Blind Shuffle

This section of Smoke & Mirrors features the following NPCs:
18420375_w434_h_q80-1-1.jpg - Seth Anderson

IAS Hawking
Anti-Deuterium Storage - Deck 14

“This the one?” Seth Anderson approached the unit designated ADP - 090, running the diagnostic tricorder over the pod, taking readings of the field and it’s generator.

Gorsky checked his PADD, then glanced at the older man’s scan, “Must be… check that out, less than 86 percent,” he looked back at the PADD. “Yesterday the field integrity was fluctuating between 92 and 89 percent.” He crouched down and popped open the tool kit before continuing, “Dalluk was dispatched to make the repair at 0912 hours…”

Seth reached into the kit for a coil scanner, “Guess he didn’t get to it.”

“No… he didn’t.” Alex sat back on his heels and watched while Anderson ran the tool over the field generator. “He didn’t get to anything, and no one’s seen him since he went out.”

Seth said nothing for a moment, “The labs?” he asked, though asking was risky. Any questions were risky on the Hawking. The Enforcers employed continual random audio scans of the crew. That was how Munro got most of her ‘subjects’; there was never any shortage of Humans to accuse of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time.

But Dalluk wasn’t Human and he never spoke out against the Alliance. The Yaderan had focused all his energies on the ship, taking what joy could be found in keeping all the many parts of the vessel in trim and talking very, very little.

“Not there,” Alex muttered his response, understandably tense, “word is, there was only one guy in the lab…”

“I need the phase coil resonator,” Seth interrupted. He did need the device but he also wanted to keep Gorsky from delving into the ‘guy’ in the lab. The existence of Harry’s double wasn’t widely known and, as much as Seth wanted Finn’s mission to crash and burn, he didn’t want Alex to suffer for it.

Of course, if T’Shaini did manage to swing Costala’s widow to their cause, Alex would suffer, anyway. Anderson shook off the nagging guilt, knowing that even if T’Shaini was unable, or unwilling, to bring Catarina in, he’d still do whatever it took to protect the daughter he no longer had. It wasn’t fair to the slaves on board but then, what in their lives had ever been fair? Better to die quickly than face the lingering ruination of Dr. Munro’s experiments or wander in fear of facing whatever had taken Dalluk.

“That’s done it,” he said, shutting down the tool, “what’s our yield now?”

Alex held up the tricorder, once more, “Looking good… 98.42 percent and… holding.”

“We need to keep an eye on the pods,” the older man said, packing up the tools, “I’m thinking the subspace breach may have had something to do with the emitter’s fluctuations.”

“Want me to stay down here?” Gorsky didn’t sound all that enthused.

Dalluk’s absence filled the space between them, “No. We’ll just run diagnostics every fourth hour and send a team down if anything looks off.” Why not keep his remaining people safe, at least until it was time to… he glanced back at the recently repaired pod, considering…

“Roger that,” Alex waited a moment then, “Seth? You okay? I mean,” he shrugged, keeping his eyes roving as they finally began to move, “since you came back from the other ship you’ve been… different.”

“It was a tough trip,” Anderson admitted, “I saw Jenny,” he added by way of explanation. As he’d hoped, that verbal torpedo was enough to halt any further questions. Alex just laid a brief, understanding hand on Seth’s shoulder before the two made their cautious way back to Main Engineering.

Featuring NPC's Seth Anderson and Alex Gorsky of the IAS Hawking
Originally Posted 10/26/08 by Harry Finn

Emily's mind wandered as she stood still. Here she was surrounded by people, literally, and yet she felt completely alone. The security officers said nothing, minus a few words discussing their shift outlines and what they planned to do once allowed to remove themselves from their watch. It was something she was not inclined to listen to nor cared to. There was no connection, no reason to pay attention to their words. Emily was new to their team and at the same time she felt, even if she'd been in the gold uniform for months, she'd still feel the same way.

She'd gotten to friendly with the crew over the past few years, on her previous ships. Her rule in the Academy had been to just get it over with, pay attention and stay on track. It stopped her from having friends but it also secured her high marks and admiration. It wasn't until ….

'Useless to dwell on,' she told herself silently. It wasn't going to happy again. Loss and regret filled her world and those alone were enough to keep her occupied.

"Star, was it?", Malkat said speaking in her direction.

"Yes," she simply replied, as if an automatic response from years of saying it.

"I'm feeling a little hungry. I'm sure we can return later, that's not a problem is it?" Malkat looked around, silently asking for objections. No one spoke.

"We'll take you to eat." Emily said with a weak smile. She motioned towards the door, but gave Gorsky a stronger smile and nod.

The walk was, once again silent. It was just the three of them so it did feel nice to have a smaller number. They entered the mess.

"No offense to your company but I'd rather eat alone." Malkat said before getting his food.

Emily shrugged, " I don't think we'd get into trouble for letting you digest alone. " she looked at her partner, "We'll be sitting not far away."

Her previous partner had been called away so she now had new company. Not that it changed much, there still was no conversation. Emily ordered a drink and sat.

"This is silly, two of us sitting here watching him eat…whatever he's eating. If they really want to make sure nothing happens I'm sure one of us could be doing far better elsewhere." Emily said after the silence began to get to her.

=/\= Star to Fehr, can I please ask a favor.=/\=

=/\= Depends on what I get in return. =/\= the smirk in his voice was something Emily had heard about before ever even speaking to him. He did have quite the reputation.

=/\= I just need to cut some of the security in the's not needed, its cramped and we're seriously not doing anything.=/\=

=/\= If something goes wrong there'll be more than enough to do. Or would you prefer us to just welcome chaos with open arms?=/\=

=/\= I'm not disagreeing with the precautions, I am just saying in this instance I am fine alone with Malkat and Redrum is harmless. Why does he need two people with him. Theres five of us in the library as they tinker on computers.=/\=

=/\= Those aren't just computers, Star.=/\= he practically spat out,=/\= They can do a hell of a lot sitting down however, if you think you can handle whatever happens then I will hold you personally responsible if the lack of security is questioned or found insufficent.=/\=

=/\= I'll take that.=/\=

The channel was closed, Emily wasn't exactly sure what she'd done but it would save her sanity just an inch to be less crowded. Within seconds her partner was re-routed to another area of the ship, as Fehr was rather good at his planning, and with a simple nod and goodbye he was gone. She relaxed, her space was clear.

Originally Posted 10/26/08 by Emily Star

USS Hawking
Deck 6

After leaving Harry's office, Jen had turned her steps towards deck fourteen but only briefly. She had no idea what she could say to Lt. Tenanji. Yes, she'd been wanting to get back on the team but this wasn't the best time and she was pretty sure that just bailing on the XO would reflect badly, on both Harry and herself.

And then, how would she explain her sudden need to be out of his service right now? It was one bad moment, right?


There were two other people on the ship who Jen felt knew Harry well enough to confirm or deny her worries and T'Shaini was off the ship. She didn't want to mess things up between them but if something really was wrong, Kerrin was sure to have seen it. Approaching the now-familiar lab, she let out a shaky breath and was unsurprised when the door opened at her approach. Kerrin's door was always open, always welcoming. Like the woman, herself. "Hi," she began but, as the archeologist looked up from her table, found herself unable to continue.

Oh oh… "Hey…what's up?" Kerrin had a bad feeling about this. Now granted, this kind of face could be a result of BHP, but somehow Kerrin knew that if Jen showed up at her doorstep it had to do with Harry. Which since at this point she had her own doubts of what was going on…what was she supposed to say?

"I was wondering… I mean… have you…" Jenny stopped herself, took a deep breath and began again, but this time, "I just had the worst conversation… not even a conversation, with Harry," and launched into the entire sorry tale of her godfather's response to Lt. Costala's resignation. She glossed over Harry's… insinuations… about Ben but that, along with her initial response to his presence the night before brought up another issue, "So, now the thing is… the thing is I don't know, right now, I don't know if it was as bad as I remember or if I'm seeing this through a filter." Seeing that wasn't enough of an explanation, she stared down at the table, "I'm not sure I was seeing our Harry, and not Chuck's Harry…"

"Whoa." Kerrin had risen slowly from her chair during Jenny's story. "Whoa, this is too weird…" Grabbing young woman's hand, she related the oddness of her last meeting with Harry. "and weirdest of all there was nothing going on….no zap, no zing."

She should have been relieved, really. Kerrin's story indicated that Jen probably wasn't losing her mind but, "So, not Chuck's Harry but still…"

"Something is not right…"

"But what?" The two stared at one another for a long moment then Jenny's eyes fell on a mug sitting on the lab table, "You know what else?" Jenny added, keeping her voice very calm, "he hasn't had any coffee for like, two days."

Kerrin felt her jaw drop. "No coffee?" At the younger woman's nod she began to pace around her lab. "Harry not drinking coffee? Where is the pod?" The joking tone in her voice died off as the implications of the words sank in. Eyes wide she looked at Jenny. "Are you thinking what I am thinking?"

Jen frowned, "There were brain-eating alien plants on Girijan?" Seriously, she had no clue.

"Augh…you weren't there." Dumbass "There was a thing…a thing that made Javi act nuts." Kerrin waved her hands frantically in front of her as if to conjure the words that had inexplicably left her lexicon. "Pah Wraith!" The words exploded from her mouth.

"Holy crap… is he okay? Never mind, of course he is," resigning from his position though… could that be a side effect? "So, what… maybe the wraith…"

"When it was done with Javi…"

"… jumped to Harry…"

"Which would explain…"

"… why he's being such an ass." Jenny started to pace the narrow strip between table and counter, "This is bad… if we're right," she spun back to Kerrin, "and we need to be sure we're right… this is a bad time to raise doubts about the First Officer."

"Yessss…" Kerrin's face squinched up. "And how are we supposed to do that?" She cupped her hands around her mouth. "Yooo hoooo! Mr. Wraith! Come out come out wherever you are!"

Jenny giggled in spite of herself, "Maybe we'll call that Plan B," she suggested. Back to the pacing she let her eyes wander in hopes that her mind might accidentally stumble over… "A tricorder," she said, stopping in front of one placed nearby. "Or, a couple…"

"So that if his biosigns are off somehow and we have recorded it we have something to take to…someone who could do something about it?" Kerrin almost sounded like she believed it would work.

"We'd have to be careful," Jenny cautioned, "he can't know we're scanning him or, if it is a pah wraith, it might just jump to someone else… it might not leave him alive."

"Eeep." Running back behind the worktable Kerrin started to rummage for a tricorder. Pulling one out triumphantly she looked to Jenny. "So how do we hide it….them…well, it right now…them when we get more."

"Three should do," Jenny looked at the piece of tech, "they need to be muted and uplinked to your computer so we can see real-time telemetry… but," she bit her lip, "I don't know what it's supposed to look like so how are we going to know if his biosignature is off?"

"Jillian? I know that he was scanned when…" The pool of blood from Dana's body reappeared on the floor. Tearing her eyes away from the spot where the science officer had been found, Kerrin cleared her throat and continued. "when they were trying to find out who Acker was piggybacking."

"Okay," Jenny, who'd been with Kerrin after the murder, moved on, quickly. "As soon as we get the data we'll go to Jillian. I think our best bet is to plant the tricorders in his quarters. I mean, I'll do it, if you're…"

"An idiot?" Kerrin laughed out loud. "Why yes I am…but I don't want to leave all the dangerous stuff to you…"

Jenny smiled but it didn't quite make it to her eyes… after Ben and Seth and that horrific dream, when she thought Harry was dying, "Then let's get our spy on and go bug Uncle Harry's room," she said lightly.

Kerrin grabbed Jenny for an impulsive hug. "And lets hope we don't get caught…I think I would rather face a pah wraith than Harry if we got caught."

Lucy and Ethel on the loose
Originally Posted 10/27/08 by T'Shaini

USS Hawking
XO’s Office - Deck 2

Gul Malkat relaxed in the First Officer’s chair as his man spoke with the Security guard Zal had been assigned, assuring the hybrid that nothing would happen to him, Finn, if he were alone with the Cardassian for a few minutes, if she could just wait in the corridor?

It had, he was sure, appeared the purest chance that, while walking from the mess towards the turbo-lift, they’d come across Harry Finn, just bidding farewell to a Xepolite member of the Security team. No one would have any reason to suspect that Zal had arranged to cross Finn’s path at exactly that time, nor that Harry, once the rendezvous had been set, had absolutely no choice but to appear. It was quite likely, given the Human’s conditioning, that if someone had chained him to a wall, Harry would remove a limb rather than disobey Zal’s commandment.

Now that the door was closed and locked, he looked to where his slave knelt, waiting for permission to speak. “Well done, as always, Harry,” Zal praised the man, “you may stand.”

“Sir,” the perfect soldier, Finn rose and took an at-ease stance, eyes cast down. In public, Malkat required no such demonstrations. It was important that Finn be respected in his own right, as a power among the Human population. In private, however, it was vital that Harry always understand from whence that power came. “How is your search going?” the slave inquired. Such was allowed.

“Slow.” Malkat rose himself and began to walk the room. “There are too many witnesses in the room to be effective.”

“I’ve been working on a solution to that.”


“Sir,” Harry took the question for permission to move. Going to Finn’s desk he withdrew an isolinear chip and a micro-tricorder. “If you insert this chip into the port, it will order a simultaneous sub-search and download of the library’s contents. The screen will display information from the cultural database but, if you enter your specifications on this,” he held up the tricorder, “you can retrieve whatever you want… as long as it’s clearance matches Finn’s, without anyone seeing a thing.”

“Excellent,” Malkat held out his hand and Finn delivered the tech. “Can you clone this for each of the teams?”

“Yes, sir.”

“And now, how did your meeting with Mister Pal go?”

Back at ease, eyes down, Harry frowned, “He’s got the moral flexibility to join up with the winning side,” he told his master, “If we make one successful move, say, getting this Harpo tech activated, he’ll latch onto the cause like a leech but he doesn’t have the stones to make a first strike.”

“Ah well, they also serve who wait in the wings for the other fellow to bleed,” was Zal’s philosophical reply.

“Will we be able to show him a move, soon?” Harry asked, “Maybe I could integrate Redrum’s device…”

The question, or more the tone of it, put Zal on alert. “Doubtful. The ensign’s design is, how would you put it… not user friendly. He is the only one with a hope of creating a successful uplink.” He placed himself square in front of Finn, “We have still over forty hours before the fleet is due to cross the threshold. There is time to spare, unless,” he closed in on the Human, deliberately invading his space, “there is some problem?”

“I don’t think I can keep this up,” the admission was soft, filled with shame, as it should be. “He’s nothing like me, their Finn, and it’s… starting to…” the phrase went unfinished as he crumpled, gasping over Zal Malkat’s fist in his gut.

Holding Finn up with one hand on his shoulder, Zal leaned forward, “I don’t believe it’s necessary to remind you,” he said quietly into the slave’s ear as he tried to suck in air, “how vital your masquerade is to the success of this mission. Nor, I am sure, have you forgotten how I deal with failure.”

“No… sir,” the breathless reply.

“Good,” Malkat allowed the man to slide to the carpet, “as soon as you are able, I will proceed to the library. I would like to gather as much data as possible before T’Shaini’s team takes over the search. How is your T’Shaini, by the way?”

Harry didn’t look up, though he did drag himself to standing, “I don’t… I haven’t seen her since the meeting.”

“You should make a point of keeping up with her,” Malkat told him, “seeing this ship’s Costala, well, I fear it may have given her… ideas.”

“I’ll be sure to check in on her,” Finn replied, showing no visible sign of the firestorm which Zal knew the mere mention of Costala’s name would ignite in his soul.

“Very good. Shall we?”

Harry nodded silently, unlocking the door and, in the guise of Lt. Harry Finn, leading the way to where Master Chief Star awaited her charge. “Good luck in your research,” he told his opposite number, with a nod to the Security drone, “don’t hesitate to let me know if you need any assistance.”

“You’ll be the first I call on,” Malkat replied, “And do be sure to give my regards to your yeoman,” he added with a small sigh, “I would give a great deal to have such a charming aide, on my own Hawking.” Of course, he’d have to put a leash on Kalar, should such a happy circumstance arise… assuming the girl even survived the initial incursion.

“I’ll be sure to tell her,” Harry replied, his expression neutral.

Pleased with the performance, Malkat nodded and spun away, anxious to get to the real intelligence he’d been sent to mine from the Federation’s database. Star, after one quizzical glance at her superior, quickly followed.

Featuring NPC Gul Zal Malkat (with a wave to his shadow, Emily Star)
Originally Posted 10/27/08 by Harry Finn

USS Hawking
Mess Hall

“We owe him our lives, Tatiana,” Luke reminded her. “If we don’t do what he asks, he will kill us both.”

“I realize that Lucas,” she said sternly. “You normally have problems with my activities, now you condone them?”

Luke noticed their escort watching them in interest. He reached over and tucked her hair behind her ear, “To complete the mission. Yes.”

She took a long sip, “Who?”

He lazily leaned his head in their escort’s direction.

Tatiana laughed, “As much as I love exploring new people, Frank Rintala is not one of them. He made me feel…strange and no one does that.” She shook her head emphatically, “No.”

“I didn’t ask if you wanted to do it.”

“Think about what you’re asking Lucas,” she argued quietly. “Even if I was willing to do it, that man was just demoted for what happened when we first met, do you honestly believe he would be willing to sleep with me? And plus, I wouldn’t be having any fun…so no.”

Luke grasped her shoulder, “I’m not asking you to have fun. I’m asking you to use your skills to get us what we need. I know first hand that you’re capable of it.”

Tatiana ignored the dig. “Fine,” she said grudgingly. “I’ll do it.”

“Good,” he responded. “Now reach under the table.” His arm skimmed across her leg, and she reached for what he was offering.

“What the hell is that,” she asked when she palmed the unknown second object.

“Something you may need.”

Tatiana frowned in confusion, “I don’t understand.” Her frown deepened when her husband ignored her, reached for her glass and finished of the water. She nodded at him and stood, before she walked towards their escort’s table she stopped by Luke’s side, “And here I thought we were having a good time together, nice to see things return to normal.”

He didn’t answer her, but watched on the reflection of the glass as his spouse charmed her way back into Frank Rintala’s good graces. His grip tightened on the glass, as the man’s scowl slowly became what he thought was a seductive smile.

As they left the mess hall, Luke’s hand squeezed tighter and the glass broke from the force. Luke winced, and watched as the crimson droplets fell onto the gray tabletop. He didn't like what he had put in motion, but it was necessary to ensure he kept breathing.

A pimp, his lady, and the silent John, Frank Rintala.
Originally Posted 10/27/08 by Tatiana Thorne

'this isn't right' the voice in Emily's head kept saying over and over again. Something wasn't lining up, the vibe was wrong and Emily couldn't turn a blind eye to it. Or could she? Whatever was going on was probably far beyond anything she could repair or even aid with.

"Star?" Ellison tapped her shoulder, "Hello.."

Emily jumpde a little, "Sorry," she shook her head lightly and brought her thoughts out of the loop they were in.

"I'm taking over here, Fehr said you needed a break."

"Thanks Ellison," she paused then leaned in quietly, "Keep an eye on him, he's up to something…and if anyone comes around to see him, notify Tenanji right away. I'm on my way to see him right now, somethings not right here."

Ellison gave her a curious look but nodded.

"Thanks," Emily replied and left the room.

' you've said it, you have to do it,' she told herself and as usual, she was right. With a deep sigh she headed off to the security area to see if she could find him. A part of her hoped he wasn't there but, he reliable as always.

"Umm..Chief. Can I have a word?" Emily had remembered when she'd first began at starfleet, she was bold as a lion and never afraid to speak up. The comparison to her current actions were drastically different and amusing in its own way.

"Everything alright with Malkat, Star?" Tenanji's voice was direct and to the point.

"He's an interesting character but, it's Finn that I'm inquiring about. You would know better than I if ..well if he would have any reason to be friendly with Malkat. "

"Friendly?" he raised a brow.

"I mean," Emily fought for the right words, "He seemed to know Malkat …"

"There has been multiple occasions to interact with Malkat, not much to be suspicous of there."

Emily was growing a little flustered, "I understand that but, he…"

"Master Cheif, I know you are new to this area of the ship but allow me to educate you on something I believe vital. We don't make assumptions or accusations without having tangable, valid proof. If you had spoken to anyone else there could be rumours flying around within minutes that Finn is plotting against the ship and crew. You see my point." Tenanji turned and checked a PADD, "You've got a few hours till your next IAS shift, I suggest you go have a shower, relax since you must be tired and try to think of something other than this conversation."

Emily nodded but dug her foot in, "With all due respect, Chief. I am not making a random accusation. I felt something wrong with Finn. I can't name it but it was there. I don't know Finn, I haven't spent time with him but for those who do I am sure they would find his behavior odd. Anyone who has been or is an XO of a ship wouldn't seclude themself away with a questionable guest aboard their ship. Especially since that in itself creates questions and rumors which officers try to avoid. "

"Officers know things that we do not, their actions at times are meant to not make sense for our own benefit." Tenanji simply stated.

"It just felt " Emily said turning to leave, " I just had to say something incase something happened and I regretted it. Selfish as that sounds, at least its an excuse for my actions. "

No more words were said, Emily did as she was told and she left to her quarters.

Originally Posted 10/28/08 by Emily Star

USS Hawking
Office ComSecOps - Deck 14

Usher tapped his desk, processing this latest meeting. In spite of what he’d said Star was, he knew, half-Betazoid. This combined with her Vulcan background would render her… sensitive… to unusual behaviors but the fact was that Finn, on his most placid day, was a wellspring of quirks. A more unpredictable personality Tenanji had never seen. Not from the moment, fourteen years past, when Finn and his partner, Seth Anderson, had been placing Usher in custody for espionage… knowing him to be innocent… because it was the only way to smoke out the real perpetrator. So, while he didn’t quite dismiss the Master Chief’s instincts, the officer, as she’d admitted, didn’t know Finn and therefore had no basis for comparison. She also had no idea how far Harry Finn would go to protect what he felt mattered.

No, it would be too precipitate to act on Star’s… feelings… especially in the midst of this strange dance of diplomacy.

On the other hand… he was due on the bridge in a few minutes. Certainly it would do no harm to drop a word into the Captain’s ear, and perhaps make arrangements to spend some time in Finn’s company, as well. He could, at the least, try to determine if the XO’s behavior was more idiosyncratic than the norm.

As to Malkat… well, the IAS were under watch, already. Ellison would be sure to note any irregularities in the Gul’s activities.

Meanwhile, there was the bridge shift, during which time he would increase the ship’s internal sensor cycles… focusing particularly on the areas cleared for the IAS crew. It wasn’t much, but it was something and, in truth, if he caught one of them so much as looking in the wrong direction, he’d cast diplomacy to the void and send these doubles packing.

He’d just have to apologize to the Captain, after.

Featuring NPC Usher Tenanji
Originally Posted 10/28/08 by Harry Finn

:: IAS Hawking ::
:: Temple ::

Torrik Nils turned as two acolytes brought the prisoner into the dark and acrid interior of the temple complex. They lowered him before the high priest and moved off to either side making room for their master.

Torrik took a few steps toward the worn and weary Starfleet officer crumpled on the floor. He took a knee, but kept his distance, trying to catch the swirling eye of the USS Hawking’s real First Officer. “Ah… Mister Finn… It’s been far too long. Far, far too long…”

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, The smoke biting at the back of his throat and, beneath that, the blood tang haunting the temple of doom had Harry fighting off Munro’s dope enough to get to his own knees… sort of. His eyes grazed over the torches, dropped to a series of too-familiar containers… arks (shit)… then slid past the teenaged cult members who’d brought him, coming to rest finally on, of course… “Nice place,” he said to the Torrik gone horribly wrong, “just screams ‘evil empire’.”

"Now that's very narrow-minded of you, isn't it? I'd come to understand you Federation types were so very tolerant of cultures that differed from your own," Torrik answered with a callous smile. Rising slowly from his position on the floor the Bajoran began slowly pacing around the fallen Starfleet Officer. "The good doctor seems to have done a number on you. Would you like something to drink?"

Like what, hemlock? "No, thanks." While Torrik circled, shark-like, around him, Harry tried to gauge the distance to the nearest ark, wondering if it would do any useful damage if he managed to upend it.

"Your choice," the High Priest said with a shrug. "I do intend on…picking your brain a fair bit, however. So if you change your mind…" Immediately his countenance turned cold and his tone dark. "Do you know how you managed to cross-over into our universe? I mean, specifically. Clearly it was by design of the Ascended… But are you aware of the mechanism they used?"

"You mean, you don't?" Harry actually laughed at that. It wasn't much of a laugh and it was understandably bitter but, "And here I thought you were like, the Dark Lord… turns out you're really just the Accidental Tourist." He turned back to stare at the boxes trying to identify which most resembled the one from that cave on Girijan. It would be a long shot… he felt like he was recovering from, oh, twelve hours of torture, but at least this time the cuffs were off.

"That may be overstating it a bit," said Torrik as he turned on his heel to pace in the opposite direction. "Opening the rift by means of the Orb of Conquest was always part of our plan… And our invasion of your universe has been in the works for years - at least at the upper levels of government. But no Mister Finn, I don't know specifically how you came to be with us. Or why our Finn jumped the cosmic ship as it were into your reality." The Priest smiled and watched his quarry gauging the room. The man was nothing if not impressive. "I'm accustomed to a place of humble service, however. I move at the whim of the Lonely Ones. I'm not such a fool to believe that our plans interest them in the least. So… I ask again… How did you get here?" The line of questioning was vital to the design of the Wraiths. If he could unravel the mystery they'd laid before him then perhaps he could completely unlock the secret to spiritual conquest of this galaxy and universe.

Visions of a Devanagari wreathed in black, on both sides of the trip, involuntarily crossed his mind. "Sorry," Harry said, counting out paces behind him, "can't help. Wait, strike that, I'm not sorry that I can't help. In fact, as a certain young lady I know might add," he felt the turn of the man behind him and prayed (to anyone BUT the 'Lonely Ones') that he'd be allowed to make a difference, here and jumped for the most likely coffer, "screw you and the ship you rode in on…"

A field of gravitic energy rebounded against the incoming force of Harry Finn with an equal, but opposite vector.

Ow… "Force field?" the Human asked, from where he lay, staring up into the smoke.

"Whole place is force fields, actually," the Priest answered as he gestured around the room. "And holographic projections as well. A marvel of technology, if you ask me. At first I was terribly against such an…artificial…environment for such a holy place. But the Ascended don't seem to mind it and it definitely has its benefits. You have no idea how much I've saved on the cleaning bill…" Torrik quickstepped it to the fallen Finn and looked down on him. Placing a boot on the man's throat he said through malicious spite, "Don't try that again or I'll take a testicle. And I don't like messes, so that will make me very cross…" He lifted his foot and walked towards the Orbs, crossing through the gravitic barrier.

Shrinkage! "Like I'm gonna get to use them again?" Harry rubbed his throat and dragged himself up… all the way up… to his feet, his senses again pulled to the old-blood odor hovering in the room. "We both know I'm not walking out of here so why not just indulge in that mad cackle you know you're dying to use and get this melodrama over with?"

Torrik Nils did laugh, but it was more of a chuckle than a cackle. "Good point." Gazing into the Orb of Corruption the Priest changed tack rather abruptly. "I don't like Harry Finn." He paused and turned over his shoulder to catch his prisoner's eye. "Oh not you… You're fine, as far as your kind go. I mean, the Harry Finn who calls this ship home. He's a real piece of work, that one. So far up Malkat's ass that he can't see the worthless puppet he's become. Pointless existence if you ask me… And yes I know you didn't." Turning back to the Orb he continued, seemingly lost in his own thoughts. "And there's nothing worse than a pointless existence. I'm convinced that finding one's purpose is the key to life. Until we fit into the grander scheme we'll never find…peace… I want to offer you peace, Harry…"

"You can't offer what isn't yours to give," his own response surprised Finn but this… freak's… echo of what Harry's dream father had been pulling him towards was obscene which, given the circumstances, was saying something. "I can't give you what you want…"

"That remains to be seen, but I can offer you purpose. I can give your pain purpose. I can give your life purpose. I can give your…death…purpose." One more time Torrik Nils turned around. This time, though, he took a few steps towards Finn. His words were delivered in near frenzy. "The Ascended stand ready to take their Celestial Temple. With what you may know I could unlock the key to making that dream a reality. Then your suffering may be quick, and your death offered to them in reverence and holiness. You could have what so many live their whole lives and never find. A [b]great[/i] purpose." He paused briefly. "Tell me how you came to our universe… Give me details. I promise I will make your suffering as…pleasant…as possible." Torrik smiled and brushed up against the Starfleet officer's shoulder.

Instinct had Harry's elbow up and into the crazed apostle's perfect profile before he could think better and he was about to follow through with a roundhouse but one of the kids got hold of his hand before it could complete the arc, followed by another one snagging his right arm and a third came out of nowhere and wrapped his arm around Harry's throat. They didn't look like much but the kids had apparently been working out and not like Harry was at his best. "Fine," he spat over the constricting bar across his larynx, still, somehow, trying to rip himself free, "you want your pound of flesh? Take it… it's only been worked over by half the f**king galaxy by now. Don't think you're coming up with anything original, sport…"

The blow had shocked the High Priest. Being accustomed to respect and/or veiled fear, he'd become overconfident. He suddenly realized that this Harry Finn did not know him and would not respond like so many others on this ship and in his world would. Warm blood flowed from his nose and colored his lips dark red. He lapped at the crimson liquid and it painted his teeth making him look terrible and predatory. "Why," he whispered as he ran his hand over his face. Looking at his own blood in his hand he rounded on Finn and screamed at him in fury, "Why do you resist your purpose!" A spray of spit and blood flew from his lips as he spoke. "I don't want to 'work you over,' Harry Finn," he continued, still in a bloody rage. "I don't want to torture you or make you hurt for any mundane nonsense. I don't hate you. I don't even know you! I want you to die for a reason…for a good reason! I want to offer you to the gods! And you think you are too good for the gods?"

He stalked away from Harry still in the grip of his acolytes and reached into one of the metal cages. The alien beetles began digging into the flesh of his palm the moment he lifted it out, but his anger numbed the pain. It didn't even make a worthy sacrifice. Making his way back to the twisted pile of flesh he spat, "Hurt then… If that is all you know than here is your pain…" He punctuated the last word by flinging the Ruzta at Harry's chest.

Jerking in reaction to the sudden, shredding and, yes… actually unique… agony, Harry hissed out his own brand of hate, "What you don't get," he breathed past the burning, tearing, digging (get it out), "is that I am fulfilling my purpose. You get it, yet?" he felt a sick, helpless gasp bubble up, with the blood, "As long as you don't get what you want… I'm doing my job…"

Torrik released a haunting and blood curdling scream, full of fanatical rage. He hauled off and punched Finn full on in the chest, crushing the life from the beetle burrowing just beneath his skin. He snarled, face to face with this Finn, whom he was beginning to despise as much as the one from his own reality. Dangerously close to the man he sighed and then finally…smiled as his eyes scanned every pore of the human's face. "You take this round, Finn… Put him in a hole," he said to the acolytes turning his back on them all. He used his sleeve to wipe more blood from his face and said, "I have a mess to clean up."

A Joint effort with Harry Finn
Originally Posted 10/28/08 by Torrik Nils

-IAS Hawking-
-Transporter Room-

Rilenna's vision drifted over the new arrivals, categorizing each one as they stepped from the transporter platform. Test subject, she thought to herself as a husky, young engineer stepped away from the dais. Slave then test subject most likely. This designation was for a Vulcan woman who looked oddly familiar. She might have had a double on the ship but Rilenna didn't fraternize with the lower caste so the possibility didn't deserve her attention. Crew. she thought as she saw the Bajoran man. An inner voice warned her that he might be a source of competition if he was turned to the Alliance. Maybe he'll meet with an unfortunate accident shortly afterwards, the Cardassian officer thought as she smiled. Her attendant had so many uses.

Slave. I'll send this one to Engineering to be broken by my husband. Rileena thought as her gaze took in the female science officer who stepped off the platform and swept the room with what Rileena took to be an insolent glare. He'll make her beg..then send her to Munro. Her smile widened at the thought of what the human would endure before dying in the name of science. She caught a glimpse of a male human that had been standing on the back of the platform. Slave. she thought as he stepped forward,, he's too old. Unless Munro can make some progress..surely an agonizer collar would work until she perfects the control serum. She's taken long enough. I'm sure I could always provide her with an incentive to work faster. Rileena approached the human male.

"Welcome to the IAS Hawking," she said as she ignored the Vulcan woman with more rank pips and smiled warmly at the human male in the Engineering uniform. Her eyes took in every aspect of his form. A new canvas with which to start over.

O'Keefe and the Counselor looked at each other in a wordless acknowledgment. Then moving as one, the women flanked Javier smiling pleasantly (if a bit stiffly in Jada's case) refusing to be overlooked by the Cardassian woman. "Lt. Commander T'Shaini of the USS Hawking." The Vulcan held out her hand and waited. Perhaps a bit passive/aggressive, but I think I may be forgiven considering the situation.

"Ah so you are," Rileena replied, ignoring the woman's pro-offered hand as she continued to appraise the male in front of her. This is Costala and the records say he has a daughter; perhaps he will submit if his daughter's well-being is threatened? She noticed the Vulcan woman still had her hand extended. "Cardassians do not shake hands with Vulcans," she said, trying to dismiss the woman. She sensed the male stiffen at her at her remark. They should expect nothing. "Although this meeting of our ships is an auspicious occasion and cultural differences should not bar diplomacy," Rileena stated as she politely shook the woman's hand while concealing her disgust at having to touch a lower life-form.

After clasping hands with the woman she extended her hand to the male Costala, revelling in his firm grip. "I'm Lieutenant Javier Costala," he said, then added, "Permission to come aboard?"

He's asking my permission.. "Permission granted of course, Lieutenant," Rileena purred. "I'm to take you to meet my husband, the Chief Engineer," she said before releasing his hand.

T'Shaini raised her eyebrow at the obvious preference of the Cardassian woman. Vulcans are a lesser life-form and humans are not? At least not when they are male…clearly. Bowing to the inevitable the Counselor smiled politely. "I doubt Lt O'Keefe and I would have as much interest in the engineering department as Javier would…" She brushed her hand across his arm in a blatant claiming gesture. "perhaps someone could show us the labs?"

"I concur, my specialization is planetary sciences…is there a like specialist here?" Jada, through with this…woman, put her weight behind T'Shaini's request.

Rileena smiled pleasantly at the thought of being left alone with Costala. "Yes, a tour of the labs is possible," she agreed. The officer glanced back and selected an Alliance member. "You there," she snapped at the male, "escort these guests to the science labs."

Look at my face. Javier tried to communicate to T'Shaini, What part of it says I want to be left alone with this woman?!? But Javier wasn't telepathic and the counselor did not seem to understand his furtive glances. The engineer's eyes rested on Delano Mills. "Yes, Engineering, perfect, Crewman Mills and I would like a tour of Engineering," Javier said as he pulled Delano into the uncomfortable circle. "Mills is an engineer also and he's going to want to see how this ship is run." And he'll be a buffer between myself and this..person.

"I see," Rileena replied, not quite believing that the dim-witted looking one was also an engineer. "He may join us then." The Cardassian officer turned to the one who would be escorting the Vulcan woman. "Return them to their quarters when the tour is finished, I believe there is a special dinner in their honor tonight." Rileena gave the two women a satisfied smile and said, "I wouldn't want for you to be late." No, I wouldn't want that at all.

In the name of diplomacy, the Counselor saw no alternative but to bend to the Cardassian's…desire to have Javier with her, however she had no problem making their relationship absolutely clear. "Then I will see you this evening, Jada and I were to share and you were to have quarters to yourself, but she has acquiesced to my request that we alter those arrangements." Then with a gentle smile to the IAS officer. "With respect to you of course." At least that would set a time limit on how much of Javier's time the Cardassian could commandeer.

"Anything to make your stay more pleasant," Rileena replied in a sickly-sweet tone. So the Vulcan believes Costala is hers..perhaps for now, in time he will become mine. The Cardassian could only watch with thinly veiled chagrin as Javier nodded in agreement to the new arrangement and bent over to place a kiss on the Vulcan's cheek.

"Thank you," the engineer whispered softly as he withdrew.

"Shall we?" Rileena said impatiently. He'll have to be taught respect of course. she reminded herself. "This way Lieutenant Costala," she instructed as she took him by the arm and pulled him away from the Vulcan, doing her best to ignore the rotund Mills.

Then, after a last look toward an increasingly discomfited Javier, T'Shaini turned to the youngish human who had been selected to escort them, and thankfully he was not some shadow version of someone she knew… and gestured for him to lead the pair to the science labs.

T'Shaini, Del, Javier and Jada venture forth into the Darkness
Originally Posted 10/29/08 by Javier Costala

USS Hawking
Deck 4, Crew Quarters

When the light from the corridor had been blocked out from the closing off of his messy quarters, Frank pushed her against the locked doors and ran a hand down her face, chest and grabbed her hips. He pulled her closer and buried his face in her neck while he loosened his clothes.

“Take your clothes off,” he ordered her breathlessly and allowed his pants to hit the ground.

Tatiana glowered at his tone, ignored him, and pushed him towards the unmade bed. Rintala flopped on the bed, waiting impatiently for the woman to join him.

She sat on the edge of the bed, removing her clothing quickly, and leaving her boots upright. The woman dropped the items Luke had given her in them. She blankly stared at the gray walls in front of her while Frank kissed his way up her back, her neck and finally her face. She turned around and took his face between her hands, pushing him down towards the bed while she kissed him. Once his back met the bed, she attempted to loosen his grip on her body.

“Move them,” she instructed and pulled his hands away from where they were stuck to her hips.

Rintala paused and glared at the woman on top of him.

She noticed his expression, “Either we do it my way, or I leave.”

He brought his hands up and rested them under his head. Tatiana planted her hands on his shoulder and brought her face down to his. When they had finished, he lay on top of her, and she reached into her scuffed boot. She palmed the second object Luke had given her, and once she had gotten a good look at it she rolled her eyes. The woman recognized what he had given her and held it over the back of Rintala’s neck.

Tatiana brought her lips up to his, and began to kiss him forcefully.

“Again?” he pulled back and asked with a smirk.

“Yes,” she whispered and touched the object to his neck when he began his assault on her mouth. She released the substance, and waited for him to be knocked out.

Once he was out, she pushed him off of her and quickly redressed. The engineer found the desktop console that she needed to use, and set about working to contact her Cardassian taskmaster. Before she had estimated that she could risk two minutes before she was caught. Tatiana couldn’t get through, but attempted to access Luke’s messages and found that too was something she couldn’t do.

“Seriously?” she whispered to herself and glanced up, there were fifteen seconds left. She cursed. “What in the hell is going on?”

She roughly removed the instrument from the console and shut the object off. Loud snores could be heard from the bed, where Frank was stretched out with his mouth hanging open. Tatiana went over to the bed, and stood over her escort.

“You were so average, not even worth the effort,” she spoke to him in disgust, and sat down next to him. “Even Nordin was better, and it was her first time with a woman.” She continued her rant, “I’m going to kill Lucas for making me do this.” With her hand held near the man’s face, she stopped to take a deep breath, and began to lightly tap Frank’s face. “Get up, it’s time to go.”

He stirred and opened his eyes. He reached out to rub her thigh and she slapped his hand away, “Don’t. I need to get back to Lucas, let’s go.”

“What happened?”

“You fell asleep,” she lied. “It’s okay, it happens. Now get dressed.”

The blonde rolled out of bed, swiftly dressed and the two left to return to the Mess Hall where Luke was waiting.

This post features Tatiana Getty taking one for the team with Frank Rintala.

Originally Posted 10/29/08 by Tatiana Thorne

-IAS Hawking-
-Outside Main Engineering-

The Cardassian woman had a firm grip on his arm and Javier found it impossible to disentangle himself from Rileena's grasp. She continued to explain her husband's credentials as she led Javier towards Main Engineering and no matter how many times he tried to slip away from her, he could not wrest his arm from her fingers. Finally Javier gave up and began to tune the woman out, resorting to the tactic he had utilized when in the presence of Lady Cutsforth. As Rileena continued her monologue Javier found his thoughts returning to the conversation he and the other T'Shaini had had only hours before he'd left the ship.

"Did you and he have an affair while he was married?" Javier guessed as he moved to stand in front of T'Shaini blocking her progress towards the door, it put his face and body inches from her own. "Is it regret that keeps you from opening up to me? Or is it the fact that you just might start to feel something again?"

"Or perhaps that it is simply none of your business." She knew her own strength, she knew she could push him from her way, but to have what you have wished for, for so long, to be within reach…even a twisted, unattainable version of it, was difficult to walk away from.

"You're right, it's not," Javier acquiesced to her unspoken request to stop pushing for more information. I want to know more about him but maybe it would be better to let it go. For a second the engineer was tempted to push just a little further, to see if he could learn something else. But Javier couldn't use her like that. Even if she isn't my T'Shaini, it would still be wrong to use her feelings for the other version of myself against her. he surmised. She needs a release though, she's wound up so tight she might break at some point.

"Hit me," he suddenly told her.

"Excuse me?"

"You're angry at him for do with Caterina," Javier spoke, realization coming over him. "If he was standing here, instead of me, you'd be angry at him. Maybe so angry you'd yell or hit him. You've got something to say to him. Pretend I'm him..and if it makes you feel better..hit me."

The Vulcan felt her teeth grinding in frustration, it seemed that in either universe Javier was the only one able to affect her in that fashion. She felt her fist clench in response, then forced a logical calm. "Hitting you or him would not make any difference." Deliberately stepping away from him, she crossed toward the table. "What is it you want from me?"

She'd given in and now Javier knew he could ask her whatever question about his mirror self that he needed to. The questions were on the edge of his tongue but were left unasked as he realized how unimportant they were compared to T'Shaini's mental health. She's not my T'Shaini though so what does it matter? Javier immediately felt churlish for thinking such a thing. This may hurt her though..but it's for the best..I hope.

"I want to know how it feels to have to live with the fact that you were never good enough for him," the engineer asked, his tone bordering on malicious. "I suppose Caterina knew how to satisfy him," Javier said as he moved forward and grabbed her wrist, turning her so she faced him. "How does it feel to live with your replacement staying just down the corridor?"

"How dare you?" Her hand snapped away from his and snaked up to wrap around his neck. Slamming him backward against the wall, the Vulcan lifted him up just enough for his toes to reach for the ground. "You know nothing of what has happened, do not presume to judge." She released his feet to the ground before continuing. "We never had an 'affair', he was never with Caterina when he was with me, she came into the picture after he thought I was dead." Her voice thickened slightly on the last word, then, disgusted, she pushed away from him. "He was wrong."

After the shock of being slammed against the wall had worn off, Javier listened as T'Shaini filled in the blanks in she and his mirror counterpart's story. "Maybe he knew that you weren't..deep down he probably knew you weren't dead, he was just too much of a coward to find you. Caterina was there, ready for him, why would he waste time looking for you?" the engineer asked flippantly.

"One thing he was not that you apparently are…" T'Shaini's voice was cold. "deliberately cruel." She moved as far away from him as the room would allow. "All I know is what I have been told…which was little enough."

Something poked him in the ribs causing Javier to glance back at Delano Mills in surprise. "What is your opinion on that practice?" Rileena asked Javier again. Suddenly Javier had understood why Mills had poked him. He knew I wasn't listening to her.

"I'm in agreement with you," Javier answered promptly. The woman seemed pleased with his answer. "How would you implement such a process?" she asked.

"How would you implement such a process?" the engineer replied, dodging a situation which had the potential to be embarassing. "I'm here to learn from you."

"Indeed," Rileena answered before launching into an explanation of how Engineering could be administered by just one person and how unnecessary an Assistant Chief would be. Javier made a weird face at Del, who shrugged in reply and continued to plod along behind the other two.

JP with Mirror Tee
Originally Posted 10/29/08 by Javier Costala

IAS Hawking
Transporter Room

Left alone in the room, but for a transporter tech and another member of the local guard, Lt. Commander Callan Vail glanced at Ensign Darvin, “Well, Brennek,” he addressed the young Bajoran by his given name, “it seems we’ve been left with the baggage.” And, given the reception by their… hostess… he couldn’t have asked for a better outcome. He’d taken the moment of passive confrontation between the Cardassian and the USS crew to retrieve the tripartite aspects of Huey before relaxing into observation of the rest of their initial encounter with the chosen delegate for the IAS Hawking.

And an education it had been because, the thing about individuals who felt secure in their superiority was that they often thought they were better actors than they really were. It was a side effect of unchallenged authority. The lovely Rileena, for instance, while doubtless possessed of many talents, had been unable to hide her responses to a veritable horde of ‘lower’ life forms entering her province.

She was, in fact, the worst possible choice to greet the visitors, if one wanted the visitors to feel at ease so, the moment she and the rest of the crew had departed, he stepped forward, all easy charm, “I wonder,” he said to the waiting security presence… another Bajoran with a certain air of boredom, “would it be possible to speak with myself?”

Arras, who had been trying to fathom his security counterpart’s easy acceptance of Human and Vulcan rule, turned his attention to the Commander, “I beg your pardon?”

Callan’s smile went slightly chill, “I’m almost certain there was an unspoken, ‘sir’ at the end of that sentence, Crewman,” he said, “but, what I meant was, I would like to meet with your Callan Vail, as soon as possible.”

Brennek let out a small cough, ducking his head to avoid the other Bajoran’s glare. He didn’t know how the intelligence officer knew there was a Vail aboard but, from what he’d heard from B’Naath, the El-Aurian’s instincts were sharper than a well-honed kut’luch.

“Sir,” Crayn bit off the appellation, “Intendant-elect Vail’s time is valuable… I can submit your request…”

“No need, no need,” the Enforcer’s words were cut off abruptly as the Intendant, himself strode into the transporter room,

“Mister Vail,” the Federation’s Callan greeted his IAS self. “Your timing is impressive.” Almost as if he’d been just outside, listening…

“Not at all,” the Intendant waved aside the assumption, “It’s truly just that I’ve been missing myself, lately so, when I discovered that I was about to visit, I immediately made space in my schedule to spend some quality time with me.”

“I couldn’t have said it better, myself,” the Commander grinned.

“I know… amazing, isn’t it?”

Brennek bit the inside of his cheek. For all that he knew that the Commander was worried about the Alliance presence, and their own safety aboard the IAS Hawking, the genuine glee at meeting himself (selves?) warmed the otherwise chill transporter room like a well-laid renewal fire.

“Ensign,” his superior called back.


“Perhaps the so-helpful Crewman will give you the five credit tour while I get to know myself better?”

Brennek cast a wary glance at the bristling grunt and wondered if, like Chief Costala, he was about to take one for the team. “Certainly, sir.”

“Very good,” Intendant Vail nodded to Crayn, “Arras, be sure to deliver young…”

“Darvin, Ensign,” the Starfleet Security officer filled in.

“Pleased to meet you, Darvin, Ensign. Be sure to deliver Darvin to the Captain’s mess at 1730 hours.” He waited for the Enforcer’s nod of acknowledgement before gesturing to the door. “Shall we?” he asked his counterpart.

The Commander smiled and followed the gesture, “Wouldn’t miss it.”

Once their superiors had left the room, Brennek and Crayn looked at one another with undisguised suspicion.

“What do you want to see?” Arras caved first, unable to avoid the responsibility thrust upon him.

Darvin smiled his own, tight smile, “Got a targeting range?”

Arras sensed the air of challenge, “Ohhh, yes.”

And so, with like minds… that is, the agreement that they were going to despise each other but might has well make the best of it… the two made their way to deck fourteen, to engage in the inter-universal language of ‘he who terminates the most targets, wins’.

Post featuring NPC’s Callan Vail, Callan Vail, IAS Crewman Arras Crayn andUSS Ensign Darvin Brennek
Originally Posted 10/29/08 by Harry Finn

:: USS Hawking : Holodeck ::.

The lush green grass moved with the slight breeze, the white lines painted onto the field reflected the light from above giving them presence over the grass surrounding them. The precision of the lines, and the detail becomes a second thought as a man in a helmet and pads crashes to the grass, smearing the line. The man gets up and gives a first down sign, then jogs to the now assembled huddle. The look of the teams playing were that of early 21st century football teams, the Kansas City Chiefs, and the Oakland Raiders. The score was 21-24 Raiders, with just over a minute left in the game. In the huddle were some names from the era, but three names stand out, Marshell, Stryfe, and Capers.

When the huddle broke, Scott and Gordon ran out to either side of the field, and Vince stood back in the shotgun formation. As he glanced over the defense, Vince shouted out audibles, noticing little changes, hinting at a blitz. He raised his leg, yelling hut, but the defense didn't bite. He raised his leg again, and the ball rifled it's way to him. Gordon started his route straight up, the cut to the inside, while Scott ran an out pattern to the left. Vince dropped back and scanned, looking for an open man, and locked onto Gordon. He fired the ball to the center of the field connecting with his target. Gorgon cut up the field avoiding one tackle, then getting put to the ground by the safty, but after getting the first down.

The came back into the huddle, Vince gave them their play, then they made they're way back into formation. Vince scanned the defense, not seeing anything that alarmed him then started his hard count. Again the defense didn't bite, and he gave the final hut. As the defense drove into the offensive line, Vince dropped back, looking for an open man. He looked out across the middle, hoping for Gonzalez but he was well covered. Gordon was in the same situation, as was Charles. One of the defensive lineman broke free, making Vince rollout of the pocket to the right. Just as he began to think of throwing the ball away, he glanced up to see Scott break free from his defender, and launced the ball down field. Scott reached out, grabbing the ball, then turned up field, seeing nothing but the endzone. As the crossed the line, Gordon and Vince ran towards him. Just when they reached their teammate, the program ended, and the were left there inside the gray room, still in their pads.

Vince took off his helmet, walking over to the side of the room, grabbing a towel and wiping his forehead. The other two followed, taking their helmets off, and removing the pads. The three of them sat down, and Vince spoke up.

" Well, that was a gut wrencher. Playing with the 21st century rules gets you a little sore though." Vince streched a little.

" No kidding, those guys could hit, and our refs sucked." Gordon took a drink from his water bottle," And their D was pretty good, I had to fight the whole game to break free of that corner."

" Well you could've just tried harder then, I mean that Gonza,ez guy kept getting open for me, and damn he was a nice target, course you got some good grabs." Vince stood up taking his pads, and flak jacket off, dropping it to the floor,"Then Scott ofcourse, just could keep the ball out of your hands."

Scott grinned," Well, what can I say. I was just enjoying the break from this whole situation with the other Hawking. Let us just get away, and enjoy ourselves."

" Yea, there have been some odd things going on, especially our little get together in the lounge. It was quite odd meeting myself. I didn't know I could be such a prick." Vince sat back down, taking another drink," I even think it's getting to some of the other crew."

Scott took a drink himself, looking up at Vince," Like how do you mean?"

" Well, I went in to drop off some reports from the con, and the usual mix of coffee cups all over the place was non existant, maybe he's given the caffine up, I don't know." Vince stood up, heading for the door," Let's get back to the grind, I wanna run some scans."

" What kinda scans?" Scott said walking behind Vince.

" Not sure, just some random ones, somthing to keep me occupied, maybe I'll find somthing cool that will be helpful in some way."

The three helmsman walked out of the holodeck, leaving their equipment on the floor, returning to life in the 24th century……

.:: IAS Hawking : Stryfe Quarters ::.

Vincent sat in his chair, only the light from his side table was on in the room. He shifted through a stack of PADDs, scanning through each one, looking at certain information on each. He reached over and grabbed his glass of scotch, taking a sip, then setting it back down grabbing another PADD. He rubbed his temple with his right index finger, laying the PADD down, leaning back in the chair. He heard the door to the room open, adressing the person walking in.

" I thought I told you not to bother me right now, Fain, I'm busy working on my plan, you need to be patient." Vincent took another drink, returning to the last PADD he was scanning over.

" Well, I'm not your brother, and I thought I have free reign in our quarters," The voice was of a woman.

Vincent sat his glass and PADD down again, standing up, looking towards the woman," Ofcourse you do, but even you are supposed to request permission before you enter my study, Charlotte, Only our son can enter here freely."

Charlotte walked over to Vincent, playing with the collar on his unbuttoned jacket," Us being husband and Wife, should grant me the right to enter whatever room I want in our quarters, no questions asked."

Vincent smiled, then back handed her, sending her to the floor," I believe you have thought outside the box that your supposed to think. Your place is to serve me, and not question the rules I have placed. Don't think you can ever do what ever you want as long as you are alive."

The door opened again, and their son was standing in the doorway. Charlotte put her hand on her cheek, looking up at Vince," I'm sorry Vincent, I forgot my place, please forgive me."

Vincent gestured for his son to come over to him," Son, this is what happens when a woman defies you. Never let them think they have free reign, or rights if that, especially human women," He placed a hand on their son's shoulder," And soon, when this vessel is in my control, you'll know the true meaning of being a servant, Charlotte."

As she stood up, she looked down at the stack of PADDs, then back at Vince," When this vessel belongs to you? What do you mean by that?"

" In due time you will know, but again you are about to tread into things that do not concern you at this time. When the time comes that you are to know what is going on, I will inform you. Until then, don't worry about what is going on. Just be the loving mother, and good wife that you are, and get out of my face." Vince pointed to the door, watching as she left.

The boy watched as his mother left the room, then looked up at his father," Are you planning to go against the Cardassians father?"

Vincent looked down at him," Yes Shawn, I am, and I'm going to succede. Soon things are going to change for us, and then for the Alliance it's self…….."

Originally Posted 10/29/08 by Vince Stryfe

USS Hawking

T'Shaini stood outside the door of this Javier Costala's office, her unnamed security shadow (thank the gods for the shift change) flanking the gold clad human here to keep an eye on Caterina. She stared inside marvelling at the ease with which this woman fit herself in anywhere, curled up in another's desk chair, scrolling through information as if she belonged there. That was something that would never, never be a part of T'Shaini's makeup. Odd that when he moved on he went to someone who was, in every possible way, diametrically opposed to her. Soft where she was hard, comfortable where she was ill at ease…

"May I speak to you?"

Cat frowned, she had been enjoying herself too much to notice the arrival of another in Engineering. Part of the information to which she had been given access were the technical specifications of the USS Hawking. There were more than a few differences in the ships design and the engineer relished pouring over the design. She also felt comfortable in Javier's office, she knew he was not her Javier, but he still seemed to be warm and caring like her Javier had been and that put her at ease. It was the first time in a long while that she had felt at ease in Engineering, usually Gul Kalar made her so uncomfortable she was tense and short tempered. "What do you want?" she asked, "My time is reserved for people with whom I wish to have a conversation." The Vulcan woman had been especially rude to her in their last conversation and it was still fresh in her thoughts.

Sorry Seth, tactical error on your part to send me. "Then I beg your pardon for disturbing you." She turned to leave, then paused a moment to look over her shoulder. "I thought perhaps we might help each other in a way that Javier would have approved of, but I was mistaken."

That got her attention, but for reasons other than the obvious. "So now you know him, and think you know what he would have approved of?" Her feet slipped to the floor and she crossed the room quickly, placing herself between T'Shaini and the door. "Care to explain yourself?"

"As much as we might like to believe that peoples lives begin and end when our association with them does, it is not true. If you would excuse me." It would be easy to push past the smaller woman, but T'Shaini was attempting to refrain from behavior that would elicit notice.

"I don't think so," Caterina replied, she might have been shorter and not as tough as the Vulcan, but T'Shaini had some knowledge of Javier and she wasn't going to let the woman leave that easily. "You're the one who approached me, then spouted off about me helping you in a way my late husband would have approved of..I deserve an explanation. And you're going to give me one." Caterina tensed as she realized she may have to fight the security officer but it was something she was prepared to do.

The Vulcan folded her arms over her chest and looked down at Caterina. She could see her body prepare, felt the security officers alert for potential trouble and wanted to diffuse the situation as quickly as possible…that was her own security training after all. "You made if quite clear you did not want to have a conversation with me, if you have changed your mind then of course we may…converse."

Caterina huffed out a breath. "I've asked you twice for an explanation," she said in exasperation while thinking Vulcans. This is why Kalar will not allow them in Engineering. That and they could snap him in half if he 'invited' them to his office., "How clear do I have to be?" The engineer looked at T'Shaini then said, "Would you like to sit down?" as she waved at one of the chairs in the office. "I believe this Javier will not mind us using his office."

And when I came prepared to speak you rebuffed me. Pointless to say it, better to get in and out of this conversation as quickly as possible. T'Shaini took a quick look to their 'watchers' for a nod of approval before moving into the Chief of Engineering's office. "What do you wish to know? Be certain that what you ask is what you truly wish to know, I will not lie or sugar coat the truth."

Finally, after a year of uncertainty, a year of hoping for some news, Caterina had found someone who could do more than assure her Javier was gone. "He went there to find you," she said in a tone that left no doubt. After her first 'talk' with the Vulcan, Cat knew that there had been something between her husband and this woman. "Did..were you.." The question was difficult to voice. She remembered how restless Javier had been before he had left and how he had shrugged her off when she tried to get close to him. "Were..what were you to him?"

A small huff of breath escaped the Vulcan. "I do not know, nor am I ever likely to truly know." Brushing off the enigmatic phrases for more practicality, T'Shaini continued. "We were colleagues, friends, and eventually…"how can I express what there are no words to say?

"Lovers," Caterina said with finality. She didn't know what to feel. There was an emptiness inside of her. He left me to go to her. To find her again.. She wanted to hate T'Shaini for causing Javier's betrayal. But it was if she had known all along that Javier held something back, that he had kept some part of himself secret from her and now she knew what that part had been. "He still.." it was difficult to voice, "he still had feelings for you."

T'Shaini's eyes closed against the pain written on the other woman's face and the improbable feeling that her words engendered. "I thank you for that."

"There was always a part of himself he wouldn't share with me," Caterina kept talking, not knowing why, just that the realization needed to be verbalized. Tears began to flow unabated from her eyes. "I thought it was because there was something dark in his past but it was you." She wiped some of the moisture from her eyes. Then Cat laughed bitterly. "He was going to find you. He was leaving me for you. And now you want my help?"

Uncomfortable with the show of emotion, T'Shaini began to turn away, but the need to clarify (she did say she would tell the truth) drew her back. "No, no he was not. He was doing what he perceived was his duty. He believed me to be dead." Understanding that Javier was the one link that would have any affect on the woman she pressed forward. "We once fought for the same cause…" The Vulcan's voice dropped low, not that it was likely that their conversation would be overheard, not here, but the habit of concealment was hard to break. "it is because of that duty that I seek your help."

Part I of Catfight! (written by Javi and Tee)
Originally Posted 10/31/08 by T'Shaini

"What cause?" she said, not believing T'Shaini's protestations. Vulcans aren't supposed to lie but they can deceive with a straight face. Was there something else he kept hidden? "You're saying he chose a cause over me." Caterina could believe that Javier had been drawn to another woman, but to leave her for duty.. "He never showed the slightest bit of interest in Alliance politics. If he did it was only to criticize them for some of their," Caterina lowered her voice out of habit, "policies toward humans."

"Exactly." T'Shaini held the woman's gaze until she began to see the flicker of suspicion, of realization, of fear.

My husband was a terrorist. Caterina thought as her eyes widened. Suddenly there was a very real and very dangerous reason why Javier had locked away part of his past. If Javier had been in the Resistance with T'Shaini and T'Shaini wanted her to help her with something that Javier would have advocated..

"No. Are you insane? Do you know what they do to terrorists?" Caterina hissed at the Vulcan woman.

Standing up a little taller, T'Shaini tipped her head slightly to the side letting her hair fall back to reveal the scar she always sought to conceal. "Why yes, actually I do. Though I believe the use of the word 'terrorist' is entirely dependant on your point of view."

"Somehow I doubt our superiors would agree with you," Cat muttered as she turned away from the sight of the scar. Is this what Javier would have wanted? she wondered. How could she know? Javier seemed to have been a completely different person from the one she thought she knew. Maybe T'Shaini is trying to use him to dupe me into helping her terrorist faction? "Why would Javier have married me if he had such radical views? My family is loyal to the Alliance, surely he would have known this..your story just doesn't make sense."

"For humans, your family is exceedingly powerful, if brought to our side your knowledge and influence could do much good." How far should she go? There was still the danger, that now revealed, Caterina would betray her. The Vulcan would not regret her own loss of life, but how many other would she implicate before she was killed…anyone can be broken. "It was why Javier was not with us when we were captured. It was why he was sent to you."

A starburst of anger lit Caterina's senses. "You're saying I was his mission, which means he never felt anything for me but that all of his actions were because of some cause," the engineer spat back at T'Shaini. "This is preposterous. I don't know what your angle is but I'm sure that my superiors will be interested in learning that one of their security officers is plotting with the Resistance," Caterina said as she stood to her feet. She started to leave but was halted by one thought. What if it's true? If it is then I would be under suspicion. Everything I've worked so hard to gain would be taken away. And even if it wasn't true there would still be questions asked about why she and T'Shaini had been talking privately to begin with. The brush of Alliance suspicion had a very wide stroke.

The engineer fell back into the chair. "Either way, my career is over because I spoke to you." Caterina covered her hands with her face. "What is it you want?"

The Vulcan leaned back against the wall to give the the woman as much distance as possible. "If you are willing, we seek the command codes for engineering, once everything else is in place we seek to set up a cascade failure in the warp core." Pushing herself from the wall T'Shaini moved closer and knelt down in front of the stricken engineer. "They seek to subjugate this universe, when it was only for ourselves I could allow myself to remain as passive as the labor camps had made me. But this cannot be allowed."

"Only Kalar has them," Caterina answered as she looked up at the woman, "the only way to get them would be to.." The woman shivered as the thought of what the Chief Engineer had been trying to do since she first came aboard flooded her thoughts. "I won't do that for your cause, Javier or to keep my career or even my life," Cat informed T'Shaini.

"Understood" How could she argue with that? "Of course, if you do not wish to aid us in this venture, you can walk from this room and I will not mention this again. It is unlikely we have been overheard, the officers of the USS Hawking would have little interest in reporting our conversation to the Alliance so you should be safe…or as safe as any of us are."

"I'm sorry, I can't help you. I'd rather kill Gul Kalar than do..that." Caterina searched T'Shaini's face for a sign that she understood.

Placing her hand on Caterina's shoulder the Vulcan nodded. "I cannot ask of you more than you are willing to give."

For the first time since their conversation began, Cat smiled as she basked in T'Shaini's acceptance. "Your scar isn't all bad. It helps to highlight your features. You have very nice cheekbones," the woman offered.

Unused muscles pulled almost awkwardly as a rare smile began to blossom on T'Shaini's face. "Why thank you." She tucked a stray lock of hair behind Caterina's ear. "You are quite lovely…no doubt the reason for my instant dislike." She said lightly as the engineer turned and left the room. Following her, she paused to address the curious faces of the young security officers that had watched, but not heard, their exchange. "Lover's spat…I apologize that you were subjected to our personal life." The slight glazing of the young men's eyes as they followed her out the door assured that, though they may think of the encounter again, it would not be tainted with suspicion.

Part II of the Catfight
Originally Posted 10/31/08 by Javier Costala

USS Hawking
First Officer's Quarters

"I can't believe he changed the locking code," Jen whispered as they slid into the room, "I can't believe I'm breaking into his quarters… I can't believe you had a code-breaker!" she eyed the archaeologist with admiring suspicion.

A sly smile spread over Kerrin's face. "Well there was at least one advantage to sharing a lab with Gorsky…" A soft laugh escaped from her mouth, it was almost horrifying how exhilarating she found this, "there was always some new toy that he wanted to try out."

"I probably shouldn't know about that," Jen replied, scanning the main room. "This would be easier if he had more furniture… or a plant… or… something." Heading for the desk, the crewman nodded towards the sleeping area, "you take the bedroom."

Awkward turtle. Not that Jenny wasn't an adult or that she didn't know what her and Harry's relationship was (and was it was?) but there was something uncomfortable about this. Pushing aside the urge to do an icky dance, Kerrin just nodded and headed into the bedroom. Hmm, well since he is clearly not a princess… lifting up the edge of the mattress, Kerrin slid the tricorder in as far as her arm would go. "Ow." She tried to pull it back out but something had snagged. "Shit." Kerrin muttered to herself. Please, please, please don't make me have to call Jenny for help.

As Kerrin went into the sleeping area, Jen started pulling drawers open, looking for a place where an extra tricorder might blend. He already had three laid out on the desk, keeping company with a brace of knives that he usually kept locked away unless he was in a training program. Pulling one free, she contemplated it a moment before ducking beneath the desk itself, looking for any slots she might pry wide enough to support the rigged-up spy tech. It wasn't looking good.

Jenny sighed and stood up. She'd just have to stick one under the couch and hope for the…

The sound of the door's code being entered sent her over the back of the sofa and flat on the floor. Please, please, please let Kerrin have heard that…

Ohgodohgodohgod. Hearing the faint sound of the door sent a surge of panic that had Kerrin ripping her arm from whatever it had been snagged on. Barely taking time to register the slight tear on the sleeve, she shot to her feet then sprinted toward the doorway only to see….eep.

"Lights to half," Finn ordered, not in the mood for anything brighter. He walked over the replicator, one hand pressed against the blossoming bruise Malkat had left, "Whiskey, Skagaran" he ordered, shortly. Once the drink appeared, he winced his way over to the tricorders he had to finish doctoring for the rest of the IAS research teams. Taking his seat, he glanced at the contents of the desk and paused.

It looked… different.

On the floor, Jenny felt herself go cold as she realized, not only was Uncle Harry drinking again, she was still holding the knife from his desk.

Ducking back to remain unseen, Kerrin began to shake…the euphoria they had felt when it was all a lark drained away with the sudden seriousness of getting caught. How can we possibly explain this. Then she heard two words that, when spoken, shattered far more than the silence. He is drinking again.

Frowning, Harry ran his fingers over the brace of Finn's blades. He thought he'd put them all back after Costala had murdered the couch… he glanced over and, sure enough, no dagger.

"Whatever." It was probably on the floor and, the way he felt right now, crawling around looking for the blade was last on his list of fun things to do.

No, wait, last on his list of fun things to do was make things right with Jenny. But if he meant to keep up this f**king charade, and he had to keep it up, he needed to set her at ease and sooner rather than later. Shit, shit, shit… Bowing to the inevitable, he tossed back his drink before speaking up again, "Computer, what is the current location of Crewman Anderson?"

JP between Lucy, Ethel and Horrible Harry
Originally Posted 10/31/08 by Harry Finn

IAS Hawking

He is a capable, intelligent adult, he can take care of himself. T'Shaini tamped down the feeling that she had abandoned Javier (there was not much she could have done within the confines of what would be acceptable on a diplomatic mission) and continued down the rather drab corridor with Jada and…

"I am sorry, I did not ask your name."

"N…" He'd been lost in thought and almost blown his cover. "No. No you didn't he replied quickly, chiding himself even as he spoke. "My name is Lieutenant David Quincy." he replied. "I'm the Hawking's chief linguist."

The Counselor and the Planetary Scientist's steps hitched in unison, with a puzzled look, first to each other, then to the proclaimed Quincy. Holding up a hand to forestall the accusatory words she could see about to leap from O'Keefe's mouth, T'Shaini slowed her pace. "I am sorry for our…confusion. We do indeed have a David Quincy on board the USS Hawking, a security officer." A slight frown of concentration creased her forehead. "And he looks nothing like you."

That cover may be blown yet. He thought as he spun together an alibi. With as many names and personas as the professed linguist had taken on over the course of his career one would think it came easily. "Yes." He began, the lie coming as effortlessly as his smile. "I've looked over his biography. We have different mothers." He knew it to be a lie because the David Quincy who's name and life he'd stolen some months ago did indeed match the one serving as a security office ron the other vessel. "I don't know what happened to your lieutenant Quincy's mother in our universe. though."

The iron grip that the seemingly placid counselor had on her wrist was one of the reasons O'Keefe held her tongue at that lame explanation, for the most part she didn't care what this IAS person was or what he thought he had to hide, she just wanted to do her tour and go home to her lab.

"Ah." Not that T'Shaini was familiar with the nuances of the replicas of the Mirror Universe, but other than the fact that it made no sense to her there was no real reason to challenge the young man. I am sure many people have many things they wish to hide here. "A linguist you said?" Might as well attempt to divert everyone's attention.

"That's right ma'am." he replied evenly. She doesn't believe you., a little voice called out. He filed the vulcan's name away. She's a liability. The spy in him was already killing her off in ten very discreet ways. Of course, if she proved him wrong and didn't prove to be a nuisance, then that would be less work.

"We are so accustomed to the use of our universal translators that I have yet to meet a specialist in linguistics…how did you come to this field?" Without a thought the counselor slid into a mode of inquiry.

"It is an obscure field. I took an interest as a boy, and when the time came to choose an area of study for my major, it just made sense." He replied with a slight shrug. [i]Why had Quincy chosen this archaic profession?" Not that it mattered. Quincy wouldn't be able to tell him even if he really did want to know. "And a translator cannot decipher motives, moods or feeling. In fact, there are several subtle differences in most languages that tell us a great deal about an individual that a translator cannot pick up."

"How fascinating." It truly was, all questions of whatever he might be hiding dismissed for the moment. "Are you used in primarily a diplomatic manner? Deciphering motives of possible allies?" She tried to exchange a look of interest with O'Keefe, but this was clearly not something that interested her, as a matter of fact T'Shaini could almost see the words bounce like ping pong balls off the shell of indifference surrounding her.

"Diplomatic meetings, interrogations, yes. I also maintain the translation equipment and programs." He answered.

"Interrogations?" Jada's head snapped around.

Quincy's eyes narrowed a nanometer as he considered the scientist's outburst. Clearly she found his statement to be disturbing. "Yes. We have criminals in this universe as well. I assist with their interrogations. As well as those of a more military nature.

The counselor stepped in smoothly. "Of course, I would assume it would be invaluable in any circumstance."

A slight nod was the only response the man gave before stopping in front of the turbolift which would take the trio to their final destination. A glance at the scientist's almost scowling visage told him that she was still not buying much. Vulcans were difficult to read, but had there been money on the line his would be squarely on the side of her and the human sharing the same opinion of him. No matter though. He'd taken care of issues like that in the very recent past. It would be easy to do again if the situation demanded it. Checking his archaic wrist chrono the Lieutenant then strode through the open doors. "Follow me please." he asked evenly.

Letting the young man move ahead T'Shaini attempted to signal the scientist to let the matter drop. As unorthodox as their world was to that they were accustomed to, it was not their job to pass judgment, simply to observe and interact. Meeting nothing but a blank stare the Vulcan lengthened her stride to catch up. "Once Lt. O'Keefe is safely stowed in the labs I may prevail upon you to escort me to my quarters," She dropped her tone as if sharing a secret. "as much as I would like to pretend otherwise, the ins and outs of planetary sciences baffles me."

"I would be happy to." Quincy nodded. "I'll admit the same. The sciences outside my own realm of study are a bit beyond me. Where did the Commander tell you that you'd be staying?"

"I believe all of us are in guest quarters on Deck 4."

"No problem" he replied with an almost genuine looking smile. "I'm not due to be at my post for another thirty or forty minutes so I can take you wherever you'd like to go."

"Lovely." They halted in front of the labs and, as was her wont, Lt. O'Keefe pushed past them to march into the lab. As the door was sliding shut again the two could here her demanding (T'Shaini was certain she had no idea how she sounded to the outside world) to be shown some particular system. "Ah Jada..her warmth is the pride of our ship…" The counselor said with an ironic smile.

Yeah and if she gets in my way, it might get pretty cold over there. He thought to himself even as he laughed slightly at the counselor's light barb. "I'm sure that she is." He replied.

  • A JP featuring the immense talents of one Counselor T'Shaini and the alternate David Quincy *

Originally Posted 10/31/08 by Nathan Benjamin

USS Hawking
Deck 5, Sickbay

“Be more careful,” Tatiana instructed gently and grinned at her brother. “You are way too clumsy for your own good.”

Mikhail rolled his wrist then scooted off the biobed. “Thanks,” he responded. “I heard you met the other you. How was she?”

Tatiana shrugged, “I don’t know. She was different; I think I…understand how she got to be the woman she is.”


She nodded, “Believe it or not.” As her brother followed her to the door she turned around and he stopped walking. “We haven’t sat down and had a bite together in a while. If you’re not working when my shifts end, we’ll head to the Mess Hall, alright?”

Mikhail nodded and waved as he exited Sickbay.

While she returned the items to their previous spots, Sickbay opened and heavy footsteps sounded behind her. The individual that entered spoke, “Excuse me?”

It was the medic, Luke. “You just got off duty, and you’ve already hurt yourself? If you wanted to be here that bad, you could have took my shift too,” Tatiana joked and looked over her shoulder. She didn’t expect the usually quiet medic to answer her, but when she noticed the outfit Luke sported, she stopped what she was doing. It wasn’t the Luke Getty that she worked with, but the one her mirror insisted that she hated passionately.

Luke held up his bloody hand, “Uh, I had an accident in your mess hall.”

“Have a seat, I’ll fix you up,” she responded and motioned towards the nearest free biobed. She grabbed a tricorder and pulled a tray behind her. She noticed the two individuals huddled in the corner; Tatiana Getty caught her gaze before staring at her injured husband, obviously worried about something. Frank Rintala, their security escort, had a relaxed stance and a wide smile.

“So…” she began as she scanned his cut, “How’s your tour going?”

He paused for a time, “It’s interesting here…quite different from what I know on my Hawking.” Luke glanced at his spouse pointedly, “Don’t you agree Tatiana?”

“Yeah, yeah,” she answered distractedly. The woman straightened, “Can I have a word with Lucas?”

“Sure,” the doctor responded slowly. “Just let me patch him up, and he’s all yours.” She looked down at the tricorder, “It’s not that deep, lucky for you.” Thorne picked up the Dermal Regenerator and ran it over his palm. Once the wound was healed, both she and Rintala moved away from the couple.

While the Gettys engaged in what quickly escalated into a heated whispered conversation, Tatiana saw Rintala staring at her lasciviously, “Is there a problem?”

Rintala shook his head slowly, but his eyes didn’t leave her body, “No, not at all.”

Tatiana scowled at his tone that was far too knowing for her taste, “Then stop looking at me like that or we’re going to have misunderstanding.”

The man lifted his hands in the air in mock surrender, “Sorry.”

The arguing couple quieted. Luke took the arm of his ashen wife, and together they walked over to Rintala and Thorne. “We’d like a quick look at your shuttle bays and then we’d like to head to the guest quarters you’ve set up,” he told the security escort.

Rintala nodded, and before they set off, Thorne looked at her mirror, “Is everything okay?”

“Yeah,” she answered uncertain. “It’s fine.”

This post features many characters:
Luke Getty
Tatiana Getty
Frank Rintala
Mikhail Thorne
Tatiana Thorne
Originally Posted 10/31/08 by Tatiana Thorne

IAS Hawking
In Transit

Lt. Commander Vail observed, and was observed in turn, as he and his counterpart strode through the IAS Hawking’s far more… angular… corridors. They weren’t truly less illuminated than those of the USS version but the sharp edges of the design added shadows… as if the vessel herself were a metaphor…

“You’re rather quiet,” the Intendant commented.

“Understandably,” the Intelligencer replied. “Though, I am curious… what honors did Stephen Hawking garner in your home reality that there would be a ship named for him?”

“Ahh, the Terran genius… certainly he was born far before his time,” Callan turned a corner, noting the increased security presence… and no fewer than one in three were of the elite, Enforcer brigade, “His theories gave birth to a particle accelerator, which in turn led to the Terran Empire’s development of anti-matter weaponry. The technology was, to use an Earth-bound analogy, the longbow of the galaxy, and with it the Empire ruled the Alpha quadrant.”

“For a time.”

The Alliance politician nodded, “For a time but, as we have seen, in time, all empires fall.”

The Starfleet man’s eyes narrowed, “Indeed. I also wondered,” he added, as they came to a door, which the other El-Aurian proceeded to unlock, “at the choice of Rileena to greet our party.”

Vail allowed a tight smile as the two entered his temporary office space, “I imagine you would. I felt rather inspired when I assigned the task.” He gestured towards the chairs set in front of the desk.

“You wanted us to be on our guard,” Callan took his seat before the desk.

“I did,” the other Callan took his seat behind the desk.

“One can’t help but be curious as to why.”

“Nothing wrong with a bit of healthy curiosity… up to a point.”

Vail leaned forward, elbows on knees, “And when one reaches that point?”

Vail leaned forward, elbows on desk, “One might find it to be quite… sharp.”

The ‘Fleeter stared into his own, steely gaze, searching for answers to questions he didn’t know. “But I do want to reach that point, don’t I?”

Blue eyes locked to blue, “You do.”

“And when I do?”

Callan Vail, code-named Tenebrous of the Ombrian cell of the ongoing Resistance, didn’t move a muscle, “We break it.”

Post featuring Intendant-elect Callan Vail (AKA Tenebrous)
Originally Posted 10/31/08 by Harry Finn

-IAS Hawking-
-Main Engineering-

Javier shifted his weight to one foot and then the other as he stood at a casual parade rest beside the IAS Hawking's Master System's Display. Besides the lighting and harsh angles, it was very similar to his own ship. 'It's not your ship anymore,' the engineer thought, 'now it's Mustapha's or Yeoh's.

He was waiting for the Chief Engineer to give him the tour. Rileena, Javier and Delano had arrived in Engineering only to be informed that Gul Kalar was in the midst of a crewmember evaluation and would not be able to give the tour. Javier had watched Rileena's eye thin down then do her best to remain calm as she assured he and Mills that her husband would give the tour. "I just need to remin..speak to him about certain matters," she had said, taking her leave of them and making her way to the Chief Engineer's office. Costala was surprised by the fact that the office didn't have any windows. Gives an aspect of privacy..but how much privacy do you need?

He looked over at Delano Mills, who had found another human engineer with which to speak. This made Javier smile because it meant Delano was coming out of his shell. The crewman had been so nervous when he had first arrived on the Hawking that he wouldn't even address his colleagues, let alone his superiors.

You helped him in that respect, an inner voice told the engineer. No, T'Shaini deserves the credit. he thought, refuting himself, It helped him, being on her away team. She has a way of puting people at ease and I think Mills needed that sort of acceptance. She's different from the other T'Shaini. So confident, different…

It hurt him, to see T'Shaini, even a copy of his T'Shaini hurt because of something he had said. "That was cruel," Javier agreed as he took a seat, "I was thinking you would punch me in the head and if anything, feel a little bit better." He ran his hands through his hair. "I apologize, please sit," he said, indicating the chair across from him.

"However tempting that may have been I have to assume command would frown on that sort of action." She stared at him in silence for a moment before nodding at some internal decision and taking a seat.

"What T'Shaini and I do behind closed doors never reaches the ears of Command," he replied with a slight smile. Well, sometimes it did, but only because Nils was such a light sleeper. Javier thought as he remembered when he, T'Shaini and Nils had lived in the Chief Engineer's quarters. "And the Captain has punched me out before, so I think he'd understand." Javier paused a moment to reflect on he and Nils first fight. "I wanted to know about my counterpart but I think I'm more concerned about you," he explained to the Vulcan woman. "I know how odd that must sound to you, but there's a part of me that wants to see you..content."

A sour smile twisted the features of the Vulcan. "You have interesting tactics if that is indeed your goal." She stared off into nowhere. "Contentment. I doubt that it truly exists."

"Anger and resentment can do awful things to a person if one allows them to remain bottled up inside," Javier explained. "Such was the case with me, about three years ago my wife left me and her child for parts unknown. I resented her for a long time but then realized I was only hurting myself and blaming my daughter for something that Caterina did." He rubbed his neck. The place where she had held him up against the wall was sore but it would go away. "It would seem that inner wounds are the ones that are the toughest to mend."

Fascinating how the roles in this universe seemed to be reversed, or at least the timeline of meeting Javier…which seemed to make a great deal of difference. "Indeed, there is little tangible treatment for an inner wound." T'Shaini leaned back in her chair. "For me there is nothing but the lack of surety…if I had truly been important to him would he have come for me? Was I as important as I wished to be and it was simply misfortune? Or would his meeting of Caterina turned him from me no matter what the situation?" She shrugged lightly. "These are questions I will never have the answer to, no matter how I may wish it."

"Do you find that he and I are alike?" Javier asked. "I mean, besides what you took to be cruelty..are we the same?"

"I know so little about you." T'Shaini shook her head. "The similarities are remarkable, but I have not interacted with you enough to support any hypothosis. If anything you seem less…sure. He was always quite sure he was right…even when no one else was."

So he was like Kal-El? the engineer surmised as he chuckled at the thought. "There have been some events that have recently taken place to make me less sure about certain choices," Javier explained. "Why does it matter so much that he chose Caterina? Was it because they were married..was that something you wanted?"

She paused a moment before answering. "If you have never known what it is to not have anyone that you are the most important person to, I cannot explain it to you." She glanced down at her hands which were now folded on her lap. "It leaves a hole that cannot be filled."

"I think I understand," he said softly. T'Shaini had filled that hole for him. "If there is one thing I am certain of though, it is that he loved you as much as I love my T'Shaini," Javier said with conviction. He stood to his feet and turned to leave. Javier stopped then said, "I want to return and speak with you again. Would that be okay?"

Would it? Would it be 'okay'? T'Shaini did not know whether it was a good idea or no, but as potentially unsettling as it could be she found she could not say no. Without words, she nodded her acquiescence.

She looked sad, eternally sad, and it was this that prompted Javier to put his arms around the Vulcan woman and give her a small squeeze. "I'm sorry.." he whispered, "things will get better, I promise." T'Shaini watched him leave then dropped her head to rest on her hands.

"I have to make it better from this Hawking," Javier said quietly as he came up from under. He didn't know how he was going to do that but the engineer knew that he had to try. Something has to change and I have to make it change. he resolved. How? That's the do I do it? I can't do it alone. I need T'Shaini, Del and Jada's help. Javier realized. He motioned to Delano who nodded and then made his way over to the Chief.

"Away team meeting in my quarters in half an hour," he told Del while pretending to look at the warp core.

"Aye Chief."

Rileena stalked out of the Chief Engineer's office. "I will be giving you the tour, my husb.."

"That won't be necessary ma'am," Javier replied, "from what I've seen, this Hawking is like my own, and I know her like the back of my hand. I'd like to return to my quarters now."

"Well I was thinking that we could visit the officer's lounge.." Rileena started to say before Javier cut her off. "I'm sure it is similar to our own," the engineer replied, "I've seen it all, drunk it all and had to deal with my share of bar skanks so if you could be so kind as to show me where my quarters are located.."

"I believe they are on deck four Chief," Delano chimed in, "like our own."

Did he just call me a bar skank? Rileena wondered, Must be a human term. "Yeees I can show you or.."

"Deck Four, okay ma'am no need to bother yourself any further, Mills and I can find them," Lieutenant Costala said as he started towards the exit. Diplomacy be damned, I'm getting away from this blood-sucker.

Delano followed, keeping pace with the Chief, a radiant smile on his face. Rileena was in shock but managed to recover in time to scoot after the two engineers. She had lost control over the situation and without a neural collar it looked as if she would not regain it.

JP with a 'little' help from my friends.
Originally Posted 11/1/08 by Javier Costala

Smoke & Mirrors

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