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Alenis Meru
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Re: Mission Three: "Pilgrims"

Sun Mar 29, 2015 3:05 pm

The Final Conflict, Part I
Caves, Gamia III
MD6, 1005 hrs
Authors: Capt. Alenis Meru, Lt. Jason Beauvoir, Lt. Parker Hudson

Last time, on Star Trek: Portland...

“…soon the pah-wraiths will be free, and you, my child,” continued the Kai as she placed a hand on Alenis’ cheek. Behind her, the flames grew brighter and brighter, “will be bestowed with the greatest honour of all. It is as it has been told in the prophecies. It is you who will be a vessel for Kosst Amojan, liberator of the Pah-Wraiths. It is you who will reconstitute the Orb of the Pah-Wraiths, freeing their spirits from the purgatory of the fire caves! It is you who will lead them into the heavens, into the celestial temple, for the final conflict!”

And now, the continuation...

"No!" replied Alenis, her pain getting more and more intense by the minute. "I won't serve the Pah-wraiths!"

"Oh, but you will," replied the Kai, flashing Alenis a wicked grin as she nodded to two of her hooded henchmen, who pointed their crude disruptors at Parker and Jason's heads. "I know you would rather die than serve us, but can you say the same for your crew?"

"I believe the correct response is go to Hell, you crazy bitch." Jason said addressing the Kai. Then to the guard who was holding a disruptor to his head, he added. "My good man, I wouldn't fire that disruptor, if I were you, the high-pitched whine coming from the handle is indicative of a compromised power cell and it'd be a stroke of luck, if it doesn't explode killing us all."

"You blasphemous little--" Bringing the butt of his disruptor hard down on Jason's skull, the guard figured that even if he couldn't fire it, it would at least be useful for something.

"Jason!" called out Alenis, in shock at seeing her junior officer beaten like this. As she turned and tried to run towards him, she was hit with a pang of pain that brought her to the floor. With the Kai laughing mencingly, four guards grabbed her by the arms and begun dragging her towards the altar. "No!" she called out, desperately kicking at whatever she could reach in an attempt to stop herself from being dragged off. But against the strength of four guards, her efforts were futile and she soon found herself thrown down hard on the altar. "You can do whatever you want to me," said Alenis defiantly as she cradled her elbow, "but you'll never be able to free the Pah-wraiths,"

The Kai just laughed smugly. Alenis was a defiant one, that is for sure. And feisty too. No doubt she would make an excellent host; it is no wonder that Kosst Amojan wanted her. "Oh yeah," she countered, reaching underneath her robes. "I have this!" she exclaimed, holding up a glowing crystal.

Alenis' heart sank as she instantly recognized it. "The sixth shard," she whispered.

"What the hell is that?" Parker mumbled under his breath kneeled on the ground beside Jason. He hadn't the first knowledge of the Bajoran Peoples, he even addressed the Captain by her last name the first time he had met her in her ready room. A big no no of sorts. It was hard to make of what was happening. Was this some sort of cultist nature acting out in front of them?

"You're mad!" Parker moved his head to look at the guard, only as he shoved the disruptor into Parkers skull and head harder.

"Mad? I don't think so," replied the Kai, shooting a dirty look at her hostage. Holding the shard aloft, it began to glow brightly with red energy. "Give my regards to Lieutenant Zade for returning the fifth one. Saves me from having to search all across the galaxy for it. How convenient that all five of the remaining shards are all in one place, and on the same planet as the fire caves as well."

The Kai stared down at Alenis, who despite her intense pain had tried to stand up again. She had spirit, that was for sure. "And thank you for coming down here. I had set up all these fake negotiations just to bring you to me. To be honest, though, I thought I would have had to kidnap you from the negotiating table, but imagine my pleasant surprise when you show up at my front door just as I need you. You and your crew have been most cooperative, but I'm afraid it's time to get this proverbial party started."

"No," replied Alenis, standing up in spite of the pain in her gut and the wobbliness in her legs. "I'll fight you. Every step of the way, I'll fight you."

"Kneel!" shouted the Kai, holding the shard aloft. "Kneel before the Pah-wraiths."

"No," said Alenis, a brief moment before being thrown to the ground again by the Kai's lackeys. Dazed, she looked up just in time to see the Kai hold the shard aloft. Chanting a few words in Old Bajoran, the voices of the Vedeks filled the room as a face appeared in the flames.

"Kosst Amojan, the wanderer has arrived. You have your vessel!"

With that, the flames burst towards Alenis, enveloping her in fire. She let out a scream and tried to cover her face, but the fire did not burn her. Rather, the flames surrounded her and held her aloft. As she screamed in panic, she could feel another presence forcing itself into her, taking hold of her body.

With all eyes on the ancient rite, Jason saw his chance. With remarkable efficiency, he dispatched his and Parker's guards and checked the engineer for wounds. Ascertaining that his injuries weren't life threatening, the Science officer picked up a discarded disruptor and fired it at the shard in the Kai's hand.

"Nooo!" exclaimed the Kai as the blast from the disruptor knocked the shard out of her hand, sending it toppling towards the pit of magma. It hung, teetering on the edge for a moment as the Kai dove for it, but just as she was about to clasp it in her hands, the shard fell, landing precariously on a small ledge below. Some of the Vedeks simply stood there in shock, while others headed towards the cliff to assist the Kai, who was carefully lowering herself down, clinging to the edge in an effort to retrieve the shard.

As the shard was knocked out of the Kai's hand, the flames around Alenis subsided and she fell, landing hard on the obsidian altar. "Jason..." she uttered, trying to get up.

Jason ran over to where Meru where she lay on the obsidian altar. When he reached her, she was trying to get up. "Lay still." He told her. He could tell she was in a lot of pain, but there was little he could do without a medkit. He felt her head, it was warm. She probably had a fever and being in this warm cavern couldn't be helping. He had to get her out of here, but couldn't risk moving her without knowing the extent of her possible internal injuries.

Alenis looked up at Jason, her eyes glowing red, and for an instant let out an evil grin. With one swift movement, she stood up and snatched the disruptor away from him and tossed it towards a surprised Vedek, who despite a bit of fumbling, managed to catch it and figure out which side was the business end. Taking a step back, she drew the concealed Type I phaser that Judith had given her and pointed it at Jason.

"You know the most important thing about stealing someone's identity?" she asked in a menacing voice, staring Jason down. With her thumb, she pressed a button on the phaser, changing its setting to kill. "It's making sure that there are no witnesses."

To be continued...
Capt. Alenis Meru
Commanding Officer
USS Portland

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Re: Mission Three: "Pilgrims"

Sun Mar 29, 2015 3:05 pm

MD6, 1010 hrs
Mess Hall, USS Portland

With the hologram running again and a job well done, Nikki was ready to start her shift. Well, "ready" may not be the right word. Having not slept for twenty-eight hours and counting, she figured she would stop by the mess hall on the way back to engineering for a coffee. Just enough to get her through the next few hours, then she could crash.

Wandering through the corridors of the USS Portland, she was on autopilot. She had half her salmon cream cheese bagel wrapped up in one hand, a coffee mug in the other, and a couple PADDs under her arm. Before she got started with her shift, she wanted to review the power distribution and available computing power on the ship anyways, just to make sure that the hologram wouldn't cause any more problems. Or that her program wouldn't degrade any further. So, she figured that that data would make for some good light reading as she finished the breakfast that Sera brought her.

She would have invited Sera for breakfast as well, but as one of the few qualified shuttle pilots not already busy, she was called down to the surface for some delivery or something. Truth be told, Nikki was too tired to hear what Cmdr. Rouse said when he called her on his comm badge.

Still, Sera was her only friend so far. It was always hard for Nikki to make friends at the academy. On top of her own social anxieties, there was the fact that her family's reputation would always precede her. Other cadets either wouldn't stop talking about her uncle, or would be intimidated by the niece of the legendary Reginald Barclay. The closest she got was a Vulcan classmate named T'Pren, who, after a night of holodeck adventures, politely informed Nikki that continuing their friendship would be "illogical."

For a whole week after the incident, Nikki tried to feign illness. Of course, she had been tagged as a hypochondriac in her first year, but she liked to think she was just being careful. After all, you never know for sure that you don't have Tyrellian Swine Fever.

After filling her coffee mug, Nikki sat down at the mess hall. For a brief moment, she stared out at the stars, thinking about how far away from home she was. She was about to reach for her coffee mug when, feeling lightheaded, her body finally said no more. There, in the corner of the mess hall, sat a napping Nikki Barclay.
Capt. Alenis Meru
Commanding Officer
USS Portland

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Alenis Meru
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Re: Mission Three: "Pilgrims"

Sun Mar 29, 2015 3:06 pm

The Hologram and the Acting Crewman
Captain's Office, USS Portland
MD6, 1050 hrs
Authors: EMH Mark I (played by Alenis Meru), Coln Jena (played by Jason Beauvoir)

Jena was worried about Jason again. She knew he was on the surface, but little else. She could ask her friends that were in the know, both Judith and Tyrlai were nowhere to be found. Then she had a brain storm, if you want to know what's going on, start at the top.

Making her way to the Bridge, a Security officer prevented her from entering the Bridge. "Only crew members are allowed on the Bridge, ma'am." He told her.

"I'm Acting Crewman Coln Jena, here on official diplomatic business." She told him.

After checking her story, he said. "Apologies, Crewman, welcome to the Bridge."

"Thank you, Petty Officer." She said gracefully and made her way to the Captain's Ready Room and pressed the chime."

As she was feeding Ko-ko, talking to the bird and letting her coos calm her down, Alenis was interrupted by a chime at the door. She didn't know what to do; technically it wasn't even her office. But when the chime rang a second time, she knew she couldn't be rude and pretend that nobody was home. "Come in!" she called out.

"Hi, Captain, I hate to disturb you, but I'm concerned about my father and I was wondering if you could tell me what was going on."

The hologram turned away from Ko-ko and looked into Jena's eyes. For a moment she considered telling her that she wasn't the real captain, but looking in Jena's eyes, she felt that Jena needed some reassurances now. And besides, the truth was so absurd that she could barely believe it herself.

"Jena, your father is all right," said the hologram. "Dr. Silverton has checked him out, and aside from some... embarrassment... over his actions while under the influence of pon farr, he's fine."

"Thank you, ma'am, but I assumed that was the case, since he was cleared for the Away mission. I was wondering if there'd been any word from the planet." Jena asked beginning to become suspicious that the Captain seemed unaware of the Away mission.

"Yes, the away mission..." replied the hologram. She knew that there was an away mission; it was why the captain wasn't available and her office was free for her to use for the moment. But obviously no one had thought to brief her. In fact, only a few people on the ship knew she even existed. "I haven't been updated recently, but I'm sure your father can handle himself," she said, suddenly self-conscious about the lack of rank pips on her physical matrix.

It was then that realisation dawned on Jena. "You're her, aren't you? You're the EMH."

The hologram sighed. Jena had seen right through her charade. "To be honest, I don't know what I am anymore," she replied truthfully. "But I can assure you that your father has fully recovered from his 'condition,' and that as a Starfleet officer, he can handle himself if any trouble arises."

Jena felt sympathy for the EMH, she hadn't really been given a choice and now she had to 'live' with someone else face and memories aboard the same vessel as the 'real' Meru. No wonder she was having a crisis of identity. "Thank you, very much for helping my father. If you want to talk about it, I'm happy to listen. About your crisis of identity, not about your time with my father." Jena said with a smile. She went a little red out of embarrassment at how her statement could have been construed, if she hadn't made the clarification.

"Take a seat," said Alenis, motioning towards the two chairs across from the captain's desk. It felt strange to be talking to a fourteen year old girl about her problems, but everything in the past couple of days had been strange for her. And Jena had shown herself to be wise beyond her years; she wasn't appointed acting diplomatic officer for nothing. Petting Ko-ko, Alenis choked back a tear. "I just don't even know who -- or what -- I am anymore. Am I even real? Do holograms even have the 'spark of life,' or was I just programmed to think I'm real?"

Jena took a seat and listened to the holograms words. She thought for a moment before answering. "Now those are some tricky questions. Philosophy still has no definitive answer on that one, I'm afraid. If you're talking about identity, then one theory espouses that it our memories and experiences that differentiate us from one another, so in that one you are a different person from the biological Alenis Meru, because although you look like her and possess her memories, since you're 'conception' you have had different experiences from her. Also you are displaying sentience by questioning your identity. Theologically speaking, I'd say that you don't possess a 'pagh', or 'soul' as these only said to be present in certain biological entities." Pausing a moment before continuing the teenager said. "From scientific perspective, you're ability to interact with the physical world around you, would make you for want of a better word, real."

"I suppose... I think, therefore I am, right?" asked Alenis. It was pretty much all she remembered from her high school philosophy class, but it seemed appropriate in this setting. "Would you care for some tea?" she added, remembering that she had forgotten to offer Jena some when she came in. "I don't suppose I'd be able to drink any, what with being a hologram and all. But I can make you a mug."

"Exactly, Descartes' ‎Cogito ergo sum." Jena agreed. "Tea, yes I'd love a mug."

"I'm sure the real captain won't mind," said Meru as she turned on her teakettle to reheat the water from her abortive earlier attempt to make tea. "It will be ready in a few minutes." As she looked back down at Jena, a thousand different thoughts were running through her holo-matrix. "So, if I'm real, I guess the next question is, who am I? Between me and my biological counterpart, we can't both be Captain Alenis Meru of the USS Portland. And since she was here first, who does that make me?"

"Well, I suppose that's up to you. In many cultures a person is allowed to choose their own name, I don't see why can't do so too. Personally I've always liked the human name, Rachel." Jena said. "As for what you're going to do for a job, I think you'll have to discus that with the Captain."

"Rachel..." mused the 'captain' as the water began to bubble again. "That is a nice name, though I think my mother may decompile me if I choose a non-Bajoran name." She took a deep breath as she stood up to prepare some tea, figuring that some of the captain's deka tea would do for this occasion. "That's the catch though. Taking on a whole new identity means I'm discarding the old. If I'm a different person, I'll have to start all over. Relationships, careers, even this collection of exotic teas... it's all hers. And I doubt the real Meru would be willing to share her partner with me."

"True, but part of life is change." Jena replied. "Often it's difficult, sometimes even painful..." She thought about Peter and her mother's deaths and wiped a tear from her eye. "...but if change wasn't difficult, it wouldn't be worth it."

Meru nodded in agreement and paused for a moment to stare out the window before offering Jena her tea. "It's a big galaxy out there. I just hope there's enough room for two of us."

"I'm sure there is, and if you need any help, you can count on me." Jena told her.

"You've helped a great deal already," replied Meru. "Perhaps more than you know."
Capt. Alenis Meru
Commanding Officer
USS Portland


Re: Mission Three: "Pilgrims"

Sun Mar 29, 2015 3:06 pm

Of Shards and Visions part I
by Lt Tyrlai Zade, Lt. (JG) Amata Zan, ENS Sera Williams, Security Crewman Gregory (played by Eilis Ross)

The Caves
Gamia III
MD 6, just before 10:00

Tyrlai Zade wondered how closely the Reptilian was paying attention and how honed his senses were. Some species you just couldn't fool but it didn't mean you didn't try. She had wiggled very slowly but in the correct order to activate the devices she had woven into her undergarments for these types of days. She listened as he shambled around the room growling orders. She hadn't gleaned much, save the notion that there was still excitement above. Misters Parker, Beauvoir or Ms sh'Kor must have gotten the word upwards to the ship. Once she had dealt with the treacherous Reptilian she would see if she could join them. Her arms were secured over her head, her body stretched out at an angle on an uncomfortable wooden surface. Her feet not quite reaching the floor. She'd been working on all of that while she waited.

"You can open your eyes Ms Zade, you aren't fooling anybody."

Honed senses, check, She made a mental note as she looked over at him. "What gave me away?"

"You mammalians move too much, warm blooded metabolisms I expect."

"Lying on rocks in the sun for a couple million years probably does give you the genetic edge on keeping still."

"And how many millions of years have your people been working on being verbose and annoying?"

"That's just me." Tyrlai smiled. "Why aren't we to the threats part yet? There should be threats, if you didn't need something we would have been disposed of by now."

"I do need something." The Reptilian leaned in with what might have been a grin in his culture, there were way more teeth than Tyrlai was comfortable with. "I need your help."

“With what?” interjected Amata gruffly, restrained and laid out in the same manner as the Trill officer, but able to comfortably reach the floor, giving his back a wonderful stretch, "Or are you just being misleading for affect." The Security officer had been awake for some time now, watching the scene Zade had been listening to as subtly as he was able, his training and typical Starfleet uniform offering no way out of his restraints. He had to assume that the ship was aware that they had been taken captive, or at least assumed that they had been; though being a pessimist, if he was still aboard the Portland, his personal assumption would be that the two officers lost and unarmed in hostile territory were dead. He had to assume that the reptile had been aware of him the entire time, though it now seemed like their captor had been waiting for the lieutenant to be awake, perhaps such things were just another privilege of rank, “Though if I’m interrupting your banter, I apologize.”

The Reptilian looked back and forth between the two Federation officers. "And I apologize if I have made hierarchical assumptions." He said looking at Amata and then back at Tyrlai. "Of your two uniforms, your looked, well, more decorous?"

"You have good taste, what did you need help with?" Tyrlai tried to steer the conversation back to his evil plans.

"My people tracked a distress call to this location. It had a unique temporal signature to that of a race of energy beings who had helped us in the past. I was dispatched in the hopes of rendering assistance if possible. Maintaining my cover required acts of violence I would otherwise abstain from. I detected the ablative layer in your garments and shot you instead of the others."

Tyrlai's eyes narrowed in odd disappointment, she had been looking forward to dispatching the Reptilian. She flexed her wrists and snapped her cuffs sliding down the table the half a foot to the floor. "Release my friend and lets see these readings of yours."

"Apparently my assumption that mammalians were frigidity was too simple. How did you manage it if I may ask?" The Reptilian inquires whilst tapping a wrist controller that released Amata.

"Eight hundred years of specialized wrist exercises." She said not willing to give up her secrets just yet.

Freed, Amata pushed himself off of the wooden backing and stretched his arms wide, rolling his shoulders back to loosen his stiff body, audible cracks being made. He tested the arm the reptile had shot as he listened to the being’s story, mentally chewing on use of the term “temporal,” as it could imply several different things, including one that would be very familiar to anyone who happen to be from a world whose deities had been scientifically proven to exist, and bothered to read the dumbed down versions of DS9 science department, “These energy beings, are they capable of forth dimensional movement with an electromagnetic wavelength of up to roughly 500 nm?”

Their pseudo-captor nodded with one of his thousand tooth smiles. "I see you have had some experience with them, good." He walked over to the display and tapped a few buttons. "I can run interference on their security measures from here. Their security setup is dubious of quality but has a clever fail-safe. It resets itself in waves every few seconds thus foiling most intrusive methods. However, if someone is actively monitoring the process he can interfere with the resets. I can keep them from seeing you," He pointed to a simple route on the display, "if you can get here and shut off the [researching proper techno-babble] matrix that should free the energy being trapped within. We need to act quickly, they mean to drain that energy for one of their ceremonies."

At the mention of a ceremony, Amata felt a strange a chill run through. As much as he tried to avoid actively participating in his culture's religion, he readily accepted that it was all based in fact, as the Prophets had performed several miraculous feats in his life time, up to and including the disappearance of a Dominion fleet. The thought of what one could do with, or need their energy for was beyond him. Giving Zade a concerned glance, he turned back to the reptile, "By chance, do you have a couple of spare disruptors you can give us, or do we have to improvise?"

The Reptilian thought for a moment and walked over to a drawer, keyed in a code and handed a phaser and a disruptor to Amata. "I will monitor from here. It is time." He said, stressing the last part.

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Alenis Meru
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Re: Mission Three: "Pilgrims"

Sun Mar 29, 2015 3:09 pm

The Final Conflict, Part II
Caves, Gamia III
MD6, 1015 hrs
Authors: Capt. Alenis Meru, Lt. Parker Hudson, Lt. Jason Beauvoir

Last time, on Star Trek: Portland...

"You know the most important thing about stealing someone's identity?" [Alenis] asked in a menacing voice, staring Jason down. With her thumb, she pressed a button on the phaser, changing its setting to kill. "It's making sure that there are no witnesses."

And now, the continuation...

[Inside Alenis' head]

Get out of my head! If she could shout, Alenis would have screamed it. But instead, like a prisoner in her own body, all she could do was think it.

It's my head now, replied another voice. It was a male voice, booming in its intensity, almost overpowering Alenis' own thoughts. I'm in control now.

Like hell you are!
exclaimed Alenis, focusing hard, trying to overpower him. She saw the phaser pointed directly at Jason. I won't let you kill him!

The voice just laughed. Meru, I am far more powerful than you. I am Kosst Amojan, the liberator of the Pah-wraiths. And I know all your darkest secrets. Bajor, New Algiers, even that little fling you have with your shrink. I thank you for taking such good care of it for me, but as prophesized, this is my body now. And there is nothing you can do to stop me.

I'll fight you, replied Alenis. I'll fight you every step of the way. I don't know how, but so long as my pagh resides in this body, I'll fight you.

The alien voice snickered. Meru, what is the old saying, it is better to be in the eye of a hurricane than in its path? Just think, you have a unique opportunity to have a front row seat to history in the making. The liberation of the pah-wraiths, the creation of a new Bajor--

Go to hell.

The voice sighed. That's not very nice, Meru. If you want to be like that, it's your choice. But you're powerless to stop me from liberating the Pah-wraiths and bringing on the final cleansing. And, you're powerless to stop me from killing your friend.

No! Please...

Yes, Meru. With Alenis' body, Kosst Amojan lined up Jason in his sights. You will watch as your crew dies by your own hand.

No! No, no, no!

[In the caves]

"Any last words?" asked Alenis. Kosst Amojan was drawing it out, making it all the more painful for Alenis, a prisoner in her own body, forced to watch.

"Yes, actually. To be or not to be, that is the question. Whether it is nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune or to take arms against a sea of troubles and by a posing end them." Jason said beginning to recite Hamlet's famous soliloquy in an a attempt to give Parker time to come to his aid. He thought that Henry V's St. Crispian's Day speech was more appropriate, but he couldn't remember the sixth line correctly, and he didn't want to die 'murdering' the Bard's words. He kept eye contact with the interloper, who had taken over Meru's body, the whole time.

Sitting next to Jason, Parker was watching the whole scene unravel of the Pah Wraith's re-entering the Universe from its hidden depths of scourge. Eternal darkness was now swelling to life and gaining it's first victim in Alenis. Her slender body writhing in flames of amber, red, white-hot almost beautiful in its surreal dance surrounding her.

"To die-," continued Alenis, surrounded in flame, her phaser still aimed at Jason's heart. "To sleep- No more;"

Jason and Parker's face both lighted by this scene. Hudson's eyebrow furrowed in pain now front row to see his crew mate about to die. His fitted engineers tool belt he had taken everywhere with him, planet and engineering otherwise reminded Parker of action. The weapon holster long empty from Gamians above. The Gamian officer behind not allowing any movement with the disruptor to his head, tight as the guard watched in stern silence to his budding lord.

Alenis laughed. "You know, Jason, she had feelings for you." Smirking, she moved her thumb directly over the fire button. "Of course, these feelings will only make this all the more painful for her. But, it must be done."

Muttering to his self Parker readied... Grinning slightly in pain and bruising across his face. Jason having had recited this beautiful verse...

Parker slipped his thumb on his belt. He had pressed a metallic button with a low... hum starting, warming up... then like a large camera flash!!! The Energy Dissipater was set off. Meant to be an electrical weapon used by the Jem Hadar in 2375, the device immediately worked by draining the energies of weapons, engines, fields, and its sources nearby.

Parker giving a relaxing 'on the beach smile' at Alenis. Her hand weapon first and then guards energies begin to crackle and dampen dissipatingly, a deep blue drowning force in the room all around. "Life is a b**** sometimes... So learn how to f******!"

For a moment, the red glow in her eyes faded and Alenis was back in control. "Stop him," was all she could gasp before the presence of Kosst Amojan overwhelmed her once more. She tossed the useless weapon aside and snatched a large ceremonial dagger off of one of the Vedeks as the guards moved in closer. "That's not very nice," she replied brandishing the blade in front of her. She let out another evil laugh. "You know, being without a corporeal body for so long, I forgot the simple pleasures of sinking a blade into someone's flesh. It's so much more personal than energy weapons, wouldn't you agree?"

Seeing the dagger reminded Jason of Sarah's death. He'd been unable to stop that Romulan 'chienne' (French word for a female dog) from plunging that knife into her chest. The blood, there had been so much blood. For a brief moment he entertained the thought of letting the 'demon' take his life, it would end his pain after all and his atoms would return to the universe. No, he had too much to live for. "I'm afraid that's a pleasure, I going to have to deny you." Silently apologising to Meru, he dodged Kosst's knife thrust and then picked up a heavy metal candle stand and brought it down on 'his' dagger hand, fracturing the metacarpals and causing the dagger to fall harmlessly to the stone floor.

The creature occupying Alenis' body winced in pain, stumbling backwards. As he did so, flames shot up from the altar and out of the shard, surrounding Alenis and sending the Kai stumbling, her grip on the cliff face becoming more tenuous as she tried to reach for and recover the shard. The flames surrounded Alenis, coalescing around her hand. She screamed in pain as inside the flames, her hand was twisted and deformed, being regenerated into a powerful claw. The flames around her were beginning to effect a subtle transformation as the long-simmering rage of the long-imprisoned Pah-wraith finally met a physical outlet. Her skin was becoming paler, and with the red glowing eyes, she looked almost demonic.

The occupant of Alenis' body let out a war cry as he lunged at Jason with a flaming claw, swiping at the candelabra that he had used on her as an improvised weapon. "You really think you can stop me?" shouted Alenis and she went in for another swipe. "You'll both feel my wrath! All those who banished me here will!"

"She's.... /It's unreal!/" Hudson barked as he leaned back slipping out his 4 inch knife at his side belt... A swift fluid knick behind him where he sat slicing into the back cloth and heel flesh of the Gamian male guard behind him. A cry was heard out as the guard struggled to stand and then dropping knelt to Jason and Parker's side.

"AaaaGGGGH!" The Gamian growled furrowing his face as his back heel bled out pulses of black blood bleeding to death.

Seeing their comrade stabbed, the remaining guards focused on the yellow-shirted engineer. Three of them surrounded Parker and drew their knives. A fourth swung a heavy chain over his head. Even a Vedek joined in, raising a heavy rock above his head, ready to bring it down on Parker if he came any closer.

"Don't kill him," shouted the creature possessing Alenis' body as she dodged a strike from Jason's candle stand. "I want Meru to watch him die!"

Jason watched the flame regenerate Meru's broken hand, with a mixture of scientific curiosity and visceral revulsion. Parker had saved him from death twice now, but it seemed it all might be for naught as they were both about to die at the hands of the being that possessed the captain's body. If he were a religious man, he'd probably be praying for deliverance, but since he was not, he just hoped someone would come to their aid presently.

The heat of the flames in front of him was causing Parker to sweat profusely. It was hot and uncomfortable and it was inhuman. This was not Alenis, and if it were Alenis she would much more direct and pointed in her fury. Parker didn't know what to do, he was not a religious Man per se' however he believed in a spiritual connection throughout the whole universe. The feeling, the energies were undeniable. The good and evil. Perhaps this is what they were dealing with now.

Among the heat and rocks crackling around the cave aperatures the echoing sounds of the flames in the room upward. Parker could only think of one thing other than a prayer, it was the Chakra Sciences that his Mother had preached to him as a Child back on Akaria.

Shouting loud enough to over power the evil force, he thought the 'The Twelve Blessings' was worth the shot....

Blessed are they who work for peace
Blessed are the wise ones
Blessed are they who love
Blessed are the planetary ones
Blessed are the thanks givers...

[To be continued...]
Capt. Alenis Meru
Commanding Officer
USS Portland


Re: Mission Three: "Pilgrims"

Sun Mar 29, 2015 3:10 pm

Of Shards and Visions part II
by Lt Tyrlai Zade, Lt. (JG) Amata Zan, ENS Sera Williams, Security Crewman Gregory (played by Eilis Ross)

The Caves
Gamia III
MD 6, just before 10:00

...the latticework filling the room erupted with light. A soundless brightness enfolded them leaving each alone surrounded by sharp glowing white, so intense it washed out the cave and the others around them...

Sera's vision was filled with light, it was bright. The light began to dissipate, leaving Sera a bit disoriented. She rubbed her eyes a bit to get her bearings. She was still in her Starfleet Uniform, but her surroundings had changed.

The light faded and was replaced by a very familiar setting. She was in the hospital room in San Francisco, one of the Starfleet Medical buildings to be precise, yet the color was a bit foggy. The last time she was in this room was when...

"Sera, we are now the same," her mother's weak voice said from behind her. Sera spun around to see her mother in the hospital bed. At that point , Sera had been a first year cadet at the Academy and her mother was just about to lose her battle with early onset Irumatic Syndrome. Sera's eyes welled up with tears as she looked at her mother and the fresh tulips her father had picked, yet thus was not her mother.

"I was bound to the cage as you were to your home. Now we are both free." Her mother's voice continued. Another flash of light, and Sera was aboard the ISS Portland, facing her mirror Tamara. The woman was wild-eyed and wielding a phaser rifle, and frightened the he'll out of Sera. Sera heard the more aggressive and primal version of her own voice say, "Do we free ourselves? Do we take vengeance, as your species call it? You are still stuck in these moments. They still claw at you and hurt." The Prophet dropped the rifle, as another wave of light swallowed the scene.

The scene was replaced with that of a hanger filled with fighter-class ship's. Before her stood an Andorian woman who Sera recognized as Shusas. The woman eyed Sera before she said, "You still have fear. You are afraid if what has happened, and you are afraid of what is to come."

Sera's eyes became a bit watery, "Yes, I am. I have overcome, yet it still grips me." The Prophet took a step closer and put its hands on Sera's shoulders. "Do not be caged by your fear. Become truly free."

The light returned. Sera was standing back in San Francisco, but this time next to a shuttle before she departed to Deep Space 9 en route to the Portland. Her sister stood before her. "Remember, you are not to be caged. Please promise you'll remember." Before Sera could respond, the flash returned.

This time she was aboard Deep Space 9 with her hand in a bowl of sand peas.

...A soundless brightness enfolded them leaving each alone surrounded by sharp glowing white....

The flash of light filled Amata’s vison and, in a way he would never be able to explain, everything else, till all he was aware of was a feeling of warmth in his core, comforting to the point of suffocation. When his senses returned, after a moment or an eternity, the Security officer was no longer in the caverns, but in the open air of the mining camp that had been his childhood, grey ground, grey walls, grey sky. His disruptor was gone, “We are the same.”

Hearing the voice, Amata spun around, scanning in every direction with his eyes until he had come full circle, finding a young Bajoran girl with the same nose as him now stood atop a pile of discarded stone. Amata fell to his knees, “Amn…”

“We did not wish to be where we were,” the voice spoke again and Amata’s sister vanished without effect, replaced by a hand on his shoulder and a presence towering behind him. Ready to violently defend himself if needed, Amata quickly spun around and stood to meet the new figure, coming face to face with a Cardassian guard, one he had known as a child, or perhaps everyone he had ever known. He flinched, backing away with such haste that he tripped and landed on his ass in the dirt, kicking up the stone dust as slip across the ground, memories of fists and boots trampling through his thoughts.

Within seconds, though it could have been days, Amata’s back met with solid resistance. Looking upwards, his gaze met that of Commander Alenis, the Portland’s captain, a woman he had never met, whose image he only knew from Federation newsnets, her expression blankly alien, “We are now free to be where we wish to, but you remain here.” Collecting himself, the lieutenant stood to face the odd figure, grey stone was now replaced by the vastness of space, “You choose to remain in the most painful parts of your limited, linear existence.”

As the voice finished, a hand had instantly been placed on his left ear, his pagh, and the camp was replaced by the verdant green of an M-class world he had never seen, yet knew was New Bajor. “Fear, aggression, shame,” Alenis was gone, and the being in front of him was now in the form of a Jem’Hadar solider, “Hate.” Amata looked the horned creature in the eye, having to tilt his upward, the Jem’Hadar being a head taller than him, just like he remembered.

“Yes, hate,” admitted the Bajoran, finally comprehending what was happening, “I hated all of them, I still do. I… they slaughtered my sister, my friends, their colony. I had so little, and they took it away because they were ordered, without a second of hesitation. ”

“Strength,” like a light changing colour, the Prophet became Amata, almost twenty years younger and dressed in surface operations black, a crewman’s pip on its false collar. It offered its older double a type 3 phaser rifle but Amata made no move to accept it.

“No, I was weak. I had my chance to fight them, to kill them, but when I finally had one down my sights I couldn’t do it.”

The Prophet dropped the weapon, which vanished before it touched the green grass beneath them, it grabbed Amata’s hand and balled into a fist, “Compassion. Strength, compassion, duty, the Kosst Amojan does not possess these traits.”

Before Amata could begin to respond to what the Prophet had said, or its use of the forbidden name, it vanished along with the green, replaced by the familiar black of space. Searching the expanse, Amata found he now stood high above New Bajor. The Prophet remained in front of him, silhouetted by the planet, but had once again taken the form of Alenis Meru, her eyes now glowing red, “The exiled one must not be allowed to go where it wishes, the traveler must be saved.”

Below, New Bajor began to burn. intense it washed out the cave and the others around them...

As a blinding light flashed across Gregory's eyes, he suddenly found himself back on earth.

"Hold your arms straight and focus Cadet! I said FOCUS!"

Gregory's arms shook with the pressure as fear flooded his body. He had to do this...he couldn't let them down.

"Stop Gregory...stop and listen...." As the world around him faded, the big burly instructors lips could be seen moving but there was no volume. "Listen to all that's around you..."

As Gregory's arms continued to shake, he begun to hear other voices; one in particular stood out.

"Catch me if you can!" She turned her head to look over her shoulder, he eyes glittering with amusement as she ran faster. "I was always able to out run and out gun you bucko."

As the security officers arms continued to tremble, he softly breathed out the single word no.

Again the imagines around him shifted and changed. This time he stood in a hospital corridor, watching the Doctors run and talk over themselves. "She's starting to flat line!"

He remembered the words and the feeling of hopelessness. They couldn't let her wasn't allowed to happen.

"You couldn't protect her then because you didn't know how..."

Gregory recognized the voice before the person walked into his vision. Instructor McGrath...feared among all Starfleet Cadets as he wasn't afraid to belittle and terrorize those who fell under him in their weapons training.

"Why did you bring me back here...isn't it enough that I spend every day of my life remembering....I wasn't good enough then, I'll never be good enough."

As the instructor moved to his side, he placed one hand on the officers shoulder. "You only believe your not good know better then that. The medals you long ago scrapped...the broken academy records....It's buried inside of you, you just need to let it be unlocked."

As Gregory watched on as the Doctors leaned over the transporter bed, he watched as they attached pads to the young woman's chest before someone in the background activated the electric shock to try restart her heart. "It's not working we are going to loose her!"

Feeling the tears dampen his cheeks, still the officer refused to look away, "None of it matters, none of it was enough to save her."

As the hand on his shoulder tightened, Gregory heard the familiar voice again, "You know deep inside that nothing would have changed what happened. Her life was destined to end that matter what course of action you took."

Gregory watched as the Doctors fell silent, looking at each other in a wordless communication as the urgency of the situation slowly slipped away. "She didn't have to die....I promised her I wouldn't let it happen...."

As the scean shifted and faded once more, a second voice echoed inside of his mind, faceless but indisputable who it was, "You know that I wouldn't ever blame you....You know Gregory that you meant more to me than that..."

...a blinding flash seemed to wash away the room, in a moment and then lifted as if floating up and away...

Tyrlai stood blinking as the cave returned. She knew it had been there around them the whole time but for that moment it had seemed to vanish. They stood face to face with each other like sides of a box, each one blinking as if having trouble focusing on the cave floor again. Tyrlai's thoughts spun, tactics were something she had always been pretty good at and she developed her plan quickly and set it in motion before the others could start to compare notes. She snapped out of the blinking and set her eyes to a combination of mischief and accusation. "You all had visions, didn't you! Why don't I ever get a vision? Bloody prophet favouritism! Grab the transport buffers," Tyrlai turned and looked to the northwest and about thirty degrees up, "we're late to help the others."

Sera nodded her agreement to Tyrlai. She was still a bit emotional from her vision experience, which left her in no condition to argue the finer points of a proper mission plan. On instinct, Sera grabbed as many transport buffers as she could carry, then ran after Tyrlai. Sera considered herself in good condition, a daily exercise regimen and a days spent crawling through Jeffrey's Tubes and climbing ladders did their work to keep her in shape. However, the buffers in her arms kept her from completely catching up to Tyrlai, though she kept herself close enough to yell. Somewhere in the back of her mind, Sera thought about how ridiculous she must look running with those transport buffers.

The fog of his vision clearing, Amata shook his head and watched the lieutenant and ensign run ahead, sighing as he realized what was happening. He turned to Gregory and adjusted his disruptor so that the stock was snugly against his bicep, "Watch your head, last time Zade ran ahead, I got shot." He caught up to the group in seconds.

Blinking away the tears that still distorted his vision, Gregory refused to let his boss see him tremble. Gripping his phaser harder, he grabbed what he could with his free hand and arm and moved to follow their engineer.

Tyrlai led the short string of fleeters through a quick series of turns, two short climbs and one more turn, into a cave with burning lights a lava pool and the CO of the Portland, cackling at her crewmen with fiery eyes. Tyrlai raised her right fist and motioned to the others to circled the edge and set up the buffers. She paused for a moment and darted forward.

Timothy Rouse

Re: Mission Three: "Pilgrims"

Sun Mar 29, 2015 3:13 pm

The Final Conflict, Part III
Caves, Gamia III
MD6, 1015 hrs
Authors: Capt. Alenis Meru, Lt. Cmdr. Timothy Rouse, Lt. Trylai Zade, Lt. Parker Hudson, Lt. Jason Beauvoir

Last Time on Star Trek: Portland

Among the heat and rocks crackling around the cave aperatures the echoing sounds of the flames in the room upward. Parker could only think of one thing other than a prayer, it was the Chakra Sciences that his Mother had preached to him as a Child back on Akaria.

Shouting loud enough to over power the evil force, he thought the 'The Twelve Blessings' was worth the shot....

Blessed are they who work for peace
Blessed are the wise ones
Blessed are they who love
Blessed are the planetary ones
Blessed are the thanks givers...

And now, the continuation...

Ignoring the prayers, the creature posessing Alenis pressed home his attack. With a swipe of the claw, 'Alenis' slashed at the candle-holder that Jason was using to defend himself with, slicing it clean in half. Taking advantage of the opportunity, she lunged at his throat with her other hand. Grabbing him by the neck, she held him aloft with seemingly superhuman strength. "Say goodnight to your friend, Meru," uttered the creature as his victim struggled to breathe.

The Kai shrieked in triumph, getting back to her knees, the final tolic shard clenched in her hand. She opened her mouth to utter the final phrases that would completely free her dark master from the chains of the cave when she was enfolded in a sudden violet light. The shard fell from her grasp as she dropped unconscious and clattered back towards the pit. It bounced just over the edge and into the waiting hand of a crouched Tyrlai Zade, who snatched it from probable oblivion.

She used hand signals to motion the others around the other side, having a sneaking suspicion that what was about to happen would involve the collapse of a large section of the caves. Transport buffers would likely be their best chance to escape. She flipped settings on her phaser and set it to the highest yield it had. She had seven hundred and ninety nine years of guile and tricks and had picked some of the very best ones. She steeled herself and rose walking towards the flaming Alenis creature.

She borrowed the commanding tones of Cedria, Foqia's stage presence, Adrox's magnetism and Koval's uncanny ability to strike terror into the hearts of children and when she spoke, focused all of that through what Tyrlai almost always kept suppressed; keen and vitriolic rage. When she spoke it was all of her at once and it echoed through the hall matching the pah wraiths cackling glee with a clear and angrily sharp commanding snarl. "Put him down and try someone your own age."

"Oh, another victim," replied 'Alenis' as she threw Jason to the ground, hard. Perhaps it would be more painful for Meru to save him for the end, figured the pah wraith. "I'm going to enjoy killing you," she added, stepping towards Tyrlai with her claw brandished.

Inside, Meru felt some relief. It's all over now, she said to Kosst Amojan, punctuating her thoughts with an intense rage. Tyrlai has the shard, and if I know one thing about her, it's that she's got a plan to deal with you. She'll stop you, right here and right now.

Such false bravado, replied the voice smugly. This Tyrlai will be just one more victim, one more mere mortal in my path. Besides, reasoned the pah wraith, this is my body now. She can't do anything to me without harming you as well.

I'd rather die than let you leave this cave!

Such spirit, mused Kosst. A shame, really. With that, the pah wraith lunged towards Tyrlai with a flaming claw. Tyrlai turned and held up the hand with the shard, blocking the claw. The shard glowed in a soft burst of white light as it was struck with the flame. The blow bounced off the raised arm of the physically far weaker Tyrlai harmlessly.

The corner of her lip curled in the tiniest smirk, which vanished almost immediately. It confirmed one suspicion and left her with precious few options. Options she had never really worked for her, trust and faith. "Alenis, I don't have a lot of options here. I need you to fight him. Throw him out." The claw of the pah wraith slashed back, the agile Trill blocked it again.

Alenis didn't know what to do. Try as she might, she couldn't overwhelm the other presence in her head. She thought back to when she was a child, when her mother would pray with her before going to bed. A simple prayer, calling on the prophets for favour and protection. Reapeating it over and over, she focused as hard as she could.

Jia kasha tren tolaren, lapor ilani kor. Enna tana talinok. Jia kasha treyna tolaren, lapor ilani kors, enna jia kasha tren.
Jia kasha tren tolaren, lapor ilani kor. Enna tana talinok. Jia kasha treyna tolaren, lapor ilani kors, enna jia kasha tren.
Jia kasha tren--

SHUT UP!!!! The other voice in her head was irate. I won't have you praying to those false gods!

What are you going to do about it? countered Alenis. Finally, she knew she had something. If she could distract him enough, she might be able to create an opening for Tyrlai.

Jia kasha tren tolaren, lapor ilani kor. Enna tana talinok. Jia kasha treyna tolaren, lapor ilani kors, enna jia kasha tren.
Jia kasha tren tolaren, lapor ilani kor...

Jason hit the ground hard and briefly lost conciousness. He could feel something warm and wet running down his cheek, but he didn't feel any pain. Blackness again. A flash of purple. Blackness. Meru in flames. Shadows. Heat. Then words that part of his mind recognised as a Bajoran prayer. Blackness.

Tyrlai danced backwards blocking and shifting, stepping catlike in a slow circle as the wraith struck again and again. She blocked a flurry of blows as the strange fight unfolded, the wraith attacking again and again with a single flaming claw, Tyrlai blocking with one hand clenched tightly around the shard. "Please Alenis, this is bad, and I don't want to always be the bad one,..." She pleaded but the fight seemed to be tiring Alenis at the ever increasing benefit of the pah wraith whose attacks seemed to grow stronger and stronger as the fight continued.

Having finally made his way to the others in the cave Tim was staring at the fight in front of him open-eyed. Glancing around him the others were either pinned down by one of the assailant or lying on the grown unconscious. He tried to determine what was going on, why the Captain and the second officer were fighting. Because of the darkness of the cave no one had spotted him yet. Something he wanted to use to his benefit. When hearing Zade's comment he took a wild guess and came forward, shooting the guards in surprise, before they had a chance to respond.

Seeing Tim's arrival was enough to bolster Alenis's spirits. As the pah wraith locked eyes with him, he was momentarily overwhelmed by Alenis' spirit. "Tim," gasped Alenis, struggling against the pah wraith, her eyes full of pain. She knew that even if she could take control, with him present, it would be only temporary. And that Kosst Amojan needed to be stopped here and now. "Please... stop him... kill me."

"What?!?" he shouted. There had to be another way. He looked at Zade in the hope she had the answer. Could he shoot the Captain? He wondered. If there was no other option. He'd shot her before. "What if we stun her?"

"Won't... work..." sputtered Alenis before her eyes flashed red again. "Cleanse the unbelievers!" she shouted, brandishing her claw at Tyrlai, the pah-wraith back in control.

Sitting upright watching the final conflict ensue, his body was drained of water and delirious as much as Jason nearest him. Parker was dirt covered and fully heated.

Tyrlai blocked, spun and blocked again. She was starting to feel some of the heat, her own connection to the shattered orb she was trying was not as strong as if she had been Bajoran. She ducked as the claw slashed overhead and then flipped back as it spun back. The wraith curled Alenis' features unto a snarl. "Its only a matter of time before you falter, dancing girl."

Tyrlai's brow narrowed, she had always been a clever girl, and with eight centuries of knowledge to draw on she could often spin circles around those she met. But there was nothing in the last eight hundred years about pah wraiths. Nothing on how to free a compelled mind from something so strong. She blocked and stumbled from the splash of burning flamed. Blinking and shifting her feet for the second it took the wraith to spin and catch her in the midsection, knocking her up and back. She hit the stone floor with a sharp yelp and heard the shard clatter away.

Alenis-Wraith's eyes lit up with sadistic glee and it darted for the treasure. Grabbing it with the burning claw. It flared with white light and the creature instantly dropped it staggering back. Tyrlai caught it as she got back to her knees and shouted. "Last chance, let her go!!"

The Wraith howled but the pain gave it more rage and rage made it stronger. "OR WHAT!? What will you do stubborn little child!"

The wraith charged and Tyrlai drew the disruptor, aiming with both hands, the shard tight against the weapon, and fired. A violet beam slammed into Alenis and knocked her back, dropping lifelessly to the floor. The insubstantial wraith still charging forward. Tyrlai was enshrouded in flame for a moment, she concentrated on an old meditative symbol she had learned on Trill. It closed the mind to intrusion, it had worked for her once before, on the USS Hood. After a few moments of kneeling in the flames the Wraith was sucked back into the walls of its ancient prison.

Tyrlai let the disruptor drop but couldn't quite stand. She just stared at the lifeless form of the co laying in front of her.

Tim turned his head as the blast hit Meru. He couldn't see his friend die. For seconds he didn't move then he did and knelt by her body. Even though he knew that there was no way she could have survived this he preesed his fingers to her neck to feel for a heartbeat. Seconds ticked by as he desperately prayed for the signal that confirmed his friend hadn't died. But that never came.

He dropped his head and let out a deep breath before stating the obvious. "She's dead."

Brad Silverton

Re: Mission Three: "Pilgrims"

Sun Mar 29, 2015 3:13 pm

Discussing Medical Compications
U.S.S. Portland, Sickbay
MD6, Morning
Authors: Lt (JG) Brad Silverton, Lt.(JG) Delainey Carlisle

Delainey hit the chime outside Brad's office, and as she waited to be allowed entry, she considered all that she wanted to talk to him about. She was still sorting through reports detailing the past and the recent events aboard, but already she knew the crew had been through quite a lot. With Arvel still in recovery, the bulk of the crew's mental health needs had become her responsibility, and she thought it was prudent to reach out to the Portland's CMO to get his take on the crew's needs.

Besides, she also needed her physical, and the idea of taking care of two birds with one stone, so to speak, appealed to her.

Brad hollered out, "Come in". He was sitting in his office located in the center of sickbay. His office had finally been finished with the large wall glass panel having been installed last Tuesday. "Ah Dr. Carlisle. Your timing is perfect. I was going to come by your office later today to discuss a number of matters. Please sit down. The replicators are working now. Can I get you anything?"

Delainey entered as directed and took a brief look around the office before she sat down. "No, but thank you, sir. It's a pleasure to meet you, and it's nice to see we both had a similar discussion in mind."

"As you know Counselor Darze is hurt and recovering. He should only be out for a couple of days tops. His wound wasn't that bad. The problem comes in from the WHO wounded him and WHY. I'm not sure if you've heard as we've tried keeping it under wraps but I'm not sure how successful we've been..."

Carlisle had heard rumblings certainly, but she wasn't sure what she heard made any sense. Perhaps in this case it was better to let the CMO think she was ignorant to the events rather than open her mouth and remove all doubt. Delainey frowned. "I am concerned and was actually going to ask if you didn't bring it up. Certainly, if a member of the crew isn't safe, I'd like to know if it's one of our people that's put him in danger."

"Lieutenant Jason Beauvoir recently experienced Pon Farr. His physical needs have been taken care of and he is safe and back under his own control. There is however the matter though of his psychological needs. How familiar are you with Pon Farr?"

"I know as much as any Starfleet trained doctor does about the condition," Delainey began. "With the exception of a few Vulcans who had a prolonged reaction that I encountered during my residency, I don't know a lot. As you know, Vulcans are extremely private about the condition, but it's not unusual for a Vulcan serving in Starfleet to seek medical attention for the condition," Carlisle added.

Brad nodded. "During Pon Farr, a Vulcan will select a mate. One highly respected and often well known to them. Once selected they seem to tune out all other potential mates." Brad shifted forward a bit and spoke slightly quieter even though they were alone. "Jason chose the Captain. To get around this we altered the EMH to look like the Captain, who took care of his... condition in the holodeck. Again, physically he is fine and the real Captain has been on the planet for most of the time so I don't even know if they have talked since the event."

"That's awkward..." Delainey allowed, her professional instincts kicking in, already thinking of how she might help in the aftermath. "It would seem the worst is over, however."

Brad bit his lower lip and then spoke. "Well it gets a bit more complicated. Its probably a good thing Counselor Darze is recuperating. He went down to talk to Lt Beauvoir. They exchanged some words before the Lt escaped and attacked Arvel." Brad paused for a moment to consider if he should pass on that Arvel and Alenis had a romantic history and the words exchanged were no doubt one of jealousy. No, it wasn't his place to share that and things were complicated enough as it was.

"I don't follow. Why would he attack the Counselor? There has to be more," Delainey added.

Brad closed his eyes with a slight wince and continued trying to deflect the question. "I have strong reason to believe that the hologram version of the Captain is now fully sentient having rights along with it. She... it knows its an A.I. but that she has just as much right to be anywhere on the ship as the Captain."

Carlisle frowned. She hadn't seen that coming. "How does a hologram suddenly gain sentience? That doesn't make sense."

"We weren't really sure if Jason is enough Vulcan to have telepathic or empathic powers so to get around that we not only made the EMH look like the Captain but be her too. We copied her brainwaves, her personality. It seemed like when we started it would just be the EMH with a little bit of the Captain but it turned into something more. Something we are now responsible for."

That made a little more sense to Delainey. After all, Pon Farr wasn't just about sex and reproduction, but also the creation of a mental bond between mates. A suitable partner would have to be capable of such a mental connection, and a hologram who only looked and sounded like the Captain wasn't going to cut it. After absorbing all of that, the emotional significance of Silverton's last line hit her. They were now responsible for a cognitively and emotionally sophisticated, possibly sentient version of the Captain, who had been created for the sole purpose of being used sexually, and had fulfilled that use. What that experience been like for "her?" How was "she" feeling now? "Including creating her for the sole purpose of being someone's sex slave," Delainey added quietly.

Brad continued quietly, "Exactly." Then he spoke up a bit more professionally and directly. "The hologram and I talked before the event. I took her mental state as knowing she was going through with it to save one of her crew. Not the Captain, the other her, but it was HER crew she was saving. Afterwards... I don't think the real Captain and the hologram version have talked. Everything could be fine or... there could be massive resentment for 'taking one for the team'."

Brad lost the professional tone in his but kept it civil, "Hell we never even asked her what her thoughts were on it. We just thought we were making a computer program and since the original Captain went along with the idea I thought that was good enough. I never thought she would turn sentient. How could I?"

"There's no way you could have known," Delainey reassured him. "The only thing we can do now is make sure they're both cared for. The situation is complicated but a little compassion goes a long way."

Brad Silverton

Re: Mission Three: "Pilgrims"

Sun Mar 29, 2015 3:14 pm

Follow Up Exam
U.S.S. Portland, Sickbay
MD6, Morning
Authors: Lt (JG) Brad Silverton, Coln Jena (played by Jason Beauvoir)

As she was making her way back to her quarters, Jena received a message from Dr. Silverton asking her to visit him as soon as she had a spare moment. Thinking it best to get it over with sooner rather than latter, she made her way to the Sickbay.

Walking though the doors she spotted a nurse. She was a female Boslic with long purple hair. "Is Dr. Silverton in?" Jena asked.

"Yes, he's in his office." the Nurse replied in a thick Boslic accent.

"Thank you." The girl replied.

Arriving at the CMO's office, she knocked on the transparent aluminium window to get the man's attention.

Brad raised his eyes up from the viewscreen and then upon noticing who it was, smiled and tilted his head fully up to greet her. "Ah Jena good. Come in please and have a seat. How are you doing?"

"Can't complain." Jena said as she entered the office and took a seat. "How about you, Doc?"

"Not too bad actually now that things are calming down. Your father is doing well and back to his normal self. Counselor Darze and the ambassador are stable and recovering. The mission on the planet seems a bit behind schedule but I haven't heard anything much so I presume its your standard dry diplomacy mission. I hear though you've had some involvement in that?"

"I'm glad to hear the Counselor and the ambassador are doing well and I'm my father will too, I think my feels responsible for Darze's injuries." Jena replied. "As for my run as ambassador, it was more to do with the Gamians' strict adherence to the ancient Bajoran caste system, than any diplomatic ability on my part."

Brad smiled and replied, "And you don't consider that diplomatic ability? Its all about understanding who is on the other side of the negotiating table. Their motivations and needs and how to communicate with them. Sounds like you were just fine."

"I guess." Jena said with a smile. "So, how's your social life, Doc?"

"As good as can be as of late I suppose what with all the medical issues going on. It's kept me from what limited social life I can have. Which actually brings me to why I asked to stop by so you could help me with that. Do you remember Doctor Daryl Huxergard?"

Jena thought for a moment. "Doctor Huxergard, wasn't he the one who's work you used as a basis for the cure you gave me and yourself?"

Brad nodded to Jena's words. "That's right. I've been in correspondence with him. He left Tesderal IV a few years ago but had been meaning to get back to his research. He was overjoyed at my notes on our treatment and was had a slew of questions. Most of which I don't have answers to. I'd like to do an extensive follow up exam of both of us for further research." Brad smirked and chuckled as he finished. "Long distance relationships for a social life aren't my thing but I'll take what I can get."

"Exam away, Who am I to stand in the way of love?" Jena said with a smile.

"Cute," Brad said with a snarky smile back. "HE isn't my type. I'm more of a SHE type of guy." He stands up and holds his hand out pointing to the doorway offering her to lead the way. "Well let's get started shall we?"

"I'm ready, when you are, Doc, as long as your hands aren't cold." Jena replied cheekily.

Brad followed Jenna into the main room of Sickbay and he motioned her over to the main biobed in the center of the room. "I'll need the advanced scanners of the emergency biobed for this exam. It'll take some time a couple hours I'd estimate. I actually have 4 different scans to do." Brad was focused in on making adjustments to the biobed's scanners.

Jena climbed up on to the biobed. Lying on her side with her hand holding up her head, she said. "Alright Mr DeMille, I'm ready for my close up."

"Cute". Brad put the finishing touches on the biobed but kept tinkering a little bit. "So how do you like life aboard a Starship?"

"I'm a Starfleet brat, so I've spent time aboard starships before and I feel more at home on ships, than on any planet."

"My parents were archaeologists. So I was stuck at home on Earth. My first taste of Starship life was my first assignment so you have more experience with that than I do."

"Small world," Jena said. "Jason's mother, or perhaps I should say my grandmother, was an archaeology and anthropology officer, before she was given command." The teenager smiled. "So, did you 'inherit' any of your parents' interest in old dead things?"

"Of a sorts I suppose.... my parents were working on a dig site. They opened up a tomb that had a dormant plague in it. The damp air woke it up and killed them both and most of their team." Brad was nodding his head walking through the events in his mind. "I had been adrift in life without real direction. At that point I vowed to find cures for similar diseases."

"I'm sorry, I didn't know." Jena said sympathy evident in her words. "I know how rough losing those you love can be." She added as she remembered Peter and her own mother.

"Thats quite alright. As you said you didn't know and it's a perfectly reasonable question. I've found my parents death to be a strength of a sorts. I mean obviously I would still want them alive, I loved them dearly. But it gave me drive."

Brad paused for a moment then began speaking again. "A month before they died we had another fight. A big one with words and names exchanged. They didn't approve of the woman I was dating. She had no real future and I hadn't put much thought into my own and they thought she was holding me back. Well then my parents up and died on me before we could make up from our fight. I went through a lot of soul searching and vowed not to let others go through what I went through. To go through having their loved ones taken away because of some unknown uncured disease. Which incidentally is what saved us. That drive pushes me to keep up on research and communication with other researchers including Doctor Huxergard."

"You mentioned you know about losing loved ones? Your mother and why you came to the Portland?"

"About a month before her death, my mother was assigned to the USS Temperance, which was later reported lost with all hands. I was unable to go with her because it was a Defiant class and had no place for families." Jena explained. "When I close my eyes, I can still see her dressed in her uniform waving good bye."

"One more thing we have in common then. Not having a 'good-bye' for them. Here on the Portland though, you seemed to have settled in quickly. You have your dad, Lieutenant Zade, and the Captain trusts you to be going on missions. Your Starfleet career is off to a smashing start." Brad looked over at the monitors and made several adjustments keeping his focus on the instruments.

Jena smiled. "I count you among my friends here too, Doc."

Brad returned the smile. "As do I to you Jena." Brad looked back at the monitor panel, made a few adjustments then grabbed a hand held scanner and started scanning himself. The warm friendly look on his face shifted to an inquisitive one.

"Problem?" She asked noticing his change of expression.

"I'm not quite sure yet. More of an oddity more than anything." Brad finished scanning then nodded. "Well it would appear we have some lasting side effects. Well side effect has a negative connotation which has yet to be determined. It looks like between the radiation we both were exposed to plus with my little cocktail of meds to save us, we've had our tissues altered."

"Which tissues and altered in what way?" She asked. "Perhaps I can help with the analysis, humanoid biology is my best subject."

"Skin, muscle, some of the primary organs. Kind of all over the place really. Its every area that we previously had radiation exposure to. Its not scarring. That would be expected."

Jena raised a quizzical eye brow as she examined the results. Brad was correct, the results were unexpected and definitely required farther study. "Has this 'cocktail' of yours had any effect on our DNA?" She asked after a while.

Brad tilted the viewscreen so she could get a better view. "Actually now that you mention it, it has. Very slightly but as I'm sure you are aware, that could range from meaningless to catastrophic. Since all the scans up till now that I ran during our exposure to the radiation and follow ups afterwards all came up negative I don't think we have much to immediately worry about."

"I'll remind you you said that in the event that I sprout an extra head or something." Jena joked. "Now, I recommend we create some computer models and then take some tissue samples and test them by simulating conditions the exposure to radiation we experienced." She added seriously.

Brad nodded to the plan. "That's a good idea. Its probably linked to the drug..." He paused for a half a second. "Ok so how does a fourteen year old become so interested and knowledgeable about biology?"

"A girl's got to have a hobby." Jena said and gave him a wink. "I have a great interest in how things work, and it's easier to read PADDs than it is to play soccer on long shuttle trips."

"Well in that case, and seeing as how we are both going to be here for awhile for further scans and results; what say we get to work on those experiments."

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Alenis Meru
Commanding Officer
Commanding Officer
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Re: Mission Three: "Pilgrims"

Sun Mar 29, 2015 3:14 pm

Meeting "Alenis"
Captain's Office
MD6, morning
Authors: Capt. Alenis Meru and Lt. (JG) Delainey Carlisle

Having checked in with the CMO, Delainey debated whether she should try to meet with the Captain. Normally, such a meeting would be against protocol because the CO was not her direct superior. However, one reality of being a counselor was there was no substitute for assessing the morale of the crew and its command team. Sure, she could talk to a number of other officers and read their reports, but getting a feel for morale and the overall mental health of the crew was not something she could do just by reading a few standard instruments. Some things required a more hands-on approach.

Carlisle knew she was taking a risk by giving into her curiosity this way, but she was genuinely interested in seeing her new commanding officer's reaction. She knew if she were aboard her old ship, her previous commanding officer would not appreciate the violation of protocol, but if she were completely honest, he didn't appreciate personal visits from counselors, period. Not many did, in fact.

The blonde female in teal didn't bother to check with the computer to locate the Captain, instead taking the opportunity to get a feel for the bridge en route. She smiled politely to those who met her gaze, but to the bridge crew's credit, most of them paid her no attention and strictly went about their business.

Carlisle hit the chime outside the office and exhaled inwardly. Here goes nothing.

"Come in," called out the occupant of the office. It was her second or third visitor since arriving; she had quite the enlightening chat just a few minutes before with Coln Jena and was still digesting some of her insights, with the help of Ko-ko. She had briefly considered telling whoever it was to go away and leave her alone, but that wouldn't have been the most polite thing to do. And it could have consequences for her biological counterpart. So, returning Ko-ko to his favourite perch on top of her - or the other Meru's - monitor, she tried to put on a welcoming face.

The doors hissed open upon the Captain's command and Delainey entered as directed. She offered a polite smile and couldn't help but notice how attractive the other woman was as she offered, "Dr. Delainey Carlisle, Captain. Forgive me for the intrusion, but given what happened to my immediate supervisor, I thought it wise to introduce myself and get a sense of the crew's needs currently from you directly."

"I'm not the captain," muttered the hologram, placing her hand on her forehead. She closed her eyes for a moment and nodded slightly in the negative. She had no idea how she would explain this whole situation to the counselor. It was just so absurd on the face of it. "It's a long story, but..."

Trailing off, Meru's eyes caught those of the counselor. If they could talk, her dark, expressive eyes would have told the whole story; a story of confusion, loss, and loneliness. She tried to force out a weak smile, but it barely came through.

Inwardly, Delainey flinched. Of course this wasn't the Captain. Dr. Silverton had told her as much, but Carlisle didn't expect to meet the holo-Alenis here in the Ready Room. It didn't compute the organic Alenis was still on the planet's surface. Carlisle was about to say she knew what had happened already but was taken off-guard to find her here, and then she saw the pain in her eyes, and she decided instantly it was not the way to go. "That's ok," she offered. "It's a pleasure to meet you. I'm new here, so I'd appreciate the chance to talk with someone who knows what things are like around here."

"Well," started the hologram, thinking for a moment. While she wasn't the real captain, she had as much knowledge of the state of the crew as her. At least, up to the point at which she was created. "It has been a little rough lately. We were attacked by Orion pirates, and Lieutenant Beauvoir nearly lost his daughter. Our Chief Intelligence Officer was killed, no doubt by the Orion syndicate, in a botched assassination attempt. And then we get to me..." The hologram took a deep breath. "Has our Chief Medical Officer briefed you on the situation yet?"

Delainey nodded, unusually quiet for a moment. She'd interacted with holograms before, but it had been a while, and she'd forgotten how realistic they appeared. Even though she'd yet to meet the actual Captain, Carlisle had a hard time keeping in mind she was still dealing with a hologram, no matter how sophisticated. She didn't yet have a sense of this one's sentience, but already she could understand anyone's reluctance to see her deleted. The pain in her eyes that she had been trying to hide certainly pulled on Carlisle's real heartstrings.

"He has. I must admit, I'm still trying to wrap my head around how you came to be, let alone what should happen next." She paused, then added, "Here's what I do know, however. I know you didn't ask for any of this, and no matter the origin of your thoughts and feelings, I'm guessing at least some of them are scary and perhaps even hurtful. I don't know what it's like to be you, but I do know what it's like to feel certain feelings at certain times, and no one deserves to handle them alone."

Delainey couldn't imagine what it would be like to exist with the knowledge she had been created to be someone's sex toy. Admittedly, the idea that the hologram was now sentient was hard to believe, but if it were true, she was looking at a sentient being who'd been forced to engage in sexual activity without 'her' consent. Even as her brain attempted to reject the very notion for its ridiculousness, Carlisle couldn't deny the realistic face with the realistic expressions in front of her. Who was she to say the emotions she was witnessing weren't real? Even if this 'Alenis' had agreed to assist Jason, knowing what they knew about her possible sentience, could that be considered true consent? What if she had decided to go along with her programming to avoid being deleted? If Delainey had been talking to any other sentient being redacted under those circumstances, she would consider it rape by coercion. Is that what she was looking at here? Carlisle didn't honestly know.

"Thank you." Exasperated, the hologram held her head. "You know, I don't usually like talking to counselors, but I suppose there's a time for everything." As she spoke, she reached up on top of her monitor to pet Ko-ko, taking a small amount of solace in her calming coos. "I guess I'm still coming to terms with all of this. I haven't figured out who I am or what's going to happen to me. I mean, it's not like there can be two Alenis Merus. So, who does that leave me?" She tried to offer Delainey a faint smile, but underneath her strong feelings of discomfort were showing. "Never mind how other people will react. I mean, what is Arv-- I mean, my partner, going to say when he finds out that there are two of us?"

Delainey listened quietly and offered, "I think when anyone is confronted with a really difficult and confusing problem, it's natural to experience racing thoughts like that. That said, big problems are best managed by taking them one step at a time. The good news is, you're not as alone as you might think at first."

"That's... an interesting way of looking at it," mused the hologram. "I think I just need some time to come to terms with this. I don't even really know who I am anymore, never mind," she shuddered slightly at the thought, "why I even exist."

Carlisle wondered if she should mention she knew about Alenis' relationship with Arvel, but she decided against it for the moment. Right now, the other woman's relationship status was the least of her worries. For now, the counselor decided it was best to focus on the being in front of her. "How might I or anyone else reassure you that you'll have that time? What I mean is, is there something or someone that's giving you the impression you won't have the opportunity or the assistance you need to come to terms with all of this?"

"Well, I know if I were the captain -- which I kind of am, in a way -- I wouldn't want some holographic copy of me walking around," replied Alenis, her eyes wandering away from the counselor and towards Ko-ko, who was pecking at her monitor again. The hologram let out a hint of a smile at the scene. Ko-ko didn't have to worry about holograms or Tolic shards or all the things that she had to worry about as a Starfleet captain, and was perfectly content to just perch herself somewhere and start pecking at things. "I'd probably hunt down whatever console I was stored on and blast it with a phaser, just to make sure I was deleted."

Delainey couldn't help but wonder if that was an indirect reference to what Meru wanted for herself. If holograms could be sentient, couldn't they also be suicidal? Carlisle decided to tread lightly, this wasn't a formal counseling session per se. "Hologram or no, I do know no one can control another's thoughts and feelings. If you don't want a copy of your self running around in the universe, then I guess that's just another indication we have to help you find your uniqueness," Carlisle offered with a smile.

Alenis smiled back. "I suppose I could talk to one of the engineers about making some adjustments to my holo-matrix. I've always wondered what it would be like to be a redhead..."
Capt. Alenis Meru
Commanding Officer
USS Portland

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