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Thread: Star Trek RPG - Mission #7: "The War-Brotherhood of Irkhuit"

  1. #1551
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    Nia straps in. Jol never answered her question and that... well, it bugs her. She smiles slightly at the unintended pun, though trying to figure out why the first officer's behavior is concerning. 'Cause you're turning into a neurotic mess. Knock it off. After boosting her resolve, she turns her head to look at her crewmates, instinctively checking that they're safe and in place even though she's not the one at the helm.

    When her gaze falls on Rangin, she purses her lips. She's really let him down, support-wise. Where's that instinctive protectiveness been? Withheld, thanks to her poorly controlled resentment over the added danger his situation has imposed upon them. But what was he supposed to do? Big guy threatens little guy; little guy either runs or fights for his life.

    Acknowledging Rangin with a nod, she offers a tiny, rueful smile. "Rough couple of days, huh?" she asks in a miracle of understatement. "Doing okay?"

  2. #1552
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    Kylah finds the Uwat hard to read - their brain structure and mental processes are very different from the humanoid races with which she is better acquainted, and whose thoughts she is more accustomed to sensing. But she has a general psi impression that these three are calm, focused and task-oriented.

    Rangin returns Onn's rueful smile. "You could say that, yeah. I'm okay, all in all, but I have to admit I'm not going to be sorry to see Ollos well behind us."

    Among the ships ahead, Onn, Graham and Rawlings can now recognize the transport Astral Queen, bulbous and well-worn; the fast packet Fevre Dream, which appears to be in motion even while standing still; the freighter Four Little Diamonds, hulking and badly-stained about its drive section, and what must be the Doregg. The Uwat starship is also by no means new, and is dark red and light gray, but as spindly as her shuttle is squat. There are another four or five ships that are unfamiliar to you all.

    Jol touches the controls, activating thrusters, and a slight sense of gravity returns. The Doregg grows larger ahead.
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 03 Dec 2023 at 12:35 AM.

  3. #1553
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    After a quick look around at what everyone is up to, Dr. Mäkeläinen gets back to his own couch and watches the viewscreen. He does not immediately join in the small talk. (Nia is still talking to Lt. Rangin, but after that he may ask her if she recognizes any of the types of ships.) He is still ready for anything, but with so many unknowns on this mission it is more a matter of figuring things out as they come than being able to plan anything. Assuming he and his colleagues safely make it on board, they should have another conference about how they are going to conduct themselves for the duration, and then his "bio talk" with Nia will be to more or less insist she get some rest. Though he knows he himself will find it irresistible to poke around the new surroundings.

  4. #1554
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    Pleased by the overall benign professional impression she senses from the Uwat, Kylah lets her mind clear itself of any psi 'residue' from having worked a little harder to analyze such challenging subjects. She is glad to hear Lt. Onn taking the time to address Velir, and when they are done she gives him a small, encouraging smile. She closes her eyes for a moment before turning to Dr. Mäkeläinen, wondering how to address him about the mission.

    "I am sorry your vacation was not very relaxing," she says. "It was lively, from what I hear, but probably not as you had hoped. To be honest, I have fared the same on my trips. It is, perhaps, the nature of them."

  5. #1555
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    Graham notices Nia leaning in close to speak to the doctor, which is probably about what's going on with her medically, or...not...

    She could do a lot, lot worse - Rangin's sitting right here after all.

    And a new romantic interest would be...good? Maybe?

    He feels a brief roiling tempest of emotions.

    Nia never said you broke her heart, Booker. But she never would, would she? You're not so thick you didn't know that.

    Your penance for Jane is to lose Nia...in order to be re-united with your first love.

    You've no right to complain, but...but what might have been?

  6. #1556
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    Nia's attention is first attracted by the Fevre Dream. A little thrill of acquisitive appreciation runs through her. Beautiful and probably one fast mother. The Doregg doesn't look great in comparison, but she and her crewmates aren't in need of a luxury ride. Seems sturdy enough and hopefully flies steady.

    Her gaze shifts. Oh damn it. Four Little Diamonds. Nia grimaces at the name and ship, then takes a quick glance at Rangin, hoping he either hasn't seen it or hasn't noticed. Might ruin his semi-decent spirits. Although he's actually a pretty resilient guy.

    As if she made the observation aloud, she looks almost apologetically at Booker. She catches herself at the old habit. Apologizing for what? For complimenting someone he hates? Mentally?

    She clears her throat and, keeping her tone low, says casually, "That freighter's one ugly piece of scrap. Maybe jetsam from some better-looking ship." With a sigh, she leans back again, murmuring--this time aimed at Booker--"I was hoping they'd've packed up and got the hell outta here already."

  7. #1557
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    Bizhi listens to whatever Nia has to say about the various vessels in sight. "I assume you know your ships. Sleek lines and a fancy paint job do not necessarily mean much in hard vacuum, though, I imagine. Perhaps it says more about the skipper, or their culture. I have heard tell of spacecraft that look almost biological. Could be they find the look of every one of the ships here... unsettling, by comparison."

  8. #1558
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    Rangin smiles back at Kylah, then closes his eyes. To Onn, he appears not to have noticed the Four Little Diamonds.

    Jol says, "Zero gravity again. Standby." He works the controls. You are weightless once more. The shuttle is now on final approach to the Doregg. He says, "Docking in three minutes." He talks to his shipmates again in this second language.

    You all have very good views of the other ships as the shuttle passes through the orbiting group.

  9. #1559
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    Nia arches an amused eyebrow at Mäkeläinen's light... what, rebuke? She's not sure it even reaches that level of mild contradiction. Still, she lets herself smile even though her attention's riveted to the Four Little Diamonds.

    "Now Doc, I hope you don't think my mind's so loopy that I think a ship's looks mean anything out here." She lifts her palm and waves vaguely to indicate the viewscreen--vaguer than usual because her muscles feel a little rubbery and not entirely under her control. Normally, she's not affected by such incremental gravity adjustments, but if she's learning anything, it's that this situation isn't her normal.

    "But," Nia continues lazily, "That's a packet ship, taking things from here to there. Sometimes system to system. And their customers don't pay them for leisurely romps. Faster they go, more credits or whatever they make. And I've seen that line before; they're known to push limits." She shakes her head infinitesimally. It'd be nice to push limits again.

    "Matter of fact, some of them enter atmospheres to deliver the goods, and design becomes relevant. Shape matters. So I've been told," she adds with a sleepy little sidelong glance at Double-T.

    Sleepy? She does feel tired. "Regardless, even a hardened pilot likes to look at something pretty once in a while. And that"--her wavering finger points somewhere in the direction of the Fevre Dream--"Is one helluva gorgeous ride. As I've also been--"

    Oh. No no no no. Nia clamps her mouth shut in a rare moment of abashment at a double-entendre. What the hell, is she drunk? Probably. Not literally drunk, not only because she's had nothing alcoholic to drink, but also because she physically can't get drunk. But Hyperbilitria will mimic the effects.

    She finishes with a murmured, "Well. You get the point." Swallowing, she returns her focus to alternating between the Four Little Diamonds and the Doregg.

  10. #1560
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    The return of the zero gravity atmosphere is pleasing, as usual, but Kylah has a slightly furrowed brow that also wrinkles her nose. A curious sense of discomfort has arisen. Or perhaps she is more able to pay attention, as the shuttle is quiet and no one is doing much of anything. Is it one of her crewmates? She glances casually at the lot, but cannot see anyone who looks particularly distressed. Not even Velir, whose face in repose makes Kylah's heart swell with tenderness.

    Is it her own discomfort? Kylah almost laughs at the reminder--far from unique in her life--that she identifies others' emotions before her own. After some seconds she decides that yes, it is indeed her own anxiety thrumming at a low level. It is like the feel of the Yorktown's deck beneath her bare feet. With shoes, she does not notice any vibration or movement. Barefoot, her skin's sensitivity is more than enough to remind her that they are on board a huge machine with countless moving or otherwise active parts.

    It is simply because we are almost there, she decides, facing the viewscreen again to view the Doregg. Folding her hands neatly on her lap, she breathes deeply to relax.

  11. #1561
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    Rawlings smiles knowingly at Onn's joke. "Have you indeed, Lieutenant?" he jokes.

    The shuttle draws closer still to the Doregg, which does not get any prettier as you approach. Jol slows the shuttle down further with a few taps at the thrusters. When you're just a few hundred meters away, a pair of matching hatches open on the aft ventral surface of the Uwat ship. With an occasional word muttered to his shipmates, both on the shuttle and aboard the starship via subspace radio, Jol guides the shuttle into a relatively small shuttlebay - there appear to be only a few meters to spare in each direction as the shuttle glides in. It is a much tighter fit than for Class-F shuttles entering the Yorktown's far more capacious shuttlebay.

  12. #1562
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    Bizhi does not mind risqué comments. But is Nia discomfited by her own words? That seems to be more Kylah's style. He would not tease anyone who was actually embarrassed, but, in any case, Rawlings defuses things, so he allows himself a little smile along with the joke. He is still not one-hundred-percent clear on the exact past and present dynamics between everyone, but Onn and Rawlings? Does not escape him.

    "Ugly ship or not ugly ship, that was some smooth manual docking. At least we are in good hands as far as piloting and astrogation."

  13. #1563
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    "Yes, well executed indeed, Mr. Jol... and, uh, your crew," Nia says, a little claustrophobic in such a small bay but also feeling oddly envious. Such dull, unflashy little ships and their utilitarian spaces--and the need for both skill and a little artistry to handle them--remind her of her earliest days post-Academy, and even farther back to her father's hangars. She's extremely grateful for and honored to be behind the helm of the Yorktown, but rising up to challenges and less-than-optimal circumstances is what she was trained for. Bred for, really.

    She sinks back and waits for the docking to complete. Last time you had a challenge was the Tesla. You'll be lucky to get your ass back home and in your bunk attached to a Bilitrium tank, much less a seat at the conn any time soon.

  14. #1564
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    Graham just grunts lightly at Nia's comment as he glances at Four Little Diamonds.

    One stone could have killed more birds than he could count if, contrary to the local allergy to the Federation the ship's crew had filed an urgent criminal complaint that had brought a Federation ship to investigate...but no such luck.

  15. #1565
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    Entering the safety of the shuttlebay, Kylah exhales, very relieved to have the Four Little Diamonds behind them, literally and figuratively speaking. Perhaps not entirely, she admits, looking back at Velir. Her only experience of killing someone was on her first mission, and it still flickers around the edges of her consciousness some nights.

    She has had other nightmarish experiences--both older and more recent--but on that research station, Kylah harmed, ended, a life. Directly. In self-defense, and it was someone no longer thinking like a sapient being. But they were alive, and then Kylah pressed a button on her phaser and they were dead.

    Even if Velir has killed someone before, this is a unique situation, as each death must be. It is unlikely a compassionate man will forget it so quickly.

    She closes her eyes to gain a more calm demeanor--touching him has new meaning, with his unpredictable abilities, and she does not wish him to sense her disquiet--and, under the guise of waking him up (she does not think he is actually napping)--reaches to touch his wrist. "Velir? We are on the Doregg." She slips her fingers between his, grasps them so he can feel her warmth, and reluctantly lets go.

  16. #1566
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    The shuttle settles into the docking bay with a noticeable jolt and a muffled thud. The bay's exterior doors can be seen swinging shut on a video monitor beside Jol's pilot station. In seconds, they are closed. "Docking complete," he says, shutting down his controls. The cabin lights get a little dimmer. "Stand by to disembark."

    "Yes, thanks," Rangin says, taking Kylah's hand and squeezing back. He smiles wearily at her.

  17. #1567
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    Nia's looking forward to getting out of here, but takes a moment to gird herself before unfastening the safety strap and sitting up. After a deep breath, she slowly pushes herself to her feet--this time remembering to take the medication case with her. She's a little dizzy but it's hardly incapacitating, so she smiles a little in relief. She looks at Mäkeläinen and nods, a general indication that she's okay.

    Sending her tired smile from the Doc to Booker, then to Rangin and the others, she lifts her chin in what's hopefully a confident gesture. "Well, on to the next leg of our trip."

  18. #1568
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    Velir's smile never ceases to create a little bubbly lightness in Kylah's heart. She undoes her safety strap and, seeing Lt. Onn on her feet, does the same. The Sidonian woman's appearance is somewhat encouraging, and her expression certainly indicates she is trying to get back to normal. Kylah glances at Dr. Mäkeläinen to see if he seems just as encouraged.

    Still, as she looks forward to seeing whatever is visible of the Doregg itself, she is displeased by the lightness of her duty belt. The surrendered phaser is less worrisome to her than the communicator. Its physical weight is negligible but the weight of Kylah's reliance on it for a sense of comfort cannot be measured.

    Automatically she turns to Lt. Graham, who likely feels the same way about his phaser, although he is very capable without a weapon. "You must be particularly relieved to be done with this vacation. So much awaits you back home, perhaps more than in past--in past trips." To Dr. Mäkeläinen, she remarks, "I would imagine a look at this ship's medical facilities should be fascinating. With such differences in anatomy." Her hand gently indicates the Uwat officers while she turns to include Velir, who as a xenobiologist might find this intriguing as well.

    She addresses Mr. Jol and the others politely. "Once we leave the shuttle, might you have the opportunity to introduce me to your communications officer, please, if possible? As long as they are not too busy, of course." Kylah shifts slightly with an anticipatory glance at the hatch.

  19. #1569
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    Dr. Mäkeläinen is definitely pleased to be arrived somewhere else. It gives him a small burst of energy, and he assumes the same is true for his companions.

    Looking at the hatch, Dr. Mäkeläinen has a fleeting thought: an enclosed space, like a small ship, can be an incubator for any virus they may have picked up on the planet. Such pathogens are eventually scrubbed from the atmosphere by the life-support biofilters, but there is always a possibility, especially if someone has a weakened immune system....

    He is pondering this when Kylah surprises him with an insightful question about the ship's medical facilities. "Yes, quite," he replies, turning to her. "Probably also be some clever tech we haven't seen before." And, even if they are not well stocked with medication specifically for humanoids, he has plenty in his medical kit to stabilize a patient, in case of emergency, until he or she can be brought to a more comprehensive facility. A situation Nia is already in---they just have to hope for no further detours.

  20. #1570
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    Graham has a moment of nerves as Nia stands, worrying she might fall given her condition - and also knowing that lurching forward on the assumption she might fall would be the last thing she probably wanted.

    "There's a lot of reasons to want to be back home," Graham replies to Kylah, glancing from the Elasian to Nia and back.

  21. #1571
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    Jol replies to Kylah, "We don't have a communications officer, as such, but that is my responsibility."

    He says something to his two shipmates in the same guttural language as before. They briefly reply in kind and pass through the exterior hatch, which you can see opens into a small, blue-lit airlock. They cycle through, and the hatch opens again. Jol says, "I think you could pass through perhaps three at a time. Please proceed."

  22. #1572
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    "Right, thanks," Nia says, glancing behind her. "Um... Book, I bet you're interested in being in getting the first look. Maybe you, me and Dr. M. can go first? I think--Double-T and the others can follow." She eyes Booker, uncertain. She doesn't want Rangin to go first, if this is all some bizarrely elaborate ruse to bring him to justice--a thought that makes her seriously consider just how crazy and paranoid the hypobilitria is making her.

    "You decide," she says softly to Booker, not happy to defer such a decision, but like it or not, she's neither an expert in such things nor, frankly, certain of her decision-making abilities. "Please." She glances at the Doc too, letting him know silently that she's feeling a little overwhelmed.

  23. #1573
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    Graham nods at Nia's words. "You, me, the doctor first, Mr. Rangin and Mr. Kylah next, and Mr. Rawlings--let's not push our luck on three people fitting--last."

  24. #1574
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    "Sounds good," says the Doctor. He is eager to get a look as well (out of plain curiosity), and he is happy to leave the airlock order up to those with real-life security experience. On the other hand... "Everything looks good, but, hypothetically speaking, if there were anything agley waiting for us---" he has noticed a tense Nia casting uncertain glances at Booker--- "this is no tactical situation. We would have to talk our way out. Which shouldn't be a problem," he continues reassuringly. "While our clients' business, naturally, remains confidential, we are nought but serendipitous passengers here and have nothing to hide."

    He is truly not particularly worried about the situation (yet, anyway) and does not expect anything on the other side of the airlock besides bulkheads, structurally-expressionist-looking equipment, and a couple of officers to meet them, but as usual he will keep an eye out for anything fishy.

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    Onn, Graham and Dr. Mäkeläinen pass through the airlock. On the other side is an Uwat - you can't tell if it's one of those who were aboard the shuttle with you - standing in a compartment about twice the size of the airlock. The room looks much as the interior of the shuttle did, with odd ducting above and uneven bulkheads intermittently covered with metal boxes, nodes and tech. "Go up, please," the Uwat says in heavily-accented Federation Standard, gesturing towards a ladder of sorts, which rises from the deck through what appear to be, from the bottom, two levels above.

  26. #1576
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    Kylah, a little nervous but more anticipatory than afraid, looks at Velir happily and then, hearing the doctor, comments, "Agley. What an unusual word. I must say it is a delight to hear Dr. Mäkeläinen speak. He tickles my memory of studying the classic older dialects and languages of ancient Earth. The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men, gang aft agley," she recites in a quite passable Scots accent. More soberly, she adds, "I suppose that describes much of this trip. Hopefully not the end of it."

  27. #1577
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    Staring up the length of the ladder, Nia finds the prospect of climbing it daunting, to say the least. A normal, healthy Sidonian is catlike when it comes to scaling various obstacles. Right now she couldn't feel more of a lummox.

    She bites at her lower lip and grasps the handholds if there are any and takes her first step up. In other circumstances, Nia'd be happy to precede Booker up a ladder, giving him a good view of what many consider her best asset. But she's more concerned about her arms. All she needs is for her rubbery muscles to give out and send her toppling to knock over both men below.

    So Nia turns to Booker with a question that's more loaded than she intended. "You're the closest thing I've got to a safety net. I can trust you, right?"

  28. #1578
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    Graham freezes, stares, then swallows in response to Onn's question.

    "I've got your back." Brief pause. "Nia. Always," he replies.

  29. #1579
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    The décor and welcoming committee are what Bizhi figured. "After you," he says to Booker. He will climb up third, leaving the compartment clear for Kylah, Velir, and... Terrance, was it? Surely some or all of the members of their definitely-not-Starfleet band will go by dashing or badass nicknames, though. He himself seems to still be "Doc."

  30. #1580
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    Onn, Graham and Dr. Mäkeläinen make their way up the peculiar ladder. Onn has some difficulty, but her strength doesn't give out and she doesn't fall.

    One deck above the shuttlebay entry compartment, the air is definitely cooler than below, but it warms again as you come to the top of the ladder, one deck higher than that. The three of you find yourselves in a relatively narrow corridor. Another Uwat is there, and silently gestures towards what Onn and Graham presume is the bow of the ship, from what they observed during the docking sequence. Onn does feel more tired now, and her arms are now almost limp.

    Kylah, Rangin and Rawlings may pass through the airlock and leave the shuttle next, if they wish.

  31. #1581
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    Seeing that the other three appear to have had no trouble with the climb, Kylah is about to follow suit, but then feels a sense of the foolishness of not allowing a Security officer to go first. "Perhaps you ought to lead, Mr. Rawlings?" she asks with an apologetic look, and waits for him to ascend, assuming he agrees with her.

    And if he does, Kylah will take a quick check to see if anyone is watching. If not, she impulsively turns to Velir and, clutching his hand, whispers "I so admire your bravery," before kissing him on the cheek. It is merely a fleeting brush of her lips against the slight stubble of his skin, but there is no time for anything else, even if she were inappropriate enough to take advantage of the situation. She does not wish to risk Mr. Rawlings looking back down to check on them.

    Then, flushing, she hurries up to join the others, making sure Velir is following.

  32. #1582
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    Nia rubs her arms and then, the muscles being too tired even for Nia to care for herself, she just lets them drop to her side. The case she's carrying isn't helping but she won't let it go; in the unlikely scenario of one of the Uwat choosing to confiscate it, they'd have to rip her wrist clear out of its joint.

    She's still warmed by Booker's response to her. Not entirely a good thing. Don't be kind to me, she wanted to say after digesting his solemn words. Don't make me count on that again. Trouble is, 'again' implies that she ever stopped counting on him. As if some unconscious part of her's refusing to abandon a micron of hope that... that...

    What? What are you still hoping for? What kinda stupid-ass, fairy-tale fantasy are you pathetically holding on to?

    But once Book made his quiet promise, rather than reply with anything but the flash of gratitude and emotional hunger that she suspects was all too apparent in her expression, Nia walks slowly to follow the Uwat, forcing herself to focus on their surroundings.

    Once her breathing's a little more steady, she asks, "You taking us to a passenger area? Or maybe the Bridge? I'd be real interested to see it. And to meet your captain," she adds, having enough politesse to pretend that she's more interested in the bugs than their tech. "We owe you, big time. Though I would like to get some rest, too. Kinda need it, actually," she adds, less to communicate this to the Uwat than to pass this status along to Mäkeläinen. Who, admittedly, probably figured that out on his own.
    Last edited by SidonianGal; 27 Dec 2023 at 03:36 AM.

  33. #1583
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    Graham does his best to make mental notes of the layout of the ship and the count of crew members. He looks out for any signage on doors that might give an indication of what's where (such as medical bay, possibly a weapons locker, and so on).

  34. #1584
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    Dr. Mäkeläinen is tired too, to be honest. The return of artificial gravity is the end of a wild ride but also a steady weight. He follows the other two towards the bow, looking back after a minute to see if the second group has already made it through the airlock and up. "Yes, I think we are ready for any rules and essential safety procedures and other orientation, but after that we shall need a few hours to ourselves," he says.

  35. #1585
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    Kylah, Rangin and Rawlings pass through the airlock and leave the shuttle. The giant redshirt agrees to go up the peculiar ladder first.

    Rangin seems surprised but pleased by Kylah's kiss, but just the same he glances nervously up, to see that Rawlings, already ascending, didn't see it. The three of you soon in turn reach the top of the ladder, and join your three Yorktown crewmates in the corridor on the upper deck.

    The Uwat in the corridor makes a hand gesture that Onn doesn't understand. Jol, the First Officer, having come up the ladder last, says, "She doesn't understand Federation Standard. Yes, the passenger area - the Common Room - is just forward of here." He points in the same direction as the female Uwat had earlier. "The Bridge is off-limits to passengers, sorry, but I will ask if the Captain would like to meet with you."

    Graham sees no signage of any kind on the four identical doors which open off the corridor where you now stand, two on each side. Then he is nearly bowled over by three small Uwat, about a quarter the size of the other Uwat you've seen up to now, who come racing down the corridor and then bump their scaly heads repeatedly into Jol.

    The Uwat officer makes a prolonged, gulping noise which Kylah, sensing his amusement with her psi sense, realizes must be laughter.

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    The Doctor regards the young Uwat with interest and amusement. 'Your relations, I presume?' he asks Mr. Jol.

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    Kylah watches the...children?...and smiles, glad to see that Mr. Jol approves of the little Uwat and their less-than-respectful activities. It shows something of Jol's character, not minding being, literally, the butt of a joke in front of strangers. However grim he might seem, he has affection for the small ones' antics.

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    About to thank Jol for at least agreeing to speak to the Captain, Nia is interrupted by someone slamming into Booker. Her hand grabs at her belt before she realizes that a) there's no danger, and b) there's no phaser to use anyway. She glances up at Book, appeased and now unable to keep from smiling, before she quickly re-aims the grin at Rawlings. "Stowaways?" she asks.

    The kids--if that's what they are, since Nia has no idea if the Uwat just come in different sizes--give her a little pang of longing. And serve as an unfortunate reminder of the medical problem she started this journey with. It seems distant now, in time, space and urgency. Presumably, if she makes it to the Yorktown with her brain working, it'll be able to concentrate on her premature infertility. But it'll hardly matter if she's dead or comatose.

    But she still smiles and continues the doctor's thoughts. "If they are, they're a cute bunch." She raises her hand to return the other adult Uwat's gesture. Hopefully one of greeting. To Jol, she adds, "Can you introduce us to your crewmate? I guess we can't converse, but I'd like to know her name."

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    Graham momentarily tenses, but then rolls with the impacts and can't help but laugh.

    Kids. Running to see what I assume is their parent...kind of a universal thing...

    Despite the smile, he can't help but feel a pang of regret and loss: happy memories of Lizzy running to him, and Jane...and then, after a point, not so much anymore...

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    Jol says, "These are Hrushta... children of the ship. They are not necessarily mine; I do not know. They are only a few years old. Certainly not stowaways - Uwat usually travel with their children." He indicates the female Uwat. "This is Paral. She is a cargo specialist." He says a few words to Paral, who replies, then looks very briefly at Onn, touches her shoulder and walks aft.

    Jol leads the six of you forward. The children come with you, bumbling along and quietly chittering to each other. The Common Room is perhaps twice the size of the shuttle's interior. There, you see two humanoid women, both in dark, functionally-severe clothing. They are tall, slim and have pointed ears. They rise from the ratty-looking cloth-covered chairs on which they were sitting and apparently conversing. Several other chairs and couches, also worn and frayed, are placed around the room, as are two low, battered old metal tables. There is what appears to be an Uwat replicator or food-dispensing station along the forward wall. The corridor continues forward from the far side of the Common Room. Several doors open off both the Common Room and the corridor beyond.

    The older of the two women bows slightly and says, "Welcome aboard. I am T'Ves, an Adept of the Daughters of Surak." She nods to the other woman. "This is T'Rehl, a Novitiate." The other woman also bows.


    https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Surak
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 03 Jan 2024 at 10:42 PM.

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    Walking down the corridor, Kylah has been listening hard to the children, trying subvocally to imitate the sounds they make in an attempt to become familiar with this Uwat language.

    But linguistically and physiologically, she knows she is not capable of even the most rudimentary verbal discourse. She might be able to understand them, if given enough time, exposure and practice. Until they are somewhere with a Universal Translator, Kylah will have to respond in gestures or expressions.

    Just before the party enters the Common Room, Kylah braces herself for the inevitable rush of emotions she must guard against. To her surprise, the effort proves unnecessary. Not just because there are so few people here that it is well within her ability to avoid sensing them, but the two approaching her...

    A broad smile (as broad as her smiles ever get) breaks across Kylah's face. Her enthusiasm at seeing Vulcans aboard is evident. She esteems their race and culture most highly, and is always relieved to be near such blissfully calm, rational and unreadable minds.

    Without hesitation she steps forward and bows slightly, then greets them with near reverence. "Dif-tor heh smusma," she says softly, adding the Vulcan salute.

    Even as she raises her hand, it occurs to Kylah that she probably should have let Lt. Onn speak first, but... well, they are pretending to be non-Starfleet officers and strict adherence to standard rules would not fit the impression they have given--successfully or not--of a casual, friendly team.

    Besides, in most of our missions, am I not the one often chosen to appease those we meet? And her method has usually been to respect the strangers' correct protocol, both familiar and observed. She will not apologize. At least, not until we are alone.

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    Surak, the Vulcan philosopher. That, combined with their manner, appearance, names, and vocation, strongly suggests the women are two Vulcan pilgrims, though Bizhi knows to beware premature absolute certainty. Under normal circumstances he would find himself discussing fine points of philosophy with this pair; not now, but sometime during the voyage. It may yet happen--- even though he and his mates are supposed to be keeping a low profile, they will be on board for a few days, and on the very likely chance he will encounter one or both of them again it will provide a conveniently neutral topic of conversation.

    He does not start speaking Vulcan or observing formally correct Vulcan etiquette like Kylah. Instead, he gives a disarming grin and introduces himself: "Well met! My name's Bizhi; people call me Doc."

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    T'Ves gives Kylah a subtle smile and replies, also in Vulcan, >Thank you, and greetings to you and your people. You honor us by speaking to us in our language, and speaking it quite well, if I may say. What is your name?< She returns Kylah's Vulcan salute.

    She replies to the good doctor in Federation Standard, "Greetings, Doc. That is typically a slang term for 'doctor,' I believe. Are you, in fact, a physician?"

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    Bizhi nods and says, "That's my métier. Folks learn it and most don't get too creative with the nicknames. But I don't mind: ‘doctor’ means teacher, you know, in one of the Earth languages Federation standard is based on, and calling someone that is a sign of respect. I've heard all kinds of colourful names for physicians," he tells truthfully, "especially from each other!"

    Kylah or some of the others might speak, but before too long and before everyone feels obligated to start swapping stories he will segue into, "Please forgive us. We are tired from our voyage and still settling in for this leg."

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    The presence of children sets Graham's mind somewhat at ease.

    Lowers the likelihood we've signed up with pirates, slavers, or simply opportunistic thieves, he thinks.

    The two Vulcans are a good sign, too. "Rash decision making without fill information" is not something they're known for...

    He nods in greeting. "L--uh, Graham, Booker Graham."

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    The generous praise from a Vulcan makes Kylah's cheeks turn pink. "Forgive me, I should have introduced myself. I am Kylah, of--" She cuts off before bringing up her House. " When "Doc" speaks, she glances at him approvingly, impressed by his own communication skills and grace.

    Though she suspects it is not necessary, Kylah takes advantage of Velir's new psi abilities; she does not need to use them as a conduit, but they provide a useful explanation for her ability to connect. She is already stands close to him, and so subtly lets her fingers brush against his hand, maintaining the contact.

    Do not use your true name, she suggests. She does not bother looking at him; others should not see that she is sending a message. Vulcans are quite trustworthy, but still...I should not have given my own.

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    Nia nods in relief at Mäkeläinen's remark about rest, before turning to the Vulcans to give her first name. It might be an excess of caution, but hey, what the hell. If things need to get formal for some reason, she'll deal with that then.

    Though she knows about Surak, she's not certain she recalls this... organization. Then again, her mind's not at its best. Things seem to be slipping its grasp like they're covered in oil. "Do you know, are there many others on board?"

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    T'Ves nods to Bizhi. "I would say there is nothing to forgive. Travel can certainly be draining. In any event, welcome aboard." She acknowledges Graham's and Kylah's self-introductions, and seems to take no notice of either of their slight verbal stumbles.

    With her touch, Kylah reads Rangin's answering thought: I understand. I'll come up with another one. To the Vulcan women he bows slightly and says, "Ginran, at your service."

    In response to Onn's question, T'Ves says, "There are two others of my sisterhood aboard, and a person whom we have not yet seen out of his cabin. We know very little about him." She pauses for a moment, apparently choosing her words carefully. "There is also one other and... larger party."

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    Though it is not the first time, Kylah's hearing Velir's voice in her head is uncanny. Like a taste of wine that reminds her both of a sweet memory and a fathomless future.

    And then he says "Ginran" and her gaze darts away before she laughs at his alias.

    She grows alert when T'Ves is clearly signaling something about the other group, but she cannot guess as to what the other woman fears--if "fear" is a word that can describe her quiet, calm demeanor. Despite being delighted to find the unknowable Vulcans onboard, Kylah now regrets that she cannot silently gauge just what might have caused T'Ves's pointed remark.

    "Have you been traveling with the Uwat for your entire trip? Or is your your journey with the Doregg just beginning? I wonder if that is the same for all of us onboard?" Not wanting to show too much curiosity about this unknown large group, Kylah adds apologetically. "I am sorry, I realize I do not know how you wish to be addressed, as one of the Daughters of Sulak. Is 'Adept' a form of address for you? And 'Novice' for you?" she asks, turning to T'Rehl."

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    Graham waits for an opportunity to ask a question without interrupting his colleagues or the Vulcans.

    When he has the chance, he addresses T'Ves. "Uh, 'larger' as in 'number' of beings or 'larger' as in size of...being?"

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