Rats Alley Where The Dead Men Lost Their Bones

T'Shaini had checked the whereabouts of both Javier and Nils before returning to their current quarters. Javier was no doubt caught in the tidal wave of responsibility that accompanied his new position, Nils, she was told, was in his room. If she were extremely quiet she could likely shower, change and be out of the suite before he noticed her. I cannot live like that, and neither can he…we must find some common ground. Mind on overdrive she found herself facing the entrance of the chief of engineering's quarters with no recollection as to the journey. Not good, I am supposed to be aware.

The door slid open and a sweet romantic melody began to drift into the hallway. Not exactly what I would expect Nils to relax to, but then again I do not know him with any sort of intimacy. Hoping that it perhaps signaled a brand of acceptance she stepped into the suite…which is when the lyrics to the song became clear to her.
'I'll be loving you, always…'
Her heart began to race, she knew that was a calling card from Acker. Sprinting into the bedroom she looked for Javier before realizing she had already known where he was. Idiot. She stood in the middle of their room as the realization that perhaps the calling card had been for her washed over her body. Her eyes flicked over to the unit in the corner of the room and saw words spill across the screen. Inching closer she took in the ominous verse.
There are flood and drouth
Over the eyes and in the mouth,
Dead water and dead sand
Contending for the upper hand.
The parched eviscerate soil
Gapes at the vanity of toil,
Laughs without mirth.
This is the death of earth.

Closing her eyes she wondered if he was here, or it was merely an escalation of the previous warnings. With her vision tuned out her acute hearing took the forefront…her eyes snapped open as she realized there was someone else who lived here. "Nils…"

Rushing to the other bedroom she was stopped short by the closed door…no, locked door. "Nils, can you hear me?" No response. "Computer locate Lt. Torrik and assess vital signs."

"Lt. Torrik is on the floor of his sleeping quarters, vital signs weak."

"Open door."

"Door is secured."

"Open door, medical emergency."

The hiss of the door sliding open was music to her ears. However, the picture it revealed was less gratifying. Nils, on the floor, face down and still…ti'amah. She ran in, knelt by his body and saw the blood…

=^=Transporter room, Lt. T'Shaini requesting emergency transport. Torrik Nils to sick bay. Repeat, emergency transport to sick bay.=^=

=^=Locked on his vitals, transport sequence engaged.=^=

Even before his form disappeared from the room she tapped her commbadge again.

=^=T'Shaini to Dr. Munro.=^=

=^=Jillian here, what can I do for you?=^=

=^=The emergency transport you just received is Nils, I am uncertain of what happened.=^=

=^=On my way, Munro out.=^=

As if a string holding her erect had been snipped, T'Shaini slumped onto the ground. Resting her head against the wall behind her she saw that the same verse danced across the screen in Nils room as well. She needed to tell Harry. She wanted to tell the computer to shut off the incessant lilt of the song, but realized it was preferable for him to observe the scene as she had found it. She needed to tell Harry. On the floor, small spots of rapidly darkening red were all that was left of whatever trauma Nils had been subjected to. She needed to tell Harry.

=^=T'Shaini to Costala=^=

=^=Chief Fantastic, how may I help you?=^=

The sound of his voice anchoring her, she rose to her feet and started toward Security.

=^=Could you meet me at our quarters as soon as you have time?=^=

=^=uh..I can make time if this is pertaining to what I think it is..'=^=

=^=Fifteen minutes?=^=

=^=I can be there in ten!=^=

She needed that too.

The part of Javier Costala was played by himself…
Originally Posted by T'Shaini -1-31-2008

Her face was fixed in a tight smile and she watched him in the brightly lit room with feigned interest, “So what seems to be the problem?” Tatiana asked her current patient.

“I’m sick, and you haven’t scanned me yet,” Brian Smith reminded her with a point to the tool.

“I know,” she began, “because you always have the diagnosis ready as soon as you walk into Sickbay. So tell me, what ails you this fine morning.”

“Darnay’s Disease,” he said gravely, “I’ve been coughing constantly, my back hurts, I’m irritated and this morning I broke my roommates padd on a whim.”

“Ah, Darnay’s Disease,” she repeated slowly, “So you’ve experienced pain, coughing, irritation and erratic behavior?”

“That’s it exactly!” he exclaimed and grabbed her shoulders, “What’s the cure?”

She ignored his question, lifted his hands off her shoulders, and commented, “Hmm, sounds like you have it. I guess goodbyes are in order.”

“Goodbyes? What do you mean?”

“Yes,” Tatiana said sadly, with a slow nod, “Unfortunately, there’s no cure for Darnay’s Disease. I suggest getting your affairs in order and contacting your family.”

“I’m going to die? Wait, maybe it isn’t Darnay’s…maybe it’s the Levodian Flu! Scan for it!”

“But you have all the symptoms of Darnay’s, you pretty much gave me everything I needed to make that diagnosis.”

“Scan me!” Smith yelled.

“Fine,” she said with sighed and opened the tricorder. She quickly scanned him and closed the object. “You have a cold,” she stated simply.

“What that can’t be it, I feel-”

“It can and it is,” she interrupted, “The cough comes from the cold, I assume you left out the snotty nose you most definitely have. The back pain comes from either a) a bad sleeping position or b) strenuous activity on the job or in your spare time. The irritability and the erratic outburst I can’t help with, that’s not in my job description. Maybe a visit to T’Shaini should be your next stop, but you do not have Darnay’s Disease nor do you have the Levodian Flu.”

“I’m so sure-”

“It doesn’t matter if you are sure. I’m a doctor, it’s my job to make the diagnoses, and I haven’t been wrong yet,” she stopped to take a breath, “Smith, next time you’re feeling sick come to Sickbay first, stop with the self diagnosing. This is the fourth time you’ve told me you’ve had a fatal disease in the last two months! You take the word hypochondriac to another level.”

“Fine. Give me what I need,” he said tersely before asking, “I thought the cold was cured.”

Tatiana walked over to the cart and grabbed a hypospray and the insert, “It was cured, and it still hasn’t stopped people from getting it,” she said as she popped the vial in its place. “A cure means that once I give this to you, the virus will disappear. But, if it could only be treated you’d still have it and all I could do was help with the symptoms until the virus passed. Lean your head to the side. I need to get to your carotid.”

He did as he was instructed and allowed Tatiana to inject him with the medicine, “That’s it, see you next month when you think you may be dying,” Tatiana said with a pat to his shoulder.

“I look forward to-”

He froze when a blue light shone across the room. Tatiana turned around quickly to see someone being transported in.

Originally Posted By Tatiana Thorne 01-31-2008

=^=On my way, Munro out.=^=

Jillian looked directly at Harry. If the message from T’Shaini had come 5 seconds later, Harry would have already been "put-under" for his Brain-Circuitry Pattern Imprint. His response was hesitant, as if he already knew the gist of what was happening, but not the details. Why doesn't he seem more suprised? A deep anxiety ridden panic rumbled its way up Jillian's stomach. Suddenly the sound of a transporter pulled her attention to across the room. She could see Nils' naked body materialize on the main surgical biobed. Tatiana Thorne was the first to approach him.

“Doctor Munro!” Before Jillian could reply, Tatiana activated the biosensor cluster above the bed, “Computer, activate biofunction monitor, begin scans”.

“Status.” Jillian said flatly as she approached the biobed. She pulled up the blanket to cover his nether regions and slowly began to feel around his body for any obvious external wounds.

“Initial scans are showing damage in the tympanic membrane and massive disruption of both ossicles.” Tatiana swallowed hard, “This is not good.”

Jillian felt around his neck and behind his head. Streams of blood dripped from his ears and tear ducts, “He’s hemorrhaging within the external ear canals, and there’s a subconjunctival hemorrhage in his left eye.”

“Scans indicate neurological damage.”

Jillian looked up at the young doctor in complete shock, “Cause?”

Tatiana shook her head, “Unknown. There’s no indication of a concussion or phaser fire. Whatever did this would have to be pretty high intensity to have such a debilitating effect."

She took one last look at Nils’ bioreadings before calling out assignments, “Tatiana, please treat the hemorrhaging. I’m going to contact Doctor Glorn to discuss Lt.Torrik’s neurological state. We’re going to have to figure out what the hell did this to him.”

“Doctor Glorn is not onboard. He was assigned to a different ship during out last stop.” Tariana gloomily reported.

Perfect, the one time I need a damn neurological surgeon… she thought to herself. Jillian nodded. She knew that the last thing Nils needed was a hysterical-foggy-minded Doctor working on him. She had to stay calm. She had to figure out what did this to him. She had to talk to Harry.

Originally Posted By Jillian Munro 01-31-2008

Tatiana nodded and rushed over the medical supply cart. She pulled it to a spot at the head of the biobed. A nurse joined her at the side of the bed holding a hypospray filled with a blue liquid.

“Artificial tears, to help with the irritation,” she said as she placed it down the cart.

“Thanks, but I won’t need that until he’s awake,” Tatiana said and pulled up Nils’ eyelid. She looked at the blood that had collected in the sclera of his eye and fell in long streaks down his face, “The amount of blood leaking from his eye indicate that a large of amount of blood vessels have in fact burst in and around his sclera.”


“This looks like it’s trauma related, so I need you to scan his eye to be sure that nothing more than the blood vessels were damaged. If there isn’t, we’ll take a Vascular Regenerator to it, and the bleed will stop. As for the blood already gathered there, it will have to stay until his body gets rid of it on its own. ”

Tatiana looked at the monitor and her fingers drummed a steady rhythm as she read over the information about the ear hemorrhage. “This isn’t an Intralabyrinthine hemorrhage which is very good,” she whispered to herself, “It looks like it’s caused by trauma to the ear canal.” She looked up at the nurse who was busily looking down at her recorded information about Torrik’s eyes and she called out, “What do you have for me?”

“There’s no other damage to his eye.”

“Good, very good,” Tatiana said, relieved with the information, “Pass me the Vascular Regenerator, I can treat the hemorrhages with it.”

“Do you know what caused the one in his ear?” the nurse asked as she passed the object to Tatiana.

She shook her head, and brought the instrument down over his eye, “Whatever gave him the neurological damage malformed the blood vessels in his ears and that led to ruptures in his canal. The eye, I’m thinking, was an aftereffect. The good news is that I can fix the blood vessels, but that’s not going to help his inner ear. Fixing the bones and repairing his eardrums are going take more than a regenerator. A Tympanoplasty is not my favorite surgery, but it needs to be done.”

“Tympanoplasty? How do you plan on doing that?”

“Repair the eardrums, repair the ossicles,” she sing-songed as she moved the instrument over to his bleeding ear. “I make an incision on the back of his ears, then put grafts on his eardrums. For his ossicles…” she led off as she switched ears, “I’ll have to put in artificial bones because of the severe damage. I go through the same incision, cut the fake bones down to the right size and fix the ossicular chain. And voilá, Lt. Torrik will leave here having better hearing than most of the people on this ship.”

“Interesting, but what about the neurological damage?”

“I don’t know,” Tatiana said and switched off the Vascular Regenerator. She paused to contemplate the situation before answering, “I’ve only done two maybe three brain surgeries on the Holodeck.”

“Good results?”

Tatiana gave a tiny smirk, “Always. And anyway…we have ears to repair. I’ll go get the grafts and the prosthetics while you gather the equipment then we can begin.”

Originally Posted by Tatiana Thorne 01-31-2008

Jillian looked back towards the biobed that Harry was last sitting on. Gone. She grabbed her medical tricorder, tucked it in her jacket and started down the hall after Harry.

=/\= Computer, locate Harry Finn =/\=

=/\= Ensign Harry Finn is on deck 6 =/\=

She sped up her pace, hoping to bump into the security officer, "Harry!" She called out.

Hearing the doc calling out his name, Finn turned just in time to catch her as she rounded the curve in the corridor, "Whoa… look, sorry, but I have to…"

"I'll tell you what you have to do…you have to tell me everything", she stepped closer, "And I mean really tell me." She pointed back towards sickbay, "I have the chief of science laying on a biobed with head trauma so severe he may never wake up. I can't begin to fix him until I know what caused the damage, and I can't do that until I know what the heck is going on. T'Shaini found him in his quarters, right? If I know Nils, and I'm pretty sure I do, he would have locked the door. Nobody could have gotten in." She paused, only to emphasize the next burst of frustration, "What the hell is going on, Harry!" she yelled.

She'd given him enough information to tell him exactly who, if not what, had happened to the scientist. "The best thing you can do is go take care of him and I'll go find out how Acker…" shit, "… how he was injured. I have to get to his quarters… secure the scene…"

"That is exactly what I'm trying to do, 'take care of him'. Come on, Harry! Is it just a coincidence that moments before Nils gets beamed to sickbay you were telling me about some guy who may be on this ship right now. Didn't you just tell me to beef up security in medical?" She stopped before the tears could choke her words, "…and who is Acker, Harry? Is he the man we're looking for? May I remind you that we haven't even ruled you out of the list of suspects?" She stopped short. She had gone too far, "Listen, the love of my life is laying on a bed dying right now and I'm trying to keep it together but if…if…" she took a deep breath, "If you don't tell me what's going on…I might lose him. So…tell me. Please."

He wanted to argue, tell her there was no time, that he had to do his job… but she was right… he was as much a suspect as anyone. "Okay, just… give me a minute, here" and pressing his combadge…

=^=This is Finn calling Tenanji, Ellison, Govan, Jameson, Gran and Anderson… come back=^=

An immediate series of 'Ayes' and 'Here's' responded.

=^=Listen up, people, there's been an incident in the Chief Engineer's quarters, second unit, injuries sustained, Tenanji and Ellison, I want you to report to the scene, pull anyone in there out and keep them available for questioning, then lock it down, no one in or out… have Ops run deep scans, searching for anything remotely off kilter, I'll be there for the walk-through once it's cleared.=^= He kept his eyes on the woman next to him while he took the 'yes sirs' =^=Govan, Jameson, you go to the Main Science, evacuate and scan for anything remotely hazardous. Gran and Anderson, you report to sickbay, you'll be standing sentry. Once Ops has cleared the scenes, have them run a sensor review and diagnostic, anything that pops, we need to know. And, Tenanji, tag the captain… he may want to take extra measures… Finn out.=^=

She was still staring at him, "Acker is the personality that I'm looking for… and that Nils was helping me look for…"

She gasped, "Oh god. Acker went after him." Stating the obvious.

"Possibly," he said, definitely he thought. It was exactly the kind of snarky assault that ol' Shaun would pull - hell, hadn't he sent that message, what, six months back? The plea from Sara for understanding, followed by their song, 'Always' and in the song… "Oh," he said aloud, thinking back, "oh, shit."

"What? What's wrong, Harry? Why 'oh shit'?"

"Umm," he closed his eyes, trying to remember the sensation… "Last year, I got a transmission… it had… it was messed up, it had some kind of aural.. sonic…" he waved his hand by his ear, "it carried a sonic code… wavelength… something… and I almost stroked out from it… would have if Gorsky hadn't shut the damn thing down…" he looked at her, "sonic… Torrik was found undressed… shower…"

Jillian stepped forward and placed both of her hands on the mans arms, "Yes! YES! The sonic showers," she walked over to the nearest wall console and brought up a ship schematic, "It's not impossible for someone to tamper with the sonic shower settings, is it?" she asked the security officer.

"No," he followed, "but it means performing some B&E," he saw the confusion, "Breaking and entering… and that's damn tricky," not that it hadn't been happening to him, on a semi-regular basis. "This is the first time he's gone after anyone else…"

Jillian shook off the chills his last sentence gave her and focused on the information in front of her, "The sonic showers are designed to be well within the safety parameters. We need to find out what his shower is set to. High intensity sound pulses have a debilitating effect on biological targets. Humans become disoriented by exposure to sonic pulses exceeding a threshold of pain of about 150 decibels (dB). Eardrum rupture occurs at about 190 dB, the threshold for pulmonary injury is about 200 dB and the onset of lethality is about 220 dB. If we can determine what decibels the shower was re-calibrated to, that will help me determine the extent of the damage."

=^=Tenanji, Finn=^=

=^=Tenanji, here. We have only just arrived…=^=

=^=Yeah, fine… look, belay the earlier orders… get a tricorder and get into the shower of the guest suite. We're looking for tampering to the sonics=^=

=^=Aye to that, please wait.=^=

They waited, Finn now looking pretty much anywhere but at the woman, who's worry was like a saw, grating at his conscience

=^=Finn, Tenanji, yes… I have it. There is a device, very small, inserted into the showerhead proper… wait…=^= the two were temporarily cut off then, =^= Computer records show the sonics experienced a temporary surge in decibels… reaching a peak at 195 dB. Will that suffice?=^=

=^=Yeah, now get back out of there and seal the scene. Finn out. =^= Harry looked to the doctor.

"I have to get back to sickbay. Nils could be in more trouble than I thought", she offered Harry an attempt at a comforting smile, "Thanks, Harry." She turned around and ran back to sickbay.

She'd thanked him. He may have contributed to the death of her lover, and she'd thanked him. Turning away, he headed for the ‘lift and thence to the crime scene, his thoughts gone bitter cold.

A Joint Post by TJ Hooker & Stacy Sheridan

Originally Posted by Jillian Munro 01-31-2008

"Just a lonely warp core, living in a lonely world..it took the transport to the Hawking," the engineer sang as he ran the tricorder over the systems he had finished repairing. The new warp core had been aligned and started but it had taken hours to properly synch it with the ship's computers. Every time the engineering crew had made any progress, the computer's fail-safes would activate and claim that the warpcore was unstable. With each alert the computer would attempt to shut down the system, and the engineers would find themselves scrambling to correct the error and maintain warp speed. Three or four meters down the passageway Towak shook his head and continued to work in silence.

"It doesn't make sense Chief," Ajani had told Javier as he came on shift, "First it was the core, which is running as smooth as the Tugela now, then the computer decides that every slight change is an invasion of its privacy. The first four hours Mustapha was using his command codes to override the computer so it wouldn't bring us to a full stop."

"Has it settled down any?" Javier had asked as he watched a flustered Oakley hustle back and forth between the warp console and master systems console. "It looks like Oakley has had a rough shift."

"She's worth her weight in gold," Ajani commented. "We finally managed to get the computer to accept the core completely thanks to Heather but some of the minor systems suffered damage when the computer shut them down."

The engineer muttered under her breath as she had passed by, working on a stream of data calculations on the tricorder she held in her palm. She's attractive..why engineering? Doesn't seem to fit, most of the other women in engineering are, well, plain. Javier thought to himself as he watched Oakley. He had turned back to find a questioning look on Ajani's face. "No, not interested," Javier had explained, "just wondering why she chose engineering." Ajani nodded, he had asked himself the same question, most of the attractive women were over in medical or science.

"Just a ship's computer, built and repaired by the.." what rhymes with computer? marine recruiter? concert fluter? I think it's flutist though..suitor? "Just a ship's computer, monitored and repaired by the counselor's suitor; it took the transport down to the Hawww-king," the Chief sang with a smile. Chief Fantastic Lyrics at your service. he thought as the tricorder results showed that the repairs were complete. Towak chuckled to himself. He had gotten used to Javier's penchant for bursting out in song at certain times.

"A singer in a Jeffries Tube. A smell of grease and engine..lube?" That's just wrong.. "For a prayer they could synch and go on and on and on…Strangers waiting, up and down Main Engineering.."

=^=T'Shaini to Costala=^=

=^=Chief Fantastic, how may I help you?=^= Javier replied, amusing himself and forgetting that Towak was listening.

=^=Could you meet me at our quarters as soon as you have time?=^=

Derailment. She wants to meet for a quickie. Javier checked his chronometer. His shift was nearly over and the systems were running smoothly. I should complete one final diagnostic..or I could just go and get Ajani to do the diagnostic. =^=uh..I can make time if this is pertaining to what I think it is..=^=

=^=Fifteen minutes?=^=

=^=I can be there in ten!=^= he promised, hastily tossing his tricorder and tools back in his toolkit. After the channel closed, he yelled some instructions at Towak, jumped up and knocked the shit out of his head on the ceiling of the Tube then staggered in the direction of he and T'Shaini's quarters.

Lyrics by Javier and Journey..

Originally Posted By Javier Costala 01-31-2008

The corridor was full of people in the middle of shift changes as Javier walked along with a little extra spring in his steps. "Everybody, put up your hands, say I don't wanna be in love, I don't wanna be in love," the engineer sang as he side-stepped an oncoming officer and spun around another, mimicking moves that Three had shown him. Apparently Nolan Marc had been something of dancer and had shown the small Borg a couple of select moves, which the kid had taught to Javier, during one of their breaks in engineering, much to the amusement of the other engineers. "Feel the beat now, if you got nothing left," he said while jamming along and wondering Where was this song when I was getting over Cat? Doesn't make much sense to sing it now, except that it is really catchy.. His thoughts were set aside as the sound of music reached his ears. It sounded as if someone was playing a funeral dirge.

"What a buzz-kill.."

As he got closer to he, T'Shaini's and Nils' quarters he realized the music was emanating from inside the room. Geez Torrik, no wonder you're in such a perpetual bad mood, I would be too if I listened to music that sounded that depressing.. Javier made a mental note to introduce the science officer to some 'good' tunes. He stopped outside the door. Torrik's here. So does T'Shaini know that? Or is she planning something else besides what I thought..Son of Sulu, there's a good chance this was never about a 'nooner'. With a look of disappointment on his face, Javier entered the door and found T'Shaini sitting on the couch, listening to the orchestrated crap that was playing on the console.

"Did Torrik leave this on?" he asked her as Javier moved over to the console to switch off the racket. The smell in the room brought him to a halt..there had been a chemical discharge in the room. Instinct kicked in and his training told him that a device had been detonated recently and that he should not be there, neither should T'Shaini. He turned to tell her to move out of the room and was surprised to find her in a fetal position with a look of bewilderment on her features.


Knees tucked under her chin, arms wrapped around her legs, T'Shaini had stared at the door waiting for Javier to return. Odd how much more affecting things were when brought to your front door. She had not even resided here for very long, but the sense of violation was the same as if she had been there for years. Even when he did enter, all she did was watch and shake her head no at his query. It was not until he spoke directly to her that she shook off the miasma that was encompassing her enough to speak.

"I returned to find that music playing, I recognized the song as what had been used by Acker, but for Harry. I ran to the bedroom fearing…that you were there, but it was empty. The Eliot verse on the screen confirmed my suspicions, but it was not you…it was Nils." Her report was dry, concise, to the point, but the hollow-eyed gaze she lifted to Javier signaled her disquiet. "I had him transported to sickbay, he was unconscious, vital signs faltering."

"Torrik, he was here when it detonated?" Javier asked.

He moved over to the couch. "We need to leave, contact security but we need to get out of here." She nodded but did not move. The engineer reached down and picked T'Shaini up, cradling the woman in his arms as he walked towards the doors. They didn't budge on his approach. Another trap? he thought as the eeiry music played on. "Computer Open doors," Javier ordered, fearing that any minute an explosion would engulf them.

<>The doors have been sealed by a Security priority code..<> the computer recited. What idiot locked us inside..don't have time for this.

"Computer, voice recognition Costala Gamma Epsilon Kappa Omega," Javier said as he held T'Shaini, his tone changing to one of authority.

<>Costala, Javier T.; Ensign, Chief of Engineering recognized.<>

"Command override, open doors," Javier said quickly. The doors slid open and he exited, then carried T'Shaini out into the hallway. Walking a short distance before a yell distracted him, Javier turned to find two security officers approaching them. He set the counselor down but held onto her for fear that whatever state T'Shaini was in, she might be unable to stand. "Just lean against me, if you need to.." Javier offered.

T'Shaini gave him a reassuring squeeze. "I am fine…I will be fine." She straightened up to face Lt. Tenanji and CPO Ellison, but kept her hand in his. "Thank you for responding so quickly gentlemen, the far room is where Lt. Torrik was found." After they had brushed past them to examine the suite of rooms she gripped Javier's hand a little tighter. "Thank you for arriving so quickly, I was not quite myself." She took a deep breath and exhaled marveling at how the intensity of the experience began to soften at the edges in the proximity of Javier.

"When I find the idiot that sealed us in there.." Javier started as he glowered after Tenanji before exhaling, then slipping his arm around T'Shaini's waist to pull her closer, "I'm glad you aren't injured though. Next time tell me there's a problem and I'll be more prompt..I thought.." Javier glanced around then leaned in close to her ear to whisper, "I thought you wanted to have a nooner."

Her brow furrowed in thought as she attempted to recall her message. "Did I not say there was a problem?" It furrowed further. "A nooner? What is a…." The words abruptly came to a halt and her mouth dropped open in a small oh of surprise. "It is customary to call someone for that?" That thought beget another and another until the train halted at a more sober station. "Poor Jillian…" She rested her head back against the wall. "I suppose we must wait for someone from security to take a statement, but as soon as possible I would like to check on Nils' status and Jillian's wellbeing."

"I'll go with you, I want to see how Nils is doing," he replied, "also let's stop at the PX and get him some candy..Three swears that it has restorative powers." The engineer would have taken the science officer a cake but ever since Halcyon he had given the confections a wide berth. "How did he look when you found him?"

T'Shaini shook her head and spoke in a low tone. "Unresponsive. I do not know what caused his condition, but I fear for his survival."

JP Captain Fantastic and Nooner girl

Originally Posted By T'Shaini 02-1-2008

:: Sickbay::

“You’re sure you want to do this”, asked Tatiana Thorne. The two women stood side-by-side laying out the necessary instruments needed to perform the surgery, “This can’t be easy for you considering…”, her voice trailed off as she looked down at the handsome Bajoran officer.

Jillian’s mind was elsewhere. She was going through the planned operation in her mind: considering the anatomic structures which she would encounter and devising strategies against any possible complications. She disengaged herself from the outer world, her relationship with this man on the table; she detached her emotions and became immersed in concentration.

Tatiana pulled the red curtain across Nils’ torso and began calibrating the biofunction monitor. Jillian turned to the wall console and brought about his chart, “ Computer, begin log: Patient, Lt. Torrik Nils, Bajoran male, age twenty seven. Neurological damage has been determined. Patient is suffering from Hydrostatic edema, resulting from the direct transmission of pressure to cerebral capillary with transudation of fluid into the extracellular fluid. Pulmonary vascular pressure are elevated, resulting in more fluid filtration from the vascular space than can be returned by plasma oncotic forces or the lymphatic system. This was caused by 2 major pathophysiologic mechanisms: imbalance of startling forces, and damage to the alveolar-capillary barrier. Computer pause log.”

Tatiana looked up at Jillian and nodded, “Shall we begin?”

Jillian looked up towards the ceiling and took a deep breath, she could feel cold sweat already begin to drip down her spine, “Begin isolated cryostasis on main circulatory system.”

“Beginning isolated cryostatis on main circulatory system”, repeated Tatiana.


Nurse Nordin lifted an exoscalpel from the tray and handed it to Doctor Munro. Jillian gently placed the exoscalpel between the occipital and parietal cranial bone on the back of his head. It was then that the alarm sounded. Like a switchblade, Jillian withdrew the scalpel and turned to the wall console.

“He’s suffering from cerebral hypoxia.” Jillian called out.

“Blood pressure is normal,” Tatiana grabbed a hypospray and loaded it with 15cc of Lectrazine, “How the heck is his head not getting enough oxygen?”

Jillian shook her head, struggling to comprehend what was gong on, “Blood pressure is normal because his heart is still pumping…” It made no sense. She stepped back from Nils, “Computer, display holographic projection of patient’s circulatory system, highlight the pulmonary and systemic circulation loops, activate now.” Within seconds a holographic image of the Bajoran’s cardiovascular system appeared. Both Jillian and Tatiana leaned forward to examine.

“Oh my god”, Jillian whispered.

“Oxygen is being pumped throughout his body….” Tatiana concluded.

“But his cerebral capillaries are collapsing,” Jillian squinted and leaned even closer towards the holographic image, “…his brain is starving for oxygen.”

“We can feed it manually.”

Jillian nodded, “Nurse, please bring me a Plasma Infusion Unit.”

=/\= Warning. Patient’s vital signs are weakening =/\=

Tatiana looked down at the biofunction monitor, an image of horror crossed her face, “Autonomic nervous system is failing…if we don’t do something fast he’s going to go into cardiac ar…”

=/\= WARNING. Patient’s vital signs are weakening =/\=

Jillian slammed the palm of her hand against the wall console in frustration, “Tatiana, you programmed an artificial circulatory system to the specifications I asked, right?”

“Yes, but…it’s going to take a minute to calibrate.”

“Do it.”

A pulsing beeped shrieked from the biobed. Flatline.

“NOooooo!” Jillian screamed. It was a gut wrenching sound. The sound of a thousand angry souls reaching up from hell, desperate to get out from the pit below. She dove towards him, grabbing the sides of his face with her hands, “You can’t do this! You can’t do this to me.” She looked up at Tatiana, who was going over his vitals.

“I’m…I’m so sorry, Jill…", she said with tears in her eyes, "…he's gone."

There was a brief pause in time. As if with those words she had entered into another reality, as if the lattice of atoms that held all of the universe together somehow subtly shifted its pattern into a new and sinister configuration: a hazy heat-shimmer for a split second and there you are in this brave new world, familiar and yet so very strange.

And then it happened.

Her body wracked with sobs, she gasped for air as she could barely breath through the cries that escaped her body.

Torrik Nils was dead.

Originally Posted by Jillian Munro 02-1-2008

USS Hawking
Deck 6 Turbolift

Gran was exiting just as Harry arrived at the ‘lift. “Chief,” the Tellarite greeted, pausing a moment, “Anderson comm’d, she was just going off shift, says she’ll arrive in less than ten.”

“Good,” Harry started to pass but a grinding sound which he’d come to know as Gran clearing his throat stopped him. “Yes?”

“I noticed, Chief, that you called only newer Hawking crew to the emergency,” the hairy face somehow managed to achieve a studied non-chalance, “I wondered if there was something we should make of that.”

“Not a thing,” Finn replied, entering the lift, “until I tell you to. To your post, Mr. Gran," then, "Deck 8,” to the ‘lift.

Deck 8

Minutes later he was closing in on the scene of the crime, thoughts racing. Further down the corridor he spotted T’Shaini and Costala… no huge surprise that he’d come down. He nodded to Ellison, who was standing at the entrance of the quarters and Tenanji, who was exiting same as Harry walked up.

“Ops has given the all-clear,” the Lieutenant told his CO, taking a position next to Ellison, who’s eyes were everywhere, suspecting everything, “no further indications of sabotage but there was a … hitch… in the locking commands of the suite’s main door before we had arrived or attempted evac.”

Harry eyed Wendy as she seemed to relax somewhat in Costala’s company. She still looked pale, definitely shaken. “Hmm… look, I need to talk to Lieutenant T’Shaini, but,” he turned to Ellison, “have her get to sickbay first… just make sure nothing… filtered through after the initial sonic burst. I’ll meet her up there.” He turned towards the room, “Analysis?” he asked the LT as he entered.

“Multiple scans found no signs of a non-resident in the rooms, in fact,” Tenanji commented, following Finn into the common area, “within Torrik’s room’s proper, there was a dearth of DNA present. Only the Lieutenant’s, the Counselor’s and my own.”

“Really?” Already at the door, Harry entered the sleeping area while Usher ran through the numbers. “Hold up,” he paused, center of the room, “what is the likelihood of someone, well, someone as anal as Torrik, keeping a planter’s pot, without any plant in it?”

The younger officer followed Harry’s gaze to a well-made container, devoid of life. He watched Finn go over to the glazed object and crouch down next to it. “Huh” the Chief looked up, “Looks like ashes… but the good lieutenant doesn’t smoke… and there’s no indication of an igniter or incense or candles…” he rose, turned slowly, eying the room up, down, all around. Then he got down on all fours and looked under the bed. “Gotcha,” held out a hand, “tricorder.”

Tenanji stepped forward and handed the item to Finn. “Hard to get anything once it’s detonated but…” Harry saved the record, passed the tricorder back and reached under the platform to withdraw a disk… only the size of his palm, “galaxy’s most effective IED.” If you know how to get hold of it… where it’s for sale, how to smuggle it aboard… That kind of knowledge came from the trenches, it was gritty and uncouth and not the kind of thing a techno-ghost like Acker would be into.

“Thalaron radiation,” Usher read, impressed. Blowing out a huff of air, he shook his head, “A biogenic weapon of such power… and our perpetrator used it to cover his genetic footsteps?”

“He’s very thorough,” Harry said, rising and passing the device to his officer before exiting the room, “He’s also crossed a new line, Shaun Ryan Acker never got his hands dirty. He’s responsible for hundreds, maybe even thousands of deaths, but only by long-distance.”

Joining Ellison in the corridor he looked around, “T’Shaini head to sickbay?”

Kyle’s face quirked into what might have been a smile, “There was talk of stopping for candy, on the way, but…”

“Ah,” Harry remembered the counselor’s fondness for chocolate, “therapy, well, good on them, as long as they get there.”

“Forgive me,” Usher broke in, “The way you were referring to Acker… you speak of the man as if he were here.”

Internal head thump, Finn hadn’t had the chance to update the lieutenant on the cloning device.

Ellison looked disinterested, which fooled no one.

“He is here… in every way that matters,” Finn said, promising himself to brief Tenanji as soon as possible, “and he’s just made his first attempt at murder.” Which reminded him he should check on Torrik’s status, make sure the murder was still only attempted.

No time like the present.

=^=Govan to Finn=^=

Or he could take this call.

=^=Finn, go ahead=^=

=^=Main Science has been cleared by Ops and there’s a Mr. Purcell here who would really like to get back in…. And to speak to you…=^= there was some low-toned rumbling in the comm =^=Not necessarily in that order.=^=

=^=Copy that, tell him I’m on the way but don’t let anyone in, yet,=^= he glanced at the remains of the Thalaron bomb in Tenanji’s hand =^=I need to check for one more thing before we open the room.=^=

“Ellison, lock these quarters down,” he started to say when….

=^=Hawthorn to Finn=^=

Now what? =^=Go.=^=

=^= Sir, I am still at Tactical and Beta shift has begun which, as you know, is Lieutenant Tenanji’s watch. I wondered if, perhaps you were through with him…?=^=

Right. Shift change. He looked at Ellison, “Armory,” was the rangy officer’s reply.

=^=Hawthorn, Tenanji will be up presently to relieve you, at that time please report to the main office, Finn out.=^=

“Okay,” processing quickly, “you both need to get to post but before that, you,” he told Tenanji, “call up the team, everyone. If they’re sleeping, roust them. Until we catch the perp there’s no off-duty I don’t approve. Once they’re up, put them in teams, new reports mixed with old hands and put guards on Main Engineering, Sickbay and the Bridge.

“Whoever’s left I want reviewing shift rosters. Let’s see who was free to break into Torrik’s room while none of the resident’s were at home.

“Ellison, copy the data from that tricorder to the captain and XO and set up a meet ASAP and,” he paused because this last was personal and he knew it and he knew they’d know it, “I’d take it as a favor if someone looked in on Dr. Schaeffer.”

It was Kyle who nodded, “No problem, Chief… her lab’s on 6… we can have Anderson and Gran do walk by’s.”

Right, that was right. “Thanks,” he started on his way, trying to remember who he was trying to call; he almost had it but…

“Chief,” it was Usher, following, “a moment.”

Harry paused, though his thoughts were still racing through a to-do list that was growing by the second.

Tenanji could see it, too, see the wheels racing to keep up with one man’s madness.

“Sir… I will follow your orders, as will we all but, you should remember, for all our sakes,” he faltered, for this was a hard truth but then, all the more reason it must be said, “Sir… Finn… you cannot protect them all. No one could.”

“I know,” Harry said, quietly as he looked away, seeing something or someone visible only to him, "but I have to try."

So saying he left, making his way to way to the lab, the call to sickbay forgotten as he raced to stay ahead of the growing avalanche of responsibility.

Originally Posted By Harry Finn 02-1-2008

USS Hawking
Corridor outside Sickbay - Deck 6

When the call had first come in regarding the ‘incident,’ Jen had suspected Harry of trying to prevent her date with the captain. She hadn’t told him there would be a date, she had no reason to believe he knew it was planned but she couldn’t help but suspect…

Then she’d arrived at sickbay, where Gran was waiting, already in that ‘sentry stance’ she’d learned at the Academy (at least the Security track had garnered her some useful skill sets before she’d switched to enlisted training). Between his terse report on the injured Chief of Science, her quick glance into sickbay and the ensuing com-chatter as Lieutenant Tenanji called up the entire security force, citing an internal security breach and sabotage, she had to accept that, no, Uncle Harry was not just trying to yank her chain about the captain.

Presently, Jenny was holding the door of sickbay while Gran made another circuit of the deck. They were supposed to keep the medical area secure (from what was still sort of murky) but also, apparently, Harry wanted one of the labs checked out. Gran, without saying a damned thing, had somehow managed to indicate that Chief Finn was specifically concerned with the well-being of one of the scientists, which sent the non-sentry portion of Jen’s mind on a roller-coaster of WTF. After everything that had happened with Ensign Laslow, she could get how he might frown on her and Nate but, from all indications, he was doing the same damn thing.


When the current crisis died down, she was so gonna have an off-the-record throw-down with her boss/godfather/uncle.

Meanwhile, she scanned the corridors, occasionally peeked into sickbay and enjoyed the general lack of things going boom.

Then came the scream.


Sidearm drawn, Crewman Anderson was inside, busting into surgery and searching for targets before there was time to think.

What she found was worse than any hostile. What she found was death, and the sorrow it ripped from the souls it touched. Seeing the man on the biobed and the woman next to him, looking so lost, Jenny was also, for a moment, lost.

Uniforms at the door, never a good sign. Jenny stood on the porch of her mother’s Boulder house and listened, as if from a great distance as she heard the words so long feared.

“We regret to inform you that you father, Chief Petty Officer Seth Anderson….”


She blinked.


Looking up, she saw Gran, realized she was still holding her phaser, like she could take down death. As if.

With surprising gentleness he pressed her arm down, led her from the room and back to their posts. He didn’t say anything; he just stood, eyes roaming the corridor in a constant search for threats.

Jenny followed suit, because in the end you kept doing the job. As she watched the various and sundry crew going from place to place and looked for any signs of suspicious behavior, she realized that this stranger’s death had brought home the knowledge that Harry had been right. Acker was, somehow, responsible.

And damned if she wasn’t going to stick it out until they caught the stinking rat bastard.

Post featuring NPC’s Crewman Jenny Anderson and PO1 Gran

Originally Posted By Harry Finn 02-2-2008

..:: USS Hawking : Main Shuttle Bay ::..

Vince and Scott were still working intently on the Wraith’s weapons systems, just enjoying themselves, reflecting on their childhood, just thoroughly enjoying themselves. Vince leaned up, wiping his forehead of the sweat that had built up, then looking out across the shuttle bay. He noticed a diagnostic terminal was on, and hooked up to at least four of the shuttles. He wondered for a moment, but then realized that they had picked up a new, shuttle specific pilot on Megiddo. They were probably just doing some initial diagnostics, to make sure they knew the last time they were checked, insuring they were operable. Vince looked back down then heard a sound. As he looked back up, he saw the new pilot. They were a she, and she was gorgeous. He stared at her for a minute, then shot his gaze back down as she looked up in his direction. Scott noticed what was going on, and leaned over to Vince.

“ So, what do you think of the new shuttle pilot?” His voice was soft, knowing the bay carried voices.

Vince looked over to him,” She’s gorgeous. I can’t believe how good she looks.”

Scott grinned,” Yea but we’ve been with plenty of hot pilots, remember ol’ Happson?”

“ Oh, Happson, damn she was a fox, but she was also mildly insane, and that was something that I couldn’t ever see myself having to deal with. I think she may have been able to hurt me,” Vince looked back up at the new pilot,” But she looks like she has some nice feminine qualities, and damn she’s got one hell………..”

Before Vince could finish his sentence, the sweat that had been building on his fore head dropped into the now activated phaser cannon, shorted it out, and sent Vince backwards about five feet. Scott ran over to where Vince had landed, and knelt down.

“ Hey man, are you ok? “ He could barely contain his laughter as Vince shook his head.

“ Oh, hell I’m good, I started doing that about once a month here lately, I’m kinda getting used to it.” Vince stood up with Scott’s help, then rubbed his head,” I think it’s just about time to get a breather, let’s go to Xander’s.”

“ What the hell is that,” Scott grabbed his jacket from a nearby crate.

“ You’ll see, let’s just go. Walking may help me shrug of my shocking experience.

As the two of them left the shuttle bay, Vince stopped and looked back at the new pilot. She looked up and saw him looking at her, and before he could look away, she waved and gave him a wink. He grinned and winked back, then moved on towards the turbo lift. As they stepped in Vince requested Xander’s and the lift took off.

When they stepped off the lift, Vince motioned to Scott to walk directly forward. As they entered the bar, things seemed a bit odd compared to most other days. Nobody was laughing and tell stories, having the usual good time, but they all seemed to be contemplating something. Vince politely pushed past a couple of people moving up to the bar, and they paid no mind to him, but a lot of the patrons were glaring at Scott. When they reached the bar, Vince took a seat.

“ Hey keep, two Guinesses.” Vince looked to his side and nodded at the man sitting there, then looked over at Scott who had taken a seat on his other side.

“ It’s kinda nice to get into a normal place, something that reminds you a bit of what being back on Earth is like.” Scott took a drink of his beer, then looked around.

Vince spun on the stool, beer in hand, and looked at who all was in there,” Yea, none of the people I know are here at the time, but hell, it’s all good. The whole crew is made up of good people, and I happen to like things that way, helps me feel like I’m at home or something.”

“ Well technically you are at home here. You’ve never been more likeable than when your ass is out in space.” Scott looked to his left where a female crew member was glaring at him.

Vince spun back around to the bar, and took a drink,” Yep, you are correct with that. I love space and I wouldn’t change anything about where I’m at right now for nothing. Especially now that I can cause some trouble with the guy I grew up causing trouble with.”

“ Well you my get that wish a little sooner than you think. This Ensign over here, and a few others have been glaring at me since I walked in, and it’s not the , I wanna take you to bed look, it the, I’ll kill you with my mind look.” Scott took another drink, looking right at Vince.

“ Eh, pay it no mind, they are all just worried about what happened to Nils. It’s nothing, just an edge of their seat thing, waiting for anything else to happen, but it probably won’t.” Vince cleaned off what was left in his glass and motioned for another. He started to talk again but was interrupted…..

“ You, you got here from Megiddo, and this stuff just started when we left. I’ll bet you’re the one doing this, and I think some more of us agree.” The female ensign stared at Scott.

“ Yea, you’re the one.” Another agreed from behind.

Moments later people started to talk blame on each other, but Scott was a central suspect to most, and Vince finally had enough.

“ Ok, now cut this shit out. How many of you have rank above Ensign?” Vince watched as nobody in the room replied,” Well that’s what I thought. This man here is a LT, and you’ll show him the same respect that you would show me, and if there’s any dispute on the matter, then you can think about your actions in the brig.”

Vince waited for a moment, as the room fell silent, then turned back to the bar,” See, everythi……….”

Vince’s words were cut short for the second time that day, but this time it wasn’t from an electrical shock, but from a crewman’s fist connecting his best friend’s face. Vince turned around as the room erupted with the sound of shouting. People were accusing each other of being the assailant, while others were just throwing punches. He turned again to see yet another sucker punch connect with his friend, and watched as Scott hit the floor.

Vince jumped between Scott and the people that were trying to kill him from the likes of it, and threw one of them to the side. Another was one of his pilots, and they appeared to back down when they realized that their Chief was standing in between them and Scott. Knowing that Xander wouldn’t let them cross the bar, he picked Scott up and pushed him over it. He then slapped his comm badge.

“ Stryfe to Security “

=^= This is Security…..=^=

Vince stopped him before he could say anything else,” This whole incident has caused the crew to become a slight bit uneasy with each other, and there is one helluva fight going on down here at the bar. I need security personal down here immediately. I’ll try to put a stop to the fighting, but I may not be able to.”

=^= We copy that Lt. We have security on the way =^=

Vince slapped his comm again, not waiting to hear anything else other than Security was on their way. He quickly moved over to the nearest group of entangled crew, and started to break them apart, throwing them away from each other. With the surprise of nobody that out ranked him in the room, he hoped that he would be able to come out of the scuffle unscathed, but his wish was not granted.

As he started to move in on another group, breaking them apart, an Ensign turned and connected a solid punch on Vince’s jaw. He felt his jaw crack, the pain shooting through the right side of his face. He smacked the next swing away, then landed one of his own. He had the size advantage on the Ensign, and sent him to the ground, out cold. Vince had another advantage on the whole of the room, and that was his Marine combat training, the same training that Scott had, but Vince was aware of the swing being made on him. As he turned back to the group, a petty officer, that was a little bigger than Vince, grew some guts, and took his own.

Vince took two more shots, both of which were in his gut. The first blow connected, but he anticipated the second and was able to flex his stomach, and allow his muscles to absorb the impact. The wind was till mostly knocked out of him, and the third blow was on it’s way. Just before it was to close to stop, Vince grabbed the closest table, and pulled it in front of him. He listened as the enlisted man’s hand hit the table with full force, breaking his hand on impact.

As he started to get his wind back, he noticed some people trying to get his now unconscious friend out from behind the bar, and ran over to them. He grabbed the tops of their pants, and threw them away from the bar, then turned to look at the. His jaw was throbbing now, and his stomach wasn’t feeling to well either, but he ignored the pain, ready and willing to defend his friend, but wanting this senseless fighting to stop.

Just as he started to square off with another enlisted man, the security team entered the bar, and started to detain everyone in the room. Medical staff was quick to follow, helping the people that had been hurt, and sedating anyone that was not cooperating with security. One of the med team ran up to Vince, noticing he was bleeding from the moth, but Vince stopped them.

“ Look, I’m able to walk, but my friend need to be taken to med bay. He took a couple of cheap shots to the face and head, and he may have a concussion. Get him out of here, and I’ll make my way to medical as soon as we get this whole mess cleaned up.”

The med officer nodded,” I understand, sir. But you should get there as quick as you can, you don’t look to good yourself.”

“ Just get him out of here, I’ll be fine.” Vince moved so the Med team could get Scott out of the bar, and onto medical.

..:: Fifteen Minutes Later ::..

The room had finally been emptied, and Vince stood there with what remained of the Security team. He looked over at the Ensign to his left,” Thank god that finally over,” Vince recognized the person standing there, his speech slurred” Oh, and there’s still a med staff member. Tatiana, I’vegotten a littlewound here, and wellI’m a bit whoozy, solet’ssay yo………..”

Before Vince’s cluttered and combined speech could be finished he dropped to the floor. Tatiana tried to grab him be fore he hit, but he was a little heavier than she had thought, and he hit the floor anyway. The security officers ran over, and Tatiana started her examination of the wounded flyboy. His wounds weren’t too bad, and they could be mostly mended right there, so she got to work…………….

Originally Posted By Vince Stryfe 02-2-2008

:: Between Life and Death ::

Spherical object. Fourteen gram cork core with a diameter of seven point four centimeters surrounded by black then red rubber with a respective mass of twenty five grams. One strand of blue-gray wool with a length of one hundred and eleven meters, then another of forty one meters, this time white in color, coil tightly around that core. Leather derived from the skin of a Terran bovine creature embraces these innards of the object and hold it in place with the help of two hundred and sixteen red stitches and a negligable amount of elastic polymers combined with benzene.

Total mass of the object is one hundred and forty four point seven nine one grams within a circumference of twenty three point three centimeters.

It is moving…

The essence of motion is momentum. More than just speed, momentum tells how much is moving, how fast it is going, and where it is going. All of this is summed up in the product of the mass and velocity. In a closed system, momentum is conserved. But this is not a closed system…

Applying an understanding of two-dimensional kinamatics, gravity, air drag and the Magnus Force allows one to create a meaningful graphical representation of this real world event - occuring far outside a closed system. As a spinning sphere moves through the air, the boundary layer separates from it at different points on opposite sides of its curvature: farther upstream on the side of the sphere that is turning into the airflow, and farther downstream on the side turning backward. The result is an asymmetric wake behind the ball and a pressure difference across the ball, creating a lateral force component at right angles to the motion of the ball.

With a loud thwack, the baseball slammed into the mit of the Bajoran. He reflexively covered it with his opposing hand and drew himself up to his full height.

"That is a helluva way to think about such gorgeous pitch," said the tall, dark man approaching from the pitchers mound. "If I do say so myself," he added with a toothy grin.

"Emissary," the Bajoran said with a mixture of awe and skepticism.

"Mmm," answered the man thoughtfully. "Maybe." He held up his hand expecting the Bajoran to toss him the baseball.

"Where am I," the younger man asked, obliging the dark skinned enigma. The ball arced between them as a lifetime passed, landed in a nano-second and took an eon to roll to a stop.

"I suppose the more correct way of asking that question is to say, Where aren't you, but I was never one to be so inclined to question metaphysics." The uniform clad man turned and walked back to the mound. "Those questions should be left to the scientists…and the clergy… Neither of which am I." His deep baritone bellowed across the field. "I'm sure it has something to do with non-linear time, or transwarp, or any such other mysteries that we endeavor to understand during our short lives." His eyes narrowed and he launched the spherical leather bound ball through space. Again the Bajoran caught it. "Speaking of short lives…"

"Am I dead," asked the Bajoran.

"Also a question for scientists and clergy… The scienctists and doctors may say yes. The holy men may not agree. In the end, they may both be right. Or wrong," he said kicking his head to the side. "Like I said, I'm neither." A pregnant pause loomed between them. A thought was following, but took its time. The Bajoran felt the anticipation like an anchor on his soul. "But you…" More pause. "You may be both."

"I don't understand any of this…"

A bellowing laugh bordering on maniacal burst from the imposing man. "You don't like that do you? Not knowing, not understanding…" A chuckle followed in the wake of his laugh. His laugh eased into his next phrase, "probably your greatest strength and your greatest weakness all at the same time. Funny how that happens, isn't it?"

"I don't think any of this is funny," the Bajoran said. Dawning realization snuck up slowly and whapped him in the back of the head. He realized it had been there all along, but he'd been unable to accept it without more evidence. "I'm having a pagh'tem'far." The Bajoran looked around the field. The grass was soft and green, and the red dirt stood juxtopposed in geometric figures around them. Empty stands surrounded them, but beyond that he could see nothing. The atmosphere was bright and blue, but despite the lightness of the place, there was no sun in the sky. The light seemed to come from everywhere.

"Not so long ago you would have scoffed at such an idea," the emissary said quietly. "Interesting how your faith was restored by exploration. There is probably something profound to learn there, but…" His broad smile held back his words. "I suppose you're wondering what all this is about."

The Bajoran nodded.

"Two words. Be both… A long destiny stretches out in front of you, as it does for all beings… You, however, are of Bajor. You encompass so much of what makes her great. Like a tapestry being knit together as each linear second passes, your life mirrors the history of your people. Humble beginnings… A legacy of faith… A time of great loss and turmoil… And with your return to your faith, you've placed a vital piece back into your story…your life. Restoration…"

"I don't understa…"

"Yes, yes," the emissary said swatting away the Bajoran's words as if they were pests buzzing the air between them. "More input needed, more data required… You are good at one, but only beginning to fully stretch into the both that you must be. If you are going to be…" A finger shot up and he halted himself. "I almost gave away the punchline," he chuckled. "Your faith is fresh, and that's good. But your struggle to understand it, as you struggle to understand everything…" he shook his head with an exasperated expression. "That struggle is hampering your ability to simply be. All of the parameters can't be measured… Sometimes we don't know what is next and we can't predict the next linear moment in time… That's what makes linear existence worth living. Love cannot be measured. Friendship and comraderie cannot be quantified. Fear, as palpable as it may be to you, cannot be controlled." The emissary held the Bajoran's gaze, then stood tall suddenly changing the track of the conversation. "Ever play baseball?"

"Never," the Bajoran said, again surveying their surroundings.

"I love it," the emissary said reverently. With his hands on his hips he took in a long breath through his nose. "Always have." He took his place once more on the mound and spun suddenly with his tongue caught between his smiling teeth.

"Everytime I throw this ball," he said launching it between them, "a hundred different things can happen in a game. You might swing and miss. You might hit it. The point is you never know. You try to anticipate. Set a strategy for all the possibities as best you can but in the end it comes down to throwing one pitch after another and seeing what happens. With each new consequence the game begins to take shape."

"You can't control the outcome of the game," the Bajoran said, trying to follow the elder man's rationale.

"That's right. In fact, the game wouldn't be worth playing if we knew what was going to happen," the emissary said closing the distance between them.

"I don't value ignorance in that way. It is one of my greatest values to know that which I don't," the young man said sincerely.

"That may be the most important thing you need to learn," he said reaching out to clap the Bajoran on the arm. "A good friend of mine once said…" He cleared his throat and brought a finger to his lips, as some far off memory came to the forefront of his mind. "She said, That's the thing about faith… If you don't have it, you can't understand it. If you do, no explanation is necessary.

"Sounds wise…"

"Ah…" the emissary said springing his trap. He circled the young man as he spoke. "Then why do you seek explanations where none are necessary. You seek to explain your faith. You seek to explain your love… Friendship, duty, resentment… All of those things exist at face value. But you look for explanations and control…"

"I'm afraid, emissary," the Bajoran said, opening up a part of him that he'd shared with no one. "I'm afraid of losing…" He raised his arm, and examined the baseball in his hand. "I'm afraid of losing the game. I don't want to hurt. I don't want to feel loss," he added as his life flashed like a holographic novel in his mind's eye. His lips pressed together in defiance of the emotion welling up in him. "Not anymore… And I don't know what will happen if…"

"It is the unknown that defines our existence," the dark man said halting directly in front of the Bajoran. He took him by both shoulders and spoke slowly and seriously. His deep voice resonated to the core of the younger man. "We are constantly searching. Not just for answers to our questions… But for new questions… We are explorers. We explore our lives, day by day. And we explore the galaxy trying to expand the boundries of our knowledge. And that is why I am here… You must be both, Torrik Nils," he said adressing the younger man by name for the first time. His voice continued to rumble towards the Bajoran. "You must find a peaceful coexistence within yourself. It is vital that you learn to reign in your intellect, powerful as it may be. And you must free the faith of your people inside of you. Not in limited measure or only in times of great need… But always… Your future, as well as the future of many others depends on it. It is vital…"

"I want to understand what you mean, but I…"

"I may be the emissary but I'm still a Captain in the fleet, Lieutenant…" His gaze dropped to home plant as memories seemed to overtake him. He smiled. "You can take the Officer out of Starfleet, but you can't take Starfleet out of the officer," the emissary seemed to say only for his own benefit. "And it's time you got back to duty." He held out his hand, palm up.

Nils tossed him the ball. As it rose from his palm, fighting gravity all the way, the field around them faded to white light. "Be both," the emissary said once more before the whiteness surrounding them encompassed everything.

Post Featured several passages and phrases from DS9 Episode "Emissary"

Originally Posted By Torrik Nils 02-2-2008

The Wasteland

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