Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 21
05-10-2011, 07:24 AM
A prized possession? Well, now, that depends on what you mean by “prized.”

I do have one item. It’s a Denebian rabbit’s foot. I’d show it to you, except for the vendetta that Starfleet tailors seem to have against pockets. But it’s just as well.

I’ve never seen a Denebian “rabbit.” But, based on one fraction of a limb, I don’t want to, outside of a nightmare.

My own grisly piece of the creature was given to me by a classmate at the Academy named Grace Aubertin. I should mention that I came to the Academy with a bit more life behind me than many other cadets, and Grace was the same. We hit it off immediately. We also shared a love of mischief, though you wouldn’t know it by looking at her.

I’ll say here that a number of the pranks I was known for during those years were not my own, but Grace’s. Though even if I’d been in the mood to admit that then, no one would have believed that Grace was anything other than innocent.

She gave me the gruesome claw just before our cadet cruise on an old Constellation class ship called the Khun Bulom. For good luck, she said.

Three weeks into the cruise, the Bulom dropped out of warp so that the kids at the helm could practice their impulse maneuvers in interstellar space.

Grace had asked me to cover her shift in engineering because she’d had something to do. So that you understand, the last time she told me she’d had something to do, it was reprogramming the cargo transporter so that, when I stepped into the sonic shower, it transported the entire contents of the compost bin in the arboretum into the stall with me. So I hesitated before I answered.

But in the end I said yes, because I could never say anything but yes to Grace. And, in a way, that was a good thing.

The chance of a ship colliding with a microsingularity, especially in interstellar space, is ridiculously small. It’s nearly impossible. But on that day it happened to the Bulom. A singularity ripped through engineering, wrecking the matter-antimatter flow control and locking out the emergency warp core ejection system. We lost control of the reaction. The ship would have exploded in minutes. Not enough time to even get to an escape pod.

And then I remembered a trick I’d learned on an old freighter named the SS Deathstar, though we more affectionately referred to her as the Deathtrap. The old hands on board called this trick “flash freezing.” And here’s what you did: you changed the matter-antimatter ratio to 2:1. In short order, that built up a residue of matter in the intermix chamber, clogging up the injectors—eventually destroying them, but shutting down the reaction just the same.

And that’s just the way it worked on the Bulom. I even earned myself a commendation for saving the ship’s crew.

Well, all of the ship’s crew but one.

On its way to engineering, the singularity passed through a seldom-used corridor. As it happened, Grace was walking through just at that moment. I don’t know why she was there, and I never will. All I do know is that she was killed instantly.

My first thought was to jettison that horrible appendage out the nearest airlock. But I kept it. Why?

It wasn’t because it reminded me of Grace. I didn’t need it for that. And it wasn’t because I thought it was lucky. I don’t.

It was because it reminded me and continues to remind me of the nature of luck. The awful arbitrariness of it. And sometimes the ugliness of it.

There’s an old bit of verse I once read that goes something like this:

and empty,
your whirling wheel,
stand malevolent,
well-being is vain
and always fades to nothing
and veiled
you plague me too;
now through trickery,
I bring my bare back
to you villainy.

You know, I’ve only told this story to one other person. Her name was Mercedes McMary and she was an officer on the first ship I served on out of the Academy.

She called that shriveled paw my “morbid fascination.” She’d always been lucky, she said, and the only charm I needed was her. I was inclined to agree.

She took it and I let her. And I nearly forgot about it. I didn’t see it again until I found it in her quarters after Vega.

But that’s another story.

Let me finish things this way: A toast, to Grace and to Mercy.

Now, I believe the next round is on you.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 22
05-10-2011, 05:47 PM
The captain’s gaze followed the ensign’s to settle upon the old pistol on its stand at the corner of his desk. It was pointed at a downward angle so as to not to seem threatening. Its curves were simple but possessed a certain aesthetic sense. It seemed out of place in the captain’s ready room, which had few personalized touches. Not surprising, she supposed, as this was not his usual command, a stately Nomad-class star cruiser, but instead a tactical escort that had been specially retrofitted for duty deep behind enemy lines. Space was at a premium and homey touches were a luxury few could afford.

The captain raised his blond brows questioningly at her when she realized he was watching her. Her cheeks tinged a darker blue followed by the trademark Bolian smile, wide and infectious but in this case more from embarrassment at being caught staring than her species' well-known good humor. “You have a question, Ensign Met?”

Orodgwi Met looked down as she set her PADD in her lap and composed herself, running a hand back over her right ear, a nervous gesture of her youth that had thus far clung to her in adulthood, before she remembered that she no longer had hair to tuck back. She looked back up into her captain’s patient face, “Ah, no, Captain Armstrong, sir, well, you see…” She smiled broadly again but immediately shut it down, embarrassed to be falling back into old anxious habits.

“Are you curious about this?” asked the captain, gesturing off-handedly at the pistol.

She met his eyes again and the words tumbled almost unbidden from her mouth, “Yes, sir. It’s a plasma pistol isn’t it? I don’t recognize the style or maker but it seems very old. Its yield and range must be rather low as I don’t see any supplementary power cell adapters or an extended focusing emitter, though these scorch marks near the power cell housing make me think it has been modified somehow.”

The captain’s smile showed pleasant surprise, “You know your weapons.” Creases formed at the corners of his eyes as they adopted a teasing look, “Are you sure you shouldn’t be wearing tactical red instead of science blue?”

She blushed again at the compliment, “No sir, it’s just that unusual weapons are a bit of a hobby of mine. Well, my father, really. He was a Federation archivist at Memory Alpha for most of his career. Weapons and energy emissions technology in general were his forte and I guess it rubbed off on me.”

Captain Armstrong gently lifted the plasma pistol from its stand and handed it to Ensign Met. She gingerly accepted it and held it with both hands. It was surprisingly light for its size but there seemed to be a weight of history bound up in it. He nodded indulgently as her fingers ran over the lines of the weapon but the look in his eyes became distant as if he was recalling an old memory.

“You’ve of course been informed of the Hirogen alliance with elements of the former Romulan Star Empire?” Ensign Met nodded and the captain continued, “Well, back when Hirogen were just holonovel boogie men in stories of Voyager’s travels in the Delta Quadrant, my ship was assigned a mission to locate a missing team of archaeologists in a system bordering the traditional boundaries of the Romulan Star Empire.

“The trail led to an M-Class planet with the ruins of a pre-Warp civilization that had disappeared seemingly without a trace leaving behind only their cities now overgrown with dense vegetation. When we tried to beam down, our transporter beam was diverted to an unknown but shielded location and my team was captured by a three-man Hirogen hunting party. The Hirogen had set the area up as their own little game preserve and we were the game. Their leader identified himself Alpha Renjak. Since escape seemed unlikely, I confronted him and demanded that as highest ranking member of my team, they hunt me and only me. Seemingly amused at my bravado, Alpha Renjak agreed but stipulated that if I proved to be unworthy prey, my team would be executed outright as my failure would prove them also unworthy of the hunt.

“I was set loose in the surrounding forest and given a short head start. I led them on a merry chase for the better part of two days ultimately turning the tables on two of his party through a mix of luck and skill aided in no small part by their own overconfidence. Their equipment was gene-coded so only they could use it but one of them, Renjak’s Beta if I interpreted his armor’s markings correctly, carried several of his trophies on his person including the pistol you now hold. I don’t know where he obtained it or what being he killed to get it but it represented a slight evening of the odds in my favor. The Beta may not even have considered the pistol a proper weapon for it was not gene-coded and even had a power cell in it. I found through brief experimentation that the pistol lacked the power to breach Hirogen armor, so I retreated to a little bolt hole I had found in the nearby ruins and set to modifying it as best I could.

“Once I had done what I could, I crept out and made my way back to the clearing where the rest of my team was being held in an energy enclosure. To my surprise, Renjak was there waiting. He explained that he had nothing to prove, so he had allowed his Beta and Gamma to chase me knowing that if I evaded them or prevailed, I would come back for the rest of my team. He congratulated me as ‘worthy prey’, but said that he could not allow any of us to leave and reveal the location of their hunting ground. He turned to retrieve his rifle muttering something about the obligation of the good hunter to not prolong the suffering of prey.

“That’s when I pulled out the plasma pistol and told him in no uncertain terms that I would be leaving and taking my team with me so he had better drop his weapon and release them. He laughed loudly, telling me that if that was the only weapon I had, I wasn’t going anywhere as his Beta had used that pistol to char meat to his liking before ingestion. Even on its highest setting, he informed me, it would not breach Hirogen armor and snapped down the visor on his helmet as he moved to heft his rifle into firing position.

“I thumbed the power stud and I found out if my tinkerings had been for naught as the entire power cell emptied in one long blinding spray of blue plasma. The power cell couplings flared, burning my hands and I dropped the pistol. Renjek was transformed into a living torch, dropping his rifle and roaring as he charged at where I had been. I rolled to one side and he collapsed to the ground, feebly attempting to bat the flames out with his gauntleted hands. I freed my team and we disabled the dampening field that had been preventing communication with the ship. This pistol is a reminder to never underestimate an opponent.”

Ensign Met looked from him to the plasma pistol and back. The captain held out his hand and she noted the shiny scar tissue on his palm. Orodgwi handed the pistol back to him and he replaced it carefully in its stand.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
The turbolift doors parted with a hiss, and the occupant stepping onto the bridge, stopping just beyond the opening to look around. Reacting to the sound of someone entering the bridge, the crew stopped the work they were buried in, turning to look at their captain.

“Welcome aboard the USS Watchtower Captain Scott,” a stunning Andorian zhen said as she strode across the bridge, emphasizing the rank as she extended her hand.

“Thank you Commander Thryiss,” Scott said, emphasizing her rank as well, taking her hand in his and placing his right hand on her left shoulder. The two smiled at one another, a smile of two friends who have shared the highest moments of life and its greatest depths.

“You earned those three pips Thryiss, and I fought to keep you not only on my crew, but as my XO. I cannot imagine cruising through the stars without you at my side. Even if you can be a little too blunt with your opinions,” the captain said, the humor of the last comment evident in his voice.

“Oh, I know I earned them, as you earned your captaincy Sir. And I think you would jettison me out the first airlock you could find if I wasn’t so open with my opinions,” Thryiss replied. Leaning in, she put her mouth next to his left ear, whispering, “Plus Winfield, you will never have a first officer whose legs you like to look at quite as much.”

Before Scott could say a word she released his hand and turned back to the center of the bridge, walking toward the helm. “Mr. Lochar, do we have the latest update from Earth Space Dock on what time our new crewmembers will arrive?” she asked the Vulcan engineer, turning back to Scott and flashing a quick wink.

Not able to help himself, Scott laughed out loud, not just at his XO’s comment, but also at the looks of bewilderment on his bridge crew.

“I’m going to check out my ready room, and catch up on some paperwork,” he announced to no one in particular.

“And you’d rather be out fighting Borg than doing that,” Commander Kaafsit, the Watchtower’s Chief Medical Officer grunted. Looking at Scott, the Tellarite immediately hung his hung his head, shaking it.

“Sir, I….”

“It’s ok Chief,” Scott said, using the nickname he had given the surly physician when they were young ensigns. “I know what you meant.”

Scott turned to his right and headed to his ready room, pausing when the doors closed behind him, and taking a deep breath. Kaafsit hadn’t meant any harm, but his comment struck deep to Scott’s soul. He walked to his desk, looking down and running his hand across a swatch of gold fabric. His fingers gently caressed the cloth, barely touching it, but the feel of it causing goose bumps to appear on his arms.

Moving behind his desk Scott fell more than sat into the chair, his eyes never leaving the piece of cloth. A single tear formed in the corner of his left eye, tracking slowly down his scarred cheek, falling onto the desk.

Scott hung his head, angry at himself for the display of emotion, even though no one was in the room with him. Minutes passed as he gently stroked the piece of cloth, looking at it. It was so long ago, they were young ensigns. The pain was still as deep.

Smoke, so thick.
The heat is beating me back…people are screaming everywhere. Kristiana, where are you?
There! NO!!!
Oh my Gods, she’s crushed under that beam!!! I’m here my love!
I’m sorry, I have to tear your uniform, I need to get a bandage on that wound.
She’s dead weight, I have to get her out of here. Hold on darling…I’ll get you to safety. There, there’s an escape pod. I’m sorry that if that hurt, I’m hitting the jettison now.
Dear Gods, look at the Gavin, it’s about to explode.
We’re safe, love, we’ll get you to a medical ship and we can get married like we planned. The Borg can’t stop our team…no! NO!!!! NOOOOO!!!!!!! Baby, I love you…I’m so sorry…so sorry…

Finally he spoke, his voice barely a whisper, but startling him nonetheless.

“I did it love. I made captain. I know you were there when T pinned it on me, and I know you’ve been with me the whole time. And you’ll be with me as we head to Gamma Orionis. I got our orders. We’re headed to face the Borg. The Borg.”
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 24
05-11-2011, 02:21 AM
"Even Klingons sing love songs," Jack said, then paused. She smiled at the prospect. Drunk Klingons with their fiddles, marching around so proudly in her mind.

The lieutenant didn't interrupt. He looked over the officer's mess. Empty glasses stacked near the bar, waiting for reclamation. The ship's Mess NCO stepped out of the way as a pot of boiled dumplings in bloodwine reduction rushed by. The junior crewmen looked at the dumplings like hens watching eggs hatch.

"That one's moving!" the lieutenant said.

Jack took a dumpling in her hand and turned it over like a playing card. Bits of fatty juices ran down her thumb. The dumpling writhed. It tossed like a targ with its leg in a trap.

Jack took her hegh'bat out, the blade ringing a bit, despite the rusted hilt. "Kilroth sings those songs well." A pause. "Sang." Jack sliced the dumpling in four portions, the yellow blood oozing out into the broth. The blade's edge nicked her finger and she licked it. Bitter.

The lieutenant's pallor deepened. He looked down at his datapad, closing his eyes like a child hearing a siren. His companion, a Denobulan from the ship's armory, leaned over, whispering in his ear. The lieutenant's eyes opened. Each stared like rough stones on a beach. "What was it like, ma'am? Do you remember being assimilated?"

The blade froze on Jack's lips as a cut of the dumpling touched her lips. She looked at the lieutenant, young with a fresh junior grade pip on his collar - a transfer from Earth Spacedock. the Denobulan next to him still had the backings on his rank. Jack went back to eating.

"I wonder if it'd be like it back on Denobula: groups of people sharing thoughts? I'm not used to privacy either," he said. His crests furrowed along his temples.

Jack's stomach quavered a bit - each dumpling's contents still in their last throes. The lieutenant grimaced.

"Tell me - how did you come by such a dagger? It's Klingon, yes?" The Denobulan smiled, cheek bones retracting backward. His face looked like a Picasso painting, smile asymmetrically wide, even for his species.

Again, Jack stopped. She looked over the last dumpling and set it down. "You saw earlier?"

"You mean the Klingon we picked up on Andoria?"

"Yes. Kilroth."

The Denobulan broke his smile. "But... wasn't he infected? Why would a borg give you his dagger?"

"Kilroth, Ensign. Robots don't take away his ridges overnight."

The Lieutenant looked over, almost through his brow at the Ensign. He set the datapad down next to the Denobulan, who continued despite it all: "Yes, yes. I suppose you're right. I mean, I can only imagine what it's like... losing your will to a hive like that."

Jack stopped eating altogether now. She stood up by the forward window, overlooking the exterior of deck ten. Stars ran past the view like strung twine. She took the dagger and wiped the blade on the scabbard's flap. Flipping it over in her palm, she turned to the Denobulan. "Can this ever be good as new, Ensign?"

He stood up and took the dagger over in his hands, turning it on its side, examining the edges. "It'll take some work, Captain."
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 25 FSN story on Karadok Lykos
05-11-2011, 03:47 AM
“Come in come in please make yourself comfortable. I am sorry there is not much room we really don’t have a lot of room on these ships you see. So you are doing a piece on various commanders in the fleet for the FNN.”

Karadok Lykos of the 12th fleet was an interesting looking person to say the least. His full beard and long hair pulled into a ponytail most certainly made him look more like a Rock Star than a Doctor. He was muscular and not particularly tall at 6ft. yet he had a commanding presence and at the same time a kind gentle personality that made you instantly like him. Indeed within minutes of meeting him you may well find yourself talking to him like a long lost friend or someone you have known all your life.

“I am honored but I really think there are many commanders in the 12th that would make a better subject after all I’m just a Captain in a hospital ship.”

He was also humble and a very hospitable I believe he asked at least a dozen times during the interview if I needed anything. He sat down in a chair next to a bookcase full of books not PADDs just books. I had heard that about him that he preferred books to PADDs. As I sat my recording device down I looked around at his quarters to say they were Spartan would be an understatement. Aside from the books there were a few pictures on his desk and a 21st Century Stethoscope. This caught my eye so I had to ask about it of course. Here is his story in his own words.

Oh yes that is my most prized possession. You see it belonged to my great, great, great, great well a lot of greats back there grandmother. Her name was Kyra Magdalen Lykos . In the 21st Century she was a great research scientist doctor. She is the one who discovered the genome sequencing that lead to the cures for aids and some minor cancers.

Now I was not going to originally study medicine at the academy but I showed some skill in our basic medicine classes and my instructor one Commander Engressing kept trying to change my mind. He finally asked me to read a book about Leonard “Bones” McCoy you know that man was a genius. Well I was convinced McCoy became my hero and I decided to become a doctor. There was more to it than that though. In the book I saw the name Kyra Magdalen Lykos. I recalled my father having something in a display case that had belonged to her. The next time I talked to my dad I asked about it. He said he wasn’t sure where it was anymore.

You can imagine how disappointed I was about that. So anyways I graduated Star Fleet Academy and went on to Star Fleet Medical. The day of my graduation from Star Fleet medical my parents handed me cigar boxed sized present. I knew that didn’t have a lot of money so I started to protest but they told me to wait until I had opened it to say anything. So I did and in that box was this stethoscope which had belonged to Kyra Lykos.

At this Karadok lets out a hearty laugh. There is a twinkle in his eyes. No wonder people were drawn to him…no wonder his crew would do anything for their Captain.

You see my Dad had known where it was all along. When he heard I would study medicine he took it out and had it engraved. “To our dearest son may the spirit and intelligence of Kyra guide you as the newest doctor in the Lykos line.” Well the plaque it is mounted on says that anyways of course that would never have fight on the Stethoscope itself. At that time it became my most prized possession especially after I lost both of my parents. There is a sudden sadness in those eyes that just pierces you to the soul. It only lingers a moment and then vanishes. You know this ship is named after her the U.S.S. Kyra Magdalen. We conclude the interview and I thank Captain Lykos. I could tell you more but this is the piece that sticks out the most in my mind and so dear reader there you have the story of Captain Lykos’ most prized possession.
Martha Saren FNN.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 26 The Cane
05-12-2011, 12:18 AM
That cane there?
Oh that's an interesting relic. During an extended investigation into some quite odd disturbances that turned out to be a near full scale invasion of our space time by a predatory species I manages to make away with it. Little did I realize the dormant power it held, many later battles were tipped in my crews favor by simply raising it on high. Those Devidian's and their thirst for sentient life force, such a tool should have never existed, but to tell you the truth, its too darn useful to discard or risk allowing to fall into enemy hands. So it stays right there, in its secure case in my ready room, waiting to feed, it only will do so under my command and only in the most desperate of situations.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 27
05-12-2011, 03:32 AM
Lost and Found

“Sir this just came in by shuttle. It’s from Captain Odenkirk of the U.S.S. Poor Richard.” She proffered the legal sized manila envelope with her ice blue hand. The side closest to her hand had an odd, small bulge. That Odenkirk sent it in a manila envelope she could not help but think was a quaint gesture. It had to be a joke from the now Captain of Irion’s second command. Made sense given their current post on the U.S.S. Llamrei a twice retrofitted Excelsior class heavy cruiser. They had put to at Earth Space Dock for intensive maintenance, now the bridge was a buzz of activity as officers prepared to hand the ship over to the Corps of Engineers for the remainder the maintenance cycle. Already scores of old CMU "Work Bees" and newer Sphinx Workpods detached from the Maintenance bay to begin external repairs.

Captain Irion's nose was buried in his PADD as he went over the maintenance cycles to assure that their stay ad ESD was as short as possible. They had a patrol in the Gamma Orionis sector after this and the Llamrei had to be in peak condition for it. She noticed, as his right hand rose for the message, that he held his pinky crossed over his ring finger almost as if to look for or protect something that was supposed to ride there. A mannerism of his that suggested he was deep in thought. He never looked up from his PADD as he took the missive from her hand, nodded his head and mumbled his thanks.

Till the weighted end of the package thumped against the cuff of his duty jacket. Curiosity wrinkled the spots that framed sides of his Trill eyes as he tucked the PADD under an arm so he could tear the edge off the envelope furthest from the small bulge. He pulled out, unfolded, and read a document that had been within then handed the letter over to her, “There is nothing too private there.” An implication that it was fine for her to read tri-folded letter. It simply read…

To Captain Dal Bova Irion,

This was found, during the last refit of the Poor Richard, lodged between the second level deck grates that surround the central support hub of the warp core. Later, and by happenstance, when I went through the Plank Owner’s crew list I saw a photo in which you wore something that looked just like this. If that is the case it is my honor to return it to you.


Cervina Ogdenkirk

As she read she saw in her peripheral vision the Captain squeeze the sides of the envelope as he turned it on end against his cupped right palm so the torn edges touched his hand to keep object within so it would not tumble out and onto the deck. Her eyes hovered over the Captain’s name on the sheet of paper. She thought it was odd that a joined Trill’s symbiont would adopt the surname of their current host.

The envelope still obscured the object it held from their view yet his eyes took a far away cast and seemed to mist while the corners of his mouth twisted up in a kind of wane smile…

To Irion the words on the letter were simple and to the point. They yielded no clue as to what else was hid within the envelope. The mystery object was cold and heavy for its size. The way it thumped against the bridge of his palm caused Bova, his host to stir to the point that Dal was forced to the very edge of consciousness. The grim determination of his host is what drew Dal to Bova. The occasions that Bova forced himself into he and Dal’s shared consciousness made Dal remember when they first met. Dal was still joined to Kenter at the time…

This was not the kind of place Kenter Dal was used to. The air was humid with the sweat of dancers, stale spirits and the stench of smoke. Dim light and the constant shuffle of patrons hid illicit transactions of all sorts. Even the barter of Trill cultural heritage could be found in this bar. That was what the man Kenter came to arrest traded, stolen Trill art with blood on it.

The music from the band played a raucous tune oblivious to the violence that unfolded by the game tables. “Kenter I know you’re with Starfleet.” The man he had come to arrest chortled through clenched teeth, “That is why I will gut you like the fat pig you are.” Dal could feel the tip of something sharp pressed to Kenter, his host’s, abdomen. Dal had the man almost doubled over backwards against the snooker table his right forearm barred against the criminal’s windpipe, his left hand thrust against the inside criminal’s elbow. In a proverbial sense he had the wolf by the scruff of the neck. Let go and you get bit, tire and you get mauled. There was neither leverage nor room to maneuver away from the knife with the criminal’s goon pressed to his back. A blow delivered by that goon to Kenter’s kidney drove the knife home. Off to Dal’s left a crony held a cue over head in a double handed grip as he looked for an opportunity to beat Dal off his boss. His knees drew weak, time had run out.

The cue stick disappeared from the crony’s hands. It was too dark in the bar to see who had snatched the improvised weapon away. That silhouette darted behind the goon and in an instant the goon was gone. The crony threw a hurried right the figure side stepped only snatch the crony’s wrist and elbow followed by a twist that flung the corny into the goon who had nearly recovered his feet. They went down in a mass of arms and legs.

Now free of goon Dal slid his hand down the forearm that held the knife to get control of the wrist that held it, and head butted the criminal in the bridge of the nose till he went slack. Hands clenched over the gash in the side of his stomach and weakened by loss of blood, Dal fell more than sat down. Hands wrapped around his chest from behind and he noticed he was being towed toward the door. Kenter Dal’s feet and buttocks left a left a bloody smear on the floor. “He’s bleeding. Get an ambulance on the way. Can you stand?” Was it the silhouette that asked that of him? Then the sound of broken glass and something splashed onto Dal’s left shoulder. Whoever had dragged him rolled over to Dal’s right. The young Trill bouncer that had checked Id at the front door lay near him on the floor, a nasty gash marred his forehead, the wound gaped open so that a bone of the skull beneath could be seen. The bouncer’s right hand rested on his chest. On his ring finger a simple sliver band with a large rectangular green stone inset in it. Even the gem was simple. That was Bova Irion. He came to several times, tried to help Kenter's away team, only to pass out again from a concussion but the important thing to Dal was Bova kept trying…

Bova’s parents were Trill, but his mother had dated outside or the race before she met Bova’s father. Dal found this out when, as a Field Docent for the Symbiosis Commission, he vetted Bova to be his next host. Bova’s adoptive father had dated his mother. He was from Upstate New York which explained the Maine jade that was inset in Bova’s ring...

Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 28
05-12-2011, 07:46 AM
My most prized possession? I've built up quite a collection over the years. I think however the most important is a belt buckle that was given to me as a junior officer. I was assigned to the Cardassian vessel Damar as an exchange officer for advanced studies in my degree, Xenolinguistics.

The first few months were rough without a universal translator to lean on, and there are still a few senior officers in the Cardassian military that distrust Starfleet. Gul Makat was one of them. But after a while, I began to make my way into the inner circle of the shift I worked with. I developed a taste for kanar and many of the other Cardassian crew members shared a relatively common background with me, their families serving in the Cardassian military for generations.

One month before it was time for me to get dropped off at DS9 and transfer back into regular Starfleet duty, my belt buckle brushed against a bulkhead for probably the millionth time and finally gave way. The Starfleet chevron broke off and fell to the deck, leaving me with a functioning but hideous clasp. Of course, normally, it would be a simple matter of replicating a new one. Unfortunately, the Cardassian replicators didn't have the specs for the item and I simply assumed I would carry on through my last month with an unsat uniform. The remainder of the day, I walked around the ship taking sarcastic comments from the militaristic Cardassians that Starfleet uniforms were obviously inferior. I just accepted it and moved on.

The next day, while analyzing some star surveys, one of my good griends, Glin Tuvat, slammed down a replacement on top of the console I was working at. I was instantly pleased with the item. It was crudely shaped, made of dark Cardassian steel, oversized, and honestly didn't secure my belt all that well, but it was in the shape of a Starfleet chevron, and carved into the back was a common Cardassian saying;

"Let the unit that shares a drink together band together."

He explained that some of the engineers had enjoyed spending several hours drawing on their basic metalworking skills that they hadn't used since training. I immediately stood and replaced my damaged buckle with the gift and I've kept it with me ever since.

These days, I'm the Captain, and I make a point to keep my uniform as pristine as possible with a regulation Starfleet buckle, but my backup is always on standby on my office shelf. I sometimes use it to prod my engineering department when they give me the excuse that the specs for a part aren't in the replicator database.
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 29
05-12-2011, 05:12 PM
Challenge #1: Prized Possessions.

.....She yawned and shifted in her office chair, staring at her monitor. Waiting on communiqués was possibly one of the lesser-enjoyed facts of being a Starfleet officer on any ship. She picked up the hand-forged nail from her desk and spun it absent-mindedly over and over between her fingers while looking around her quarters. 'Scratch that,' she thought, 'getting woken up in the middle of our ship's night for an urgent message and then waiting for the ship to filter through the layers of encryption is possibly worse.'

.....She turned back to look at her screen. 'Decoding. Stand by. Bah. It really could hurry up a little. What would a small scout ship like ours need to know anyhow that would be encrypted so well?' She sighed and closed her eyes a while. Three in the morning was a time to let the mind drift. She looked up and glanced at the nail in her hand, smiling ruefully. This nail carried a bit of history and a bit of home.

.....She had been at a museum of natural history somewhere in former Canada when she was just a Cadet. A friend dragged her along and for the most part she didn't much care for it. The mud, the smells, the slow pace of walking everywhere and stopping every few yards. Moruk, her Bolian friend who shared her dorm room, absolutely loved it all.
"Oh, look," she squealed. "This animal! It looks like a fego!"
"That's a sheep."
"Ssssh-aep! Oh, they look adorable! Do they give milk, too?"
"Well, uhm... I don't think... "
A guide saved her some embarrassment that day. "Yes, they do! We make a cheese with it, too. Would you like to come see how the cheese was made 700 years ago?"

.....And so she was dragged along yet again. Agriculture. Farming.
.....Yes, there are those who still swear that this type of food is better for us, better than what replicators make. But the cleaning and the killing and everything else involved just did not appeal to her. In fact, nothing here really had. The houses, fire hazards all of them and no structure enhancements that could protect against unforeseen severe weather; the clothing and the way they showed us they 'washed' them... even the sun bothered her here. Overall, she was annoyed and just wanted to get back to San Fran.

.....Until she heard a rhythmic clanging just off to the side. She left Moruk oh-ing and ah-ing over how milk goes sour, taking holopictures of sheep.
.....In a low hut just around the corner was a man, working with sweat beading on his brow. He seemed to be slowly nearing retirement -possibly in his early 80s- wearing leather pants and a long-sleeved shirt made out of that coarse wool cloth everyone here wore. A long, thick leather apron covered him from the neck down to his knees and he stood with lightly bend back and knees as he hammered away at something small. "Come on in," he shouted over his work, "you can actually help me by moving that bucket there a little closer."

.....She ducked into the hut as he stopped hammering and gave her a winning smile. He pointed with his hammer once more at the water filled bucket alongside the wall and she lifted it and placed it right next to his anvil. Only now did she see the dully glowing piece if iron in the man's tongs. "Thank you, my dear," he said and flicked it into the bucket. Steam rose from its resting place and the iron let out a long sigh of relief, content in its new form.

.....As the man straightened up his smile grew even broader. "Ah, Starfleet. Cadet Third Class, I see. My son is on a cruiser in some forsaken part of the Federation these days. I don't see him often. You're sure you want to leave Earth this badly, my girl?" He poked around inside the bucket a while and picked the newly made nail out. He dropped it into a small try where it clanged happily against the others already resting.
.....She frowned at his remark. "That's not what Starfleet is about... It's about exploration and defending the Federation. Even this little speck of Earth right here!"
....."Is that so?" He had turned his back on her and rummaged in a pit of hot glowing coal. From it he pulled a bright red glowing sliver of metal which he daftly placed on the anvil. She jumped back as he resumed hammering away.

.....She felt she should say something. She felt angry. Angry at his small, smug smile. How dare he judge her? Or his son for that matter? Besides, Earth has nothing new to offer. Sure, it has plenty of old to offer. This place, for starters. But if one wanted to learn new things, it would not happen here on Earth. It would be out there. Around the colonies. Around uncharted star systems. In nebulas. In gas giants. And suns. ...and the longer she watched his hammer fall and rise; the longer she watched him form the lump of bright metal, the more she felt her indignation and outrage melt away. There was something very soothing about seeing this very plain work happen right before her.

.....She blinked as he pushed his tongs into the bucket and made another puff of vapor rise; the water bubbling briefly around the hot metal. How long has she been standing here, just letting her mind wander?
....."Here, my girl," he said and smiled at her. "Have this nail. Take it with you as a tiny piece of Earth and carry it with you. And when you had enough of being out there, use it to hold a picture of your family up when you settle down in a nice home."
She held open her hand and felt the nail drop into her palm. It was warm and she felt as if its warmth tried to leave an impression with her that afternoon.

.....She had yet to settle down. She had yet indeed to even consider a family. But she did know that here in her hand, far away from Earth, she held a tiny morsel of her home planet. And a promise that one day she would use it to hang up a picture with it.

... Just not quite yet.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 30
05-13-2011, 04:12 AM

It was not long after they joined that Bova shared a memory of a time from his adolescence while he worked out in a park at night. Two thugs accosted him and held a knife to his throat. They wanted anything of value he carried. All he had on him was the ring. Bova was calm when he told them that it was the only thing he had from the loss of his mother and they could take it from his lifeless finger…

Even to the day they had lost the ring it was Bova’s most prized possession…

The view screen was down, all he gathered from the transmission was the sardonic voice of the female Klingon captain. "Captain your shields are down, and you vent more than air into the vacuum about us. Your ship may have claimed one the Birds of Prey under my command yet I have another aside from my ship cloaked off your port nacelle."

She continued her diatribe. "On ancient Earth was it not once said that a general is skilful in attack whose opponent does not know what to defend; and they are skilful in defense whose opponent does not know what to attack? So similar to a Klingon proverb is it not?"

Does her lecture ever end? This had to be karmic retribution for all the unruly patrons Bova lectured as he towed them out of bars. Some twisted Karma had to be the reason behind all this salt the Klingon captain now ground into his wounded pride. "Oh poor, poor, U.S.S. Poor Richard. This should be the part where you employ diplomacy, right? Diplomacy does not grant me glory the way cutting a hash mark into the forward torpedo launcher of my ship would. This is what Starfleet's vaunted missions of exploration get's you. I am not interested in the capture Starfleet engineering nor is your surrender enough to placate my urge for conquest. I just wanted you to have the honor of knowing your better before I blow your entrails from here to the halls of Gre'thor. Captain Yisie of the I.K.S. veS puq out!"

“Deck two has reported damage to the hull and warp core. Sir we have lost seven engineering personnel to explosive decompression before emergency shielding stopped the breech. Chief Montania was among them.” Warning claxons screamed for attention from all sides as pops and sparks from short circuits chased officers from their consoles. The ship was dead in the ether.

Even if it was nothing more than the denial of a notch in that Klingon’s gun belt, survival was everything. “Tell engineering I’m on my way. Tiessa, get an engineering team up here and supervise them while they fix what they can. You have the con.” With command transferred to his first officer Irion bolted for the turbo lift. On a ship with a crew of forty, the loss of seven was a terrible blow to the capability of damage control.

"Sir, diagnostics indicated that damage was not to the core itself but to the power couplings." The science officer yelled at his back.

Irion was an engineer before he made captain. It behooved him to try to lend a hand to get power restored to his stricken ship. After all dead in space was not dead in the eyes Klingons. They would keep punishment up till the ship exploded. Deck plates heaved under his feet as he struggled toward Main Engineering.

There Lieutenant Wallace gave Irion the run down, “Ensign Humphries has spliced a new conduit into the primary EPS junction, but the other end had not been connected to the warp core on the second level catwalk, Sir. I’m busy here with fire suppression in Jeffries tubes six and two, so Humphries can finish the connections at two other subsystem junctions.”

“Stay on it Wallace. I’ll see what I can do to make the reconnection at the main.” Irion could not believe how clear the air was in here. Only a faint trace of scent from the blown out components remained. The brief exposure to the void of space must have sucked out the fire. The air in main engineering was clear enough to see through the hole punched through several bulkheads to the naked space outside where the freeze dried remains of one of his engineers tumbled in the darkness lit only by the light of a nearby star. Light that was an hour old by the time it reached this far out in space.

He would have to write a letter of condolence to that engineer's family, the role of a Starfleet officer he hated the most. A shimmer in the void behind the engineer drove him back into the urgency of the moment. “Brace for impact!” Before he could make it to the ladder the ship shuddered under the onslaught of disruptor cannons. The breech shielding held, a miracle under the trickle of power that back up provided. He careened into a support which smashed his shoulder. Irion’s vision swam with pain as he hoped it was only a dislocation. No time for worry for his flesh. Now there was only time to worry for survival. He mounted the ladder to the second level catwalk, an arduous task with only his right hand to haul himself up each rung.

The conduit was heavy and he needed both hands which made him use his injured left arm to haul the new conduit the last few meters to the coupling port on the warp core only to find that his ring was in the way of turning the collar lock. His injured shoulder protested with each hammer fall of the Klingon weapons as he struggled to lock the conduit into place. There was no way to help it the ring held him back and in it's own way threatened the remaining lives of his crew. He paused to take off the ring and stuff it in his uniform’s beast pocket. Just as the coupling’s collar indexed into place another larger hit rocked the ship and knocked him to the deck. The pain in his shoulder made him writhe on the catwalk grate as his First Officer’s voice came over the com, “Captain we just took a torpedo hit, Deck 8 behind Navigation Control. Good news Sir! Ensign Gupta reports that main power has started to distribute into the ships subsystems.”

“Good. Get auxiliary power to the engines and use evasive maneuvers to get us out of here. I’m on the way back to the bridge.” Irion growled. He could have sworn that he heard a metallic noise just after that last impact but in the stress of the moment with his senses clouded by pain Irion could not remember where he heard it let alone what it was that could have made that sound. He focused on his breath to get beyond the pain as he pinned his elbow to his side and shuffled back to the bridge…

“Captain..? Captain are you all right?” His first officer’s concern carried in the tone of her voice which snapped him back into the present.

“Yes I am thank you Tiessa. I think I know what this is.” Irion pulled the envelope away to expose a simple silver band that gripped a smooth piece of dark jade cut into the shape of a rectangle. The Captain’s fingers wrapped about the ring as his smile beamed his satisfaction. “There is a bottle of aged Khukri dark rum in a kirpan shaped glass flask in my private store. Have an ensign pick it up and shuttle it over to the Poor Richard. Tell the ensign to give it to Captain Ogdenkirk with my greatest appreciation.” The gift of nigh near two hundred year old rum should start to show the depth of his gratitude.
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