Lt. Commander
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 197
# 11
07-13-2013, 11:23 AM
(bit longish, and a little risque, but then it IS Risa. What happens in Risa stays in Risa. I figured after her questioning by the Tal Shiar in the last LC, Polekitty could use something good for a change, and it was fun to write before I go back to poor Schrodi losing her mind )

Risa, tuesday morning

Rhonda 'Polekitty' Evans wasn't the most heavily dressed person in the hotel, but she was close. She didn't want to be here to be honest, oh sure, meeting her family for a few days was fine, but Risa, during the Lohlunat festival? for someone who was still using a cane while recovering from nerve damaged done by a Tal'shiar interrogator, the crowds just made it harder for her to get around. Plus the everpresent clusters of couples or more was rather like diving into a swimming pool filled with double edged razor blade then rolling around on the salt flats of Mars.

Still, it had been close to six months since she had seen her parents, and her baby sister April was barely walking then. She had been planning to continue her rehab after the incident with Colonel S'tana at Starfleet Medical in San Francisco, where she'd also been helping out with cases before she was thrown out on her ear by the CMO.

"you need a break" he said, "you hadn't had so much as a weekend shore leave since you were comisioned..." her Betazoid therapist had admonished her.

Really sucks when the arguments you used on your own crew and paitents get used back at you. She sighed, looking around-there they were. Of course finding them wasn't as hard as one would expect, it was several hundred years since cowboy hats were commonly worn, and being they were sitting on an outside patio of course her father was wearing one. She stopped and watched them from the entryway to the patio for a moment, her father had a little more grey in his hair than she remembered, but she still had to look up at him, the former PPD Detective's eyes the same color of blue as her own.

Her mother however was different, for one the nerve damage from a drunk driver hitting her motorcycle on Daytona Beach had been easily repaired with modern medicine, as were the scars from that accident. Ironically the cane Rhonda was now using used to be the one her mother depended on back in the alternate 21st century they all had come from. April had gotten bigger, of course kids grew like a weed at that age, the toddler having the natural tan coloring that came from having mixed race parents. Not that things like that were an issue in 2413, unlike Rhonda's own white hair and black fur, or April's tail wagging back and forth from a hole in her chair..wait what?

She stepped out of the doorway, walking over. Her parents looked up and smiled, her dad standing to give her a hug while her mom helped her to a chair, April almost exploding in excitement, the toddler slipping from her chair and running over, squealing "ranaranarana!". She still couldn't pronounce her sisters name, but she was getting closer, as she attached herself to Rhonda's bad leg like a lamprey.

She staggered and semi fell into the chair, her mom reaching over to pull April away "April, Rhonda's leg is hurt, she can't pick you up right now."

Rhonda just shook her head "not standing no, but I always have lap room for you" she said, scooping the toddler up into her lap.

Randy just chuckled" be glad you diddn't see her this morning, she got into some chocolate covered espresso beans they had out for guests in the lobby..."

"oof, I remember when Jake got into some of those. How's he doing by the way?"

"he's good, still with his girlfriend and business partner out on Ferenginar. He says they're making latinum hand over fist these days from adapting stuff that your ship downloaded from the internet when you rescued us. They're really making money selling holo programs to the Klingons, they seem to love Game of Thrones and for some reason, My Little Pony."

Rhonda groaned, one hand over her face "that explains the ship I saw coming in, Vo'Quv carrier, one of their biggest ships. it was the IKS Shy Joq..or if you translate the name, the IKS Fluttershy."

Sandra Evans laughed "not exactly a name to inspire fear in ones enemies I'd say."

"probably not." Rhonda looked down again at her little sister happily snuggled in her lap as she watched the colorful birds fly over head. She leaned in a bit "when did this?" she said, pointing towards the fuzzy tail, looking like it would fit a cocker spaniel better than her little sister.

Her mom just shrugged "about six weeks ago, you were still in recovery. As for how" she said "do you have to ask? We spent eight years in Paragon City. Between toxic waste, arcane energies, mad scientists, mutagenic chemicals, and lets not forget radioactive critters that bite people"

She looked down at her black fur covered arm "as if I could forget the last one."

"Me neither" her dad replied. "that's why we're leaving Earth."

"Buhwhat??"


"The docs back there, were arguing if they wanted to quarantine her, or run experiments on her, or 'cure' her. Hell there aint' anything wrong with her. She's different. Too different for earth nowadays."

"what do you mean, the Federation has thousands of races in it-"

" earth is mostly human. Humans who don't like anything that should be human, but isn't. I remember you telling me about your time in the Academy, how you only really made friends with aliens."

"well...yeah. They have a history of bad things when peoples DNA gets tinkered with, they're still pretty much spooked by it."

"That was what, five hundred years ago? It's kind of like my idiot uncle James, who disowned me when I married your mom, because she's half japanese and half black, and kept shouting that the 'south would rise again" till the day he died."

"they don't come out and say it" her mom said quietly "but I see the looks , the way parents pulled their kids back at the playgrounds. Plus with your dad and I unable to find work on Earth-"

"but people don't have to work now-"

"No, we do" her dad leaned forward "maybe the people nowadays can sit around, spend their time in holosuites, and walk to the replicator for their free meals every six hours. But I need to work. People need to. We're taken care of, but if you just give someone everything , and not make them go get it themselves, they never learn. They don't grow. Out side of the people in Starfleet, how many on earth actually DO anything? push themselves?" he sat back and sighed "yeah there's some that do science, art, do things to try to improve themselves. But there's a whole lot more that don't."

He grinned at her "which is why we're here. I put my resume out in whatever they call the net nowadays, and got back a couple nibbles. While a lot of the major worlds might have cameras in every room and street, some of the further out places, a detective is still needed."

"what, you're gonna be the Sheriff Taylor of Risa?"

"naw" he said "but a resort this big still has problems with theft, crimes of oppurtunity, there's been a couple stabbings and the like. Can't say I'm really thrilled with their no weapons policy, that assumes that any one with bad intent is gonna abide by it, but the resort is looking for a detective to handle such things." Randy grinned "so instead of a deputy with one bullet, I might have to get hawaiian shirts, and grow my moustache back-"

"no moustaches." They both looked at Sandra "but mom, if he gets that job, he'll be Magnum PI, in space!"

"I've got to get it first, have another interview tonight, with the night manager."

Rhonda nodded, bouncing April a bit "where are the other two?"

"one of them, well I don't think I'll be able to even go to the interview. It's called Moab III-"

"wait..thats a Klingon world! Well it is now, didn't use to be.."

"you say that like it's a bad thing" Randy replied "from what I've heard, they treat their people better than the Federation. They don't meddle in how people live their lives, sanatize and bubble wrap the world as to keep people's feelings from being hurt. Did you know that in the preschool in our town, they don't let the kids play outside? they may be stung by bees or other insects, so they have a 'holosuite' playground. Safe. Secure. Sanitary."

She said nothing, it was an argument she'd had with others in the past, with her taking the same position as her father "you could get there, there are ways..."

"we know, but then we'd have problems if we ever wanted to see you, at least as long as this idiot war keeps going on." he took a sip of his tea "so that's off the table. Besides, it's a bit dry there I hear. Spent enough time in the desert in the Marines before your mom and i got married."

"I'm not fond of deserts either. Whats the third place?"

"its really out there, but they're looking for people who are adaptable and willing to work. Kind of cold, but they've got domed cities where you can go

out without bundling up, think it's called Denali."

It was bad timing. She was just drinking her lemonade when he said that, her surprise causing her to breathe some in instead. Several coughing seconds later, she wiped her face with a napkin "you ok?"her mom asked

"yeah, it's just ,well i know someone from there."

"ooh a special someone?" That got Sandra a look, one she returned "Randy, it's almost time to take April for the children's club trip."

The mention of the children's trip got April's attention "see ponies?" she said as she held her arms up to be picked up by her daddy

"ponies, ducks, tribbles, and you'll get to watch fireworks with the other kids. Say g'nite to your mom and sister."

"nini!"

Rhonda watched her dad and April walk off. "I didn't realize a place like this would have children's events."

Her mom just smiled, sipping her drink "why not? parents need time to themselves too, she'll have fun at the petting zoo, then get to watch fireworks then sleep under the stars on the beach with the other kids. She loved it last night while your dad and I went dancing and to the turkish baths." she chuckled softly "we met a nice Caitian girl who ended up staying the night with us-"

There was another drink emergency, this time the lemonade coming out of her nose, making everything smell lemon scented. She'd known for years that her parents had a open relationship of course, but it was one thing knowing in the abstract, different when you see it first hand "Mom!"

"Rhonda!" she replied "I've read your letters, you always talk about how your doing this for those people, and saving that planet. Where's time for yourself?"

She grumbled, looking down at her lemonade "you sound like my therapist."

"well he, or she is right. When was the last time you had someone in your life?"

Rhonda didn't say anything "I thought so. Your father has that interview tonight, and Ch'arice is going to meet up with me later at a club she told me about. What were you planning to do, sit in your room and read reports and medical journals?"

"uhm..." one advantage to fur, is that it was hard to noticed when you blushed. Unfortunately her mother was well able to spot it "I thought so. now, I'm just your mother I know. but I know you're not happy."

She stared down into her drink, swishing the melting ice around idly "there was someone, a couple years ago. It was just before they stuck me in command,before I got thrown back home and brought ya'll here. I thought things were going good...then she suddenly transfers me off the ship, no explaniation. though i do suspect her hand in my promotion right afterwards."

"did you ever talk to her about it, ask her why?"

"no...ah figured it was because ah was a freak."

Her mom sighed, she could tell her daughter was getting upset, her accent was showing up. "Rhonda, you've got to stop selling yourself short. Don't be obvious, but look over at the bar, those two in the shorts. Then the cute guy by the piano, and the two girls in the booth by the wall."

She did, slowly glancing about "why are they all staring at me?"

Sandra reached over, and squeezed her daughters black furred hand "Because you're beautiful, even if you don't realize it. This isn't earth, these aren't the idiots who think because your DNA was modified you're the next coming of Korn-"

That got a giggle "Khan, not korn mom. Korn was a band Jake listened to."

"Whatever. point is, your a wonderful person. and you need to realize it."

She smirked "now you're sounding like what I told one of the ensigns I was counseling when a guy he was dating in broke up with him."

"and you need to sit up straight."

Rhonda blinked "huh?"

"you're slouched over, almost as if you're trying to hide. Do you stand that way when you're on your bridge, or in the operating room?"

"no, of course not, I've got people counting on me then-"

"and you have someone counting on you now. I think i see the problem."

She frowned , crossing her arms "What do you mean?"

Her mom smiled sadly "you never had a chance to learn how to interact in situations like this. you got bitten, then we moved to Rhode Island because thats where people with powers went. You spent your teenage years flying around being a hero. Then when you get sent here..you lose the powers, but become a doctor in Starfleet. Then you get put in command..everything you've done for over half your life is for others, you've got to be confident to keep others safe, so you are."

She reached over and squeezed Rhonda's hand again "I understand the fear of being different, I remember the stares when I had to get around with crutches, braces on my legs for years. Your sister is going to have to go through that too, sure it's just a tail now but who knows what will happen in ten years?

"...if she sees me acting timid, because I'm different."

"she'll think she should do the same, because she is. but you're a Starfleet officer. You command a Galaxy class Starship, you're a skilled surgeon, and you even used to be a hero. Hell I remember that picture Helen took of you when you were fifteen, after you beat what's his name, Reckless"

That got her to chuckle "Recluse, and it took close to a dozen of us."

She waved her hand "no matter, you did what you had to even though you were afraid. Same as you do every day in space, because someone is depending on you doing it. Well, a room full of people dancing might not be as dangerous, but there are two I know of who are counting on you. April, and Rhonda."

She looked down at the now melted ice from her lemonade "you're right."


"of course I'm right" Sandra said teasingly "I'm a mom. Give me a grandkid or two and you can be right too." she grinned as she stood up "so take your own advice. I've got a few hours Ch'arice and I are supposed to meet up, right now, we're going shopping. We're going to get you something nice to wear, and tonight you're going to be social, and have fun."

Rhonda laughed as she stood up, knowing she was outranked. "yes Mom."



Several hours later.

It had been a long time since she'd worn anything other than a uniform, or sweats when she was off duty. Sandra chose well, a light blue dress that matched Rhonda's eyes, the soft fabric clinging to her curves, showing off her admittedly modest assets (though as the lady at the store said when she helped them pick it out, it wasn't the size of the portion but the presentation that was important.) Sandra had one cut in a similar fashion, but jade green instead. Eyes tracked across the room as the two of them made their way to a largish booth, ordering drinks from the barechested Risan waiter.

"root beer? you can drink in front of me" Sandra teased.

Rhonda just laughed "if anything happens, and I'm not saying it will, I'd rather it be me and not the booze. Besides" she smirked, eyeing her mom's drink "Tequila makes me lose my clothes."



"you say that like it is a bad thing." they both looked up, one of the Risans was at their table, tall and tanned like a lot of them, carrying a horga'hn like the one on all of the tables in the club "I saw you sit down here" he said with a smile" he said, a slightly shorter Risan woman, long blonde hair going down her back joining him. She smiled at them "would the two of you like to join us for Jamaharon?"

Rhonda and Sandra just looked at each other and started giggling, not exactly the reaction the Risan's were expecting. Rhonda was blushing furiously as Sanda caught her breath "she's my daughter, so I'm afraid that would a bit too weird."

He looked embarased, but Sandra just smiled waving them both to sit down "it's ok, I'm waiting for someone , but Rhonda-"

she smiled reassuringly at the two Risans, giving a wink to her mom "is open to discuss it."

The Risan girl just laughed "but you don't look anything alike" she said, siting down next to Rhonda and running her fingers through the soft fur covering her arm. "I'm Deety, and this is Jhim" she said, the blonde haired man sitting down next to Sandra "it's so soft and fluffy, why do you look so different?"

"it's kind of a long story."

"I like stories, especially ones of exciting places."

"I like stories too" they looked up, there were two Caitians standing by the table, both of them a rust color, the male tall, heavily muscled and shirtless in the style on Risa, the female, wearing something close to the barely bikini that Deety had. Sandra smiled and half turned, as the caitian girl leaned down and hugged her. "This is Ch'arice, I told you about her earlier. This is my daughter Rhonda, and Jhim and Deety, and I assume that's your brother you mentioned?"

"Just picked me up from the transporter,been here before but didn't know how to get to this place." he said, his long tail swishing behind him. "name's M'karret" he and Ch'arice slipping into the booth beween Sandra and Rhonda as they scooted to give them room too.

"good to meet you" she said, trying not to get too nervous as everyone got comfortable, looking at her "well, it all stated with the Rikti..."




Many hours later.

There had been drinks, stories had been told, there had been dancing (though with her bad leg Rhonda had to sit out the fast ones, the slow ones were easier. Jhim was a talented dancer, Deety was surprisingly strong enough to support her when they danced and , well, M'karret was over a foot taller, so it was easier for her to just put her arms around his neck and let him sort of carry her while they danced. The band was winding it's set down , Deety was curled up in M'karret's lap while Jhim nearly put Rhonda to sleep with a shoulder massage. As the last song died out he stretched. Deety sat up "we were planning on going to a little cove we know, would you two like to join us?"

Sandra laughed softly from where she and Ch'arice were curled up in the booth "I'd suggest a hotel room instead, trust me there are some places you do not want sand to get..."

"that's probably a better idea" Rhonda sat up, and absently pulled the top of her dress back up from where it had slipped down during the massage. Not that anyone at the club would say anything or even care but still. she hugged Sandra and Ch'arice as did the others, then headed off for the lifts.


Next morning


The room was cold, but she wasn't. Close to hot actually, with two Risan's and a Caitian snoring peacefully in the bed with her, the light from the suns peeking through the windows. She'd happily have stayed in bed, but something was beeping, and she needed to pee..oh. the com. She extricated herself carefully as she could, staggering over to the com on the desk still half asleep. At least until she saw her father's face on the screen, and realized she wasn't wearing anything.

Randy Evans just laughed and politely turned away from the screen on his end, as Rhonda gave out a mouse like squeek and dived under the desk, coming up a few seconds later holding a blanket up as he chuckled "Girl I changed your diapers, you don't have anything I aint' seen " he said, though he didn't turn around till she was covered.

She laughed at that "whats up?"

He held up a badge where it could be seen "hope you like this planet, cause we're gonna be here a while. Seems the fact that I'm used to old low tech policing helped, they liked my experience. So starting next week I'm a hotel detective."

"that's great daddy!"

"thanks. your mom said she's gonna make pancakes later, after we pick up April from the kids camp in a couple hours."

"oooh, definetly be there then."

there was a sound behind her as Deety woke up, walking over and looking over her shoulder "What's going on?"

"my dad just got a job as hotel detective at the resort here" she said. Deety waved at the screen "congratulations!"

Randall blinked at the naked Risan girl in the com then just chuckled "thank you. Anyway, see you in a couple hours."

"will be there."

She dropped the blanket as soon as the com cut off. Deety just smiled "couple hours? time for a shower at least." she said, taking Rhonda's hand and leading her towards the bathroom.

"mm, true. what about them?" she said, pointing towards the still snoring Jhim and M'karret.

"if they don't wake up in time, it's their problem."

Last edited by knightraider6; 07-13-2013 at 08:08 PM.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 139
# 12
07-13-2013, 02:34 PM
Who's afraid of Risa?

The Decius was still at Earth Space dock and for some reason it seemed as if my crew and myself were forgotten. It almost seemed as if Starfleet Command had no use for a well equipped and trained Mogai and her crew. It was different with all the Deridexes and Dreadnaughts we kept seeing. They just kept coming and going. At times some of our fellow republican ships looked to be in a rather sorry state.

That afternoon my day brightened and changed. This time, one of the many types of Starfleet cruisers came in to dock and it was a type and a ship I knew all to well. USS Limburg-A, Vesta class and part of the cavalry that had rescued New Romulus, and under the command of one of the very few people in the Federation I would call a friend. Vice Admiral Jenn Torvan.

And apparently Jenn was surprised by what her ships sensors had told her.
'Hail coming in from the Limburg, sir.' I didn't know the Centurion on comms duty so I ordered it switched over to my ready room. The signal was switched over effortlessly. I could see Jenn was in her own ready room as well.

'Hello Eris still twisting your thumbs I see.' Jenn was to the point as always.

'Yes, still being kept busy by doing nothing.' I could almost feel the small chuckle that emanated from the other ready room. However, that same small chuckle soon disappeared and was replaced by Jenn her mission face. I felt a little tingle on the inside. Finally, out there again.

' I may have something to do for you, if you're willing.'

I heard myself saying 'Yes.' Before I even thought about it some more. I noticed Jenn smile again.

' I was hoping you'd say that.' My screen lit up, indicating the arrival of a data package. 'Thing is, Risa is always in need of parts for the weather control systems. These parts are made here on Earth. It seems they fetch a rather interesting price on the black market.'

I finished the phrase for her 'I know the Limburg is a pretty capable vessel but you figure having an escort from say a well equipped Mogai might just make the difference.' Jenn smiled again.

'You and me are going to have a certain talk on Risa.' She lifted a finger, just like my lower school teacher would have done not all that many years ago.

All of a sudden an icy and twisted knot formed in my stomach. ' On Risa?'

Jenn smiled rather innocently 'Yes, your crew needs a little time off, and you do as well, Eris. Now guess what? Risa is just the place for that.'

I wasn't sure what I was thinking. I did I wonder if I needed to see ensign Miraz, the ships counselor that came my way via an officer exchange or was it better to see the CMO? But it wasn't really the most important question at all. The most important thing was why I was so afraid of going to Risa?

Naturally the trip went off without a hitch. Oh, there were a few wisps of of marauding Klingons and some Orion free traders gave us a close look as well. There was one enterprizing Ferengi that also tried to offer aid after the Limburg had to drop out of warp due to a short in the EPS relays. I think his ship would have taken the record for fastest entry into warp under non combat conditions, but then, I figured our 'method of arrival' would cause something like that.

We pulled into standard orbit of Risa without further trouble. My own troubles however were just beginning.

“The Limburg is hailing us again.” the Comms Centurion reported as my ship pulled into standard orbit as well.

It could only be about one thing. “On screen.”

It was Jenn, on her bridge and smiling one of those radiant happy smiles I'd come to detest. And I also detested what she asked me next “ Ready for some Risian fun and sun, Eris?”

Wheter or not it was to my credit or not, I didn't answer. I fell silent. And she noticed “Eris? Anything the matter?” I still couldn't speak, I had 'clammed up' as humans rather aptly put it. Finally I found the words I was looking for “Jenn, I'd rather discuss this in a more private setting.”

“Your Ready room?” She asked.

“Please.” With that the connection went down. I promptly instructed Tovan to get to the transporter room and escort Jenn to my ready room. She was there not fifteen minutes later. I was stunned by her entrance at first, as she was wearing an outfit undoubtly designed with nothing but relaxing on Risa in mind, yet, it seemed so very earthy. She had those weird things they call slippers on her bare feet. Part of her legs were bare, other part being covered by a rather short version of something which I knew to be jeans. She wore a blouse that one could see through and I thought I felt myself blushing as I could indeed see through it. Then the fear came back.

“What's going on Eris?”

Again I failed to find the words. Instead I bent my head and looked at the floor, hoping I would something before Jenn really started to push.

“Eris?” There was a hint of worry in her voice and suddenly I felt a hand on my shoulder. As I looked up I noticed the worry in Jenn her eyes.

“Why are you so afraid of having fun?”

I sighed. Jenn had cut straight through the ribbon, again. My hastily erected defenses were down so there was only one thing left to do; tell the truth. I sighed again and resigned myself to the consequences.

“It's because of Virinath. Right before the republic found us, there was a festival on the colony. The Elachi came during the festival...” I felt as if I had shared enough. “And besides, I really don't have anything to wear.”

To my own surprise I heard Jenn chuckle.” One thing at at time, Eris, one thing at a time. Come on, I want to show you something.” We left the ready room.

“ Ops, please zoom out from the planet, maximum distance.” at a nod from me the duty science officer carried out the order and before I knew it I was looking at Risa, from a certain distance, and the planet looked like it was surrounded by a swarm of Khelids. Of course, each speckling part of that swarm was a star ship, loaded for bear.

“I'd almost pity the Elachi if they come here.” Jenn remarked to no one in particular. And I began to feel a little better. Yet I knew I wasn't quite out of the woods yet.

“ As far as wardrobe is concerned...” At Jenn her comment I figured it was gonna happen anyway and smiled back. The lions and the flame would have to wait.

Last edited by rextorvan36; 07-16-2013 at 11:18 AM.
Captain
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 2,748
# 13
07-14-2013, 11:39 PM
Captain's Log, USS Hephaestus NCC-91748.
Commander Grunt recording.

Starfleet has informed us that with shipbuilding activites hampered by the raid on the Utopia Planitia yards at Mars, there are currently no ships available to us to replace the
Bastogne; however, we were allowed to keep the wreck of the Hephaestus, and even given three weeks in drydock at Deep Space Nine to make her spaceworthy. Mr. Vovonek didn't sign off on anything until almost end of shift on the last day, so I'm pretty sure he's gotten her in shape. Our shakedown cruise was a run from DS9 to Risa; we've been authorized a one-week shore leave, in conjunction with something the locals call a "Lohlunat Festival". Gydap's taken a civilian transport to Andoria, of course - we'll be picking him up there after we're done here. We'll be expanding our crew roster while we're here too, as a Dakota-class needs a few more hands on controls than an old Constitution-refit. There are some personnel requests we can fill internally, as well - some more surprising than others. It's like my dad's accountant always said, though - resources are everywhere, the key is to exploit them profitably.

Grunt looked again at the PADD in his hand. "Are you sure about this, Vov?"

The Pakled engineer nodded. "We got that one part for the warp matrix that they stopped making about fifteen years ago - you know, the bit we swiped from our old ship, to sub for the Herpes' dead field stabilizer. No way it'd fit, no way the drive would work without it, and no such thing as a replacement field stabilizer inside sixty parsecs. Fitzsimmons got it in and functioning in two hours. He didn't stop talking the entire time, of course, but I'll take babbling as long as it comes along with that kind of talent."

"Okay, I'll grant you that - but as your second in Engineering? What about Jazerad? Isn't he the one that saved those three men when one of the compartments lost pressure on the way back from Gamma Quadrant?"

"Yes, sir, he was. He was also the one who welded that patch in the first place. And he's the one who tried to fix the replicators to give you tube grubs for dinner that one night."

Grunt shuddered. "I take your point. Didn't get that taste out of my mouth for days. I'm still not sure what a 'strawberry' is, but a tube grub shouldn't taste like one." He touched the PADD, then stretched. "Okay, Fitzsimmons is all yours. Good luck with him. As for me, I'll be heading down to the resort to meet our new crewmates."

--------------------------------------------------------------------

Grunt surveyed the crowd. At least here he wouldn't stand out that much - he could see the distinctive multi-lobed bare heads of at least seven Ferengi from the arrival pad. Lots of others, too - Humans, Trill, a few uncomfortable-looking Andorians, several Vulcans (managing to look cool even while wearing robes in the afternoon heat), and even a handful of Klingons in fur-lined armor (and how could they stand that, he wondered). He knew two of his new personnel, both bridge officers, were somewhere in the area of the Festival grounds, and he wanted to meet with them in a semi-informal setting, to gauge their reactions to being under a Ferengi's command. He knew from experience that there were quite a few, even in Starfleet, who had trouble adjusting to the fact.

First, he'd look for his new Tactical Officer trainee, Ensign Zoex. This, Grunt decided, would probably be fairly simple - Zoex was Ferengi too, so he would just look in the places he'd have been when he was a brand-new, wet-behind-the-lobes ensign. In the distance, he could make out the clatter of a dabo table. Grinning, he made his way toward the sound, emanating from deep in the recesses of the nearby hotel.

He paused in the entranceway, letting his eyes adjust to the darkness inside. None of the people clustered around the dabo table looked like the holo in Zoex's file; Grunt moved past the table, and finally spotted his quarry, huddled in a corner with a shadowy-looking hominid in a cloak and hood. He moved a little closer, cocked his head, and could finally hear the whispered conversation between the two. Zoex appeared to be negotiating for black-market weapons. Grunt shook his head and smiled to himself, then stood up, polished his commander's pips, put on his best stern look, and marched up the the pair.

"Mr. Zoex!" he announced in tones of mock outrage. "I'm surprised at you!"

Zoex whirled guiltily. "Commander!! Um, this, uh, isn't what it looks like, sir--"

"No, Mr. Zoex, it's exactly what it looks like! You're trying to buy illegal weapons from an obviously fake salesman!" He turned to the being in the cloak. "You'll have to forgive my young friend here - he hasn't my experience at spotting real salespersons. Are you an informant, or just a scam artist?"

"What? Why, I'm an honest--"

"You're an 'honest' nothing. No real black-marketeer goes around looking like you, especially on Risa! The resort world of the galaxy, with heat like this during the day, and you're dressed like an escapee from Rura Penthe? Far too obvious." He turned to the younger Ferengi. "A real black-marketeer would no more advertise his calling like that than a Ferengi Trade Authority Enforcement Squad would wear T-shirts reading 'We Take Bribes'! Really, what are the schools on Ferenginar coming to?" He shook his head. "Now report to Ms. Shelana aboard the Hephaestus for your assignment. If she's not there, report to your quarters until you're sent for - it's far too dangerous to let you wander loose on this planet with so much as a slip of latinum in your pockets."

Zoex stood at attention. "Yes, sir!"

"Dismissed." At Grunt's waved command, Zoex began marching quickly toward the transporter pad. Grunt looked around, and saw that the supposed black-market salesman had slipped away while he was distracted. He chuckled, and turned back to his second quarry, a Human named Ruben Manalang. This search was rather longer, and eventually led him back out to the beach area. Eventually, he spotted Lt. Manalang, lounging on a beach chair with a Caitian female beside him, twining her tail about his legs in a rather suggestive fashion.

Grunt walked up to the two. "Mr. Manalang?"

Ruben looked up. "Commander Grunt," he replied. "As long as we're off-duty, sir, please feel free to call me Ruben. Is this a formal occasion?"

"Are there formal occasions on Risa?" Grunt wondered aloud.

Ruben chuckled. "Not that I'm aware of, sir, but you are in uniform, on the beach."

Grunt looked down. "So I am. I suppose it's a bit of a habit by now."

"If you say so, sir," Ruben said agreeably. "I recieved the roster on my PADD earlier - I understand that I'm scheduled to report to your office at 0800 tomorrow. While we're here, though, sir, why not relax a bit? I've spoken with your first officer, and he seems to believe that you could use some time off."

"He's been talking to Brel again, I see. Where's Roclak at?"

"He and a striking lady named Shelana heard there was a mok'bara master here, and wanted to go speak with him."

"Striking?" Grunt said, amused. "I've heard Shelana described a number of ways, but 'striking' has never been one of them - except maybe 'striking a fellow officer', but honestly he deserved it." He squared his shoulders. "Very well, Mr. Manalang, I'll have to come right out and ask you. Is your assignment going to cause you any difficulties?"

"Difficulties, sir? I have no idea what you mean. I have no personal entanglements to get in the way, except perhaps this young lady," and here Ruben caressed the arm of the Caitian beside him, to which she responded with a trill, "who might want to entangle with me this evening. I mean, I've heard about your other ships - half the fleet's heard about them - but from the reports I saw, it was amazing you and your crew managed to keep them flying even half as long as they did. I look forward to this assignment, sir, and it'll be an honor to serve with you."

As far as Grunt could tell, and with formal training from the Trade Authority he could tell pretty far, the young man was completely sincere. "That's good to hear, Mr. Manalang."

"Please, sir - Ruben."

"Ruben," Grunt acknowledged. "And make that meeting 1000 - 0800's a little early, since technically we'll all still be on leave."

"Thank you, sir," Ruben said, smiling. "And if I might suggest, sir - that Trill over there has been looking at you for several minutes now, and she has a horga'hn on display beside her. This might be a good opportunity to, ah, strengthen interspecies relationships, sir."

"You have a point, Ruben. I'll see you tomorrow morning aboard ship."
-------------------------------------------
I'm old enough not to care too much about what you think of me --
But I'm young enough to remember the future, the way things ought to be...

- Rush, "Cut To the Chase", Counterparts

Last edited by jonsills; 07-16-2013 at 12:29 PM.
Captain
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 2,672
# 14
07-15-2013, 01:05 AM
Captain's personal Log

We are taking a slight detour on the way to our posting at Deep Space K-7. Risa...I guess it was inevitable. The Starfleet department of practical jokes in full flower here, 'Send the fat man to Risa during Lolunat!' Well... The only option for dealing with Fleet's attempts at shaming is to have a genuinely good time.


Risa, Stardate 87534.3

"...DABO!!!" Kevin Monroe bellowed thunderously, "...and that's how it's played." The holo-leeta hooked his latinum across the table. "Thank you, my dear, I'll be leaving now." he tugged at the bow-tie, collected his winnings, and left the gambling hall.

In the cool night air of Risa, Kevin Monroe moved with the stately grace of a battleship-one clothed in several yards of silk and wool tuxedo. As he strode along the boardwalk, he checked off 'gambling' on his list. "Captain Monroe!! Captain Kevin Monroe!!" a voice-a woman's voice, shouted from behind him, Kevin stopped and turned.

She was Cardassian, dressed in some long evening gown-but it was torn, and the look on her face was NOT one so much of welcome greeting, as abject fear. She was limping and trying to run.

"Please help me..." she begged.

"What's wrong?" Kevin asked, as she kind of bumped into his bulk.

"The people at the employment agency never told me" she whispered.

"ssshhhh..." he wrapped an arm around her, "what is your name, small one?" he asked.

"I-I'm called Zorana Bourne...careful, they're dangerous." she whispered.

"I'd ask how you know who I am?" Kevin asked.

"I...saw you on the News-you're very distinctive." she said, "and I am not decieving you, Captain...I really do need your help."

Kevin looked over her head, and saw the two men pushing through the late night throngs.

"Stick close, then, Zorana Bourne." Kevin said, placing a protective hand across her shoulders-and helping her to walk.

"Where are we going?" she asked.

"I'm thinking my hotel." Kevin said, "Get you cleaned up and this garment mended, maybe a light snack." He maintained a casual exterior, but he could feel the two men behind getting closer. "So...what is this job they didn't tell you about?" he asked.

"I'm...I trained as a therapist, you have to understand, I am NOT just a...comfort girl." she said, "My last contract was with a passenger liner, but you know how Ferengi are-they left me here."

"I'm familiar with the Ferengi-so who are the gentlemen behind me?" Kevin asked.

"They call themselves...agents, they hire girls, set us up, to fleece wealthy patrons." she said.

"Like, say, a bulky and overweight Starfleet captain who knows how to win at dabo?" He said casually, "I know I would be seen as manna from heaven for a pickpocket..."

"You don't think I Planned this, do you?" she asked, stiffening against his arm.

"Oh, I think you're scared enough." Kevin said casually, "and I mean of them, not me...so, I take it that there was a small falling out?"

"I'm not a thief." she said, "I'm also not a..a..*****."

"I didn't think you were." Kevin said, "just in over your head and dragging me in." He smiled, "It's a good thing I like getting in over my head."

The crowd thinned, and they turned left.

"The hotel is back-" she said.

"I know, I also know that if they want to catch me at a disadvantage, then I need to be somewhere secluded." Kevin said with an impish grin, "Frankly, this is looking to be the most fun I've had since I came ashore...how's your leg? can you swim?"

"I can swim...why?" she asked.

"In case you get knocked off the pier." Kevin said, "of course, if they're breaking the no-weapons rule, we might want to dive into the surf..so what are the names of our tails?"

"George, and Vincent." she said, "I don't know their last names..."

They reached a covered gazebo over high-tide waters, and Kevin invited her to sit. The two men picked up speed, walking faster along the boardwalk over the pounding beaches.

"Good evening, Gentlemen." Kevin said, and leaned on a railing. "So, which of you is george and which of you is [i]vincent?{/i]"

"Funny fat man, eh?" the taller of the pair said, "He's Vincent, I'm George, and if you would kindly step aside, we've a bit of business with the Slag there."

"Slag...New London?" Kevin asked, "I believe you're referenceing my charming lady-friend there as a common streetwalker-when everyone KNOWS the streetwalkers on Risa are licensed, Bonded, members of the Guild."

Vincent produced a knife with a flourish, "Look here, fat-man, I can carve a roast out of your hi-"

Kevin stepped forward, and hit him with a bone-crunching force that sent the smaller man back, sliding on the boards a good two meters. "I take offense at your language, Vincent." he said.

'George' dipped for something under his jacket, so Kevin hit HIM as well-a rabbit-punch at a steep upward angle that fractured ribs.

"I think you need to see a Doctor, George." Kevin said casually, "SHE recognized me, I guess you two don't go in much for news reports."

"Holy ****!! YOU! You're the guy who was pounding Borg with a bloody fencepost!!" Vincent said, realization dawning on his face.

"Ah, a gentleman of letters-it was an I-beam thanks, why don't you two footpads go find another mark, before I have to hurt you?"

"Nossi, I mean, Yes, SIR...Come on, George, we don't want any piece of this one!" The two scrabbled away.

Kevin turned to her, "Therapist huh?" he asked, "Physical therapy, or mental?"

"I'm a board certified nurse in the Cardassian union..." she said.

"Good, I'm looking for replacement medical personnel, can you pass a Field exam?" Kevin asked.

"I...I think so..." she said.

"Outstanding, let's have some late breakfast, and we'll go over your enlistment papers-I can't have you stranded on Risa with such...charming gentleman company as those two." He said, and beamed at her, "Did I mention my last lover was a Klingon Defense Force Colonel? It's a funny story..."
"when you're out of Birds of Prey, you're out of ships."
Ensign
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 10
# 15
07-16-2013, 10:17 AM
Conscription


"Captain's Log, stardate...86518 point...one. Ugh. Denton Myles speaking, captain of the A.I.G. Muginn - err... Sorry, it's the U.S.S. Muginn now.

"It's been three months since I was pressed into service for the Federation - and let's be honest, it was a forced conscription. Vulcan may have committed their personal protection fleet to the Fed-Klingon war years ago, but the Andorian Imperial Guard didn't; the Federation Council signed a resolution, and here I am. Heh. The way things are going, pretty soon Risa is going to be building weapons of war. Anyway, I'm sure anyone listening to this is as sick of hearing this diatribe as I am of delivering it.

"The Risian Lohlunat Festival is in full swing, and I've been...partaking in the local culture. Perhaps a bit too much for my button-down First Officer, Ara Calavadras. She's ordered Otelia, my new - that is, VERY new - ship's doctor to abstain from treating my nightly overindulgences. I think she's trying to teach me some kind of lesson about Federation decorum, but I think she'll find me made of sterner stuff. You don't grow up and survive as a human in the Andorian Imperial Guard if you're weak.

"So, with complete sobriety and the agony of excess looming menacingly on the horizon, I've had something on my mind and I need to work it out. Maybe this stupid log will help me focus.

"Two weeks ago, we were assisting in the Tau Dewa sector; the Romulans and their new nation were getting pummeled by every Klingon, Hirogen, and Nausicaan thug in the galaxy. That's nothing new; there's always someone trying to pick on the new kid. What was interesting was that on the way between inevitable distress calls, Quireth, my Rigellian Operations officer, detected something on long range sensors.

"Against vehement objections from my First Officer, I diverted from a mission to rescue a Romulan battle group from a wolfpack of Gorn cruisers. Not exactly something we were needed for, really. Sometimes I wonder if the Romulans hit the panic button so quickly because they're testing us; our resolve, our readiness, our technology...I don't know. It just seems so subtly suspicious, but I'm getting off-topic.

"In one of the most innocuous expanses of Tau Dewa, Quireth stumbled on a fantastic mystery at the fuzzy edge of our sensors: dozens of dead Romulans floating among burned up pieces of hull.

"I know, it doesn't sound like a big deal; Romulan ships get blown up all the time. But that's the mystery! The hull fragments were painted green and the bodies were wearing old Star Empire uniforms. Kind of a giveaway, screams Tal'Shiar, but knowing the 'who' only raises more questions, like, "What the hell were they doing there?" Or, "How long had they been there before we showed up?"

"The second question, at least, we could answer...to a point. How did Otelia put it? "I wasn't very good at xenobiology of non-Federation races." Using her knowledge of Vulcan physiology - which is more of a reasonable analog than a direct parallel - she estimated they died less than a day before we got there. She also said that they had no other injuries, which is...troubling.

"So there's the 'who' and the 'when,' then there's the 'what,' which is where things get really interesting. Those panels we found with the bodies, for example, which have been bothering me since they were brought aboard. Metallurgical testing showed that the hull fragments were composed of alloys we've never seen, which is particularly troubling with my research.

"Before you say anything, yes, I'm aware that when compared to your average Fed captain, I'm a little wild and a lot unprofessional, but I also attended the Andorian War College. I've spent years studying every known ship type in the galaxy, and I've never seen a hull configuration like the one which the panels suggest.

"Those are just two problems with the fragments: they're made from unknown materials and they add up to an unknown design. Then there's the fact that they are fragments. I mean, when a ship is destroyed in combat, in addition to there being far more debris than a few scraps of skin, there's evidence of weapons fire on the hull. There's burns, scars, warps, tears, occasionally blood or viscera from nearby crew...and there's none of that; the edges are simply...erased, and irregulalry.

"Maq'boh, my Bolian science officer says that the scars on the metal look like it got caught in an energy storm, or another spatial anomaly. He also said that there was no sign of oxidation on the inside of the panels, and that there was absolutely no sign of anything out of the ordinary on our sensor sweeps.

"Now...if there were no signs of weapons fire, no after-images of energy storms, spatial or temporal anomalies, no traumatic injuries to the bodies, and no warp trails... There was no battle. Those Romulans, for one reason or another, were "spaced" and the hull fragments planted to cover it up, make it look like a destroyed ship.

"This means that somewhere out there is an enormous ship of unknown design, with a hugely-thick, scarily-strong double hull, the ability to completely mask a warp signature, and it's crewed by the Tal'Shiar. Granted, they're a few Tal'Shiar lighter now, but still...

"Sorry, log, I have to go find my First Officer and give her this information. Let's see if she's worth her anal-retentive salt.

"Myles out."
Captain
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 2,491
# 16
07-18-2013, 11:44 AM
The air is cool and the breeze perfectly flows around me. I close my eyes and slowly lean onto the railing, shifting my weight onto one leg. Even though I enjoy letting my hair down when on duty, somehow on Risa doing so seems more comfortable. The breeze wisps through my red hair and over my cheek, tickling my nose. I can't help but smile at the feeling and from the fragrance. Such beauty from the aroma alone. Breathing it in reminds me of a word: Amaranth. It is a flower, but its the word that just comes to mind for no real reason I can make a link to. I whisper the word then slowly open my eyes. Before me is just a small part of the Lohlunat Festival - the dance floor. The lights made brighter against the night above the resort.

My room is twelve stories high with another two stories more. From this height I am confident I have enough privacy. Sure, people could look up and see me at the railing to the balcony but all they would see is my silhouette, if even that as the light in my room is dim. My smile widens as the breeze sends a chill up my bare back and ends with goosebumps on my arms. Its a sensation you rarely feel on board a starship. I've missed being outside. At the Academy there was plenty of opportunity to study and stroll in the outdoor quad. Maybe that was intentional: to give the Cadets a last chance (so to speak) to enjoy such atmosphere as most of us would find our way on board climate-controlled ships or stations. Of course there were planetary postings, both alien and "earth-like" ... but nothing like Earth. Risa is wonderful, but it's not the same. Right now, it doesn't matter. I'm not on Solaris. Not on Earth. And I'm fine with that for now.

I shift my weight onto my other leg and continue looking at the dance floor. The varied species of the galaxy are gyrating on the brightly colored tiles. I think that's a Gorn shaking his ... her? ... posterior to a ... Rigilian? That is a Breen wearing shorts - I shudder slightly and look to my left. The two balcony's next to me are empty. There is a couple kissing passionately on the following balcony. I blush a little as I stare at them, then I remember that I'm the one standing naked in the dark. I back away from the railing. Reaching the door frame, I reach for my glass of Kanar. The drink is a little thicker than I'm used to, but it is perfect for my mood. The regulated weather has been rejuvenating. Rest has been needed. The glass is emptied and I lick my lips to clean them of remaining flavor.

Turning into my dimly lit room I pause at the threshold of the doorway and let the breeze pull my hair back. After another moment I decide I need to finish what I started. Sitting at the desk I pick up the PADD and approve the following Duty Officers for transfer to the Solaris: Nurse Jimmie Massie, Hazard System Officer Belwan Fale, Security Officer Craig McClaren, Projectile Officer Beggonge, and Warp Core Engineer Jeff Nayee.
Kathryn S. Beringer - The Dawn Patrol

Solaris build - Veritatum Liquido Cernene

Last edited by cmdrscarlet; 07-18-2013 at 11:51 AM.
Commander
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 372
# 17
07-21-2013, 04:26 AM
With surprising grace for a creature of his size and bulk - assisted by the precise steering jets of the top-of-the-line racing floater strapped to his broad back - the tan-scaled Gorn touched down in the resort's long gallery. As he strode toward the comparatively tiny woman at one end of the hall, he reached into his shoulder bag and withdrew a cloth-wrapped bundle. Vacationers scattered like startled birds at his approach. Stopping before his objective, with a deep bow and a flourish that whipped the fabric away, he presented his prize: an egg the size of his closed fist, its pale shell colorfully speckled and banded.

S'Rastaa stepped back as the petite ornithologist's coterie closed in and began to coo over the egg, admiring its beauty and speculating from its markings what breed it might contain. He watched with satisfaction, arms crossed over his chest, until a very familiar voice spoke up from behind him:

"You're blending in well."

Turning, he saw exactly what he knew he would: Mishara, tall and strikingly beautiful (in a way that only another Gorn could appreciate), wearing the same long white coat and smoky, glittering compound lenses she always did. Psychological armor, a layer of cloth and glass and projected data between her and the world, keeping everything at arm's length... even him. Especially him.

"Isn't that what you're usually telling me to do more of?" he answered wryly. A lifetime of service in the Star Navy had left him with habits that didn't always fit well with his new life - neither his public role as a simple freighter captain, nor a secret operative for those working to weaken and someday throw off the chains of Klingon dominion. He'd never cared for the shadowy world of intelligence, one of the many things that had kept him and Mishara (who'd been part of it as long as he'd known her) from ever getting too close; not a day went by that he didn't wish he was back in the command chair of his old ship, taking the fight to the enemy head-on. But that was no longer an option: his ship was gone, blown out from under him during the final push on the homeworld, and for the moment, this was the best way he could serve His Majesty and the cause of freedom. Playing at being a humble merchant, wandering from one port to another with no apparent goal besides the pursuit of profit, enjoying his "retirement." Tilting his head, he added, "You could stand to do some yourself, actually. You're a bit overdressed for this place."

Mishara snorted. "I'm an analyst, not a field op. I wouldn't be here at all if you and your crew didn't need a..."

"Handler?" he suggested.

"Liaison," she insisted. This, too, was a familiar conversation. S'Rastaa privately suspected that one of her superiors had a perverse sense of humor, or perhaps the joke was on the part of the universe itself. How else to explain that, out of all the agents that might have been assigned as his contact, he'd gotten her?

Conceding the point with a shrug, he turned and began walking away from the crowd, toward the beach. She followed, as he knew she would. The things they had to discuss were not for others' ears.

"Remind me again what you're doing here? Besides bothering the local wildlife."

He favored her with a sidelong look, lips drawing back from teeth on that side of his muzzle in a half-grin. "Officially? Loading up on rare Risian wine, seismic stabilizers... and examples of handcrafted native art." His grin became a leer as he produced one of the wooden totems from his bag. "Guaranteed to bring the possessor good fortune and success in all their endeavours." She snorted again, and though he couldn't see her eyes behind the dataglasses, he knew she was rolling them at him. "Unofficially? Negotiating with the Lobi Consortium for the purchase of one of those beauties." He gestured toward where one of the Risians' new corvettes floated just offshore, its sleek hull painted cyan and hot pink like some enormous tropical fish. He hardly needed to explain to Mishara the uses that a "simple freighter captain" might have for a small, agile and blisteringly fast starship with a low sensor profile - especially one with a built-in mechanism for disrupting pursuit - and indeed, she did not ask.

"And very unofficially?"

He turned to face her, lowering his voice to match hers. They were a fair distance away from the hotel building now, the pink sand delightfully warm under his bare clawed feet. "Very unofficially, how many places do you know of where members of all the major powers have an excuse to meet and mingle freely? Federation, Klingons, Romulans... I half expect to hear that a nest of Tholians has leased one of the active volcanos for a day spa." He smirked. "Even with a war simmering, the Risians extend their welcome and hospitality to all. And they come - oh, do they come - with their indiscretions and their intrigues and their needs and their secrets. Look past the suns, the surf and the hedonism, and you'll find another Drozana."

"Ssssss... very good, Ras," she teased, using her favorite diminutive. "We'll make a spy of you yet."

His response was a faint growl, baring his teeth again - but like a human, there was little humor in this display. "The trick, as you probably know, is separating the truly interesting and valuable from the petty schemes and betrayals. And the constant fixation on mating, and all the rituals that go with it. If anything, it's worse here - like they've sprayed the whole planet with musk." (That wasn't quite what he actually said - a collection of hisses, grunts and snarls describing the cocktail of pheremones that enkindled the usually dormant Gorn urge - but how a translator would have rendered it into Federation Standard.) "It's a wonder they manage to get anything else done."

Mishara indicated her understanding and sympathy. "Would you like my help?"

"Thank you, but no." He resumed his unhurried walk down the beach. "That's what I have junior officers for. And if I didn't keep them busy, who knows what mischief they might get up to?"



On another beach, one of those officers was currently stretched out on a large towel, taking full advantage of Risa's very lenient dress code to bare as much olive-green skin, and soak up as much of the twin suns' rays, as possible. A pair of sunglasses and an earring were literally all that she had on. She was also enjoying the full attention of a half-dozen appreciative males (and one female), split evenly between natives and fellow guests.

This sybaritic scene was interrupted by the arrival of another Orion, this one wearing slightly more than the first - a mirrored visor and khaki shorts. He took a moment to look things over, then clapped his hands loudly twice. "All right, all of you, clear out. Don't look so disappointed... she probably wasn't going to sleep with more than half of you."

As her admirers murmured their farewells and began to disperse - some giving the muscular newcomer look-overs as they went - the Orion woman pushed herself up on her elbows. "Always spoiling my fun, cousin," Nismi murmured in mild reproach. The two weren't actually related to any significant degree, but they'd been addressing each other thus almost from the day they'd met.

"Just passing it along," Orsin replied, laying out his own towel. "Captain had me doing sig-int all morning. So boring."

"I was wondering where you were." She turned to the side to face him, still propped on one elbow and letting the other arm drape along the lithe curves of her body. "But now you're here, and you've gone and chased off all of my servants. So I suppose you'll have to attend me yourself." She smiled. "You can start by getting me another drink."

"Your charms don't work on me, cousin," he reminded her, doffing his shorts and lying down on the beach towel.

Nismi laughed merrily. "My charms work on everyone, cousin. You're just too stubborn to admit it." She lay back again herself, stretching and almost purring; all this sunlight was making her skin practically hum, and it was impossible to stay mad at Orsin, even if she really had been. It made her feel good enough to admit, "I like that. Sometimes I like a challenge... and other times, I just want to not be bothered."

"You've got the Captain and the other Gorn for that," he reminded her. "Or the Lethean."

Nismi shuddered, as if a cloud had passed overhead and momentarily blocked the radiance of Risa's primaries. "Cousin. Don't even joke."



The Lethean in question had staked out a spot by the resort's pool, mostly to observe and enjoy the reactions of the other guests. His lean, predatory, vaguely avian appearance was made surreal (and hardly less threatening) by his choice of attire: a colorful floral print shirt with short sleeves, swim trunks, and sandals. A golden mai tai was close at hand, complete with paper umbrella and straw, the latter of which he took into his beak for a sip every now and then. Whenever he caught a vacationer looking at him, he would return their gaze with a crimson-eyed stare of his own across the top of his sunglasses, cackling as they quickly averted their eyes and/or hurried away.

When the looming shadow fell over him, however, he didn't deign to look up. "So, they sent you."

Zeera rumbled an affirmative. As with many reptilian species, Gorn females were often larger and more aggressive than the males; this was certainly true of the crew's pilot, driver, and heavy-weapons specialist. She was enormous even for a Gorn, standing a full head taller than her captain, with the blue-tinted and gold-speckled scales especially prized by her kind. "Guests complain to staff. Staff complains to Captain. Captain tells me to tell you--"

"Yes, yes, I know," Cerazod snapped, dismissing the rest with an impatient wave. "Really, they should thank me for adding some zest - a delicious sour note, to offset all this cloying sweetness." His dramatic sigh (unappreciated and unjustly put-upon) was meant to evoke sympathy, but found none from Zeera (unimpressed and unmoved).

"You 'hear' anything good today?"

"So far, only the tediously ordinary. Sex, profit, sex, sex, food, profit... tribble." He lazily reached for his drink, then sat up straighter and put it aside. "Ah... here we go."

"What?"

"Hsssh." Cerazod held up a hand, his expression one of intense concentration, as if trying to listen to a conversation on the other side of the room... which was, in a sense, exactly what he was doing.



"... only a junior researcher, hardly more than a lab tech," Cerazod explained, his voice sounding tinny and flanged through the secure communicator. "Not the sort to know anything really secret, which is why they let her come here. But she'll know their security setup, access codes for the computers..."

"Yes, I get the idea," S'Rastaa murmured. If anyone had been watching, they might have thought he was talking to himself; the communicator bud fitted snugly into one of his earholes, leaving little external indication of its presence. But here in the shade of a tall palm tree, it had been several minutes since he'd seen anyone else. As he'd expected, few ventured into the jungle behind the resort, and fewer still left the marked trails. "So what did you have in mind?"

"I thought I'd pay her a visit tonight after she goes to bed. Just the two of us, me and her brain."

He growled softly, scratching at one cheek with a claw. "All right, but remember - if you damage her, all those codes will be changed the moment they find out."

"Captain, do you take me for a common thug?" The Lethean's wounded pride could be heard even through the encrypted connection. "The young lady will wake up tomorrow none the wiser, save for some unpleasant dreams. A slight headache, at most."

"Very well. Report to me in the morning. S'Rastaa out." He began making his way back toward the hotel, wading carefully through ferns and high grass until he reached the mossy dirt path. Even now, an hour after the setting of the larger sun, the evening air was still pleasantly warm and full of the natural perfumes of countless blossoms, the varied cries of a dozen kinds of bird and beast, and here and there, small clouds of whirling golden motes - insects engaged in their own nocturnal dance of courtship. It was, he had to admit, quite beautiful... if slightly too tame to be truly natural.

Not for the first time, he considered the idea of actual retirement - no more subterfuge, suspicion and skullduggery, no more deception and evasion, just rest and relaxation. He'd given decades, most of his life, to the Hegemony; surely he'd earned it, was earning it right now? But in his heart, the old Gorn knew he'd never be able to rest so long as his people were ruled not by themselves, but by Klingons. True, the Empire had allowed their new "vassals" many freedoms, many privileges... but privileges could be revoked, and S'Rastaa knew they would never be considered equals. Nor would he bend knee to any Klingon, or take orders from one, or have one on his ship. It was a matter of principle, of honor. He'd lost too many old friends and good officers to them, during the long siege. He would not give up the fight now, not if it took the rest of his life.

But even in war, there were times of respite, moments between battles, to enjoy simple (and not so simple) pleasures. This stopover and their "working shore leave" had definitely improved morale. It was almost a shame that they'd have to depart soon, to put the information that Cerazod would be acquiring to use. A part of his mind was already planning the raid against the Federation research station. Orsin to crack the security, Nismi to infiltrate, Zeera and her team to cover their exit if (make that "when") something went wrong...

That part ground to an abrupt halt as he took in the sight of what was waiting for him at the Dabo table. Crowned and garlanded with native flowers, a sarong wrapped around her waist, and with her tactical mirrorshades nowhere to be seen, Mishara was scarcely recognizable; it seemed that she'd taken his encouragement to "dress down" to heart, and then some. While showing that much skin didn't have the same significance it would for a mammal, S'Rastaa had to admit that it looked good on her. Damn good.

Catching sight of him in turn, she strode toward him (a few other gamblers sensibly giving way) until they were face to face, then reached out and gently closed the jaw he hadn't realized was hanging open. "Really, Ras. You act as if you've never seen a female before."

"I was just thinking of the first time we met," he replied, trying to cover his lapse. "A briefing on the Dominion. I was a junior lieutenant, second officer on the Arang'Sa, and you were attached to Admiral Raltha's staff."

She cocked her head, regarding him dubiously with one slitted golden eye. "That was... what, forty years ago?"

He nodded. "I don't remember a word of that briefing. But I remember you. For me, it was as if I'd never seen a female before." He chuckled. "And you weren't even in season."

She put a hand on his chest. "We shouldn't," she murmured.

"I know. Back then I was a line officer, and you were intelligence. Now I'm a field op - deniable and expendable, if it comes to that - and you're my contact. But just for tonight..." He took her hand. "Dance with me?"

And so it was that a few dozen lucky tourists would be able to take home with them (and tell their friends about) the possibly once-in-a-lifetime sight of two Gorn slow-dancing under the stars.
Join Date: January 2011

Last edited by hfmudd; 07-21-2013 at 04:12 PM.
Ensign
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 6
Risa, Geosynchronous Orbit
U.S.S. Huntress, Federation Runabout assigned to the U.S.S. Heart of Courage


Lelia watched as the Risan sun set behind the curved horizon of the planet, the ensuing darkness blanketing the planet below and the Huntress herself. She looked herself over once more, her current outfit quite familiar now that she'd spent some time in it. She nodded to herself, satisfied, and stepped over to the transporter pad.

"Computer, lock-on to the Resort transporter co-ordinates."

The shuttles computer beeped, then chimed as it succeeded in her request.

She spoke the magic word, "Energize", and the shuttle faded into a blue, glowing haze.

Risa, Resort

Moments later, the haze was replaced by the darkened scenery of the Risan resort, still very much a buzzing hub of activity.

Lelia closed her eyes and breathed deeply, replacing the dry, monotonous air of the shuttle with the Risan beachside air. She wasn't overly fond of it; the humidity in the air choked her ever slightly, and the salt was sometimes palpable. She'd gotten a bit used to it through multiple visits, however, and tonight she found she somewhat liked it. Casually strolling away from the pad, she maneuvered along the wooden pier until she was at the far end. This was always her first stop, where she'd lean against the rail and simply stare into the ocean, watching it's symphony of movement in near-silence.

She stood there for a time, perhaps as long as five or ten minutes, before she turned around and began towards the beach in earnest. She knew her bridge officers, as well as captains and bridge officers from dozens of other ships, were likely still spending the night away. In the base of the cove leading towards the resort hotel, a stone dance platform stood amongst the water. She could already see that a couple dozen people were on it, dancing for whatever reasons. She chuckled to herself; she'd done it once, but she wasn't much on unfamiliar groups...or dancing. Thank Gods nobody from the Courage saw me, she thought to herself.

Instead, she found her usual quiet spot: at the lip of the of the beach was a cluster of three beach loungers, all facing out to the ocean. With nobody there to claim the space, she quietly reclined in one, letting the ambient sounds soak in as she gazed upwards to the stars. She knew that far out there, peacefully sleeping in the arms of the Fleet Shipyard, the Courage was patiently waiting for both her crew, and for the retrofit materials necessary to promote her to Fleet-standard. For now, however, she would have to continue to sleep.

Several minutes passed by before she heard the soft, squishy footsteps of someone walking towards her. They stopped just short, their originator waiting for Lelias acknowledgement. "I know it's you, Imezei," Lelia said, chuckling. The Trill, the Courage's Head of the Science Department, wordlessly stepped up beside the chair and sat down on the sand.

There was silence for several moments before Lelia looked over at her, noticing the slight smile on her tanned face. She found herself secretly approving of Imezeis new hair style; normally she kept it up in a bun, but on Risa she seemed to prefer it down. It looked good on her, or so Lelia thought anyway. "So, how's everyone?" she asked Imezei.

Imezei sighed contently. "Oh, the usual. Korrah's been practicing Mokhbara all evening, though I think he's gone for a walk on the beach now. Thobak's been busy tweaking his Floater, no doubt to prove his is better than Korrahs." She chuckled, taking a breath. "Florence and Clarence have been playing a close-quarters-combat style of "hide and go seek", while Kheyes has been out-drinking everyone he's come across. Oh, and he's still willing to shave that beard of his if someone pulls it off, though he won't admit his little Andorian antennas go nuts every time he mentions it." She paused to think for a moment. "Meanwhile, Carma's had to fix her VISOR a third time this week thanks to sand and water...and Eight punched and Orion."

Lelia twitched, slightly startled. "Eight punched an Orion? What for?"

Imezei chuckled. "He was...heavily drunk, and got quite confused as to WHO he was grabbing...er...and she just reacted. Thankfully, the resort got footage of it and pardoned her for this one incident." Her smile dimmed slightly. "I think she went up to her room and hasn't been back since."

Lelia nodded in understanding, then relaxed again. "Pota still flirting with the sunglasses vendor?"

Imezei chuckled, faking shock. "THAT's what Ferengi call flirting? Looked more like a negotiation for a ten-year contract...seriously, though, I've learned more about the Rules of Acquisition here than I think I'm supposed to." She shook her head, chuckling. "I guess that's about it, though."

It was Lelias turn to chuckle now. "I think you left yourself out of that status report, Commander." She raised an eyebrow playfully, smirking.

"Well, Admiral, since we're suddenly so formal," Imezei began, "I started today where I left off from yesterday; since I'd collected five sea shells yesterday, I began searching for any forest snail shells today. I eventually found three, of two differing species. I then made a cursory analysis based on weight, color, shape..."

Lelia laughed, waving her off. "Enough, enough, Ime. I was kidding," she chuckled again, sticking out her tongue. Imezei shrugged, then stuck out her own in mock defiance. They both fell quiet again, both eventually gazing off into the ocean.

Minutes passed before Imezei finally spoke up. "Hey, let's go into the resort and grab a couple of drinks with Kheyes, no? Surely most everyone is back by now...besides, none of us has seen Admiral Wellingtons' 'Legendary' dance moves." The playful smile had returned.

Lelia chuckled, squirming just a bit. "This Admiral will politely decline your request, as she doubts she will match the reputation that precedes her."

Imezeis shoulder slumped. "Leli, come on! Every night you come down and just sit out here until you fall asleep. You never stay during the day, you never DO anything here...listen, from one friend to another?"

Lelias face relaxed, knowing Imezei had something to say. "Go ahead, Ime."

Ime frowned uncomfortably, then spoke her mind regardless. "Loosen up a little. There's no time like now." She stood, taking time to brush the sand off of her backside. "Besides, we'd all at least like to spend some casual time, together."

Lelia frowned, uncomfortable about the thought. She sat there, thinking while Imezei simply waited, her patience waning as the Admirals reply took longer and longer. Finally, though, Lelia stood up and straightened out the Entrepreneurs Jacket she custom-ordered from the Consortium. "Alright, you're tactical application of blunt charm and honesty in the face of your commanding officer has worn me down."

Imezeis face lit up. "Seriously?"

Lelia chuckled. "Yeah, yeah." She sighed, trying to bury her self-conscious attitude. "Lead the way, Ime."

Imezei audibly squealed, hooked her arm in Lelias, and started leading her to the building. Even from here, they could hear Kheyes slurred voice over the hum of everyone else. "Now, if you prefer your drinks sweet, you can probably get..." Imezei began, and Leli already knew this was gonna be one heck of a night.
Commander
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 498
# 19
07-22-2013, 06:46 AM
"It's too bright out here," Ziala said for what felt like the thousandth time that day.

It might have sounded cliche by this point, but it was the truth. Everything about Risa seemed to be going out of its way to assault Ziala's sensitive eyes: if it wasn't baleful, blazing orb of the Risian sun searing at her poor retinas, then it was the effulgent blue of the sky, the blistering white of the buildings, or the nauseatingly dizzying rainbow of pinks, greens, oranges and other bright colours being worn by the general populace. As a young woman used to living in the dark of mining outposts and night-worlds all of her life, Ziala's eyes were practically being bombarded with a brightness that they could not adapt to. Even with the shield-framed sunglasses she she had just brought from a nearby Ferengi vendor, it was still damnably uncomfortable for her.

Next to her, Centurion Taliv, the R.R.W. Terix's ranking officer, flashed her a white smile. "You say that about every world we visit, Lieutenant," he said with a chuckle. Taliv was a newly-promoted member of the Republic military, like her, and he was handsome, for a Romulan, with broad facial features, deep brown eyes and dark hair tied back in a ponytail. And like her, he was out of uniform at the moment, wearing a casual beige shirt and loose khakis instead of his olive jacket and jumpsuit.

"Yes, and that's because every world we visit is too bright!" Ziala huffed. And warm, she mentally added. On Crateris, at least, it had been cool and temperate in the mountain valleys. Here, though, on Risa, the temperature was practically baking. Which was part of the reason why, at Lieutenant Nalae's suggestion, she had come down here dressed in a loose white dress from her personal wardrobe. This had made her feel much less uncomfortable, and at least, she thought, she was dressed more modestly than the flocks of Risians, Humans, Vulcans, Caitians, Andorians, and even Klingons swarming the hotel in skimpy swimwear that left little to the imagination. And she wasn't even going to get started on the Orions...

Taliv simply chuckled again and shook his head. "This is shore leave, Ziala!" he said, taking a sip from his mai-tai. "A time to relax, to cut loose and have a little fun! Which means not minding that the planet is a little bright."

Ziala raised an eyebrow at him. "In that case, can we go on shore leave someplace cavernous next time?" she suggested.

The Centurion gave her a modest shrug. "Well, that's up to the Subcommander, not me," he said, "though I can suggest it to her if you want." He finished off his mai-tai and put it onto the tray of a nearby Risian waiter. "Anyway, there's much more that you can do here on Risa instead of standing in the shade all day looking grumpy, Ziala. I hear they're holding horgh'an hunts with floaters."

Ziala laughed a little, despite herself. "Thanks, Centurion, but that's a bad idea," she said to Taliv. "If there's one thing that we Remans aren't, it's aerodynamic." She blushed a little. "That, and, well...the vendors banned me after I tried to tinker with one of their display floaters."

Taliv flashed the Terix's Chief Engineer a quizzical frown.

"What?" Ziala protested. "I was curious!"

The Centurion sighed. "Sometimes I'm glad we don't attend any official diplomatic functions," he said, before suddenly frowning and inclining his head to the side. Ziala heard it too: the heavily synthesized beat of Risian pop-funk, and the magnified voice of a dance instructor shouting out commands to her partygoing minions.

A slow grin crept over Taliv's broad, handsome features. "Hear that? That's the sound of about a dozen sentient beings having more fun than you. It is your duty as an officer of the Romulan Republic to prove them wrong." He beckoned to her. "Come on, let's dance."

Ziala blinked in surprise, and felt her cheeks burn. Or was that the sun? She could no longer tell. "I'm...not that good a dancer, sir," she managed to blurt out.

Taliv responded with a good-natured laugh. "Here's a secret: neither am I. But I'm not going to let something like that stop me from enjoying myself on a Risa vacation." He flashed her a mischievous grin. "Of course, if you want it to be said that a Romulan could out-dance a Reman any day of the week, then you can just stay here and grumble."

Ziala hesitated. It wasn't just that she was a poor dancer and was afraid of embarrassing herself. Back on Crateris, she had heard endless stories about the Romulans and their cruelty and oppression from the elders of the colony, her father included. She had allowed herself to believe that, until the Republic's forces came, swooping in like the raptor of legend, to rescue Crateris' inhabitants from the invading Elachi. She had learned, on that day, that no matter what had happened in the past, the Romulans of the Republic, at least, weren't the monsters she had been taught about. They were capable of great evil, true, but also of heroism, nobility and generosity.

She knew her father would have had an apoplectic fit if he had known Ziala was accepting a Romulan's offer to dance. He would have reminded her of the various crimes that Romulans had committed against Reman women. But her father wasn't here now.

"You're on, sir," she said with a smile, accepting Taliv's hand.



*****

"Subcommander," Jarok began, "maybe we should--"

"Shush," the Subcommander said.

Jarok fidgeted. He was sure one of the local insects must have crawled down his shirt. "I was just about to say that--"

"I said 'shush.'" The Subcommander didn't bother looking back at him. "You know, the one vowel that seems to mean the same thing in every galactic dialect? Do that."

Jarok bit his lower lip and shut up, holding onto the biometric container all the more tightly as he crouched against the tall grass. In front of them, the Subcommander knelt gently against the nearby undergrowth and held the tangled knots of vines back with one hand, gazing intently through the opening at whatever-the-Elements-it-was that fascinated her.

They had been out here in the wilderness for over an hour now, traversing the entire island in what could only be called an impromptu nature expedition. Jarok hadn't minded, at first, when they had flown above the jungle canopy on floaters. The brief period of flight had been exhilarating and enjoyable, and had been one of the many things he had been looking forward to here on Risa. Unfortunately, the moment of fun hadn't lasted long when, out of the blue, the Subcommander had ordered him to touch down along the slopes of a forest-encrusted mountain. From there, for the last half hour or so, they had been traversing on foot, wading through tangled jungle and enduring the heat, the steep incline, the sickly-sweet plant smell, and the Elements-forsaken bugs and their incessant bites. And the most infuriating part of it all was that the Subcommander didn't seem bothered by these inconveniences in the slightest.

"If you only told me what we were looking for..." Jarok said again.

"I don't need you to look, Jarok," Subcommander Ta'nara cut in sharply as she peered through the clearing. ""I just need you to hold on to that container and do as you're told. I trust you can manage that."

Jarok bit back a retort-- he knew better than to badmouth a commanding officer, even if that commanding officer had dragged him away on this little trip just when a rather fetching Orion woman had been showing him a hor'gahn. "Yes Subcommander," he mumbled, annoyed again at the ruination of what might have possibly been the best night of his life.

Not that Ta'nara had paid heed to his tone. The slim woman remained crouched by the clearing, the vine cluster aside with one gloved hand, gazing out into the clearing with the same cold intensity with which she usually read reports or stared at unknown vessels. Like most of the crew of the Terix, she was dressed for shore leave, wearing a loose green sleevless tunic and a match lateen skirt, along with an elaborate auburn scarf that hung loosely from around her shoulders, and a bandolier full of assorted kits and bottles. Her short-cropped black hair remained smoothe and unruffled by the journey, and if she was bothered at all by the heat, then her cool gaze didn't show it. The Subcommander was, Jarok had to admit, an attractive woman, with a slim build and delicate facial features.

But, Elements, the woman could be utterly frightening sometimes. Some captains commanded by charisma, or feats of personal valour, or simply by having records that spoke for themselves. Subcommander Ta'nara fit into none of the above categories-- she was a stern, uncompromising woman with a hard-bitten, icy personality and a ruthless streak a mile wide. While she was certainly competent, and definitely respected aboard the Terix, she was hardly liked or loved by her crew. Some rumours circulated that she was a defector from the Star Empire, or worse, from the Tal Shiar. Jarok had never believed any of those rumours, but he had to admit, it wasn't difficult for him to imagine the Subcommander as one of the dread operatives of the Tal Shiar.

"Alright," Ta'nara suddenly breathed, "follow me, Jarok. Try not to step on anything fragile on the way."

And with that, Ta'nara rose to her feet and ghosted right through the vine cluster. She was courteous enough, at least, to hold the vines back to allow Jarok to stumble and stagger his way through, clutching the biometric container all the while. Ta'nara still hadn't told him why they needed the container in the first place-- the only explanation she had given when this whole ordeal had begun was a statement of "You're a biologist." He was a veterinarian, for the Elements' sake!

As Jarok finally made his way through the vines, however, the reason for this entire unpleasant trip was finally revealed, sitting in front of him as though on display.

"An egg," he said flatly.

Ta'nara raised an eyebrow as she let go of the vines. "Very observant of you, Mr. Jarok," she said.

It was indeed an egg-- a beige-gold shell, roughly the size of Jarok's head, sitting squatly on a tangled nest of twigs and branches. In the midday sun, the egg seemed to glow a vibrant gold, illluminating the latticework of cracks and ridges on its surface.

Slowly, Jarok took a deep breath and set the container down. "Permission to speak freely, Subcommander?" he asked.

"Granted," Ta'nara said almost absent-mindedly as she crept forwards, running a gloved hand across the egg's surface.

"Subcommander, with all due respect...what are we doing out here, in the sweltering jungle, looking for an egg?" Jarok asked, doing his best to keep the exasperation from his voice as he wiped the sweat from his brow.

Ta'nara didn't even look back at him as she stared at the egg. "Jarok, what do you know of Risian avian lifeforms?"

Jarok gave a tired shrug. "Tropical birds? Very little, Subcommander," he said. "Back on New Haakona, I mainly dealt with canines, the odd feline or targ...I'm more or less a mammal person."

"And yet here you are now, with a science officer's posting on a Republic vessel." Ta'nara glanced back at him. "Think of this as an opportunity, Jarok, to explore and to learn. To become more than just a 'mammal person.'"

She didn't even wait for Jarok to respond as she turned back to the egg. "Now," she said, "take out your tricorder, scan this egg, and tell me what you find."

Still unsure of where this was going, Jarok nonetheless did as he was told, pulling out his tricorder. The device hummed and blinked as it fed him readings. "The lifeform inside seems to be entering its final stage of development," he said. "Vital signs are good...everything about it seems to be normal as far as I can tell."

"Can you determine any genetic makeup at this stage?" she asked.

Jarok frowned as he entered a new query. "Beyond just avian, no Subcommander," he said. "I can't pinpoint an exact species."

Ta'nara nodded sagely, as though she had expected this answer. "That's one of the noteworthy things about Risian birds, Jarok," she said. "Aside from their colourful plumage and tremendous possible wingspan, their biology seems completely random. Something about their genetics not only baffles sensors at the conceptual stage, but it seems to form completely independent of inherited DNA-- a sunspray, for instance, could just as easily birth a grotto glider as one of its own flock. To this day, apparently, even the Federation's best haven't found an answer as to why their DNA is so indeterminate." She glanced back at the egg. "Every single egg is a mystery, Jarok. You never know which species of bird you're going to get, even if you do know the species of the parents."

Jarok was stunned. Not just because of the information he had just been given, but because this was the first time he had ever heard Ta'nara share information so openly and so willingly. "You seem very knowledgeable about this, Subcommander," he said.

The Subcommander's face remained impassive as she stared at the egg. "You're not the only one who was something else before he joined the Republic, Jarok," she said. "Ready the container. We're taking this egg back to the ship for prenatal care."

Jarok glanced at the egg. "If I may ask, Subcommander...why? I would have thought the egg would do just fine in its home environment."

Ta'nara shook her head. "In case you hadn't noticed, Jarok, this egg's mother is missing." She gestured to the clearing. "I made sure to get a good look at our environment before we came here, Jarok. Under normal circumstances, you would see signs of activity here-- bird droppings, detritus from nest-building, freshly-dropped feathers. I see none of those: this egg's mother has been absent for some time. Chances are, she was killed by a natural predator, or possible was poached, either by an offworld party or the Risians themselves. Either way, this egg's mother is gone, and without her, the hatching will die soon after it's born."

The reply left Jarok speechless. This was the first time Ta'nara had seemed to genuinely care about something. "But why us?" he asked. "Why so much trouble over one bird hatchling?"

The Subcommander's reply was heralded by something Jarok thought he would never see: a faint smile. "Because we're kindred spirits with this bird, Jarok," she replied. "Like this bird, we've been cast adrift and abandoned. Like this bird, we all would have died if someone hadn't shown up at the right place, and the right time."

She glanced back at the egg, and ran a gloved hand across its surface almost affectionately. "And like this egg, Jarok, our Republic will grow. It will be slow, and it will be painful, but by the end of it all, the Republic will grow into something magnificent and fearsome. That is why we're taking it back to the ship: so we can all have a living symbol and reminder of what it is we're striving towards."

Slowly, Ta'nara stood back up and glanced down at Jarok. "Incidtentally, I'm leaving it to you to give the bird a name and take care of it once it's hatched, Jarok."

Jarok glanced up at her quizzically. "Why me?" he asked, even as he stood up and gently lifted the egg to place it in the biometric container."

That faint smile returned again. "Because, Lieutenant, you're the ship's biologist."
Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,078
# 20
07-22-2013, 08:36 AM
I dislike Ferengi, I suppose I've always disliked them, even before being forced to sit here listening to one try to extort me for money I didn't have. Such greedy little things they are, and here I was sitting poolside with a grubby little whelp like this standing between me and my ultimate goal of revenge against Hakeev. For the most part he was brash and foolish, driven solely by greed. The meeting place was here on Risa, some generic resort, budget of course, but he picked some where very public, which means that he was expecting me to double cross him, or more probably he was planning to double cross me and use the crowd to get away safely.

We were poolside as he smiled that wretched little sharp toothed grin at me. It made me sick to my stomach to think he had vital information to me. Vrel T'Sod wasn't the sort to have a grubby worm like this making demands. I couldn't stand to look at the thing any longer when suddenly it happened. Suddenly in the pool area, there was a massive splash and a huge commotion bringing the crowd over to see what was going on. As the masses gathered I looked over at the mongrel and gave him a nice little smile of my own. He threw up his hands in submission and the whelp whimpered a little.

I can't say that I took great pleasure in what happened next, but I really did. The Ferengi had brought with him a horga'hn statue, a mistake he soon regret as I began bludgeoning him repeatedly with it. The shock and awe poolside was making enough noise to cover his screams, my ocular implant making sure I didn't do any serious injury beyond a simple bludgeoning. I then emptied his pockets and slid in my own modified tricorder into his pocket before slipping away into the the distance. It didn't take long for the Risan officials arrived to the scene bringing with them a medical team to take two bodies to the nearest facility.

Luckily for me the tricorder would be easy to track since I'd modified it heavily from the both my own systems as well as from the Arien, my commandeered Adapted Battle Cruiser. It's Borg pieces would make it easy enough to track if you knew what to look for, a fact I was counting on to find what I'd come to Risa for.

Dr. Amar San

A hedonistic and sadistic monster behind a scalpel, and a butcher, even before becoming Hakeev's assistant in the assimilation experiments. A sociopath and a murder held strictly in check by fear, which speaks volumes for his methods if it's enough to keep some one like San under control. Annually the Lohlunat festival what Dr. San's only vacation and reprieve from the strict control of the Tal Shiar. From what sources tell me Amar kept a special lab some where here on Risa, some place where the occasional traveler could disappear without too many question, for some less than scientific experiments.

Thanks to me planting a specially modified tricorder on him, it would be a big red flag for a Ferengi to be carrying something like that. All I had to do was follow the trail myself and it would give me the location that the selfish little Ferengi was supposed too. It didn't take long for the ambulance to reroute, giving me a direct ticket to which ever location held the good doctor. A few minutes later the ambulance stopped off at what seemed to be a private hospital, well guarded, which was more private security than Risan, which was odd given that security had been tight and fast since some crazy cult managed to take over the weather generators a few decades earlier.

It seemed that as part of hiding a shop of horrors was putting up a front of as a free service for visitors. Hiding in plain sight was an easy way to keep yourself covered when enough money was involved. Risa wasn't asking questions since it was a free and well stocked hospital, a well paid dispatcher or two was all it took to keep an eye out for certain distinct oddities that might gain Amar San's attention. The work I put into the tricorder was nothing major, but the tech had Tal Shiar finger prints all over it, so it wouldn't take long for San to catch wind.

As a front, I was able to simply walk in, but I was almost sure that I'd been made at the moment I'd walked into the front gate, not for who I was as much as for what I was. I'm sure my internal systems had very similar fingerprints, and given that I was Hakeev's "Perfect Specimen", so surely Amar would be able to recognize the face on closer inspection giving me the perfect chance to cross one more name from my list ridding Risa and the Universe of one more bit of undeserving scum. I made my way to reception and simply told them that I was here to see my lover, a small Ferengi that had been attacked and robbed while waiting for me at the pool, a tragic accident.

I signed in under a false name, half of which belonged to the swollen pair of ears lying in the hospital bed. It would take a moment or two to get the attention of Amar's assistant and then another to get the Doctor out of what ever experiment happening behind the hospital facade, all I had to do was bide my time. A nurse led me to beaten little man who lie unconscious in a hospital bed with all of his injuries still intact, bad for him, but a good sign for me. My little message had indeed been noticed, because normally injuries like these would have been treated already, maybe nothing more than a little bruising. As I stood there waiting I emptied my pockets of the Ferengi's personal effects and an I.O.U. of sorts for his troubles.

Out of now where my head began spinning. An odd sensation letting me know that it wasn't a normal feeling as I gripped the side of the medical bed trying to steady myself.

A fail safe...

It had to be, there was no other explanation. Somehow the sadistic monster or it's master had managed to place a fail safe of my internal systems in case such a thing ever happened. I raised my head as best as I could only to see the blurring shape of a long white lab coat coming in my direction as I drifted slowly to the floor. At least it seemed like it was floating slowly, but I'm sure I'd hit my head pretty good as I had a massive headache when I'd awoke in an all too familiar room filled with many familiar old tools and instruments. I was in an operating room much like the one I'd been in when Hakeev had implanted me with so much Borg Technology.

Across from me, laying flat on a very similar dissection table as mine, was a strange young man, he looked like one of my people, or at least a Vulcan given the ears but no forehead ridges, he looked like he was in the early stages of assimilation not to mention he looked as though he'd been hit by a small shuttle craft, but from what my ocular implant was showing me, I was looking at an empty table. Who knows what types of experiments Amar San had been putting this poor kid through leaving him in such an abused state, only to continue Hakeev's twisted mission of creating an army of Drones under the Tal Shiar's control, drones that could hide in the most undetectable place: plain sight. Millions of Drones across galaxies, all feeding the Tal Shiar any number of secrets from unknowing government officials, sleeper agents ready to assassinate or assimilate without even knowing they'd been assimilated.

Who knows what technology Amar San might have accumulated over the last few years, as well as what ever she could have done to this new style of drone before me. At least that's what I'd thought until the Doctor had begun telling me what a gift had been found here on Risa, like it had been some sort of present offered to her by Hakeev's masters. Fate itself couldn't have been more kind as the Ferengi with the adapted tricorder arrived after an accident involving an anomaly of a man which would all end in a day when Hakeev's second greatest work had returned to in a nice little package to return to the Tal Shiar. I was more than a little confused at this point given what I was seeing, as well as what I suppose I wasn't seeing, and I was going to be forced to watch as San tore into the boy to find out how he worked.

The young man began trying to ask questions as the doctor began to cut into him with no regard for his health or safety, much like my own experience with this psycho. I couldn't help but cringe as he yelled out in pain. I've been there, i've been under the precision scalpel of a completely insane surgeon, and I can remember every cut made until the point I would pass out. My guess was none of the instruments or scanners were working on this drone given that my implants couldn't even detect him, so surgery was entirely exploratory. I couldn't even struggle since I was still under what ever kill switch they'd implanted in me, so I began yelling for attention.

Attention is exactly what I received. Amar San was not one to be interrupted or yelled at, a lesson I knew all too well, as I was struck with some sort of electrical prod. I heard laughter as I was struck again and again and again as I could feel myself getting close to blacking out again when I realized that the laughter wasn't coming from just one person, a fact that seemed to dawn on San as well, who turned in time to see the man struggling against his restraints, restraints which a normal Vulcan or Romulan should not have been able to break yet like a beast breaking its chains, he was slowly freed. San's eyes widened as well as the frightened and beaten young man suddenly became so much more. Like a monster from fables he changed before our eyes as his bonds snapped and he slowly moved to stand up.

I couldn't imagine what strength it might have it's current state, but it was no longer the boy who I awoke too, and the look on Amar's face was complete awe. I almost believed that the doctor had thought this... creature as nothing more than a thing of absolute beauty. As it moved closer Amar snapped back to reality calling for security, which obliged in no time. San moved back to safety, yelling "I want it alive, and if not, I want it to be salvageable!" The team moved in armed with some type of stun baton, and again I was forced to watch a surgery driven by brutality.

The guards moved in, but any attempt to attack or restrain the boy was met with a harsh counter, none of them were spared as the bloodied and battered drone began moving towards the doctor. As one guard came at him and swung, the boy caught the wrist, snapping it by grip alone before driving his knee almost through the ribcage. As he brought his foot down it went straight into the calf of an approaching guard breaking it in half. Before the first man even dropped to the floor the monster had brought his fist sideways into the second guards face as he screamed from the busted leg, his jaw shattered from the sheer force. As guard after guard moved in, the thing dispatched them with ease, not a single movement was wasted.

The Doctor ran as the private army fell as soon as they dared raise a hand. As long as they weren't attacking yet, he didn't move against them, but as soon as they became a perceived threat they were dealt with, I honestly couldn't say if he was killing them, but the injuries for sure would cripple them for life. He must have been running off of nothing but instinct at this point, perhaps Borg in nature, but something I could use to my advantage since my implants seemed to be malfunctioning from the what ever that prod had been hitting me with, though I could move slightly, the fail safe had failed.

I called out to him as he fought... no, fought wasn't the right word, they stood no chance, and I might be able to use this to make sure Doctor Amar San didn't stand any chance either, so I called out to the boy. I played to his instinct as we were both (more than likely) filled with Borg technology of some type, I played to the common enemy of San. As the last guard fell it came over and observed me, staring me in the eyes, its own overly dilated and purely animal. It stared at me, the expression was cold and angry, a primal anger... It reached up and ripped my own restraints clear before heading out of the door.

I reached down and pulled the pin on one of the explosives before stumbling out of the room. The initial explosion wasn't much, but it triggered the rest of the plasma grenades began to go off. The wall next to me burst from the force tossing me into the adjacent wall, as much as it hurt, I kept pushing forward through it though. I must see this this to the end, so I pushed further. As the standard fire suppression systems began going off, the patients began evacuating, probably for the better, since a laboratory like San's couldn't be allowed to exist anymore.

I tracked them to the roof, the signs of chase were obvious, terrified patients fleeing an unseen horror, blast marks on the walls leading to the stairwell. As I reached the top I found my temporary ally, and what better way to slay a monster than with a monster of your own? As she neared her shuttle I handed the boy a small vial and ordered him to put it between the two. As he did so I picked the weapon from a downed guard and fired, igniting the fluid as it spilled out, effectively putting a plasma fire up so the ship was in accessible. I leaned up against the door as the man went after Amar, explosions continued to shake the building as he approached her, his torso, still bleeding as he grabbed San by the throat in a single hand.

Then nothing....

The monster was no longer that, no longer driven by hatred. The anger was gone, that killer instinct was gone, and I was standing behind that young make who I had met as I had come too. That boy, I know now, is not the killer that hunted the doctor to this end, but fate as it seemed, would be on my side as another explosion caused the roof to cave in. Once upon a time Dr. Amar San had been a beautiful woman, she was smart, and lovely, and a gifted surgeon, all held together by a large amount of insanity. Now however she was nothing more than a screaming smoldering mess pressed under the burning bits of rooftop. The boy went to help her, but I placed my hand on his foot and stopped him, he looked at me confused, but I suppose he read my expression and could tell that this one could, but shouldn't be saved.

He didn't say a word, but his face became a sad look as he reached down and grabbed my uniform, dragging me out of the building as it came down around us. As we got outside he lifted me to my feet with a single arm like it was nothing, leading me to a group of doctors and patients, but didn't stop. He just kept walking off towards the treeline, my best guess was back to where ever he had been staying before what ever accident placed him in the hands of the late Dr. Amar San. I don't know who he was but I would be sure to put out a few lines to see what I might catch, this strange young man would be impossible to not notice, so some one out there must know more about them.

As I watched him disappear slowly into the jungle lit only by the burning hospital, I decided I'd had enough of a pleasure planet like Risa. I hit a small transmitter in the sleeve of my coat and beamed myself out with one less name weighing down on my soul, sadly as that poor wretch had many more added onto his...

Last edited by wraithshadow13; 07-22-2013 at 08:43 AM.
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