Author Topic: Shoreleave: Graduation Day  (Read 6710 times)

Offline Maya Takagi

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Re: Shoreleave: Graduation Day
« Reply #45 on: October 19, 2015, 05:03:21 am »
|Wine Shoppe, Deck 9
|2021 HRS, MD 8

The secret communications terminal inset into the large, obsidian tabletop abruptly deactivated, signalling an end of the tête-à-tête between a rather shaken Kittiana Novus and the Romulan intelligence agent, known as Ilia.  On the screen before them Captain Nikolas G. Bakyr and Lieutenant Maya Takagi watched as the young Trill in the adjoining room took a moment to compose herself before she began concealing the device from prying eyes.

"Oh this is turning into quite the game," Doctor Takagi cooed, wondering how much intelligence the Romulans had gleaned from Kepler station. She was tempted to open the encrypted files herself, but they were clearly for Nikolas' eyes only...

Nikolas was too deep in thought to concern himself with Maya's grim sense of amusement over these latest developments.  He was impressed with how well Miss Novus had handled herself under such circumstances but was pleased that the Romulan had made the suggestion of bringing him into the fold rather than having to find a plausible reason to do so.  Of course it would be dangerous to allow the woman to believe a Starfleet captain was allowing himself to be compromised, but if it aided them in retrieving Nelwas then he would play his part.

"H-how did I do?"  Kitt asked when she entered from the side door.

"You performed your part wonderfully, my dear."  Nikolas assured her with a warm smile.  "I am sorry that we were forced to put you through that, but I am pleased to see that our hopes have been assuaged and Nelwas does indeed seem to be alive."  Directing his hoverchair over to his fellow Trill, the captain patted her on the shoulder before accepting the isolinear chip she had brought from the communications terminal.  "Let us see what price our friendly infobroker has set, shall we?"

The pair crossed back to where Maya stood and, after inserting the chip, the captain entered his clearance to unlock the data.  He didn't want to know how Ilia had come to be in possession of what was supposed to be a closely guarded encryption protocol and would make sure to speak with the EOA Intelligence Representative as soon as possible.  Right now though they were here for a reason.

After a moments delay, the decryption process ended and a redacted report from the Department of the Exterior appeared on the screen.  It detailed the defection of a Federation scientist named Doctor Heinrich Baumgärtner in the early 2370s.  Although many of the specific details had been removed from the report, it seemed that Baumgärtner had taken a stand against the use of biological weapons by certain factions within both the Federation and Starfleet during the opening stages of the Dominion war.

Following that, he had seemingly vanished before being detected crossing the Neutral Zone into Romulan space.  Additional information regarding Baumgärtner's family was also included on the chip; detailing their location and the fact they were being detained to this day in what was described as 'protective custody', despite little to no efforts being made to extradite the scientist.

"Far be it for me to sound pessimistic," Nikolas began, "but doesn't it seem a little too... altruistic for a Romulan agent to be attempting to reunite a family after almost fifteen years?"

"Sometimes even the most heartless among us can be compelled to help," Doctor Takagi replied. Although she was certain that Ilia had ulterior motives, the Doctor was in no position to discern them, nor did she care to.

"From a professional perspective, I would suggest letting this be. Careers have been ruined for far far less, and I would not care to see you be undone by what may be a long game on the Romulan's part, nor to involve someone further up the intelligence chain and get pulled in deeper," she continued, "Nelwas, I'm certain, will find a way out of it on his own.

"From a personal perspective, I know what it's like to be held against my will with no chance of rescue. There are those for whom such a fate is fair punishment, but for all his chicanery Nelwas isn't one of them." A knowing smile crossed the Doctor's lips. "I also know that your conscience won't let you leave this alone, knowing what you know. So what are you willing to do to feel better about the situation?"

"I honestly don't know..." Nikolas admitted.

"What?"  Kitt exclaimed in disbelief.  "You can't be serious!"

"Miss Novus," Nikolas took her hand and patted it soothingly.  "We cannot make rash decisions based solely on the information this woman has provided.  That won't help anyone, least of all Nelwas."  He pointed out in the hopes she would take a moment to think about this more clearly.  "I happen to agree with Maya... going down this path will be fraught with danger."

"You heard her," Kitt snatched her hand back and gestured towards Doctor Takagi.  "Nelwas doesn't deserve to be strapped down like some... some mentally unstable criminal!"  Her body was trembling as she recalled Nelwas' desperate plea for Ilia to help him.

Nikolas sagged in his chair somewhat as the other Trill practically fell apart before him.  Maya had been right, of course.  His conscience wouldn't allow him to leave Nelwas in the hands of those people.  But they needed more than sentimentality if they were going to make this work and not lose their careers in the process.  "Miss Novus," he leaned forward and took her by the shoulders.  "Kittiana.  We will not leave Nelwas to such a fate.  I promise."

"He promises, Ms. Novus," Doctor Takagi echoed, although her tone made it sound as if he'd committed a sin. "With that assurance, and acknowledging that you played a central role in solving this mystery, I advise you to go home and let us work out the rescue scenarios. At this juncture, none of us have done anything questionable, but the moment that the Captain and I start discussing classified information with a civilian, we're setting ourselves up for failure."

"However, it is important that you keep this information to yourself," she reminded Kittiana. "No one should know what we just heard, whether it is Nelwas's sister, your employees, or your closest friends and family. Of course, if you need to vent, the Captain's door is always open. He is a greater expert on how to process grief and loss than some of the most accomplished psychologists."

While the Doctor was more than happy to pass this responsibility on to Nikolas, her words were oddly sincere.

Kitt took in the dismissal quietly.  She might not have been Starfleet but that was clearly an order that Doctor Takagi expected her to follow.  Which was fine... Kitt had known that it was unlikely she could see this through to the end, even if she had allowed herself to believe otherwise all the same.

As the young woman left he and Maya to their pondering, Nikolas perused the information Ilia had provided them.  "Lets forget for a moment that I promised to achieve the unachievable," the male Trill said, forcing a smile.  "Just how might we go about locating Baumgärtner's family and spiriting them across the Neutral Zone?"

"Forget the Neutral Zone," Doctor Takagi stated. "If Ilia wants these people, let's make her meet us in Ferengi territory, or wherever Nelwas is being held and validate her information first hand. As for getting them there..."

She paused to consider their options, and then proposed the simplest one. "We can create information that Doctor Baumgärtner is dying. The Federation isn't so cruel as to prevent his family from visiting his deathbed. It also eliminates any logical reason why they should be held protectively." As one who hated being caged, the last word dripped out sarcastically.

"We can ferry said message through Commander McCallister, so as to make it a diplomatic request. What do you think?"

A relieved smile spread across the elderly Trill's face as he looked across at Maya.  "That's an approach I hadn't considered."  He admitted.  So concerned with which rules and regulations they would be breaking, this elegant plan likely never would have occurred to him.  "Not only does it seems like the path of least resistance," Nikolas added, "but it also minimises the level of rule breaking we would have to undertake."

"Good." Doctor Takagi had almost forgotten how enjoyable professional deception could be. "I'll spend the next few hours putting together a proposal and we can proceed from there. Nelwas apparently isn't going anywhere, so we have time."

"Agreed," Nikolas stretched out a kink in his back before taking the controls of his hover-chair again.  "As I said to Miss Novus, we cannot afford to act hastily.  Especially if this deception is to be flawless enough to be above suspicion."  Perhaps there were some details he could attend to since he would likely be unable to sleep, which would only make the waiting more intolerable.

Remembering why she had shown up here to begin with, Doctor Takagi concluded the conversation thusly, "Now, if you would excuse yourself, I have a personal call to make."

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Offline John Reynolds

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Re: Shoreleave: Graduation Day
« Reply #46 on: December 01, 2015, 09:00:05 pm »
|Treehouse Lounge, Deck 1
|1729 HRS, MD 3

Taking the steps two at a time, Eugene briskly ascended the staircase to the Treehouse Lounge and started looking around for the man he was after.  His search was expedited by the simple fact that very few of the patrons were Human and, of those, three had traditional Bajoran jewellery dangling from one of their ears which ruled them out.  Instead of John though he spotted another familiar face.

"Look what the Caitian dragged in," Eugene chuckled as he sat down on the vacant stool next to Hideyoshi.   "Just so you know," he added to avoid the same mishap as last time, "I'm the other one.  But John is meeting me here shortly if you want to catch up?"

Hide looked up from the scotch he was nursing at the handsome man who had addressed him.  A slight smirk played upon his lips as he said, “Ah yes, the other Reynolds man.”  Eugene had had a bit of fun on Hide’s part a few months back by masquerading as John during a session, which led to Hide believing that John had cheated on his then fiancée by kissing Dr. Yale – a mistaken assumption anyone would have come to given the circumstances.

Eugene flagged down the waitress and ordered a bourbon.  He wasn't as much of a fan as John, who had probably picked up the taste from Sarah, but a little to whet his whistle was in order.  "I heard rumours you were back but had to see it for myself."  He said as he leaned against the bar.  "Risa get too much for you?"

“Something like that,” Hide said softly before downing the remainder of his drink, signaling the waitress he would have another.  “I could not keep away for too much longer, how would the crew keep their sanity intact without my therapeutic administrations?”

"There are three of you now and I still don't like your chances of winning that battle."  Eugene laughed.  He tried to catch up by finishing his drink and then clunking the empty glass down on the bar.  "You missed Johnny-boy's nuptials.  We laughed, we cried, there was cake."  Almost wistfully he added, "I got to meet my sister too... His sister... our sister?"  Shaking his head he settled on: "I got to meet Samantha."

“Hmm…I am not very well versed in Temporal Mechanics, but I believe she is his sister,” Hide responded thoughtfully.  “Unless of course you also have a sister Samantha in your universe?  I think I would need a couple more drinks before trying to wrap my brain further around that conundrum,” he chuckled.

"I do," Eugene nodded.  "They're surprisingly similar," he added with an amused smile.  "But it still takes some getting used to."

"What takes some getting used to?"  An identical voice asked as John approached the pair.  "Hey, look what the Caitian dragged in," the Security Chief chuckled when he realised who it was Eugene was talking to.  "Where have you been hiding?"

Eugene shared an amused glance with Hideyoshi over his doppelgänger's choice in greeting.

Hide pondered for a moment upon his own counterpart in Eugene’s universe.  Would the two have had similar upbringings?  From what he understood, Starfleet didn’t exist as such, so what would he have done with his life?  Certainly the incident on Draco would not have happened, but would there have been something similar to give the other Hideyoshi, or whatever his name was, the same life experiences to bring the two to the same mannerisms as with John and Eugene?  It was enough to give him a headache.

Noticing the two Reynolds’ expectant expressions, the counselor realized a somewhat pregnant pause had passed.  “Ah, I was on sabbatical,” Hide began to explain, using the cover story provided for his recent undercover activities. “There is only so much time one can spend on Risa before the need to return to duty arises.”

"Depends who you're with," John grinned. Eugene groaned.

"He's been like this ever since he became Mister Sarah Martin."

"Hey," John protested with a chuckle, "I think we earned some blissful happiness."

Hide couldn’t tell from John’s grin whether he knew about Tanis or not, rumor often spread faster than plasma fire on a small station like Kepler.  The counselor shacking up with a strange and devilishly handsome Trill was certainly gossip of the highest caliber.

“I am sorry to have missed your nuptials,” Hide said to John, choosing to avoid speaking of himself further.  “Though I am surprised you are still here rather than on Risa, or somewhere similar, for your honeymoon.”

The waitress sidled over to them and set a glass down in front of John.  He nodded to her in thanks and then took a swig before shifting his attention back to his friend.  "Don't sweat it, Hide.  No offence to you or our guests, but Sarah and I would've been equally as happy if we were the only ones there."

Lowering the glass, but keeping a hold of it, he continued, "Between our duties here, our rough patches, and Sarah being called away to help with her mother and the other Surak crew members, the wedding was a long time coming.  And since, if anything should happen to her mother, Sarah could be called away again we just figured that having a honeymoon wasn't important so long as we were together."

“I hope nothing untoward occurs, then,” Hide said after sipping his new drink.  “It must be difficult having both partners serving in Starfleet – orders and assignments are not always easily flexed to accommodate.

"It certainly doesn't help us plan for our future when Starfleet could decide one of us is of better use somewhere else."  John agreed.  It was a simple fact of life though that many couples had to go through.  He took another sip of his drink and admitted: "I made the decision a while back though that Sarah comes before my commitment to Starfleet... That may not be what they want to hear, but if push came to shove I would sooner resign than be separated."

Eugene remained silently thoughtful, wondering if the Counsellor would have anything to say on that decision.  It was eerie how much it reflected his own decision to remain here.

“That would certainly be a loss for the crew,” Hide replied, “but I feel I would do the same were I in the same situation.” He added with a smile.

John grinned, "I thought you would be the first one arguing I hadn't thought that through."  He admitted.  Risa was good for you."

“Well I cannot possibly wear by counselor hat all the time,” Hide said with a grin and a slight gesture towards the alcohol they were currently imbibing.  He didn’t mention the conflicting thoughts currently being experienced in his undercover work in Occultae Umbrae.  While he didn’t agree with a lot of their methods, and the fact he had nearly been killed several times over by OU agents, he could certainly empathize with some of the reasoning behind their actions.  Hide imagined many similar crises of faith during the Maquis uprisings the previous decade.

“I imagine I have my work cut out for me once more,” his grin was gone now, “given the latest death defying experience inflicted upon the people of Kepler.”

"We've managed to pull together before," John reminded him, "I know we can do it again."

Eugene raised his glass.  "I'll drink to that."

Hide too lifted his tumbler before taking a pull.  “This is true, the people of Kepler have proven their resiliency time and time again. Will Ms. Matthews need to pencil in either of you?”

"I might not have the healthiest psyche on the station," John answered with an amused laugh, "but I've honestly never been happier."

“Then there is probably little I could do,” Hide chuckled.  “Happiness is the ultimate goal, after all.”

“After all this love and happiness he’s been spouting,” Eugene grumbled, “I think I might need to book a series of appointments!”

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Offline Maya Takagi

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Re: Shoreleave: Graduation Day
« Reply #47 on: December 10, 2015, 04:37:36 pm »
|EOA Home Office, Deck 10
|0905 HRs, MD10

It had not been particularly difficult for Doctor Maya Takagi to convince her superior to approve a rescue operation for the Ferengi shopkeeper, Nelwas. While she had been willing to manipulate Lt. Commander McAllister, either through blackmail, begging, or seduction, to gain his backing, the Commander consented after a day of consideration. Although he did not confess to it, he appeared to hold some fondness for the strange Ferengi as well.

Sitting across from McAllister, legs crossed and teacup in hand, Doctor Takagi processed the ease by which she'd earned his rubber stamp in silence.

"I will need a team," she stated after a moment, "I believe Eugene Reynolds should remain on the station and keep an eye on the Andorian infants, so my needs are primarily related to security and intelligence gathering."

She handed him a list of names: Sorok, freelancer; PO3 Myeong-Ha Kim, security officer Kepler; CPO Harrison Matthews, security officer Endeavour; Cadet Rory Kiriakis, cadet Kepler.

Henry read the list in tight-lipped silence.  He was still coming to terms with the fact that Maya was keeping him informed about this development with Nelwas rather than expecting him to clean up the mess after she had sent people off half-cocked.  Tapping his chin thoughtfully as he set the PADD down and looked up at Maya, Henry decided how to approach this.

"This is a rather eclectic list of names," he said finally, leaning forward in his chair slightly.  "Is there a reason you've selected all but one Starfleet personnel?"

"No," she replied. "I need security and I need people I trust to get the job done."

"What about Kiriakis?"  Henry asked with a carefully neutral expression.  "I know she's come a long way, but do you really think it's wise to send in a Cadet rather than a seasoned pilot?  I assume that's why you selected her?  Unless," he added dryly, "you think she can annoy these people into returning Mister Nelwas."

"During the search for Doctor Yale's abductors, the Cadet displayed an aptitude for intelligence gathering," Doctor Takagi stated, ignoring his attempt at humor. "As we don't know precisely where he is being held, I need a navigator who also brings an analytical skilset."

"Very well," Henry agreed with a curt nod.

Putting the PADD down, he reached over and used the terminal on his desk to transmit an invitation to the Cadet in question.  While there were any number of personnel who could supply the same skills as Kiriakis, Henry was keen to see the young woman given opportunities to prove herself.  Maybe if he could keep her from learning Maya's bad habits she would make quite the useful resource to Starfleet in the future.

"However," the bald headed Human looked back at Maya, fully expecting an argument from her over his next point.  "I believe that you need to bring her up to speed on what will be expected of her during this mission.  And then the final decision on whether or not she takes part will be Kiriakis' to make.  These little excursions have a tendency to get out of hand."

"Is that so?" Doctor Takagi mused. "All the outings I've managed have run rather smoothly and, in both circumstances, resulted in the rescue of captives with no casualties."

It took tremendous effort for Henry to fight back the urge to roll his eyes, a rather childish habit he never would have thought of indulging in prior to his time mentioning Rory Kiriakis.  Maybe he had picked it up through osmosis.  In response to her statement, Henry simply said: "A desirable outcome and a smooth operation are not one and the same, Maya.  Or perhaps you've forgotten that you had not one, but two mentors requiring recuperation time in Sickbay following an exercise on the holodeck."

"Oh that," Doctor Takagi shrugged, "I wasn't the one who came up with that silly mission. In fact Commander T'Sura explicitly denied me any opportunity to consult on the scenario. I simply assured there was a level of verisimilitude."

"Now, if you're over these passive aggressive barbs, might we proceed?" she asked with a flutter of her eyelashes.

|Shortly Afterwards

Entering the office, and McAllister's cubicle, Rory calmed her nerves with a steady breath. She had no idea why she was here, she hadn't stepped too far out of line lately and kept mostly to herself, focusing on her studies.

Falling into an at ease stance, the cadet spoke to the two older officers occupying the small space. "You wanted to see me Ma'am, Sir?" She asked, glancing between the two.

"We did," Henry nodded.  "Take a seat, Cadet.  Lieutenant Takagi has a matter to discuss with you."

Doctor Takagi leaned against the desk, quietly studying the Cadet for a moment.

"As there is a gap of two months between the end of the prior academic year and the beginning of the next, I would like you to accompany me and a small team on a special assignment off-station," she stated.

Well this wasn't what she had been expecting. Slipping into the only empty seat inside the cubicle, Rory took a moment to digest what Dr. Takagi had said before speaking. "I see." She answered as she glanced between them once more. "Where are we going?"

"The Ferengi Alliance," Doctor Takagi replied. "We can call it a diplomatic mission, of sorts. I need a pilot as well as someone versed in logistics. I cannot think of a better candidate, presently."

The Ferengi Alliance. Diplomatic mission. Logistics. Brow furrowed, the cadet mulled over the scant amount of information given before giving her instructor a brief nod, her decision made. Like she was going to say 'no' to Doctor Takagi, please. "How many will be in our party? You mentioned the two month break, so we're looking at it lasting at least that long time wise, so we will need something larger then one of our normal shuttles."

"What the Lieutenant has neglected to tell you," Henry interjected before Maya could get out of giving the Cadet the full details, "is that this special assignment is an unsanctioned extraction of a non-Federation citizen from foreign hands.  You need to understand the risks.  The 'diplomatic' aspect will be insuring that you are not compromised because Starfleet cannot admit to having any knowledge of you even being there."  He let his words sink in for a moment before adding, "as for the time frame, that will depend on the variables you encounter once you get to Ferengi space.  Two months is a best case scenario with enough time to allow for travel there and back."

The cadet's dark eyes gave the lieutenant Commander a brief, almost dismissive glance, before turning her attention back to her instructor as the Doctor spoke.

To say that Doctor Takagi was looking forward to a two month vacation from her condescending prick of a commanding officer would be an understatement. "There will be three others in addition to you and I, as well as two Federation citizens along as passengers."

"So we need a ship that can get in, get out, and handle anything that gets chucked our way." Rory stated as she quickly recalled what shuttles and smaller vessels were currently in Kepler's flight deck. "The U.S.S. Sigmund Jähn. It's large enough for personnel, has great stealth, enough defense to handle any hiccups we might encounter." She tried to keep her voice as calm as possible, but she had been wanting to pilot the Venture class for ages, and well, this was a perfect opportunity. "Of course we have other shuttles, but short of seeing if Captain T'Sai can lend us her yacht, I believe the Sigmund Jähn is our best option, shuttle wise."

"Do you say 'our' because you've agreed to join?" Doctor Takagi inquired. She wasn't going to mention her special ship until she knew the Cadet was on board.

Rory nodded as she flashed her trademark grin. "Yes Ma'am I'm in, no way I would pass this opportunity up." She said, leaning forward in her seat. "When do we leave? Who makes up the rest of our team?"

"Five days hence," Doctor Takagi answered. "Our team will include two Starfleet security officers, and one of the independent operatives who rescued Doctor Yale."

At the mention of the two security officer that would be accompanying them, the cadet winced slightly. She didn't have the best track record with that department on station. Pushing past that, she had no issue with anyone else. Obviously Dr. Takagi trusted them, so that was good enough for her.

"Is there anything else I should know, or will there be a briefing with the others?" Rory asked. "Also, the shuttle? Because I should probably check out the Jähn pretty thoroughly before we go, if we are taking it."

"Everyone else will be given the basic parameters of the mission as they prep," Henry answered before Maya could step around the answer.  He was becoming increasingly concerned about the prospect of sending Kiriakis on a two month mission with such an insubordinate role model; the girl was highly impressionable and already displayed a number of troublesome qualities for future commanders without adding to them.  "Chief Petty Officer Matthews will be working on the actual extraction plan, so you can consult with him to offer up additional suggestions and contingency plans."  Perhaps the Endeavour's Assistant Security Chief would instil some good habits in the cadet.  "I expect you to show him the respect he is due.  Remember you are representing your fellow cadets, as well as the trust I have placed in you."

"Yes sir, I will try my hardest to do so." Rory answered respectfully, her dark eyes somber as she turned her attention back to Doctor Takagi.

"I'd like you to review all of the tactical plans for this mission once they're written up," Doctor Takagi added, her laconic tone in contrast to McAllister's warnings. "Once you've graduated, you'll frequently be in the position of authority over subordinates with far more expertise. Consider it helpful practice."

"Yes Ma'am." Came the cadets reply, acknowledging the instruction and advice, of the senior officer.

"As for the ship. We'll take your recommended shuttle to a rendezvous location with our selected vessel," she continued, "I've scheduled you for five hours of training a day in the holodeck so that you can learn how to pilot a Jem'Hadar attack ship, modified for civilian use. Sorok, our independent contractor, will be on hand to instruct you but I suspect you'll get the hang of it quickly."

"Much like the mission itself," Henry interjected, "your vessel does not officially exist so you will need to be confident that you can handle any potential issues in the field with the minimal crew and resources you'll have on hand."  He wasn't completely happy about the former pirate vessel being utilised, especially since it was supposed to be a tightly kept secret, but an off the books mission would be easier to deny if they weren't sailing about in a Starfleet Runabout.

A Jem'Hadar...Holy shit she was going to learn how to fly one of the...holy shit. Swallowing hard as she tried to keep  her excitement down to a more professional level, at least outwardly, she nodded yet again, and wondered briefly if she was beginning to look like one of those dolls in Kitt's shop that had oversized heads that consistently bobbed. "Sounds like I better head over to the holodeck then, as well as contact Chief Petty Officer Mathews so we can go over things." She moved to stand. "Permission to be dismissed, Ma'am, Sir?" She asked.

"Certainly. Dismissed," Doctor Takagi replied, feeling it unnecessary to remind Rory further about the confidentiality of the matter.

Once the Cadet was gone, the Doctor regarded her commanding officer with amusement. "You should look more pleased to have both of us out of your hair."

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Offline John Reynolds

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Re: Shoreleave: Graduation Day
« Reply #48 on: February 01, 2016, 07:43:42 pm »
|U.S.S. Endeavour-A
|Security Office, Deck 5
|1000 HRS, MD 10

Doctor Takagi leaned against Chief Matthew's desk, feigning interest in the reports sitting there, as he prepared her a cup of tea from his replicator.

"... looks like quite a few of your crew came home from the graduation party rather inebriated," she mused. "What's the penalty for falling asleep drunk in the turbolift?"

A slight stiffness appeared in Harrison's step at the question.  His own personal history with such behaviour notwithstanding, if the decision had been left to him then none of the crew would have been permitted to become so intoxicated.  Crossing silently back to the desk, Harrison set down Maya's drink and then took his seat once again.  Looking up at her thoughtfully he answered: "If they were in my department, I would start by having them running laps of the ship."  Harrison allowed a small smile, "on the hull.  However, there are only a few minor infractions which require my direct attention, so any necessary punishments or reprimands will be handled by department chiefs."

"Would you like your old job back?" Doctor Takagi inquired.

"There's an opening for falling down drunk in the turbolift?"  He asked, offering a self-deprecating smile.  "My speciality usually required a bit more of an audience..." He lamented.  Taking a sip of the tea he had replicated, Harrison tried not to let the distaste show on his face.  During her last visit Violet had obviously reprogrammed his favourites.  No doubt in yet another attempt to get him to be healthier.

Maybe it was a phase she would grow out of.  Like the artist.

Lowering his cup the Human leaned back in his chair and crinkled his nose in a way very reminiscent of his daughter.  "Are you here with an official offer?"  Harrison asked, keeping his tone light and doing his best not to let his eyes wander the contours of the Betazoid's body.  The memory of what lay beneath the uniform was as vivid now as if their last time together had been earlier today.  "Because," he cleared his throat and pushed on, "although I believe he no longer deems me a disgrace to the uniform, Lt. Commander Franklin doesn't seem the type to permit an NCO such a position aboard the Flagship."

"It's ultimately your Captain's call," Doctor Takagi reminded the Chief, "Franklin can be convinced to change his mind." Her dark eyes narrowed. "And while I don't have an official offer, I do have an opportunity for you to prove your quality. Use your security clearance to access the information I sent to your computer. If you're interested, we'll discuss."

Harrison moved the cup aside and brought up the pertinent data on his terminal.  It only took a moment for the computer to recognise his access level and a rather intriguing tale was spread out before him.  Rescuing a non-Federation citizen from Ferengi space wasn't a standard operation, although it seemed par for the course around Kepler.

"It never ceases to amaze me how much trouble your station attracts, no matter where it is located at the time." he said once he had finished reading.  "I take it someone with the appropriate rank has agreed to everything as so far as plausible deniability will permit?"  He asked simply.  Though he didn't take rumour over what he himself had observed, Maya did have a reputation for taking matters into her own hands and so the question needed to be asked even if she lied about the answer.  Either way his skills could be put to good use.

"We are clear to proceed," she explained, "Are you coming with?"

"I'll be ready to depart as needed," Harrison answered affirmatively.  "I am a little concerned about the inclusion of Cadet Kiriakis though," he admitted.  "Her field experience is somewhat lacking for a mission that will be stepping so far beyond standard operating procedures.  I would like the chance to run her through some drills to ensure she's capable of handling herself; we're only as concomitant as our individual team members."

"You want to run her through some drills," she repeated sarcastically, "How generous of you."

Harrison offered an amused smile in response.  "What I want," he corrected, "is an officer who is competent at her job.  That requires effort on the part of those around her.  What is the Cadet like, anyway?  Will she be an asset to the team?"

"No. She's completely incompetent," Doctor Takagi snapped back, just so he understood that his line of questioning also doubted her judgement. "To be more direct - none of the people on this mission would be prime candidates for special operations on paper. I'm a psychiatrist with a traumatic brain injury and a recent court-martial. Kim failed when assigned to provide my security. Sorok is a convicted felon. You're a recovering alcoholic who isn't living up to his potential. Compared to us, Rory is a prime example of a Starfleet officer in training."

Unable to fight back a chuckle, Harrison nodded.  "Well alright then.  I just wanted to be sure they hadn't lumped you with all the troubled kids."  He picked up his cup and took a sip before deciding the concoction wasn't worth stomaching.

"The troubled kids are my type of kids," Doctor Takagi explained, "I picked all of you."

"I see."  That was a rather more sentimental response than he had expected from Maya, she usually liked to keep her motivations to herself.  "Do you have a vested interest in the well-being of this Ferengi?  Other than desiring a successful mission, of course.  I'm trying to work out how he became lucky enough to have you spearheading his release."  Although it could have just as easily been sarcastic, there was no irony in Harrison's comment, he genuinely considered the Ferengi fortunate to have a mind such as Maya's working towards the goal of his freedom.

"Despite being an outright scoundrel, Nelwas is Captain Bakyr's friend, and the Captain is mine," Doctor Takagi explained, "Beyond that, I'd like to get off this station for a little while. It feels rather cramped."

A lack of room to stretch your legs was the draw back most people grudgingly accepted in exchange for a life in space, but it did get tiresome.  Especially when raising a daughter.  "As opposed to a cavernous Runabout or whatever vessel you've procured for this trip."  Harrison pointed out.  His smile was teasing while maintaining the professionalism they were currently adhering to for the duration of the meeting.

The nature of their relationship had changed a lot since the kiss shared during her trip back to the station aboard the Endeavour.  With the difficulties caused by the court martial neither of them had thought taking a step in any direction a wise choice.  Now though they had... Well, he wasn't quite sure how to define what they had since that sort of discussion seemed to be anathema to Maya.  They certainly enjoyed each other's company when distance wasn't an issue.  Or, like now, they weren't focused on their duties.

"Have you been to Ferengi space before?"  He asked, bringing both the conversation and his thoughts back towards the matter at hand.

"Possibly," she answered, "I don't remember. Why do you ask?"

"Dealing with the Ferengi can be difficult," Harrison began to explain in a tone which implied he enjoyed the subject somewhat.  "Take almost any of the earliest documented encounters between them and the Federation and each account varies dramatically.  Even the descriptions of the individuals themselves are vague and sometimes contradictory; first hand reports from respected officers stated the Ferengi were a fur wearing, savage species and yet--a few short months later--they were dealing in highly advanced scientific technologies."  He smiled sheepishly, realising how dry this might sound.  "I'll spare you the rhetoric, but purely from a security standpoint they're a fascinating case study because only the Romulans were as shrouded in mystery as the Ferengi.  And we're going to be dealing with them right in the centre of the viper's nest, as it were."

"This isn't a nature safari or research trip. Are you afraid?" Doctor Takagi inquired, in all seriousness.

Had the question come from someone else, he might have taken exception to it.  Instead Harrison merely shrugged his shoulders and threaded his fingers together as he leaned back in his chair.  "Pragmatism, preparation and patience.  Those are the three key things that will get everyone back safely, which is my primary concern, Doctor.  But a healthy dose of respect doesn't hurt either."

"You have a strange definition of respect," Doctor Takagi mused. "How do you suppose we should prepare?"

"Well," his demeanour became more professional as he straightened in his seat and leaned forward to look at the terminal again.  "I'd like to take a more in-depth look at the data packet you've provided before I can be certain what we'll need," Harrison interjected before answering the question.  "But any of the team who aren't already certified for weapons in the field should report to me for a crash course.  No doubt this civilian--Sorok--is trained, but if he doesn't have a recognised qualification then I'd like to at least see him in a firing range before we depart.  I'll assume you and Petty Officer Kim are both up to date?"

"Oh. So now you want to put all of us through drills?" she teased. "That's rather patronizing."

"Maybe I just want to watch you handling a phaser."  Harrison countered, a grin threatening to break free.  "I'm sure there's a term for that."

"It's called wanting to get shot in the face."
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Offline Riley Keegan

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Re: Shoreleave: Graduation Day
« Reply #49 on: February 13, 2016, 04:18:06 pm »

Deck 14, Fight Deck |
MD 10, 1600 Hours |

Sitting inside the small office off of the main flight hub, Rory was completely engrossed in the Galaxy class flight manual that laid before her in holo book form. It was a quirk, if you will, of hers that she had picked up some time ago, finding studying with an actual book, or in this case, fake, book - better then her normal pile of data padds.

Flipping the page, she scribbled something on one of the pads, clearly taking notes as she referenced the book, then another, as she ignored the busyness of the world around her.

"You're the only person I know who prefers to work like that, Half-Pint."  Andrew was forced to look down at her from where he stood, leaning on the door frame with a case held in his arms.  His normally easy smile brightened as she looked up at him.  "Sometimes I think you were born a few hundred years later than you should have been.  You would've made an impressive twentieth century test pilot: Risking your neck to break speed records in planes that are barely held together."

Her face lit up with a happy glow as she gave thean a relaxed grin. "You wouldn't be the first to tell me that either." Rory replied as she closed her book and saved her notes, casting a curious glance at the case in his arms. "What'cha up to? Switching offices?" She asked, leaning back in her seat.

"That would require having one to begin with," Andrew pointed out with a somewhat teasing tone as he stepped into the office and set the case down on the edge of the table.  With a couple of jerky motions he moved it closer so that Rory could see the contents.  "Nope, what you see here are parts of the gyroscope module for an old Class F.  I've nearly managed to restore enough to put an operational one together."  He explained.

Curiosity fully piqued, the cadet leaned forward, pushing herself up on her elbows to peer inside the box, and at the mentioned piece. "An F class? And you called me born in the wrong era." She teased him. "Wait, so how long have you been restoring this? Where do you keep it at?" Rory asked as she finally looked up at him fully. "Is there a secret hanger I don't know about?"

Andrew laughed.  "You think I have a chick magnet like that and wouldn't have shown you?"  Reaching into the crate he plucked out one of the larger pieces and turned it over in his hand.  "I'm only working on certain sections; so I meant an operational gyroscope module, not an entire shuttlecraft."

At his omission, the cadet's face fell in disappointment. That was just...wrong. "So you just have...random pieces? Of a Kirk era shuttle, just laying around? That's... cruel, Andrew. To this poor shuttle and to me. In fact," she stood up, placing her hands on the box top, opposite of his. "In fact, I think I should adopt this poor little module and get at least a hour or more of cuddles from you."

Cuddles her ass, she was hoping for more then cuddles and hopefully he caught on to that.

"You're the one who jumped to conclusions," he retorted.  "So why am I the one being punished?"  Not that having Rory wrapped around him was much of a punishment... Although he still wasn't sure where the pair of them stood; they had managed to pass Charlotte's little 'two week, no contact' rule but if anything that had only made things worse between them.  Being explicitly told you can't touch something that you really, really want to touch only helps to heighten the temptation.  Like being told not to think of a Klingon in a pink, spotted tutu.

"Please, you know I'd take care of your module like it was my own, I hardly call that punishment." Rory scoffed lightly, her dark brown eyes dancing as she teased him. "But fret not, you can have it back, long as you promise to keep me updated on its condition and state of build." She glanced at the clock hanging on the wall, glad she still had time before meeting Sorok.

"I'm actually glad to see you, saves me hunting you down later or leaving a message." The command cadet stated as she slowly crossed her arms over her chest. "I'm going off Kepler for a few weeks, so won't be able to pick up any flight shifts."

The retort he had in mind died on the tip of his tongue.  "You're leaving?"

"Uh huh. Just for a few weeks." She quickly tried to assure him. "I just wanted to tell you, so you wouldn't think I'd left without saying bye."

"Off to see your sister on Deep Space nine?"  Andrew asked as he slumped into the seat beside Rory.  He didn't want to admit that for a moment there he had panicked at the idea she wouldn't be coming back.  Maybe the idea they could just be friends really was doomed to failure.

Shaking her head at him, Rory turned so they could talk face to face. "No." She replied somewhat hesitantly. "Just a short training assignment." She added vaguely before changing the subject. "Shuttle Kolbe has a miss in the forward thruster assembly, you should have an engineer look at it."

"Thank you for that helpful, yet obvious change in subject."  Andrew teased.  As much as he wanted to press Rory for more information, he knew that she would tell him if she could.  Hopefully she wasn't getting herself into trouble by acting before thinking.  Then again, he mused, it wouldn't be the first time.  "I'll add it to the maintenance list."

Reaching out, she grabbed one of his hands and gave it a squeeze. "Andrew, I want you to know that I...I think when I get back." She rolled her eyes at herself. She was being an idiot. Lurching forward, she grabbed the back of his neck with her free hand and pulled his face to hers, kissing him with all the emotion she had.

Without hesitation Andrew's arms snaked around her slender body and held her firmly against him as they kissed.  He ignored the slightly sharp pain as the armrest of the chair dug into his ribs and focused instead on the soft warmth of the woman who was practically consuming his supply of oxygen.  When their lips finally parted, he smiled breathlessly.  "Can you repeat that?  I couldn't quite make it out..."

"I care about you...a lot." The cadet managed to say, her dimples showing as she blushed. "I've made things complicated, when it should have been simple." She cupped the side of his face with one hand, leaning in to gently caress his lips with hers. "When I get back, we should have some fun."

"You better take care of yourself out there then."  Andrew warned her.  "Because I care about you a lot too."  He grinned, letting his hands move up her back.  "And I'm going to hold you to that."

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Offline Isis Rae

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Re: Shoreleave: Graduation Day
« Reply #50 on: February 15, 2016, 04:33:13 am »
|Medical holodeck, Counselling offices
|0700 HRS, MD2

“Can I have that list back?”  Isis clarified, “The one where I listed my friends.”

Genesis gave the Trill a curious look but had the paper tucked into a folder that was at hand.  She pulled out the sheet of loose leaf and, anticipating the request for the pencil, handed both over at the same time.  She watched as Isis scribbled out one of the names.

Isis returned the list a moment later with a resigned nod.  “So... that happened.”

“I see,” Genesis answered and looked at the alien script.  “Did you want to talk about it?”

“Not really,” Isis shook her head.  “But maybe I should?”

“What happened,” Genesis prompted when Isis said no more.

Isis thought about it, “I’m not really sure... except that it’s my fault.” 

“But if you don’t know what happened, how can you take the blame?” the counselor asked.

“Do you have a lot of friends?”  Isis asked instead.

Genesis decided to entertain the question.  Normally, she would reflect questions like that, but this time she saw that the session might be better served with an answer.  “I don’t have many friends, no.  Those that I would put on a list,” she indicated the folder where Isis’ list resided again, “... my list isn’t much longer than yours.”

“Why do you suppose that is?”

“Partially, it’s a hazard of the profession.  But I do isolate myself too,” Genesis replied and eased in a redirection.  “What’s your reason?”

Isis studied a hanging picture and the counselor waited patiently.  This had become routine in their sessions, Isis thinking, Genesis waiting… the counselor seemed to understand that an answer would eventually arrive if she waited long enough.  “I was young when my brother died... When my mother killed him,” she corrected.  “After that, I didn’t want friends.”

Genesis continued to sit in silence for another minute, both confused and surprised.  “When’s the last time you said that out loud?”

“That I don’t want friends?”

Genesis gave a slight smile and a shake of her head.  The first officer’s ability to answer the wrong question was at an expert level.  “That your mother killed your brother.”


“The year?”


“That’s nearly 30 years ago.”

“It’s the first thing in my psych eval, isn’t it?”

“The murder, or your refusal to talk about it?” Genesis asked.

“What’s the first thing in my psych eval?”

Genesis winked, “You know I can’t answer that.  But since we’re on the subject of your past, why don’t we continue?”

Isis sighed.  After a few minutes, she still hadn’t decided on anything to say, so Genesis broke the silence.  “So, I understand that this isn’t a topic you embrace in any manner, but I’d like to think that we’ve managed to develop a bit of trust over the last few weeks.”

“What do you get out of it?”

“I get insights into helping you.”

“Helping me.”  Statement, with only a dash of question.

“Not every psychiatrist, counselor, psychologist - head shrinker, what have you - can be great at their job.  It may not help you to talk about the murder of your little brother; but we do need to acknowledge, out loud, that it happened.  He was a person that you cared about.”

“Older brother.”

“Sorry, I have the details wrong...  We’ll start there, when he was alive.  I’ll need more than two words,” Genesis issued a challenge before asking the question, “What sort of relationship did you have with your older brother… With Lud?””

“I was a brat…”  Isis brought a hand to her eyes, locking threat of tears inside, “and he was my hero.”

“What made him a hero,” Genesis asked.

“I never told him that’s what I thought and every time I think about him.  I know in my heart that I wasn’t the only one who made my mother -our mother - mad at us, but I always take the blame.  In my memories, he was the good kid, and I was the bad one.  I made mother mad.  I made her hit us.  I came up with all the ideas for the pranks.  And I was the failure at school.  I caused his death because I was the bad kid.

“But the truth is, he made a lot of noise.  He didn’t clean the bathroom after he peed on the toilet seat.  He found mother’s hidden stash of cookies and ate almost the entire box before sharing only one with me.  He didn’t warn me that I still had the evidence of the cookie theft all around my foolish grin when Mother discovered the box.

“I took a lot of spankings for him.

“But he took the final death-blow for me.”

“You’re right.  Memories do have an awful way of changing themselves.  Some people find ways to blame themselves, and others find ways to make it someone else’s fault.  But life isn’t black and white, is it?”

“The first thing I heard after Lud died, ‘It’s not your fault.’  I heard those words said from one of the emergency people, but it was like Lud was saying them… but he was saying, ‘it’s all your fault, Isis.  I’m dead because of you.’  And it sank in, every time a social worker or a foster family or a teacher or anyone said those words, I heard - and believed - the opposite.  And she said it too… my mother said it after she was locked away.  I had to go talk to her, and even though she’s the worst person in the universe, she’s my mother and she told me it’s my fault.  I killed my brother; the only person who ever loved me.”

“That’s why this scribble,” Genesis pulled out the paper from the beginning of the session, “is your fault.”

Isis thought, then nodded.  “Makes sense.”

“What happened?”

“I gave her space,” Isis answered.  “That’s what I want when things go out of control.  I want time to think and process and grieve.  That’s what I gave her.  I thought if she needed me, she would ask for me.  She never asked for me, so she didn’t need me…  Only, I was supposed to be there, I guess.  I did the wrong thing.”

“After your brother died…”

“After he died, everyone asked me about my mother.  They wanted to know what kind of person she was - where she worked, how she acted around my friends, my teachers, her friends.  They wanted to know about her boyfriends and her drinking and her sleeping.  They wanted to know everything about her..”

“No one asked about Lud?”

“Lud didn’t exist anymore.  He was my best friend and protector…  And he was dead… only ten years old and he didn’t matter because he hadn’t experience life yet.  No one wanted to know about his friends or what his favorite food was, his favorite color… Or what was he afraid of?  How did he act around my mother’s boyfriends or what his goals for the future were.  He stopped living and no one cared.”

Genesis reviewed their conversation, trying to figure out which came by first mention, mother or brother?  She pulled out a clean piece of paper and reached for a folder to tuck it into.  “Take this with you,” she handed over the folder with a small box of colored pencils.  “This is for your brother; fill it up however you want and bring it back for next time.  What do you want to do about this?” Genesis referenced the scribbled out name.

“I think I want to leave it scribbled out. For now.”

“Okay,” Genesis nodded.  “We still have time if you’d like to talk about your brother more?”

Isis thought, “No, I think I like this,” she tapped the folder.  “Can I leave early?  Go to work?”

Short sentences again, Genesis knew any further conversation attempts were pointless at this time.  “You’re released,” she permitted.

“Thanks for listening…”

“My pleasure.”  Genesis stood with Isis and touched her elbow as she walked to the door with her.  “I want to help; it’s more than just a job,” she said as parting words.

« Last Edit: February 15, 2016, 12:09:32 pm by Isis Rae »
Lieutenant Commander Isis Rae
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Kepler Station

Offline Isis Rae

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Re: Shoreleave: Graduation Day
« Reply #51 on: February 18, 2016, 11:17:16 am »
|MD2 1020 hours

"Phoebe, wake up already,” Ella kicked at her roommate’s foot from where she sat, reclined in the desk chair. That time, she woke and Phoebe tumbled from the edge of the bed to be greeted by the floor.  The breath knocked from her lungs, Phoebe gasped for air as Ella sing-songed, "Your grandma wants to talk to you."

"Ow," she worked on an another inhale. “What the fu--" Ella's words filtered in and Phoebe controlled her language and changed her question.  "What time is it?”

“Time to answer the call from your grandma.  She’s been trying to reach you all morning.”

“But what time is it?” Phoebe asked again, annoyed at the obfuscation.  Her head ached from too much liquor and not enough water.  She hated the feeling and reminded herself why she had a two drink maximum - what other bad decisions had she made?

"Why can't you answer questions?"  Phoebe gathered her arms and legs and pushed herself off of the floor.  She looked at the clock, then at her bed to answer both questions.  To her complete amazement (and utter horror), she saw Siv laying there - partially undressed.  She took a moment to paste a smile on her face and then turned to address the communications screen, “Yaya, good morning.”

"Don’t 'good morning' me, miss."

"Shit," Phoebe mouthed silently.  Yaya didn't sound warm and fuzzy at all.

MD1 2032 hours

Phoebe stood outside a storage door in the science module.  Skeptical, she knocked at the door, “Siv?”

"Good evening," Sivran greeted her, as the door slid open and jammed halfway. A gentle kick from his black wingtips prompted the door to continue opening, revealing that what had previously been a supply closet was now a neatly organized bedroom.

Akin to a monk's cell, Siv's quarters contained only a mattress on the floor and an easel against the wall. Nonetheless, he had rearranged the lighting with various paper lanterns, giving the space a small, cozy feel.

"You're welcome to come inside," he offered, "Although it would mean standing together awkwardly in a three foot radius."

"Ah, no. I'll pass," Phoebe answered, though she did give the room a cursory inspection.  She offered him the nosegay she brought, "Your flowers." A large, peach-colored lily was framed by smaller pinkish-orange teacup roses.

"Thank you." He accepted the flowers warmly. "I was joking about the flowers. However, they're lovely. Shall we do something functional with them?"

Without waiting for a response, Siv tilted his easel so that it became a drafting table, laid the flowers across it, and opened a concealed drawer to remove some small tools. He allowed her to remain hovering in the doorway while he worked.

"I'd offer you a beverage, Phoebe, but the utility replicator cannot produce organic material."

Phoebe watched, aghast.  Knotting the shawl that hung loosely at her elbows, she managed to quickly mask her expression of horror at the deconstruction of the flowers.  It hadn't been the most professionally designed boutonniere, but she didn't think it looked bad enough to destroy it right away.

After several snips with the scissors, the binding of tape and clear monofilament wire, and a few minutes of labor, Siv produced a wrist corsage and matching boutonniere. He offered to former back to Phoebe. "May I?"

She took a moment, blinking in surprise and not sure what to say.  "I don't think you noticed...  I'm a ginger... I can barely get away with science teal; salmon and peach are not colors I can wear," Phoebe protested.  "Plus, I brought the flowers for you, not me," she explained.  She tried to hide her disappointment from her voice.

"I have some," A rueful smile formed across his face as he gestured to his boutonniere, which contained the prominent lily. "And I'm choosing to share them, although I won't insist, nor subject you to a treatise on color theory and complementary tones. I'll settle for being glad that you agreed to accompany me, Phoebe."

His eyes found hers, although with the connection came questions, "I forgot that you're now an officer. Should I be calling you sir, or ma'am? And have you eaten dinner?"

Refusing the flowers, she shook her head. "Don't start that ‘sir’ shit.  I’m not dressed for it,” she wrinkled her nose and then addressed the question of dinner, “I'm sure there's food at the party.  Let's just go."

"As you command." He slipped the the corsage over his own wrist as a compromise, straightened his skinny black tie, and stepped out of his supply closet / room. "Off we go."

|Treehouse Lounge

"When's the last time you were in a food fight?" Phoebe asked while crossing the main floor.  She spotted a table to claim and marked a chair with the white shawl she carried.  If there was to be dancing, the shawl had no hope of being used.  But if the activities were few, she was sure to earn a chill in the short-skirted, backless dress she wore.

Though they arrived about half an hour after the start of the party, the restaurant was lightly populated.  Phoebe looked around, taking a survey of who had already arrived.

"Secondary school," Sivran answered, without elaborating that a large group of students were attempting to re-enact the Rutian civil war in the lunchroom. "Are you planning on starting one?"

"Of course not - that is something which requires spontaneity,” Phoebe objected.  “And by discussing it right now, that implies premeditation.  So, even if a food fight were break out, I obviously can't be involved."  Phoebe spun to look at Siv, curiosity etched through her dark green eyes. “Why would you even suggest such a thing," she added a touch of incredulity to her question.

"Because you have the soul of a troublemaker wrapped up in a well-behaved package," Siv teased back. He picked a kernel of popcorn from a bowl on the table, flicked it up into the air and caught it with his teeth. After swallowing, he added, "This event is in your honor, I'm fairly sure you could get away with anything."

"You think so?"  Phoebe took a step back and sorted through a realm of possibilities to prove that claim to be false.  Her gaze settle on McAllister.  She pointed him out, "I'm pretty sure I couldn't get away with flashing that EOA guy.”

"What do you think he'd do to stop you?" Siv inquired. He wasn't going to dare her - yet.

Phoebe tutted.  "It's not a matter of being stopped.  It's a matter of consequences.  Even if this is my party, as you say -- I'm not going to get away with 'anything' and everything.  I'm not flashing a guy that could very well destroy my career before it ever starts,” she explained.  “And I'm not starting a food fight for fun.  And with that said, I am going to get a drink. Want something?"

He considered that her current transition to Officer might be cause for anxiety, but the shifts from playful to serious were hard to follow. Perhaps her true thoughts and feelings would reveal themselves over the course of the evening.

"I'll join you." Siv offered an arm as they headed towards the bar.

|Three hours later...

Laughing, Phoebe returned to the table after dancing with a couple of girls.  She grabbed Siv's wrist and gave a tug, "Shut up and come dance with me," she called over the heavy beat of music.  Her rule of a two drink maximum had elapsed three drinks earlier and she was flying with the adrenaline of dancing and laughing at - or with - Violet.

Having thoroughly failed to convince the security cadets from the Endeavour of his theories on the nature of peacekeeping, Siv gladly allowed her to pull him away from a thrilling conversation. He bid them farewell with a wave as Phoebe dragged him off.

"I was wondering when you'd ask." Sivran ran a flower clad hand over his head.

"That wasn't asking," Phoebe corrected.  "You could have come out to the floor any time."

Once they stepped on the dance floor, Siv took her hands and gently moved her through the crowd. Once there was enough space on the floor near her group of girlfriends, he moved her from side to side. He could do more than follow a beat, but wasn't the type to show anyone else up.

"Is this where you cut loose?"

Phoebe wrinkled her nose at the question, "Don't go trying to define my behaviors." She shook her head in a scold and changed the topic.  "Why do you sleep on the floor?"

"Technically I sleep on a mattress," Siv clarified with a smile. He released her left hand and spun her into a turn, stopping her halfway and reversing the turn to bring her back to starting position. "A mattress on the floor is quite common on the part of Rutia where I was raised. We don't all live in closets, of course."

"I know it's not a big station, but there's gotta be quarters around for you somewhere.  Like, you could sleep in Rexus' bed.  He's not using it.  Or sleep with Eastman... He doesn't have a roomie.  I know, I know, you can have my bed after I leave.” she called over the music.  “You'll need headphones and earplugs though because Ella doesn't shut up ever and I think she wants some sapphic loving; but you're a guy so you don't have to worry about that.  Plus, then you'd have a bathroom.  Where do you shower?"  Between turns and moves, Phoebe chatted her stream of conscious thoughts.  Her tongue had been loosened by "just one more" drink.  "Because closets don't have showers but you don't smell bad - so do you break into someone's quarters when you need to wash your pits?"

"I use the showers in the the lab, which is not so different from dormitory living at the Academy." he explained before looking into her eyes. "You're leaving?"

"Yeah,” she answered, then changed her mind, “No... I don't know.  I got offered a position at a different station and I'm going to take a day or two to think about it and I really can't think about it right now because I think I'm drunk," she snickered.  "I don't ever get drunk.  But today is a break-the-rules sort of day."

"You once said that you make up the rules as you go along," he recalled with a grin. "How are you keeping track of which ones to break?"

There was a pause in the music and Phoebe took the opportunity to catch her breath and fanned herself with her hands.  Instead of answering his question (whether because she forgot it or because she didn’t have an answer), she asked, "Siv, are you having fun?"

"Sure. I like dancing," he answered honestly. "Are you having fun?"

"I should think my smile and perspiration would answer that, no question. Of course I'm having fun, silly.  But you're being so serious," she drew out the last two words, then remembered she had more to say, "in your conversation topics... it's weird, Siv. I can't tell if you're actually enjoying this experience or you're just saying words."

"Oh." He offered her a handkerchief to wipe the sweat from her brow but she declined it with a quick shake of her head. He sought a clear answer without considering what she wanted to hear. Their conversations often hit these moments of cross-purposes, and it had come to be something he expected and appreciated about their strange interactions.

"When I say something, I mean it, Phoebe," he stated with certitude and a confident smile. Since the music and dancing continued around them, Sivran guided her through the dance, keeping her close so they could hear one another.

"An awkward topic for the dance floor, but I grew up in a civil war and have seen more suffering than celebration. So... all this..." He indicated the revelry, "Is still unfamiliar, even after three years at the academy. So I'd say I'm earnest rather than serious, and while I don't speak sarcasm or play practical jokes, I appreciate your craft. As I said, I'm having fun."

Siv emphasized the point by turning her out and then twirling her back to him, watching her with a twinkle in his eye. "And if I am in anyway being a fun-wrecker, just tell me, and I'll do my best to course correct. This is your time."
"I only know family politics," Phoebe replied in context to the civil war.  She checked the time after stumbling, "It's late and I'm done dancing.  Let's get out of here."

"I'll gladly walk you home, but are you sure you don't want to shut the place down?" Siv inquired. "Seems like the perfect rule to break - early to bed and early to rise, et cetera, et cetera..."

"I didn't say anything about going home," Phoebe gave him a playful pinch to his unprotected ribs.

"Ok, Ms. Ambiguous, lead the way."

"That's better," she coddled and guided Siv to the exit.  Several minutes later, they exited the turbolift onto the promenade.  From the asteroid destruction, finding an abandoned store wasn't too difficult and Phoebe pulled Siv by the hand into the wrecked shop.  "How's this?" she crawled over some debris towards the window and reclined slightly in order to direct their gazes to the outside of the station.  The view was clear of vessels and thousands of stars sprinkled the dark void.

It was easy to forget that a vast and likely infinite universe extended outward all around them, and Siv took the view to heart. He glanced in her direction with a gentle smile before looking back up. "Rather humbling.

"Wish I'd brought my sketchbook."

"Really?"  Phoebe asked.  "You want your sketchbook?"  She deflated.  She had been hoping for a kiss.

"It's a lovely image, you framed by a sea of stars," he explained, rubbing the back of his head. "Why did you bring me here?"

"If you have to ask, I'm not going to tell you."  Phoebe pouted, then turned her attention to the stars once again.  "We can go find your sketchbook if you want."

"Pheobe, I'm not completely daft," Siv stated with a chuckle, his reflection in the glass revealing a determined yet sly smile. "I'd like nothing more than to stop talking and just show you how much I like you. But given the number of times you've mentioned being drunk, and your prior stated intention just to be my friend, it would be callous of me to seize the moment without some clear statement of consent."

"You need me to sign a contract before you kiss me?"

He laughed. "Those last two words are good enough."

Maintaining eye contact, Siv leaned and kissed her, gently. His hands held the side of her face, while his fingers tenderly brushed away a few errant locks of hair.

"That's ... good," she struggled with honesty.  Honestly, she'd had a better kiss from a cousin - which she would never admit to anyone.  But, maybe he had other strengths, "Maybe we can go back to my room?  Just promise not to wake Ella."

Lieutenant Commander Isis Rae
Executive Officer
Kepler Station

Offline Maya Takagi

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Re: Shoreleave: Graduation Day
« Reply #52 on: February 20, 2016, 03:36:48 pm »
|Deck 2, Dr. Takagi's Quarters
|2013 HRS, MD 10

Doctor Takagi opened the bottle of red wine and poured a glass for Doctor Tann, who sat at the head of a table laden with a fusion of meatless Betazed and Japanese cuisine. Their conversation to that point had been rather formal, and while the hostess didn't expect alcohol to grease the wheels, she was glad to share one of her finer bottles with a guest.

"My new quarters lack a fully functional kitchen," Doctor Takagi explained, "So I hope you will forgive me for relying on the replicator. The recipes, however, are distinctly my own."

Alana’s eyes sparkled over the rim of her wine glass as she swirled the contents, the aroma of the liquid lifting up to her nostrils.  Savoring the scent a moment, she took a sip before replying.

“Replicated food is fine,” she assured her hostess.  “It tends to grow on one when assigned to Starfleet installations.”

"Have you similarly grown to appreciate white noise, sonic showers, and artificial sunset?" Doctor Takagi inquired.

Doctor Tann cocked her head slightly to the side, lips forming a slight smile.  "I have not," she admitted.  "Before Kepler I was helping setup a curriculum on Denobula, before that I taught at the Academy on Earth. There is something to be said of human ingenuity to help replicate certain experiences those planetside may take for granted, but it does not hold a candle to the genuine article."

"Were I to continue discussing all the planetary things I wish I could do and see, it would sound like complaining," Doctor Takagi stated, the wave of her arm indicating the lush arboretum that extended beyond her floor to ceiling windows. "Relatively speaking, I am spoiled compared to most Starfleet doctors." She swirled the liquid in her wine glass but didn't drink. "Your spouse has no issues with you traveling so far?"

"I was only supposed to be stopping at Kepler since the Endeavour was rerouted here after the asteroid crisis. Obviously my stay has been extended a bit, but I will return to Earth before too long. He understands how important my work is, just as I know his dusty old artifacts and historical texts are important to him." Besides, Alana knew just how to keep her husband interested and faithful after all these years together.

While this sounded like the most boring marriage ever, Doctor Takagi wisely kept her thoughts to herself. "And what if the Admiral asks you to stay?"

"I...haven't given that much thought," Doctor Tann frowned for a moment. She took another sip of wine as she mulled over her thoughts. While some of her patients could be difficult, Doctor Takagi for example, Alana found it enjoyable to be practicing again as opposed to teaching. Ronan was nearby while he completed his studies for Starfleet, and her friend and former student Hideyoshi was also assigned to Kepler. If it was needed for her to stay, she had plenty of social supports.

"I suppose I'll have to have a conversation with my husband if and when that time comes."

"So. He's the one who makes the decisions in the family," Doctor Takagi opined. "That seems rather conservative."

"I didn't say that."  There was a slight smirk as Alana responded to Maya, "It is a mutual decision that affects us both, thus requiring a conversation and compromise."  Something she sincerely doubted Doctor Takagi was capable of understanding, but she kept those thoughts to herself.
"I am more familiar with relationships where compromise is unnecessary due to mutual understanding," Doctor Takagi explained. "Thus what is best for the individual is best for the pair."

“To each their own,” Alana saluted Doctor Takagi with her wine glass.  “Regardless, it would not be an issue were the Admiral to ask me to extend my stay on Kepler.  Hopefully we’re able to get less…pedestrian amenity shops should I be here any longer.”
"Or make the clearance to replicate whatever you want part of the terms of your next contract," Doctor Takagi suggested. "Nonetheless, if you'd like to visit an interesting boutique... there is an artist residing on the station." She indicated the hauntingly grim yet striking painting that hung on the wall above the table. "Perhaps the only work of value here."
“Oh I’ve been there,” Doctor Tann’s eyes looked over the painting once more as she recalled her visit to the shop, almost chuckling as she recalled her son’s mortified reaction to the graphic statuary she had purchased for him. “Commander McCallister,” there was a bitter undertone, “was less than accommodating when I attempted to bill certain purchases to my contract. Perhaps I’ll be more successful with the Captain should I need to renegotiate.”

"So, in your experience, is this how friends are supposed to converse?" Doctor Takagi inquired.
Alana moved her gaze back to Maya and took a moment to respond, the sudden change in topic coming from left field. “Well, yes.  Does it meet your expectations?”
"Perhaps we might aim for substance," Doctor Takagi mused. "Right now, after thirty minutes of speaking, we know nothing about one another that we wouldn't have learned as therapist and patient."
“True,” Alana nodded slightly, “but the base of a friendship, or any relationship for that matter, starts out with learning the basics of one another – much like a therapist and patient.  Trust must be established before one shares intimate knowledge with another.”
"That's a rather rare statement from a Betazoid," Doctor Takagi proclaimed, "Possessing what you call 'intimate' knowledge of other people is inherent, even with basic empathic abilities and no attempt to dig further. Thus I hold forth my declaration of your conservatism, with no judgement implied. I recognize that living among humans requires altering ones customs."
The younger woman's dark eyes lit up. "When you meet someone, rather than hearing the mundane details of their life, wouldn't you rather know what they believe, that which inspires them, brings them joy or enflames their passion?"
“Of course,” Alana answered at once, “but I prefer to go about that in a more mundane, conservative as you put it, fashion. Why spoil the mystery? Perhaps I have spent an overextended amount of time amongst humans, but there are many species that don’t appreciate having every little detail of themselves lifted from their mind upon first meeting.”
"Certainly. My point is that inquiring about topics of greater depth and personal importance is far more rewarding and entertaining than idle chitchat," Doctor Takagi explained, "My father used to have rules for his dinner parties - no talking about children, families, pets, or popular culture. Conversations were expected to be substantial."

“Fair enough, what you like to converse about then?”
"Perhaps a topic of ethics."
“Very well,” Alana nodded in assent; this would certainly be interesting.
"Hmmm. How about genetic engineering and modification," Doctor Takagi proposed. "Federation law is highly restrictive on the matter, and yet it seems to have vast potential to make a better and healthier society."

“On principle I have no issue with such,” Alana explained, “within the letter of current law, of course.  There is indeed great potential to better society, but there is also room to abuse such power. One might say that the Borg are such an example, and they are anathema to all that the Federation stands for.”
"I might say that the Borg are a convenient straw man in this discussion," Doctor Takagi countered, "Within our society, any one of us could benefit from a little more dexterity or intellectual capacity. Eliminating diseases or congenital defects is fundamentally the same, but may simply be worded more benignly. The letter of the current law, as I see it, is ripe with hypocrisy."

Alana smiled briefly, “I agree that there is a great deal of good to be done by enhancing our mental and physical attributes. There would need to be some form of governance to keep things in line, and who really wants yet another layer of bureaucracy?”
"You're asking that of a professional bureaucrat, working for an 'oversight authority'," Doctor Takagi laughed, "I'd much rather oversee the regulations of genetic modifications than move medical staff and equipment around the Expanse."

“We all suffer from cognitive dissonance of one form or another,” Alana laughed as well.  “I do imagine you would be better suited overseeing such regulations,” she continued after a moment, “perhaps you should petition to do so?  Kepler is so far removed from the Federation proper, it’s probably a great place to conduct such research should Starfleet which to do so.”

"That's a good suggestion," Doctor Takagi concurred. She highly doubted that Starfleet would approve such a request until her medical license was restored, but there was no need to bring such matters up at the dinner table. "Although I might make everyone grow wings and puppy dog tails for my own amusement. Or, more practically, prevent half of this station's population from procreating."

Alana snorted, a little too loudly - perhaps thanks to the wine,  in agreement. Having treated several of the station’s denizens, there were a few who would benefit future generations more if they were removed from the gene pool. Alas, neither she nor Doctor Takagi were a benevolent dictator able to implement such measures.
“I’ll be sure to stay out of your labs if that is the case.”

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« Last Edit: February 27, 2016, 12:55:10 am by John Reynolds »

Offline Isis Rae

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Re: Shoreleave: Graduation Day
« Reply #53 on: July 09, 2016, 09:12:43 am »

Lud, I am so very sorry for what happened to you.  For years, I blamed myself.  What kind of sister gets her big brother killed?  It was the most awful thing I've ever done.  Much, much worse than when I hid that cheese under your blankets.  I really wish I had been a better sister to you.

I know that it was our mother that actually did the killing, but it doesn't feel that way, especially when I was eight.  If I could go back in time, I know that something else would have happened instead.  Maybe instead of just one of us dying, we both would have been killed.  Or instead of her doing it swiftly, we would have been starved slowly, locked in a closet and not permitted to see the sun ever again.

She said I did it.  And I believe her in a way.  If I had been a better daughter, a better sister - things would have been different.  I miss you every day.  And every day, I struggle to find ways to make restitution.  I mess up though.  I thought I was making a difference when I was in the security department and when I was able to go out and take down bad guys, shoot them dead.  I felt like I was making a difference because there were fewer bad people in the universe.  But I can't do that anymore, not actively at least.  And that feels like the ultimate betrayal.

I can't find a way to change it either.  I was told that my current job would be temporary.  It's not.  I knew it wouldn't be.  And instead of helping people, I feel like I'm hurting them.  I killed people a while ago because of a bad decision.  I can't forgive myself.  I killed you, and now I've killed more innocent people.  It was an accident - there weren't a lot of choices that I could have made which would have ended the situation differently, that's what everyone says at least.  I am not sure they are right.

I do want forgiveness.  I want to feel that I'm making the right decisions.  Maybe one day, I'll do right by you and you can be proud that I'm your little sister.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2016, 09:15:28 am by Isis Rae »
Lieutenant Commander Isis Rae
Executive Officer
Kepler Station