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Thread: Star Trek RPG - Mission #6: "Marala"

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    Member Elendil's Heir's avatar
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    Default Star Trek RPG - Mission #6: "Marala"

    Star Trek: The Yorktown Chronicles

    Setup thread: http://www.mellophant.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10960

    Mission #1: "On the Brink": http://www.mellophant.com/forums/sho...the-Brink-quot
    Mission #2: "Primum Nil Nocere": http://www.mellophant.com/forums/sho...il-Nocere-quot
    Mission #3: "Some Other Side of Paradise": http://www.mellophant.com/forums/sho...-Paradise-quot
    Mission #4: "Codex Aelyrr": http://www.mellophant.com/forums/sho...ex-Aelyrr-quot
    Mission #5: "Of Captains and Capos": http://www.mellophant.com/forums/sho...and-Capos-quot

    It is March 6, 2270.

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

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

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

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

    So prepare yourself for adventure where no one has gone before....

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    Captain's Log, Stardate 6038.2. We've been at Beta Antares IV for two days, and the crew has enjoyed shore leave as we refit and resupply. The members of the Potemkin Civil Advisory Group, rescued by our crew, have left us and will eventually be returning to their ship. We've transferred custody of our two Iotian prisoners, Cledd Okmyx and Jojo Krako, to the planetary authorities for eventual trial in a Federation court. Full statements have been taken from all concerned.

    Captain's Log, supplemental. Thirty settlers have come aboard for transport to the Novy Rostov colony. Today we also bid farewell to Lt. Jeremi Collins, who's about to begin her duties as Chief of Security aboard the USS
    Theseus. The frigate arrived in orbit here a few hours ago and is soon to leave again for an important mission in the Gyel sector.

    The farewell party for Collins is now winding down in Rec Room 1; many heartfelt toasts have been drunk. Her gear has already been beamed over to the Theseus. You have the opportunity to say a few words to her privately before she leaves.
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 31 Mar 2017 at 04:56 PM.

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    Ape must not kill ape! general_urko's avatar
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    Graham find a moment where he can speak to Collins privately.

    "Hey, L-T..." he smiles slightly and puts a hand on her shoulder. "Little sis. Take care of yourself, OK? My daughter might like a 'big sis' to talk to sometime."
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 08 Apr 2017 at 12:19 AM. Reason: spelling fix

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    Kylah stands by herself near the food that seems less popular than the drinks, although she does not believe anyone is likely to get drunk on whatever they serve here--not least because there are so many peers and senior officers on display. She casts a few glances at Lt. Collins and always seems to catch someone else saying goodbye.

    Their relationship has been fraught with difficulty and tension since they met. Now just when things have slowly improved, she must say goodbye. Kylah holds no false hopes about remaining in touch. First because it seems that Lt. Collins will be too busy. Second because the older woman does not seem like the sort who indulges in casual correspondence. And third... well, they are not close. They might have been, in time. But they were not granted that luxury. One meets someone, they touch your lives one way or another, and then they leave. So much depends on that middle step. Collins touched Kylah's life for good and bad. Kylah, however, is not sure that she ever made a difference to Jeremi Collins.

    What was their cabin already seems vast and empty. She has no doubt she will get another roommate. A chance to start again. But the hopelessness that has pervaded her over the past month makes the prospect of a new beginning less than ideal. She does not want to start again, because she does not want to fail again.

    Her stomach hardening with dread, Kylah turns toward the rest of the room. She is not pleased to be in a social setting so quickly after Fujishiro's funeral. Her eyes dart around, expecting to find Rangin or Ferguson or anyone else who dislikes her. As for more friendly figures... Dr. T'Var is probably waiting to speak to Collins--they came aboard at the same time, if Kylah remembers correctly, and probably have the most to say to one another. Kylah cannot see Lt. Thalen or Delaney just now--and Delaney is also another of Collins's contemporaries, so if he has not yet said goodbye, he is likely waiting to.

    With a sigh she picks some confection from a nearby tray and places it on a napkin. Food is a safe companion. Her gaze scans the serving area to see if Andy Johnson is anywhere. He is probably busy, but perhaps now that most are drinking, not eating, he will be available to talk. And--at least briefly--she will not be alone.
    Last edited by choie; 04 Apr 2017 at 04:40 PM.

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    Rangin stands around the side chatting with a few of his Science colleagues until there is a free moment to talk to Lt. Collins. He had already checked on her previously but seeing her up and around, laughing and smiling, seems to alleviate the memories of those few minutes when she collapsed. And now, she's off with a promotion and a new ship. Rangin isn't sure what that says about Lt. Collins or the availability of Security Officers. Regardless he is happy for her and had already sent her a parting gift. A flip top notepad and a pencil. A little reminder that if she takes some notes before reacting and plans a little she could go far, not that she isn't on her way. It should also appeal to her sense of old detective stories.

    Of course, with her leaving that just leaves Rangin to worry about who the new ACoS will be...but that's tomorrow's problem.

    He approaches and raises a glass to her in acknowledgement. "Congratulations Sir; Jeremi. All the best on the promotion and the new ship. Good journey and good luck."
    In the land of the blind, the one-arm man is king.

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    Andy Johnson looks over the dignitaries in the room, the USS Yorktown's good and great all saying farewell to Lt. Collins. The Staff outfit for the occasion still feels tight around the collar no matter how many times he's worn it before, one of these days he will probably just end up hitting it with a rolling pin. A nod to one of the waiters on one side and a second nod to show where their presence is needed to pick up old, provide new and refill empty glasses. There's a small smile of approval as they move across smoothly, just as he would have done if he was as junior.

    It's the same oversight that can see Ens. Kylah just hanging around the food table looking a little lost and alone.

    Picking up a couple of drinks from a waiter heading passed, he carefully wends his way to her side, staying in her blind spot until she is close enough.

    "You know that goes really well with one of these," as he offers the drink to Ens. Kylah. "How you holding up?"

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    Global Moderator choie's avatar
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    Sometimes Kylah wonders if Mr. Johnson is not somewhat empathic himself. This is not the first time when he has offered her exactly what she wishes. Not the drink, of course--though she takes it from him, not wishing to be impolite. Almost hungry for a friendly face, she unconsciously leans in as if gravitationally drawn to the young chef.

    "I am glad for Lt. Collins, but sad to be saying goodbye," she says. "We did not get to know one another very well, and I have some deep regrets over how we interacted. How I behaved. I must not speak for her. We disagreed on much, and I suspect..." Kylah looks down at the drink, causing tiny ripples in the liquid as she moves. "I suspect I underestimated her. Her path is on the ascendant. I do not believe my own career will follow such a swift pace."

    Not if judged only on her own merit, she adds mentally--without her uncle and his influence, would she even have graduated the Academy? But this is not the sort of morose discussion her companion is likely to enjoy. She takes an infinitesimal sip of the drink and lifts the hand holding the delicious pastry.

    "You outdo yourself, Mr. Johnson. I do not know how you have not been promoted just as quickly as Lt. Collins--it is remarkable that no Admirals and Envoys have seconded you to their own kitchens. Much to our benefit, if not my waistline's." Kylah hopes he does not notice that her uniform is actually a little loose. Her various traumas and injuries have made her lose weight, not gain it. She glances over at Lt. Collins, who still seems occupied, and then hurries on. "Are you close with her? I know she has not been with the ship so very long, but you seem to know a bit about everyone on board, if I may say so."
    Last edited by choie; 08 Apr 2017 at 02:21 AM.

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    Moving among her friends at the party, Nia eats and drinks plenty, and laughs even more. The Yorktown knows how to throw a festive event, and this is the first since the much sadder occasion on which the crew last gathered to see off a departing colleague. Of course, Nia hardly knows Jeremi Collins, but having served on a mission with her, she thinks it only right to wish the young woman well.

    When she knows she isn't interrupting anyone who has a closer connection, Nia slips in front of Collins and takes a new glass from a passing server. "Congratulations, and here's to you, Collins. I'm grateful to have had the chance to work with you, and I know the Theseus is getting a bright and savvy officer to see her safely onward."

    She tilts her head in curiosity. "I know it's none of my business, and feel free to tell me to go chase an asteroid, but..." Her voice lowers. "How are you leaving things with Ben? You and I never exactly got to have that heart-to-heart about him, and maybe it's no longer relevant. But if you ever want to chat, you know how to get in touch. I'm not going anywhere, far as I know." Her gaze lands on Booker, and her smile warms, crinkling her eyes. "Yep, definitely happy staying where I am for now."

    Nia focuses her full concentration on Jeremi Collins and lifts her glass higher. "You, though... you're gonna go far, Lieutenant--literally and figuratively. I look forward to hearing about the adventures you'll have out there. I suspect you'll be having one helluva ride."

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    Collins is glad to have a private word with each of you. She seems deeply moved by the occasion, but doesn't cry.

    To Graham she says, "Anytime, Book. You know I'd be glad to. Be well, my friend."

    To Rangin she says, "Thanks for everything, Velir. The same to you, now and always."

    To Onn she says, "Ben and I agreed that our relationship had... just about run its course. He didn't want to leave the Yorktown, and I knew this was an assignment I had to take. It'll be for the best, I'm sure, but I have to admit it doesn't make leaving him - or this ship - any easier."

    When the Transporter Room calls and tells her the Theseus awaits and that it's finally time to go, she says to everyone gathered, "Many thanks to you all, my friends and shipmates, for what you've taught me, for your friendship and fellowship, and for the chance to explore the stars with you. I wish you all nothing but the best, and I hope you'll keep me in your prayers." She waves. "Goodbye, everybody." Then she is gone.

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    Ape must not kill ape! general_urko's avatar
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    Graham takes a deep breath as Collins leaves. Then he suavely...or maybe not so suavely. Or maybe "anyone or anything that gets in my way might suffer a terrible collision if I can't manuever around them first" moves toward Nia.

    Approaching her, he clears his throat. "Thanks for the phaser down there," he says, gesturing vaguely in the direction of what he imagines is planetside on the last mission. He shrugs slighlty and lowers his voice. "And, ah if you are able to hang onto that dress for future occasions...well, I wouldn't object."
    Last edited by general_urko; 09 Apr 2017 at 09:07 PM.

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    When Booker thanks her for 'the phaser down there' with a downwards gesture, Nia nearly jokes, "oh, is that what you're calling it now?" But she just smiles as he goes on to praise that dress. The guy's seen her down to her scales--and beyond them too, for that matter--but some fringe, a few spangles and a whisper of silk can still turn him on. Human males are endlessly fascinating, bless 'em.

    "And to think, I nearly stuffed that dress down the throat of a certain prankster in Wardrobe," she murmurs, patting his arm. "Okay, Ensign. I promise to borrow it on special occasions. I have some better surprises in my personal collection, though. We'll audition them one by one to see if you have a favorite." Nia smiles at him, but takes a careful and more serious measure of his expression before she goes on. "Are you doing okay, Book? You and Jeremi had kind of a special connection. I know you were tight. Not just as fellow Security types, but..."

    Nia shrugs, glancing back at the transporter before returning to him. "Want to take a walk together and talk about it? The Arboretum should be relatively empty. Or would you rather just, y'know, go straight to my quarters?" She lifts an eyebrow, trying to lighten the mood. "Or maybe you and the rest of your department have some tradition to hoist a few pints and sing songs of redshirt fellowship in honor of your departing friend?"
    Last edited by SidonianGal; 10 Apr 2017 at 03:40 AM.

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    "No I didn't really know her that well, and there she goes, off to possibilities new. Glad to see everyone got a chance to say goodbye. As for me getting promoted, as long as the Captain is kept happy I'll be remaining here."

    Ajay glances around while still talking. "How are you doing, you'll have the cabin to yourself until Lizzie can find someone for you to share with. Don't worry, I'm sure it will be a smoother experience than last time." He wonders how she is really holding up after all the incidents she has been through and thinking she could really do with a friend or two more on the Yorktown.

    "Look if you need a chat you know where to find me. I'll make something chocolatey." It's only then he realises the space next to him is empty.
    Last edited by Ajay; 11 Apr 2017 at 05:07 AM.

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    Kylah stands at the edge of the dwindling crowd, dumbstruck and--despite her crewmates--alone. Again.

    While talking with Andy Johnson, she heard the sudden announcement that Collins was leaving. Her heart leapt and she tried--she truly did try--to get to her roommate in time; in fact, she left Mr. Johnson without even a word, panic rendering her rude and mute to the only person who was friendly enough, or took pity on her enough, to approach her when she needed him.

    But despite her attempts to slip through to get to Jeremi Collins, the officers swarming the departing woman and sending her off with congratulations seemed to be a unified, rushing wave that Kylah's small figure could not navigate past. Dimly she heard the final parting words, then the familiar noise of the transporter in the room too crowded for her to enter.

    She did not even consider that Mark Ferguson might be at the controls; she did not care. All she could do is what she is doing now: stand, useless, holding the small card she pulled from her belt. A card she thought about, researched, and wrote out in her best handwritten Federation standard. An old-fashioned gesture, a paper card, but she is used to using such formalities on Elas.

    Now it is just a card that she can never deliver.

    How? How could she have failed? How has she still not learned from her mistakes?

    Kylah's fingers clutch the card until they are nearly as white as the paper. Once most people have drifted away and the path to the transporter pads is clear, she stares at them, empty and unlit, while she trembles in aghast disbelief and roiling anger. Finally she backs up, looks at the card in her hands, and sees Jeremi's name turn to a blur.

    Crumping the card, she puts a hand to her mouth, holding back a sudden sob before it can escape her lips and embarrass her in front of the few who remain. Kylah blindly seeks the corridor leading to the turbolift, bumping into one or two people and apologizing in a tight, strangled mutter as she moves with increasing desperation to get to her quarters.

    She reaches the room and leans against the wall as her doors shut behind her. Lt. Collins's bed, her table, her closet, are all pristine and devoid of any sign that she was here.

    Kylah breathes deep several times. Then she walks to her own bed and aims her gaze at her own night table. Sitting there, near a few personal items, is a small wooden object. A musical instrument, miniature and delicate, that Jeremi Collins gave to her after the loss of her Zither.

    Her fingers let go of the card and reach out to brush the smooth, beautifully carved wood. They touch it lightly but then grab hold of it, pulling it to her heart as Kylah squeezes her eyes shut and crushes her face into her pillow, sobbing.

    How could I not thank her for this? How could I not tell her what it meant? How could I not...say...goodbye?

    "Please," she moans, mentally seeing not just Jeremi Collins, but others, entombed in coffins just before sent to a flaming chamber long ago, whom she never had a chance to bid farewell. "Please, please forgive me!"

    Her words are muffled and incoherent, not that it matters to those she addresses. Because it is too late. It is far too late.

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    The farewell party breaks up not long after Collins's departure, and people drift off, to duty stations, their quarters, lunch or various other diversions.

    A day passes, and Kylah receives a text from the Ship's Quartermaster. She is welcome to remain alone in her and Collins's quarters for now, or she may invite someone to become her new cabinmate. Otherwise, the Quartermaster may assign someone when new personnel next come aboard the Yorktown.

    Graham bumps into his friend and cabinmate Ens. Faisal Mahmoud in a corridor on Deck 17. "Did you hear?" the Libyan man asks. "We just got ten hours' shore leave. I was thinking of going orbital skydiving. Want to come?"
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 24 Nov 2017 at 11:37 AM. Reason: removed Marala reference

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    Rangin sees the cheer for Collins before her departure and joins in the well-wishing of her goodbye following along behind the others to see her off. Although not right to the transporter door, he is there although still able to see little over the larger heads given his size.

    At the tone of the familiar sound, he wishes her silently good bye and good luck. Turning to some of his colleagues he makes a few plans with them to meet up later and swap a few stories about Collins. A relaxing evening would be welcome and with nothing planned until later tomorrow an opportunity to unwind. He turns to leave, only to be bumped into by someone. It takes a few moments to realise it is Ens. Kylah heading down the corridor, shaking and hunched over in that way she does while trying to keep self-control while clutching something in her hands.

    Rangin almost ignores it disdainfully. It's not like she got on that well with Collins, so it is surprising to see her so emotional. More likely, Kylah had done something wrong. Again. Getting ready to head off, he realises that with Collins gone, then Kylah will be going back to her empty quarters with no roommate to talk to. That's fine, Graham will surely be along doing his paternal, father-figure act and it's not like he wants to be there if Graham did turn up. *Only Graham had been making goo-goo eyes at Lt. Onn and judging by the way they were acting towards each other, they had other plans that evening.

    No, no, he had other plans for the evening, relaxing with friends, enjoying some downtime, playing stupid science drinking games of guess the obscure facts with something brewed in the labs. With friends...while Kylah was probably moping around her quarters being miserable.

    With no-one.

    Broken.

    He shifts weight from one foot to the other, as he feels this guilty conscience feeling slowly crawl down his back. She's just a shipmate, Rangin tells himself, nothing more. A shipmate he is duty bound to see if she is ok because if he doesn't no-one else will. Always the way, isn't it, go do the right thing. He grinds his teeth at the thought having*almost convinced himself to just walk away.

    But he can't do it.

    "See you in a bit," he says to his friends as he heads off to Kylah's quarters all the while knowing it's probably the wrong thing to do and it will only make matters worse. The thoughts staying with him until he realises he is outside her door and with a quick shake of his head at his stupidity, he rings the chime
    In the land of the blind, the one-arm man is king.

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    Ape must not kill ape! general_urko's avatar
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    Graham snorts and shakes his head. "Yeah, right, and I'm gonna go take a tango lesson with a Deneban Slime Devil."

    It takes Graham a second to realize he might be serious. "Wait...are you...not kidding? Like, jumping out..."

    He clears his throat and shifts uncomfortably. "I, ah, was never much for heights..."

    He's pretty sure Mahmoud's expression doesn't change, but he can practically hear his old friend laughing at him. His monent's pause feels like an eternity...

    "Dammit, just remember if I fucking disintegrate in the stratosphere or whatever I'm going to find a way to come back to get you."

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    In her quarters, Nia combs the fingers of her left hand through the long, coiling locks of her damp hair, adding a light, gentle coat of conditioning cream to the curls. She's just showered after finishing a few dozen laps in the pool following her watch.

    Meanwhile, as she hums, her free hand taps the keys of her computer terminal, performing a database search to feed her curiosity about the ship's temporary newcomers and the Yorktown's next destination: Novy Rostov colony settlements history.
    Last edited by SidonianGal; 12 Apr 2017 at 02:05 AM.

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    Mahmoud grins. "I'll take that as a 'Hell, yes!,' then, Book. If you want to invite anyone else along, feel free. We'll beam over to the space station for the jump in an hour."

    The Yorktown's Library Computer tells Onn that the Novy Rostov colony was established by settlers from the Second Russian Empire just over a century ago. Eta Ophiuchi, also known as Sabik, is a binary star system; Novy Rostov is one of only four worlds and the only inhabited planet in the system. It is Class K, roughly comparable to a larger Mars, with a very thin atmosphere and a cold, barren surface. Gravity is 97.3% Earth normal.

    About a third of the original settlers died of exposure, starvation, accidents or disease in the colony's very difficult first decade. The original pressure-domed arcology has expanded underground considerably over the years since then. The current population is 8,043. There has been only limited immigration since the colony's original settlement, and it remains 82% ethnic Russian. Novy Rostov is a Federation world but not large enough to have its own Federation Council member. It is administered by an elected governor and colonial council of five. It is a relatively prosperous mining colony, with dilithium, gold, manganese, tngonian and bauxite the most common elements extracted. Other than monthly visits by ore carriers, however, hardly anyone goes there; it is certainly no garden spot or tourist destination.

    It should take about a week to get there from Beta Antares IV.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rostov
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eta_Ophiuchi
    http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Class_K_planet
    http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Tngonian
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 12 Apr 2017 at 12:47 PM.

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    Hmm. Interesting. With a nod, Nia finishes reading and, still having some leftover moisturizing conditioner, rubs her fingers together and slides them over her bare legs to smooth the cream into her skin. She ponders why anyone would settle on a planet that's so different--not even suited to one's own survival. Nia left Sidonia out of desperation and as a sort of bargaining chip. Her health has often suffered, not to mention the heartbreak of missing her loved ones. If her planet weren't near the end of its lifespan and Federation technical knowledge weren't it's only hope, would she have left?

    Stupid question. If Sidonia wasn't dying, my whole life would be different. Can't even imagine...

    Scowling, she shrugs away her inward-facing thoughts. No way to answer the questions she's asking. Anyway, maybe some of the settlers have their own similar stories. Nia hopes she'll get a chance to talk with them over the next week.

    She tosses her towel back into the bathroom, grins when it lands perfectly in the sink--Ha! And Double-T still thinks I can't play basketball!--and opens her dresser to grab some underwear and clothing. Technically it's Nia's evening, since she took a late watch as a favor to a colleague, but she's not tired at all. Maybe Luisa and Giya are free for a bite? Haven't had a girls' outing for a while.

    It's possible she'll hear from Booker, of course, but he might have other ideas. Could be having his own boys' outing. Or maybe he's got plans with another woman, she acknowledges. Truth is, they haven't exactly talked about exclusivity yet--not definitively, at least--though Nia hasn't really seen anyone else in that way since... wow, might be after the whole Klingon battle, has it been that long? Might be a record.

    Booker, though... Haven't seen Cece sniffing around him lately, but that doesn't mean they're not quoting Shakespeare together or plucking the daffodils or whatever they choose to call it...

    The thought sets Nia's jaw a little more tightly, especially when she remembers that Cecilia is either engaged or as-good-as, which she can't believe Booker knows. He can't, can he? He wouldn't waste his time, and his honor wouldn't let him pursue someone like that.

    Would it?

    Suddenly noticing the ache in her jaw, Nia laughs at herself. Seriously? She is gonna suddenly get holier-than-thou and proprietary? Ridiculous. Let Booker enjoy Cecilia or Three Crows or hell, even Kylah if he wants. Have fun and good luck to him.

    Nia pulls on a uniform, studiously ignoring the tiny disgruntled voice in her mind. Once she's dressed she'll put out feelers via communicator. And if everyone else has already got their day planned, I'll search out the settlers. Might be nice to get to know 'em better.
    Last edited by SidonianGal; 12 Apr 2017 at 11:43 PM.

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    Ship's time is 1807 hours.

    Onn's friends Lt. JG Luisa Guzman, the relief navigator, a pretty, young Colombian woman, and Ens. Giya, a Deltan chemist, bald like all her people, have also just been given ten hours' shore leave. They agree to meet Onn. "Where to?" Guzman asks. "I don't really know the attractions on this planet."

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    Nia chuckles as she finishes stuffing her hair into its usual low ponytail, then puts her hands on her hips. "If I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times, navigator, you're never gonna get those extra letters taken off your rank if you admit to not knowing the territory."

    She flips open her communicator. Most likely among her circle to know the amusements on random shore leave locations: Ajay, probably, but Nia knows he's busy. She mulls over Thalen vs. Roble, then settles on the former.

    "Onn to Thalen," she says, eyeing her friends in amusement. "I know you're not our cruise director, but I bet you have some good ideas about what attractions Beta Antares can offer three women on shore duty, other than beautiful shipyards to explore?"

    BTW, are we still in Nia's cabin or did we meet elsewhere? Also, does Thalen have a first name? Nia would likely use it.
    Last edited by SidonianGal; 14 Apr 2017 at 11:39 AM. Reason: yes this was originally Kylah. Nothing to see here, move along.

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    nm
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 24 Nov 2017 at 11:39 AM. Reason: removed Marala references
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    Graham takes a deep breath and scowls, wondering what he's gotten himself into.

    He momentarily considers inviting Nia...a date, I guess...

    He decides against it--one, I don't want to make Mahmoud feel like a fifth wheel. Or maybe more accurate if if I do ask Nia out on a date night I want to make it a real nice one, without Faisal hanging off my jetpack...

    (He admits to himself he also worries that for her orbital skydiving just might be old hat...maybe even boring.)

    After a moment's though he decides he knows who might need a friend at the moment, and texts Ens. Kylah.

    Graham here. Mahmoud and I are going to...check out the planet shortly. Get our mind off things. You're welcome to come with us if you're free. Let me know.

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    Onn and her friends are gathered in her cabin. The Communications Officer, who like many Andorians has just a single name, at once replies via text: All the usual big-city attractions planetside: clubs, restaurants, bars, sports, shopping, museums, movies, live music, arts, camping, etc. Not my favorite planet but I'm sure you can find something to do. I hear some are even going to go orbital skydiving - definitely not me! THALEN.

    Kylah also learns she has ten hours' leave.
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 24 Nov 2017 at 11:41 AM. Reason: removed Marala reference

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    At the terminal in her lonely room, Kylah reads the message from the Quartermaster, too tired to contemplate whom she would possibly invite to become a roommate. She knows almost no one, and cannot imagine who would voluntarily give up their quarters and choose to live with her. She types back a quick note of gratitude and says she will accept anyone the Quartermaster needs to assign to her, when necessary.

    Next, after receiving word about shore leave, she looks for the second time back at her SENT messages folder.

    There is no change--the result is the same: it has been nearly a month since her Guardian wrote her, coldly expressing his displeasure about the news reports of her alleged behavior on OCIII, her attack on Anubis, and the loss of her zither and knives. Nearly a month since he warned her that he would be bringing a new pair of knives personally.

    Since then, she has responded with an abject apology and a dutiful report about the Yorktown's encounter with the Klingons, coded into a composition via her borrowed Vulcan lute. At the time, she also humbly asked him for any further details on the visit he promised.

    Yet there has been no hint of a reply from Uncle Aldaan. As much as Kylah fears her Guardian's visit, this silence is even more ominous.

    She tucks her hair behind her ears and starts to write a third message, this one without an attachment, to beg Aldaan's forgiveness and ask if he is purposely avoiding contact with her. Then her communicator beeps.

    Her hand moves swiftly toward the device. It cannot be from Velir... not so soon, not after last night...

    Yet again she is disappointed to be correct, at least briefly. Seeing Mr. Graham's identification on the text message raises her spirits again. The invitation is... surprising, to say the least. She knows very little about Mr. Mahmoud, except for briefly serving on the wretched OCIII mission with him. But if he were one of the Security officers who dislikes her, Mr. Graham would surely not have asked her along.

    Part of her does not want to leave the ship. Only once has Kylah had a good experience off the Yorktown, and that was back on Starbase 27, where she first grew close to Velir. Then again, being by herself on the Yorktown has been little better. Besides, she needs to go shopping and given her needs, Mr. Graham and Mr. Mahmoud might be the ideal companions. And she enjoys Mr. Graham's company regardless.

    I would like that very much, Kylah writes back. Thank you for the invitation. Where shall I meet you?

    She sets her communicator down, fixes her hair and makeup, then picks the device back up on her way out the door.
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 17 Apr 2017 at 04:08 PM. Reason: Edited at choie's request

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    Nia jots a quick thank-you note to Thalen and swivels to her friends. "Well, nothing unusual except orbital skydiving. Spent half my life doing that sorta thing, as you know, but I'm willing to be outvoted. Otherwise it's your standard entertainment--music, food, drinks, shopping, and so on."

    She leans over to her night table, grabs a tube of lightly tinted lip balm, and carefully dabs a semi-transparent red layer onto her lips, currently stretched into a smile. "Your choice. Want to grab a bite or drink and see where our whims take us? Either of you hear what the weather's like, planetside?" If they say no to the latter, Nia will get a quick status report from either the local newsnet or just contact whoever's monitoring the planetary conditions on the Bridge.
    Last edited by SidonianGal; 16 Apr 2017 at 11:10 PM.

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    Onn learns it is now cool and overcast in Holloway, the capital city of Beta Antares IV, over which the Yorktown is in synchronous orbit. Her friends agree drinks and dinner would be a good start to their shore leave. Guzman says, "A friend who's been here before told me that Bel Canto, an Italian place in Holloway, is nice."

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    Graham replies to Kylah wih the time and the transporter room he will be meeting Faisal.

    Ok shorthand but sorting our which between Graham-Mahmoud would probably be a boring back and forth

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    While heading to the turbolift, Kylah notes the new message, dashes off a quick acknowledgement to Mr. Graham, and plans to meet him at the appointed place and time.





    Just as vague but it gets the job done!

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    Given the weather report, which seems to indicate some rain might be in the offing, Nia ponders whether to take a jacket. Then she shakes her head, smiling; she would kinda love to get rained on.

    "Okay, Bel Canto it is--agreed, Giya?" Assuming Giya has no problem with the choice, Nia stuffs her communicator in her duty belt and will join the others on the way to their new destination.

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    Giya says, "By all means, let's go." The three make their way to the nearest transporter room, where there is a short line of people waiting to beam down. About half are in Starfleet uniform; others have changed into civvies.

    Lt. JG Geoffrey Park, a Korean botanist and a Science acquaintance of Rangin's, texts him: A couple of us are going to go orbital skydiving, leaving in about half an hour. Crazy, I know! Want to come? PARK.

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    Kylah walks through the corridors to get to the transporter room. Her palms start feeling clammy as she approaches, and she wipes them on her skirt before clasping them together in frustration. Will she never be able to go on or off this ship without dread? She swallows and hopes she sees Mr. Graham, or anyone she knows, who can take her mind off the possibility of seeing Lt. JG Mark Ferguson--or even just distract her from the memory of him.

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    Looking forward to getting some proper fresh air--there was hardly much opportunity on SI2 to get a sense of the atmosphere--Nia smiles at her friends and eyes the line to beam planetside with interest, wondering what her other close crewmates are doing.

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    Orbital skydiving - Rangin sees the text and feels a little jealous at the thought of the activity, but still he should be finding a gift for his sister as well.

    Decisions, decisions, he thinks, but then realises he has plenty of time. Half an hour to get planetside, pick up a gift and get back to go skydiving, it's a plan.

    He thumbs a text out while heading to the transporter room "Ok - 40 minutes, tell me where. Looking forward to it." while heading for the transport room and a fast transport to the surface. He's not fussed he is still in his uniform, he will change when he gets back.
    In the land of the blind, the one-arm man is king.

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    The line moves along and soon Onn and her friends have beamed down to Holloway, a midsized, modern Federation city. Bel Canto is just two blocks away from the beamdown point in the center city.

    Park replies, Meet us in Transporter Room 3 and we'll go from there. Rangin beams down a few minutes later in the same place as Onn & Co.

    Kylah meets up outside Transporter Room 1 with Graham, Mahmoud and Mahmoud's friend, Lt. JG Demei Xiang, an engineer. She hasn't met Xiang before, but the Chinese woman greets her in a friendly way.

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    Nia lifts a hand to gesture toward the restaurant a couple of blocks ahead. "Ecco là, ladies," she says in the very, very basic Italian she learned from a former Terran whom she remembers fondly as her inamorato and crewmate, though not necessarily in that order. Of course, the UT will presumably translate it to "there it is" or its equivalent in each of her friends' languages, but using the correct lingo is still fun.

    She smiles at how close to Bel Canto they've landed. Nicely chosen, Thalen. "Perfect placement, geographically speaking. Let's hope the food lives up to its locale."

    Her peripheral vision catches another beam-in and, when she turns, Nia sees Rangin arrive. She nods at the junior officer, though aiming a slightly questioning lift of her eyebrow toward him too. She's still not sure how the Coridanite feels toward her.
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 25 Apr 2017 at 02:17 PM. Reason: edited at SG's request

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    Graham nods at Kylah as she enters. He clears his throat and speaks--partially to Mahmoud, partially to the group. "So Mahmoud's idea was orbital skydiving. Do we beam somewhere, Faisal, or just jump out of the ship from here?"

    He maintains an air of confident swagger (or at least, he thinks he does) but the thought of jumping out of anything now or later doesn't sit comfortably...

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    Kylah greets the near-strangers Mahmoud and Xiang, but quickly locks eyes on Mr. Graham and, with the homing instinct of an imprinted duckling, steps closer to him. She tries to avoid looking past him to see who is behind the transporter controls.

    When she registers what he said, her lips part in surprise, exhaling in a whisper, "Orbital... skydiving?"

    Neither of the words, separate or together, are enticing. Dismay and alarm ripple through her. Although she went through the standard EVA training at the Academy, she has no experience at such activities. Aside from her knife-throwing, she has never been much of an athlete.

    Disappointingly--and curiously--Kylah gets no radiated sense of comfort or reassurance from Mr. Graham, despite his proximity. Since they have grown friendlier, and she has let her guard down around him somewhat, Kylah has found him a relative source of security. Not now, for some reason.

    Either her own trepidation is too great to be consoled by his presence, or Mr. Graham is simply not giving off his usual protective, confident aura.

    It must be the first. And apparently Mr. Graham has assumed she is fine with this, since he did not even ask if the activity is something that interests her. Perhaps it is so popular that everyone does it. Not wanting to reveal still more of her fears, or even how out-of-touch she is with trends, Kylah says nothing further. She expresses her nervousness in silence, her lower teeth catching at the inside of her lip to gnaw lightly.
    Last edited by choie; 24 Apr 2017 at 11:08 PM.

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    Mahmoud says, "We beam over to the space station. There's a short training session and then we jump from there." He grins. "Should be awesome! Ready to go?" Both he and Xiang seem excited.

    http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Orbital_skydiving

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    Graham has an uncharacteristically desperate hope that Kylah will balk at orbital skydiving, thereby giving him a reason to bow out (besides formless fear of heights).

    At the same time, he's damned glad to get her out and about with good people like Mahmoud...

    He clears his throat. "I, ah--sorry if the, ah, nature of our activity is a surprise," Graham says to Kylah. He gestures toward his friend, speaking with simple sincerity. "I'd trust Faisal with my life, so if he says it's safe, I believe it."

    This is all true except for the shrieking at the back of his mind IDONTEANTTOJUMPOUTOFAFUCKINGSPACESTATION...

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    Kylah rubs her wrist as if trying to soothe the racing pulse throbbing beneath her fingertips. Mr. Graham's confidence in his friend makes her take a second look at Faisal Mahmoud. What would it be like to trust someone to such a degree? It seems to require a greater leap of faith than anything one would find in orbital skydiving.

    Still, she is sensing an odd dichotomy in Mr. Graham's feelings. He speaks reassuringly, but an edginess buzzes around him like an electric fence. As Kylah has grown closer to him, she has tried to restrict her trespassing on his emotions, but this is undeniable. Perhaps he knows she is afraid, and does not think she is up to it?

    Kylah has only just recovered from being stabbed--and multiple other injuries. But though her instinct is to run from further risks, she does not want to require such coddling. She lifts her head in a shadow of bravado. I can do this. He would not let me do this if it were unsafe.

    "Then I will believe it is safe as well," she says. Her hand gently touches his wrist, brushing against it just as she did her own in an attempt to show that she, to, will take a leap of faith in Booker Graham. "I appreciate your inviting me. I have spent too much time alone."
    Last edited by choie; 26 Apr 2017 at 11:57 AM.

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    If Rangin responds to Nia in any friendly way, Nia will smile back. If not, she'll just shrug and move on.

    "Well, food awaits. Andiamo." Nia walks with her friends toward the restaurant. "Of course once we eat, that lets us out of the main attraction of orbital skydiving. Don't wanna hurtle toward the ground with a full stomach. So last warning if that's something you guys might be interested in."

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    Rangin beams down and turns round to get his bearings, eager to find something and smiling gently at the possible options. He sees Lt. Onn's acknowledgement and nods in response to her, the smile remains, although things are slightly cool between them. He wonders how much he should trust her although given she is with some other officers, a little gentility costs nothing.

    He heads off towards the shops.
    In the land of the blind, the one-arm man is king.

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    Kylah, Graham and the others move along in the line towards the Transporter Room. Soon they are inside and stepping up on the platform; Kylah sees that Chief Harrison is behind the control console.

    Onn and her friends make their way to Bel Canto. There is a short wait before they are seated. It is a large, open, pleasant room, rather crowded, with waiters bustling back and forth and a pleasant hubbub of conversation all around. The aroma of Italian food is quite enticing. A handsome, mustachioed waiter introduces himself as Giacomo and presents your menus with a flourish.

    Rangin sees several attractive shops nearby. What does he have in mind?

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    An exhale of relief escapes Kylah when she recognizes the transporter chief. She glances at Mr. Graham before turning to the others. "I suppose... you have both done this before? The skydiving, I mean? Is it difficult for someone who is--who is not especially gifted, athletically?"

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    "Thank you," Nia says to the waiter, smiling at his attractive face with an appreciation she can't hide. "Do you have any specials today? Or anything you might recommend to us that's particularly yummy?"

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    Xiang says, "I've done it once before, a few years back. You don't have to be athletic, not by any means. Just how physical you want to make it, how much you want to dive or roll or tumble, that's up to you."

    Mahmoud says, "This is a first for me - but I've been looking forward to it."

    The waiter tells Onn, "The special today is the cheese and spinach lasagna. Everybody loves it. If you want something lighter, the grilled swordfish is quite good." He has a noticeable Italian accent.

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    Graham glowers and grunts. "I was, ah, kind of assuming this was old hat for Faisal, kinda getting to know an old friend's favorite hobby..."

    "So, no, I, ah, haven't done this before, myself" Graham says, part of his mind eagerly seeking an excuse for a way out.

    And the other part: "I'm sure you'll do fine," he says to Kylah. It's a completely honest statement that co-exists alongside his own sensitivities about heights...

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    Looking at the others to see whether they're ready to order, Nia waits her turn before choosing the swordfish. Seafood is hard to pass up. She chooses sparkling water with lemon as her drink, and hands the menu back to the waiter when through.

    Once everyone has ordered, she'll ask the other women to fill her in on their latest news. It seems that her schedule and Luisa's aren't meshing as often as they used to; feels like they haven't sat together at the Helm and Nav panels for a while. And Nia doesn't see nearly enough of Giya. She's interested in hearing how both are doing, both in their personal lives and any assignments they've had that she might have missed.

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    Kylah nods at Mr. Graham in thanks, but her eyes have widened since hearing their responses. Somehow she expected the men, especially Mr. Graham, to be old hands at this activity. She looks back at Mr. Graham, now curious if his apparent anxiety is related to the jump.

    But surely he would have refused, if that were the case. If Kylah did not owe him so much, and trust him besides, she would have turned down his invitation. Further, she wants to combat her reputation for cowardice, which she suspects has grown ever since her first mission. If she cannot handle a mere sport, how can she be trusted when life or death matters are concerned?

    She wonders if Mr. Graham has similar worries. Not that he is considered a coward--quite the opposite. But that very reputation for bravery could be a burden as well. No one expects him to balk at such trivial things. And with his fellow security officer and friend goading him on...

    Biting her lip again, she tugs his sleeve and, asking the others to excuse them, pulls him a little away to whisper in his ear.

    "I am not counting on going. If you want--I know it will look bad, but I can refuse--it is what people would expect of me anyway. Then perhaps... we can do something else." She looks up at him intently. "If you prefer."

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