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Alenis Meru
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Re: Mission Three: "Pilgrims"

Fri Apr 10, 2015 3:13 am

The Final Conflict, Part IV
MD6, 1015 hrs
Authors: Capt. Alenis Meru, Lt. Cmdr. Timothy Rouse, Lt. Trylai Zade, Lt. Parker Hudson, Lt. JG Amata Zan, Lt. Jason Beauvoir, Ensign Gregory Rathcliffe (played by Eilis Ross), NPCs Ellen Washington, Maria Hill, and Coln Jena

Last Time on Star Trek: Portland

Even though he knew that there was no way she could have survived this he pressed 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."

And now, the continuation...

Caves - Gamia III

While the others were arriving Tim moved his hand over Meru's eyes and closed them. He stood up and looked at the people around him, each and everyone clearly shocked and sad. He had a hard time speaking. He looked up at Zade and walked to her, placing a hand on her shoulder. "You did what you had to do." He said to her softly, before speaking to the team. "We need to get back to the ship, with the Captain." he said. "I ask you to put your feelings aside for a slight moment, no matter how hard it is. We just lost our Captain, our mentor and friend. We need to show our respects and make sure the Captain didn't die for no reason." He wasn't good at speaching or motivating, but he hoped they all understood what he was trying to say. "We need to get medical down here for the lieutenants and there need to be transport enhancers set up in this cave to transport the Captain to the Portland.

Tyrlai pocketed the shard and picked up the disruptor. She didn't want to carry the thing another moment but she wasn't leaving it for any straggling cultists. She blinked for a few moments not wanting to show anything. She was Tyrlai, and that meant strong. Only for a moment and then she stood, there were things to do, and the walls were beginning to rumble a little. "We need to set up the buffers. Wraiths can't be killed and I think this one is angry."

Sera began to place her transport buffers. She was never one for the occult or other superstitions, but this place had definitely done a great job of shaking her up. She quickly set up the her poles and activated them. In order to cut through the interference and allow everyone to make it back, the buffer would need to be very precisely put together. As soon as hers were up, she began instructing the others on where to set theirs up.

Following the engineers orders, Gregory placed his buffers in the directed locations. He was still trying to piece together what had happened both to his group and the group they had just reached. It was hard to miss the elephant in the room...namely the dead body of the Captain lying within a stones throw of them all. He didn't understand what could have happened, who had failed in their task to protect the woman at all costs; but all he had to do was look at the faces of the others to know that he needed to keep quiet.

Amata had never had any religious experiences before, and was still trying to process his vision when he saw the captain lying dead on the ground, Commander Rouse standing over her. He was in shock -- even though he fled Bajor as soon as he was able and thought he left all those silly superstitions behind, the simple fact that a prophet had communicated with him was overwhelming. And the vision... what did it mean? While it took some people years to interpret their visions, Amata didn't have time for that luxury right now. Trying to stay composed while waving a disruptor at the assembled Gamians, Amata did his best to control the crowd of cultists. "Stay back!" he shouted, firing a couple warning shots at one of the Vedeks who got too close. "Commander, I suggest we get out of here the instant these buffers are ready. The locals don't look too happy."

"Everything is set up then?" He asked and upon hearing the confirmation he pressed his combadge, routing the signal through the buffers to cut through the interference. "Rouse to Transporter room 1. Transport the whole team to sickbay." "Stand by" was the reply heard through Tim's commbadge before their surroundings went vague and the Portland's sickbay appeared.

USS Portland - Sickbay

After getting his bearings he turned around to find the doctor. Beauvoir, Parker and the Captain had been placed on a biobed.

Being beamed always left a person with a bit of disorientation. That added to the shock the vision from the prophet and the other goings on of her first away mission only multiplied things. Only now, as Sera looked around sickbay, did she truly grasp what had happened. Her eyes fell to the Captain, not the holo-captain she had worked on before... but the real Captain. The phaser burns were real. She also noticed the Chief Engineer, whom she had been working under since her arrival on the Portland, and Jason whom she hadn't met before. Sera leaned against an out of the way wall, unsure of what to do and trying to keep out of the doctor's way.

Greg moved his hand to the woman's shoulder as he had noted her shock when she looked over at their former Captain. He was still trying to process it all but right now he focus was moreso on which security officer had failed in protecting their commander. He's eyes glanced over the dirted and muddied members of the away teams as he tried to understand what had happened. "You ok?"

Sera placed a hand over Greg's and gave it a reassuring squeeze. "I'm fine," she lied. In reality, she truly didn't know what to feel. This had been her first true mission, and it didn't look as though it would have a good ending. She took some comfort in the fact that she had gotten through the interference and had gotten the team transported to the ship with no extra casualties, though it felt like a hollow victory.

Keeping her hand in his for a moment, before looking down at her. "You did a good job down there. Kept your cool and got the rest of us all out. You should be proud of that."

"Thank you," Sera softly replied, though she didn't feel as though she did a good job.

Tyrlai took a moment to watch before turning to go. She knew what the end result was already, the disruptor would have taken out a genetically modified Gorn. The doors whooshed shut behind her as the walked towards the diplomatic offices. The shock would be over soon and it would be time for recriminations, she was used to that part. She was a few feet from the turbolift when the pain hit. A shivering twinge in her abdomen, it made her pause. Thosk would be in the offices, he would skip straight to the recriminations, she wasn't quite ready for that. She touched the corridor wall for a moment, steadied herself and walked to her quarters.

Dr Brad Silverton had already had a busy morning. He had seen Lt. Delainey Carlisle earlier that morning and then examined himself and Coln Jena for side effects of the radiation treatment. Of which he was still unsure of. He came out into the main room of sick back. He stopped and took in exactly all of what was going on and muttered the most rational and proper response that he could think of at the time.

"The hell?!?"

He rushed over to the Captain on the emergency biobed in the center of the room and started examining. "What happened? I thought this was just a diplomatic mission?"

"The Captain was possessed by a Wraith. We had no other choice." Tim said in a cold emotionless tone. From the corner of his eye he saw Ellen walk in sickbay and heared her gasp in horror at the sight. He wished he could walk over to her and comfort her. He turned his attention back to the CMO. "Lieutenants Hudson and Beauvoir got injured while protecting the Captain, prior to the possession."

"Ellen, Maria. Take care of the Lieutenants." Brad was already fast at work on the Captain. "Commander you say that casually like I know what a Wraith is. Are we talking about an actual energy being ghost walking through walls sort of Wraith?"

Tim looked at the doctor and then around him. The people that understood this whole Wrath thing were all gone, unconscious or gone. "I think so yes. From what I understand of it." he said. "We relieved her from her misery by her own request. There was no other way to eliminate the threat."

Hearing the commotion in the Sickbay proper, Jena followed Brad out of the medlab and was greeted by a hectic scene. The Captain, Jason and some dark haired man she didn't know, all lay on biobeds. If it were a happier time, she might make a joke about her and Jason paying rent for the time they'd spent in Sickbay. Seeing that Brad was obviously busy, she approached one of the nurses and asked. "Is there anything I can do to help?"

Nurse Maria patted Coln on the shoulder, "No. No thank you we have this. Please just stand back a ways to give us room." Both nurses went to aid Parker and Jason who were on the side regular biobeds that were suited for secondary, less critical injuries.

Sera then stood, from her position. There was nothing more she could do here, but for her own sake she needed something to do. She gave a thankful nod to Greg and swiftly walked out of Sickbay, her uniform dirty and her hair was a mess. As soon as the Sickbay's doors closed behind her, Ser tapped her comm badge, "Ensign Barclay, what is the status of the hologram we were working on? Need another hand?" What Sera need most right now was to do something that could save a life, even if some would call that life "just a hologram."

Brad continued to work on Alenis. "Damn I'm getting no readings from her at all." He called out to Maria who was relatively close. "Maria, get me a cortical stimulator!" Maria left Jason's side for a moment to grab the device and get it for Brad. He centered it upon Alenis' forehead and activated it. Alenis body reacted to the stimulator and shook. But it was only an involuntary reaction, it wasn't a sign of life he had hoped for. He tried again with the same level of failure. "I'm going higher. 40 mv". This time the captain's body moved even less. Brad tried a fourth time with even less reaction from the Captain's body. It wasn't working and everyone in the room knew it.

Jena felt at a loss what to do. The room was a hive of activity and felt like a spare nacelle. She'd overheard someone say that the Captain was dead. If this were true, what had happened? Will Commander Rouse take command or will they bring someone else in to take over? The teenager knew that she was probably in shock. Her internal questions were her way of not dwelling on the fact that she was for all intents and purposes, useless right now.

Parker had awaken to the sensation of a bad hangover and that of a bad dream, although he dreaded the truth. He knew the truth. He reached up on his two elbows, looking around him to Jason on his right bio bed, and then further over the Commander in the critical care unit bed. She was shot but it was a last ditch effort what Jason had did. The image of Alenis in pure screaming agony when the disruptor had fired at her Pah Wraith was torrid.

He waived rather tiredly, fatigued and sweat covered and asked from Nurse Ellen "Methylethizine 2 Shots Please" He felt the hypo spray enter to his neck. Parker rubbed at it and nodded a 'thanks'... Before his face stopped and looked back at the Captain, he gave a short personal prayer and left to wash up.

"Doctor," said Ellen, making her way over to Brad and placing a hand on his shoulder. "I..." As soon as she came face to face with Alenis' body, she froze at the sight of her lifeless eyes, staring off into nothingness. She looked up at Tim for support, but he was looking no better than she was. "I... I'll get a sheet," she managed to utter before darting off in the direction of the medical supply closet, tears welling up in her eyes.

Brad's mind was racing through all the possibilities. He wasn't ready to give up. Not for the Captain. But each possible miracle was quickly crossed out in his mind. The time since she went unconscious and her vitals stopped had been to great. But maybe there was some unknown research. Some crazy mixing of drugs and techniques like what had saved him and Jenna. Damnit if there was only time...

Brad passed his hand across Alenis' face to close her eyes. Already she was feeling distant and cold. A distorted version of the real Alenis who cared for her crew from the start. Willing to do anything for them even copy herself for pon-f... Brad stood up straighter and thought about the hologram. He wanted to say something to everyone present for they didn't know. How could they while they were all down on the planet. He wanted to reassure them that maybe she wasn't fully gone after all.

But Brad didn't say anything. It wouldn't be right. The real Alenis lay before them dead. Telling them at a time like this? Who knows how they'd react. Better to just wait. "Ellen please mark the time of death. I'm sorry everyone. There's nothing more I can do."

Gregory watched as realisation settled across the features of everyone in the room. He had barely known the woman he had called his Captain and as such he felt like an interloper. Hesitating for a moment more, he nodded his head momentarily in respect before removing himself from sickbay.

Jason could hear the sounds of activity going on around him. He didn't know how long he'd been drifting in and out of consciousness. He opened his eyes only to shut them again in response to the bright Sickbay lights. Opening one eye slowly and saw an unknown face with purple hair. "Awake are we, Lieutenant?" Asked Nurse Leral Gionoj.

"Obviously, or else we wouldn't be able to converse." Jason replied though dry lips. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I have work to do." He tried to sit up and pain wracked his body.

"Careful Lieutenant, you've been though a lot, your body needs time to heal, so just lie still." Leral said.

"You let Lieutenant Hudson leave, and he had a probable concussion." Jason argued.

"He's not my patient, you are, so lie down, or I'll have you sedated."

"Has anybody told you, you have a wonderful bedside manner?"

"Sleep, and that's an order, Lieutenant." She replied.

Jason closed his eyes and pretended to sleep while he waited for her to leave.

USS Portland - Main Engineering

From her console in engineering, Nikki was awakened by her comm badge. "She's up in her office. I'm just working on some back of the house stuff to get her database stabilized." She looked back up at her screen. "I could use a bit of help though..."

Sera responded to Nikki, fatigue slipped it's way into her words, "Sure thing. Be right there. I could use the distraction." Sera hoped the last bit wasn't caught by the comm link as she quickly made her way to engineering.
Capt. Alenis Meru
Commanding Officer
USS Portland

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Alenis Meru
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Re: Mission Three: "Pilgrims"

Fri Apr 10, 2015 3:13 am

Sera and Nikki
Engineering, USS Portland
Mission 3, MD6, 1030 hours
Authors: Lt. (JG) Sera Williams, Ensign Nikki Barclay (played by Alenis Meru)

Seated at a terminal, Nikki Barclay rubbed her eyes in pain. After hours of staring at LCARS displays, trying to stabilize the holo-program, the numbers and letters on the screen seemed to all jumble together and float off the screen. She had a massive headache, and the lack of sleep she was suffering from didn't help much either. It was all just too much for her.

As she heard the doors whoosh open behind her, she swiveled in her seat to face her friend. "Sera!" she exclaimed, glad to see her. But her smile turned to an expression of concern as she saw the look on her face and the dirt on her uniform. "You look horrible! Are you okay? What happened down there?"

As Sera's feet crossed the door's tracks into Main Engineering, it took all of he remaining strength to not collapse onto the ground and sob. Sera's eyes connected with Nikki's, but for only a moment. The only words Sera could manage were, "The... Captain..." Her head gave the no shake.

Sera practically fell into the chair beside Nikki. With a very shaky sob and running both hands through her hair, a stronger voiced Sera continued, "I just really need to save a life... and I need a friend." Sera forced a smile as her hands went to the console.

"You'll always have a friend in me," replied Nikki, leaning over and putting and arm around Sera to try to comfort her. She knew something bad happened to the captain, and whatever it was, Sera couldn't stop it. She held her friend close for a moment, offering her a shoulder to cry on. "As for the latter," she added, trying not to start crying as well as she released her arm from around Sera, "I do need your help with the hologram."

Sera smiled warmly at her friend, "Thanks Nikki, you are a good friend." Sera dried her eyes with her uniform's sleeve, then took a look at the data display. Sera scanned the series of letter and numbers and pointed a finger at a certain string of information, it looked a bit out of place. It could be nothing, but Sera decided to ask. "Is that data from the merge? Or is it new data picked up from her self-improvement subroutines?"

"That's the tricky part," explained Nikki. "The program is active right now, in her -- well, the captain's -- office, and this is the data which has been created since this morning. Memories, emotions, personality adjustments, that sort of thing." She pointed at a data cluster on the screen. "The problem is that it isn't properly compressing and integrating into her program. If we don't do something about it soon, her entire holomatrix could destabilize and undergo a progressive cascade failure." Taking her sore eyes off the screen, Nikki reached for her coffee. "I'd consult the EMH diagnostic program, but we've taken its boot sequence offline in order to repair the captain. Or whoever she is."

As soon as she spoke, Nikki regretted her reference to the captain. She knew it was a foolish thing to say, and the very mention of the captain could traumatize her friend again. Mentally, she kicked herself for her stupidity.

Sera was able to keep it together, though it was hard. The freshness of the situation helped a bit in that it kept her from truly believing that it was all real. With a sigh, Sera began to talk in a fast voice, "I'll tell you what happened, but I can only get through it once. We were on the planet and the Captain had been taken over by a Pah-Wraith. The only way to stop the wraith was for the Commander to... end it."

Not really giving her friend a chance to respond, Sera jumped back to the task at hand, "Maybe we can transfer her program to the holodeck. We can create a control panel like this one so we can work on her programming while she's in front of us. We could then control the environment... at worst it'll slow down the degradation."

"That is a good idea," replied Nikki, grasping her friend by the hand tightly. She was even having difficulty keeping everything together upon hearing about the death of the captain. "Lets just make sure we don't tell her anything about the what happened to the captain. We don't want to overload her emotional subroutines."

Seeing Sera on the verge of tears, Nikki quickly changed the subject back to what they were originally talking about. "I tried using a Kardashev shunting algorithm to help with the database integration, but it hasn't been working." Standing up, grabbing an armload of PADDs under one arm and still holding Sera's hand with the other, she started heading for the door. "Come on, lets get to the holodeck."

Holodeck 2, USS Portland

", this has two effects." Nikki was rambling on, having talked all the way from engineering to the holodeck in an effort to both explain to Sera the problem with the hologram and distract the two of them from the sadness of the situation with the captain. "First, it makes her database very unstable. We could have a fatal error at any time, which would have cascading effects throughout her entire program. Second, it means that her short term memory isn't being converted to long term memory. Which means that, if not repaired, she will start having severe memory loss regarding everything that happened since the console incident. Though, I imagine there might be a few things in there which she may prefer to forget."

Nikki ended her ramblings with a slight smile, emphasizing her little joke. Seeing Sera not laugh, her face turned to one of horror at the inappropriateness of her comment. Stupid, she thought, god, that was so stupid, Nikki. "What I mean is... well... erm... do you have any ideas?"

While not exactly in the mood for laughing, Sera appreciated Nikki's efforts. She took the moment to step through the doors into the Holodeck. The familiar black box room with the yellow lines making a pattern of squares. It was a testament to when the holdeck was installed as the newer versions left the various circuitry and devices more exposed. Sera said, "Computer, created a mirror console of the one still logged in under Ensign Nikki Barclay... authorization Williams one-one-alpha-two."

As the working console appeared in the center of the room, Sera responded to Nikki, "I have a few ideas. The first, some of her information... maybe the memory conversion sub-routines, were lost in the sick bay incident. The other is that there may be some sort of block left over from the merger with the EMH diagnostic, our EMH was altered significantly from it's original programming afterall."

"Hmmmmmmm, you might be right," replied Nikki. "I checked her memory conversion subroutines; they're there, but they might be damaged. Hmmmm..." She looked at Sera for a moment, and then at the console. "Computer, transfer EMH program to Holodeck 2."

"Please state the nature of the..." called out the hologram of Alenis as she materialized in the holodeck. She paused, looked Sera and Nikki up and down, and sighed. "You know, it's polite to call before beaming me halfway across the ship. I was just in the middle of feeding Ko-ko." In the two junior officers in front of her, she could see starkly different emotions. One of them was looking as though she was intimidated, and the other just looked overwhelmed. "What did the two of you bring me here for?"

"I'm sorry, Cap--... I mean, Ms. EM--... I mean, Meru?" stammered Nikki. Even though she wasn't the real Captain, Nikki's anxiety had skyrocketed as though she was. "We had to... we were looking at your program and... your database..."

Sera ran a hand through her hair. She took a tired look at the EMH. She then finished for Nikki, "We noticed an issue with your memory subroutines." The sight of the Captain was a bit overwhelming, and Sera had to feign clearing her throat to stop the tears that were at the ready. "We saw that the programming that moves the short-term memory to the long-term is non-functional and we are trying to determine a solution before you... forget everything since the incident in Sick Bay."

"Oh." The hologram furrowed her brow in puzzlement. She wasn't at all familiar with this sort of technical mumbo jumbo. "That... sounds serious."

Sera replied with as much of a smile as she could muster, "No need to fear, you have us on the case." Sera gave a short shrug to Nikki. Sera's hands went back to the display, then commanded, "Computer, isolate the memory conversion subroutines, and then show the programming that is linked to those subroutines." With a beep, then display changed into a complex looking map of programming language and subroutines."

The hologram leaned in between the two of them to look at the screen. Of course, she couldn't make heads or tails of the figures and bits of code on it, but she wanted to see what they were doing anyways.

"Hmmmmmm..." mused Nikki, as her fingers darted across the control panel, bringing up various displays. "Why won't this damn thing work!" she exclaimed, bringing her fist down on the console." She had spent the last several hours staring at code, trying to fix various problems with the EMH, and the more she stared at the code, the more irritated she became. Her lack of sleep no doubt contributed to her irritation. "Argh!" With that, she placed her head in her hands, desperately trying to avoid sobbing long enough to clear her mind.

"Too bad we can't just take her to Sick Bay to have her head examined........" Sera let the last part trail as an idea crossed her mind. She was struck with a moment of insight that only desperation can bring. Her fingers danced along the console as she muttered mostly to herself, "That's it... the EMH diagnostic was meant to compliment the default programming of the EMH Mark 1."

She changed a bit of programming and sat back with a heavy sigh. "Because her original programming was altered so much, the diagnostic boot sequence no longer fit. I made a few alterations to make the square peg fit in the round hole." She looked over at Nikki, "Are the memory conversion subroutines still degrading?" The was a glimmer of hope in Sera's voice, one that she had not felt in what seemed like forever.

"I think so... replied Nikki, looking back up at the work in front of her. New connections were being made, and data was moving back and forth across her subroutines. "Only one way to find out," she added, before turning to the hologram. "Captain, my favourite colour is blue and my favourite food is chocolate ice cream. Computer, end program."


As the hologram disappeared, Nikki turned to her friend. "I think you got it," she said, excitedly. "We'll just give her program a couple minutes to compile all the data before reactivating her." Nikki reached over and gave her friend a hug, tears streaming down her cheeks as she thought of the captain again. "Thank you. Sera, thank you so much."

Out of relief, or possibly the hug, the dam broke behind Sera's eyes. She began to cry, it could've been the relief, the hug, or the reality of what was happening in Sickbay with the Captain finally hitting... perhaps a mix of all. Wiping the tears from her eyes, Sera looked over to Nikki and said, "Thank you too, Nikki."

Sera then looked at the display as she did a silent countdown, as silent as tapping on the desk to count each second could have been. Once the number of tapped seconds equalled Sera's goal number of ticks, Sera commanded, "Computer, activate the EMH program." As the computer beeped it's acknowledgement, she held her breath to see what would emerge from the fizzle of the holo-emitters piecing together the Meru clone.

As she reappeared, a very cross expression was present on her face. "You know, I'm not an expert on holo-etiquette, but it seems to me like it is very impolite to--"

"What's my favourite food and colour?!" blurted out Nikki, interrupting the program.

"Chocolate ice cream and blue, respectively," replied the hologram. "Now, Ensign--"

"You did it!" exclaimed Nikki, turning towards Sera.

Sera gave Nikki a flying high five, then hugged her friend. "I think we could all use some chocolate ice cream... maybe in some blue dishes?"

"That sounds wonderful! Lets go to the mess ha-- aaaahhhhhh," replied Nikki, her excitement punctuated by an irresistable yawn.
Capt. Alenis Meru
Commanding Officer
USS Portland

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Alenis Meru
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Re: Mission Three: "Pilgrims"

Sat Apr 11, 2015 11:53 pm

Facing reality
Captain's office, USS Portland
MD6 - 1400 hours
Authors: Capt. Alenis Meru and Cmdr. Timothy Rouse

After postponing it for a mere hour Tim knew he had to take actions involving the Captain's passing. Starting with announcing it to the crew and then the Admiral. But first he had to go by her office, a place he'd been avoiding for the last hour. As he went through the door he looked for the bird that he wanted to pick up. He stopped dead in his tracks and stared at chair near the window. He didn't know what to say or do.

On the other side of the office Meru was sitting in a chair, reading a PADD. He didn't understand it. He'd seen her body, he'd personally made sure she had been transported to the ship, and now, here she was. Alive and well.

"Tim?" asked Alenis, expecting to see her biological counterpart. He looked shocked, even more so that she expected him to. "What's going on? Is everything alright? You look like you've seen a ghost."

"You're alive," was all he managed to say.

"In a manner of speaking, yes," replied Meru. "Wait, why are you surprised I'm alive? What happened?"

Still being in a state of shock he said. "I just saw you die. You're dead!"

"D-dead?" Meru stood up from the desk, the holographic blood rushing from her face. She could feel her knees weakening beneath her, and had to lean on the desk for support. It was a strange feeling, in one sense she had never even met the woman and in another she was her. "Tim, it's me, the EMH. Did something happen to the real Meru?"

"The EMH?" Tim said in disbelief, although that would make a lot more sense then Meru herself being alive again. "But I shot your program... The console was damaged beyond repair." Tim put his hand through his short sand coloured hair. He was losing his sanity.

"I was saved, thanks to the quick thinking of one of your engineering officers," said the hologram, stepping around her desk towards Tim. She could see him open his mouth, but cut him off before he said anything. "She did the right thing. And I know you were probably just following the wishes of the other me. But we can figure that out later." She looked Tim in the eyes, a worried look on her face. "Tim, what happened to the other Meru?"

"A group of Bajoran religious took her captive and used her body as a host for a pah-wraith" Tim started explaining although he still had a hard time understanding it all himself. "We shot her," He purposelessly use used we, instead of Lieutenant Zade's name because to him it felt like they had done it together. Even though he hadn't managed to take the shot.

A tear came to the hologram's eye. "Tim... I'm so sorry." Her thoughts immediately turned to that of 'her' crew. Even worse than seeing their captain die, they had to kill her themselves. "Are there any other casualties? Do the crew know? Are you all right?"

“No, Not officially and yes, I am.” He answered all three of her questions at once. He didn’t want to think about his feelings. He had just lost a very good friend. He didn’t have time now to think. He had a ship to run. Something he knew he wanted to do someday, but not yet. Especially not like this.

The hologram looked into Tim’s eyes for a moment. Even she could tell that he was holding back his feelings and putting on a brave face. Taking a few steps forward, she wrapped her arms around him and gave him a warm hug. “Tim, I know it’s little comfort right now,” she said, pulling away, “but she devoted her life to the fleet. And, in the past few weeks, her affinity for Bajor had grown by leaps and bounds. I can tell you with certainty, she would have been willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for Starfleet and for Bajor.”

He peeled the hologram of from himself and stepped away. “Those were her last words.” he said. Seeing the hologram raise an eyebrow he explained. “She asked to be killed as that would be the only way to stop Kosst Amojan, the pah-wraith.”

“Oh, Tim,” she said, a holographic tear coming to her eye. Knowing the prophecies, she was familiar with Kosst Amojan and what would have happened had he not been stopped right then and there in that cave. “She’ll be remembered as a hero to all of Bajor,” added the hologram, trying without much success to hold back her tears. “The prophecies… had Kosst Amojan escaped from that cave, millions would have died. It would have been the fall of the Celestial Temple and the destruction of Bajor. You did the right thing, honouring her last request.”

He looked up. “I didn’t make the shot. I couldn't.”

“Tim…” started the hologram. Truth be told, she didn’t know if she could do the same in his shoes. “The important thing is that he was stopped.”

“I know that,” he replied. “But still…” He let out a deep sigh. “Look at me. I’m sitting here, being comforted by a holographic clone of a dead captain, one who was created for…” He shook his head. “Well, what are we going to do with you? I presume that Ms. Barclay saved you because he thought you were a sentient being?”

“I am!” protested the hologram. “Look, I know this is weird, but--”

Tim held up his hand, cutting her off. “If it was up to me, you would be deleted. I don’t know how we can have a holographic clone of the captain walking around. It’s an insult to her memory, especially given the circumstances under which you were created.” He paused and paced the room. “But I can’t do that. Not if there is a chance that you’re a sentient being. Enough lives have been lost today.”

“So, what are you going to do with me?” asked Meru, slightly relieved.

“That… that I don’t know,” replied Tim. He paced the room again, thinking about the latest complication. “I’ll figure something out. Just keep a low profile for now, okay? Only a few crew members know about you. And about the captain. I don’t want to confuse anyone.”

“You haven’t told the crew yet!” exclaimed the hologram. “Tim, you have to tell them! They need to know, and you’re the acting captain!”

“I know! Just… let me think, okay!”

“Oh, Tim…” replied Alenis, looking into his eyes. She could see the pain, the loss… she stepped forward and hugged him tightly. “Tim, I’m here for you…” she whispered in his ear.

“I know,” he replied, as they both tried to hold back tears.
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Re: Mission Three: "Pilgrims"

Sun Apr 12, 2015 2:48 pm

The announcement...
Executive Officer's Office, USS Portland
MD6, 1430 hours
Authors: Cmdr. Timothy Rouse and Capt. Alenis Meru

After returning to his office, Tim sat at his desk and paused to think. That hologram is right, he thought, I need to tell the crew. He took a few deep breaths, thinking of what to say, before pressing the intercom button.

“Attention all crew,” he said, in a tone which was slow and careful. “This is Lieutenant Commander Timothy Rouse, Executive Officer of the USS Portland. At approximately 10:20 this morning, Captain Alenis Meru was shot while in a cave on Gamia III. She was pronounced dead in sickbay at 10:28 hours.” Tim paused and swallowed, trying to control the lump in his throat. “Captain Alenis was our commanding officer and our friend. Unfortunately, sometimes in this line of work we are called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice, as she did earlier today.”

Tim rubbed the beads of sweat off his forehead before continuing. “In accordance with Starfleet protocols and the chain of command, I am assuming the role of acting captain, effective immediately. We will be breaking orbit and returning to Deep Space Nine within the next two hours. That is all.”

Having made the announcement, he breathed a sigh of relief. That was one thing over and done with. But before he could relax, a flashing light alerted him to an incoming transmission. He shook his head and brought it up on his monitor. Surprisingly, he found himself face to face with the captain of the Cardassian vessel.

“Commander Rouse,” said Gul Jatok, his tone of voice softer and more respectful than the last time they had spoken. “My condolences on your loss.”

Tim blinked for a second before replying. “Thank you,” He tried to determine if the man was serious or just polite. “Is there anything I can help you with, Gul?”

“It is more something I can help you with,” replied the Gul. “I don’t have much time to explain, but I need you to adjust your shield frequency to 119.4 megahertz for the next hour.” He hoped the man on the other end would listen, but knowing the reputation of his people, he suspected otherwise. If his plan were to work, it would take some convincing.

He raised an eyebrow. “And why shall we do that?”

Jatok sighed in frustration. “I can’t go into detail, this channel may be monitored. And if I give you the information, the plan may be ruined.” He had tried to secure this channel, but one of the lessons the Obsidian Order taught him was that there is no such thing as a secure channel. Seeing that his counterpart on the Portland was unimpressed, he held up his hand and continued. “I know what you’re thinking. That this is some sort of plan to get through your shields and launch a sneak attack, and I can’t blame you. I know what people think of us, Commander. That we’re deceptive, manipulative, and can’t be trusted. All of that may be true, but do you think the Cardassian Union is really foolish enough to risk going to war over this worthless rock and a century-old starship? Our fleet is still in tatters!” He looked into Tim’s eyes through the comm link. “I just need you to trust me.”

He did have a point, Tim thought. But was it enough to risk the ship? The crew had been through enough and had just lost its Captain. Could he afford to trust this man? But if he didn’t, then what? He had to make a decision. And although the safest choice would be not to trust the men, he did otherwise. He moved forward, as he had been sitting backworth in his chair. “Rouse to the bridge. Adjust our field frequency to 119.4 megahertz.” After he received a confirmation from the bridge officer he glanced to the Cardassian Gul, asking him the question without verbalising it.

“Thank you,” replied Jatok. “You are an honourable man; I’m not sure I would have done the same in your shoes.”

“Just don’t let me regret it. The Portland had been through enough lately” Tim said.

“You won’t,” replied Jatok, offering Tim a respectful nod as he ended the transmission. He only hoped his plan would succeed…
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Re: Mission Three: "Pilgrims"

Sun Apr 12, 2015 2:50 pm

MD6, 1500 hours
A courthouse on Gamia III

“...and so, in light of the seriousness of your crime, I hereby extradite you, Inaji Narale, to the custody of the Cardassian Union, to face justice.” With that, Judge Tulas, Chief Justice of Gamia III banged a large turquoise stone, the Gamian equivalent of a gavel, on its base, making the sentence official.

“NOOOOOOO!” screamed Inaji.

“Order, order,” called out the judge, banging the gavel again for emphasis. “Gul Jatok, you may escort her to your vessel.”

“Thank you, your honour,” replied the Gul. He sneered at the murderer before him as he grabbed her by the arm, knowing that justice would soon be served. “Let’s go.”

As the Gul grabbed him by the arm, Inaji saw an opening. It was a desperate act, but she was a desperate woman. Pulling her arm away, she swiftly reached for his disruptor. Catching him by surprise, she managed to get the disruptor into her hand and point it at his chest as she stepped back. She pressed a button, adjusting it to its highest setting. “I’m not going back there!” As she screamed, she pointed the disruptor around the room -- at the Gul, the judge, and the Gamian and Cardassian guards who had drawn their weapons and focused them on her. “You can’t send me back to Cardassia! I won’t go!”

Jatok stepped forward, sneering at Inaji. “And where do you think you will go?” he asked. “Look around you, there is no escape. You might be able to kill once more, but we have you surrounded. There’s no way out. Put down the disruptor and come with us.”

“No,” gasped Inaji. “I’m not going back!” With that, she turned the disruptor on herself, closed her eyes and fired, instantly vapourizing herself.

For a moment, the room turned quiet. Gamian and Cardassian alike were shocked at what they just saw.

Jatok was the first to speak. “Well,” he said, slowly and deliberately. “I guess that takes care of that.”
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Re: Mission Three: "Pilgrims"

Sat Apr 25, 2015 3:18 pm

The Fugitive
MD6, 1510 hours
Executive Officer's office, USS Portland
Authors: Cmdr. Timothy Rouse, Inaji Narale (played by Alenis Meru)

Opening her eyes, Inaji Narale looked around her new setting. She let out a sigh of relief. The plan worked. She was alive, and on board what appeared to be a Federation starship. In front of her, the surprised Starfleet commander stood up from his desk.

“Commander Rouse?” she asked, before he could say anything.

“That’s what I call an entrance!” Tim exclaimed, his sense of humor taking over. He walked towards the young woman and offered her a hand. As she looked very Cardassian he had a feeling this was the reason for the earlier request by the Gul.

“Transporter gun,” explained Inaji as she adjusted a dial on the side. To punctuate her point, she aimed the gun at the coffee cup on Tim’s desk and fired, beaming it from one side of his desk to the other. “We had to make it look like I was dead; it was the only way.”

With that explanation Tim understood who the woman was and why she was in his office. “You’re the Captain’s sister, aren’t you?” he asked half in surprise. He could see some resemblance between the sisters. Even with her cranial ridges hiding most of the resemblance. Oh no, did she know of Meru yet, or did he need to tell another person who was close to the Captain about her death?

"Well, half sister," replied Inaji, having re-holstered her "weapon." Her voice was strained, but there a hint of relief in it as well, as though her long ordeal might be over. "Can I speak to her?"

“I have some bad news, unfortunately.” he started. Even though he should be getting used to this, he was still nervous and even stuttering a bit. “Meru died a few hours ago on a away mission.”

"No..." gasped Inaji, collapsing into the chair across from Tim's desk and placing a hand on her head. "But I didn't even..."

As her eyes welled up with tears, she lifted her head to look up at Tim. She could see that he was also at a loss for words. Carefully, feeling weak at the knees, she walked over to Tim and fell into his arms. "It would have been nice to have known my sister," she managed to utter, with tears streaming down her cheeks, as she hugged him tightly.

"Yes, I can imagine that" Tim said, clearly at a loss for words. What did you say to anyone who just heard her newfound sister was deceased?

For a few moments, Inaji did nothing but hold Tim tightly. Be it fate or a simple stroke of luck that drove them both to the rock known as Gamia III, Meru was the only person she had outside of Cardassian space. Even though they had only briefly met, she was her sister. And now, she was gone.

Releasing Tim from her grasp, she wiped away her tears. "Commander," she started, pulling out a Cardassian data chip she had kept concealed under her clothes, "I don't need to tell you that I'm a wanted criminal, and the Federation has an extradition treaty with the Cardassians. Maybe I don't deserve a second chance, but Gul Jatok was kind enough to give me one. As far as anyone knows, Inaji Narale is dead, but my fate lies in your hands."

Tim scrached his chin as he tought how to deal with that. ''We can hide you on our ship, until we know what to do next. I uhm... I think it's best if you stay in Meru's quarters for the time being. They are the biggest on the vessel what will be handy as you can't leave them. And I don't expect them to be occupied by anyone else soon.''

"Thank you," replied Inaji, as she placed the data chip on Tim's desk and hugged him again. "Thank you."

As she released Tim from her grasp again, she reached for the transporter gun and adjusted a couple of dials. "I'll stay there until you need me," she said. "Thank you." With that, she fired again, transporting herself to Meru's quarters.

Tim took a deep breath, grabbed the chip and walked to one of the two chairs near the window. He set down and accessed the chip.

Upon opening the message, Gul Jatok's face appeared on the screen. "Commander Rouse," he said, in a tone that was somber and more respectful than one usually expects from a Cardassian Gul, "my condolences on the loss of your captain. I had only met her for a short time, but from what I saw, Alenis was quite the spirited woman." He cleared his throat. "If you are seeing this message, than this means that my plan worked. As far as anyone on Cardassia is concerned, Inaji Narale is dead. Given the extradition treaties between our two powers, perhaps it is for the best that the Federation also think she is dead."

"I've left her with a small amount of latinum," continued Jatok. "It should be enough for her to pay for a one-way trip to somewhere far away, where she can start a new life. There is a Cardassian tailor on Deep Space Nine; he is an old colleague of mine. For the right amount of latinum, he can fake her paperwork. It's a little pricey, but he owes me one; if she tells him I sent her, he should give a deep discount."

"Of course, I'm sure you have your questions. Like why I am doing this." Jatok sighed deeply. This was one area of the past he was not comfortable talking about. "Commander, I know what your people think about us Cardassians. And, truth be told, we deserve that reputation. But let it be known that not all of us are proud of everything we did during the occupation. I know that there is no way I can set things right and make up for what we did to Bajor -- what I did to Bajor. But, if I can in some small way do some good in this universe, perhaps I can at least retain some shred of humanity."

Jatok took a deep breath, as though a weight had been lifted off his shoulder. "Goodbye, Commander. And good luck." With that, Jatok gave a respectful salute before the screen went black.
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Re: Mission Three: "Pilgrims"

Mon May 04, 2015 8:39 am

Aftermath: Sickbay
MD6, 1534 hours
Sickbay, USS Portland
Authors: Lieutenant Jason Beauvoir, Lieutenant Brad Silverton

Listening to make sure the Boslic nurse was gone, Jason opened an eye and looked around. Not seeing her, he opened his other eye, sat up and tried to climb off the bed.

Brad was nearby working on the paperwork and report of... well the Captain's death. That sort of work was never an enjoyable aspect of the job. However it was a required one and its responsibility rested squarely on his shoulders. He looked up as he heard Jason shifting and Brad got up and approached him.

"Woah their Jason. You're not quite ready to leave yet."

"Where's the Captain?" He asked confused.

Brad grew quiet for a second unsure just what exactly he wanted to say. "How much do you remember when you woke up while everyone was here earlier this morning?"

"I remember a lot of activity, overly bright lights and a rather obstinate nurse." Jason said. Then something came to him. "Everyone looked sad. The Captain's dead, isn't she?"

A low beeping of the biobed that Jason was still sitting on marked the time of an awkward silent moment that passed. "Yes. She was attacked by some energy being Wraith creature that had possessed her down on the planet. I tried what I could but too much time had passed by the time she got to me."

"I saw the Wraith that possessed her and I fought it. It is distressing that both our labours appear to be for not." Jason said trying to maintain a veneer of stoic calm when what he really wanted to do was scream at the top of his lungs and pound his fists into the nearest bulkhead.

"Jason she isn...." Brad stopped and thought. Damnit the pon farr! Something that powerful and intimate, who knows what the lingering effects would be. He'd have to be careful with his next chosen words. "Jason if I may ask, what are the lasting effects of pon farr? Medically speaking of course. Emotionally is not my domain or business as a doctor."

"A few snippets of memory from the time, but not much more." Jason said.

Brad nodded in response to Jason. "Jason. The plan after your pon farr had passed was for us to delete the Alenis programming and restore the EMH to its original condition. With your recovery and all the activity I don't think you know this yet but... we haven't deleted her. The Alenis Hologram is still operating."

Jason raised an eye brow. He thought that Meru would have had the EMH restored. "So, in a way the Captain is still 'alive'?" He asked.

"Yes. 'In a way' is a good way to phrase it. It's definitely her but also not her. Its complicated although everything in the past couple days has been complicated." Brad reviewed the most recent medical scan of Jason as he was speaking to him.

"Life is complicated." Jason agreed. "So, doc what's a verdict? Do I get to leave the 'delightful' surrounds of your Sickbay?"

Brad responded smirkily, "So how is it exactly that you are Vulcan enough for Pon Farr yet human enough for sarcasm? Yes lieutenant. You are cleared to go."

"My father is a professor of Ancient British Literature, sarcasm was among the first things he taught me." Jason replied. "Good day, Doc."
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Re: Mission Three: "Pilgrims"

Mon May 04, 2015 8:53 am

After the Act
Chief Science Officer's Office, USS Portland
MD6, 1654 hours
Authors: Lieutenant Jason Beauvoir, Holo-Meru (played by Alenis Meru)

Jason was finishing some of his Department's crew evaluations, when his mind began to wonder. His thoughts fell on the events that took place in the fire caves and that brought back the feelings of guilt, sorrow and anger. He couldn't save Meru and now she was died. He wished he could some how explain it to he, but now it was too late. Or was it? The hologram, sure it wasn't the flesh and blood Meru, it, had her thoughts, her her memories, her personality, her essence and it or she had helped him before.

"Computer, what is the current location of the modified EMH?" He asked.

"The EMH is currently located in the Captain's Ready Room." Replied the familiar feminine voice.

Leaving the Science Department, it didn't take him long to reach the Bridge.

Stepping out of the turbolift, he walked purposefully to the Ready Room door and pressed the buzzer.

"Come in!" called out the voice of the Captain from the other side of the door. But it wasn't her voice.

As she saw the door open, she gasped in shock. She knew this moment was coming sooner or later. They couldn't keep a secret hologram in the image of the Captain from the crew forever, and by now everyone had known about her. Fortunately, though, they were discreet about the reasons why she was created.

"Jason--" she said, at a loss for words.

Jason entered the room. As the doors closed behind him, he looked hologram. It, he meant she, looked exactly like Meru. His logical mind told him that this was a hologram, but that didn't stop his emotions from coming to the forefront. "Sorry." He said after a while. "I'm not ready to do this." and then turned to leave.

"Wait!" called out the hologram as she bounded forward, placing a hand on his arm. "Jason, we have to talk about this. I know it, and you know it. And we both know you didn't come up here to fix the replicator."

Jason sighed and turned to face her. She was right. Not knowing where to begin, he just said. "Thank you for helping me through my pon farr."

The hologram sighed. "Don't mention it," she said, a million thoughts running through her head. "Jason, I understand," she blurted out. "You weren't you, back on Bajor or up here on the ship. It was the pon farr in control. I care for you, and so did the captain. And I know you would have never done what you did if it wasn't for your brain chemistry getting all screwed up."

"Logically I know that, but I still find my lack of control...unsettling." He said. "I also apology for any discomfort I might have caused you."

"Let's just... both try to forget about it, okay?" The hologram held her hand up as she offered him a nervous smile. "You know, the ironic thing is, perhaps in another reality, it might be possible. I mean, if I were single. And not, you know... a hologram." As the room filled with an awkward silence, she decided to change the subject. "Can I get you anything to drink?" she asked, quickly strolling across the room to the replicator.

Jason nodded his head in agreement. When she asked him if he wanted a drink, he resisted the urge to ask for a straight double bourbon and instead asked for a chamomile tea.

"One chamomile tea," called out the hologram to the replicator. "How is Jena doing?" she asked as she brought it to Jason.

"Of course, she's upset, but both fortunately and unfortunately, she's no stranger to loss and she has friends on board to help her though it ." Jason replied.

"She is quite resilient, isn't she," replied the hologram, serving Jason his tea. Meru had cared for Jena, seeing something of herself in the young teenager. A childhood punctuated by loss, growing up without a parent, and struggling with her Bajoran identity light-years away from home. "Does she know? About the pon farr?"

"Yes, she is." Jason agreed. "Tela, her mother, taught her well." Thinking of Tela brought his grief for all those he'd lost. His thoughts were interrupted by Holo-Meru's next question. "She does know about pon farr and the fact that she may experience herself."

"Yes, I suppose she is of that age..." mused the hologram. "Well, I suppose the only question remaining here is what will become of me? Will I be the subject of some grand precedent-setting legal case for holographic rights, or end up quietly deactivated..."

"I promise you I won't let them deactivate you." Jason told her. "And if it comes to a court case, my sister-in-law is a lawyer, who would be happy to take your case, and I'm sure Dr. Silverton and our Counselling department will give evidence in your favour."

Alenis smiled slightly for the first time. "I hope it doesn't come down to that. But if it does, I may need to call on some testimony." She paused for a moment, knowing that this would be awkward at best. Clearly, Vulcans were very private about their pon farr, and the embarrassment from having to testify in a court case could ruin Jason's Starfleet career. "Specifically... yours."

Jason blushed a little when he realised what she meant by his testimony. Taking a breathe to regain his composure, the Chief Science Officer said. "If it comes to it, I will testify on your behalf." He wanted to add 'and to hell with the consequences', but decided against it. He'd risked his career in the past to save others and he was willing to do it again, should the need arise.

"You know, Jason," replied Alenis, placing a hand on his shoulder. "Despite this whole pon farr thing, you are a good man."

This brought a fleeting smile to Jason's features.
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Re: Mission Three: "Pilgrims"

Tue May 05, 2015 6:13 pm

Tim entered Alenis' office once more, before it wouldn’t be her office anymore. With the upcoming debriefings of the Admirals and the overall ending of the mission he wasn’t very confident he would be the Portland’s new Commanding Officer, or even it’s Executive Officer. Just in case his gut was correct he wanted to take the time to take away Meru’s things. So he could hand them over to her mother, or sister.

As he looked over Alenis’ things, dozens of memories came rushing back, of the dear friend he would see no more. Her chess set on the table, with which they played a game about a week before. Even though she said she was rusty, Meru had handily defeated him in 26 moves. Or the model of a Bajoran lightship in a display case, which served as a link between her career as a Starfleet captain and her home. And the teapot… she was always offering him tea. And sometimes, in her quarters, not tea.

But now, she was gone. There would be no more long conversations about the Academy, the service, and life in general. No more sharing a pot of tea or a bottle of springwine in her quarters. And, no more of the valuable wisdom and guidance that she had offered him. Even though she was only a year older that Tim, Alenis had a certain wisdom beyond her years, and was always willing to share that wisdom with her executive officer.

Tim shook his head and let out a sigh, swearing he would never return to the rock known as Gamia III as long as he lived. As he walked over to her desk to start cleaning up, however, he heard a faint noise. Emanating from a dark corner of the room was a quiet cooing sound. As he looked over, he saw Ko-ko step out into the light and stare up at him.

His first reaction was one of annoyance but that quick ly softened as he remembered how that animal changed Maru's mood to the better. ''Oh KO-KO, what are we going to do with you.''

The bird turned her head slightly as if to turn the question back at him. In addition to being known for her calming presence, the female of her species of bird was also very adept at reading the emotions of other creatures, having almost a primitive version of Betazoid empathy. But one did not need to be a Betazoid to see the pain that Tim was feeling.

With a flutter of her wings, Ko-ko launched herself aloft, circled the room, and landed on Tim's shoulder. A calming coo emanated from her as she nuzzled herself up against Tim's head, like she used to do to Meru.

Tim didn't say anything. Just shook his head.
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