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

Fri Jul 15, 2016 6:27 am

Confronting the Captain's Demons
Counselor's Office, USS Portland
Shortly before arrival on Trill
Authors: Alenis Meru, Delainey Carlisle


Carrying a travel mug of tea, Alenis made her way down to the counselor’s office for her appointment. She was less than thrilled about the idea of going to see a shrink, but Tim had her over a barrel and she didn’t have much of a choice.

Strolling into Delainey’s office, she looked around for the counselor. “Dr. Carlisle? I’m here for my appointment.”

Emerging from her en suite bathroom, Delainey heard the Captain call her name and she turned in Meru's direction, offering a polite smile. "Hello, Captain. Your timing is perfect. May I get you something from the replicator? I was just going to get myself some strawberry lemonade." Before crossing to the alcove which held the replicator unit, Delainey gestured for Meru to take a seat wherever she felt comfortable.

Resisting the urge to ask for a glass of springwine, Alenis glanced over at the replicator. "That does sound good... I suppose I could go for one as well. With mint leaves."

"Coming right up," Carlisle replied with a polite smile. She made note of Meru's glance toward the replicator and her slight hesitation. It didn't necessarily mean anything significant, but it was something she couldn't help but notice for a moment. Perhaps the other woman was just trying to decide if she needed more liquid refreshment. If Meru was anything like Delainey, she spent most of her day drinking liquids of some sort just to make the report reading palatable. It seemed the later the shifts, the unhealthier the drink.

Within a few moments, Delainey had retrieved both of their drinks and handed the lemonade with mint off to the Captain. She gestured for Meru to make herself comfortable in any one of the chairs available in her reception area, and the counselor took a seat across from her, asking casually, "So, what brings you my way?"

"Well, you come highly recommended by Brad and Tyrlai," she explained. "They strongly encouraged... more like insisted... that I make an appointment with you."

Carlisle appreciated Alenis' honesty but wasn't quite sure what to make of her response. "Oh? What do you think about that?" The counselor got the impression Meru didn't agree with them at all, but she didn't want to put words in the Captain's mouth.

Alenis took a deep breath. "I know it's a cliche, that the big shot captain doesn't want to talk to her shrink or anyone else about anything, lest she actually come to terms with her weaknesses and her pain." She offered Delainey a knowing look; surely this wasn't the counselor's first assignment. "But I've never been one to talk to counselors. Well," she added, her eyes narrowing slightly, "apart from Arvel..."

Delainey offered a knowing nod. Doctor Silverton had informed her the former counselor and the captain had been involved romantically, so Meru's statement didn't surprise her. Given Arvel's current circumstances, passing judgment on him hardly mattered, but in truth, the notion of a counselor becoming romantically involved with his superior and client didn't sit well with her. Carlisle wasn't a prude by any means, but she considered certain ethical principles sacred, especially those concerning relationships in which there was an imbalance of power. In this case, she didn't believe the double imbalance of power meant that they canceled each other out. She couldn't help but wonder what came first and was tempted to ask, but it wasn't apparent that had anything to do with why Meru was here, and Delainey didn't want to risk their fragile relationship by asking. Instead, she said, "in your opinion, why do you think they insisted you come speak to me now?"

Alenis took a deep breath. "Dr. Silverton... he suggested that he saw something troubling me while we were on the away mission. He knows of my history with the Borg, and as one of his responsibilities is to make sure the Captain is in peak condition, both physically and mentally, he 'suggested'," said Alenis, placing scare quotes around the word 'suggested,' "that I see you as soon as the battle is over. And since we survived..."

Delainey understood what the air quotes meant and she wondered if Meru's choice to use them said more about how she felt about it rather than how Silverton did. Carlisle couldn't be sure, but she thought she detected a note of anger the captain was trying to hide. "Since we survived," Delainey echoed with a nod. "Is there something troubling you? Was he right?"

"There was," admitted Alenis. She sighed deeply and glanced around the room. "This is all confidential, right?"

"Unless you are about to tell me you are in immediate danger to yourself or the crew, yes, this will stay between you and I."

"Okay," she said, taking a deep breath and looking at Delainey. "To be honest, I had never gotten over what had happened at New Algiers. Almost everyone on the Gol died; I was the highest ranking officer to make it off. I would have nightmares, I was taking sleeping pills, and at one point, I was going through a bottle of springwine a day. I think Ko-ko was the only thing that was keeping me sane. But now..." Alenis trailed off and glanced around the room once more.

"I don't know what it is. Whether it was reconnecting with the Prophets, having died and come back, or having gotten revenge on the Borg, I feel like I'm at peace for the first time in years."

"Okay," Delainey replied, her tone not so much skeptical but curious. She wouldn't be a social scientist if she didn't question what was presented to her at face value. It wasn't exactly a secret Alenis struggled emotionally ever since New Algiers, but it did concern Carlisle that she hadn't realized Meru was drinking so heavily. Now of course she was claiming to be more at peace, but Delainey was less curious about why that was and more concerned about whether it was true. She'd known people to be so eager to feel better or to avoid painful psychological examination that they would often prematurely announce they had taken care of the problem. "I'm glad you're feeling better, but I think we owe it to ourselves to be skeptical of this recovery just for your health and safety," Carlisle offered. "After all, you didn't develop these problems overnight, so realistically, I would expect it to take more than a bit of time to work through." She paused then added, "I want to make sure I understand what you're saying. Are you saying you're no longer experiencing the symptoms which caused you to rely on pills and alcohol, or are you saying you're still experiencing those things and you’ve found better ways to manage them?"

"I've been reading more religious texts," she admitted. "I had always been a little aloof from my Bajoran heritage, growing up as a refugee on earth. But after visiting the planet for the first time in decades, I've been trying to make up for lost time with the Prophets. There is a lot of wisdom there..." She paused and took another deep breath. "That, and having died and come back only to stare down a Borg armada kind of takes the edge off anything I could possibly be afraid of."

Meru wasn't the first person to report finding perspective after trauma or to find solace in religion, and Delainey wasn't about to minimize the positive impact of either on mental health, but that didn't seem to be what she was hearing. "I'm concerned you haven't found a healthier way to cope with your feelings as much as your recent experiences have shamed you into deciding your feelings shouldn't exist or matter in comparison. As I said, I'm not certain problems that have developed over time can disappear so easily."

"I don't suppose you have any suggestions, do you?" countered Alenis, remembering why she didn't like visiting counselors in the first place.

Delainey detected the challenge in her words, but refused to take the bait. She didn't become a counselor to prove herself and to prove to the people she worked with that she was right, but she recognized an honest concession when she heard it. "I think we should meet for regular sessions," Delainey said honestly. "As I said, you didn't get here overnight and it won't change overnight, but recovering from all the trauma you've suffered requires very specific sustained help, help that you've gotten only piecemeal over time." Carlisle paused, then added, "Before we can do any of that, however, it's important for you to understand you're not weak because you couldn't put a stop to this yourself. You're one of the strongest people I know, Meru, and if psychological trauma could be healed simply by deciding it was so, I'm certain you'd be healed 50 times over."

Alenis blushed slightly at the compliment. She was never good at taking them, but what Delainey had said really spoke to her. She strove to never show any weakness, which helped her rise through the ranks of Starfleet. But there was a downside to that, and it was that she had never gotten the help that she so very badly needed. “So… every other week then?” she asked, changing the subject.

“That would work,” Carlisle replied with a nod. “I’m also open to every week, but it’s up to you.”

"Well, I am usually rather busy..." Alenis reached over for a PADD that contained her schedule and flicked through it. Reports, meetings, and bridge duty had her pretty much booked solid until after her little vacation. "Mind if we do it two weeks from Thursday? I'm planning on spending shore leave at the spa, without my comm badge."

If Delainey didn't know any better, she would say the captain was stalling, but she couldn't very well disapprove of the woman taking time for herself. "That'll work for now, as long as we can get on a more regular schedule after that. I know you don't want to lose any progress you make."

“Sounds good,” replied Alenis, standing up from the chair and breathing a sigh of relief. “Two weeks from Thursday it is.”

"It's a date," Delainey replied with a grin, noting how relieved she seemed to be to have that much breathing room. She hoped Meru wouldn't find some reason to cancel, but for now, Carlisle was hopeful, and that was the best way to be as a therapist.
Capt. Alenis Meru
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USS Portland

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Ash Sullivan
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Re: Mission Seven: "Troubles on Trill"

Wed Aug 03, 2016 2:38 am

Return to Sanity
Various Locations, USS Portland
Third day on Trill (After "Take a Hike")


The scene of the base camp shimmered out of existence and was replaced with the familiar sight of the Portland’s Transporter Room. While everyone was down on Trill the ship was manned by a skeleton crew and Ash didn’t even recognise the officer who stood before him. The gold clad ensign looked a little surprised when Ash first appeared which he realised was likely due to his appearance. He had just finished his hike up Bes Manev, his clothes were messy, his hair hanging loosely on his shoulders and he hadn’t shaved in about 3 days. Not the typical appearance of an officer returning from shore leave.

“Thanks ensign.” He said simply before making his way out into the corridor, not bothering to explain the way he looked.

An empty starship was one of the most peaceful locations in the universe as far as Ash was concerned. No hustle and bustle of busy crew members, just the gentle constant hum of the warp drive. He preferred the mechanical company of a starship over human contact any day of the week, sure he got on with others easily but he’d just as happily be alone. He wanted to explore the ship now that it was mostly empty and people wouldn’t be asking too many questions about where he’s going and why he’s going there but first he needed to unpack from his camping trip and change into a fresh uniform.

Arriving at his quarters he placed his belongings away neatly before heading into the bathroom for a shower. A few minutes later he emerged, clean, freshly shaven and with his long hair tied once again in a tight bun. He’d been hiking back down the mountain for the majority of the day and has absolutely exhausted. He lay down on the bed, initially just to rest his eyes but ended up falling completely asleep.

It was two hours before he woke up to the sound of some engineers working in a nearby Jeffries Tube. They obviously didn’t think there would be anyone on board who they might disturb with their repairs. Ash got out of bed and pulled on a clean uniform before leaving his quarters and heading for his office. It too was empty with most of the security systems were running on automatic. Ash took a seat behind his desk and browsed quickly over the reports of the last few days. There weren’t any major incidents aside from one officer returning to the ship a little drunk after a party on Trill. He’d made a bit of a mess of the Transporter Room, “Maybe that was why the ensign had looked a little wary of me earlier.” He said to himself with a laugh.

After only two days away it was amazing how much paperwork had piled up. Reports he had to sign off on, new duty rosters, equipment acquisition requests, the list went on. “This is going to need coffee.” He thought to himself as he went to the replicator. He was in for a long night.
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USS Portland

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

Sat Aug 27, 2016 4:14 pm

Just another morning in sickbay...
Sickbay, USS Portland
While orbiting Trill
Authors: Brad Silverton and Nikki Barclay


Brad had settled in for a quiet morning. He had been looking forward to this for a long time. No appointments. No reports. No deadlines. Just a quiet morning to catch up on reading some of the latest research out of Starfleet Medical.

"DOCTOR SILVERTOOOOOOON!!!" screamed a voice that was all too familiar to Brad. It was Ensign Nikki Barclay, though her voice sounded a little more high pitched than usual due to the Doppler effect caused by her rapid rush towards Brad's office. But as she stopped in the doorway, she doubled over, panting, out of breath, unable to explain what was wrong.

"If I only had a piece of gold-pressed latinum for every time..." Brad's thought to himself as he got up and entered the main room of sickbay. "What brings you to sickbay today?"

Nikki held up her finger as she caught her breath. "Sore throat... feeling warm... nausea... tiredness..." she managed to gasp before she was able to look up at Brad. "This can only mean one thing..."

Brad replied matter of factly, "You're drunk?"

"I am NOT drunk," protested Nikki, loudly. "Why, I... I..." Raising a finger to make a point, she opened her mouth but no words came out. Instead she frantically dug through her messenger bag for a PADD. "Here," she said, practically shoving the PADD in Brad's face.

"Mononucleosis? You do realize that mono is an adolescent illness that adults develop an immunity to? Could it possibly be something more common? Then again... it can be exchanged through saliva of an infected person. Tell me ensign... are you.... active with anyone that I should know about." Brad decided that if his peace and quiet was to be disturbed that he would at least be a little entertained by it.

"I... I..." Nikki indignantly placed her hands on her hips. "That's none of your business!" she exclaimed. "A lady doesn't kiss and tell, especially not on someone as cute as Lieutenant Kal--"

Freezing mid-word, Nikki looked up at Brad and began shaking uncontrollably. They had agreed to keep their relationship under wraps for now -- after all, they didn't want to be the subject of ship's gossip, or have to fill out Starfleet's form 46-C disclosing the commencement of a romantic relationship among officers of a different rank. "I mean... I mean... nothing!"

"Whoa wait a second Ensign Bar.... Nikki. I was just teasing because of how mono gets transmitted. I wasn't really trying to pry. Look I'll do a few tests to clear this up. If it is mono, I'll give you a double dose of medication for yourself and any mystery person that may or may not have come in contact with you. I'm positive though that it is nothing. "

His expression turned stern and cross "However just so we are clear... the ship's crew's personal business is their own until it causes medical emergencies and needs that I need to deal for their own safety. I will ask what medical question I deem fit."

And just like a light switch his expression changed back to warm and inviting. "If medical information was recorded then said information would need to be sealed for the protection of the patients."

"Oh." Nikki paused, relieved that doctor-patient confidentiality still applied and that her secret was still safe with Brad. Though their relationship was mostly based upon Nikki's medical needs (real or perceived), and though Brad tended to be more annoyed than anything when Nikki would visit his office on a regular basis, Nikki considered Brad one of her few friends on board. For a moment, there was an awkward silence, filled only by the mechanical whirring and beeping of the various medical instruments in sickbay. "So... is there anyone new in your life?" asked Nikki, awkwardly.

Brad tried not to react with a slight wince but it did slip out. While he was understanding of secrecy and the situation Nikki was in, having been on a blind date with superior office Major Judith Rouse, he didn't feel they were THAT close.

"I'm not seeing anyone currently. Between taking care of the ships crew and my research.... well there just really isn't that much time for a social life." He had responded while grabbing a tricorder and starting to scan Nikki to find out if there was anything actually wrong with her.

"Oh," replied Nikki, trying to sound sympathetic but sounding more as though she pitied Brad. Pausing for a moment, she placed a hand on his shoulder. "There, there," she said, trying to comfort him. "I'm sure a handsome young doctor like yourself will find someone soon. Hmmmmmm..." she placed her other hand on her chin for a brief moment, then raised one finger in the air excitedly when she had an idea. "Perhaps I can get Ellen and Maria to set you up with someone!"

"Yeah they actually already tried setting me up on a blind date. It went well enough but things just didn't click." Brad kept working and was talking about it like its was as an unimportant topic as was what type of sandwich did he have planned for lunch. To him, dating was something that could wait for a career. He stopped for a second and starred off into nothing while he was wrestling with his internal conversation with himself.
'Career first? And how many star fleet officers had fallen into that trap?' He chuckled and then noticed Nikki starring at him. He tried changing the subject...

"Well Ensign you actually do have a slight infection of the esophagus. Ask for maintenance to double check the purifiers in your quarters and food replicator. That coupled with an over active imagination in perhaps standing up too quickly to cause a head rush is what I believe your true symptoms to be."

"I knew it!" exclaimed Nikki, a horrified expression on her face. While she wasn't exactly right on her diagnosis, the fact that there was something wrong with her, in her eyes, vindicated her. "Hmmmmmm, I wonder if I can do a baryon sweep of my quarters..." she wondered aloud before turning back to Brad. "Please tell me you can fix it," she begged.

'Ug you have got to be kiddin...' Brad thought to himself that there was no way someone was this much of a hypochondriac. It just was not possible. He thought momentarily about research and a paper on Nikki herself but stopped when he realized he would be laughed out of Starfleet medical.
"Yes ensign I can take care of it." He walked over and grabbed a hypo and loaded a vial into it. He then returned to her and administered the antibiotic.

"You'll be fine by the morning. Is there anything else I can do for you today?"

"Ummmmmm..." Nikki paused for a moment, standing there sheepishly as she rotated her foot. "Well, I suppose I need form 46-C and any medical clearance required for... you know..."

Brad thought about lying to her that she was contagious and dangerous. Just to mess with Marcus. That thought only lasted for a moment. Brad wasn't going to get in the way of whatever they had between them no matter their professional differences of opinion. He wasn't going to be THAT guy.

"Nikki, I hearby medically clear you for any body fluid exchanges you care to engage in."

Well he wasn't going to be THAT guy but he was going to have a little fun at Nikki's expense for ruining his quiet morning.

Nikki exhaled. "That's a relief," she replied.

"As for form 46-C. Disclosures during medical examinations are sealed in records. At any rate that form really isn't a medical one. It is more for counseling so unless you intend to say anything to your direct senior officer or a counselor then I think our business today is concluded." Brad finished with a warm reassuring smile.

"Oh. Good." Nikki paused for a moment and stared at Brad, the awkward silence interrupted only by her stomach rumbling. "I... better go get breakfast. I hear it's salmon bagel day in the mess hall."

And with that, she was off, leaving Brad once more to his peace and quiet...
Capt. Alenis Meru
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Re: Mission Seven: "Troubles on Trill"

Wed Aug 31, 2016 9:58 pm

Who: Nerys (NPC, Alenis Meru), Meriatha Korat (NPC, Marcus Kallan), Malbi (NPC, Alenis Meru)
When: After the Symposum
Where: Holodeck One

Even without Marcus' codes, Meriatha was able to identify that Marcus had been working on a secret project. Ever since he was called away from Daystrom, his communiques became more infrequent. Curiosity and the arrogance of a Cardassian intellectual drove her to know what her former lover was working on. And now, she was within moments of figuring that out.

"Computer, bar access to holodeck one," Merry said as she removed the access panel beneath the main terminal of the holodeck's arch. As the computer complied, she produced a series of isolinear calipers and began tweaking certain circuits, causing snippets of random holograms to flash briefly. "It's not in the cached data," she mused aloud, and attempted another circuit pathway that appeared to be a recent addition.

Appearing in the holodeck, Nerys had a shocked look on her face. She was in the middle of reading a chapter in an old Bajoran religious text when she found herself being summoned somewhere. Seeing the grid pattern of the holodeck on the walls around her, her expression of shock was replaced with one of irritation. "Who are you and why are you interrupting to bring me here?" she asked, placing her hands on her hips and scowling at Merry. "Didn't you see I was active in my quarters?"

Merry approached Nerys, looking at her with a mixture of amusement and wonder. "Computer, what am I looking at?" She asked. The computer's familiar female voice replied, "This is an independently-running memory-resident hologram. Filename, Nerys01."

"Who owns the program?" Merry asked.

"That information is classified," said the computer.

"Oh, is it, now?" Murmured the Cardassian woman. Finally addressing Nerys, she asked, "Maybe you can answer the question better. What are you?"

"You know, it's kind of rude to ask someone who owns them," countered the hologram, less than enthused by the Cardassian woman's lack of manners. "And perhaps you can answer that question first -- I don't recall any Cardassians being stationed on the Portland."

"Portland? You're... aware," Merry breathed, an excited smile briefly showing on her face. Ignoring the question, she instead raced back to the archway console. "Computer, show me an active memory schematic of the current hologram." "Unable to comply. That information is..." "Yes, I know, classified," Merry finished, her tone droll. "How about where the memory is physically located?" "Active holographic memory is located in crawlspace 05-A-03." "In the wall, then?" The Cardassian woman picked up a hyperspanner and headed over in that direction. Halting halfway, however, she answered, "Gil Meriatha Korat. Exchange officer. And you have a striking resemblance to the ship's captain. But then that's expected, isn't it?"

"Yes, well, it's a long story, and..." Nerys froze for a second as Merry headed off towards the crawlspace. "Wait, what are you doing with my program! I don't want to have to call security!"

"Computer, disable voice routines for current running hologram," She said with a confident smirk, crouching down by the panel which allowed access to the crawlspace where Marcus had installed his contraption to allow the Nerys program to flourish.

In that instant, Nerys tried to should, but no sounds came out of her mouth. Of course, what Merry hadn't bargained for was that Nerys was no ordinary hologram and had some more control over her program than most did. Closing her eyes, she shimmered for a moment and returned, resetting her program and returning it to its default state -- including its volume settings.

Darting over towards a panel near the wall, Nerys pushed a button to speak into the intercom. "Nerys to security," she called out, "I need a team in Holodeck One. Someone is trying to tamper with my program."

"This is Ensign Locke in Security. Please identify yourself," came the reply. Nerys' program was on a need-to-know basis still, with the majority of ship's personnel only aware of some sort of experimental holographic technology aboard. But even then, wasn't the Portland frequently a testbed for experimental technologies? Such things were commonplace, but certainly not the knowledge of a sentient hologram. And while Nerys certainly had command over certain ship's functions like any other crew member, the computer struggled with attaching a proper identifier to her comm signal.

Merry, in the meantime, hummed a Cardassian wedding song to herself softly as she worked, pulling away a panel and exposing part of the cylindrical device Marcus had constructed.

"This is..." Nerys paused for a moment and sighed, closing the channel. Still not everyone on the ship was aware of her program or the circumstances surrounding her creation, and right now she needed help from someone who was not only aware of her and technically competent, but who might be able to force Merry to stand down.

"Nerys to Malbi, I need you down in Holodeck One immediately. Some Cardassian is tampering with my program, and I need you to use your Klingon charms to persuade her otherwise." With that, Nerys turned back towards Merry. "You know, from what I've heard, Malbi is very good at Klingon martial arts..."

A few moments later, the holodeck doors opened again to reveal a tall, powerfully-built Klingon in a yellow uniform, with a phaser by her side. Not that she needed it; her fists were powerful enough weapons. "Excuse me miss, I think we have a problem here," she said, slowly stepping towards the Cardassian and watching her hands carefully for any concealed weapons.

"Actually, I was just finishing," the Cardassian woman finished, turning to affect Malbi with a charming smile. You know, those smiles that typically drive Klingons into a rage? "I was just performing some calibrations for Lieutenant Kallan. I believe we both report to him, yes?" Blink, blink.

"That's a lie, she was tampering with my hardware!" shouted the hologram.

Malbi nodded and walked slowly towards the Cardassian, clenching her fists as she did so in an effort to look more intimidating. "You're just a passenger; you aren't authorized to do any 'calibrations,'" she replied, ready to 'recalibrate' Merry's face if she tried anything funny.

"Actually, I'm an exchange officer. You should check up on the crew manifest. If you could read, that is." Merry turned to regard Nerys with a plain smile -- no doubt hoping to manipulate Malbi into assaulting her, which would make her 'tampering' all that less an issue. "I haven't altered your program one bit. Just took a curious look, is all." Smiling to all around, she asked, "May I go?"

For a moment, Malbi considered mopping the floor with Merry. Surely, she deserved it, but she quickly realized that the Cardassians enjoyed provoking reactions out of people. "I'm keeping an eye on you, Cardassian," she warned in a scowling tone.

"Oh, I'm quite flattered," Merry responded with a smile. "If you'll excuse me." She gave one last glance at Nerys, eyes slightly narrowing, and then turned to leave. Oh the secrets she'll find...
Marcus Kallan
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Alenis Meru
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Re: Mission Seven: "Troubles on Trill"

Mon Sep 05, 2016 1:08 am

The Hardest Part
Who: Lt. JG Sera Williams, Ensign Nikki Barclay
Where: Engineering
When: After the Symposium

Sera, dressed in civilian attire with a large travel bag strapped around her shoulder, walked through the doors to Main Engineering for what could be the last time. She had set the schedules a couple of days ago, so she knew that Nikki would be around somewhere as this was her shift. Sera took a look at the warp core. It looked like a curious abomination of present day technology smashed into an ancient shell. Much akin to strapping jet engine to a horse drawn carriage. That's part of the charm that she loved about working here. However, there was something that she had to do, something more important.

"Sera!" exclaimed Nikki, bounding towards her chief and good friend from one of the consoles at the side of engineering. "Omigod, thank goodness you're here. The EPS relays on deck six blew out last night, and with all the damage to the Portland's systems, we haven't been able to..." Pausing mid-sentence, Nikki's eyes narrowed as she looked Sera up and down. "Wait... why aren't you wearing your uniform? And what's in the bag?"

Sera's face brightened at the site of her friend bounding through Engineering, no doubt interrupting the work of every engineer in the big room. Her smile slowly faded as reality hit home. Knowing better then to present Nikki with the information here, in front of everyone. Sera decided to take the discussion to somewhere a bit more private. She nodded toward the Chief Engineer's Office, and requested, "Mind if we talk in there?"

"Sure..." replied Nikki, a sense of dread overcoming her. She knew that whenever someone wanted privacy, the conversation was rarely good. Shaking, she followed Sera into the room. "I didn't forget about my performance review, did I?" she asked, her voice wavering. "Because if you look at my duty logs, you can clearly see that--"

"It isn't anything like that. Its about me," Sera replied, stopping her friend from melting down in front of everyone. She motioned for Nikki to follow as she made her way to the door to her old office as it opened.

"Here we are," Sera delayed as she quickly polarized the transparent aluminum windows so that no one would be able to see inside, making them much like the old one-way mirrors. She pulled a PADD out of her bag and reached toward Nikki, making it easier for her friend to grab the device. "So, you know how my dad went missing awhile back?" Not really giving Nikki a chance to respond, she sort of shook the PADD and nodded toward it as if it contained everything anyone would need, "Selina was scouring recent subspace transmissions from the quadrant, I tell you that girl will make a fantastic Intel agent one day,"

Realizing that she was getting off topic more than a bit, Sera said, "Well, she found something. It's small but it gives off an identical signature to his old shuttle that he never used." Sera's eyes filled with hope as she spoke.

As she flipped through the PADD, a look of horror appeared on Nikki's face. "You mean... you're leaving us?" she asked

"I... have too," the Chief Engineer started before Nikki began again in earnest.

"You be careful!" exclaimed Nikki, interrupting whatever Sera was about to say and taking on the tone of a concerned mother. "This could be dangerous. Watch your back. Keep a comm line open to each other at all times. Make sure you get a site to site transporter. And a portable field generator, which can reflect disruptor blasts. And some body armour. And sunscreen; do you know what the UV index is on Nimbus III?" she added, oblivious to the fact that all that equipment weighted at least a hundred pounds.

After everything they had been through together, Sera knew better than to stop Nikki when she was on a roll like this. Once she was finished, Sera added, "All of that is on the shuttle. I even had the doctor give us any and all vaccines that could be given."

"Okay, good." Nikki paused for a few seconds and stared Sera in the eye. She was more than just a commanding officer to her; Sera was her closest friend on the Portland. She had looked out for her, kept her out of trouble, and even calmed her down from time to time when her anxieties would act up. It would be difficult to replace someone like her, and Nikki dreaded the challenge of meeting a new chief.

After staring into Sera's eyes for several seconds, Nikki suddenly bounded towards Sera, almost knocking her over, as she gave her friend a big hug and began sobbing uncontrollably. "You be safe, Sera," she managed to say between fits of tears as she held her friend tightly, as if she could stop her from going.

Sera closed her eyes and returned her friend's bear hug. Her own eyes were welling with tears, this was truly it. With how Starfleet worked, if Sera ever put the donned the uniform, there was no telling where she would wind up. "Don't let this bucket of bolts fall apart without me. And, take care of Marcus. You two fix each other." The last part was meant to be said with a joking smile, but through the tears it didn't really come out that way.

"I will," replied Nikki through her tears as a console flashed and beeped beside her. Breaking away from Sera, she darted over towards it. "Another fried EPS relay..." she mused, before looking around engineering. With Sera out of uniform, she was the highest ranking officer around. "All right, everyone," she called out, drawing on an untapped reserve of confidence that she didn't think she had in her, "shut off main power to Deck Six, and go to emergency batteries. Jenkins, T'Prel, Nonokian, I want you to inspect the EPS system and run a level six diagnostic. I want to know what's causing these power surges. You have two hours."

Rather than keep it going, Sera decided to use the well-timed distraction to slip out of the Chief Engineer's office. She wiped a few tears from her eyes as the departing officer made her way to the turbolift.
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Re: Mission Seven: "Troubles on Trill"

Wed Sep 21, 2016 7:13 am

Time for some personal stuff, part I
When: Before the runabout mission
Where: Captain's ready room
Authors: Admiral Alenis Meru, Commander Timothy Rouse and baby Andy.

With Andy on his arm and a diaper bag over his shoulder Tim pressed the chime of Meru’s office. They had planned the activities for today for a while now, but he was getting very nervous as the moment was approaching.

“Come in,” called out Meru, sipping her morning tea as she looked over her reports from Gamma shift. There was nothing much to report; a couple mundane spatial anomalies not worth altering course to check out, and a couple malfunctioning replicators down on deck three. “Tim, Andy, good morning!” she exclaimed, happy to see the little baby. “Would you care for some tea?”

“Rather some coffee for me,” Tim said as he walked in and placed Andy on a carpet near the couch, before taking a seat on the couch himself.

Meru smiled as she walked over to the replicator. “One large coffee, black,” she called out, glancing over her shoulder at Andy as he lay on the carpet. Ko-ko, seeing the baby, had flown over close to him and emitted a few relaxing coos. “How is the little man doing?” Meru asked as she brought the freshly replicated coffee to Tim.

“Now he’s asleep, of course.” He said with a sight. “Can’t wait for the day when he starts doing that during the night.” He accepted his coffee. “Everything ready for later?”

“I suppose,” replied Meru. “I’ve got my dress uniform all neatly pressed, and all of the arrangements have been made.” She paused for a moment. “Tim, I just have to ask. Are you sure you’re ready for this?”

He smiled as he looked from Meru to Andy. “I couldn’t be more ready. I love her more then I could ever think possible to love anyone.” He said softly. He wasn’t at ease talking about his feelings. “And we have a son together. I’m surprised the Admiral hasn’t mentioned anything about the subject since we revealed our relationship to him.” He said chuckling.

"That's good," replied Meru. She was very happy for Timothy, though part of her was a little jealous. A little part of her wished that she could have what he did. "I trust your judgement and I know you will be great together." She paused for a moment and looked down at the baby. "So... what's your big plan?"

“I’m taking her home,” he said. “Sort of. There is a holoprogram from the area I’m from. I’ve taken here there before, but because her pregnancy I couldn’t show it before. My brother and I always went there as often as we could when we were little. Michael asked his wife there as well.”

Alenis smiled. "That's so romantic. I'm sure she'll say yes," she said, with Ko-ko cooing in agreement. "I guess I'll be on babysitting duty for the time being then?"

“Let’s hope so!” He replied. He was nervous.

Standing up, Alenis walked around her desk over towards Tim and placed a hand on her shoulder. “Relax,” she said, “this is just the next stage in what I know is a beautiful relationship. All you have to do is be yourself and Ellen will surely say yes.” Removing her hand, she placed it on her hips. “Now go out there and ask that woman to marry you. That’s an order!”

As Tim left, Alenis picked up Andy and held him in front of her. “So, looks like you’re hanging out with me and Ko-ko for the day. We’ll have lots of fun together, playing with starships and--” Pausing mid-sentence, Alenis wrinkled her nose and sniffed the air. There was no doubt; he needed a diaper change.

Placing him back on the ground for a moment, Alenis looked around her office for a moment, then tapped her comm badge. “Yeoman al-Nablusi, I need your assistance in my office. And bring a diaper bag…”

To be continued....
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Re: Mission Seven: "Troubles on Trill"

Wed Sep 21, 2016 7:18 am

Time for some personal stuff, part II
When: Before the runabout mission
Where: Holodeck 1
Authors: Commander Timothy Rouse and Petty Officer Ellen Washington.

“Will you please tell me where we’re going?” Ellen asked again. Tim had picked her up after her shift. He looked absolutely gorgeous in the black jeans and grey shirt he was wearing. Especially with that grin on his face. Not that this usual uniform didn’t look good on him…

“Almost there,” he said, grabbed her hand and pulled her to him. Turning her around he wrapped his arms around her and whispered, “Close your eyes,” She did and followed him as he guided her in the holodeck where the program he wanted was already running. “Just a few more steps.”

When they were fully emerged in the program he stopped and whispered her to open her eyes and moved his hands to her waist. At first she didn’t say anything. When she found her words again, she said. “This is beautiful, where are we?” and leaned against him.

“This is my home. The place I grew up and where I hope to live again someday,” He placed a kiss on her hair before he continued. “We’re on mount Hays,” he said. “Down there is the city, nestled against the mountain. And over there you can see the many islands that lie in the pacific ocean. See the path there. I want to take that with you. At the top the view is even more beautiful.”

“That explains why you said to bring walking shoes.” Ellen said chuckling. Tim grabbed a small backpack and removed a pair of sunglasses from it and handed her one. “It’s about an hour to the top. I can’t wait to show you.” he said as they started walking. “As soon as we were old enough Michael and I would go here whenever we got a chance. It was our little heaven. I hope to take Andy here as well when he is older.”

If she didn’t love their surroundings already, she would now because of the effect it had on Tim. She hadn’t seen him so relaxed in a long time. With everything they had gone through lately. The Captain’s dead and resurrection, the Portland almost being destroyed by the Borg. Andrew’s birth had been their silver lining.

When they reached the top Ellen couldn’t stop looking around her. “You were right,” she said. “The views are even more stunning from here.” “The view is indeed stunning.” Tim agreed. He wasn’t looking at their surrounding, but at Ellen. Noticing his voice had changed to a more huskier tone she turned around to him.

Having her full attention Tim grabbed the little square box from his backpocket, went on one knee and asked. “Ellen Marie Washington. I love you with all my heart. I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you make me the happiest man of the universe and marry me?”

“Yes, yes, yes,” she said, or more yelled, and ran in his arms. Finding his lips she kissed him as if their lives depended on it.

To be continued...
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Re: Mission Seven: "Troubles on Trill"

Mon Oct 10, 2016 2:42 pm

An Unrealized Future

Who: Lt. JG Marcus Kallan and Lt. JG Sera Williams
Where: Holographics Lab, USS Portland
When: Before Sera's departure, after the Symposium

Marcus fiddled with the holographic display in front of him in his lab. The lab was cobbled together with holographic equipment spanning three decades, encompassing advanced holographic technology from the late Sixties to the present. Somehow, he used this equipment to analyze a sentient hologram, fool Borg, and earn him high prestige from giving a stellar lecture at the Symposium on Trill... and his career aboard the Portland had just gotten started.

The translucent image that turned slowly on the small section of holographic deck was a humanoid, roughly Marcus' height, but slightly more bulky. Equipment that seemed vaguely Borg studded the hologram's visage, but the actual person was not rendered in any detail.

Sera, wearing her civilian clothing and a travel bag thrown over her shoulder, stepped through the doors of the Holographics Lab. She still had a goodbye left to say. Instantly, the former Chief Engineer was drawn to the holographic display. It was something that she had seen before, during the mission to resurrect the Captain. Sera stepped closer, getting lost in examining the Borg-like figure.

Marcus glanced over. Had it been anyone else, including Nikki, he'd be fumbling for the 'off' switch. Instead, he half-grinned. "Hi, Sera. I can tell this is familiar to you from the look on your face," he said. Chuckling, and running a hand through his hair, he asked, "Maybe you can tell me what it's supposed to be? I have a dream where I look at myself in a reflective surface and I see a monster. I've had it several times since we rescued Captain Banninga and blew up that transwarp conduit."

"For me, it started with the Bajoran orb," Sera started, trying to remember. She dropped her travel bag, which hit the ground in a soft thud. "I was a Captain," she paused. Maybe the radiation damage had caused some sort of hallucination, but since the accident she too had had certain visions more frequently. "I think... I think this was you. Something had happened to you, something traumatic, but I don't know what it was."

"Assimilation, but not," Marcus responded, looking at the holographic display. He tapped a few controls and the image merged with his own. Not a perfect representation of the unrealized future, but close enough. "Either way, it's both fascinating and terrifying." He chuckled, looking down, perhaps out of embarrassment. "And all the time, I knew I had you backing me up. Like, how Nikki and I are now."

Sera's eyes studied the merged representation. It wasn't exactly what she remembered seeing but it was enough to bring back a few of the memories from the vision. "I remember feeling as though the person behind this meant something, somehow. Something big. But there was something else, something painful that was between them." She reached a hand toward the near-assimilated human's hand as she whispered an echo of her vision, "Sacrifices must be made for this plan to succeed. I volunteered. Give the order."

"Payback," Marcus said aloud, having a sudden recollection of his dreams, and perhaps echoing what his future, alternate self was thinking: revenge. "Everything I've done in my career, Sera... Everything was because of revenge. I wanted to get back at the Borg for taking my family away from me. So I studied them. Learned them. Mastered their technologies. And this is what revenge did to me, apparently... it consumed me."

Sera nodded back with understanding, she had remembered everything. "You beamed yourself over to the Eclipse, and sacrificed yourself to give us time, time we needed to save the Captain. I think this, you, regained his humanity at the end," Sera replied. The worst part of the story made her hesitate, "I... I let you go. Ordered the future crew to complete your plan. I even got everyone on that decommissioned ship where we met our end." Tears welled in her eyes, as she added, "What does that say about me?"

"It means you were... are... command material, and that you let officers do what is necessary," Marcus replied gently. "And that you are a kind person that helped a monster of a man hold on to his humanity. If things were different... all of the dreams make sense, now." He shrugged lightly, looking away - clearly he was conflicted, with him and Nikki getting fairly serious in recent weeks.

She wanted to reach over and clasp Marcus' hand. "Things are how they are," Sera replied, a bit more quietly than she had intended. Looking to Marcus, Sera said, "You have been a great friend. Through my accident, you and Nikki were the only ones to check up on me with any regularity." Smiling she added, "And I almost came to enjoy your protein cubes."

"They're not so bad, once you get used to them," Marcus said quietly. Looking up, he looked mildly remorseful, but he affected a smile the best he could. Marcus wasn't used to genuine smiles. "Take care of yourself, Sera. We'll meet again."
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Re: Mission Seven: "Troubles on Trill"

Tue Nov 01, 2016 7:59 pm

Flashing lights and replicators...
Who: Lt. JG Sera Williams, Ensign Malbi
Where: Deck 2, USS Portland
When: During the Symposium

Never mind the warp blowing the ship and the space around it to bits or glitch in the life support systems. There was that got a repair team ready more than bad replicators on the senior staff level. Sera had made due this morning by giving the chef a try in the mess hall, but the complaints had been rolling in all morning...some more adamant than others. With a sigh, the Lieutenant exited the turbolift with her repair kit in had.

Taking a look around the deck, she had to admit that the repair crews had done a fantastic job of restoring the Portland. The sterile white of the 2280s and 2290s was brighter than she could remember seeing. As she walked down the corridor, she ticked off the occupants. Captain, Tim, Marcus, Jason, mine... and there was the EPS conduit that she wanted to check. With a few creative tugs, the Chief Engineer popped the panel off. Come on, tell me what's wrong, she whispered to herself as she talked to the ship.

Malbi was walking down the corridor when she heard the woman, clearly an engineer, muttering to herself. Or to the ship, Malbi wasn't sure. Either way, that was generally an indication of a problem; not necessarily a mental heath problem, but certainly something was troubling this engineer.

Malbi approached with heavy footsteps, so as not to startle the woman from behind, then cleared her throat before she asked, "Ma'am, are you in need of assistance?"

The approaching footsteps alerted Sera to the fact the someone was coming, and had probably heard her talking to herself. With her cheeks a brighter shade of red, Sera removed her head from the EPS conduit to see the Klingon approaching. With the new arrival being the only Klingon who was part of the Portland's crew, Sera didn't need to ask her name. "Ah, Ensign Malbi. I'm Sera Williams, Chief Engineer," she said as she put out her hand for a handshake.

Malbi shook the engineer's hand and replied, "Pleased to meet you."

Sera pointed at the open panel to the EPS Conduit, then added, "The replicators on the deck are malfunctioning. I'm just trying to figure out why... and hoping the ship would make it easy this time and tell me what's going on."

"Perhaps I could help with that," Malbi suggested, kneeling down next to Williams.

"Sure, I'll take all the help I can get," Sera replied as she opened her toolbox. "The replicators are scrambling what they are creating, if you order a cup of water, you'd get the cup made of water. So we have a power problem or a computer glitch on the deck...or a creature living inside the walls," the last part was an attempt at a joke. She had never been around a Klingon, at least a real one, so she was still trying to figure them out as a species.

The EPS conduit looked exactly like what it was. It's housing was built in the 2270s, it was running equipment from the 2390s, and showed patches and spliced together technology from every refit era in the last hundred or so years of Starfleet technological history. It was a small miracle that any of it actually worked.

"For the sake of simplicity, let us assume it is the result of a glitch in the computer program. That is easy enough to fix, we just need to replace the current program with one from the lower decks. If that doesn't resolve the issue, we can move on to other solutions," Malbi replied after some thought. She had interpreted Williams' last comment as humor, something Malbi had been improving on, and decided to attempt a joke in return. "And if it turns out the issue is a creature, I will leave and let science handle the situation." Malbi was still working on her human sense of humor.

Giving a small shrug, Sera responded, "Or catch it for meat if the replicators aren't fixed." In her head, she counted panels down the corridor. She walked toward and removed the second wall panel, revealing a small console. It stored the programs and acted as a processing hub. "If it is a glitch, this is the cause," Sera added, making a hand gesture that welcomed Malbi to try her hand.

Malbi pulled a tricorder out of her toolkit and scanned the device. "Well it seems to be intact, but that doesn't mean that something can't be wrong with the program. I'll see if I can pull up the program from a working replicator." She paused and typed a few things into her tricorder. "There it is. I'll just replace the programs now... Do we have access to a replicator to see if that worked?"

"My quarters is there," Sera said, pointing toward a nearby door as she stood up from the EPS conduit she had been working on. She quickly replaced the paneling, and walked toward her room. With a whoosh, the door opened to reveal her living conditions. The room matched virtually all senior officer quarters in sizes and layout. However, Sera's workbench was covered in PADDs and projects in various states of finish. There was also a second bed that belonged to Sera's sister. The Chief Engineer walked toward the replicator and ordered, "Two waters, cool."

With a beep of acknowledgement, the machine began to materialize two perfect glasses of water. "Seems to be working," Sera sighed as she grabbed one of the cups. She took a sip and said, "It tastes like water, we'll find out if it isn't soon enough."

Malbi grabbed the other glass and scanned it with a tricorder. "The tricorder scans say that it is indeed water," Malbi confirmed before taking a drink herself, "And quite good water, too."

Glad that she wasn't going to need another trip to Sickbay, Sera nodded at the Klingon crewmember. "Thanks for the help, it looks like we saved the day," she said in a mock heroic voice. Giving a small wave while heading to the door, the Chief Engineer said, "It was nice to meet you."
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Re: Mission Seven: "Troubles on Trill"

Fri Nov 04, 2016 4:27 am

New Chief
Holodeck Two, USS Portland
Authors: Alenis Meru, Ash Sullivan


"Submit!"

Her assailant had thrown her to the ground, and Captain Alenis was struggling to resist. The tall, powerfully build male had several inches and at least 60 pounds on her, and in a battle of raw strength, he would be able to easily toss her around like a rag doll.

Fortunately, the Bajoran martial art of Hal'Kereth was not just about strength. It was about the application of force in precise locations to bring your enemy to heel. And, seeing a vulnerable elbow where she could apply leverage, Alenis managed to push her opponent off of her, roll over, and get on top of him.

"Submit!" she exclaimed, holding her opponent down to the ground. But she was distracted by the whooshing of the door open, allowing the man to turn the tables once more. "Computer, delete opponent," she called out as she was pushed to the ground again.

Standing up, she straightened the burgundy robe she was wearing, the traditional attire of practitioners of Hal'Kereth, and pushed her hair back. "Ensign Sullivan," she said, recognizing the burly man at the door, "Is my time up already?"

"Oh I'm sorry captain. I didn't realise there was an active program running." Ash apologised, "I can come back when you're finished." He offered.

"Oh no, it's quite alright," replied Meru, looking at Ash's clothing. His robe was similar to hers, only differing somewhat in colour and style. "Judging by your attire, we're here for the same thing. We could share the holodeck."

"Oh well if you don't mind ma'am." Ash said relaxing his stance a little. "Most of my martial arts experience has been Earth based but I'm always open to something new. What program were you running?"

"Alenis Beta Four," replied Meru. "It's for the Bajoran martial art of Hal'Kereth. I'm no master, but I find the physical exercise and the mental discipline to be quite helpful."

"Maybe you could show me a move or two?" Ash suggested as he began doing some basic stretches to warm up.

Meru chuckles slightly. "One does not simply show another a move in Hal'Kereth." As she spoke, she began some warm-up movements, turning in place and moving her hands carefully and deliberately. "It requires a knowledge of physics, a mastery of mental discipline, and a deep connection with the Prophets." Taking a few slow, deep breaths, Meru sized up Ash. "Though, I can see what I can do..."

Ash finished up his stretches then turned to face the captain, adopting a boxers stance. "I am a quick learner." He said with a grin.

"Hmmmm. Well, in that case, I suppose we can postpone the rigorous theological studies and the hours of prayer and quiet meditation." Taking a couple steps back, Alenis took up a defensive posture. "Come at me," she challenged.

Ash smiled at his captain's quip. His last CO seemed to have the sense of humour of a Vulcan and would never really socialise with officers like this. "As you wish." He said moving forward a taking a bit of a wild swing just to see what the captain would do.

With a quick sidestep, Meru dodged the incoming attack. As she did so, she made a quick spin and grabbed Ash's arm, conserving her angular momentum and adding it to his, sending him off balance. "It's not about brute strength," she said, as she saw Ash stumble -- choosing not to follow up, as she felt her point had been made. "It is more about agility, balance, and knowing exactly where to apply pressure. Of course, it was developed by monks."

"I get it. Slow and steady, tortoise and the hare right?" He said as he regained his balance. He bent his knees, lowering his centre of gravity, and adopted a more defensive stance. "Your turn." He said as he took a deep breath, waiting for the captains attack.

"Okay..." Meru held back for a moment, examining her target and his defensive posture, trying to find the optimum vector for her attack. Spotting an opening, she swiftly rushed in.

Ash was surprised at the speed with which the captain attacked but he was prepared this time. He had left himself open deliberately and as Meru lunged toward him he spun and dropped down to one knee causing her to barrel into his shoulder from behind. Using her own momentum against her, Ash flipped Meru over his shoulder causing to land on her back in front of him.

"Oof.." Alenis slowly got up from the mat. "Nice counter," she said as she rose to her feet. "Say, with the departure of Lt. Kian, I'm in need of a new security chief. What do you think?"

The captains question had blindsided Ash more than the throw-down she had given him a moment ago. He wasn't particularly thrilled about the Assistant Chief position he had received when he arrived on the Portland and taking on Chief of Security was the last thing on his wish list. "Captain, I'm uhhh... a little surprised that you would... offer me this position. I mean don't get me wrong I'm very grateful but surely there are other, more qualified members of the department." He replied in an uncharacteristically nervous tone.

Listening to Ash, Meru was a little surprised -- she had thought that he would jump at the opportunity. But, more importantly, he left her an opening. Before Ash had finished speaking, she had rushed in with a textbook throw and sent him down towards the mat. As she paced a knee on his chest, she smirked at him. "You know, a good Chief of Security never lets his guard down," she said. "Thing is, I need a Chief and I think you're ready for a little more responsibility."

This was the most unorthodox job offer Ash had ever experienced. "I'm sorry captain I just don't know if that's what I want for my career right now." He said trying to push her off but realising he was in a very difficult position. "Are you just going to kneel on my chest until I accept?"

"Rouse has the bridge, so I have all day," countered Meru in a nonchalant tone, using her arm to help pin him to the mat. "So, what do you say? This could be a big opportunity for you, and I am going to at least need someone for our next mission."

Nothing terrified Ash more than responsibility. He'd always seen himself floating round the galaxy, bouncing from starship to starship for the rest of his career and doing as little paperwork as possible. Ash saw a chance to get a handle on the captain and rather than trying to grapple with her, since she clearly had the upper hand, he resorted to brute force to push her off to one side while he rolled and got himself back to his feet. "It's just such an important task, I'm not sure I'd be able to handle it." He lied. He knew full well he could handle the Portland's security department he just didn't really want to.

"Your service record begs to differ." Meru straightened her robe and took up a defensive stance. "At the very least, I am going to need you to take on the role of acting chief for the time being. And this isn't a request, it's an order."

The captain clearly wasn't taking no for an answer here. Rather than trying to keep pushing the offer away Ash, albeit reluctantly, accepted. "Yes ma'am. Thank you for the opportunity." He responded, though he didn't really feel thankful at the time. "When would my duties as acting chief begin?" He said once again moving towards Meru to attack, though this time more slowly using yet another Judo technique he'd learned at the academy.

"Right away," replied Meru, recognizing Ash's offensive stance and taking on a defensive stance of her own. "That is, unless you have some big plans for shore leave on Trill."

"I just got back from a hike up Bes Manev but didn't have anything else planned, no." Ash replied before striking, trying to catch the captain off guard.

Spotting Ash's approach, Meru was able to parry the attack before jumping backwards, taking herself out of his striking range. She then flashed him a smile and headed over to the bench to grab a hand towel. "Then it's official. I'll fill out the paperwork later today." After wiping the sweat off her face, she turned back towards Ash. "Oh, and by the way, we can't have an ensign as a department head. Congratulations on your promotion, Lieutenant Sullivan."

"Lieutenant?" Ash replied. "Thank you ma'am. I don't know what to say." He added, as a wide smile spread across his face. He may not have liked responsibility but an extra pip was a welcome surprise.

"They usually go on about how they're ready for the extra responsibility and won't let me down," replied Meru, nonchalantly, as she picked up her gym bag and began heading for the door. "I've got the pip in my office. Stop by sometime this afternoon and we'll make it official."

"I will thank you ma'am. And uh... I won't let you down." He said with a chuckle.

"I'm sure you won't," replied Meru over her shoulder as she left the holodeck. "Enjoy your holodeck session, Lieutenant."

"I will captain." He shouted through the closing doors, and enjoy it he did.
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