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

  1. #201
    Stegodon Rangin's avatar
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    While he is amused by Graham getting tongue-twisted over the difference between an Ensign and a Lieutenant, Rangin cannot help roll his eyes at the comments over drinks. He wonders if there isn’t a time when Graham wouldn’t be drawn towards the smell of alcohol.

    “I think that is all then. Many thanks Captain, I think we will be back in touch shortly.” Rangin puts the datapad away and relaxes slightly, looking forward to be heading back.

  2. #202
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    "Glad to help," Capt. Danaher says. "Just let me know, once you get back to your ship, when we may expect our forty guests' arrival."

  3. #203
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    Rangin nods back to the Captain. "Of course", he answers politely, "we should have an answer within an hour. Then a little while longer to inform the colonists and transport them across."

    He nods professionally to her and waits for her to escort them back to the transporter room.

  4. #204
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    She does, and you both beam back to the Yorktown without incident.

  5. #205
    Ape must not kill ape! general_urko's avatar
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    "I'd like to run criminal record checks on folks under consideration to be sent over, and personally eyeball the group we wind up with," Graham says to Rangin once they are back onboard Yorktown. "I ran into some rough types looking to make trouble while on routine patrol, they're definitely the sort likely to make trouble for a few civilian security officers if we didn't weed them out."

    Graham waits patiently for a response from Rangin - like it or not, he's in charge of the mission, so the scheme for picking candidate to transfer is up to him. And, he mentally notes, technically I'd need his permission to proceed.

    He restrains a sigh.

    Awkward though it might have been, if it wasn't Graham himself in charge of the away mission, he wishes it could have been Nia.

  6. #206
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    While Graham and Rangin talk, Chief Nguyen reports the return of the boarding party to Lt. Thalen, the duty Communications officer, who in turn informs Lt. Onn.

  7. #207
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    Nia has spent the last half-hour or so* listening to status reports and other BCDO tasks ** and, when not otherwise occupied, sitting and trying not to think about... that topic she's been trying not to think about since the day the Yorktown sped away from Novy Rostov.

    Now she straightens her posture, which has been professional but relaxed, and thanks Thalen. "Excellent. Hopefully they didn't run across any hitches to the plan. But if there are any issues, I'm sure we can remedy them." She takes a quick look at the chronometer. As she thought, about 30 minutes. * The intrepid duo sure got there and back fast enough.

    Nia wonders if Rangin had taken her light suggestion that he should feel free to flex his muscles a bit--new rank, being in command--while over at the Ain't She. The guy deserves a bit of his own back.

    Though she's usually been on Booker's side in the conflicts between the two, she's always known that her... “ex” ... has done his own muscle-flexing--literal and figurative-- in confrontations with the xenobiologist.

    Well, Rangin's still in charge, as far as the logistics of the transfer are concerned, and presumably he'll shortly send a status update before his work continues. If she wants to get an idea if her admittedly petty and feeble attempt to irk Booker worked, she'll just have to wait.

    But... does she, though?

    Nia crosses her legs, an amused smile back on her lips.. "Thalen, put me through to Lt. Rangin, please."




    * Wild guess as to how long the boys were over there. Sound about right?
    ** Um... whatever those might be.

  8. #208
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    "Yes, ma'am," Thalen says.

    Rangin's communicator beeps.

    Half an hour sounds about right, thanks.

  9. #209
    Stegodon Rangin's avatar
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    Rangin is listening to Graham’s comments and to his own annoyance finds himself agreeing with his Security point of view.

    He doesn’t have much in the way of an idea who to send across, it seems more likely that he will have to spend a little more time looking through the lists, although it seems that smaller families might be the best option.

    At the beep of the communicator, he holds the conversation to check who it is. “It seems our illustrious acting captain would like a word. Sure there's not a message you would like me to pass across?”

    Before Graham can answer, Rangin holds up the communicator to answer, “Yes, Ma’am. Rangin here.”

  10. #210
    Oliphaunt SidonianGal's avatar
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    "Glad you're back, Lieutenant. I'm sure you'll handle everything from here. Just wanted to know if you found the space livable and suitable. And if you'd like anyone else to assist you and the quartermaster. Besides Lt. Graham, of course." Nia knows Rangin's unlikely to have put her on speaker--he probably has more tact than she's displaying right now--but hey, he might pass it along anyway.

    "Also, any thoughts about whether we'd want an officer or two over there?" For a second she's tempted to have him assign Booker and his new soon-to-be-family to a bunk. Heat suffuses her cheeks when she realizes just how angry she is, just how fervently she wants them all off the damn ship.

    Who are you?

    Casting her eyes down to her lap, she shifts in her suddenly uncomfortable chair and adds in a murmur, "Of course, I'd like both your opinions on that."

  11. #211
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    Rangin listens to Acting Captain Nia’s questions and waits for an appropriate time to answer them. “Thank you Ma’am, the ship is fine and will be able to take the 40 or so colonists as recommended. We didn’t find any problems there, it looks a little cozy, but should suit some of our quieter colonists just fine. Making a shortlist with Lt. Onyibe should be quick work.”

    While talking, he keeps his eyes on Graham to see if he has anything to add while Rangin is speaking, which he is likely to add to the end.

    “As for an officer in support, well it would take away from giving the colonists space, but an attache of sorts would help smooth details between the ships. I’d recommend someone from either Comms or Security if that was the case.”

    An idea crosses his mind, and Rangin can’t tell if it is totally brilliant or truly stupid, but as an opportunity it has so many options. After all, a cushy job on another ship would mean he was owed for it and it would keep things nice and quiet on the USS Yorktown for the next few days. Not to mention splitting up the pair for a few days in the name of duty.

    “Perhaps Lt Graham might enjoy taking that role Ma’am?”

    Rangin nods to Graham as if to say what a favour he is being gifted while fixing him with a smile normally seen on a backstreet merchant who is offering the world. He can’t help it, it’s the Coridanite in him.

  12. #212
    Ape must not kill ape! general_urko's avatar
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    Graham is momentarily speechless at Rangin's transparent attempt to make him twist the knife in Nia.

    Or maybe it's about twisting the knife in him, and Nia's feelings are just acceptable collateral damage.

    He's a goddamned straight up sadist.

    Graham clenches his jaw and takes a moment to compose a measured response.

    "I'd prefer to stay close to my...new family," he replies tightly and evenly--and a little low, as if that might shield Nia from being reminded of his recent, abrupt engagement. He clears his throat. "Whether that's here, or if they are included among the colonists transferred...wherever is best for the mission, of course."

    He'd sooner bite off his own tongue than end with a "sir," officer rank and position as mission leader be damned.
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 19 Sep 2021 at 12:12 AM. Reason: Correction as to marital status

  13. #213
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    Rangin can feel the amused smirk freeze on his face as Graham replies.

    “New family...what new family?” he slowly blurts out without thinking, as the look Graham is giving one him is one that Rangin is not expecting.

    “Errr. I thought…” What on earth is Rangin missing, “that you were with…” isn’t he still supposed to be with Lt Onn, “Lt Onn? No?”

    The colour drains from his face as he realises, he has a very angry Graham in front of him and, perhaps more importantly, an acting Captain Lt Onn at the other end of a communicator.

    Oh crap.

  14. #214
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    Onn can hear all of this discussion, as can those closest to her on the Bridge: Leventhal at Helm, Pourtash at Nav and Thalen at Communications. Pourtash glances over his shoulder for just a moment before turning resolutely forward again.

  15. #215
    Ape must not kill ape! general_urko's avatar
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    Graham isn't sure if the vein throbbing near his temple is plainly visible from ten feet away, but it feels like it.

    He almost - almost - buys Rangin's surprise as authentic rather than feigned. But there's little doubt in his mind this is all about pretending to be innocent while zinging him (and maybe Nia as well, perhaps just to provoke me all the more).

    "The lieutenant is aware of my recent engagement," he replies tightly, through clenched teeth.

  16. #216
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    Fuck fuck fuck.

    Nia can't believe the words broadcasting over her chair's comm unit. She feels like the pilot of a helpless shuttle trapped in a tumbling roll, with no thrusters to stabilize or regain control of the vessel. And worse, she's the one who caused the damage in the first place.

    Mustering whatever shreds of dignity she has left, she straightens and quickly calculates that showing any embarrassment or anger will only make this worse. She forces an amused smile.

    "Gentlemen," she says in as light a tone as she can manage. "You're captivating all of us on the Bridge, but perhaps this drama should wait until the Lyceum is open again. Now kindly get to work on choosing the transfers--civilians and any crew members deemed necessary." Her voice sharpens. "Understood?"
    Last edited by SidonianGal; 22 Sep 2021 at 11:41 PM.

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    “Recent engagement? Really?” Rangin cannot help but blurt out defensively at Graham’s accusation, before the Lt Onn’s voice comes clear over the communicator and suddenly he wonders if Graham is referring to her instead.

    He looks across at the device as if it is a live snake before quickly speaking into it again. “Yes Ma’am, on it right away, Rangin out.” before closing the device over. Slowly his gaze turns back to Graham, hoping to see him still several feet away and hopefully far enough that Rangin would have a head start should Graham decide to take matters into his own, very well trained, years of practice, security hardened, hands.

    “Engagement?” the words spill out, “To Lt Onn?” Rangin can’t believe it. “Really? You two?”

    He forces his face into a half rictus grin, as best as he can manage. “Err. Congratulations?” he offers, half hoping and half guessing it might mollify Lt Graham.
    Last edited by Rangin; 23 Sep 2021 at 04:04 PM.

  18. #218
    Ape must not kill ape! general_urko's avatar
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    Graham's right hand reflexively clenches and unclenches into a fist, scar tissue over a long-ago knife wound tightening and releasing more than enough to make him aware of it.

    "You really can't help it, can you?" he replies almost incredulously. "Playing with people's feeling. Raking them through the coals."

    He shakes his head and clenches his teeth before continuing. "With a colonist, as you well know, I'm sure. So you can drop the act, because if you wanted to stick a knife in my back by embarrassing Ni--Lt. Onn, someone I still and always will care about, congratulations, mission accomplished." He takes conscious control of his hand and gives a tight mock salute, Old Earth style.

    "Now can we cut the shit and get on with the mission?"

    You piece of shit prick bastard.

    He holds that last part back unsaid, not wanting Rangin to have the satisfaction of hearing his frustration.

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    nm
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 27 Sep 2021 at 01:39 PM.

  20. #220
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    Rangin blinks a couple of times unsure of what is happening as he tries to put his thoughts together before he gestures to Lt. Graham so they head out of the transporter room, a few choice words and emotions beginning to bubble to the surface of his mind.

    “I’m sorry, I think I have missed something important. Did you just say you are no longer with Lt Onn and are engaged to a colonist? Already?” Rangin’s jaw hangs open slightly at the news, which is still a complete surprise to him. “Are you kidding me? I mean, hey, well done. I guess congratulations are in order."

    But Rangin just can't believe that Graham is casually switching partners. He stands up straight and looks Graham up and down, “You know what, I’ll even do you a favour, seeing as I really don’t give a damn about your love life and decline the invite now.” He cocks his head to one side and then other considering what options to go for. “Hey, I know how about a quick honeymoon on the Ain’t she a Beaut?”

    The more he thinks about it, the more this is Graham all over, say one thing, do another.

    “But you know what?” He jabs a finger in Graham’s direction, “You don’t get to stand there and say just how much you care for Lt Onn, while also dumping her and deciding to hitch up with someone else. There are plenty of words to describe people like that and while I’m sure you got plenty of good reasons for doing it, from here it looks like you took the choice to split with independent Lt. I'll-Fuck-you-When-I'm-Ready for your long lost, and probably very-pliant and demure, childhood sweetheart.

    “I. Just. Don’t. Care. You’re an arsehole to me, you’re an arsehole to others, so why stop with the girlfriend?” Rangin makes a sound of disgust just thinking about what Graham is actually doing. “Don’t worry about the colonists, I’ll sort it. At least it might get you out of my sight.”

  21. #221
    Ape must not kill ape! general_urko's avatar
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    Graham blinks, multiple times, as Rangin goes full nutso.

    Yes, Graham is angry. But he assumes: this is a game. Rangin's trying to play me.

    Despite his--substantial--anger--he stops trying to process the flood of invective.

    At the end of thr tirade, Graham steps forward, within the range of Rangin's jabbing finger, as close as he can get without initiating contact more contact.

    "You don't know a damned thing about me, or for that matter, what it means to care for anyone," he says icily.

    He doesn't wait for a reply, turning away and heading toward his new family most likley to give them the news of the change of quarters. But he very damned much also wants to find a chance to contact Nia, too.

  22. #222
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    Both men's communicators soon beep. It is Lt. Juliet Onyibe, the Ship's Quartermaster, who says over a three-way channel, "I understand you're back aboard. Who should we be beaming over to the Ain't She, gentlemen?"

  23. #223
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    Rangin watches Graham leave noting the complete lack of denial of anything that he had said. By a person’s actions, so shall ye know them or something like that. And nothing Graham had done is changing Rangin’s opinion of the one walking away.

    “Care for anyone? I’ve cared far too much for someone.” he mutters under his breath, “Oh, I know what it means, more than you know.”

    As the communicator beeps and Ranging hears the question come through, he puts on a more relaxed face and politely responds. “Of course, Ma’am. I’m on my way to you now with the initial details and I’d like to confirm them with you.”

    He starts to head towards her office, but keeping the call open to see if anything else is said.

    Of the people he has in mind, well the ship could handle a mix of people and sending someone across to keep an eye on them would be a good idea as well.

    And besides, Rangin is a Coridanite of his word, for all that ever meant to a Earthling, but Graham can have his brief honeymoon with Marala. A bit of time away with the new family, well why not. Also, the two miners in Lt Onn’s cabin, she could do with a bit of breathing space given the upcoming nuptials and besides, didn’t she need a chance to settle her respiratory breathing back again. Mr Yakovlev and his family from earlier would also be a good candidate for two of the cabins. Rangin is sure Lt Onyibe would agree to that. And there are likely a few others around.

    Yes, Rangin thinks as he looks down the list, it is always good to make people happy....

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    "Thank you, Mr. Rangin," the Quartermaster says. "Please come by my office at your convenience."

    Graham makes his way through the still-crowded corridors to Marala and Nikolai's quarters.

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    Rangin picks up his pace as he heads for Lt Onyibe’s quarters. What had been an interesting, albeit short, mission had soured quickly thanks to Graham deciding that his love life was the most important thing on the ship and blowing up at a casual joke. Just who does Graham think he is?

    It doesn’t matter now, just time to pass across the details of the colonists and leave the sorry mess behind. He continues searching through the colonists data to pick out another thirty possibilities, once Marala’s son and her elderly companion had been included. Pairs of people if he can manage it, able to share the cramped quarters on the new ship rather than be forced into sharing anew. Once that is done, it should be easy enough to reshuffle people back into any quarter spaces that get opened, perhaps Lt Onn excepted if the option was necessary.

    By the time he reaches the office, Rangin is fairly certain he has a good mix of people, and he presses the chime to let Lt Onyibe he is outside.

  26. #226
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    Nia watches the immobile ship on the viewscreen. After Rangin cut the connection--cutting off a superior officer, maybe the extra stripe's gone to his head already--she'd played it cool on the Bridge. Even brushed aside the men's personal remarks with a snarky comment about Security and Science catching up to the well-known propensity of Engineers to gossip.* Kept things light before settling back to normal.

    Now, staring at the stars ahead, she brushes a fingertip along her lips. What in the fiery acid sky could have led Booker to bring up something so private? His 'new family.' He's not even bloody married yet and he's already taken these strangers into his heart. Well. Not strangers to him, exactly. And Rangin piles it on because he apparently doesn't know the ins and outs of Booker Graham's love life. Or mine, she thinks grimly.

    Not even five days ago, all this was just a last-minute plan. A scheme. A way to slip past the lottery's idiotic rules and get Marala and her kid safely on board. Nia knows she herself played her part well back in Vargas's office, lying her ass off like a jilted lover. Apparently she gave Booker some ideas because the lies seemed to... stick.

    She's done her best to forget the last moments before Booker tossed her out of the metaphorical airlock, but they crawl into her mind like flesh-eating bacteria.

    * * *
    Now that she's finally done with her watch, already light years away from the radioactive remains of Novy Rostov, Nia doesn't think twice about her own trajectory. She's got to find out what happened to Marala and Nikolai, and she can't do that without a communicator, which hasn't been returned after her confinement thank you very much, Vargas.

    The closer Nia gets to Security, her stride turns into something just short of a jog. Her hunt has reaped its rewards faster than she thought, because there's Booker, just Booker, exiting the room.

    His eyes are preoccupied with something on his own communicator, and since Nia doesn't want every redshirt to know their business, she remains silent despite her instinct to shout his name. Her jog slows back to a measured pace.

    "Book," she says quietly, trying to take him in, his stance, his appearance, his expression, the flicker of his eyelashes when he squints... he probably doesn't know he does that... but most of all, his emotion. Is he grieving? Is he content? "I can't believe you're right here. I've been dying to talk to you for hours, but they took my communicator and--well, you know that part, but they suddenly drafted me for Bridge duty and forgot to return it to me, and I couldn't get in touch while on watch so..."

    She realizes she's rambling like a plebe, and takes a deep breath while reaching out to rest a hand on his forearm. Somehow that grounds her. "Sorry. What's going on? What happened?

    Graham seems surprised by Nia's presence.

    "I--uh. well, yeah. I'm sorry I couldn't reach you earlier." Stowing his communicator, he uses his free hand to give the hand on his forearm a gentle squeeze. "A lot has happened."

    Nia stares at him, still unable to read his expression. Seems like it should be straightforward enough: Grief in the worst case, triumph in the best. But it's not exactly either. What else could matter?

    Beneath her grip on his arm, her thumb strokes gently, trying to soothe herself and Booker. "Tell me. Marala and Nikolai. Are they--please tell me they're onboard?"

    "Oh--ah, yeah," Graham replies. He...squirms. At least, that’s what it looks like. Or as if he’s swallowed something that didn’t go down quite right. He clears his throat and nods. "Yes, they are onboard. They're safe now."

    They're safe. Nia's knees almost buckle with relief, and since she's got someone to lean on--and an occasion to do it--she takes advantage of Book's strong, stable presence. She flings her arms around him in a triumphant embrace. "We did it," she whispers into his cheek, then corrects herself. "You did it. I just--If I feel this happy I can't imagine the somersaults your heart must be doing."

    Self-conscious, she backs away a few inches and takes hold of his hands. "Sorry, if you're a newlywed this probably doesn't look so good," she murmurs before grinning. "Then again, congrats are allowed. It's not--"

    Suddenly she notices that the fingers of his left hand--entwined within those of her right--are warm but barely squeezing her own. And more than that, they're... empty. Nia looks down and blinks in surprise.

    "No ring? I know it was a quickie ceremony but I'd've thought someone would at least lend you something shiny." She gives him one of her tilting smiles and waggles his hand. "Hope Marala made out better in the jewelry department. Not that it matters long term," she adds in a playful whisper. "But it'll be a keepsake after the divorce."

    Something in his gaze--mostly the impression that he's raised some kind of internal deflector shield--makes her falter. "Book, is... is something wrong?"
    * * *

    The stars have disappeared, hidden by Nia's wince. She unconsciously shakes her head at her own ridiculous optimism. Her embarrassing elation. Her self-satisfaction at a job oh-so-brilliantly done. 'Mission accomplished', she'd thought. Right. Too fucking accomplished.

    She opens her eyes and exhales. She doesn't want to dredge up the rest of that conversation, not now--she's beginning to nauseate herself. If she doesn't vent to someone soon, she'll turn into a soppy mess. Giya. Or Ajay? Nia hurriedly avoids the former. It'd be pretty insensitive of Nia to complain about an affair to a friend who's literally denied one. So: Ajay. They're closer anyway. Oh, let him have some free-time soon!

    In the meantime, she shifts in her chair and looks at the Comms officer behind her. "So, Lieutenant," she says brightly. "Tell me the plot of that play you mentioned. Not On My Ship** or something, wasn't it? Please tell me it's a comedy. We need some laughs."




    * I have no idea if this is a thing, but Nia's mentioned it a couple of times before so I'm running with it!

    ** Her memory's fuzzy.
    Last edited by SidonianGal; 02 Oct 2021 at 02:25 PM. Reason: Nia by SG, Graham by general_urko

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    "Come," says Lt. Onyibe. Rangin enters and she waves him to the only seat before her small desk. She sets down a datapad and nods to him. "Thanks for coming by, Mr. Rangin. Your thoughts, please, on who ought to go over to the Ain't She...?"

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    “Certainly Ma’am,” Rangin greets the officer behind the desk as he raises his datapad to read from it.

    “A brief run down on the ship. Forty people split roughly into twenty cabins, so couples, pairs or families of four are probably a better fit to go across. Also, they have little in the way of security, so sending across less ribald individuals and perhaps someone to keep an eye on them, act as a aide to their Captain, and so the list I can suggest is.”

    He looks down to the datapad and back up, “Let’s start with the Yakovlev and his family of four. I think a couple of cabins over there should satisfy their need to have new cabins and perhaps respect the size of those on offer. It should also provide yourself a little respite as well.” Rangin smiles over the top of it hoping to see some sign of relief from Lt Onyibe.

    He rattles off the various pairs and couples he has identified from the list, slipping in the two miners currently occupying Lt Onn’s cabin before moving on to the final four places. “Finally, to act as a representative for the Yorktown, I’d like to suggest Lt Graham from Security. He also got on well with the Captain when we went across and would be good to keep an eye on all and sundry. I’m also aware of certain upcoming personal events he is having, so a chance to get away from here for a few days, even if nominally working, well, I’m sure you can understand? The other places would, of course, be the upcoming family and friend, he is due to join.”

    He lowers the datapad and offers it across to here with the details on it for Lt Onyibe if she needs it.

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    Onyibe takes the datepad. "That's good to know, Mr. Rangin. I'll look this over and discuss it with the First Officer and the Captain, and I'll be in touch again if any questions arise. If there's nothing else for now, you're dismissed, and thanks again."

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    “No Ma’am, nothing else,” Rangin responds calmly, pride in being thanked for doing a good job opens up a smile on his face.

    As he is dismissed, he heads out of the Quartermaster’s office and lets the door close behind him before taking a deep breath of thinking over what he just did.

    Did he really just give Graham a matrimonial gift of a break away on another ship? What was he thinking? Ok, it gets Graham out of Rangin’s way for a few days, but the more he thinks about it as he walks down the corridor, the more he thinks he should have gone for it himself.

    Letting rage get the better of him. Surely Rangin knows that is not a clever thing to do, but what’s done is done. But Graham is not the only person who will be affected. Hopefully Kylah might have a nice surprise as well, although if this is happening soon he had better let her know. She will only have had a couple of hours sleep by now, so better to drop her a message when she can pick it up than disturb her. A brief one about her overcrowding problem, and the hope she will understand what he means.

    That done, Rangin heads off to get some accessories, the new ones to show his new rank.

  31. #231
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    In her cabin, Kylah enjoys a much-needed deep slumber. But her new habit of keeping her communicator as close as possible--currently, it is under her pillow for easy retrieval--means that when it buzzes with a new message, the vibration beneath her left ear rouses her.

    "No, no," she groans, opening bleary eyes. "Not yet, give me a few hours..."

    But she cannot ignore any potential responsibility, not if she ever wants to get back to single watches. With great reluctance--and some difficulty--she props herself on her elbow and pulls out the communicator.

    A message from Velir? Wiping a hand across her eyes to clear her blurred view of the world, Kylah rises to a seated position and reads what her friend has to say.

    He has only written the bare bones of a message, and his tone is light, but Kylah reads with increasing alarm. "'...Helped ease the burden on Lt. Onn's cabin,''' she repeats aloud, now holding the communicator in two hands."'...You shouldn't hear any complaints from guests...'"

    Her hands drop into her lap as she stares out at her quarters. His message is oblique but he is talking about her stowaways, of course. He must have taken it upon himself to get them transferred to the new ship. A gracious gesture... but Kylah specifically ruled that out as a bad idea! "Oh! Oh Velir," she whispers, aghast despite his kind intent. "What did you do?"

    Calling attention to that cabin is so dangerous. Why did he not remember? If offered the chance to leave, Mrs. Soerdajaya would leap at the opportunity, but of course their names are not anywhere on the manifest, and they will have to give false names or get caught... or give false names and get caught.

    There is no way to contact her guests by communicator. Which leaves only one thing to do. Somehow she stumbles out of bed and wobbles to her closet. She flings off her sleeping gown, dressing in record time--although she skips her stockings, which take too long to bother with. Her boots are tall enough for it not to matter.

    Fully clothed, but with uncombed hair and bare legs underneath the skirt of her uniform, Kylah rushes out the door and heads to Lt. Onn's quarters.

  32. #232
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    Graham's first instinct when he reaches the doors to the quarters he now shares with Marala and Nikolai is to make a beeline for a stiff drink.

    He pauses, takes a deep breath, and emphasizes to himself that
    this
    is not
    an option.


    Trying to clear his mind so he can show up as a good husband and a good father--or at least not a shitty one--he opens the door to enter.

  33. #233
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    What accessories does Rangin have in mind? Another Science blue shirt with his shiny new cuff braid, perhaps?

    Kylah makes her way through the crowded ship's corridors to Onn's quarters. Nothing appears amiss from the outside.

    Graham finds Marala within, curled up on the small couch with a datapad. She smiles when she sees him, stretching as lazily as a cat. "I was just reading a bit. Nikki is taking a nap in the other room. How are you, Boojee?"

  34. #234
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    Graham blinks and swallows.

    Marala was always beautiful, he thinks. Still is.

    But it's hard to parse through the urgency of trying to save her from the disaster at the colony, the intimacy they once shared, and what it means now to be husband and wife--with all that entails.

    At least he's glad it entails here looking happy and comfortable here on this couch.

    If I made Lt. Commander again, it would mean better quarters, a better life for Marala and Nikolai both...

    He half chuckles to himself. Even as a LT. J.G. I can afford the, uh...outfit, I guess--lingerie--I remember seeing in a magazine as a teenager that I imagined Marala wearing, assuming it's something that can still be found...

    "OK," he grunts, then recovers...he forces a smile, then sits down next to Marala. "Hey, come here..." He gently grabs her hand and kisses the back of it, then takes a deep breath and sighs as if he's off the clock and back at home.

    "There's a civilian ship alongside...come to help with transporting folks. I--we--I may be assigned to go over there to help out their limited security. With you and Nikolai, of course--a little side trip off Yorktown, if that's OK."

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    She takes him into her arms, kisses him on the cheek and considers. "I don't know... Nikki has already had so many changes in his life in such a short period of time. I'm not sure moving again is for the best. Do you think you'd have to go?"

  36. #236
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    Graham relaxes into her arms for a moment...but not as far as he'd like. Because the answer to her question isn't an easy one.

    "Ah, well..." he sighs. "my job--my duty--is orders. Taking them and giving them. If the orders come down, I could try to...get out of it, ask for alternatives. But that's not how it works--or, will work, for--for us, mostly." He squeezes her hand. "I dreamed about being Starfleet, when we were kids." He shrugs. "Now I am, and it's a double-edged sword."

    He holds her eyes. "One we're 'officially' family, and Nikkolai will never want for any fundamentals, ever again, as my family or--yeah, shit, even as my widow and orphan. But the price--I swore an oath to take orders."

    He takes another deep breath. "I hope we could make it a--ah, a little trip, something nice, not something bad. I'm not sure it would be good for us to rock the boat, right now..."

    Now he looks down, frowning, closing his eyes for a moment. "I'm sorry, Marala. I'd like to offer you and Nikolai everything good, on a platter. You deserve it." He shakes his head. "But I can't, not by a long shot."

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    She hugs him closer. "I know that. I also know you'll always do your best for us. That's all I expect of you, and all I ask. And if you get assigned to this other ship, well, of course we'll go with you."

  38. #238
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    Rangin heads off to get the slight, but also very important change, in cuff braid to show his new rank. It may only be something small, but it feels surprisingly important, a major goal achieved from where he came from.

    A Coridanite reaching this rank, perhaps he ought to go and check with the other few in his group who joined Starfleet and see how far they have progressed. It was always a friendly rivalry in the group of travellers from a different planet, having to fit on against all the other species on Earth, but it kept them all as honest as a Coridanite could be.

    And once that is done, it’s time to show of his new rank around the Science area. Of course, everyone is likely to know by now, but the faux surprise and honest congratulations will certainly help to lift his spirits.

  39. #239
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    At Lt. Onn's door, Kylah pauses, unconsciously bouncing a little on her toes in nervousness. Tamping down her anxiety, she presses the door chime. If she hears one of the stowaways, she'll identify herself the formal way as planned--Kylah of the House of the Silver Weeping Tree. Otherwise, she'll either give her name or enter, depending on the response.

  40. #240
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    For expediency's sake I'm assuming Thalen responded to my question at the end of this post. Wasn't important anyway.

    Nia asks Thalen to ask Lts. Onyibe and Rangin for an ETA. "I'm sure they're busy arranging the retrieval of... however many extra supplies the Ain't She needs--food and water rations, bedding if needed, basic medical supplies, and so on."

    The medical supplies and rations are probably Rangin's area, she figures. And all those things need people to lug them to the transporter rooms. She continues to Thalen, "Let them know they've got authority to conscript any crew they need for organizing the passengers, gathering and transferring the supplies... whatever's necessary."

    Of course, she's aware that Onyibe doesn't need her permission, but Rangin might. Just seems more tactful to tell them both at once.

    Normally she'd be addressing Booker too, and not doing so now feels... awkward. Unfamiliar. Well, Rangin will tell him whatever needs to be done. He won't be happy but...

    ...But Booker Graham's happiness is out of her hands now. That's another woman's job, to the extent that anyone aside from Booker himself can help lift the grief and anger still deeply embedded in his heart.

    She clears her throat and pushes on. "Once the passengers have been notified, give everyone a strict thirty minute deadline. Every moment we aren't pushing toward our destination is lost time, as I'm sure the colonists'll agree. So, tell them they have until...." (She glances at the nearest chronometer and finishes her instructions with a deadline that's one half-hour from now.)

  41. #241
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    Rangin soon has a sharp-looking new blue uniform shirt, with the single intermittent gold braid of a lieutenant (junior grade) on the cuff, to show off. His Science colleagues are pleased and congratulatory when he tells them; several of them had indeed already known about it. Rangin's friend Lt. JG Geoffrey Park, the botanist, shakes his hand and says, "This is great! You've got to let me buy you a drink after we're off-duty, Velir."

    Ens. Giya, the Deltan chemist, says with a smile, "And the second round is on me, if you promise not to let all this power go to your head and start bossing us all around. Well done, Lieutenant!"

    When Kylah hits the chime, there is a long pause, and the muffled sounds of someone moving around inside. Eventually the door opens, revealing one of the two Russian miners from Novy Rostov she had earlier learned about. "Yes?" he says in a voice thick with sleep.

    Thalen says, "Moson's play Not In My House is a drama, about a hundred years old, about a widowed woman who lives with two of her daughters in... I believe the Earth phrase is 'genteel poverty.' When her third daughter returns home after many years away, it exposes various rivalries, secrets and jealousies among the four. It is considered one of the greatest modern Andorian plays." He acknowledges Onn's orders for Rangin and Onyibe.

    The Quartermaster adds, "I should have a list of evacuees ready for your approval shortly, ma'am, and then we can begin beaming people and supplies over."

    Sorry I overlooked Onn's earlier question to Thalen. Please PM me if I miss something like that.

  42. #242
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    Kylah hesitates before responding to the stranger in the doorway. "Good afternoon," she says--although she realizes she does not know how long she has been asleep. Perhaps it is evening now. But she soldiers on. "Forgive me for waking you, sir. I am Ensign Kylah. Assistant Communications Officer," she adds, almost apologetically. It is rare for her title to enter into conversations.

    Her gaze flits past the miner to whatever she can see of the quarters from here, then returns to him. "I... I believe you are sharing this space with three others. One of whom asked me to contact her if she received a message. Is Mrs.--"

    Kylah pauses awkwardly. Hazy from her own tired state, she did not plan what to say. Which is a problem, since she wishes to avoid naming Mrs. Soerdajaya. She exhales in relief when she remembers that the three other temporary inhabitants of this cabin are male. There is no need for specifics. "Is she here?"

  43. #243
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    Rangin takes the well-wishes with a wry smile. “I’m all open to receiving as many drinks on offer as I can. Last time, I was promoted to Ensign, I had to buy for everyone instead. A perk of the promotion, or so sweet naive me was told at the time.”

    He looks round at the assorted Science members, “I think it’s going to be a long time before I remember who I’m supposed to outrank and how I keep being told to clear the lab again.”

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    "The Indonesian woman?" the man asks, in Federation Standard with a thick Russian accent. He yawns and rubs his eyes. "No, she and the man with her left not long ago. Said she'd found new quarters."

    Kylah's communicator vibrates slightly with an incoming text.

    Rangin's Science colleagues laugh. "Rank hath its privileges," says Ens. Chris Johnson, the sensor specialist, grinning. "That shouldn't be a problem from now on."

  45. #245
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    Kylah looks blankly at the tired man. Indonesian? Is that what Mrs. Soerdajaya is? She just assumed they were all Russian. But then humans have so many ways of distinguishing themselves from one another, it was always difficult for Kylah to distinguish them all. Or even remember them. Elas has five continents divided into a dozen or so regions. But they are all, in the end, Elasian. One's family is more important than what region one is from.

    But all this is a distraction from the miner's related information. "New quarters," she repeats stupidly, as if learning new vocabulary. "But I told them--"

    Her communicator interrupts her--probably for the best--and she makes a vague apology before grabbing at the device to check the text message, all while backing away from the door.
    Last edited by choie; 25 Oct 2021 at 04:11 PM. Reason: Oops it was a text message, not a call.

  46. #246
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    Graham squeezes his eyes shut, returning Marala's embrace, taking a moment to avoid tearing up.

    Or pulling back. Someone believed this once before, and...

    "What..." he clears his throat. "What does Nikolai like? I mean--spaceships, painting, ju jitsu...? Whatever Starfleet opportunities life in Starfleet can offer, I'd like to make sure--make sure he has every opportunity."

  47. #247
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    While enjoying the plaudits from his fellow colleagues, Rangin realises he has a call that has been there for some time, while he has been, well distracted by his new braid and that he is expected to be responding to the bridge request..

    Excusing himself for a few moments, he replies quickly to Lt Thalen, with the details that Lt Onyibe had all the findings from the visit and should be finalising the list of colonists and other equipment and rations that would need to be transported across.

    Once done, he pauses for a moment, before rapidly sending off a brief text message to Lt Onn, that she can pick up at her leisure.
    ONN LT. - Thank you for the opportunity to help out with the colonists. I hope my recommendations are acceptable. RANGIN LT. JG.

  48. #248
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    The door slides shut and Kylah is able to read an incoming text: M. and I have arranged to be beamed to the other ship. We should not show up on any passenger lists, here or there. If all goes well you'll never see us again. Despite all the problems along the way, I'm grateful for your and your House's assistance. S.

    Marala smiles. "Starfleet, nullball and eating, in that order. At least two of the three shouldn't be a problem, I'm guessing...?"

    Onn's communicator now vibrates slightly with an incoming text.

  49. #249
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    Nia tells Thalen to thank Lt. Onyibe just as she feels the little buzz on her waist. She snatches up her communicator more rapidly than usual. If 'usual' means 'before last week.' Because the nauseating truth is, she's been grabbing at that device as if she were a Security officer grabbing at a phaser in when faced with a Klingon. Each time, expecting... no, hoping...

    But, as it's been all week, it's not him. The opposite of him. Sort of.

    Rangin's message is brief. Nia thought he'd still be involved with things regarding the refugee-offloading mission. But they--him and Onyibe and anyone else they conscripted to help with this--have likely worked this out. Onyibe would tell her if things weren't getting done because Rangin hadn't pulled his weight. From what she knows of the guy, he doesn't seem the shirking type.
    RANGIN, LT JG - You're welcome, and thanks in return. Good job. Maybe that doesn't really need saying, because what else would you do? But it was a big help, and in less than ideal circumstances.

    BTW, that recipient line up there: I'm going to keep using your rank just until it gets properly imprinted in my brain. Otherwise maybe at some point we'll be Nia and
    Her thumb freezes, hovering over the keypad. She looks blankly at her tiny screen. Nothing. She knows she knows his first name but right now it's not anywhere in her mental database. Great. A Sidonian woman of 34 is just shy of ancient, but she didn't think memory loss would kick in already. You're distracted. It happens. Not to her, though. It takes a lot to rattle her.

    The past week probably counts. She sighs and shakes her head, scowling; then she taps the backspace key a few times, starting where she left off.
    BTW, that recipient line up there: I'm going to keep using your rank just until it gets properly imprinted in my brain. Otherwise maybe at some point we'll be on a first name basis.

    -- ONN, LT
    She sends the message and stuffs the communicator back onto her belt. Only then does she remember that she could've just looked the damn name up using her console. Just to be perverse, she doesn't do so now. Crossing her legs, she remains in control on the Bridge and reminds herself that at least here, she is in control.

  50. #250
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    Only her back bumping into the wall opposite Lt. Onn's quarters reminds Kylah where she is, or makes her aware that she forgot to stop walking--the message on her screen has practically put her in a trance.

    She looks up, not really seeing anything. They are gone. Out of her hands. Whether that is a bad or good thing, she cannot tell.

    Did Velir have anything to do with this? Kylah is confused by what she remembers of his message. Would he really have helped a pair of stowaways in such an extraordinary way? She does not believe so, not if it involved falsifying records, which seems to be implied here.

    Slowly she lowers her communicator, still holding it prayerfully in both hands. As Mrs. Soerdajaya said, she will not hear from them again; not if they are successful. Of course they could be discovered at any point in the journey, from beaming out to beaming in, from every day on board the other ship to the moment they stop off onto Beta Antares and--Kylah hopes--onward to wherever they plan to go.

    There may continue to be danger. Who knows what sort of post-mission follow-up reports will be undertaken, or what information they could possibly turn up. But overall... if everything does go right...

    Kylah blinks, sighs in relief, and looks almost dreamily across at Lt. Onn's cabin. I owe her a great deal. I must thank her! If we have shore leave on Beta Antares, I shall find a gift, of... of something. And for Velir, too. Oh, I should never have doubted him! She thanks the stars that she did not seek him out when upset.

    A wave of exhaustion ends in a yawn that Kylah quickly hides behind her hand. With no further delay, she turns to find her way back to her quarters and the bed that is beckoning her.

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