Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 61
05-23-2011, 09:37 AM
by T.L. Shull

U.S.S. Panthera Onca – NCC-90261
Orbit of Earth

“Coordinates laid in and ready…Captain,” announced the helmsman with a hint of joviality.

The Captain looked to the view screen and the scenery of Earth’s blue hue that filled its breadth.

How in the hell did this end up being a bittersweet moment?

It was always supposed to be the crowning achievement, the pinnacle! He was supposed to be reveling in the pure delight of it all!

Well, in a way he was. He was ecstatic, proud and honored, thrilled to be getting underway in his ship, under his command…and yet here he sat in the command chair of the defense ship he knew he was born to lead and yet he still felt like he had lost something rather than gained everything that he had always dreamed of.

It wasn’t right!

Sure the celebration was wonderful - Quinn made a point to have a formal promotion ceremony – it was a rare treat for a Cat commander to be promoted outright. The "Cats" were known as being the elite defense squadron of the Earth Perimeter Patrol and as such, many others achieved that promotion by losing their commanders in battle, and Quinn wanted to make a real show of it.

His fellow Cat commanders, Farhadian, and Shaughnessy were there; so were his parents, Admirals, Commodores, politicians, even a good number of available his fellow Red Squad alums were present for his promotion…but through the entire ceremony he couldn’t seem to keep his eyes off of…her.

She stood there, the look of pride positively popping off of her gorgeous young face as Quinn reached for his collar to place the fourth pip. He couldn’t even remember what that had felt like now – he could only remember how black and beautiful Beth’s eyes were; how soft and gentle the waves of her cocoa brown hair looked as it cascaded over her shoulders; how soft her lips appeared as she smiled at him from across the room.

She had been the one to sit in the command chair and he in the seat next to it for the past four years and now she was gone; moved up herself…to admiralty no less.

But the moment he awoke that morning and eagerly dressed himself in his uniform with the brand new pip, he walked out onto the bridge he felt lost. He had utterly forgotten that he would not be seeing her face, those beautiful black eyes, that hair or that smile; and for all the excitement he felt and for all the happiness he took in his own fortunate career, he didn’t think it would hurt quite so bad to know that she would not be with him on the bridge anymore…ever.

After decades of hard work and dedication he finally got the Panthera Onca, his one true love …

… and ended up realizing he was missing the love of his life.

“Captain?” asked the helmsman but he didn’t respond.

It was then he decided that he had to try to find a way to get her back into his life…as often as possible.

“Captain?” The helmsman looked behind him curiously, then to the XO.

No, his first day as Captain definitely didn’t turn out like he had planned.

“Captain?” First Officer Baxica questioned curiously.

Alerted, Captain Tristan McGregor shook his head and smiled, but the smile never really did make it all the way across his face. “Engage.”
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 62
05-23-2011, 12:23 PM
Title: Choices

Brigid heard a raised voice before she even stepped into engineering.

“You can’t be serious!”

“Your conclusion is in error.”

She stopped as the door swished shut behind her and looked around. The Ecliptic was a new ship—new to her, at least—but engineering looked the same. Perhaps a little more compact. The Ecliptic was a Nova class, and space was at a premium, even more than on the Deborah Sampson, her previous command.

The source of the commotion was obvious at once. She saw two figures in one of the dimly lit alcoves across from the warp core, one standing unnaturally straight and still, facing off against a second in almost constant motion, gesturing with his hands and shifting from one foot to another as he spoke.

“It seems 4 of 12 is making new friends.” The voice over Brigid’s right shoulder nearly startled her. “In this case, Ensign Rivers,” her first officer, Sayvok, continued.

“That’s Andreas Rivers?” Brigid had expected…well, she wasn’t certain. She’d been making a habit out of reading personnel files every night with the same intensity that she packed and sometimes re-packed her equipment before a long camping trip. It was a ritual of sorts. It made her feel prepared, though, unlike excursions into the wilderness or repairing machines, she never felt fully prepared in dealing with people. More than once, she’d wondered why she was in command of a starship in the first place.

She’d read Rivers bio several days before, shortly after arriving at Starbase K-7 and taking formal command of the Ecliptic. He was, by all accounts, a genius. He wore science blue, partly because his primary training was in oceanography, but he was also an accomplished engineer. He’d published several papers on advanced information system theory using his study of the oceans as a model for the digital universe. As someone who shared an interest both in the natural world and technology, she’d been looking forward to meeting him, but not like this.

He was shouting again. “If you want to blow the ship up, I’ll happily bring up the self-destruct routine for you. That would be so much more ‘efficient’…”

Brigid sighed and walked toward the alcove. She could feel every eye in engineering following her. It was one part of command she hated most. But not the most. That part was coming up.

She cleared her throat and did her best to keep her voice calm and even. “Is there a problem here? Aside from the obvious.”

The “obvious” was that the artificial gravity was malfunctioning all over the ship. Several decks were operating at reduced levels and the bridge was currently at zero g.

Both 4 of 12 and Rivers looked at her as if she’d appeared out of nowhere.

“Captain, I’m glad you’re here. I’m sorry we have to meet under these circumstances.” Rivers held out a hand. “I’m actually honored to meet you. I heard about some of your missions on the Deborah Sampson. I understand you bringing your own chief engineer on board, but, with all due respect, it would have been better to include someone who knew what she was doing.”

Rivers was brash and arrogant. She’d expected that.

“Ensign Rivers’s assessment is not accurate, Captain Zeen.” 4 of 12’s voice was as monotone as ever. Her grey skin looked even paler in the murkiness of the alcove, and her Borg implants seemed twice as prominent.

Brigid felt the usual knot in her stomach as soon as 4 of 12 spoke. She often wondered why the woman made her feel so uncomfortable. Her chief engineer was more machine than person, something that might have been blamed on her assimilation—though from what Brigid knew, she’d been uncomfortable with her humanity even before the Borg found her.

In either case, Brigid had always felt more at home with pieces of equipment than with people. They were so much simpler and more straightforward, at least once you understood them. The wilderness, for all its unforgiving harshness, was the same. People were messy.

And yet, she found 4 of 12 unnerving. Even more than the Vulcans she knew—like her First Officer, who now stood silently at her side, and her Chief Security Officer, T'Pell, who she’d left in command. She would even call these two friends, particularly since they’d begun meeting for weekly dinners together. Vulcans were logical, but not inhuman. And there was probably no better way to describe 4 of 12 than inhuman. Or maybe the former borg just reminded her of her own awkwardness.

She’d seriously considered not bringing her over from the Deborah Sampson, but their final hours on that old ship had allowed her to see the full extent of her chief engineer's skills and she’d resolved never to doubt 4 of 12—at least not in technical matters—again.

She shook herself from her thoughts long enough to shake Rivers’s hand. “So, do you know what the problem is?”

“I know what one of the problems is, Captain,” Rivers jumped in, ignoring his superior officer. “A subroutine in the gravitational regulation control has begun looping. We need to reboot the entire environmental control system or things will just get worse.”

4 of 12 swiveled her head to look at Brigid. “Ensign Rivers is mistaken. Rebooting the environmental control system will not fix the subroutine looping. It will deprive the Ecliptic of environmental controls entirely for three point seven days and require a ship-wide evacuation.”

Rivers snapped his attention back to 4 of 12. “You don’t know this ship or its systems. I’ve made several modifications…”

“Perhaps those are to blame.” Brigid thought she almost heard an uncharacteristically smug tone in 4 of 12’s voice.

“I…wha…you have no idea what you’re talking about. I’ve been on this ship for a year and a half. I know ever inch of her. What do you know? Maybe if this were a cube…”

Brigid took a deep breath. “Ensign, enough.” She stepped forward and did a quick diagnostic of the environmental control subroutines. She laughed inwardly as she did—captaining a starship and still running diagnostics.

Her quick survey didn’t show her anything new. Maybe she’d been on the bridge too long. But then, information tech was never her specialty. She’d always been most at home with things she could take apart, feeling the pieces in her hands, seeing how they fit together.

She paused, momentarily uncertain.

Then she smiled at Rivers. “Ensign, I appreciate all the work you’ve done on the Ecliptic. I’d like you to compile a report so you can inform Lt. 4 of 12 and me about all the improvements you’ve made. Once we understand them, we can all agree on a plan to let you continue making things even better.”

She hesitated only for a moment. “But, I’ve learned to trust my chief engineer.”

She felt Rivers frown as she turned to 4 of 12. She tried hard to ignore the anger and frustration radiating from him. “What do you propose?”

“If we make the following modifications, Captain Zeen…” She began typing on the nearest console, her fingers a blur.

Brigid tried to keep up but to no avail. After a moment, the LCARS display flashed once, and the computer announced: “Gravitational parameters returning to normal. All environmental systems responding.”

Brigid looked up at 4 of 12. She half-expected to see a smile of triumph on her face, but as usual there was nothing.

By contrast, Rivers’s expression turned from angry to curious as he studied the display. “I…I see what you’ve done here…but this? Wait…yes…”

She stepped back out of the alcove, glancing back at the two forms leaning over the gravitational subsystem display, comparing notes.

“Well done, Captain.” Once again, she’d nearly forgotten about Sayvok.

“You might have said something,” she said as they stepped into the corridor.

“Perhaps. But it did not seem necessary. You had the situation well in hand.”

“Really? Next time, I’m bringing T’Pell.”

Sayvok raised his eyebrow. “As you wish, Captain. Unfortunately, you will find that she believes in you as much as I.”

She raised her own eyebrow.

“Perhaps even more.”

Brigid laughed despite herself. “And I thought Vulcans were logical.”

They stepped into the turbolift. “Bridge,” she said, still chuckling to herself.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 63 Flashback
05-23-2011, 03:13 PM
NOTE: I have attempted to include events/missions from the game and explain the speed at which my character got promoted into this story (an attempt to explain how you could get from Ensign to Vice Admiral in a matter of months).

The fist smacked into Luke’s face far harder than he was expecting, sending his head snapping back and then slumping forward again. Thoughts rushed through his head, garbled voices around him. He was starting to lose consciousness.
“I’ll ask you again Vice Admiral,” said the Orion in front of him, “the security codes for Earth’s defence systems.”
“Oh come on Ahara! You’ve somehow made General and you can’t even be more creative about your interrogation questions!”
Another blow to the back of his head sent Luke’s mind reeling off...

Smoke filled the bridge. Luke ran forward phaser in hand, but it was too late. The Captain and the entire command crew were dead. The Borg had made sure of that before the crew had retaken the ship.
“Orders sir?”
Luke turned to face the Bolian crewman who had arrived with him from the USS Khitomer.
“Sir! You’re the ranking officer on this ship! Orders!”
Luke turned to face the command chair in the centre of the bridge. It suddenly looked very big and imposing, especially for an Ensign with barely five months experience outside of the Academy.
“Ensign! Receiving multiple distress signals!”
Luke sat in the chair. The USS Apollo was his now, and he would be sure to bring her and what remained of her crew home. That was his duty and he knew that more than anything.
“Mister Albar, take us into transporter range of the USS Kelvin. Let’s see if we can help those survivors. Then, we’ll move to the Vega Colony and show the Borg we’re not out of this fight yet!”
“Yes sir!”

Luke was jarred back into consciousness by his head being roughly pulled back. He strained again at his bonds. Was that a give in the manacle around his left arm? He strained again.
“Vice Admiral, the command codes please...”
“Go to hell!”

The USS Apollo had taken its last beating a Vega. Now a Lieutenant, Luke was ordered to bring her back to ESD for a complete refit after just a few patrol missions. Admiral Quinn met him at the transporter room, a PADD in hand.
“Congratulations Lieutenant Commander. You’ve proven yourself in command, and as a result I feel it necessary to reassign you and your crew.”
“Lieutenant Commander sir?” asked Luke, his surprise on clear display.
“That is correct. Come with me I’ll give you a full briefing in my office”

Then Luke commanded the USS Helena, an Excalibur class cruiser. The whole crew from the USS Apollo was transferred and the ship ran beautifully. State of the art weapons, shields and sensors the likes of which had never been seen on the old Miranda class ship. An assignment to the front lines against the Klingons meant that the Helena soon saw combat, and she performed remarkably. And then that fateful day when she chased B’Vat to save Miral Paris and ended up back in the time of Jame T. Kirk. The Guardian of Forever helped them return once the timeline was restored, but the Department of Temporal affairs wasn’t convinced. The whole ship was impounded, and Luke and his crew were lucky to return to active duty within a matter of days. Then there was Luke’s promotion to Commander, apparently saving the entire Federation carried some weight with Starfleet Command...

“I grow tired of this Vice Admiral!”
“I’m still not talking!”
“If you won’t tell me the command codes,” General Ahara turned to a soothing, almost seductive voice that came naturally to Orion females, “then tell me what you were doing on that planet!”
“Oh of course,” Luke was laughing now, “and while I’m at it I’ll tell you the battle plans Starfleet has for this sector, the command codes for my ship, oh and what I had for breakfast!”
That earned Luke a backhand around the face that drew blood...

From Ensign to Commander in a matter of months. That was almost unheard of within Starfleet, but circumstances had helped Luke and his crew. Now the USS Concorde was engaging the Romulans over Rator along with the Federation fleet to prevent the Romulans from using sub-space weapons. The Concorde was a good ship, and Luke had finally started getting used to it after two months in command.
“Sir! The Scimitar class is coming around on the Pecos again! If they take another hit that will be in for them!”
“Helm, defensive pattern Theta Two. Move us into position over the Pecos. All weapons fire at will!”
The Concorde shot through space, phasers blazing and moved to position itself between the advancing Romulan battleship and the stricken Galaxy class.
“Incoming fire!”
“Hold position!”
The ship rocked , consoles exploded all around the bridge and smoke started pouring into the room.
“Direct impact. Forward power couplings are down!”
“Shields at 25%! We can’t take another hit like that!”
“Divert auxiliary power to....”
The whole ship shuddered. The lights flickered on and off as various alarms started blazing together.
“Report!” shouted Luke as he pulled himself back into the command chair, blood streaming from a nasty cut on his forehead.
“Lower starboard nacelle has been blown clean off sir! We’re venting drive plasma!”
“Engineering reports coolant leaks! They’re attempting to shut down!”
“Shields have failed! Weapon systems are offline!”
The ship rocked violently again. This time the lights went off for good, leaving the eerie red glow of the emergency lighting.
“Main power is offline! Engineering reports they cannot shut off the coolant leaks! Warp core breach imminent!”
“How long?”
“Five minutes sir!”
Luke knew that wasn’t long enough to evacuate the entire ship.
“Sir the Pecos is hailing! Lieutenant Commander Mitchell has taken command, and says they have transporters back online. They are preparing to beam us aboard!”
“Helm. Set auto-pilot to ram that Scimitar!”
The ship lurched forward. The Romulan battleship grew rapidly in the viewscreen, weapons blazing. Each blast caused the Concorde to lurch violently. A blue glow filled his vision, and next thing he knew Luke was standing on the bridge of the Pecos, next to his command crew, covered in blood and black dirt and watching as the Concorde hit the Scimitar at full speed. The Romulan ship noticed the danger too late, and the explosion filled the viewscreen with a brilliant white light.

Luke dragged himself back to consciousness and forced himself to concentrate. The room was small a square, dimly lit as was the custom within Klingon ship interiors. A low table was on one side of the room and there sat Luke’s combadge, anti-proton pistol and utility vest with various pieces of equipment in pockets and pouches. Standing next to that table was General Ahara. A tall, slender Orion female with silky black hair and wearing a mix of the usual revealing clothing preferred by Orion women and sleek ceremonial armour appropriate to her rank. Luke had met her before on the battlefield many times and once they had even been forced to work together against the Breen. Next to her stood a human male, muscular and wearing the Klingon sash of a commander.
“Let me deal with him General. I’ll report when I break him.”
“You should have talked to me Vice Admiral” smiled the Orion as she walked out the room.
Luke heard the movement of feet that sounded like two guards saluting as the General left. Two guards, he had to remember that, but now he had more pressing concerns.
“So....Commander is it? An Orion General in command of this ship with a human first officer! Times have changed within the Empire...”
The man moved so quickly Luke hardly had time to brace himself as the punch landed squarely on his jaw...

The time Luke spent commanding the USS Pecos was a time he would never forget. He was promoted to Captain for his bravery at the Battle of Rator and given command of the ship he had saved when the previous commanding officer had died of his wounds in sick bay. The crew of the Pecos weren’t very happy about this to say the least, many of them disapproved of a Captain who was much younger and had served less time than a majority of the crew, and to make matters worse in their eyes he had brought his own crew on board as simple replacements to the lost members of the Pecos.

Rumours also spread of Luke’s record. The USS Apollo damaged and forced to under-go extensive refits and repairs, the USS Helena confiscated by the secretive Department of Temporal Affairs, USS Concorde destroyed and now many wondered what would become of the Pecos. On the way to Deep Space 9 for assignment in Cardassian space multiple fights broke out between the split crew over their new commanding officer. It took all of Luke’s limited resolve to see it through and not request reassignment.

Over time the atmosphere on the Pecos became less hostile. Divisions between the old and new crew lessened, and eventually after four months that seemed an eternity the ship started to feel like it was working as a unit. Then the Terran Empire attacked the Federation. The Pecos, despite being nearly 40 years old was right on the front line. What followed was a whirlwind of events: the exposing of an Undine agent intent on destroying Deep Space 9, preventing the Terran Empire for diverting the Bajoran Wormhole, a meeting with the Bajoran Prophets, crossing over into the Terran Empire universe to close the rift between there and the Federation’s universe and the discovery of a New Link. It had been hardly a year since Vega and Luke once again found himself recalled to Earth, for promotion and reassignment. Rumours circulated that he was given special treatment by command, but the crew of the Pecos stuck true to their story on their commanding officer: he made his own luck and was exactly the sort of person that Starfleet needed with Admiral pips on his uniform.

Luke looked blearily at the man in front of him. He felt himself losing consciousness more and more often and looking back on his past commands. He knew the moment he couldn’t wake up the Klingons would kill him. Then the whole room shook. Alarms blasted throughout the Klingon ship. The human commander looked up and then ran out of the room, shouting a command to the guards that Luke couldn’t quite hear. That didn’t matter, since the manacle on his left arm was indeed loose. Luke strained against the bond, putting every last bit of energy he had into breaking it. A click and the left restraint opened slightly, but not enough to be seen by the guards. Luke groaned out loud, and slumped in his chair. He hoped it wasn’t too over dramatic. The room shook violently again. He heard movement behind him and saw two guards appear, one on either side, through his half closed eyes. An Orion male to the left and a Klingon to the right. Luke took a deep breath and then moved.

Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 64 Flashback (The Continuation)
05-23-2011, 03:14 PM

His left arm came up, fully out of the manacle and swung upwards into the Orions throat. The green skinned alien staggered back choking and cluching his throat. At the same time Luke’s right arm swung backwards, elbow first into the Klingon’s stomach, causing the burly warrior to stagger back. That gave Luke the time he needed. He dived forward for the table, grabbed for his pistol. His hand closed around the grip and swung round, pulling the trigger twice. The first red beam lanced into the Klingon’s face just as he was reaching for his disruptor pistol, the second beam hit the Orion square in the chest leaving a burning hole. Both guards dropped to the floor. An explosion of sparks overhead. Luke slumped on the table, he felt his consciousness slipping away again, three days as a Klingon prisoner finally taking its toll. He fumbled for his combadge on the table and succeeded in grabbing it and placing it on his tattered uniform . Another violent shake of the room. Luke’s eyes started to close. A warm tingling on his skin. Luke slipped back into his memories...

The USS Alecto, NCC-7084, hung in orbit over Earth, still within the confines of dry-dock. The huge star-cruiser was Luke’s next ship as a Rear Admiral Lower Half and was finally a command of his own. Fresh out of San Francisco Shipyards he was to be the first commanding officer ever to sit in the Alecto's command chair. He had selected the crew, the ship was ready and now all she needed was her commanding officer. Just as Luke’s shuttle approached the sun appeared over the curve of Earth, bathing the Alecto in a radiant light. Alecto, an Ancient Greek Erinye, a demi-goddess. The ship certainly looked it now.

Over the course of the next six months Luke commanded the Alecto in the retaking of Starbase 82, an encounter with Q, against the Undine in their own space and the rescue of colonists from a world invaded by the Borg. Soon Luke was promoted once again to Rear Admiral Upper Half, and then the discovery of an Undine Terradome, helping to find a cure of the Borg assimilation virus and at the same time take a step towards peace with the Klingons as well as yet another time travel mission back to the battle with the Borg at Vega, all lead to promotion to Vice Admiral. The new found rank gave Luke the ability to deploy the Alecto where it was needed most. It was on this ship that he truly felt at home. It was his ship, and his alone.

Luke awoke in a sickbay, to see Lieutenant Commander Nrisele, Chief Medical Officer on the Alecto, looking down on him, dermal regenerator in hand.
“You are lucky to be alive sir!” she said with a smile
“What happened?” groaned Luke, feeling a headache started to appear.
“The crew wouldn’t accept me in command,” said the joking voice of Luke’s first officer as she stepped next to Nrisele, also with a smile on her face, “they insisted we come and get you. It was lucky you activated your combadge when you did, we were having trouble scanning the Klingon ship for your signal.”
“What happened to the Klingons?”
“They escaped just after we beamed you out. You collapsed in the transporter room, and as Nrisele said you’re lucky to be here.”
“Ah well...” sighed Luke.
"Sir?" asked his First Officer in a confused tone.
"Nothing Commander. It doesn't matter now. I'm home..."
And with that Luke lay back on the bed and for the first time in several days, relaxed and breathed a sigh of relief.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 65 The I in Team
05-24-2011, 05:22 AM
I always hesitate at these moments. Every time. A new command brings new challenges. It’s never the challenge nor the change that bothers me. Something new is exciting and interesting. The "new" must never be burdensome. It is letting go of the old that causes my hesitation.

As a native of Titan, one of Saturn’s moons, I was practically born in space. It’s my element and I am compelled to explore. It is my fate to be the eternal wanderer. As a wanderer, I am defined not by what I leave behind but by what precious few things I choose to bring with me on my journey.

Each command, each crew, each ship, is an extended family who are all joined in an adventure. It was always sad to loose part of a family: for our journey to part ways. Saying goodbye to a ship or its crew is always hard.

The privilege of selecting your command staff is a wonderful thing. If I choose to use this privilege, it brings me some continuity to my journey. Unfortunately this privilege is a two edged sword. Admiral Quinn once remarked that I had an eye for hidden talent and that I often appeared to select personnel that other Captains had overlooked. I appreciate his confidence. Unfortunately my choices have often attracted… unexpected comment.

My staff decisions are often questioned. No candidate had ever let me down. But despite my confidence in my team and the many accomplishments we have achieved, whispers and rumours follow us everywhere… and there are so many. Like any annoying rumour, some are particularly persistent.

- “Markus Sheppard associates with Borg.”
This rumour refers to Deputy Chief Engineer Simulacra or “Simie”. It ignores that she is a gifted engineer who lost most of her memories during assimilation. Her ability to function in society is quite limited. I suspect most Captains would have difficulty in accommodating her… fortunately my team is able to compensate.

- “Markus Sheppard has a pair of pet Klingons.”
I often wonder at Commander Disok’s reaction to this. As my Head of Security, he is quite reserved and simply refuses to comment. On the other hand, Commander Vulkrath, Head of Sciences, makes her views very clear on this rumour… quite loudly too.

- “Markus Sheppard actually made Owdg-or.”
Actually, I didn’t. This rumour misrepresents Owdg-or’s prodigious manufacturing and research talents and her teaching of these to me. In this respect I am her student. The fact that she is also the sole ambassador of her species to the Federation and that she is serving in Starfleet to determine her planet’s official position seems lost on some commentators. I made first contact with her people and I inadvertently became her “Moun’da ta” or her guide in the world. I cannot simply abandon this responsibility.

- “Markus Sheppard keeps a harem of Betazoids.”
- “Markus Sheppard got rid of Sel’el and Ordtin so he could replace them with more Betazoids.”
- “Commander Emetir is only there for show.”

This set of rumours are my personal favourites. I have four Betazoids on my command roster: Oleina, Dyesane, Velerie and Emetir (“Emet”). Of these four, only Emet is male. Apparently he is retained simply as a smokescreen to persuade people I do not have a Betazoid harem. I assure you there is nothing inappropriate about my relations with any of my team. The species, and gender, of these officers is irrelevant. They are highly competent officers whose talents I fully employ.

Dyesane and I have known each other since our time in the Academy. Oleina, my first officer, along with Emet have both been part of my team since serving on the U.S.S. Damocles.

Emet (formerly Deputy Chief Engineer) became Chief Engineer when my outgoing Chief Engineer Ordtin (a Bolian I have known since the Academy) left my command and recommended him. Dr Valerie Rothchild was unknown to me until she was recommended by my outgoing Science Head, the Vulcan Sel’el. Of course, the rumour that I “got rid of Sel’el and Ordtin to make way for more Betazoids" is as outrageous as it is hurtful. I miss my two friends greatly and I wish them all the best.

Then of course there are the “sympthathizer” rumours because I had the audacity to accept into my roster a Breen (Mister Mat) and the Reman, Mister T’Kek.

I accept that this group is diverse. However, this team is greater than the sum of its parts. These are the people whom I entrust my life and the lives of my crew. Time and again these people have proven their worth and loyalty. For this, time and again, I will ask them if they would like to continue to journey with me. It pains me when they leave but it is their own journey they must follow.

My reverie is interrupted as the hairs on my neck raise. “Sir, the crew are gathered.” The idea gently flows through my mind while the commlink remains silent.

“Thank you, Dyesane. Are the others all here?”

Gently I feel the presence of each of them in my mind. The empaths (Dysane, Oleina, Emit and Dr Rothchild), have joined the others (Disok, Vulkrath, Simmie, Met and T’Kek, Owdg-or and myself) into the mind channel.

The idea of a "mind communication channel" dates back to my Academy days and I suspect Romulan ale may have played a part in the initial idea. Forming this link took many years of experimentation. Having compatable team members was essential. Developing sufficient trust in all parties took time. Learning to link the diverse minds of many species is an impressive feat and it took all four Betazoids working together finally unlock that puzzle. Now it something that any of them can establish for our command team. Developing a "language" for the chanel was also an impressive feat as I am told it is not quite telepathy and not quite empathy that we are using.

This mental connection has served my command staff well. It allows almost instant communication and provides us with incredible precision and team cohesion. The ability to effectively coordinate a team like this is a human trait and requires a human mind, like my own, to fully employ... or so everyone in our little team tells me. Apparently it does not work as well when I am not part of the group.

“All right people. We know the drill. We know they won’t understand our history and connection. But we will win them over. Just like last time and the time before that. As a team we can anything. Once we forge them into a team, they will be able to do anything. That’s our job, so let’s go greet the crew of U.S.S. Relentless Refit A.”
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 66 Just Holding it for Someone...
05-24-2011, 05:27 AM
Vice Admiral Oshin S'ree had grown into a calm and resolute figure over this last year. Being a Caitian he had for a long time been the pain the neck for all his former commanding officers. He "takes matters into his own hands, he is rash, prone to outbursts of temper and God forbid anyone who disagrees with him", the judgement came from his last Captain. The now missing Rear Admiral Wesley Dobbs. It was Wesley who brought Oshin into starfleet and it was he who became the only reliable Father figure to the young Caitian. In July of last year on a mission in Gamma Orionis Wesley Dobbs was abducted by a powerful unknown enemy. Those details of which were only released to him upon being promoted to Vice Admiral.

It was strange that Oshin would be having these thoughts again after so long yet, he knew there would be a reason for it

"Admiral" the voice was familiar of course to the solumn Admiral.

"I assumed, Commander, our relationship had hit the point were we can use each others names?" Oshin turned around and looked upon his long time first officer Jennifer Nushir. A smile had returned to his face. "Oshin, the other senior staff have expressed concern about their Captain"

"Wow. I've been demoted in less then a minute!" a short but reassuring laugh came from Oshins lips. Jennifer knew that a joke was his way of saying everything is alright, and the Nushir Symbiote itself within her body had several lifetimes of relationship experience to know how to read Oshin

"Youve been locked up in your quarters for almost two days, I just wondered if it had anything to do with me. Or our discussion..." Nushir turned away and look to the floor. She didnt want to reopen old wounds but she had to be sure he was fine

"Jennifer..." Oshin walked over, the pads from the bottoms of his feet made an unmistakable sound across the carpeting. The Human Helmsman, Kevin Barton remarked how it reminded him of something called fuzzy felts but the joke was lost on the Trill and the Caitian. "I dont want you to dwell on that night, I've forgotten about it. It just would not be right for us to pursue... relations. You have been my closest friend for the last fifteen years. You were right to turn me down"

"That wasnt what I said Oshin" Jennifer turns into him "I said I couldnt date my commanding officer"

"So transfer"

"You kidding! Miss out on all this... wheres the fun in that Fluffy?" Now Jennifer was the one making jokes. She knew Oshin hated that name, when they first met as Children on Jupiter Station Oshin was smaller then her. She said she always wanted a Cat called fluffy and the name stuck, much to Oshins disdain. Jennifer moved across the 'Captains Quarters' and looked curiously upon an old communicator. It was late 24th Century design clearly by the pattern of it but it had on odd black box attached to the back. A green faint glow pulsing from the centre

"What you have in your hands is... personal to me" Oshin wasnt even looking but his Feline instincts knew where she was in the room. He moved over to the couch and sat down. He punched some commands into the replicator and two glasses of Saurian Brandy materialized

"Today is the birthday of one Admiral Wesley Dobbs"

"He was your old tutor, right?" enquired Jennifer

"Yes. Well no. Well, more then that. He was the guy who brought me into Starfleet, he helped me access the databases at Memory Alpha when I was just a boy. He is the one who told me I am half Kzinti

"...Let me guess, that communicator is his?" Jennifer sipped her Brandy and she sat next to Oshin, her head resting on his shoulder

"His last orders were to assemble a Special Task Force, I was one of them. By the time we had all met up it was already too late, a Borg Cube had been following the Alexandria for days. It was just outside of her sensor range until it attacked. Im not sure about happenned next, all I remember is looking out of the viewscreen, my crew injured myself going into unconscioussness but I am sure I saw something else out there. Another ship attacking the Borg and the Alexandria"

"My god! What happenned to Dobbs?"

"When I next came round I was at Starbase 47. They told me the Alexandria had been destroyed after they lowered their own shields. I wa sconfused, I didnt know why they'd do that but they handed me that communicator. It had been partially assimilated and given directly to me"

"Why? I dont understand Oshin"

"Nor do I, but that faint green glow only occurrs on this day, his Birthday. I firmly believe that wherever Wes is he is trying to talk to me. I believe he modified that communicator deliberately and maybe he knew he was going to be abducted"

"Oshin, its very likely he died" Oshin stands and walks over to the console on his desk

"Computer, show file for Rear Admiral Wesley Dobbs. Security Clearance Alpha 459 red"

"Voice pattern recognised, pass code accepted"

Oshin sits on the desk next to the console and rotates the screen. Nushir stands and walks over and looks at the security file:

Rear Admiral Dobbs, Wesley J
Commanding Officer, U.S.S Alexandria
Status: M.I.A

"Starfleet are just holding out hope?"

"I dont think so, but then of course that suggests that this whole thing has been planned and someone within Starfleet knows whats going on. You asked if I was alright, Jennifer, I am not sad I am... distracted

Oshin purrs with satisfaction

"If anyone asks what that is, the only answer I can give them is I am Holding it for a friend"
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 67 First impressions (Part one)
05-24-2011, 03:32 PM
“I don’t like her.”
“But you haven’t even talked to her.”
“She was a BORG DRONE! What’s to say she won’t turn on us when she gets near the collective? I hear most of what’s under that plastoid suit is still mechanical, what’s to say they got all the ‘bad stuff’ out?”
“Speaking of her body, if she was just the slightest shade of blue … and perhaps a bit balder …”

Robert punched his Bolian friend in the arm as they walked through the corridors of their newly assigned ship, the USS ‘Galloping Moose’. Here and there engineers were removing panels and doing some last minute modifications to the ship’s systems.

“Personally I prefer the Borg lady over our chief engineer. I was working on the EPS conduits the other day and he called me an ‘overgrown Smurf’. I don’t even know what that is”, Char exclaimed.
Robert shrugged his shoulders in a ‘why do you assume I know’-way and replied: “He’s Tellarite, they consider insults to be a form of flattery and argumentation a sport. He was probably congratulating you on your fine work.”
“Oooh, right, I forgot about that.”

They turned into a corridor and nearly collided with a Trill completely engrossed with reading a PADD, “Sorry ladies”, she said and continued walking, not bothering to lift her head.
“Wasn’t that our new science officer”, Robert asked his friend.
“I think so. Now Rob you’ve got to admit that SHE’S cute”, he added in a whisper.
“I’ve talked to her once and you can’t get a sensible word out of her. I’ve never met a more confused person.”
“You seem determined to ‘not-like’ every single one of our new officers. How about our tactical officer?”
“Yeah, I figured you’d have something to say about her”, he said with a chuckle, “she’s blue at least. But come on, she looks as if she’s perpetually angry. It’s unsettling, even for Andorians.”
“Our captain?”
Robert sighed, “I don’t know Char, he’s so ‘young’ and field commissioned to boot. I don’t think he has it in him. I don’t know if any of them do. Why didn’t he promote any officers from the Galileo?”
“Oh so that’s why you’re so cranky. You feel like you got passed over for promotion? Rob, Rob, Rob, … You’re so easily influenced by first impressions.” The Bolian waved his hand and motioned around. “Take this ship, ... ok maybe that's a bad example since it's a brand new Discovery class. Let me tell you those experimental engines they've put in her keep me up at night ... If you know what I mean.”
“You’re sick you know that …”
“And still you keep hanging out with me.”
“That’s because nobody else will and I feel sorry for you. Anyway I have to pass by sickbay, my neck is acting up again.”
“Alright buddy”, he clapped his human friend on the back who winced in pain, “but keep an open mind alright. The captain’s really older than you, you know.”

Still rubbing his sore backside Robert walked into sickbay only to find that it was deserted apart from a young nurse and a man in a command uniform.
“And don’t touch any of the catalysts, Syaxani likes to file those herself”, he said to the nurse before he turned to face the newcomer, “As you were lieutenant commander … Evans, right? How can I help you?”
“I just came here to talk to the nurse, sir”, he said confidently. “My neck’s been acting up lately … always happens when we’re in spacedock. I don’t like sitting still.”
“Well, she’s busy. The chief medical officer and half the staff I requested from the Galileo were reassigned at the last minute and sickbay has been a mess ever since”, the captain shook his head at his own words, “thank goodness Sya was still available. Let me look at that neck of yours.”
“I beg your pardon, sir?”
“Come now, I used to be a doctor you know”, he said with joviality and a hint of pride.

Feeling slightly awkward, Robert walked over to one of the biobeds and sat down while the captain inquired to his symptoms.
“Pardon my saying so, sir”, he said while his superior officer was running a scanner along his spine, “But are you sure you know what you’re doing?”
“Well, I’m pretty sure. Don’t move.” In a swift motion he pressed his fingers in the area where his neck met his shoulders and pressed or twisted, resulting in an audible gasp from poor Mr. Evans. “That should do it.” He grabbed a hypo and injected it quickly. As the lieutenant commander felt his pain ebbing he continued. “My previous host, Tazi, was one hell of a physician. How are you feeling?”

Robert rubbed the back of his neck which felt as good as new. "So that’s what Char meant, the captain’s a joined Trill."
“That was impressive … sir.”
“Nonsense, if you feel it acting up again, you should talk to Syaxani about it. That is, if she ever gets here.”
Still bewildered Robert walked over towards the door when he saw a large bronze-ish plate lying near the door.
“Sir, Is that what I think it is?”
The captain walked over and picked up the ship's new name plaque.
“Indeed, Mr. Evans. I was on my way to the bridge with this when the good nurse stopped me”, he held up the inscription for him to see, “’Galloping Moose’ sounded ridiculous don’t you agree?”
All the two men could do was smile.


“This is captain Jijan Tyr of the USS Caroline, we are on peaceful mission in the Antari nebula to test …”
At that moment an explosion rocked the ship and interrupted the transmission.
“Shut it down Miss Idran, fire phasers at the nearest ship and Mr. Evans … take the helm please.”

Robert hurried towards the helm and relieved the ensign sitting there, who looked very relieved not to have to pull any battle maneuvers. Rob had hurried to the bridge at the captain's request. At the time it had been a yellow alert but now they were in a full blown battle. He could hear science officer Idran, the ‘confused Trill’, address the captain when he sat down.
“It was a valiant attempt Jijan.”
Robert had just enough time to shake his head at the comment, "Why did SHE have to be on duty right now and didn’t she know she should address him as ‘captain’? After that he was fully focused on the fight at hand.

He counted four, no five Klingon Birds of Prey in one of their more ‘cooperative’ attack patterns. They were cloaking and decloaking in seemingly chaotic maneuvers making it difficult to get a target lock on them. He could hear the tactical officer, commander Th’Zarath, pound her console like she was an angry Klingon herself.
“Captain, I’m having great difficulty keeping a target lock on them, they’re cloaking too fast.” Another explosion shook the ship. “If they keep hitting us like this we won’t have much of a ship left.”

“Miss Masterson, how far are we from the Antari nebula?”
A calm, almost cold voice replied and Robert realized it was ‘the Borg’ speaking. For some reason he never realized she’d have a name.
“We could be there in under a minute captain.”
“Lay in a course. Tyr to Tass”, he touched his combadge, “Chief, you overrated manifold scrubber, are those engine modifications ready to be brought online?”
In a split-second the gruff voice of the Tellarite engineer sounded over the commotion of explosions and alert bells.
“Yeah they’re ready, or at least ‘spacedock’ says they’re ready. They’ve never been tested. What the hell are you doing to my ship you worm-carrying masochist?”
Jijan chuckled, “Nothing like a good field test, ey? Get them online and try not to blow out every conduit on *MY* ship you overgrown leprechaun.”
“Hah, you do me to much honour”, the voice croaked through the comm system. “Don’t worry captain, I’ll keep her together.”

Robert, who until now was too busy dodging Klingon attacks, hadn’t heard half of the conversation between the captain and his chief engineer, but he got the important bits. They were going it try and avoid the Klingons inside the nebula.
“Captain, I’m reading severe plasma discharges and pockets of various ionizing gasses, recommend we drop to at least one-quarter impulse?”
In just a second the captain stood behind his seat looking intently at Robert's console,
“Negative Mr. Evans, three-quarter impulse.”
“But sir, we’ll blow out our engines!”
“Not if those new engine modifications hold up. Take us in.”
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 68 First impressions (Part two)
05-24-2011, 03:33 PM
The Caroline swerved and dived right into the large blue expanse, a host of Klingons dangerously close behind them. Kept at bay only by a hail of pin-point accurate phaser fire unleashed by the Andorian officer. She was saving the ship by not allowing the Klingons, cloaked or otherwise, to get a clear shot. From the little he could see on his console he was very impressed.

“Sir”, The cold voice said from somewhere at the back, “I’m reading build-ups in the intake manifolds, I’m trying to compensate but it seems the engine modifications aren’t working as intended.”
Just as the captain hit his fist on Robert’s seat they heard their science officer speak.
“Jijan, I think I may have a solution. If Mr. Evans can ‘glide’ between the different layers of plasma, follwing the natural currents while avoiding the discharges then according to my calculations it should alleviate the stress on the manifolds.”
The captain turned and looked intently at Robert, for a moment he didn’t speak, then he asked: “Think you can surf in a plasma storm?”

The Caroline dived in between a large blue cloud of plasma, it was almost as if there was a storm all around her as she expertly dodged lightning bolts arcing between the top and bottom layer. One of the Klingon ships wasn’t so lucky and got hit while cloaked. Since shields don't work when the cloak is up the hull absorbed the full force of the impact. The bird of prey spiralled out of control and disappeared beneath the bottom layer in a fiery ball of orange from the burning warp plasma.

“That’s one down”, Commander Th’zarath shouted with glee.
“We should still do something about those other four”, the Borg said, “shields have dropped to 20 percent”.
“I would have done *something*, by now”, the Andorian commander replied angrily, “if those damned Klingons didn’t keep cloaking.”
“There are several tachyon eddies off our starboard bow”, Captain Tyr responded, “Miss Idran, can you use the photonic emitters on our hull to create a shockwave to disperse them and overwhelm their cloaking devices?”
The ship was rocked by another explosion, a console blew up and burned one of the officers on deck. Tyr hurried over to check on his wound.
“Get him to Sickbay, immediately",he said to Miss Masterson.
The former Borg drone gently scooped up her wounded crewmate and hurried him to the turbolift.
“Miss Idran, can or can you not configure a photonic shockwave? … EZREA!”
The Trill science officer’s hands stopped and she snapped her head up looking straight at him. She had been typing frantically during the entire conversation and had seemed oblivious to the captain’s orders.
“I’m done, wave configured.”

“Then by all means Mr. Evans, take us in.”

Robert steered the Caroline straight at the eddies. It was only after the battle that he realized what an impressive display of ability Ezrea had shown, even though she appeared to have defied the captain. Not only had she configured the shockwave with alarming speed, but she had been feeding him real-time predictions of where the plasma discharges would hit so he could stay clear of them.
“We’re in position captain.”

The four remaining birds of prey dived at their target. The chase had gone on for far too long and their engines couldn’t take much more. Now was the time for the kill! None of their ships had been too badly damaged, but the Starfleet vessel’s shields were dangerously low and a piece of their EPS grid had blown out, leaving a gash along the hull. It looked like a bleeding animal, waiting to be slaughtered. Right as the Klingon commander wanted to give the order to all ships to fire weapons simultaneously a large bubble appeared around their prey, expanding exponentially and pushing all plasma and ionizing gasses their way.

“Sir, all Klingons ships have decloaked”, Th’zarath exclaimed, “and even better sir, their engines have overloaded. They’re adrift! ”
There was a general cheer on the bridge which was at last interrupted by the captain’s voice.
“Are they in any danger?”
”Unfortunately not, sir” (several crewmen laughed) ”Their current trajectory will bring them out of the nebula in no time.”
The captain rubbed his hands together, “Then it is time we do the same. Mr. Evans … take us out of this place. I see no further reason to test the experimental drive.” He then added in a lower voice so only Robert could hear him, “and well done Mr. Evans, I knew that when I saw your record I couldn’t let such natural piloting skills be promoted away. You truly are a natural.”

Robert wanted to speak up, waylay his claim, fight his decision, but he knew the captain was right. The thrill he experienced when he alone piloted the Caroline and its crew into certain harm or safety was a responsibility he wouldn’t entrust to anyone. He looked over the captain’s shoulder and saw the bridge crew, HIS bridge crew, bustling and looking after each other. He could certainly entrust his life to them. In the end, there was really only one thing he could say:

“Aye, aye captain”.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 69 Soriedem Takes Command
05-25-2011, 12:51 AM
Captain’s Log … Stardate 87685.09

I think I’ve set some kind of record. This morning I was a Starfleet Ensign on my first mission after graduating from the Academy. Tonight, I am the Captain of the USS. Montgomery.

I have to admit that it’s wonderful being in command of my own vessel again. Those two and a half years on Earth in the Academy were some of the most difficult for me. Earth is beautiful. It reminds me of Tobarrus, which made it all the more difficult to be there. Everywhere I turned, I expected to see my family, friends, and Audria (my wife) come ‘round the corner. I was happy to finally graduate from the Academy and feel space beneath my boots.

In my old life, before the destruction of Tobarrus, I served my people for a decade as a starship captain. I relished those occasions when I would come home. The sight of its blue oceans and green continents would send my heart racing. Then, the coast line of my home land would appear over the horizon. A wave of nervous anticipation would rush over me and I would start pacing back and forth to the helm and back again. A small spec on my view screen would grow larger and larger as we drew closer and closer to my home town. The scent of my favorite meal prepared by my wife; her perfume; and the earthy scent after it rains … I was home.

All of that changed after the Borg destroyed Tobarrus. Those years of scratching out a meager existence in the middle of Borg occupied space with no home world to seek refuge, has changed me. The influx of refugees from the home world to our colonies strained their resources. When the fighting began over kamas rice, the colony had no choice but to turn people away. We formed a convoy and set out into the unknown universe seeking the necessities of life. Survival was arduous, but we survived and found a new home that welcomed us with open arms, thousands of light years away ...

But, I digress.

Today, the Borg attacked Vega Colony. I was ordered to board the USS Khitomer and assist with the defense of the ship. Onboard, the command staff was dead or unconscious, and pockets of survivors were struggling to hold key areas of the ship from wave after wave of Borg drones. I lent them a hand and phaser.

… Borg. … They took everything from me. I hate to admit it, but at the time, I got a great deal of satisfaction from killing those drones. I regret those actions now.

Every Tobarri is taught at an early age that the Borg are people consumed with a terrible virus, a heinous technological mistake. All of our technology revolved around curing them from the disease, but Starfleet refers to the same process as liberating. It’s an apt description. The individuals are suppressed, but they still are someone’s mother, their father, sister, brother, son or daughter … Any one of those drones could have been Audria.

Audria … She would have been proud of me today. I am in command again, with a good ship and a sturdy crew. I know she is. My t’O symbiont tells me she’s out there, somewhere. Someday, I will find her and liberate her from the Borg.

T’O are truly amazing creatures. My schoolmates at the Academy referred to my t’O as a starfish, and I do see the similarities. All t’O originate from the First T’O and are produced by cleaving an arm from an adult node. It is only after severing an arm, can a t’O bond with a Barri (an avian humanoid). This is often done at an early age in the Tobarri culture. With time, the Barri and the t’O become a single being, a Tobarri. The First t’O and all of its nodes gain experience in individuality through the bonding, and the Barri gain a great sense of interconnectedness with one another by using the t’O’s natural ability to communicate on a quantum level.

That’s how I know that a part of her is proud of me and wants me to find her. With this ship, the search will begin in earnest. She will need to do her part.

I’ve done it again. Where was I? Oh yes, I remember now.

Starfleet had more ships than Officers to operate them. Chief Sherman granted me a field promotion to Captain onboard the USS Montgomery, and assigned an ensign to my command, an Andorian named Sherrin. We transported aboard the Montgomery. The ship was virtually deserted except for a few crewmen, all of them newly promoted cadets. When I stepped off the turbolift onto the bridge and announced that I was taking command of the ship, time stopped.

The crew stared at me like a mad man had just come aboard their ship. We did not know each other. Circumstance had thrown us together, and now we had to deal with it. It wasn’t what I had expected. I don’t think any of us had expected any of this.

I called for a status report and broke them from their trance. The crew came alive and resumed their regular duties as if that uncomfortable moment had never occurred. The crew may have been raw cadets, but they performed their duties like seasoned veterans. I commend them for their hard work.

I approached the center seat and placed my hand gingerly on the head rest. I stepped around it and sat down. It fit like a glove. The ship may have been ready for the scrap heap, but it was my ship and nothing was going to stop me now. I ordered the ship to come about. We helped rescue crewmen from the Kelvin, Oakland, Bohr, and Montreal, and defended the Vega Colony from the Borg invasion.

It’s been quite a day. I sit here totally exhausted, dreading the long walk back to my quarters to put all this behind me. Yet, I cannot contain the excitement that fills me, knowing that tomorrow new adventures lie before me as Captain of a Federation Starship.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 70
05-27-2011, 02:31 PM
[[Written from the perspective of my main char Will]]

I took command of the USS Winters with a great sense of honour. She'd be captained by the very intelligent, selfless and dedicated late Captain Ernest Hemmingway, himself no youngster.

Most of the crew I inherited in taking over the Winters were largely the crew that served Hemmingway, though all the senior staff and a fair few crewmen left to either new assignments or to take some time off. This was a good oppertunity not only for me but also for my senior staff to adjust to a new ship, with a dillligent and loyal crew. Of course there will be friction, for no-one will be able to replace Hemmingway, but my staff saw to it that the crew were in no way pressurised during these difficult times for them.

Many of those who transferred from the Ravenstein to the Winters, mainly my senior staff, had not served aboard a science vessel before, let alone one such as advanced as a Intrepid. Don't get me wrong, my Excelsior, the USS Ravenstein, will be missed by many, but a crew must experience new challenges and changes to keep itself ahead of the game, always willing to try and improve or modify what we currently have.

And a fresh start is what many a person needs to advance themselves. I myself am a tactition, normally captaining an cruiser, so a science ship is a new and strange field to me. And it was so nice to be welcomed by the crew of the Winters much like the cadets that come aboard. Indeed, I was reliant on many of the Winters' crew for assistance is balancing my duties in running the ship. Promotion of a few bright sparks to the rank of Ensign proved I was willing to recognise enginuity.

And I am hopeful that now, as I look towards the future, I may call upon this crew, that has assembled itself into order so admirably, to fulfil it's duties and demands, not of Starfleet or the Federation, but of themselves, for it is satisfaction of your own work that is the reward.
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