help, or why--" Her words cut off. Stay professional. Even with someone who says he is your friend. She lifts her head slightly. "Regardless, I will do my best in whatever capacity I can."

    There is a short silence before she lets out an exhale with, "I hope Dr. T'Var clears you for the mission. I would not feel--that is... I believe the team needs you, sir."

  16. #266
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    Graham's something at a loss for small talk when he enters the turbolift.

    Advice on how to handle screwing up Valentine's Day is out.

    How about "let me know if Rangin lays a hand on you again so I can feed him his fucking spleen."


    But Kylah breaks the silence.

    Graham smiles slightly and even chuckles. "You don't have to call me 'sir,' I don't outrank you--I'm just old."

    He clears his throat. "But seriously, if SI2's gangs are like other crime syndicates--day-to-day there's a lot of talk, a lot of negotiation...there's an old phrase, 'organized crime.' They won't hesitate to use extreme violence, but most of the time they try and avoid it to stay focused on doing business."

    "I'm sure we'll need a good comms officer." He shrugs. "And if folks won't talk to us, I'll start breaking fingersd until they do."

    After a brief moment he adds quickly, "Ah--that last part was a joke."

  17. #267
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    "I understand it was a joke, sir--Mr. Graham," Kylah corrects herself and gives a shrug. "I am sorry, it is how I was raised to speak to... men of a higher status. Most of our interactions began when you were in command back on OC3. And besides, in many ways you remind me at times of a--a General I know."

    She was nearly about to say a Klingon general, but there is no way Mr. Graham would take it as a compliment, although that is how it was meant. More importantly, her connection to Klingons is not something to broadcast. Kylah hastens to move on.

    "There may indeed be need of a communications officer. But Vel... Ensign Rangin already chose Lt. Garcia for that purpose." Kylah lets the thought die there and waits for the turbolift doors to open, at which point she slips into the corridor and rubs her arms as if cold.

    "I suppose we will be given weapons? Those of us who do not carry them, I mean?" she adds with a look at Mr. Graham's utility belt. "It is just... we were not told to go to the armory, so..."

  18. #268
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    "A general?" Graham replies, genuinely surprised. "Well, you should save that to tell Vargas when he needs a laugh, I doubt he'll be raising my pay grade anytime soon." He rubs his chin. "I expect we'll be handed phasers in the transporter room--but, ah, yeah, beaming down onto planet gangland unarmed would seem to be a bad idea."

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    Graham and Kylah arrive in Transporter Room 1 shortly after Rangin and Collins; Dr. T'Var and Lt. JG Ernesto Garcia are already there. The Vulcan physician has a tricorder over her shoulder and a medikit at her side. The Nicaraguan man has a slim toolkit and, Rangin notices, looks a little nervous.

    Ens. Ben Cooper hands out phaser-1s and communicators from the nearby bulkhead equipment locker. He gives a wink to Collins when he thinks no one's looking.

    Lt. JG Mark Ferguson stands behind the transporter console, adjusting the controls.

    T'Var approaches Graham and says quietly, "I just spoke with the Captain, who left it up to me as to whether you'll be in the landing party. I'm inclined to let you come, but only if you genuinely feel up to it, Mr. Graham." She looks at him intently.

  20. #270
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    Kylah enters the transporter room, about to explain in vague terms why Mr. Graham reminds her of General Vagh, but Dr. T'Var's quick approach ends the casual discussion. She steps away to allow Mr. Graham his privacy.

    Since Lt. Collins is near Ens. Cooper, Kylah will grant them a few moments more of privacy as well. Which leaves either Ensign Rangin--not an option, she lets her gaze slip past him as if he is a blind spot in her vision--or Lt. Garcia. He is her colleague, and superior besides; it is politic to greet him.

    Moving out from behind Mr. Graham, she starts forward. Now the transporter control area is revealed to her, along with its operator.

    Stopping in her tracks like someone caught in thick, claylike mud, Kylah feels the blood drain from her face so quickly she is almost dizzy, before it returns in a rush to burn her with the inevitable flush. It is the first time since Lt. Fujishiro's funeral service that she has come across Mark Ferguson; the first time since discovering his apparent friendship with Darren Zweller.

    Why did she not expect him? Why did she not at least consider the possibility that he would be here?

    Aside from her complexion, which she cannot help, Kylah dares not react in any other way. Maybe he will not see her. Do not be imbecilic. Of course he will. You am now in the middle of the room. Instinctively she wants to run back to Graham. No... her first instinct was to look pleadingly at Velir, but she had to quash that at once. He may have been in collusion with Ferguson and Zweller, how can she possibly seek help from that quarter?

    But hiding in Mr. Graham's shadow will bring unwanted attention, both from Graham and T'Var. She will find me a 'liabiity' for sure, Kylah thinks almost hysterically. Velir is not an option. Collins will be suspicious if Kylah is suddenly desperate to reach her side.

    Again she is left with continuing toward Garcia. Curiously, trying to move naturally only makes her more self-conscious, her arms and legs working like broken marionettes. At last she is in front of her colleague. "S-sir," she mutters with a weak smile that cannot hold its form for longer than a second. "I am honored to work with you again."

    She tries to focus on the tall man but she cannot even tell what Garcia's expression is--her peripheral vision, like a mouse aware of a nearby predator, is so strongly drawn to Ferguson.
    Last edited by choie; 13 Jun 2016 at 04:43 AM.

  21. #271
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    "Thanks Doc," Graham answers in a similar tone, leaning in closer to the Vulcan. "I feel great." He pauses a moment under T'Var's intent gaze. "Well, OK, 'great,' is a bit much, but good enough. I'll be fine."

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    "Thanks, Ens. Kylah," she distantly hears Garcia say. "I'm a little surprised to be here myself, frankly, but orders are orders."

    As Garcia is speaking, Ferguson looks up from his console and makes eye contact with Kylah. He smiles... and she can't quite decipher his expression.

    T'Var looks at Graham a moment longer, then nods. She steps over to the transporter console and hits the intercom button. "T'Var to Bridge."

    "Singh here."

    "Captain, from my earlier review of his medical records and my discussion with him just now, I believe that Mr. Graham is ready for service on the landing party."

    "Very well, thank you, Doctor. He may proceed, then. Singh out."

    The Vulcan nods to Graham and gestures towards the transporter platform with a slight smile of her own.

    Cooper finishes distributing phaser-1s and communicators. Does anyone else wish a tricorder?

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    Ferguson's attempt at a smile makes Kylah want to run for the nearest shower. "Yes," she says, having to force the word through her tightened throat. "Orders are orders. Excuse me, sir." She turns away and somehow makes it to Ensign Cooper for her phaser. "I would like a tricorder as well, please. In case we are separated I do not wish to be without one."

    She realizes why she is so determined to ensure she has a communicator, and a tricorder, and of course a phaser as well. After Anubis--and after whatever happened when she left the Bridge by herself to find Zweller waiting for her--she is terrified of being alone.

    Swallowing, Kylah looks down at the phaser in her hand. She slowly lifts her gaze to Ferguson again, now turning the phaser slightly so that--just for a few seconds--it is aimed at him. Her eyes do not blink as she looks at him. Finally, she places the weapon in her utility belt and turns around, nearly bumping right into Rangin. Her face is still red and this only makes her skin burn hotter. At once she backs away and finds somewhere to stand where she can keep an eye on the whole room. No one can sneak up on her.

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    Collins returns Cooper's wink and doesn't mind if anyone sees. Our relationship can't be a secret at this point. Besides, so what?. She thanks him for the phaser and asks for a tricorder as well. As she accepts it, she tells the others in the party "I'll calibrate this one to scan for gun powder based projectile weapons." She then adjusts the settings to do just that.

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    Having made sure his tricorder, communicator and phaser are ready, Rangin heads up to Ferguson, "Just to confirm, Lt. JG Collins and I will be going down first, the others to follow when we give the all clear, but that shouldn't take long."

    He then heads across to Graham and despite the fact that as far as Rangin is concerned he may as well be a drooling idiot, Graham is still far too useful not to be in the party. "Good to hear your ready for service." before turning to T'Var, "Ma'am" and then heading for the transporter pad to wait for Collins and the pair of them to beam down.
    In the land of the blind, the one-arm man is king.

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    Collins walks up to the transporter pad and nods at Rangin. "Ready," she tells the mission leader.

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    Ferguson doesn't react to Kylah's phaser gesture except to flinch slightly, then frown.

    He beams down Rangin and Collins, and they find themselves in a small, somewhat seedy hotel room. A thin, sweaty man in his mid-30s wearing a brown pinstriped suit gets up from an overstuffed chair and smiles wearily. "Joe Morris. I'm very glad to see you!"

    His Starfleet gear and a battered, round straw hat rest on the threadbare blanket of the room's only bed.

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    Rangin's attention is drawn to the man standing up and responds to the greeting. "Mr Morris? I'm Ens Rangin," he nods in his partner's direction, "Lt. J.G. Collins from the USS Yorktown."

    Turning to Collins, "Better scan the area ma'am, check everything's clear." before going back to the nervous man in front of him and looking around the part of the room he is standing in.

    "Are you ok, sir?" Rangin does a quick check to make sure he matches the description they were given and then looks around to make sure that there is enough room for the other four to beam down while pulling out his tricorder and carrying out a brief scan of the area.
    In the land of the blind, the one-arm man is king.

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    Collins already has her hand on her tricorder before Rangin asks. She holds it up and turns around 360 degrees pointing the tricorder away from her, then checks the readings for signs of weapons.

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    Graham resists the urge to reply "whatever" to Rangin's assuredly insincere best wishes and simply nods ever so slightly.

    As he checks his passer and communicator he realizes he has a message. But Collins and Rangin are already beaming down and he doesn't feel ready to deal with what he assumes is a message from Nia that will justifiably make him feel worse for not even thinking about Valentine's Day.

    He doesn't read it, rather he taps a quick message to Nia. CU when I get back BG

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    Morris says, "Welcome to both of you. I'm fine, thanks. Just relieved to see you."

    He appears to be the same person - by face, height and weight - as shown in the Starfleet personnel file which Rangin earlier consulted. There is enough space for four more people to beam down, but Rangin sees that it might be a good idea to push a couch and table to the walls to provide more room.

    His and Collins's tricorder scans confirm the results of Graham's earlier readings from orbit.

    Graham's phaser and communicator are in proper working order.

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    Rangin looks around and moves the furniture back to give a little extra space before the rest arrive. Once done he calls back up giving the all cllear to Ferguson and finally responding to the nervous personal

    "Well sir, we are here to help"
    In the land of the blind, the one-arm man is king.

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    Graham realizes that this Ferguson guy was in the dust-up with Ens. Kyah he observed way back when--it seems like forever--on patrol.

    He frowns slightly, then approaches Kylah--if possible, putting himself between her and Ferguson with his back to the transporter chief--and gives her a thumbs up, patting his phaser in its stashed position. "Well, we've got our phasers," he says, forcing a small smile. "We're off to a good start."

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    Ferguson acknowledges Rangin's message and says to those waiting, "They're ready for you down below. Step onto the transporter platform, please."

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    Nia has a spare moment to glance at her mail account, and when she sees there's been a response from Booker, she's quick to tap on the message.

    The curtness of the reply takes her aback for a second or two. Then she closes the message and looks up at the viewscreen. A reply like that to her own, rather emotive words, can't help but rankle her. Offhand she can think of two reasons for Booker to act this way.

    First, he might already have his mind in the game, in Action Hero mode, in which case he's probably busy calculating the odds of various defensive or offensive strategies. If that's what's going on, she's glad he's not wasting time composing the perfect response to send to a sorta-girlfriend.

    On the other hand, maybe he's still pissed off with her, and her simple text message, even if sincerely meant, wasn't enough for him to accept her olive branch. He might resent her sticking her nose into his medical business and reminding everyone of his injuries. Which he basically has me to blame for anyway. Nia's mouth tightens ruefully.

    Whatever the story is, Nia's reaction remains the same: to back out her communications account. She'll wait until he gets back before finding out which guess, if any, is correct.

    Of course if something awful happens and she doesn't see him again, Nia knows she'll always regret this decision. But I can't live my life assuming death's around the corner.

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    Kylah is grateful that she is no longer able to see Ferguson, thanks to Mr. Graham's nearness--possibly intentional, she cannot tell. Her relief is moderated due to his use of that obscene gesture. He does not mean to be vulgar, she thinks, staring up at him and wishing her ability to read him were not being strangled by... whatever is going on with her mind. She would address his habit of making that gesture, and explain what it means in the culture of the Upper Northern Continent on Elas... if it were not so unfathomably unimportant.

    Right now, Kylah is standing two meters away from a man who's made vague threats, yelled vicious lies about her, and now may have done something to her, to either her mind or body or both--the horror of it being that she cannot know for certain.

    Given that this same person is in charge of imminently tearing apart her molecules and subsequently ensuring they are properly reconnected down on the planet... Yes, Kylah has far worse things to worry about than an inadvertent use of a filthy gesture by someone she is growing, little by little, to trust.

    To Mr. Graham, all she says is, "I am glad to be armed." Then Ferguson invites them to step onto the transporter pads and a sharp sense of deja vu strikes her. Before her very first mission, to the Sakathian station. Ferguson hated her even then. She had not understood it. Now, knowing he is friends with Darren Zweller, his resentment makes so much more sense.

    Since she will only be rematerializing on the planet to be placed under Ensign Rangin's command, Kylah has very little desire to go through with this mission at all. But she cannot back out now.

    With a painful swallow she turns her hands into determined fists and pushes herself forward. Inevitably she nears Ferguson on her way to the pad, and she tenses in memory of his comment last time. At least, unlike that time, Kylah is not surrounded by strangers. She knows her colleagues better.In fact, it strikes her that he is especially likely to say nothing for that very reason: she is not alone. Coward, she thinks and casts him a disdainful glance as she passes by.
    Last edited by choie; 15 Jun 2016 at 05:47 AM.

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    The remainder of the Yorktown landing party steps onto the transporter platform and is beamed down. Once rematerialized, you see Morris, Rangin, Collins and a threadbare hotel room like something out of an ancient history textbook. Morris introduces himself to everyone.

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    Kylah greets Lt. Morris and introduces herself as well, glad to connect a living face with the voice she spoke to earlier. Then, sharply aware of having both the least experience and the least understanding of how she is to be used on this mission, she falls silent and waits for orders.

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    Rangin inhales deeply and slowly lets it out to the familiar sound of the transporter as the rest of the group appears. Time to put his game face on as some of his friends would say. Be confident and sure, as people react better.


    Rangin steps forward and introduces Mr Morris to the rest of the team hefore deciding on what the next courses of action should be.

    "Dr. T'Var: can you check on Mr Morris and see what condition he is in?"

    When the doctor has started, Rangin turns to the others. "Mr. Kylah, Sir,", Rangin nods at Garcia, "When the doctor has finished checking him over, question him, find out what he knows about the kidnapping."

    Rangin then turns to the two Security officers. "Mr. Graham, ma'am, we need a sit rep of the hotel. While there is a kidnapping risk, we need to be prepared in case someone comes knocking unexpectedly. Ways in, ways out, that kind of thing."

    "Let's get to it."
    In the land of the blind, the one-arm man is king.

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    Graham resists rolling his eyes. "Shouldn't we get a little information about who the 'bad guys' Morris is hiding from are first, so the, ah, first warning that we've run into them isn't them shooting at us? We're not exactly inconspicuous" he says, tugging at his uniform shirt. After a brief pause he chokes out a few more words. "With all due respect, sir."

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    Kylah glances at Mr. Graham, then looks somewhere in the neighborhood of Mr. Rangin's chest, too uncomfortable to meet his gaze. She did suggest wearing era-appropriate garments for this very reason, but she fears commenting on this, lest she seem as if she is criticizing Lt. Collins for dismissing the idea, or Mr. Rangin for rushing them down without a plan ahead of time.

    It does strike her that Graham and Collins would both be justified in feeling some measure of satisfaction at Rangin's having acted before planning things through--a judgment he visited upon them more than once. Perhaps that is why Mr. Graham made the remark he just did.

    In any event, she does not wish to say "I told you so." Instead she just offers a possible solution, as if she had never made the earlier recommendation.

    "Excuse me, Mr... sir," she amends quickly. Calling a man with whom she has been on intimate terms "sir" is extremely awkward and she hurries on. "Lt. Thalen works with some other crew members who perform," she says quietly. "It may not be likely, but perhaps he knows of some costumes that could be of use to us. And he could beam them down."

    She hesitates to suggest an alternative, especially one that is unethical, but... "Another possibility--as we are in a hotel--perhaps there are laundry facilities where we could... borrow some things." Kylah shrugs in embarrassment; not just for the suggestion, but for the idea of someone in her family being improperly attired and in need of resorting to theft. Her mother would be horrified.

    "But Lt. Garcia and I can start, as you suggested, sir." She turns toward Lt. Morris. "If you please, Lieutenant, could you tell us how you came to be here, and when you last saw your colleagues? It would also be helpful to know if there are any locals whom you trust."
    Last edited by choie; 15 Jun 2016 at 10:38 PM.

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    Dr. T'Var scans Morris and soon quietly tells Rangin, "He is uninjured and in generally good health. His blood pressure and pulse rate are somewhat elevated, but not dangerously so."

    Morris responds to Kylah and Garcia, but the room is small enough that everyone can hear what he says: "I was out doing field research on the city streets three days ago. When I returned late that afternoon to the house our CAG uses for living quarters and as our base, I saw the other members of the group being taken away at gunpoint. Six or seven gangsters put them into two cars and drove away. I was far enough away that they didn't see me. But I was outnumbered and thought that, if I tried to intervene, they'd hurt the others or just capture me, too. I've been kicking myself since then for not at least trying, though." His shoulders sag. "I waited until they left and went into the house, which had been ransacked; our subspace transmitter was smashed, too. I got out of there in a hurry and have been on the run ever since. This is the second - or is it the third? - hotel I've been in since then."

    He thinks a moment. "We do have some reliable Iotians outside of the Syndicate that we hire for particular projects or jobs, and before this happened I would've said I trusted them, but now I... just don't know."

    As on OC3, ask as many questions as you like now; I'll answer and then you can ask any followup questions.

  43. #293
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    Theatre costumes? Collins raises one eyebrow for Graham's benefit when Kylah suggests contacting Thalen's acting troupe. She moves to the door and listens for footsteps as she adjusts her tricorder for a wider scan.

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    Collins hears no footsteps outside. Her wider scan shows nothing different from what Graham learned from orbit.

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    Collins opens the door slowly and cautiously steps into the hall. She makes a visual inspection of the corridor, looking for storage rooms and exits.

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    Graham agrees with Kylah's suggestion but figures for the moment that endorsing it might just convince Rangin to oppose for his own reasons.

    When Collins gives him a funny look at the mention of the costumes he just shrugs slightly. He gestures to indicate he sees her moving toward the door, then holds up one finger and points to Morris, to indicate he'll be along in a moment.

    "What precipitated your moves between hotels?"
    "You use Ionians outside of the Syndicates - why?"
    "What's the CAG's relationship with the Syndicates? Anything change lately?"
    "What should we expect from a Sigma Ionian if we run into one in uniform?"

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    It takes Graham all of about 5 seconds to open his mouth and begin saying stupid things again. Find out the bad guys are? as in what he had just asked, no ordered, Kylah and Garcia to do. Perhaps Graham was unused to using a tricorder and is only capable of doing it physically instead of using his brains. Well, no change there, then.

    Rangin considers what Kylah has to say and he's surprised to see her even consider stealing things from the hotel. Her line of thought is the correct one in that they really should be in something more suitable in attire if ther are going to look round the place. But what bothers him the most, and it bothers him even more that it...well bothers him, is her refusal to even look him in the eye.

    It was still a difficult mindswitch to put himself in the place of leading this team considering his previous interactions with them over the last few days. At least T'Var manages to do what is expected, and strangely enough Collins is being more helpful than usual. Still, it isn't going to get any easier

    As T'Var reports, Rangin thanks her quietly, before looking across at Lt Morris, who is filling them in. The most important thing at the moment is information, and Morris is the only current source.

    "Lt. Morris, I hope you don't mind, a few more questions...

    How secure was the building you were working from?
    Had you had any trouble from any people before it occurred?
    Who was your contact in the Syndicate?
    Who are the reliable Iotians you mentioned?
    Was there any reason you can think of, why they might have decided to capture the CAG? Something you found out recently or a powerplay between groups?
    Did you recognise anything about those who carried out the kidnapping?
    Do you normally wear your uniform, or something more local to move around? What would you suggest for us?"
    In the land of the blind, the one-arm man is king.

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    Graham is tempted to let loose and laugh his ass off after Rangin refuses to acknowledge his suggestion that they find out who the hell they might be looking for and how the hell people will respond to their uniforms--and then proceeds to ask just that.

    Later.

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    With both men taking over the questioning, Kylah steps away, both because she does not want Morris to feel swarmed, and because it seems clear that she is extraneous. Mr. Graham is an experienced investigator; Mr. Rangin is curious and methodical. And Lt. Garcia... surely he will contribute as well.

    Kylah's one useful attribute is known only to T'Var--and it barely exists anymore. At least if her empathic abilities were not so dull, she might be able to assess whether Morris is being sincere. Not that I ever seemed to learn much except vague impressions, she admits. And even then, I have been deceived. Badly.

    She notices Collins's activity, which does not seem terribly purposeful. It appears that the women are all surplus to requirements at the moment. Collins has no one to shoot, T'Var has no one to heal, and Kylah... Kylah has no purpose at all. With a silent sigh, she paces the room and--if there is a window--she will peek outside--making sure she is not visible--to see what this replication of old Earth looks like.

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    There is no one in the hallway; it is somewhat dark but Collins can see clearly. There are eight wooden doors on each side of the hallway, each of which has a brass oval plaque with a number engraved on it. She sees no obvious storage room or exit from where she stands.

    Graham asks, and Morris responds:

    "What precipitated your moves between hotels?" - "I didn't want to stay in any single place too long. I thought I'd probably be safer if I kept moving."
    "You use Ionians outside of the Syndicates - why?" - "It's 'Iotians.' Even before this, I wasn't entirely sure I could trust everyone in the Syndicate. It's also just good fieldwork to make connections to people outside of the local power structure."
    "What's the CAG's relationship with the Syndicates? Anything change lately?" - "There's just a single Syndicate, and we're supposed to advise and guide it, help them become a healthier, less violent society, and try to repair the social damage done by the Chicago Mobs book. Things hadn't changed much lately."
    "What should we expect from a Sigma Io[t]ian if we run into one in uniform?" - "You mean, how will they react to seeing someone in Starfleet uniform? We haven't had any problems with that. Most seem actually kind of excited to meet an offworlder. But now...."

    Rangin asks, and Morris responds:

    How secure was the building you were working from? - "Relatively secure. We had modern Federation locks and a security system. But it's not a fortress, and a really determined capo and his crew could break in, I guess, if they really put their minds to it. And it looks like maybe they did."
    Had you had any trouble from any people before it occurred? - "Just the usual low-level stuff. Nothing we weren't used to."
    Who was your contact in the Syndicate? - "We worked regularly and directly with Okmyx, Krako and the others, and their aides."
    Who are the reliable Iotians you mentioned? - "Well, let's see.... Hmm. Three off the top of my head. Heg Lobol is a local businessman who really understands how destructive and futile the past gang wars were, and seems committed to changing things. Very friendly and smart. Mella Goblek is the widow of a boss who was killed about ten years ago; she wants to see her planet do better, too. She's a heroine to a lot of Iotian women. Polb Yonnix is a former Krako henchman who broke with him last year. Very shrewd and helpful. He's given us some really useful information about what's really going on in the top reaches of the Syndicate, and seems very admiring of the Federation and Starfleet."
    Was there any reason you can think of, why they might have decided to capture the CAG? Something you found out recently or a powerplay between groups? - "I've been wracking my brains about that, and no. Not a thing."
    Did you recognise anything about those who carried out the kidnapping? - "I didn't know any of the guys but one, maybe, and he looked a lot like Okmyx's no-good son Cledd, but from that distance I couldn't be absolutely sure."
    Do you normally wear your uniform, or something more local to move around? What would you suggest for us?" - "We usually wore uniforms, but since the kidnapping I've tried to blend in and have worn native garb - a suit, tie, boater, wingtip shoes, as you see. I'd suggest the same for you - dresses for your female officers, of course. Someone who kidnapped four Starfleet officers might want to acquire even more, you know?"

    Kylah, looking out the window and down, sees a typical street scene of Chicago c. 1925, just as she's seen in the history tapes of Old Earth - cars zipping back and forth in the street, advertising on billboards and large posters, and people in period garb walking about. Some are carrying firearms but most are not. After a few seconds, she is surprised to see two men in Starfleet uniform walking together along the sidewalk just across the street from the hotel. Garcia walks over and peers out, too.

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