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Alenis Meru
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Re: Mission Seven: "Troubles on Trill"

Tue May 03, 2016 11:43 pm

Crying in the Corridors
Jeffries Tube 14-Beta
En route to Trill
Authors: Ens. Ronald Robers and Ens. Nikki Barclay (played by Alenis Meru)


What was that sound? Crying? That was a sound nobody ever liked to hear. Especially not in a Jeffries tube. Especially not in a ship where so may things had happened in so little time that there were countless things that could cause the crying. A lost loved one. A bruised up knee maybe? A final sob before a catastrophic chain reaction?! Probably not that last one, but still, Ron had to investigate. He wasn't the best at fixing people, but there were still times when he liked to think his attempts were appreciated.

A twist and a turn later and he happened upon the source of the sobbing. The poor girl. She wasn't injured or in immediate distress. Just what could have been the problem?

“Hey there,” he spoke softly, trying to break through the sounds of sorrow.

Nikki looked up to see her assistant chief, next to her. She had been crying so hard that she didn't even notice. Quickly, she wiped her tears away, but it was no use hiding it. "Hi Robert," she said in a glum tone.

He took a seat next to her in as non-awkward a way as possible. He didn't typically like getting in other people's business but he knew tensions where high. It had been a rough ride and some people had not taken it as well as others. It had been quite the doozy, even for him. If there was ever a time to try and forge bonds and help people in need it was situations like this.

“It's Ronald,” he smirked as he gave her a playful punch on the shoulder. “What's up? Something got you down? Don't tell me that Shrass guy is still on your mind.”

"I..." Nikki blushed at forgetting her own assistant chief's name; this was the sort of thing that could only happen to her. She looked up at Ronald, locking eyes with him for a moment, before her own eyes darted off towards her lunch pail. "Are you hungry?" she asked, opening it up and turning it towards him. "I have half a tuna sandwich... and some candy..."

“With mayo, mustard, pepper, and hot sauce?” Ron already knew the answer to that one so with a chuckle he went on to address the second part of the offer. “But if not I'm more of a sweets guy anyway. Fits my charming personality. Lemme guess. Knowing you, which I don't, I'd say something ridiculous. Judging by the silly shape of that chocolate covered something I'd have to say beans. Baked beans! No. Peanuts! Wait! Coffee beans!”

"Yes!" exclaimed Nikki. "Chocolate covered Raktajino beans! They're one of my favourites! Have some!" She slid the package over towards Ron and unwrapped her sandwich. "They go great with Raktajino," she added, motioning towards her thermos.

“You look like you could use a pick-me-up more than I do,” Ron signaled Nikki to keep the caffieinated beverage, though he couldn't help but help himself to a couple of the candy coated beans. That was practically instinct. “So, what brings someone such as yourself to a jefferies tube like this? I can't imagine this being a comfortable place to kick back and relax. Do you always eat your lunches like this?”

"I was working on this EPS conduit," replied Nikki, motioning towards the pile of tools and open access cover near them. "I brought my lunch with me because it might take a while and..." She sighed and popped a couple of the coffee beans into her mouth. "Sometimes I like to eat alone, and just listen to the hum of the ship's systems."

“How romantic.” The young man certainly didn't think so, but it sounded like an accurate assessment of the statement. Most people probably would have thought so. “I find it distracting. Then again sometimes I have to be listening very closely to things when going about my duties. That's why I tune it out,” he smirked as he tapped the hearing device that snaked its way into his ear. “Haven't heard that hum in a long time.”

Nikki smiled slightly. Ronald had a good sense of humour; he was the sort of guy who could brighten up any room. "I hope they fix the Portland," she blurted out, getting to the crux of why she was upset this time.

"Is that all that's bugging you," Ron questioned in a nonchalant manner, putting his cold metallic arm around Nikki in as warm and comforting a way as a cold metallic arm could be placed. "Come now, dear. This is the twenty-fourth century! We've fixed decades neglected derelict space stations. We've fixed and made planets! This old boat'll be fine. And, worst case scenario, we just go back in time and prevent most of this damage from even happening. Though," he interrupted himself in mock uncertainty, "I suppose if we were to do that we already would have, huh?"

Nikki blushed a little at the mention of time travel. "Well, we have done it before... or in the future... or something like that..."

“Right! It's just way too mind-boggling if you ask me. Just keep me right on the line of standard time,” Ron said with a confident nod. “I don't need to waste any time with the could-have-bes and the no-longer-has-happeneds. Lets just worry about the present and the future and not the future-past's-present... Well, what I'm trying to say is: Portland will be fine!”

Nikki smiled at Ronald and picked up her hyperspanner. "You better be right," she replied, getting back to work, "otherwise I'll have replaced all these EPS conduits for nothing!"

It looked like it had been quite the chore, at least to Ron. Tedious, repetitive, but necessary. It wasn't something to be suffered alone and bored. “Well, if it'll make you feel better, I can help you out with these conduits. But it's not because I like you,” he added for both clarity and humor, “but because no one should have to do so much work alone. No one.”

Nikki blushed and reached for more of her candies. "Thanks," she replied. "Just be careful; that is my favourite hyperspanner."
Capt. Alenis Meru
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Re: Mission Seven: "Troubles on Trill"

Wed May 04, 2016 3:26 am

Who: Lt. JG Marcus Kallan and Alenis Nerys
Where: Holodeck One, USS Portland
When: Before the Symposium

The holodeck was still a mess after the fight with the Borg, but crews had restored rudimentary functionality on Marcus' orders. After all, it would probably be rude to keep Nerys locked up in active memory. Having sent a notice to her program before arriving on deck, he hoped that she wouldn't be cross with him for waking her up so early. Or maybe she had spent the night with Jason again.

Wait, he thought. Did he really just think that?

Marcus shook his head. This assignment had really changed him. Or, perhaps, warped him. "Computer, activate the Nerys hologram," he said aloud, chuckling to himself.

"Good morning hun..." started the hologram, the excited look in her eyes rapidly dissipating as she realized that it was Marcus in front of her and not Jason. "Oh. It's you," she added, the disappointment evident in her voice. "I thought a photonic apple a day was supposed to keep you away."

"I don't like apples," Marcus replied. "Look, I won't keep you from your half-Vulcan love-slave. I just wanted to warn you about Captain Alenis' shenanigans."

"Oh?" asked the hologram, raising an eyebrow. "And what shenanigans would these be?"

"She plans on letting you be the Captain during the symposium while she scampers off to hide in a spa somewhere," Marcus explained, shaking his head. "In other words, you get to make believe you're... you. Sort of." He shrugged. "I don't think she thinks of you as a person, yet, so I thought I would let you know and give you the option to run screaming from this nonsense."

"Well," mused the hologram, placing a finger on her chin the same way that Meru used to when she was pondering a question, "I suppose it will be fun to have a change of scenery. No offense, but being cooped up in the same five or six rooms is starting to get on my nerves a little."

Rolling his eyes, Marcus corrected her. "I gave you full control over your algorithms. You can create holographic representations of any part of the ship. You... wait, what? You're not actually going to play body-double for a Starfleet captain, are you?"

"Any part of the ship with holo-emitters," corrected Nerys. "And this sounds exciting. Going undercover as myself, getting to attend a banquet... where's your sense of adventure and whimsy?" she asked, teasing Marcus, a man whose idea of adventure was trying a protein cube with a flavour not advertised as extra-mild. "It's like one of those secret agent holonovels, only real life."

"I... okay. I tried to warn you," Marcus said with a sigh. "I'll upload the parameters to your program when we're ready to transfer you. I need to shanghai some officers into making some mad science that'll facilitate this rodeo." Shaking his head, he turned to leave. "Thanks, Nerys."

"You're welcome," she replied, pausing for a moment. "One more thing... while you're playing with my program, I wouldn't mind losing about five pounds. And perhaps a few years as well..."

"Just like a flesh-and-blood person, you have full control over your own physical parameters," Marcus said, rolling his eyes. "Whereas we meat-puppets need to do laps and are forever bound to the forward march of time, you have full control over the parameters to your program. Go nuts. "

Nerys smiled. "Hmmmmm... just promise you'll fix my physical avatar if I break it, okay?"

"Actually, not to be a Debbie Downer or anything, but it's impossible to back up your program." Marcus leveled a look at her. "You're as fragile as any of us, Nerys. Please be careful." He snerked. "And don't break Jason, either."

"Don't worry," she replied, giving Marcus that little mischievous smirk that the captain would give when she was up to something, "I'll be gentle."
Capt. Alenis Meru
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Re: Mission Seven: "Troubles on Trill"

Sat May 14, 2016 8:08 pm

Covert Computing...
Who: Lt. JG Marcus Kallan, others
Where: USS Portland, Cargo Bay One
When: One day before the Symposium

The cargo bay had been re-purposed to hold a variety of materials salvaged, but not yet processed, from the ongoing repairs. Marcus stood in front of a number of crates, marked only with an Operations designation and a serial number, looking over a PADD.

"And I only thought we were making progress with the repairs," Sera stated as she walked through the cargo bay doors, Starfleet issued repair kit in tow. The Chief Engineer gave the contents of the cargo bay a once over before adding, "We aren't rebuilding the whole Portland again are we?

"If we are, I am not going to work on the sanitation systems." Jason said as he entered the Cargo Bay. "Once was more than enough."

Malbi walked in and very nearly turned around and exited. There was no way she was going to work on sanitation; she had dome her time and then some as a janitor on her home world. She quietly walked up to the group and nodded in greeting to Kallan and Williams.

"Hi, guys," Marcus said, still pouring over his PADD. "So. I need your help." He turned, and showed the PADD to the trio, a diagram of some sort of holographic contraption being displayed. "We've got 23 hours to get working an experimental holo-transfer mesh network that will allow for pulsed data transfer of a holo-matrix primarily running aboard the Portland to run planetside at the Symposium on Trill." He looked over at Jason. That holo-matrix.

Perhaps still suffering the aftereffects of the Dark Energy radiation, Sera asked, "So we're almost creating a mobile holo-emitter for Nerys?" She could have kicked herself for blurting out Nerys' name in front of the group. Emotion reading was still very new to her, and she didn't quiet get how the Betazoids were able to handle it. Trying for the save and to take the attention off of her reddening face, Sera quickly added, "Umm.. have you considered tying in her program with the Deflector? We don't have a big Deflector dish like other ships, but I think we could slip her program and disguise it as passive scans of the planet."

Out of breath, Nikki barged in, clutching a coffee in one hand and a half-eaten cookie in the other, with a PADD or three precariously tucked under her arms. "I'm here!" she exclaimed as she darted over to the table and released her arms, letting the PADDs clatter to the table in front of her. "That's a good idea," she said, looking around the room, having only caught the last half of Sera's plan. "Maybe we should get our guest to help? I hear Gil Korat is also an expert in holograms."

"Uh, no, we need to keep this on the down-low," Marcus replied to Nikki, although it was clear the usually-unflappable scientist was bothered by the notion as he tugged at us uniform collar and swallowed a bit. That was not a conversation he was looking forward to. "The fewer folks we involve, the better. Normally I wouldn't go out of my way to irritate Washington, but the Captain seemed adamant, so, here we are."

Marcus continued, sending a glance towards Sera. He didn't know the extent of her new-found abilities, and hoped she hadn't read him like a book. "The, um, the deflector dish is a good idea. But we're going to need to seriously dial back the power output. We don't want to blow out every subspace relay on Trill, and I don't want to risk corrupting Nerys' program."

Sera took a few moments to think. She wasn't sure who Gil Korat was or why a Cardassian was aboard, but she had been absorbed into the glitch fest that had been the Portlands systems since the repairs of the Borg showdown and had probably missed a lot. In her head, she did a few mathematical equations which came out sounding like she was whispering to herself. "Ok, we could configure a PADD to contain the base elements of her program. Every couple of seconds we could send short bursts of information, maybe 80 or so quads to the PADD. She'd be able to function normally, just don't ask her to recite the Federation Charter while juggling."

"That should not be a problem, after all, I do not recall the symposium program containing a talent portion." Jason said.

"And the PADD can be the relay between the holo-emitters at the Symposium. Excellent." Marcus nodded in approval. "We'd have to modify the PADD to accommodate holo-matrix data, toss in some extra memory, and the like - but, in theory, it should work."

Sera happened to find a PADD in the pile of components next to her. She picked it up and examined it a bit, mentally going over it's components. "If we remove the components that light the display, we could modify it with some memory." She then flipped the PADD around in her hands, looking for some extra room, "Then, maybe we could remove the speaker and mic function in order to fit the link for the holo-emitters." Sera then held out the PADD for the others to examine.

Malbi nodded in agreement as she examined the paDD, "That sounds feasible. With those modifications, it should have plenty of memory for the program, even with its complexity. If not, I can go through the program, line by line, and condense some portions until it fits."

"Would what we are doing damage Nerys' program in any way?" Jason asked trying to keep worry from his voice.

"And, are we going to get in trouble?" added Nikki

"Of course not, on both counts," Marcus replied, smirking confidently. "Jason, the amount of hardware I have devoted to Nerys' program being stabilized means that, with a pulsed relay, she'd lose at most a couple of seconds if the connection cut out." Glancing over at Nikki, he shrugged. "We're following orders. And you'll all get credit in the paper and presentation I'm writing for the symposium." He waggled his fingers at Nikki. "You'd be published."

"Besides, if we get caught we can play it off as an experiment in holographic telecommunications. That is what this Symposium is supposed to be about anyway," Sera shrugged. With all of the focus over the last...as long as she had been aboard the ship, being dedicated to keeping the ship flying it was nice to have something different to do.

"Omigod!" exclaimed Nikki, waving her fists in excitement. "Uncle Reg is going to be so proud!"
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Re: Mission Seven: "Troubles on Trill"

Tue May 24, 2016 10:11 pm

The Truth

Who: Gil Meriatha Korat (NPC) and Ensign Nikki Barclay (NPC)
Where: Holographics Lab, USS Portland
When: During the Symposium, Mission 7

Holographic algorithms and probability matrices flashed past on the screen in front of a certain Cardassian exchange officer. She was intently, and expertly, scanning through work that normally would be associated with the chief of operations.

The doors to the holo-lab on the Portland whooshed open, revealing Ensign Nikki Barclay, in her usual frantic state, clutching a PADD under her arm. "Hey Marcus," she exclaimed, walking in, "I've looked into things to do on Trill; there are some nice nature trails, and I've found a restaurant that claims to have the best protein-cube salad on--"

Freezing in place, Nikki started at the Cardassian in front of her. "You're not Marcus," she said, stating the obvious.

The Cardassian woman said, without turning around, "And you aren't Lieutenant Kallan, either." She placed emphasis on Marcus' rank for a reason. "Since you're on a first-name basis with him, perhaps you can tell me where he is? I've a few security locks on his research that I need undone if I'm going to..."

"Security locks!" exclaimed Nikki, her mind instantly wandering to the worst possible conclusion. "What are you, some sort of spy? Omigod, you're trying to steal Nerys' program! Well, I won't let you kidnap her! I'll... I'll... I can scream pretty loud!"

"Ensign Nikki Barclay," the Cardassian woman said, finally turning to regard Nikki with a critical eye. "I've read your file. You've impressive skills that would go very far in the Cardassian Union. Unfortunately your emotional deficiencies would require more conditioning than you'd be worth." She stood up from her seat and crossed the room halfway to Nikki, a hand outstretched. "Gil Meriatha Korat. I had Lieutenant Kallan first." As if the personal attack and arrogance didn't happen, she seemed as if she actually expected Nikki to take her hand in greeting.

Nikki reached for Meriatha's hand, but at the last instant, she pulled away. "You haven't eaten any Yamok sauce recently, have you? I'm deathly allergic. At least, I think I am. I've avoided it for years. This one time, I had a chicken wing that had some yamok sauce on it and I--" Freezing in place, Nikki stared at Meriatha. "Wait," she said, with caution in her voice, "what do you mean you had him first?"

"Had him," Merry repeated, her hand dropping slowly to her side, and then she began ticking off the different permutations on her fingers. "Met him, worked with him, pursued him, bedded him, declared I would bear his children," she said. "We were to be married on Cardassia. It was going to be a glorious wedding..." She almost pouted. Almost.

Picking her jaw up off the floor, Nikki shook her head in disbelief. "I'm sorry, you must be confused," she said, clearly in denial. "Perhaps you're thinking of a different Marcus. This Marcus hasn't been engaged before. He would have told me if he were, and since he didn't, that means that clearly, you must be mistaken."

Nodding, with a growing smirk, Merry said, "Yes, that must the case. Human males seem to forget to brag when it's most advantageous." Folding her arms across her chest and shifting her weight to one hip, she looked Nikki up and down. Seemingly random, she stated, "You don't look very fertile."

Nikki placed her hands on her hips and angrily glared at the Cardassian. "I'll have you know I'm very fertile! Dr. Silverton told me so on my triweekly visit to sickbay!"

Laughing with an almost musical cadence, she said, "Then you're wasting your time on Marcus, I'm afraid. His legacy isn't nearly as important to him as his work, which, I suppose, is a faulty human trait. Something about 'responsibility to Starfleet' and 'space is dangerous and not for raising children'. Something about his trauma about the Borg, I think." She clucked her tongue dismissively. "Still, it's not like we didn't have plenty of practice at Starbase 173..."

An odd sound emanated from Nikki. It began as a groan, and crescendoed through a squeal and into a scream, punctuated by a stamping of her feet and a clattering of her PADDs on the floor. "No!" she exclaimed. "It's not like that! We have something special between the two of us! He even told me so himself!"

"Oh, you precious, naive child," Meriatha said, feigning being moved by Nikki's outburst. She even bent down to pick up a PADD for Nikki. Offering it to her, she said, "Then perhaps you should confront him and learn the truth. I wouldn't want you to have wasted your best years on someone as deceitful as Marcus." Inwardly, Merry was rather pleased at the turnabout which lead Nikki right into her trap.

"Deceitful?" asked Nikki, slowly taking the PADD in her hand. "I think you have the wrong Marcus. He's the most honest person I know. He..." Nikki's voice began to tremble and her body began to quiver. "He... told me that himself."

Nodding, and still maintaining her soft, sympathetic voice, Meriatha said, "I'm sorry. You would have found out eventually. Better it be from a friend than from him." For all her manipulations, she certainly had no trouble completely sabotaging her supposed superior officer's love life.

"I... I..." Nikki looked around, utterly devastated by the information she was receiving. "How could I have been so stupid?" she cried, throwing her PADD onto a desk. "I thought he loved me. Even more than how much he loved his work and his stupid protein cubes..."

Time to put the icing on the cake. "And... yamok sauce," Meriatha added. She didn't even need to make it sound plausible, given Nikki's emotional state. "Couldn't get enough of it," she quipped. She switched to a matter-of-factly way of speaking. "So, if you see him, please let him know I need his assistance with something pressing." And she turned to resume her work, as if Nikki wasn't even there.

Staring at her terminal, Meriatha didn't even bother looking at Nikki. But she heard the whoosh of the door opening, the sound of fast steps heading out of the room and down the corridor, and before the door closed, a faint sobbing.
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Re: Mission Seven: "Troubles on Trill"

Tue May 24, 2016 10:39 pm

Marcus' Talk

Who: Lt. JG Marcus Kallan and a room full of Starfleet, scientists, and laureates
Where/When/Why: Trill Symposium

"...Holomatrix science has increased dramatically in the last three decades. The Bynar enhancements aboard the USS Enterprise-D were but the first step in heuristic and simulation processing power; studied by Starfleet's best, these upgrades became the foundation for Dr. Lewis Zimmerman's research at Jupiter station..."

"...and as you can see here, this is a standard EMH Mark I template. And when I overlay progressive changes at T-equals-entropy-introduction, and then T-equals-160 hours, and then T-equals-400 hours, the rapid destabilization of the damaged matrix began to reorganize itself. Was it by sheer luck? Or can this entropy effect be explained?..."

"...This program, which I dub 'Portland Penny' after the discussion held between Francis Pettyjoy and Ada Lovejoy at the founding of Portland, Maine, on Earth..."

"...Without divulging Starfleet confidential information, I think it's safe to say that mostly everyone in this room has heard of the notable simulations to exhibit sentient or near-sentient qualities. Ladies and gentlemen and non- and complex- gendered species, this blows the lid off of accidental sentience. I predict with three-sigma confidence that entropy-induced sentience events will only increase in the next five years, with math still being formulated that will bring things closer to five-sigma..."

"...and in the end, the Daystrom Institute artificial intelligence annex remains committed to researching this subject. I hope you enjoyed this talk. Thank you. Yes, thank you all. Questions. Yes, over there..."

"...No, sorry, I'm afraid transferring the holo-matrix to planetside would require technology that's not available to 24th-century science. Maybe 29th century." laughter throughout the room

"...Correct. The Portland's holo-facilities can't support a matrix of this size or complexity. With the help of Portland engineering and operations staff, I created a series-13-rated memory extension and, well, effectively bolted it onto the side of the Portland." laughter "I know, really scientific. But I didn't have many options at the time."

"...Good question. Very good question. You can see here -- just a second, let me pull it up -- ah, here we are. You can see here that triple-redundant heuristic routines were composed in order to effectively trap and harness these personality defects created by the psy-tricorder linkage to the EMH-I program. If these programs hadn't been spawned by the self-correcting mechanism, Portland Penny would probably be some kind of Khan Noonien Singh."

"...I'm being told our time is up. Thank you, everyone. Thank you. I'll be here the entire symposium if you want to talk more, duties permitting. Thank you. Try the fish."
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Re: Mission Seven: "Troubles on Trill"

Wed May 25, 2016 4:07 am

The Banquet
The first night of the symposium
Somewhere on Trill
Authors: Alenis Meru, Timothy Rouse, Admiral Washington (played by Alenis Meru)


After having her program brought online in a quiet broom closet, the holographic Alenis Nerys snuck out and headed for the pre-arranged rendezvous point. There, in the corner of the main lobby of the convention hall, stood the man she was to rendezvous with.

"Tim!" shouted the hologram, clad in a full-dress uniform, heading towards him with a little spring in her step. This was the first time she had been off the Portland, and she was relieved not only that her program was functioning, but that she was able to get out of being cooped up there. As she approached, she wrapped her arms around Tim and gave him a hug. "I'm so excited," she whispered. "Pretending to be the real me... it's like something out of a spy thrilller..."

Tim shook his head. He still couldn't believe Meru was serious in her plans to send the hologram in her place. "Yeah, well. This isn't a spy thriller but real life. Please act as Meru, and don't hug everyone you see, will you."

"Okay." The hologram straightened her uniform. "I'll try. It's just so exciting to get off the ship finally... how do I look?"

"You look..." Tim paused and sighed for a moment, hoping that she wouldn't get found out. "Just like the captain. Now lets see if we can find the rest of the crew."

As they looked around, they were interrupted by Admiral Washington, who had broken off a conversation to greet Tim and what he thought was the captain. Tim's muscles tightened up as the Admiral approached; he hadn't had much time to talk to him since the birth of Andy, and he knew that Washington was an observant type.

"Captain Alenis, Commander Rouse," called out the Admiral as he approached. "I thought that was the two of you over there. Is Ellen taking care of Andy tonight?"

Tim tried to smile, afraid his facial expression would give away the EMH. "Yes, she is."

"Ah," replied the Admiral. "I trust he is enjoying the stuffed animals I gave him?" he asked. While he was often worried about spoiling Ellen when she was growing up, Washington felt very differently about Andy. Not knowing his favourite colour, he had brought over a half-dozen stuffed animals, representing animals from all over the quadrant to playtime earlier in the afternoon. "Does he have a favourite?"

"He loves the lion. He is constantly cuddling with it whenever he is playing on the ground." He said, feeling a little uncomfortable to talk about such personal things. He still had trouble seeing the Admiral as Ellen's dad.

Washington chuckled slightly. Of the ones he had purchased, it was his favourite as well. "Very good," he replied, turning his attention to the hologram. "And Captain Alenis, I must say you're looking great tonight. Have you been working out?"

"I..." the hologram paused for a moment, remembering that she had done a little work on her physical parameters earlier. "Um, yes... I've been trying to hit the holodeck for some Hal'Kareth more often. It's relaxing."

"Very good," replied Washington. "My doctor tells me to exercise more. I just get so busy with paperwork coming across my desk that I can spend my whole day without getting out of my chair. You know how it is," he replied with a smirk.

"Yes, I believe that's why they invented XO's," countered the hologram.

Tim looked at her with warning look in his eyes. "I'll take that as a complement."

"As you should." Washington paused for a moment and stared at Alenis, examining her closely. "Hmmmm," he mused, "something seems different about you."

"I..." Meru froze, not knowing what to say.

"It must be a new hairstyle or new make up," Tim said quickly, saving the stammering hologram. "You know how that is with woman."

"Ah, yes," replied Washington. "I remember my wife used to change her hair every couple days. I always told her that she was beautiful just the way she was but..." he trailed off, the memories of his wife and his loss almost overpowering, even for a gruff Starfleet Admiral. "Well," he said,"
tugging on his tunic to remove the wrinkles, "I must go greet some of the scientists from the Daystrom institute. Enjoy the banquet. And Tim," he said, pausing for a moment, "take good care of Andy."

"I will, sir." Tim replied.

As Washington walked away, the hologram leaned over towards Tim. "Do you think he suspects anything?" she whispered.

"Let's hope not or both our jobs would be on the line," he said.

"Well then," replied Nerys, straightening her tunic, "I guess the best thing to do is just act naturally. Shall I get you a drink?"
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Re: Mission Seven: "Troubles on Trill"

Wed Jun 08, 2016 11:42 pm

The Truth, Part I

Who: Gil Meriatha Korat (NPC) and Ensign Nikki Barclay (NPC)
Where: TBD, probably the Portland or the Symposium grounds
When: During the Symposium, Mission 7

Holographic algorithms and probability matrices flashed past on the screen in front of a certain Cardassian exchange officer. She was intently, and expertly, scanning through work that normally would be associated with the chief of operations.

The doors to the holo-lab on the Portland whooshed open, revealing Ensign Nikki Barclay, in her usual frantic state, clutching a PADD under her arm. "Hey Marcus," she exclaimed, walking in, "I've looked into things to do on Trill; there are some nice nature trails, and I've found a restaurant that claims to have the best protein-cube salad on--"

Freezing in place, Nikki started at the Cardassian in front of her. "You're not Marcus," she said, stating the obvious.

The Cardassian woman said, without turning around, "And you aren't Lieutenant Kallan, either." She placed emphasis on Marcus' rank for a reason. "Since you're on a first-name basis with him, perhaps you can tell me where he is? I've a few security locks on his research that I need undone if I'm going to..."

"Security locks!" exclaimed Nikki, her mind instantly wandering to the worst possible conclusion. "What are you, some sort of spy? Omigod, you're trying to steal Nerys' program! Well, I won't let you kidnap her! I'll... I'll... I can scream pretty loud!"

"Ensign Nikki Barclay," the Cardassian woman said, finally turning to regard Nikki with a critical eye. "I've read your file. You've impressive skills that would go very far in the Cardassian Union. Unfortunately your emotional deficiencies would require more conditioning than you'd be worth." She stood up from her seat and crossed the room halfway to Nikki, a hand outstretched. "Gil Meriatha Korat. I had Lieutenant Kallan first." As if the personal attack and arrogance didn't happen, she seemed as if she actually expected Nikki to take her hand in greeting.

Nikki reached for Meriatha's hand, but at the last instant, she pulled away. "You haven't eaten any Yamok sauce recently, have you? I'm deathly allergic. At least, I think I am. I've avoided it for years. This one time, I had a chicken wing that had some yamok sauce on it and I--" Freezing in place, Nikki stared at Meriatha. "Wait," she said, with caution in her voice, "what do you mean you had him first?"

"Had him," Merry repeated, her hand dropping slowly to her side, and then she began ticking off the different permutations on her fingers. "Met him, worked with him, pursued him, bedded him, declared I would bear his children," she said. "We were to be married on Cardassia. It was going to be a glorious wedding..." She almost pouted. Almost.

Picking her jaw up off the floor, Nikki shook her head in disbelief. "I'm sorry, you must be confused," she said, clearly in denial. "Perhaps you're thinking of a different Marcus. This Marcus hasn't been engaged before. He would have told me if he were, and since he didn't, that means that clearly, you must be mistaken."

Nodding, with a growing smirk, Merry said, "Yes, that must the case. Human males seem to forget to brag when it's most advantageous." Folding her arms across her chest and shifting her weight to one hip, she looked Nikki up and down. Seemingly random, she stated, "You don't look very fertile."

Nikki placed her hands on her hips and angrily glared at the Cardassian. "I'll have you know I'm very fertile! Dr. Silverton told me so on my triweekly visit to sickbay!"

Laughing with an almost musical cadence, she said, "Then you're wasting your time on Marcus, I'm afraid. His legacy isn't nearly as important to him as his work, which, I suppose, is a faulty human trait. Something about 'responsibility to Starfleet' and 'space is dangerous and not for raising children'. Something about his trauma about the Borg, I think." She clucked her tongue dismissively. "Still, it's not like we didn't have plenty of practice at Starbase 173..."

An odd sound emanated from Nikki. It began as a groan, and crescendoed through a squeal and into a scream, punctuated by a stamping of her feet and a clattering of her PADDs on the floor. "No!" she exclaimed. "It's not like that! We have something special between the two of us! He even told me so himself!"

"Oh, you precious, naive child," Meriatha said, feigning being moved by Nikki's outburst. She even bent down to pick up a PADD for Nikki. Offering it to her, she said, "Then perhaps you should confront him and learn the truth. I wouldn't want you to have wasted your best years on someone as deceitful as Marcus." Inwardly, Merry was rather pleased at the turnabout which lead Nikki right into her trap.

"Deceitful?" asked Nikki, slowly taking the PADD in her hand. "I think you have the wrong Marcus. He's the most honest person I know. He..." Nikki's voice began to tremble and her body began to quiver. "He... told me that himself."

Nodding, and still maintaining her soft, sympathetic voice, Meriatha said, "I'm sorry. You would have found out eventually. Better it be from a friend than from him." For all her manipulations, she certainly had no trouble completely sabotaging her supposed superior officer's love life.

"I... I..." Nikki looked around, utterly devastated by the information she was receiving. "How could I have been so stupid?" she cried, throwing her PADD onto a desk. "I thought he loved me. Even more than how much he loved his work and his stupid protein cubes..."

Time to put the icing on the cake. "And... yamok sauce," Meriatha added. She didn't even need to make it sound plausible, given Nikki's emotional state. "Couldn't get enough of it," she quipped. She switched to a matter-of-factly way of speaking. "So, if you see him, please let him know I need his assistance with something pressing." And she turned to resume her work, as if Nikki wasn't even there.

Staring at her terminal, Meriatha didn't even bother looking at Nikki. But she heard the whoosh of the door opening, the sound of fast steps heading out of the room and down the corridor, and before the door closed, a faint sobbing.
Marcus Kallan
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USS Portland

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Re: Mission Seven: "Troubles on Trill"

Wed Jun 08, 2016 11:43 pm

The Truth, Part II

"Nikki!" Marcus called out, the doors to her quarters whooshing open and closed. Marcus, jacket unfastened at the shoulder, came ambling in excitedly with an armload of PADDs from a half-dozen different cultures. "My talk was a blast! I got a holo-call from Captain Maddox when his phone was ringing off the hook! Well, if he had a phone, I mean... Uh, Nikki?" He looked around the dark room, surprised to see it in a bit of disarray, and completely unaware as to what transpired between Nikki and Merry.

On the couch, next to an end table whose vase had fallen off and cracked on the floor, a lump of blankets stirred for a moment before a head popped out. "You!" exclaimed Nikki, her distress obvious by the tears running down her cheeks. "Why didn't you tell me?"

"Uh, what?" Marcus seemed bewildered. "Nik, everyone's down planetside for the symposium. And I had my presentation tonight. And we agreed that you couldn't come because you had Engineering..."

"Oh, your presentation," replied Nikki, throwing the blankets onto the floor and swiftly standing up, placing her hands on her hips and glaring at Marcus. "Well, I hope that went very well for you," she added in an acidic tone. "While you were down hobnobbing with all those scientists, I had the most interesting conversation with one of our guests. I'll have you know that no one takes advantage of Nikki Christina Barclay!"

"I still have no idea what you're on about," Marcus replied, setting his pile of PADDs down. "Who is taking advantage of you?"

"Oh, please," shot back Nikki. "I wasn't born yesterday. I'm not some poor, innocent Cardassian scientist that you can string along with dreams of building a life together then leave at the altar!" As she stepped towards Marcus, she jabbed him hard in the chest with her finger. "That's right, I know about what you did on Cardassia to that poor woman!"

"Ow!" Marcus rubbed his chest. "Hey, that's not cool!" Listening to Nikki go on about Merry, however, caused the color to drain from his already pale complexion. "Oh, God, you've been talking to Merry. Look, Nikki, everything about her is a fabrication. I never agreed to marry her; that was her idea. I never set foot on Cardassia. We had a fling at Daystrom, and I cut it short when I was transferred. I mean, she's so manipulative, she's got three superior officers up the chain in Daystrom wrapped around her finger to get assigned to the Portland. It's like she wanted the COI in being my subordinate."

"Oh, yeah, you're the real victim in all of this, and Merry is just some crazy, irrational, jilted ex out to get you," shot back Nikki, sarcastically. "You must think I'm real dumb, trying to convince me that it is at all possible that this poor Cardassian woman could be anything less than truthful. Why..."

Nikki trailed off. In all her frustration, she didn't even consider the possibility that it was Merry who was the manipulative one. But as she looked into Marcus' eyes, she didn't see any of the telltale signs that he was telling a little white lie, those same telltale signs which cost him two hours of replicator time in the senior officer's poker game last week. "Why... why..." she started, her anger melting away as she began to blubber in her usual frantic style. "Why don't we start from the beginning, okay?"

Marcus wordlessly took her hand and led her back to the couch, where he sat the both of them down. "Remember when I said that my only real experience in serious relationships was with a Cardassian?" He began, his voice taking that uncharacteristic gentle tone that he uses no where else except in her company. "It took me a month of talk therapy to get over the damage she did to me, Nik. It's a cultural thing, Cardassian manipulation. It's how they communicate with people they... have interest in." He took both of her hands up and held them together in his. "And it's not for me. This is for me."

"Oh, Marcus," replied Nikki, her anger and frustration melting away in Marcus' hands. "I shouldn't have doubted you..."

"I'm going to see Rouse tomorrow and get her kicked off the ship. I've had enough." Marcus shrugged, affecting a frown and looking away. "I don't care if she's a part of whatever Washington has going on. She's disruptive, and I just validated Nerys' study, so he owes me."

Nikki took a deep breath and looked back towards Marcus. "First things first," she replied, "I found a nice restaurant in the capital city; they say they serve the best protein cube salad in the whole sector. It's very... bland...?"

"Sounds great," Marcus said with a reassuring smile. She hadn't destroyed everything. Damaged, but not destroyed. He leaned in to give Nikki a kiss, although his thoughts were elsewhere. And perhaps that was her goal, after all.
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Re: Mission Seven: "Troubles on Trill"

Thu Jul 07, 2016 10:18 am

Friends?
USS Portland
Following the events of Meet the Parents
Authors: Novia Yenn (played by Lt. Commander Tyrlai Zade) and Coln Jena (played by Lt. Jason Beauvoir)

Jena was passing a jeffies tube when she heard what sounded like crying. Stopping. "Hello, is there anybody there?" She called softly.

"No." Came the lightly sniffling reply from just off to one side before a turn. Novia sat looking scared, her long legs clutched to her chest and two forlorn looking cat monkeys crouched at each of her feet.

"Well, you're rather noisy for someone who isn't there." Jena replied.

"She wouldn't listen to anything, all she want's to do is kill my friends." Novia sighed and glanced up from her cat-monkeys. "She never listens."

"Who does?" Jena asked with genuine concern in her voice. Jena wasn't the cat-monkeys' biggest fan, but she didn't wish to see them dead.

"My mother, she's very cross." Novia shook her head sadly and things started crashing out of her in a flood. "Mother always gets what she want, she wont stop. My sister promised to stop her, but I don't know how. Berelc says shes a twin star and they are very impressed but they don't know mother. And shes never going to let me stay on the ship and Ill have to go home and I will be alone and have no friends which isn't much different but the teacher likes me and I only just found out my sister was alive and I don't know what to do." She looked up hopefully, as if maybe Jenna had already gone through this and knew what to do.

Jena looked at the fear and sadness in the girl's eyes and felt for her. "Perhaps my father can help, he's the Portland's Chief Science Officer. He could explain that the cat-monkeys are free of parasites and disease." She suggested.

"You haven't met mother. She's not quite that reasonable." She wiped away the tears, since she had been found her hiding place was clearly not as good as she thought. "Book." she thought a picture to Berelc who darted over to fetch the book she had thrown and caught up with her at the door where she stepped out and cat monkey hopping on each shoulder as she did. "It's not cause of disease, its cause they are telepathic. Mother doesn't want them in my brain."

Jena raised a quizzical eyebrow. "They're telepathic?" She asked. "Interesting. I'm no expert, but I haven't observed any bad-effects of your exposure to Thing-One and Thing-Two. It's like domestic canines that adopt you into their pack."

"Their names are Zinzac and Berelca." Novia bristled, "and yes it's kind of exactly like that. And now they think my sister is part of the pack just because shes my sister. Which she shouldn't even be because she's supposed to be dead."

"Your sister?" Jena asked. She then put two and two together. "Is Tyrlai Zade your sister?"

"Apparently." Novia threw up her hands making the cat-monkeys scramble to keep their perch. "There are strict ecological regulations on Trill and population control is one of them. If you want more than two children you have to be a colonist somewhere else. You can apply for a waiver to replace a child who dies, which my parents did. I am the replacement. They told me all my life how much my sister accomplished before she was lost in a boating accident. And how I had such big shoes to fill to replace their brilliant, tragically-drowned daughter. Only she wasn't lost in a boating accident, she ran away and ended up with a symbiont by accident. It's almost impossible to be joined on purpose. And I pulled her grade reports, she was below average in almost everything. She got top levels in applied agility and communications. Not technical communications mind you, actual communications. She was good at gymnastics and talking. I have been studying for twelve years to replace a girl who's academic reports primarily feature the word 'remedial'." She turned towards a corridor wall and shouted, "Remedial!"

"And now mother is going to punish my pets." All three of them shook their heads sadly. Berelca looked over at Jena and gave her a morose "mroww.".

Jena looked at the girl and her pets. She knew what it was like to be lied to by the people you loved. The man who until recently she thought of as her father, and loved as such, turned out to be just some guy her mother married because she was pregnant and alone. "I won't pretend to know exactly how you feel, but I have some experience with a deceitful mother, and I will do every I can to help you, even if it means talking to your mother, myself." She promised.

Novia suddenly embraced Jena and hugged her hard blinking away just a few fresh tears. "Thank you so much." She held on for a little while longer, a process that involved cat-monkeys scampering from shoulder to shoulder and across both girls heads and then let Jena go for breathing purposes. "You mustn't talk to mother though. Apparently my sister has a plan." Novia sounded and looked dubious about that, Zinzac chirped optimistically.

Jena was taken aback by Novia's sudden embrace. "Okay, I'll leave it to her. Your sister is a bit unorthodox, but she cares." She told the girl.
Lieutenant Jason Anderson Beauvoir
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Timothy Rouse
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Re: Mission Seven: "Troubles on Trill"

Wed Jul 13, 2016 9:53 am

Who: Commander Timothy Rouse, Lt. JG Marcus Kallan
Where: Rouse's office
When: After the symposium

Storming along to Rouse's office on Deck 2, Marcus was in a bad mood. This was unlike any of his other usual bad moods because Nikki was involved. He wasn't going to let Merry ruin his relationship with Nikki, and he wasn't going to let Cardassian twisting of the truth to interfere with his duties aboard the Portland. He was going to get Merry reassigned, and that was that.

Tim, trying to read his way through an new huge stack of padds, stood up to get his coffeecup refilled when the chime of his door ringed. Grabbing his mug he yelled "enter" and saw the Portland's Chief of Operations storm into his office. Clearly in a hurry. "Lieutenant," he acknowledged his present.

"Commander. Do you, uh, have a moment?" Marcus waited at the doorway. He saw that Tim was busy and clearly didn't want to interrupt something. "I've a personnel issue to discuss with you. Potential conflict of interest. Potential conflict of crazy, really."

He raised his left eyebrow upon hearing the reason for his presence. Motioned towards the chair he said "Tell me what's going on."

Marcus came in and sat. Quickly. "Look, it's about Gil Korat. I don't know what strings she pulled to get assigned here but it's simply not working out. She's manipulative and gone off the deep end. And I'm pretty sure she thinks we're married, when we're not." He was picking at his fingernails like a nervous git while talking. "Worst of all, she's supposed to be my subordinate. Top Cardassian Guls get taken down when their rivals get their love interests..." He coughed. "Ex-love interests assigned to their commands. It's real cloak and dagger stuff."

"Let me recap this. Your ex has been posted on the Portland, in your department, and she claims she is your wife." Tim said. This sounded to be a true Portlandish type of problem.

Nodding seriously, as if he were immune to the absurdity, Marcus said, "Yes, sir. That's exactly it. Maybe by Cardassian laws, under some technicality, that's the truth. I don't know. I got out of trying to figure them out around the same time I bailed on our relationship. But you'll see, by Federation records, I'm single." He swallowed. "Mostly. Definitely unmarried. Never married. Nope."

"By what claim are you married? Did you have some sort of ceremony?" Tim asked. Cardassian law wasn't his field of experience.

"No, no ceremony," Marcus shrugged. "Look, I don't think Cardassians do the 'mating for life' thing like Klingons do, so other than... uh... well you know what I mean. No ceremony!" Marcus was getting red in the face, and he put his fingers at the side of his neck, apparently reading his pulse. "I'm just trying to solve COI issues, that's all. And I'm not going to have her sabotage my career and N-... professional relationships... here on the Portland."

"Offcourse, I'll see what I can do," Tim said as he made a note on a padd. "I can't promiss anything for now, because I don't know the reason for her reassignment. It didn't come through, like normal cases, so it might be a higher up issue."

"Right." Marcus looked as if he had hoped for more, but then a look of acceptance emerged as he began nodding. "Okay, thanks, Commander. I appreciate it." Starting to fidget as he had a lack for anything else to say, he moved to stand and leave.

"I'm sure we can come up with a solution," Tim said, trying to reassure the chief. "I'll get back to as soon as I can."

Giving Tim a nod, Marcus turned and left, leaving his issue in the capable hands of the XO. Portlandish problem, indeed...
Commander Timothy Andrew Rouse
Executive Officer
USS Portland

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