Rounding The Bend

:: USS Constitution ::
:: Executive Officer’s Quarters ::

Nils lay in his bed staring at his ceiling. The past couple days worth of events swirled around in his head and he struggled with putting it all into context. Not only the context of his life in general, including his troubled past, but also the greater context of ‘who am I’ and ‘what is my purpose in the world?’

So many pieces of a great existential puzzle collided and meshed then repelled one another. From the words of Kai Opaka in his childhood, to the insight Dr. Stabler had given him his first few days in the Megiddo System. And even more recently his cryptic revelation during the Pagh’Tem’Far and his sessions with Counselor T’Shaini. The words of Bayal Paven capped it all off and had prompted his inability to rest easy. Truth be told he’d never rested easy…

The door chime drew him from his thoughts.

“Come in,” he called sitting up. He tried to straighten his rumpled uniform.

“Lieutenant, you’re needed on the bridge,” called an out of breath T’Landra as she surged into the room. The doors had barely had time to part.

“Alright,” Nils said, mildly confused. “What’s the situation…”

“I’ll tell you on the way… We need to make our way to the bridge with great haste…”

As if to punctuate her words the ship went immediately into red alert. Blaring klaxons and an emergency lighting change made her message all the more ominous.

“What the hell is going on, crewman,” Nils asked, his tone growing more intense. He quick stepped it to the door and out into the corridor.

“Comms are down all over the ship, thus the reason for my visit… External communications are also affected. We’re effectively cut off from the Fleet and everyone else. At this stage there is no discernable cause,” T’Landra said. She kept pace with Nils' long legs and she was beginning to regain control of her breathing. She must have sprinted down to Nils’ quarters.

“No discernable cause?” That was troubling. Comms going down was one thing, but with no purpose becoming quickly evident with all of the diagnostic and sensor resources at their disposal… Well, that indicated something foul. And Nils didn’t like it.

“None,” she answered. The entered the lift and it began its ascent. “In addition we’ve reached the Dosi Station. I surmise that is the reason for the red alert. When we dropped out of warp their station’s shields went up. They’ve powered up weapons and are maintaining a lock on the Constitution.”

“Damn,” Nils seethed. “I’m sure they tried to hail us and we didn’t respond.” Starfleet regulations were similar. General Order 12 made defensive posture a necessity in the event that any ship approach without establishing communication. Perhaps the Dosi had an analogous guideline.

The doors to the bridge opened and the ensuing chaos engulfed the First Officer. For the first time in months his LLI threatened to overtake him. He steeled himself to the situation. The Dosi station loomed on the viewscreen and drew closer.

“T’Landra, find Dr. Munro, Chief Costala, and Counselor T’Shaini and tell them to get to the transporters… You!” Nils snatched up some young crewman he’d never seen before. “Get to Lt. Tenanji and tell him to get his Security Team for the Dosi expedition to the transporter room as soon as he can.”

“You don’t think an armed party beaming onto their station will illicit a negative response?” T’Landra had a valid point.

“The Dosi are already expecting that particular delegation. I sent them the dosier last night. Besides, we don’t have a choice,” Nils said scanning the bridge for the Captain. “We have to make contact before they blow us out of the sky…”

Featuring NPC T'Landra
Originally Posted 6-2-2008 by Torrik Nils

USS Constitution
Deck 4

Prior to the Red Alert

“Hold that ‘lift!”

Jen, just having left BHP’s quarters, turned to see that, ohhh boy, Mr. Garcia, the reporter from Hell, was racing towards the conveyance. “Hold,” she ordered on a sigh. He’d seen that she’d seen him, it wouldn’t look good for the ‘Fleet if one of the crew deliberately shut the door in the reporter’s face.

“Thanks, crewman,” the man was a bit breathless as he came alongside her. “Deck seven,” he requested, then looked questioningly at Jen, “aren’t you the young lady who’s dating the Captain?”

“Seventeen,” she told the waiting lift, automatically choosing the furthest from his destination. The report to Tenanji would have to wait a few minutes longer, “You’ve been misinformed,” she said, eyes forward.

“Really?” Garcia crossed his arms over his chest, “Because word around the ship is Captain Benjamin can barely see straight, he’s so gone over…”

“Rumor, painted full of tongues,” the daughter of a lit professor cut in. “I’m sure Captain Benjamin’s eyesight is functioning at optimal levels. Here’s your stop.”

He smiled in a way that indicated he knew she was covering something… even if she wasn’t. There was, as of last night, absolutely nothing to report between Crewman Anderson and Captain Benjamin.

She leaned against the wall as the ‘lift continued down to seventeen. She couldn’t very well just double back to Security until she was sure the journalist had moved on and, hey, bonus, lots of private time in the ‘lift to think about the latest murky issue… this one featuring BHP. And, man, how much more murky could things get? Okay, she’d spent over a year working for the head of Spec Ops, so in fact, she knew how much more murky they could get but still…

Exiting onto seventeen she was surprised by the inherent emptiness. Lower cargo didn’t have a huge draw at this hour, she guessed. Not quite ready to risk another run in with the gossip monger, she decided to take the two credit tour.

Hmmm, corridor… some smaller storage rooms for valuables or hazmats… and, yes, there’s the hold. Yup, that’s a hold all right… and it’s… holding… stuff. She stared for a few seconds then turned back towards the corridor; deck seven was probably safe, by now. But as she shifted, a hint of motion caught at the corner of her eye. Whipping back she peered into the mass of crates. Nothing in sight but there was a rapid pad of footsteps… the kind that just screamed ‘stealth’.

Jenny stared into vast space, considering.

There was someone sneaking around the cargo hold.

She was unarmed and had no communicator.

She should get backup.

How long does it take to set one explosive the though pressed at her from behind, to make one illicit transmission?

She looked around for an intercom.

No time… he’s moving… no time… the words were hands, pushing her forward. She followed their prompting, stepping into the shadowy room.

Only a few steps in, a slight thrum of waking technology rose from somewhere towards the right wall. Settling her center, flexing her hands, Jen continued on, sticking to the many shadows and praying that the red of her uniform was deep enough to blend.

Closing in now, she sacrificed stealth for speed but when she came to the source of the noise she found… no one. An unfamiliar device was sitting, apparently abandoned in the midst of a veritable fort of crates… one was cracked open, presumably that was where the item had come from and next to it, the deck plating had been lifted aside. Someone planned to hide whatever it was. She didn’t go any closer… Ajani Obatu’s death had been a violent lesson for the Hawking’s crew.

She stepped back a pace, still looking for any signs of what the contraband tech might be doing…

And spun, leading with her left elbow to strike at the living shadow which had closed in behind her. A soft thud to the sternum moved the opponent back but even as her right fist swung round to follow, the pressure of a hypo just below the ribs, caused her to leap back instinctively. No time for fancy, she kicked the attacker where it would hurt the most and then moved past his shocked groans, racing for the nearest intercom but whatever she’d been injected with was fast: she’d only run five, maybe six steps before her legs folded and she slammed head-first into the decking. Stunned, she tried to push herself up but… nothing worked: hands, legs, arms… nothing responded to the desperate urge to get out! Wet warmth pooled beneath her cheek, where it lay against the cold, hard floor.

Well, Jen, this is another… fine… mes… but the thought was cut short as everything around her faded to black.

Featuring NPC Jenny Anderson
Originally Posted 6-2-2008 by Harry Finn

USS Constitution
Deck 7

“I want you to join Koll on the Bridge,” Tenanji was telling Jameson as the two strode towards the ‘lift, followed closely by David Quincy and the young crewman who’d been shang-hai’d to play messenger, “keep Saunders on Auxiliary and Rak’h should head up torpedo prep… Anderson can join him as soon as she checks in,” SOP had any off-duty Security forces reporting to the armory if a breakdown in communications occurred.

“And Mellon?” Jameson slammed a fist into the call button for the ‘lift.

And here was another quandary, Mellon Astyr was currently guarding Crewman Pierce. Now, short-staffed as they were the best place for the engineer in this particular situation would be engineering; hopefully assisting in getting the vessel’s communications online but at the same time, Security protocols had to be maintained. “Stop by her location, order her to remain with Pierce… should Ensign Costala order him to engineering she is to allow it, with herself as escort.”

The four men stepped onto the ‘lift and Jameson requested the appropriate decks.

“On the unpleasant chance that the Dosi should begin firing upon us,” Tenanji continued, “I recommend pulling out of distance until such time as our party has managed to talk them down from hostilities. It would be beyond the pale to have this beacon retrieval become an intergalactic incident.”

The ‘lift arrived at Tenanji’s stop, he ordered the ‘lift to hold then looked at the wide-eyed youth before him… one of the Constitution’s original crewmembers, “Crewman… ah… “


“What… really? Never mind… for the moment you are to work as relay between the bridge and auxiliary tactical.” Turning to Jameson, “As communications are down, see if it is possible to transmit information in some other fashion. Perhaps the diagnostics systems may be adapted to an intership coding function… talk to 110 and 111…”

“On it,” Jameson affirmed as Quincy cleared his throat and Tenanji took the hint. Time was racing and the sooner the away team got to the station, the sooner the standoff would (hopefully) end.

“Right,” he turned towards the corridor then back “She is in your hands,” he told the Chief Petty Officer, just before the doors to the lift closed. Having seen the acceptance in the massive non-com’s eyes, Usher nodded then joined Quincy and the two made their quiet way to the transporter room.

Featuring NPC Usher Tenanji
Originally Posted 6-2-2008 by Harry Finn

"Where you going Daddy?" Lia asked as Javier knelt down beside the three year old and hugged her. "I have to go make sure the engines on another ship work," the engineer replied half-heartedly. "I wanna go," the child said, hugging his neck fiercly. "I know," Javier said feeling numb inside as he added, "but you have to stay here and start school." Lia shook her head and held on to him. "You'll make lots of friends," the engineer said, trying to put a good face on a situation that even he thought was awful. "Wanna go." Lia said. "You'll have Scottie here with you…and Eli."

The engineer looked over to where the Ibrahims stood waiting to receive Lia into their care. At the mention of his name, Eli puttered over to stand close by. "I can show you my blocks," the little boy said proudly. Lia had the appearance of being a little interested. "I have a wabbit," she said as she showed him her Mr. Bunny. Eli smiled and nodded. Scottie sniffed at the bunny. The small, white dog then laid his head alongside Lia and whined.

"See, everything is going to be okay," Javier said, trying to convince himself and Lia. Red Alert klaxons suddenly blared to life as Javier held Lia in his arms protectively.

He was awake. Javier was holding T'Shaini in their bed on the Constitution and red alert was sounding. It took a moment for him to realize where he was and who he was with. The dream had been an exact replica of what had taken place when he left the Hawking except for the red alert. Now the klaxons sounded the alarm even as with one arm, the other still holding T'Shaini, he grabbed his communit and opened it to speak with Main Engineering.

"What the hell?" the engineer said.

"Oof." T'Shaini sipped in a breath around Javier's kung fu grip. "Rlerrr…shhhnnn?" Far different from the 'Red alert, have we arrived at the space station' that had formed in her head.

Javier tossed the offending device to the floor then released T'Shaini and slipped out of the bed. He walked over to the door and ventured out into the corridor. People were running towards him and away from him. Crewmen that looked harried and worried navigated the corridors at top speed. Some turned to stare at him as they passed, others just raced about their business. Two crewmembers going in opposite directions turned to stare at Javier at the wrong moment and collided. "Hey, what's going on?" the engineer asked the two 'floored' individuals.

"Well..uh.." the one started as she averted her eyes out of sheer politeness, "we're at the station.."

"But the comm system is down," the other crewmember answered as he put his hand in front of his eyes and tilted his head away from Javier's bold display. "So they think we have hostile intentions," the female officer replied as she sneaked a glance at the engineer.

"Chief! Chief! There you are.." Kal-El said as he huffed his way up the corridor towards Javier, the systems tech paused, it was a long, uncomfortable pause.

Appearing behind Javier, T'Shaini slipped in and slid a towel around his waist, tucking the end in she deadpanned. "It is perhaps a little chilly out here, no?" A small smile played around the edge of her mouth as she watched the cheeks of the young woman in front of her redden. "Sorry to interrupt Kal-El, you were saying?"

"Uh..fusion rod..what?" Kal-El stuttered then said, "The communications are down and the station is locked onto us, ready to fire their penises."

Javier hitched his towel up, determined not to let his faux paux or Kal-El's affect his demeanor. "You and Bilara start working on the comms, call Burke to Engineering, tell Tehamia to get Pierce released and send him to Main Engineering, we need everyone asap." Kal-El nodded at each order then sprinted off to carry the orders to the appropriate people. "You two," Javier said to the crewmen, "stop gawking and get to your stations," causing the female officer's face to turn a deeper shade of red as she walked away quickly. He stepped back into his quarters, letting the doors slide closed. "I suppose we should proceed to the transporter room, it would seem that I get the chance to function as a true diplomat," he said to T'Shaini, then blushed and added, "Thanks for the towel."

JP by David and the Curious Tourist
Originally Posted 6-3-2008 by Javier Costala

USS Constitution

Lieutenant Darren Hillman looked towards the turbolift as his friend, CPO Jameson, entered the bridge, closely followed by the white bread crewman Torrik had sent on his errand.

“Sir,” the kid reported to the XO, “Lieutenants Tenanji and Quincy have reported to the transporter room.”

Torrik nodded his acknowledgment as Jameson took a stance behind Koll, who was opertating nav and tac systems. “Sir, we’re not going to be able to transport,” the security officer commented.

“I know,” Torrik replied, “shields are up at the station…” he turned an annoyed eye to the ceiling, “someone shut off that klaxon,” he ordered.

“Aye, alarms off, aye,” Koll replied, making the necessary adjustments.

“Stand down phasers, drop shields,” Torrik’s calm order cut through the new quiet.

Jameson threw his superior a look but even Hillman, the Marine, could see the logic. If the Constitution posed no threat, it was less likely the Dosi would feel inclined to fire…

“Phasers, offline,” Jameson called from where he watched Koll’s hands dancing over the console, “shields… lowered.”

Everyone on the bridge held their breath as seconds ticked past.

“Well?” Torrik’s voice was terse but not stressed. For a man who clearly had no desire for authority, he wore it well.

“Dosi station has powered down their weapons. Shields have dropped.” Koll’s rough voice reported.

“You,” the Bajoran turned to the crewman who’d accompanied Jameson, “get down to the transporter room, if the away team hasn’t beamed over, see that they do.”

As the kid ran for the ‘lift, Jameson turned to his superior, “Lieutenant Tenanji suggested the possibility of using an intership code, maybe using diagnostics, for internal coms while we try and suss out the real issue…”

“Not bad, we might be able to go simpler even… text messages through the ship’s computers,” he jerked his chin to O’Keefe on Sciences and she took the indication to join 110 and 111 at their improvised Ops station to see what could be rigged. Then his serious eyes darted over the bridge and Torrik’s brow furrowed. “Has anyone seen the Captain?” The moment the red alert had sounded, Benjamin should have been making his way to the bridge but here they all were and, oops no Captain Benjamin.

Hillman looked around at the series of blank expressions. “How long has it been since anyone has seen him?”

More silence.

“Lieutenant Torrik,” Hillman addressed the current leader of the pack, “I have no real purpose until communications are restored,” the Dosi had made it clear that the race observer had no place in their negotiations so Hillman was stuck without a job. “If you’ll allow it, I can look for Captain Benjamin. It’ll keep you free to focus on the communications issue and will keep me from feeling like dead weight.”

Torrik nodded, “Thank you Lieutenant. With luck he’s just stuck in a turbolift somewhere…” but no, there had been no other malfunctions reported so, where the hell was Benjamin? “I’d suggest starting in his quarters… maybe there was an issue with Nathaniel…”

Hillman nodded and headed towards the lift, surprised when it opened to reveal the appointed runner.

“Away team was transported, sir, without incident as far as we can tell.” the crewman said breathlessly.

“Thank you, crewman…” Torrik actually looked at the kid, “I’m sorry, what was your name?”

“Smith, John Smith.”

Hillman almost rolled his eyes. Of course it was. With no further delay, he entered the lift. Grabbing hold of what he thought of as the joystick he requested Deck 2 where, hopefully, he’d find the Captain, stuck in a regeneration cycle.

Somehow, though, he doubted it’d be that easy.

Featuring the spirit voice of Torrik Nils and Darren Hillman
Originally Posted 6-6-2008 by Harry Finn

:: USS Constitution ::
:: Captain's Quarters ::

The stirring of minds entertained him. There was nothing perverse about it, as far as he was concerned. But riled anxiety and blossoming unknown created this soft background music of thought and emotion that suited his mood and motivated him on to his next purpose. So far the plan that had been handed down to him was working perfectly.

Only moments before, his tricorder (the 24th century kind and not one of the antiques the rest of the crew had been using) indicated the ship's shields were down. He'd taken his chance and keyed in the message, just as he'd been told. That's when Captain Nathan Benjamin faded from existence aboard Constitution. Presumably he'd rematerialize on board the cloaked shuttle, which had been lurking about for some time.

A sense of pure elation overcame him as the teenage Borg's serene features beamed away. The nanites he'd injected to prompt an unscheduled sleep cycle worked like a charm as well. Someone really knew their stuff! He didn't care who. The chaos was enough for him. Certainly someone's plan was coming together, but it wasn't his. Gold pressed latinum was the agreed upon exchange, but he'd probably have done it for free.

"Now that the Captain is taken care of," he mumbled to himself with glee. "On to check my package…"

The doors to the Captain's quarters swooshed open and he exitted as if he belonged there. His escape came not a moment too soon… Up ahead he sensed the disciplined thoughts of the marine race observer…

Find the Captain. Secure the ship. Something's not right here. Take note of the passing guest…

The last thought sent the sabatuer's glee into a tailspin and he dropped his gaze as he passed. "F*$&ing marines…" he mumbled in a fury.

When he was round the bend, he broke in to a run. So far his system dampener was doing the trick, but it wouldn't be long before someone found the conspicuous device latched onto the comm array control panel. The age of the ship had made that job easier than he'd anticipated.

A few moments later he was in the bowels of the ship's cargo hold, preparing to inventory his luggage, as was his habit each day. The crew had become so accustomed to his face they'd stopped paying him any attention. But today, the place was barren so he didn't even pretend to do it. Instead, he opened the plasteel crate he'd hidden there and eye'd his prize.

Jenny Anderson was such a lovely young thing.

He stroked her unconscious face and ran his fingers down her neck. The immodest fashions of the 22nd century gave him a grand view and he felt heat rising from his collar. His mouth wet with desire he stroked her thigh and sneered, tempted to do more. His arousal almost got the better of him, but the doors suddenly opened.

"…ordered to search the entire ship. Evidently Hillman is calling the shots for our department while Tenanji's away."

Another voice, "Well, what's the word on Finn? Seems like we'd have heard something by now."

"Greetings gentlemen," Chuck said as he innocently glided past them. They wouldn't check the crates. There were hundreds of them in main cargo. He smiled and left them to their search.

They barely acknowledged the Betazoid as he breezed past into the corridor. As he passed, he consumed their anxiety. Despite their easy words, both of them sensed something wasn't right. Plus the added tension of red alert always gave Chuck an erotic thrill. Already swooning from the stolen caress of Jenny Anderson he decided he needed more… He made his way to deck four where he could peer into the minds of the women on that deck from his quarters. The anticipation intoxicated him…

Originally Posted 6-9-2008 By Torrik Nils

::USS Constitution::

Prior to the Red Alert

Chris leaned back on the biobed, his arms supporting him, “You’ve got to move on. I hate being the one to tell you that, but I’d like to think I’m more than just a member of your staff. I’m your friend…”.

Jillian took a deep breath and set down the PADD she was reading, “I’m trying…but…”

The tall bioweaponeer sighed subtly as he reached his hand out to hers. She hesitated, if only for a moment to ponder the appropriateness of his gesture.

“Give it here.” He pulled her hand to his chest and rested it in the center of his chest, “Do you feel that?”

She pursed her lips together and smiled tightly.

“Do you remember when Nils’ heart stopped?” Again, she nodded, “And you brought him back, even though everyone else told you to stop….you brought him back.”

She wiped away a tear that had escaped from the corner of her eye, “Chris…I don’t…”

“The commander of this ship is alive because you believed in him. You gave him everything you had in that moment and you brought him back.”

She released a quick breath, and closed her eyes, “You’re making it sound to be so much more…”

“…than it really is?” He smiled, “I’m really not, Jill.”

“So why are you telling me this?”

“Because you need to know what a gifted physician you are. You are capable of so much, and it’s killing me to sit here day after day, watching you sulk over some guy who clearly can’t get his head out of his ass. You’re never here 100%”

She tried not to smile at his last comment, but she couldn’t help it, “Chris…he’s going through something that you and I don’t understand.”

“Uh. Yeah. He’s going through denial.” He leaned forward, still holding her hands, “Look, just do me a favor…”

She tilted her head to one side, curious.

“For one day, try not thinking about him. I know it’s hard, but you’ve got to start focus on your job. You are the chief medical officer aboard a starship.” He squeezed her hand, “You need to start acting like one. Moping around isn’t going to help heal anyone. Do you think he’s thinking about you right now?”


“So…” He whispered.

She nodded, “You’re right. And yes…for one day I…”

Her promise was interrupted by the sudden scream of red alert.

=/\= T’Landra to Doctor Munro =/\=

=/\= Munro here, go ahead =/\=

=/\= Ma’me, Commander Torrik has requested that you rendezvous with the rest of the away team in Transporter room 1 =/\=

=/\= On my way =/\=

Chris offered Jillian one more smile, “Remember what I said.”

“Thanks, Chris.” She waved sheepishly over her shoulder. As the doors swooshed open, she stopped and turned around, “You know, you might want to consider transferring to T’Shaini’s department.” She winked.

Featuring NPC Chris Hodges
Originally Posted 6-10-2008 by Jillian Munro

-Communications Array Computer-
-USS Constitution-

"Oh Doctor Daystrom, why couldn't you have found a simpler means to transmit signals," Kal-El lamented as he sat in the middle of a mass of wires that were connected to the duotronic computer's main circuitry board. The engineer used his tricorder, circa 22nd century, to scan the circuitry board for any signs of interference in the wiring. Interference in the wiring would indicate that the signal was being tapped, blocked or looped and thus lead Kowalski to the reason why the Constitution's intership communications were..well, incommunicado.

The problem was that the systems were so ancient that interferance abounded within the duotronics systems. The natural function of the circuitry was to create interferance as signals resonated along its wiring. "What I would give for some bio-neural gel packs."

Bilara Wakeel snorted. The female engineer was busy checking all of the systems that Kal-El had proclaimed 'faulty' and Kal-El's manner was beginning to irritate her. Bilara kept to herself for the most part, and even when working with others, preferred engineers that were less chatty. Bilara had found that she could better concentrate on her job when there were fewer distractions. Kal-El was a major distraction.

"Eve..Ms. Kennedy says that when the duotronic system was invented it was an engineering marvel," Fenton Boyce said through gritted teeth, his tone added a hint of sarcasm to the cadet's own statement.

"Poor Fenton," Kal-El snickered, then said, "rejected by a woman then forced to partner up with her at work for the rest of the race..being reminded of your failure on a daily basis, that's going to be rough."

"What ever you say Captain Kale," Fenton retorted, causing Petty Officer Kowalski to drop the ribbing and study the circuitry with renewed interest.

Captain Kale, I will have to remember that. It is the one thing that will make him quiet. Bilara surmised. Ah yes, Fenton is referring to when the freighter crew tried to make Kal-El a captain of their ship. What kind of foolishness was that?? At last, the only sounds were the engineers searching for the communication problem and the noises that their tricorders made in response to scan inquiries. Bilara was pleased.

"You know I had a woman from that freighter who was at my beck and call," Kal-El suddenly said. "She thought I was all that and a crate of self-sealing stem bolts."

Shit! Bilara Wakeel thought to herself before the arguing began again.

Originally Posted 6-10-2008 by Javier Costala

Reldaran Station
Transporter Room

Tingenek waited, arms crossed over his chest and chin lowered in thought. The Federation vessel’s arrival had not been seamless but, as he’d patiently explained, the ship was quite venerable and due to have some occasional malfunctions. The age only added to its value… a pity they were not in negotiations for the Constitution.

No matter… as it stood the Federation had bequeathed to the Dosi a small piece of technology, left as if only so much trash, for which the three appointed representatives must bargain. However, since it was the way of things that nothing could be got for nothing and the Federation had requested naught of the Dosi in exchange for their stewardship of this item… nor offered nothing neither… the Pin’Toka’Rinel had determined it necessary to add value to the valueless by requiring a great price of each of the three emissaries.

Tingenek of the Kor’Plobem, had put great thought into what payment would earn his third of the prize, and which of the three appointed would best supply that compensation.

“The shields have been lowered,” one of the station’s guardians announced… “and the Federation vessel has powered down their weapons.”

Tingenek exchanged a look with old Qaniit who, with his apprentice Sialuk, stood for the Kor’Bluton. Time then, to see if the Constitution’s chosen three could make due payment, duly paid.

The four Dosi, representing the three tribes, turned towards the transporter pad, along with the handful of guardians, and watched the arrival of the promise of trade.

Originally Posted 6-10-2008 by Harry Finn

::USS Constitution::
::Captain’s Quarters::

That the cabin was empty of Nathan Benjamin wasn’t really a huge surprise. That young Nathaniel was deep in a regeneration cycle, given the hour, also not a surprise… in fact it was kind of a relief. What was a surprise was that the door had opened upon request, with no added security measures necessary.

Darren, searching through the sitting area of the room, made a note to get someone up here to keep an eye on the kid when he woke up. For now, he allowed his gaze to quarter the living room. It appeared that Nathan Benjamin had been working on something… he crossed to the desk and picked up the contemporary tricorder but one glance at the contents was enough to suck the breath out of him. He quickly powered it down… this was clearly a problem for the XO. He focused on the rest of the desk’s contents. The large computer screen was blank and a touch of the keyboard indicated its lack of use. Next to the computer was one of the old-time stylus-bearing notepads, upon which he could sort of make out the words, ‘Benjamin Hyde-Pierce… Iotian family connections?… charges of terrorist activities (bogus or real deal?)…. Anderson,’ Hillman’s brow quirked at the lack of the young woman’s given name, ‘Anderson noted DS-9 meet as origin…’

Random notes, not completely unfamiliar to the Darren. Bill Jameson had been in conference with the Marine throughout the strange events following the younger crew’s ill-fated research. And now the Captain was in on it… and not where he was supposed to be.

Keeping the tricorder, he left the room, initiating the lock before he headed for the turbolift. The fact that civilians were so comfortable walking around every level of the ship made him wary. He needed to find Pierce and Anderson… there was a chance the Captain had left his quarters to meet with one of the two. And if it were Pierce, already suspect…

Hillman’s thoughts were dark as he entered the ‘lift and requested deck four.

Featuring NPC Darren Hillman
Originally Posted 6-10-2008 by Harry Finn

-Corridor to Transporter Room-
-USS Constitution-

Red. It was not a color to be taken lightly. To some cultures it signified blood or a life-force of sorts. To Javier it signified the odd color of his departmental uniform aboard the Constitution. It also represented something that he was not entirely comfortable wearing; Javier couldn't quite explain it, but the engineer held a natural revulsion when it came to the 22nd century uniform color. There was no time to change though and after a quick check on Main Engineering, Javier found himself double-timing it to the transporter room.

"Ensign Costala, just the person I wanted to see," said Chris Garcia, the EBA reporter that was part of the press team associated with the Constitution. The man had ambushed Costala from the corner of a T-junction. Scott's Ghost, not him! He brushed past the reporter without saying a word, increasing his speed to carry him away from the man. "Now Ensign I just want to ask you a few questions about the second beacon," Garcia assured Javier as he caught up to the flighty engineer.

"I'm kind of in a hurry.."

"Well it's a good thing I can walk fast then," Garcia replied before shoving a microphone in Javier's face and asking, "How prudent is it to send a person who very nearly lost the first beacon to retrieve the second one?"

"Uh..well, I just go where I'm ordered," Javier replied, caught off-guard by the sudden character attack.

"So you are saying the blame should fall on the shoulders of your superiors," Garcia fired back, "Interesting, I knew there were some bad apples in Starfleet, perhaps now I've found some." The engineer opened his mouth to disagree but Garcia forged ahead with another question before Javier could speak. "Are you going to use a different method to approach the Dosi or are you going to employ the same haphazard methods that you did with the first?"

"I'll do whatever is necessary to procure the beacon." The engineer's tone held a growing sense of irritation. The two men were within view of the doors to the transporter room and Javier spotted T'Shaini entering the room. He let out a sigh of contentment, knowing that the two of them could bring balance to each other for whatever the Dosi might throw their way.

"Even if it means putting your friends and fellow crewmates in harm's way?"

"No," Javier stopped suddenly, "That's one thing I always try to avoid. But there are times when one has to take risks, if we didn't their wouldn't be any Starfleet at all, everyone would be on Earth in their nice cozy beds." The engineer picked up his pace as he entered the transporter room.

"One last question, Ensign," Garcia stated as he followed close behind Javier, "are your methods undergoing a change because of the members of this particular away team? I've learned from a reliable source that you and the ship's counselor are involved..oof!"

Lights flashed inside the reporter's skull as the room's lighting strobed and Garcia was knocked to the floor. For a moment he was confused about what had happened then his face began to hurt.

"There," Javier said, his fist clenched, "you can quote me."

Originally Posted 6-10-2008 by Javier Costala

The sound of applause alerted her. T'Shaini turned just in time to see..whatever his name was…the reporter fall to the floor, and saw Javier, fist still cocked looking down over his prone body.

"There, you can quote me."

Looking back up at Jenkins, she shook her head and the woman behind the console sheepishly let the applause die out.


"Just meeting the press," Javier replied as he let his hand drop to his side. "We've met. He has a quote. Now we can transport over," the engineer said as he turned away from the reporter, intentionally placing his back to Garcia.

"Erm…yes…quite." Without sparing so much as a backward glance toward the supine annoyance, T'Shaini slid her hand into Javier's and stepped on the transporter pad. "Whenever you are ready Crewman Jenkins." Fighting to keep her face from displaying amusement at the unholy glee on the transporter tech's face, T'Shaini took a breath…I will meditate on this later.

A quickie JP from Rocky and Adrienne
Originally Posted 6-10-2008 by T'Shaini

"It is the way of things that nothing can be got for nothing. It is the way of things that what is got for little cost has little value. It is the way of things that what is got dearly carries a worth above Keshiite," Tingenek poured out the tea as he spoke the truth. How the Vulcan soul-guardian would take that truth remained to be seen. Passing her the smooth bowl of steaming brew, the Dosi then uncovered a sweet-cake… made by his mate for this very negotiation. He lifted the plate and offered the pastry to his opponent in trade.

The ritualistic movements as her host passed his hand over the vessel, then poured her tea was the first clue. Then the weight of his words as he handed her the pastry…nothing can be got for nothing. Hoping she was reading the signs correctly (and was not about incite an intergalactic incident) the counselor neatly broke the cake in two and reached out to offer half to Tingenek.

He nodded and accepted his share as host and provider. "Now," he said, after taking an appreciative bite (Sura's sweet-cake was much esteemed) he raised his own tea, held up in both hands towards T'Shaini and was pleased that she mirrored his gesture, drinking when he drank. "The tea bonds us," he said with calm satisfaction, "and prepares us for the negotiation… what your Command thinks of as a test. I tell you this, we do not have tests… we live in a world of fair exchange… you must be prepared to pay for what you hope to receive of us." So saying Tingenek placed two small, roundish devices on the table.

Internally perhaps a wee bit crestfallen that deciphering the ceremony was not the test, T'Shaini followed his lead, sipped some tea, bond… then felt the small furrow in her brow as she appraised the objects on the table. Unable to discern anything of value a small smile played around the edges of her mouth as she looked back up to Tingenek. "I find it unlikely that those are components of the beacon, that would be far too simple, but are they a route to discovering it?"

"They are just that," the chosen of the Kor'Plobem gave one short nod, then emptied his bowl, indicating to the Vulcan she must do the same. "Developed by a scientist of the Lethean, these devices, once attached to our temples," he lifted one and demonstrated its application, "will link our minds. It is a limited telepathic bond but this tea enhances the process… it will allow me to join with your thoughts… your memories and thereby receive my asking price for one third of the Federation beacon."

Almost choking on the remainder of the tea at the 'link our minds' line, T'Shaini hid momentarily behind the generously sized bowl before placing it on the table. "And what purpose exactly will linking our minds serve in discovering the beacon?"

Tingenek's head tilted slightly, curious, "It will allow me to receive my price… what you must pay for your portion. Surely you understand… the way of things. Or is it that you come to the table intending to bargain with no coin?"

"Let us just say I came to the table uncertain of what coin would be required."

The male leaned forward, resting one elbow on the table as he offered her the second device, "My asking price is three of your choices, decisions you have made which carry great meaning, to do with as I wish."

"Excuse me?" The words that were spoken had so little connection with reality that her translator may as well have not been working. "Three of my choices…personal choices?"

"Just so," he remained where he was, still proffering the small piece of technology. "You come from a background that does not place great value on monies, nor on objects… if our dealings are to have any meaning, something of genuine value must be offered. Given your choice," and he quirked a small smile at the word, "of profession, I would be inclined to believe that experiences carry great weight to you. Join minds with me… give me reign over your defining moments. For this bounty, and this bounty alone, will you purchase your prize."

Give me reign…terrifying. All she had been through over the last few missions to be laid open to manipulation or dissection or whatever he planned. Could she say no? Was that a choice? It was only a race…yet a race where suddenly communications were lost, a quest for information had put two young people's careers in jeopardy and the first beacon had come close to taking Javier's life. Who knows what the consequences for acquiescing to his demands would be, but also what they would be if she refused. The Vulcan's eyes squeezed shut as she tried to control the panic that began to bubble up within. Not now…please, I cannot lose control, not now. A few deep breaths brought her back and opening her eyes, her breath hitched slightly as she nodded and stretched her hand out to receive the device.

Tingenek placed the link in her hand then placed his own over her open palm, "We have a bargain?"

The weight of his hand on hers just served to escalate the unease of the situation. "We have a bargain."

Satisfied with his price, the negotiator waited while T'Shaini donned her link then, "Show me the way," he said, closing his eyes, prepared to follow the woman to her first crossroad.

JP Tee and Dosi Ting (tang walla walla bing bang) as written by Harry Finn
Originally Posted 6-10-2008 by T'Shaini

"It is the way of things that nothing can be got for nothing. It is the way of things that what is got for little cost has little value. It is the way of things that what is got dearly carries a worth above Keshiite…" Sialuk smiled proudly after reciting the litany. This was to be her very first and she wanted Qaniit to be proud.

"Fine, fine, fine," he waved aside The Girl's eager recitation. "You," he pointed his cane at the Human visitor, "are you ready to bargain?"

"Uhhh.." Was I supposed to bring money with me? Javier thought as he looked from one Dosi to the other. "Okay?"

Qaniit rolled his eyes ceilingward, "We are given to understand you wish to acquire a third of this 'beacon'," he nodded towards his apprentice, "Girl, tell him the purchase price."

Sialuk clasped her hands nervously behind her back as she walked closer to the claimant. "We wish…" She looked down to gather the correct words, then looked back up through her lashes. "in payment for what you seek, we ask for knowledge…your knowledge."

My knowledge? "Could you be a bit more specific about what sort of information you require?' the engineer asked. There was 'knowledge' that he wasn't supposed to share with anyone. And if they want to know that..well, these negotiations will be short.

"Hmph," the old Dosi stumped up to the tall Starfleet officer, "We want to know the way you think… that we will better understand your people. The Pin'Toka'Rinel have given it to us, of the Kor'Bluton, to gain your insights. Hmph," he tottered back and nodded to Sialuk.

"Nine, nine is the perfect number." Sialuk blinked up at the man before her, he was very handsome for a human. "Yes…nine. So you must emulate the initiator and unravel the nine knots to retrieve what you are searching for."

Nine shall be the number, and to nine shall thy count. Eight only if it preceeds nine. Ten is right out. Javier couldn't help but think to himself as the younger Dosi spoke in the litany of her occupation. it. This sounds a bit like Young Pioneers. "Okay, nine is perfect then," Javier said, "although in our culture it is often said that two is the perfect number while three is just a crowd."

The Girl was staring and Qaniit cleared his throat, nudging her with his bony elbow, "So you agree to the asking price…" he whispered.

She jumped, startled out of her reverie. "So you agree to the asking price?" Did he mean I was the one making it a crowd or Qaniit?

"Well, if we're bargaining and I've heard your offer then I should counter-offer," the engineer replied. "This is the way bargaining is carried out on my homeplanet, and I assume since you've had trade with the Ferengi, this is also how the Dosi conduct trade." Javier looked from one Dosi to the other then said, "The beacon has greater value to me than to the Dosi but the knowledge I share with you might benefit the Dosi in ways which have immeasurable value. In that case I'll have to assume a price..nine is perfect but seven knots would be sublime." The engineeer waited for their replies, hoping that he had gotten the gist of this meeting.

"Seven is not divisible by three, and always we follow the threefold path to attainment." Qaniit huffed. "You may offer a lesser price but the value must be commensurate. For six, we will trade our share of the beacon but," the wizened face cracked in a grin, "the trials will of necessity be more challenging. And that," he leaned forward, eyes eager, "is my final offer."

Javier turned to the young Dosi woman. "What would be the best choice? The six challenging 'knots' or the nine 'not so challenging but lengthy' trials?" He wanted to know how trustworthy the Dosi were and his question was actually Javier's way of trying to discern what the trials or 'knots' would entail. In actuality he had no real bargaining power, he would have done the nine to get the beacon but the Dosi wanted his knowledge and so they were getting their fair share of essence of Javier.

Eyes wide, the young Dosi shook her head. "Only one other in recorded history has chosen the pattern of the six…it was not a wise decision."

"See there, now you've gone and made it where I have to do the six," Javier said with a grin, "offering glory and the chance to go down in Dosi history." He turned to the elder Dosi. "If six is the asking price then I agree…but if you would agree to three I almost feel like I could use the chance to start fresh and not be measured against some other poor bastard's attempt."

Sialuk's mouth dropped open in an 'O' of dismay. Closing it hastily (before being told it looked like she was trying to trap zrissas) she held her hand out, palm up in the gesture of bonding. "Rest your hand here as a symbol that we have closed the bargain of six knots to be undertaken by you…to retain…your prize." She winced, most of the words had come out..but not exactly in the order proscribed by custom.

"Six, not three," Javier said as he placed his own hand on her palm.

"It is done," Qaniit nodded shortly, patting his glazed apprentice on the shoulder to waken her, "We will take you to the first path… there you shall begin…" and with that the ancient negotiator exited the bargaining chamber. This was going to be far less dull than he'd expected.

Grumpy Old Man by Harry Finn
Girl by T'Shaini
Javier as Himself

Originally Posted 6-11-2008 by Javier Costala


Her head hurt, her right shoulder felt like it was being twisted into a pretzel knot and her mouth tasted like bitter cotton. And everything was black… beyond black… painfully muddled thoughts bounced off the solidity of the dark that was more complete than anything she’d ever known. Thick and hot and choking, it bled into Jenny's eyes and covered her ears and filled her throat, as real as pitch.

Am I dead? the thought jumped out of the turbulence of her brain.

If she was, death was very cramped.

And quiet.

And kinda boring.

She blinked, tried to shift but there wasn’t any space and the attempt just torqued her arm more… making her gasp and then freeze as the sound was swallowed by the dark.

Okay, probably not dead. But then, where was she? And why was she here, wherever here was? She remembered… God, how stupid had she been… remembered entering the cargo hold, no backup, no weapons, no plan… just plain old Jenny, impulsively diving in to find…Chuck.

Chuck, the amusingly jolly passenger who was everywhere, all the time, even the lower decks, with contraband tech and hypo’s and…

… and who was Chuck working for? It was too much to think he just lurked in the hold waiting for unwary crewmembers to tranq. Way, way in the back of her mind a voice reminiscent of her mother’s indicated that Jenny wasn’t just a crewmember, she was a female crewmember and Chuck was… but… no… that was just… her body gave an involuntary shudder as phantom fingers traced down her throat…

Focus on something else. Okay, so… was Chuck involved with Ben’s ‘family’? Was the engineer’s past really so close that they had an operative on board the Connie?

But, again, if that was the case, and the family was trying to get rid of anyone who might know anything, why was she still breathing? BHP’s narrative indicated his people were more the shoot first, skip the entire concept of questions, ever, type.

Why aren’t you more bothered by the fact that he killed three people?

Jen closed her eyes as the question nudged at her soul but the dark just dripped in, filling up her memories of the last conversation with Ben… the last…

I’m not more bothered because he didn’t mean to do it… because he was only doing his job and… and if I blame Ben, than I may as well blame every officer in the fleet who’s taken a life… And it was true. Ben had been doing what people on his planet did to survive, to be part of society.

And when it had proven too dark a ride, he’d gotten off.

It was too bad she’d never get to help him with his case… not that she’d been much help so far anyway… probably he’d be better off without her…

Does anyone know I’m gone?

Panic is not conducive to productivity, keep thinkingkeepthinkingkeepthinking… right… back to the dirty race theory. Except, she didn’t have a dirty race theory. She had a random assortment of facts to pass on to Tenanji… which she hadn’t done because she’d ended up in the cargo hold, running into ol’ Chuck, instead.

Cargo hold… a place filled with crates… crates that might be, to the normal person, kind of cramped. “Idiot,” she said aloud, then “HEY!” she shouted, “Anyone out there?”

Nothing… it was like her voice was being swallowed by the enveloping black.

She put some more lung into it, “Hello?”

The only sound was the too rapid thumping of her heart.


Maybe it was mid-gamma shift. The place had been deserted when she’d been taken out.

She wondered how long it might be before someone missed her.

She wondered if they’d even consider looking in the hold.

She wondered how much air was in this thing?

As unseen minutes fell away, Jenny felt her thoughts shrink down; down and away from the prescient touch of the hot, thick, darkness.

Featuring NPC Jenny Anderson
Originally Posted 6-11-2008 by Harry Finn

Reldaran Station
Transporter Room

“I beg your pardon?”

Akna placidly ignored the coldness of the Starfleet guardian’s voice, “For an attempt to contact the Constitution, just reparation must be made.”

David Quincy cleared his throat, getting his superior’s attention. Having spent a good deal of time in the Gamma quadrant, the former helmsman had some idea of how the Dosi thought. “If I may?”

Usher, disgusted, stepped away from the console, “By all means.”

“We bargain for one attempt at communication,” Akna began but…

“We bargain for an attempt every quarter hour, payment only to be made upon successful contact,” David stipulated.

Akna grinned, “With a set payment for each attempt.”

David grinned back, “Why should we pay for an attempt? No contact, no payment.”

“Why would I risk receiving nothing? If your vessel’s communications remain ineffective, I walk away poor. Fifty-four Federation credits per activation.”

“Why would I bankrupt my ship just to say hello?” David shrugged, turned to Tenanji, “This is a waste of time, sir. Probably there’s another com station…”

“You give up too quickly,” Akna came around the console to block the door, “Twenty-seven per attempt.”

Quincy winked at his boss, who wondered if the tests were going to take more than an hour… his CO’s had said nothing about expenses on this trip.

“Three,” David turned back to his opponent.



Akna narrowed his eyes, “Nine, but only one attempt per half-hour, regardless of outcome.”

David nodded, held his hand out, palm up, “Done at nine.”

His counterpart slapped his own palm over David’s “Done.” And without further delay the Dosi went to his console to make the first attempt at communicating with the Constitution.

“Well done,” Usher told his subordinate. “But just so we are clear, whether he makes contact or not, you will be the one to explain to the captain where the ship’s funds are going.”

“Of course,” rats. “Then again, maybe the tests won’t take all that long.”

“You have been in Starfleet for some time,” Usher said calmly, “how likely is it, do you think, that these negotiations will go quickly?”

David sighed, “You have a point.”

Featuring NPC's David Quincy and Usher Tenanji
Originally Posted 6-12-2008 by Harry Finn

-Dosi Trade Station-

Approaching the ring, where the Starfleet officer would meet his challenge, Qaniit paused and turned to Sialuk, "We part, here. Are you prepared?"

Sialuk bowed to her elder. "I am prepared."

Glancing back at the Human, he grunted, then returned his attention to his apprentice, "It is your first bargain, Sialuk and it was good to hold him to six but, even so…" he turned to address the Human as well as The Girl as the man joined them, "It is the way of things that nothing can be got for nothing," he paused before adding, "not even failure."

"Then it's a good thing that I don't intend to fail," Javier replied to the elder Dosi. He hadn't brought anything with him, not knowing what was acceptable testing equipment, so he stood at parade rest, waiting for the six 'knots' to begin.

Executing a formal bow, first to her master, then to the master of her fate, Sialuk smiled encouragingly at Javier then quickly left the room.

Qaniit watched her depart then entered the code which would prepare the holographic gauntlet which this Costala must traverse. Upon completion the doors to the testing ground slid apart and the elder tribesman led the way into the space. Once they entered, the doors vanished, becoming the rear wall of a small and slightly curved room. To the right and left, blast doors sealed the space and in the center, the hub, there was a clear tube which, even as they watched, shimmered as young Sialuk was transported into the small chamber.

"She cannot see us," the old man commented, leaning on his stick, "but it is part of your journey that you are aware of her. Turning his attention to the bemused man, he tilted his head, "I sincerely hope you are good at puzzles."

"The kind where you put the pieces together to form a picture? Or the less fun type where you have to figure out a problem to get to the answer?" the engineer inquired. He had a feeling that Qaniit meant the later but one could always hope. And why do I have to be aware of her? Javier thought as he looked at Sialuk.

"I suppose, by the long road, this will be both," the Dosi laid his hand over a wall control, "your path is six-fold… each room contains a problem which must be solved; be that riddle or puzzle or more… visceral challenge. Sialuk is your timekeeper," he pressed the control and as they watched, with varying reactions, water began to flow into the tube where the young female stood, patiently, "if you do not return to this room before… well, before it is too late… you will have failed and lose your chance at your prize and Sialuk will have made a very bad bargain.

"What," he added, "goes through water and is not wet?"

"Wait..what?" Javier replied as he watched water flow into the chamber in which Sialuk was held as his living hour-glass, except once it filled up she would be..drowned? He had accepted a bargain without knowing what the bargain entailed. Now Sailuk's dismay at his request of six tests was made clear. She would be the one who suffered for his failure. What goes through water and is not wet? the engineer thought. Cheese? No. A fish? Do fish get wet? A ship. The hull gets wet though. People. No. Bullets? No. Gunny once said he could walk on water. No. He looked up at the chamber and wondered how long Sialuk could hold her breath. Will they really kill her? Or they'll probably say I killed her while taking their stupid test. Look before you leap. I should have asked about the actual tests…Raincoat! It's water repellent of course that's what it is. And what if I had been from the Sahara region I would have never.. "A raincoat? Or a person wearing a raincoat while it's raining?"

The old man simply stared. More to the point, the blast door remained closed.


Qaniit glanced at his apprentice, then back to Javier.

"Right." Frustration set in and his second guess had been a shot in the dark. Thank you Torrik Nils for this opportunity to look dumb in front of an entirely new species…of course I did choose the six harder tests.he remembered. Water. What goes through it without getting wet?

Sialuk tried to remain placid as the water began to rise to her ankles, kicking lightly she splashed some water playfully in toward what she knew was the viewport. Be aware, be alert, be accepting. There were only six knots, she had plenty of time.

I could start naming random long would that take to get the answer? Javier thought then realized the young Dosi was splashing around inside her water cell. She's getting nervous and probably wishing that Starfleet had sent someone more intelligent to take these tests. He looked up at Sialuk, almost apologetically, and noticed she was covering the viewport with water. Is it a clue? Or just her way of saying, 'Hurry up you stupid Human I can't swim.' His thoughts went back to the Hawking, what would the engineers think if he failed on the first test? He'd never be able to go back knowing he had failed them. Then there's the guilt of causing someone else's death..I'll miss Mustapha and the other engineers and the way the light plays on the engine room as it shines blue from the intermix chamber..

"Light. Light goes through water without getting wet. Like it travels through a perfect mix of matter and antimatter," the engineer said in a tone which held an inkling of satisfaction.

The door slid open and Qaniit nodded towards it, "You have solved the riddle; you may continue to the next puzzle. I will await your return," he gave one significant glance to the girl in the all-too-quickly filling tube, "as will she."

"I'll be here," Javier replied, his spirits somewhat higher in knowing that he hadn't failed the first test. He slipped into the next room and was instantly knocked off his feet and sent tumbling along by a monsoon-like gust of wind. His re-enactment of a tumbleweed was arrested by a low table. "Ouch!" Crawling to his feet, Javier used the table's edge to steady himself against the gale. The engineer noticed that the table held a 3D puzzle not unlike 3D chess. He sighed and uttered a few choice phrases that aptly described his feelings about Dosi tests. I once saw Major Ren play 3D chess..this shouldn't be too difficult, he thought. The gale force winds tore at him while howling in the most disconcerting fashion. A little Dosi mood music to set the tone?

Javier began to sing to himself as he worked the pieces of the puzzle. "What's the deal with my brain why am I so obviously insane? In a perfect trade of nine I threw the offer down the drain. There's the count, six will do, all I had to do was accept and be the hero.." He had finished it! The puzzle looked complete then it suddenly fell apart, scattering pieces over the table. "The Dosi can kiss my rearo," he sang to finish the verse as he gathered up the pieces and began again.

JP by an annoying old coot, a young woman with a death wish and a puzzle-tard.
Originally Posted 6-13-2008 by Javier Costala

In the deepdarkstillness he spoke, "For now, for this time, we are one," the words rippled, as a pond might ripple when a stone penetrates the surface, "I can go nowhere you do not lead… I can take nothing that you do not offer… it is you who must guide us through the paths of your soul….

T'Shaini dropped down into her awareness like a diver going into deep waters feeling the Dosi gliding along beside her. Where to start? Drifting through memories of childhood brought warmth and light, not choice. She had known from a young age she had wanted to forge her own path but it did not come to a head until… of course. "No father, as much as you may wish it, I will not undergo the ritual of Kolinahr."

"Ahhhh… that sigh of understanding was all the warning T'Shaini was allowed as Tingenek dropped a different stone into the pond, "… Father, as much as you wish it, I will not undergo the ritual of Kolinahr for your ambitions, but for my own. It is the logical choice, but not because you desire it so…"

Ripples met ripples and new patterns formed.

She had struggled for so many years with the thought that she was 'different'. Ridiculous. Now that the rituals had been completed all external stresses had fallen away. No more searching, no more yearning for something other, the duty to her family and clan could now take precedence, as it should.

Years fell away as she joined the ranks of the elite guard of the Vulcan High Command, her skills sharpening as more time passed. Rising higher and higher in rank, always focused on her career, making her family proud, T'Shaini was guarded and alone. Seated at her desk, T'Shaini scanned through the news vids…Two federation ships lost in the Gamma quadrant, a struggle capturing a fugitive Captain causes crews to fall to dissension leaving them incapable of defending themselves from an unknown aggressor. All flags shall be at half mast on all federation property in honor of the crews of the USS Hawking and the USS Sentinel. A shame really, but what could she do about it? Switching the screen off, she returned to her reports.

The pattern swirled, wiped asunder by the hand of Tingenek's intent. I thank you, Lieutenant. This choice was… enlightening. Sightless eyes turned towards her shuddering psyche, waiting for what would come next.

T'Shaini sagged against the wall swallowing hard against the bitter taste of the dregs of tea in her mouth, and pulled herself back to the present. The present where neither the Hawking nor the Sentinel had perished. The present where she, no matter how inconvenient she may at times have found it, had the capacity to care. Wiping her mouth with the back of her hand the Counselor grimaced at Tingenek. "I think perhaps, the next one will be a more positive memory."

"They are all rocks in a stream," he said placidly, "waiting for a nudge, this way or that." Then the Dosi closed his eyes, once more, the better to learn with whom he dealt.

"Ohh miran."

JP Tee and Dosi Do…er Tingenek (as voiced by HF)
Originally Posted 6-13-2008 by T'Shaini

:: USS Constitution ::
:: Bridge ::

Nils couldn't bring himself to sit in the center seat. He paced around it, circled the circumferance of the bridge, then stood next to it resting his hand on the seat back. Pausing to look out the viewscreen he began chewing on the corner of his bottom lip.

"The station is secure and remaining on low alert status," Lt. O'Keefe said from the science station.

The Bajoran nodded, not turning to look her way. His insides felt as if they were being eaten out by small insects. So many things were wrong with their situation that he found it difficult to prioritize and triage where his attention should be.

"Where the hell is the Captain," he muttered again for what must have been the tenth time since he reached the bridge.

Despite the sorry state of affairs, the lion's share of his worry rested on that station that appeared so serene floating in the black velvet of space. Three people he'd come to care for were over there neck deep in unfamiliar negotiations and he couldn't help but feel he'd failed them by not going along. Typically it was the First Officer's job to lead away missions. However, Nils had made the choice to stay behind…

Oh, the circumstances unfolded in such a way that his choice appeared valid, but he knew the truth. He'd been so consumed with his own concerns - his own personal tempest - that he'd skipped over the opportunity and handed it down the chain of command. It was the first time that he could remember that he'd actually shirked on a duty.

Now he paid the price. The concern settled on him like a steamy blanket, choking the air from the synthetic atmosphere.

As was usually the case, his inner storm was shielded by a steeled exterior.


Damn what did I miss? He turned his head back to O'keefe and she repeated what he'd missed.

"If we shut down the warp engines I can get a more accurate internal reading of the ship. I feel certain we could locate the Captain…"

"No," he snapped. "Not yet…"

Originally Posted 6-13-2008 by Torrik Nils

::USS Constitution::
::Saunders/Anderson Quarters - Deck 4::

Upon Darren Hillman’s arrival on deck four the first time, he’d sent a cadet who’d appeared at loose ends up to the bridge to suggest an all-out manhunt for the missing captain, then continued to seek out Benjamin Hyde Pierce. Turned out the recruit wasn’t in his quarters, nor had there been any sign of his guard. Darren had followed his nose and found the young man in engineering, with guard, doing whatever it was engineers did in a crisis. Assured by Cadet Mellon that the only visitors Pierce had received in the last ten hours had been Chief Costala and Crewman Anderson, he’d declined to interrupt the vital task of repairing the com systems.

Instead he made a trip to Auxiliary Tactical, in search of the second person on Captain Benjamin’s list, who also happened to be Pierce’s last visitor.

Here and now, in Anderson’s room, he stared at what at first glance looked like graffiti and thought about what he’d learned…

”She never checked in,” Ensign Saunders reported, biting her lip, “Jones, over in the armory was supposed to give Jen her assignment but she hasn’t shown up, yet.”

Jones, when approached, confirmed the lack of Anderson, “But,” the kid, another cadet on the Constitution’s original crew pointed out, “she may have just gone straight to the torpedo bay.”

“And how would she have known to go there?”

Hillman’s only answer was a blank expression.

After a quick stop in the torpedo bay confirmed Anderson’s absence, he’d backtracked to deck four and her quarters but in the corridor he’d seen the same passenger he’d last spotted on the way to Benjamin’s cabin and called out to him.

”Sir… er, Chuck,” even as the civilian turned, Hillman was hit by the thought that there was something odd about the man’s perpetual presence but he’s just a tourist, wants to see how Starfleet operates cut through his instinctive suspicions. He shook his head, “Could you tell me if you noticed anything or anyone unusual while you were on deck two, this evening?”

The overstuffed civilian thought carefully, “Not unusual but I did see a young lady… a crewman… the one with strawberry blond hair? Sanders… Landers…”


“I think, yes…” Chuck’s smile broadened knowingly, “She was in the corridor, heading in the direction of the Captain’s quarters.” That, the flushed fellow indicated, had been about 18:30, while he was on his way to tour the kitchens. Lieutenant Hillman was the only being he’d come across on the way back.

Running a hand over the scrawl of notes, the jarhead had to admit he was fascinated. Jenny had turned the wall of her room into a crime screen, with the race as the center and a series of dates and seemingly random events (mostly from DS-9, a year past) connecting… except for the scrawl at the bottom… “Reminder…stick fork in eye (BHP)’. Benjamin Hyde Pierce? Popular guy.

Hillman tapped the wall thoughtfully; whatever Anderson was on to, the Captain had been interested in it… interested enough to call her to his cabin? Or, as happy Chuck had surmised (and did the man have a last name), had she been going to meet Nathan for another reason altogether?

He recalled, now, how awkward Jenny and her captain had been together, so many days ago, like any teenagers feeling out the territory. Then he flashed to when she’d entered the ‘lift on deck two last night and the devastation in her grey eyes. So, he allowed his thoughts to continue, this evening she’d gone to see Pierce and shortly after that, according to Chuck, was on her way to the captain’s quarters.

Dammit! A sudden surge of frustration had him punching the defaced bulkhead. What the hell was going on here? A conspiracy wrapped in the fleetwide race or a subterranean love triangle?

Whichever it was, Darren was more than a little disturbed as he turned towards the door and slapped the recovered tricorder in his palm. Time to report his findings and the possibility of another missing crew member to Lieutenant Torrik.

Featuring NPC Darren Hillman
Originally Posted 6-14-2008 by Harry Finn

Her breath and awareness dropping down, T'Shaini let thoughts surface then submerge in a quest for the next 'choice'. I doubt offering the day that I chose to have breakfast in the messhall and was then cornered by Darby will be a sufficient offering. Moving back and forth through her memories she waited for something to take hold, then without warning her lips began to curve, then warm as the image of an unknown marine bending down to kiss chocolate from her mouth suffused her awareness.

A wry smile crossed Tingenek's face in real time as he experienced the Vulcan's unique mixture of surprise and newly-wakened sense of… desire? It had been exhilarating and intriguing and in no small way frightening to the woman.

"I will thank you to keep your lips to yourself," she told the warm-eyed male before rising to put some distance (safety) between the man and herself. He was pleasing, certainly but that was no reason to lose herself in a flood of physical response. Such extremes, particularly to a Vulcan unfettered by the ritual of Kohlinar, could be dangerous.

Trying to squelch the pounding of her heart she smiled serenely. "No offense intended, I simply cannot afford to toy with entanglements." Oh that sounded awful. She could feel the heat rising on her face as she backed away from the disappointment on his face. Surely I am imagining that. Beating a hasty retreat from new found and far too virulent emotions, T'Shaini walked directly into her Captain, her incredibly inebriated Captain. Pausing to look back once again at the man who had stirred such a response, the counselor put her arm around Nathan's shoulders and led him to a shuttle.

The passage of time lessening the pang of regret, T'Shaini moved quickly down the corridor, Evans is always early, I must be on time. There was a slight hitch in her stride as she heard the echo of a voice drifting up from the opening of a jeffries tube like a siren's song. Shaking off the desire to investigate, the Vulcan continued on with her business. No time for distractions. As the song faded into the distance T'Shaini found herself rubbing her hand absentmindedly over the hollow feeling in her chest.

=^=Counselor, there has been an incident in Holodeck two, Crewman Costala was injured by another crewman after a malfunction in the equipment. I would like you to see that there will be no reprecussions. He is currently in sickbay.=^=

=^=On my way.=^=

Crewman Costala….

She had (much to her chagrin) done her best to avoid him as soon as she realized that the new engineer was none other than the Marine who had so intrigued her at Aquatica. T'Shaini was somewhat ashamed of her behavior as well as unsure if the physical reaction he initiated would be repeated if she encountered him again. "No more avoiding." Taking a deep breath she passed her hand signaling the door to sickbay to open and hesitated momentarily in the doorway attempting to ascertain his whereabouts. Ahhh. Apparently still sedated she stood by his bed and looked down on his oddly familiar features, far more familiar than their connection to each other would dictate. Moved by an unseen force T'Shaini's hand stretched out to cover his.

"I am sorry miss, but you are going to have to leave."

Flinching away at the doctor's harsh tone as well as her rather inappropriate contact T'Shaini began to stutter out an explanation.

"He needs his rest, you may return later."

The finality of her tone leaving no room for argument the counselor simply nodded and headed for the exit, looking back over her shoulder she saw Dr. Yates lean closer to the bio bed and slide her hand up the unconscious mans body. Now I know why I was not welcome at least…

The reason for her meeting becoming moot at his report to the Captain, T'Shaini had won a reprieve from facing Costala. She knew sooner or later they were going to have to have contact, but in a crew as large as the Hawking's she could likely put it off for some time. Coward. Having promised Camenze she would meet her at Xander's the counselor tidied up her office, unclipped her hair and headed for the bar. Once retrieving a coffee from Xander, T'Shaini tucked into a corner to await her friends arrival. Taking the opportunity to indulge her affinity to observe she slid further back into the seat to get a wider view of the room, Xander charming everyone from behind the bar, the young helmsman unsuccessfully approaching a table of women, Pev bouncing on a barstool effervescently extolling the virtues of something. Smiling broadly at Pev's ever present joy she searched further, then froze. Costala. Alone at a table on the opposite end of the room she watched him stare blindly into the drink in front of him. Something within lurched. Beginning to heed the pull T'Shaini rose from her seat and started across the room without a thought to what she was going to do when she reached him. What am I going to say? Pausing as that thought pulled her up short she watched her opportunity slip away as Dr. Yates slid into the seat next to him and placed a very deliberate kiss on his lips.


Turning her face from the smile bright with malice T'Shaini drew herself up and with as much dignity as she could muster, casually walked out of the bar. It is better this way, I am certain.

"And was it?" Tingenek asked, closing his internal eye to the quiet desperation and opening his external eye to… something best left unseen. Turning his glance to the table he traced a pattern in a pool of spilled tea, "Was it better that way? It seems not. It seems," he continued, linking lines of the liquid into a pleasing shape, "that most of your original choices have been… very admirable." Thinking enough time had passed for T'Shaini to collect herself, he made eye contact once more, "I wonder if there have been any decisions you regret? Any choices which have left a taste of remorse in your soul?" Again he looked away as the truth of the matter flashed across her features. "Perhaps it is one of these we should next explore?"

Brushing the tears still streaming from her eyes, T'Shaini took a deep breath and dove headfirst into the horror that had been the Anasari Maru.

JP with Ting Ting the dosi panda (written by Harry Finn)
Originally Posted 6-16-2008 by T'Shaini

The second task finished and the engineer's hair having been completely rearranged in the latest typhoon blown style, Javier bent himself against the wind as he made his way through the second doorway towards the third task. Almost halfway done, the engineer thought to himself. It had taken him extra time..time I don't have…to figure out that the Dosi had reversed the polarity of the 3D puzzle while maintaining normal gravity in the room. What he had at first perceived to be the base of the puzzle was actually the top and vice versa but since none of the pieces 'fell up' it had taken some time to solve the problem. Javier crossed the threshold of the doorway and was relieved to find the room devoid of wind. The doors closed behind the engineer and he noticed that the room was also devoid of illumination. The third room was pitch black.

Out of the darkness he heard the old coot's voice, formal and deadly serious…

"A moth ate words, I thought that was a wonderful fate, that the worm, a thief in darkness, should devour a man's words, his brilliant language and its sturdy foundation. Not a whit the wiser was he for having fattened himself on so many words."

"You guys aren't going to make very many friends if you call every visitor you meet a thief, or a worm," Javier replied as he stepped forward, walking towards the voice which seemed to be to his left. The floor shifted under his feet causing the engineer to pause then Javier felt himself drop… upwards? He barely had time to move his arms so he landed on his palms instead of his head. His balance shifted as Javier felt the change throw off his equilibrium for a moment when what had been the floor became the ceiling. The old man spoke the same verse, formal as before but this time with perhaps a touch of urgency.

"I'm not listening to you anymore," the engineer replied. The floor tilted again and dumped him to the side. Javier slid down the metal plates as his fingers sought purchase on the slick metal. His movement was halted by a metal wall which knocked the breath out of him. The gravity changed in the room again as his inner ear sought to differentiate what was up and what was down. The old man repeated the riddle. "Okay I heard you the.." the floor dropped out from beneath him but re-asserted itself after he fell ten feet, slamming into the metal plates. He had no desire to go any further. Call the ship for evac. his thoughts screamed, as in the darkness the engineer curled up into a ball to protect his banged up vitals. Javier steeled himself for the next drop, wondering if this particular test was about beating him to death with gravity.

Maybe this is where the last guy long did he last? Javier thought as he waited in the dark. The room didn't shift though. The voice of the old man spoke. It was the same riddle.

"A moth ate words?" He rolled to the right as the gravity changed once more and crunched into the side wall. His elbow hit the wall hard and Javier found himself in a world of agony. The engineer hissed, a sharp intake of breath marking the pain he felt shoot up and down his left arm. A moth ate words? And a worm devours them? Words like speech..he said language..speechmoth? Is there such a thing?



Guess not, he thought as the old man's riddle was repeated for the fifth time. His left arm was completely numb. It's not speech..words? You could find them on a PADD? PADDmoth. PADDworm. Hey you, PADDworm.. A memory flashed across his thoughts. Some kid sitting in a schoolyard with his nose stuck in a book. 'Hey Bookworm, don't get too close there!' another boy said as he walked up behind the reader and shoved the back of his head. The reader's face bumped into the pages.

"Bookworm?" He waited.

The sound of gears working was what he heard first then light appeared in a crack in the wall that swiftly grew into doors that moved back and flooded the room with light. The light dazzled Javier and he had to use his hand to shield his eyes until he grew used to its brilliance. Feeling somewhat battered, the engineer stood to his feet and moved towards the doorway. The light spilled into the darkness from an azure sky. Stretching out before him was an avenue paved with stone, on either side of the avenue stood tall, ancient trees. Javier began to walk up the avenue, noting that the doors behind him closed quickly upon his departure.

The avenue became steeper as Javier walked further along, he also noticed that the trees grew closer together, forming a barrier that blocked his view and any means of escaping the avenue. A hostile yell pierced the air and Javier turned to find two Dosi warriors coming up behind him. They were moving fast and the first one took a cut at the engineer with a stout club. Javier ducked, dipped his shoulder then pushed up as he threw the man over behind him so that the attacker landed on his head. The second one swung his club from the side. Javier took the blow on his numb left arm then punched the Dosi in the face before giving him a swift kick in the cajones. With a cry of pain the Dosi went down on all fours, giving Javier time to grab the first assailant's club and lay the injured man out with a deft stroke to the side of his head. The sound of feet slapping against stone alerted the human to the arrival of more warriors.

Javier made a quick tactical decision. He ran.

Originally Posted 6-16-2008 by Javier Costala

The Megiddo Regatta - Yesteryear

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