Personal statement: High Admiral Valikra i-Taronat tr'Damasau, aboard the IRW Raven's Heart
We have been wounded too long.
For centuries, we have been torn apart, divided, at odds with our own people and our own heritage. The recent events have not worsened this; they have only thrown the problem into sharper relief. The wound remains, as it always has.
We called it the Sundering, and it is a good word, a true word. It is the wound that does not heal, the loss that is always felt. Like the phantom feeling of a missing limb.
We have tried to assuage that pain, to fill the gap, and each stopgap has proved worse than the last. The Klingons were faithless allies and untrustworthy enemies. The Remans - ah, those sad twisted mockeries of ourselves! And, after the treachery that cost us our second home, the attempts at alliances then... shabby dealings with the Hirogen, and now an effort to make us partners with the Elachi under the yoke of the Iconians...
It is not fitting. We are Rihannsu, we do not serve.
As for the rag-tag rabble of Mol'Rihan, their partnership with the vile Remans, their efforts to treat even-handedly with Klingons and Federation alike... they are not worthy even of my contempt.
The wound must be healed, and there is only one way to do that. We are Rihannsu, we do not depend on the charity of others. What we need, we take.
The time has come to heal the wound. On our terms, in our way.
The time has come to take back what is ours.
Personal log: T'Laihhae i-Kanai tr'Aellih, Vice Admiral, currently assigned as commanding officer, RRW Messalina
I am a face in the crowd.
I walk along the narrow, busy streets of the Aecoran shanty town, and no one spares a second glance at a small, dark, unassuming Romulan woman in worn civilian clothing... because there are so many like me, so very many. Aecor is a fringe world, a marginal class M planet in Centauri sector space, once merely another agricultural colony world in the border zone between Federation and Star Empire... now, it is a refuge for castaways and survivors, civilians fleeing war zones as the disintegrating Empire split into warring factions, political exiles and common criminals seeking escape and anonymity.... As, I suppose, I did myself, in another time, on another world.
The planet's population has grown tenfold since Hobus. The refugees bring what resources they can with them, and it is never enough. The Federation does what it can - the Federation always means well - but it, too, is never enough. Aecor lives, just, staggering along on replicator rations and overloaded power grid, its few hospitals choked with the sick and crippled from a hundred fronts in a hundred petty wars, its native ecosystem - such as it is - increasingly under threat.
I am, among other things, an engineer. I see practical problems, I can envisage solutions. The supply of fully functional matter/antimatter reactors would solve the immediate power shortages in the cities, and work could then begin on setting up an integrated planet-wide EPS network. This would enable atmospheric regulators and weather control systems to be set up, which in turn would permit the reliable development of the intensive farming this planet needs to keep itself properly fed. There would be room, still, for the well-intentioned but economically marginal agricultural efforts of the original colonists... no one would have to be forcibly dispossessed.
I can see the solutions. They will not happen. The political situation is too volatile, the will to commit resources is lacking, in a galaxy riven by war, with a hundred worlds like Aecor in every sector, all screaming and pleading for help. If there is any help for these people, on this world, it must come as a result of the actions of higher forces.
I have not come here to help. But I have come to learn something, if I can, of those higher forces.
I turn down a narrow side street, into a still narrower alley, and still no one notices me. That is good; I choose, on the whole, not to be noticed. I had heard, from somewhere, that I was once considered for the command of the Lleiset. Not seriously, I hope. The commander of the Republic's flagship is a very visible, very public figure - and Tiaru Jarok, militarily efficient and strikingly photogenic, fills the role well. But I doubt if she could pass unnoticed in an Aecor slum.
The part I am in now is called Tanktown - the buildings, such as they are, are converted from industrial uses; cast-off freight containers and fuel tanks. It is a dreary place. The municipal power grid does not extend here; there are smells in the air from private generators, of various kinds, in various states of repair. A plume of foul smoke over one metal shell bespeaks a waste-burning unit; I hope that foul smoke is the worst I have to tolerate. I have heard of people using makeshift fission units, with depressingly predictable results.
The building I am looking for is a dull blue hemisphere, adapted from a Garganian cargo vessel's expended deuterium tank. It is near the intersection of two thoroughfares, dirt tracks only, with filthy water pooling in ruts. There is no door, only a curtain over an arched entrance, too low even for me to enter without ducking my head. I move the curtain aside, duck, and enter. No one notices.
Under the domed roof, it is dark. There is woven plastic matting on the floor, and a mattress to one side; as my eyes adapt to the darkness, I can see the figure lying on it. There are a few items scattered around; a battered portable computer, a chair, a lamp... I switch on the lamp, and there is a low moan from the figure on the mattress.
"Thyvesh," I say.
"Aaah," Thyvesh moans. In the scaly green face, his eyes open, blink a few times, focus on me. "T'Laihhae. Were you followed?"
"No...." He blinks again, several times, seeming to look past me at something only he can see. "No, that's right, you weren't followed. Good. Good."
He falls silent. I wait.
"Did you bring -?"
I have a small carrying case at my side; I toss it to him. "The data chips you requested, yes. And a few other things. Ration bars, mostly."
"Ration bars?" He opens the case quickly, his fingers moving in odd ways, as if his joints are more flexible than they should be. "Starfleet issue. Yes, you are working with Starfleet, now, I remember... You are, which one? T'Laihhae?"
"T'Laihhae i-Kanai tr'Aellih."
"Yes, but which one? Which ship?"
"The RRW Messalina."
"Ah. That one." He closes his eyes for a moment, opens them again, looks at me accusingly. "You went back."
"To Priyanapari? Yes. It was... necessary."
"It was, yes. Also ill-advised. No damage, though, this time. I think." He clutches his triple-ridged brow theatrically. "Sometimes it is hard to think. All times, actually. Food will help. Starfleet rations. I'll eat like a king. Have to hide them -" He peers vaguely around.
"I think anything worth stealing here has gone, long ago. Thyvesh, why do you live like this? You don't have to."
"Yes. Yes, I do. Turn off the lamp, T'Laihhae. It makes it hard to see."
I turn off the lamp, and the darkness becomes oppressive, but Thyvesh is not speaking of seeing with his eyes.
I met him at Priyanapari, between my escape from the remnants of the Imperial state, and my arrival at Virinat. What happened at Priyanapari - is another story. And not one I can tell, for those events, in many cases, never happened. I do not mean that in the euphemistic sense employed by intelligence agencies when they discuss their darkest covert operations. I mean that those events never happened, not in this time line at least, and I - the I that is T'Laihhae now - I have no memory of them.
But Thyvesh knows, dimly and fitfully at least. The last survivor of the Temporal Cold War, the oldest and most ambitious of the Suliban genetic augments - he sees, with senses other than sight. His brain is sensitized to chroniton radiation, so much so that his entire existence is partly desynchronized from normal time. He can see - things no one else can. And I have helped him, or some version of me has; so, from time to time, he helps me.
"There is a force at work," he says. I never know how much these visions hurt him. "Ancient, deadly. There are worlds in danger. I see ? Vulcan - "
"Vulcan in peril?" I say. "Like that image you showed me, once, of the planet destroyed?"
"No. Not the past. Not that time line. Now. Danger in the present. Other worlds too, Federation worlds ? I see something white, falling, something that should be snow, but is not. I see - blue skin, antennae - I see an Andorian. Dying."
Even Thyvesh normally makes more sense than this. I wait. Perhaps his vision will settle and clarify. Or perhaps it will not; I must be content with whatever I can garner. But he asked for this meeting, so he must consider it important.
Vulcan in danger... and Andoria? A threat to the heartlands of the Federation itself? It is something we must be ready for. If we can.
"Starships will fly, starships will burn," Thyvesh says. "A matter of - routine. All the time lines, all the strands in the weave of the world - always, death and burning. Listen. The power is strong, it is distorting things - I dare not look too closely. Which T'Laihhae are you, again?"
"From the Messalina."
"Yes. That's a good one. Yes. Listen, T'Laihhae i-Kanai tr'Aellih of the RRW Messalina. I have two names for you. One is from the present, it is Valikra i-Taronat tr'Damasau. One is from the past, and it should stay there, and it is Bresar. Turn on the light!"
I switch on the lamp, and Thyvesh's face seems to leap at me out of the shadows. His eyes are wild.
"I included a medical scanner," I say. "With the data chips, and the ration bars. Use it, Thyvesh, please. I - I worry. About your health...."
He flops back down on the mattress. "Yes," he mumbles. "I'll use it. Won't do any good, but I'll use it. Thank you, T'Laihhae. I like you best of all of them. You've got a good heart."
I say nothing. I never know how to answer, when he talks like that.
Then he says something else, something that takes my breath away. "Darus would agree."
I have never told him about Darus. I have never told anyone Darus's name. A few trusted people know some of the story, but only I, and Vorkov, know about Darus. And Thyvesh, it seems.
"Sometimes," I say through lips suddenly tight, "I think you see too much, Thyvesh."
"I know." A cracked laugh. "It's a failing. Go now, T'Laihhae. You need to be unseen. You can be, if you go now."
So, I go.
Personal log: Tylha Shohl, officer commanding, IGV Spirits of Earth NCC-93884.
Earth is so damned hot.
I stand at the window of my hotel room and look out at the wide green-brown river as it flows beneath a swollen sun. I can almost see it steaming, but I know, intellectually, that's just my imagination. Across the water, on the other bank, I can see the ornate, centuries-old building with its square clock tower. In times gone by, the destiny of a significant chunk of this planet was directed from that complicated, gothic edifice. It seems strange to think of that now. Behind the building, along the skyline, more modern buildings tower up to the skies.
I turn around, and fiddle with the air conditioning. It's already at maximum, but I keep hoping I can crank a little bit more cold out of it.
Three weeks into my leave, and I should be used to Earth's temperature... but I didn't get used to in in four years, at San Francisco, and San Francisco is even hotter than this place... but, still. I'm wearing a loose bathrobe, and my hair is still damp from a lukewarm shower, and I still feel too damned hot. I sigh, sit down on the bed, and feel the air with my antennae. There is a strange taste to the atmosphere in this city: crowded, complicated. I can almost feel the layers of history here. For this is a city with a great deal of history, as much as any place on Andoria, even....
The communicator chimes. I stand up, and make sure the bathrobe is properly secured. Not that many humans would be turned on by the sight of an Andorian shen - "Screen on. Shohl here."
The face on the screen is Andorian, though, and it's one I know. I raise my eyebrows. "Osrin?"
"Hello, Tylha," Osrin Corodrev says. There seems a tension in his artificially handsome face - the product of genetic engineering by his insane father, and I have to remember not to hold that against him. Especially as his insane father was also my insane great-great-grandfather, and he edited the insanity thing out of his son's genome....
Osrin, so far, has not proven any too insane; last time I saw him, he was working for a civilian disaster relief agency. There's an anonymous metal wall behind him on the viewer screen; he's aboard some spaceship or station, at a guess. "Well," I say, "this is a surprise."
He smiles. "Good to see you, anyway," he says. "You're on Earth, I gather? Somewhere hot?"
"Earth doesn't do not-hot," I say with a scowl, "except maybe at its poles, and I'm not so sure about those. They told me this place had a mild temperate climate - was famous for cold weather, even. Well, maybe it's temperate by human standards, but not by mine!"
"Where are you?" Osrin asks.
"City called, um, Lun'dun," I tell him. "On the trail of my musical idol. Gustav Holst. He lived and worked in this city."
Osrin frowns. "Gustav Holst? Sounds almost an Andorian name...."
"Well, he was human," I say. "But his music speaks to this Andorian's soul, regardless. I've never been to this island before - it was a major nation on Earth, once, had some insanely long name... let me see if I can remember it...." I take a deep breath. "Goes something like Yunaitudkiindumuvgreetbritininaerlan. At least it did in Holst's time. They've changed it quite a bit."
"I don't blame them!"
"Mostly, it seems to be contracted to Ingalan. Don't ask me how that works. And then I'm looking out on its principal river, now, and that's called the Temz. Just the Temz. Humans, who can figure them?"
"Not me, certainly." Osrin's face takes on a serious look. "Though it's not humans who are my problem just now... it's Vulcans."
"You have a problem with Vulcans?" I pull a chair over, and sit down at the console. "Better tell me about it."
"I can't think of anyone else I can tell - who might help, that is. You know I'm still working for IDRA, right?"
"Disaster relief, yeah. Don't ask me what the acronym stands for, though."
"You already said half of it. Interstellar Disaster Relief Agency. Well, we've got a disaster on our hands, or what I think is a disaster, only the victims don't agree."
"Well... wouldn't they be the ones to know?"
Osrin shakes his head. "You'd think so, wouldn't you? But they're stalling us, insisting we follow their procedures before we can send help and medical aid... it's weird. Vulcans - you expect Vulcans to be reasonable, right?"
"You expect them to be logical. It's not always the same thing."
"Well, I'm not following their logic here, that's for sure. I'd better give you the details. Do you know Chara?"
I think for a moment. "Yes. Yellow main-sequence star in the local neighbourhood, right? About eight or nine parsecs from here?"
"That's the one. Two class M worlds, one colonized and heavily populated, one kind of marginal and neglected. It's that one, Chara V, that the situation's blown up on. Vulcan archaeological survey team landed there about three months ago, on a different continent from the only permanent settlements. I don't know what they're surveying, but it must be pretty absorbing, because last week a supervolcano blew, about two hundred kilometres from them, and they've stayed put."
"Quite a few, from what I can gather. The permanent settlements are no help - on a different continent, remember, and they have their own troubles, what with subsidiary tectonic activity, and all the ash and dust in the sky. The main agency relief effort is concentrated there, in fact. But Kon and I were sent out with a ship to pull the Vulcans out -"
"And they're refusing to be pulled?"
"You've got it." Osrin frowns. "Of course, they're free to do as they like, I know that. But something about this situation bothers me. I know they've got casualties, they sent a message asking for medical support. But you'd think they'd move, wouldn't you? They'd get out of the area?"
"Vulcans are logical." I'm frowning too, now. "They'd need a compelling reason to stay on...."
"Right. And I can't imagine what it might be. Whatever's there must have been there a thousand years or more, you'd think it could wait another couple of months. But they're... well, like I said. Stalling."
"OK, so they're stalling. What can I do to help?"
"I thought of you... because you're the only real contact I've got in Starfleet," says Osrin. "IDRA is a civilian agency, we're financed by the Federation Council, but we have no official standing. Starfleet is different. A Starfleet ship, say, could issue orders, cut through the - the bureaucracy. And besides, you're bound to be better than me at dealing with Vulcans."
I laugh. "Maybe you should ask Commander Sirip about that. Or my boss, Admiral Semok."
"You're still certain to be better than me. I know it's a lot to ask - I just thought, well, you're high enough up in Starfleet, you can set your own agenda, a bit, right?"
Vice Admirals have fairly wide-ranging discretion - that's why there are so many of us about, in a way; the galaxy is big and full of crises, Starfleet needs lots of people with the resources and the ability to act. In an earlier, more peaceful time, individual ship captains had that sort of role. Now, it has to fall to people who can call in squadrons to support them... maybe it's progress. "I could help out, I guess. I'm supposed to be on leave, but frankly I've had about enough of it - I'm more than ready to get back into harness. I hope your Vulcans can cope with the sight of an Andorian ship, though."
"Your King Estmere isn't Andorian enough to bother them."
"King Estmere's in drydock right now. Refitting."
Osrin raises his eyebrows at that. "I didn't think you took that much damage in the fight at the gateway."
"What - ? Oh, no, nothing like that." Osrin had been involved, briefly, at the start of the Bercera business; he must have heard, like everyone else, of the final battle where we tracked down the Klingon renegade Klur in an illicit transwarp gateway network. "No, this is just part of the routine for the Experimental Engineering group. We're swapping out some of King Estmere's defensive systems, installing new gear from the MACO operations unit. And refitting the hangar bays - we're mothballing the Scorpion fighters and rigging them to hold full-size Tholian frigates. Mesh Weaver class. We can only support four of those, instead of the twelve Scorpions, but they're big and mean enough to make up the difference. When she's ready, King Estmere will pack quite a bit more punch. But she's not ready yet, so I've transferred my flag to the Spirits of Earth. Charal class escort."
"Charal class?" Osrin looks frankly incredulous. "Are they still making those things? They were antiques even in my day."
"It's a design classic," I growl at him. "Anyway, she's got some experimental subtranswarp capacity, so we can be out at Chara a lot sooner than you'd expect." I let my face go serious. "It sounds to me like you could use the help."
"Thanks, Tylha. It's - more than I was hoping for, to be honest. Damn it, you'd be well within your rights to tell me to stop bothering you...."
"It sounds like a job for Starfleet. And you're family - well, sort of."
"It's not much of a relationship to presume on. And when I think about the way I talked to you, the first time we met... well, I wouldn't blame you for not wanting anything more to do with me."
I sigh. "I just guessed you were... confused, and angry, and defensive. I was pretty confused myself, at the time, remember?"
"I remember. You keep doing me favours, though, Tylha - maybe one day I'll be able to do one for you."
"You're getting me off this over-heated planet and back into action. That's enough of a favour for one day!"
T'Nir bent over the workbench, her fingers moving expertly among the components of the subspace radio, her ears shut to the incessant hissing, sifting sound of dust falling on the domed roof of the shelter. Her eyes were narrowed in concentration as she isolated the faulty transtator, removed it, slotted a replacement into position. So very few spares left, she thought.
Behind her, the door banged open, admitting a chill draught. She suppressed a sigh of irritation, and turned. The swathed figure before her unwound the outer wrappings from his head.
"Stileg. What is it?"
Stileg's lips were compressed into a hard line. "Is the subspace radio functional yet?"
"I have just now completed the repairs. I have not yet had time to make tests, but I am sure they will be satisfactory."
"Then you must contact the Andorians," Stileg said. There was a green weeping welt across his forehead; his head wound had not been properly cleaned before they had applied the dermal regenerator, and now dust was working out of his skin, tearing it and bringing with it risk of fresh infection - and the dermal regenerator, like so many other things, was broken now. "We have found more of our number, all of team three is now accounted for. Saral, Telik and T'Tal are dead, Vonot and T'Zen are seriously injured, beyond our current ability to meet their medical needs. They will die too unless aid is forthcoming. The Andorians have offered their aid, it is not logical to refuse it!"
He was shouting. "You are displaying emotion," T'Nir said. "Control yourself."
"I apologize. But the situation remains as I have stated it. We need aid. The dust in the air - Vonot and T'Zen need clean air, or their lung injuries will become irreparable. We cannot provide this ourselves, our filtration units and force field barriers are no longer operable."
"Construct a platform so that they may rest on an elevated location. The dust settles quickly, the air in the higher regions of our shelters will not be contaminated."
"It is unsafe to construct a platform! Tectonic activity is continuing. We lack the tools and materials to construct anything that will withstand the aftershocks. T'Nir, we must have help."
"I will... communicate a request for a supply drop to the Andorians," said T'Nir.
"It is not enough. We require specialist medical assistance at the very least. And the geological situation is still far from stable. A precautionary evacuation is clearly indicated."
"That is not possible. Director Stiak's orders are that we continue with the work."
"Stiak's logic is faulty!" Stileg was shouting, now, mental discipline and logic entirely forgotten. "If it were not for your personal involvement with him, you would see that!"
"Control yourself," T'Nir said forcefully. "Director Stiak is in charge of this project. He holds that position because of his knowledge and expertise. Logic dictates that we follow his directives. Logic also dictates that we continue our work, even in the current situation, because if we do not, valuable discoveries may be lost to the tectonic instability. I believe these points are valid, disregarding any personal relationship which I may or may not have with Director Stiak. Do you not agree? Use your logic, Stileg."
Stileg was subsiding, now, clearly ashamed of his loss of control. "I bow to your decision. Will you confirm a supply drop from the Andorians?"
"As soon as my tests are completed, which will be a matter of minutes now. I will make it my first priority. I do not wish Vonot or T'Zen to die, any more than you do."
"If that is all, I will return to my work." She turned back to the workbench. After a moment, she heard Stileg leave the shelter.
It is wrong for Vulcans to show in their faces what should be held in the heart, she told herself. I have not shown emotion, I have remained strong. But, Stiak, choice of my heart, I pray that you are right. I pray that your actions are correct, and that our losses have meaning.
Yay, another story by shevet!
I'll watch with great interest to see how this story progresses.
Personal log: Veronika "Ronnie" Grau, officer commanding USS Falcon, NCC-93057
Datarecord: 2/12, 2ndry adjunct unimatrix 07 (pending reassimilation/reclassification)
"Woo hoo!" I dance across the bridge, pirouetting in front of the centre seat, before plumping myself down in it. "This is something, isn't it?"
A new ship. I've been through any number of ships in my slightly patchy career, but taking control of a new one always gives me a lift. After the battle at Aznetkur and the hunt for Klur, the Virtue needed a fair amount of time in the yards... so, I got myself assigned a shiny new cruiser. The Excelsior design has stood Starfleet in good stead for almost as long as I have, and this is the revised edition, the one with all the bells and whistles and extra trimmings. Including the bulge in the engineering hull that Jim Kirk fell out of... well, I know not to stand there, right.
"It's certainly a fine ship," says Tallasa, with a marked lack of enthusiasm. Well, I know I'm a trial for my serious minded Andorian */*species 4464*/* exec, when I'm in a good mood. But I am in a good mood. I have a brand new toy to play with, and the novelty of the situation has put Two of Twelve into a quiet mood, so I've got the inside of my head to myself, mostly. Until you've been assimilated by the Borg, you don't appreciate how good that feels. Not that the inside of my head was an altogether good place even before the Borg, mind.
I can't keep still; I jump up, skip across the bridge to the tactical console. "Phaser arrays! Pew! Pew pew pew!" I take aim at imaginary Klinks on the main screen and bring them down. Tallasa's antennae droop. Next, helm control. "Just look at these transwarp settings! Instant travel to half the quadrant - that we may travel everywhither and see the ends of this world and judge them." Like all my literary references, that one passes so far over Tallasa's head she doesn't even hear it whistle through the air. Anyway, I suppose a shakedown cruise in Alpha Centauri sector doesn't quite qualify as "travelling everywhither". More as staying out of Admiral Gref's hair.
"I shall require time to familiarize myself with the engineering systems," Ahepkur, my Klingon */*species 5008*/* engineer speaks up from her bridge station. "But the ship will be ready at your orders, sir!" Loyalty. Discommendated Klingons like Ahepkur either make a fetish out of loyalty, or discard the idea entirely. I'm lucky it's the first one.
"No rush," I say, "no rush.... Actually, I'm glad you brought that up. We're taking on a couple more engineering staff, what with this being a lot bigger ship than the old Virtue. Starfleet Personnel -" I wince a little, remembering more than a few discussions with Personnel about my service record "- should be sending them along any time now. You. Face-ache." The comms ensign looks up. "Get on to the transporter room, will you, find out if they've beamed aboard yet?"
"Aye, aye, sir."
Ahepkur's face is forbidding - more forbidding than usual, that is. "I am competent to direct the engineering division," she growls. "Sir."
Oops, I think to myself, you might have touched a nerve there, Ronnie. "You're my chief engineer," I reassure her, "absolutely, no doubt about that. Just, well, a couple of extra hands always come in... umm... handy?"
"Transporter room reports two arrivals, sir," the ensign calls out. "On their way to the bridge now, Commander Ysrip and Commander - errr...." He trails off and looks helplessly at his console.
"Oh, yeah, right," I say. "Well, never mind about that. Tallasa, let's rally round and give the new arrivals a good old USS Virtue welcome."
"USS Falcon, sir," says Tallasa.
"USS Virtue style, then. We had a style, right? You wouldn't mistake the Virtue for any other ship."
Tallasa exchanges looks with the others: Ahepkur, my science officer Saval, Tallasa's sister Jhemyl, the others who know me well, and for some reason put up with me. "No," she says, "no, no one would make a mistake like that."
"And the Falcon will carry on in that same old happy tradition," I say firmly. Saval, being Vulcan */*species 3259*/*, doesn't say "oh God" at this point. But he wants to. I know he wants to.
I pick up the movement of the turbolift door before I hear the hiss - the Borg implant covering my left eye has surprisingly good peripheral vision. Well, maybe vision isn't quite the right word. Peripheral sensing? Whatever. I know they're coming, that's the main thing.
"Welcome aboard!" I yell.
"Thank you, sir," the tall, good looking Andorian male replies, throwing me a salute as he does so. "Commander Areb Ysrip reporting as ordered."
His companion moves into the full light of the bridge, the lights reflecting brightly from her metallic eyes. "Reporting as ordered," she says in an even, musical voice. "My serial number is on record, but for social purposes I am Commander Ada." She salutes, too, with appropriately mechanical precision.
"A machine?" Ahepkur demands. Oh dear.
"I am artificial in origin," Ada replies, unruffled. "I am, to be exact, an experimental HSM series android - my model has performed well in a number of Starfleet roles."
"A machine," Ahepkur repeats, and I really don't like the tone of her voice. "I am chief engineer here, I fix machines - I hope, if this one works with me, it knows its place!"
Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. "We can all get along," I say, loudly. Ada and Ahepkur are looking at each other, and they don't look like they're getting along any time soon. I just hope Ahepkur doesn't try a staring contest, because she will certainly lose against those ball-bearing eyes. "Let me introduce my senior staff; my executive officer Commander Tallasa, my science officer Dr. Saval, my -"
"Commander Tallasa?" Ysrip asks.
"That is correct." Tallasa squares her shoulders. "Just Tallasa."
Jhemyl stands up, at the security station. "And I am Jhemyl. Just Jhemyl."
Oh, God. Andorian clans, I was forgetting all about Andorian clans - and whatever Tallasa and Jhemyl's parents did to get kicked out of their family. I've never known the details, to be honest... but it's like the discommendated Klingons; Tallasa and Jhemyl have always been loyal to me, because I'll accept their loyalty. This Ysrip, though, looks traditional Andorian right through to his blue core, and traditional Andorians don't get on so well with the clanless ones... traditionally. Ysrip's face is studiously neutral. Tallasa's makes a plank of wood look like Laurence Olivier, and Jhemyl is, if anything, even blanker. But all three of them have their antennae twitching, writhing almost, in a way that would make a Japanese schoolgirl run for the hills.
And Ahepkur and the android */*species designation irrelevant*/* are still glaring at each other -
*/*---interpersonal relationships interfering with efficiency
---absorb positive qualities of each unit, suppress individual conflicts
---suppression of individual personality is the way to optimum efficiency within the collective
And now Two of Twelve's woken up. And it started off such a good day....
Another story from you, Shevet? And with at least three of the characters from "Fallout"? Yes, and more please! (Reminds self to copy "chapters" of this story to computer's hard drive.)
Also, I found a couple typos. One in #3: but I didn't get used to in in four years (I think the first "in" should be "it"). And one in #4: The dust in the air ? Vonot and T'Zen need clean air (the ? probably should be a dash). Sorry bout that. It's the spellchecker in my head. (Reminds spellchecker to be less fussy about spelling/punctuation.)
(rubbing hands together) The new arrivals and now everybody hates each other a little more....
After four tries at fixing that "in in" in post #3, most of which led to the end being lopped off the post and a "bad request" HTML error showing up in my browser... I give up. Please don't judge me too harshly, everyone.
I have found and killed the thing that was converting my dashes into an unreadable character, so with luck we'll have no more of that particular brand of nonsense.
I get the dash and double-quote conversion to question marks problem because I use OpenOffice Writer (saving files in MS Word format), then highlight the text, then copy/paste it into a message here on STO, then go through it (slowly and unhappily) sentence-by-sentence changing the question marks that aren't ?'s into the punctuation they're supposed to be. I guess I'll have to start using NotePad like you do. (sigh) That's technological progress for ya ... at least I don't have to go 'way back and use EDLIN. Ick!
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