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Mission Four: "Requiem"

Sat Apr 04, 2015 11:30 pm

The following is the fourth mission of the USS Portland, taking place on Deep Space Nine after our return from Gamia III. OOC thread here.
Capt. Alenis Meru
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Re: Mission Four: "Requiem"

Sun Apr 05, 2015 12:31 am

Good night, Meru
Torpedo Platform 12, Deep Space Nine
1050 hours, MD01
Authors: Cmdr. Timothy Rouse, Admiral James Washington (played by Alenis Meru)

Tim was the first to arrive.

The journey back from Gamia III was a somber one, and no one felt it more than Lt. Cmdr. Timothy Rouse. He had spent much of the journey alone in his office -- the executive officer's office, as it didn't feel right to move into the captain's office with her body barely even cold -- leaving as much bridge duty as he could to his senior officers while he dealt privately with his emotions. No matter how hard Ellen or anyone else tried, he was inconsolable.

As Starfleet officers, both him and Alenis were well aware that they could be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice. It was something that they agreed to when they chose this way of life, and something which was never too far from the back of their minds. Still, it was a shock to see Alenis' casket, draped with both the blue flag of the Federation and the brown flag of Bajor, when she was so alive and vibrant only a few days ago.

He wanted a command of his own someday, but not like this. Having it thrust upon him in an acting capacity after the death of his friend. "Meru," he said, placing his hand on her casket, his eyes welling up with tears. "I'm so sorry, Meru."

In truth, he didn't know quite what he was sorry for. For her loss, or for his inability to honour her final request and kill her. He had replayed her last moments in his head over and over, wondering if he could have done anything differently to save her. Of course, there was nothing to be done, but it should have been him that fired the fatal shot, not Tyrlai. If he couldn't follow Meru's last order, maybe he didn't have what it takes to be a Starfleet captain.

About to break down, he felt a hand on his shoulder. Turning, he came face to face with Admiral Washington, one of the many people he had been avoiding since they had docked. "Admiral..." he managed to stammer.

"Timothy," replied Washington, deliberately using his first name. As a Starfleet Admiral, he made a point of rarely if ever addressing his junior officers by their first names, but today was an exception. "I read your preliminary report. There was nothing that could have been done."

"I shouldn't have let her go," he replied, choking back tears. If only he had objected in stronger terms to her leading the away team herself, if only he had gone down in her place...

"Tim, there are certain people out there who once they get an idea in their head, there is no stopping them. Meru was one of them. There was nothing you could have done differently." His usually stern voice was gentler than usual as he tried to comfort the junior officer. "This was a sacrifice that she was prepared to make, for Starfleet and for Bajor."

"I know. It's just never hit so close to home before," replied Tim. "Two funerals in two weeks... does it ever get any easier?"

"No, it doesn't," said the Admiral in a stern voice. "And if it ever does, it's time to turn in your badge and find a new line of work, because we can't have captains in the fleet who don't properly appreciate the lives of their crew." He took a deep breath. "I fought in the Dominion War. Those were dark days for the fleet. We lost hundreds, if not thousands, of fine young men a week. Countless people lost friends and family to the Jem'Hadar and the Breen." Washington paused and swallowed, a lump appearing in his throat. "My wife was at Chin'toka."

"I'm sorry..." stammered Tim. The second battle of Chin'toka was one of the darkest days in the history of the fleet. Worse than New Algiers, worse than the Battle of Betazed, even worse than Wolf 359. A massive Federation fleet was utterly annihilated by the Breen, and 311 out of 312 vessels were lost.

"She was a wonderful woman, and for years I struggled with losing her. But she gave me two sons and a beautiful daughter, and after a time I came to realize I was blessed to have her for as long as I did. And that she would have wanted me to focus on raising Fred, Jackson and Ellen and moving on with my life instead of wallowing in my own sadness. And I'm sure Meru would have wanted you to move forward as well." Washington surreptitiously wiped a tear from his eye, trying to avoid crying in front of a junior officer, and tugged on his tunic, straightening out his dress uniform. "Well then," he added, changing the subject, "I suppose I shall see you tomorrow for the review board."

"The review board?" asked Tim, raising an eyebrow. He was sure he had read it on his subspace messages somewhere, but everything in the past few days was a big jumble to him.

"Yes, I send you a message about it," replied Washington. "It's standard procedure, whenever a captain is killed in the line of duty, for her death to be reviewed by the admiralty. In light of your report, I've expanded the review board to a triumvirate of admirals, to examine the conduct of this entire mission, starting from when you left port."

Tim's eyes narrowed in anger. How dare he question his conduct or that of his crew. "Admiral, I..."

"Don't worry," replied Washington, holding up a hand. "It's just a few questions, I'm sure you'll conduct yourself well." Tugging his uniform again, he looked around the torpedo bay-cum-funeral parlour. The crew of the Portland had begun to file in. "I best take my seat, Commander. You just get ready for your speech."
Capt. Alenis Meru
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Re: Mission Four: "Requiem"

Sun Apr 19, 2015 6:58 pm

Good night, Meru, part II
Torpedo Platform 12, Deep Space Nine
1050 hours, MD01
Authors: Cmdr. Timothy Rouse, Lt. Jason Beauvoir, Lt. (JG) Sera Williams, Ensign Gregory Rathcliffe (played by Eilis Ross), Lt. (JG) Delainey Carlisle, Lt. (JG) Luka Mahone, Adm. Washington (played by Alenis Meru)

Last time on Star Trek: Portland

"Don't worry," replied Washington, holding up a hand. "It's just a few questions, I'm sure you'll conduct yourself well." Tugging his uniform again, he looked around the torpedo bay-cum-funeral parlour. The crew of the Portland had begun to file in. "I best take my seat, Commander. You just get ready for your speech."


And now, the continuation


Jason and Jena walked into the makeshift funeral parlour. Jason was dressed in his dress uniform, which was immaculate, as was his hair. Out of respect for the Captain and her heredity, Jena wore a Bajoran style funeral robe and her mother's earring.

Jason's expression was stoic, while Jena's sorrow appeared on her features.

Despite Jason's stoic expression, inside the Chief Science Officer was a maelstrom of sorrow, guilt and anger. The father and daughter took their seats and waited for the ceremony to begin.

Sera walked through the door into the room. In her previous role, she was sure she had done some kind of maintenance or another in this room a number of times. She wore her dress white dress uniform, her hair was pulled back in a ceremonial Bajoran style was she wore a traditional Bajoran earring that she borrowed from one of the Bajoran crewmen aboard. Sera had spent a lot of time, much to the annoyance of her roomate Nikki, making sure that she looked perfect for the funeral. She had been on the surface when everything had happened.

Sera managed to keep herself from crying by not really talking to anyone. The new pip on her collar felt as though it was a stone weighing her down, as she still doubted that she deserved the promotion. As she slid down the row of chairs, she laid a hand on both Jason and Jena in a reassuring gesture. She took her seat beside the other two as quietly as she could, trying not to look at the torpedo tube that now serve as the final resting place of her very first Captain.

Nikki debated whether to go to the funeral or not. She didn't really know the captain, and never got to meet her. But seeing how distraught Nikki was as she was changing and getting ready sealed the deal for her. She would go there, if only to support her friend and give her a shoulder to cry on. As soon as Sera left, she quickly changed into her dress uniform, smoothing out the wrinkles and removing any errant pieces of lint as best she could, and quickly ran onto the station and into the torpedo bay where the funeral was being held.

"Sera!" she called out, instantly identifying her friend and roommate's hair. As soon as she blurted out the word though, she covered her mouth in embarrassment. Way to go, Nikki. Embarrassing yourself at the Captain's funeral? What are you thinking?. Quickly, she darted over to the side of her friend, trying to avoid the stares on the way. "Is this seat taken?" she whispered. "You looked like you might need a shoulder to cry on."

Leave it to Nikki to come in at the right time, Sera had needed a bit of a laugh. She didn't vocalize the laugh, though a small smile crossed her face for the first time in a few days. Sera nodded at Nikki as she picked up the PADD containing the funeral program from the seat beside her. "Thanks Nikki," replied Sera.

Gregory moved through the door as his dress uniform pulled at his body. The last time he had had to wear this uniform in this setting had been for....Shaking his head to knock away the memories, he forbid himself from going back there. The journey with the prophets had been enough to reopen old exposed wounds, today wasn't the day to revisit them more.

Looking around, he didn't recognise anybody, the only reason he had come was because he had been then for the end and he felt it was his duty to honour the woman he had seen die. News had reached him that his old boss had resigned from the ship; for what reason no one knew but everyone knew that the same thought had crossed their own minds after all that had happened. Keeping himself to the back of the room, he leaned a shoulder against the wall as he waited for the service to begin.

Luka had sat himself silently toward the back of the room, clothed in a freshly replicated dress uniform. Though he knew little about the Captain, it didn't seem appropriate of him to not attend. She had to have been quite a woman, especially with the number of people currently gathered around them. <i>'Definitely someone amazing to have served under.'</i> he thought as he observed the other members of the crew. He could only imagine the grief they were going through.

Delainey entered and tried to push away her own mixture of emotions, at least for the duration of the ceremony. Her dress whites felt more uncomfortable than normal, but Carlisle had to acknowledge her mood had something to do with that. The whole situation was surreal. The counselor had never actually met the real Alenis Meru, and yet her encounter with the holographic version of her made Delainey acutely aware of the woman they'd lost all the same. In addition, as cliché as it sounded, Carlisle was still reeling from the suddenness of it all. One moment, her captain was alive and just out of reach for the moment, and the next, she was never going to meet her.

The counselor knew if she was feeling this way, the crew, and especially those on the fateful away team, had to be feeling a hundred times worse. Scanning the room, she was searching for anyone who seemed particularly upset or distressed at the moment. She knew the full weight of the crew's grief would hit them later, and she'd arranged appointments with the away team and cleared her schedule accordingly, but that didn't mean she could rest easy here or consider her own grief, however unusual it might have been.

At the podium in front of the torpedo, Tim looked over the gathered crowd. It was larger than he expected, with the crew of the Portland, some other Starfleet officers who he didn't recognize, and a number of Bajoran civilians. Clearly, the death of Meru on that worthless rock touched more than just her immediate friends and family. He pressed a button on the podium, which began playing the Bajoran national anthem, getting the attention of the assembled crowd. While her last wishes called for a traditional Starfleet funeral, Tim thought that she would have wanted a bit of a Bajoran touch as well.

There was a moment of silence as the music stopped, and the gathered mourners all looked up at Tim, waiting for him to begin his speech. Nervous and overcome with emotion, he paused for a moment. His eyes locked with those of Ellen, who, seated next to her father, offered him a slight and subtle encouraging smile, giving him the strength he needed to continue.

He picked up his PADD that had a prepared speech. But instead of reading it aloud, he turned it over and placed it back on the podium. He would speak from the heart.

"Friends and comrades, we are gathered here today to pay final respects to our dearly departed friend. It is a testament to her spirit and the influence she had on those around her that so many of you are gathered here today. We knew her as our captain, leading us on our journey through the stars. We knew her as our protector, fighting off any who would dare to harm us. And... we knew her as our friend. Always there to open her office to us and offer a mug of tea and a bit of advice."

"Captain Alenis -- Meru -- was a complex woman, and I am truly blessed to have known her, even for such a short time as I did. She was uniquely dedicated to her duty as a Starfleet officer. She cared for her crew, and always did her duty with the utmost professionalism. She was the epitome of a dedicated Starfleet officer." As he spoke, Tim was struggling, trying not to cry, trying to maintain his composure. "But there was another side to her. Underneath that hard, professional exterior was a woman who was kind and caring. And... there was a woman who was feeling a lot of pain, who had her vulnerabilities." He looked over at Arvel, who was hanging his head in sadness. "She was a woman who lived through a lot of sadness -- the Occupation of Bajor, the battle of New Algiers. But through it all, she was a source of strength to others, even when she was struggling herself.”

"And Bajor. One can not talk about Meru and fail to mention her relationship with her home planet of Bajor. She was truly a child of Bajor, and, though she had only returned recently, I could tell that her love for Bajor ran deep. In her final days, she visited the planet for the first time in nearly thirty years. In the days leading up to her death, I saw her undergo a religious awakening. Her love for Bajor and her connection with the Prophets was re-invigorated."

"In a time like this, it is all too easy to focus on her death -- a courageous act of self-sacrifice, in which she no doubt saved countless lives. To focus on the loss, the pain, that we are all feeling. But more important is to reflect on her life, and the thirty-seven years in which we were blessed with her presence. The strength she gave us in our darkest moments, the courage she showed in facing down adversity, and the empathy she showed with all those who suffered."

"I think, in some sense, she knew in her final days that she was not long for this universe. She gave so much, in life and in death. And so, I am left with the following words, from Dickens, but which could have been spoken by Meru in her dying moments. It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known."

With that, Tim pressed another two buttons on the podium. One of which activated the anthem of the Federation, which she had dedicated her life in service of. The other activated the loading sequence for the torpedo launcher, signalling four crewmen to remove the flags for the launch.

As Gregory watched the play of the funeral being acted out in front of him, he couldn't help but feel that this was all so serene. None of this was ever meant to end this way...no one should have died on their mission, least of all their Commanding Officer. It was evident by the number of people and the sound of quiet sobs that Captain Alenis was a well loved woman, honoured by her crew and friends. She should never have died...it wasn't her time yet.

As they listened to the ceremony, Jena reached out and clasped Jason's hand gently to comfort him. Jason gave her, what he hoped was, a reassuring smile. Closing his eyes, he saw the Par wraith that had possessed her smiling through her face as it inflicted pain and death. "Meru, I'm so sorry." He said in no more than a whisper.

With the Federation anthem blaring, the torpedo was guided down the loading rack and towards the breech of the launcher. Tim turned around and took one last glance at the black tube that was his friend's coffin as it slid into the breech. "Goodbye, Meru," he whispered, watching the hatch close behind it and trying to choke back tears until the music stopped.

Silence filled the room for a few seconds. "And now," said Tim, "we bid our friend and captain farewell, and wish her smooth sailing on her final journey." With that, he held his finger over a large red button and took a deep breath. With a tear forming in the corner of his eye, he pressed down on the button, sending Meru streaking across space on her final journey.

With a subtle nod, Tim indicated to the assembled crowd that the ceremony was over, before leaving the podium and walking over to a viewport, so he could watch over his friend one final time.

Standing at the window, Tim just stared out into space at the glowing torpedo and the ion trail left in its wake. "Goodbye, Meru," he managed to utter, before closing his eyes in an attempt to stop his tears from running down his cheek. When he opened them, he saw the yellow and blue swirl of the wormhole opening and engulfing the torpedo. He had never really watched the wormhole before. The only time he had seen it open was in a small restaurant on DS9, where he first met Meru prior to the launch of the Portland. Staring at it, it was one of the most beautiful sights he had ever seen, next to Ellen, of course. It brought a slight smile to his face for the first time in days; perhaps it was only fitting that Meru's final journey would be her return to the wormhole.

As he stared out into space, he felt a hand on his shoulder. Turning, he found himself face to face with Admiral Washington, with Ellen not far behind. "Beautiful, isn't it?" asked the Admiral in a soft voice.

"Yes..." replied Tim. "It is."
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Re: Mission Four: "Requiem"

Sun Apr 19, 2015 11:28 pm

Three Decks Away
by Tyrlai Zade

((takes place concurrently with the Funeral))

The man with the crystalline eyes had run out of room on Cria IV. It was a dead end alleyway on Cria IV specifically. His crystalline eyes were perfectly functional and they told him as much, that he had run out of room, there was nowhere else to go. He had screamed then, his eyes had gone orange and he had raged at the walls. He raged about the clingy mist and smell of the place, and at the witch. He saved most of his rage for the witch. He screamed at how she ‘frelling’ chased him, and never ‘frelling’ gave him a moments ‘frelling’ peace, so ‘frelling’ far from anything that made any ‘frelling’ sense and why wouldn’t she just leave him be. He didn’t really say ‘frelling’, of course, she had just put it in her report that way. It looked better than [redacted] and she thought it was amusing and sounded close enough to what he actually said. He also didn’t really say ‘witch’.

The witch for her part gave her the only answer she could think of. “Because I’m Tyrlai frelling Zade.”

Three decks above torpedo bay 7-gamma and three and a half years later, where an access corridor led through the side of a jury-rigged suite, the same witch clambered through the tight space. A Ledeen diplomat had insisted some years back that he be given a suite that aligned with a certain star for religious reasons. Special accommodations were constructed and within a week the Ledeen official had been arrested for espionage. Fourteen years after that conference ended Tyrlai Zade had spotted the unused space between the suite and the normal sized cabin next door. Squeezing through an access vent, she found a nice and normally unused window the floors above where the ceremony for Alenis was proceeding.

She was dressed in a muted version of her violet formal frippery but had dithered and fussed and made herself late enough that she settled on her makeshift vantage point instead. After all, she had been the one who pulled the trigger, based on nothing better than intuition. She had no special powers to see the future, but there should have been another way. In time she would find it and then the real guilt could begin. Until then she wasn’t ready to have the crew staring at her.

Her transfer application was already filled out. She was even ready to go back to counseling if need be. Diplomacy offered a lot of freedom and Alenis had tolerated even more, she had been basically functioning as an independent agent only mildly attached to Portland for weeks now, another Captain would have clamped down on that behavior a long time ago. Alenis had given her free rein and it had wound up costing the Captain her life. So Tyrlai had done what she had always done, gotten ready to leave. Job, relationship, family, homeworld, in the end Tyrlai had left them all when they got tough. The Humans had a saying, when the tough get going the,.. something about going about all tough or something. Anyway, her version had always ended with ‘…and then Tyrlai ran away.’

Tyrlai had always been the first to board the dangerous freighter, the first to beam into the firefight, fight a dahar master with a sword, slide under a sealing bulkhead before the warp core is ejected. But, the second her boyfriend wanted to talk about where ‘things’ were headed she couldn’t change her combadge frequency fast enough. In fact the word ‘boyfriend’ usually precipitated such events all on its own. This time she couldn’t blame uppity Klingons or clingy SOs. So shed transfer away and everyone could forget and things could be normal again.

But that paperwork had never been filed, because it wouldn’t take her far enough.

Tyrlai had never been a good little scientist. It was all her parents had wanted and so very and painfully evident to all that it was completely beyond her reach. Clear to everyone but Tyrlai and her parents. Tyrlai would double down and try harder each time she failed, her parents would pull strings and get her scraped through each time only to have her end up that much farther behind the next iteration. Her aptitude tests were oddly enough off the scale, but when it came time to apply herself, she unraveled, occasionally spectacularly and always in some kind of surprising new way. The failure and expectations grew into mutual silos far greater than she could handle. So Tyrlai had run away, and even then her plan had unraveled spectacularly.

She pulled the shard from the pocket of her tunic. It lit up the ramshackle chamber she sat in as it had been doing ever since that moment. It shone with an uncanny inner brilliance, cool to the touch, and oddly comforting. She hadn’t told any of the others her suspicions, because they were crazy. They were simply bat-backside crazy, and that was frankly something, coming from her.

So if the prophecies were right, but the texts containing them were wrong and physics could be argued with on a couple of its notions or she could find a nice place between universes and,… “or maybe this light could just shut off and leave me alone and I can transfer to the Nightingale and meet some nice guy who doesn’t want to talk about his damn feelings so much, and have a bunch of kids that I never ever put any pressure on to do anything… that would be nice. Could I have that?” She blinked back the tears furiously, she was afraid if she let them go they wouldn’t ever stop. “…and that would be nice.” She insistently reminded the universe. Then with less insistence and more pleading, “why can’t I have that?”

The light didn’t go out. She even gave it an extra few minutes, just to be sure, before tucking the shard back into her tunic.

“Because I’m Tyrlai frelling Zade.” She said to herself, picking up the remote control and sending the little vacuum-probe hovering outside the window to chase after the Captain’s torpedo.
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Re: Mission Four: "Requiem"

Mon Apr 20, 2015 12:16 am

Goodbyes
Captain's Office, USS Portland (docked at DS9)
MD01, 1300 hours (shortly after the funeral)


With a duffel bag over his shoulder, Arvel Darze made his way to the captain’s office on the USS Portland. He had turned in his commission, taken an early retirement, and arranged for his animals to be shipped home to Betazed where he would start up his own private practice. Having lost the woman he loved, he could no longer bear to live the life of a Starfleet counsellor. Besides, it wasn’t as though he was needed anyways; Dr. Carlisle seemed competent enough.

But he had left one thing until the end. Ko-ko remained in the captain’s office, no doubt under the care of that hologram. In truth, he couldn’t bear to go up there and face the abomination that was the hologram. Not after the death of Meru. Outside the door, he sighed momentarily, gathered his thoughts, and entered.

“Arvel?” asked the hologram, looking up from her desk. Perched in her favourite spot on top of the captain’s monitor was Ko-ko, who turned her head sideways at Arvel. On the screen was a video of the funeral of the captain. It was difficult to watch, but she felt that she had to at least sit through it to honour the memory of the captain. Besides, it wasn’t every day that one gets to see their own funeral.

Arvel shook his head. “Computer, deactivate EMH,” he called out quickly, hoping to avoid this inevitable confrontation. But instead of disappearing, the hologram simply stood up from her desk.

“They de-activated the voice controls on my program,” explained the holographic representation of the captain, “and adjusted some sort of visual matrix so I could be a redhead.” Seeing no reaction to her little joke, she pressed further. “Arvel, what’s going on? You can talk to me.”

“I’m leaving Starfleet,” replied Arvel in a dismissive tone as he walked over towards Ko-ko’s cage, trying his best to ignore the hologram. “I’m going home, back to Betazed.”

“Leaving Starfleet?!” Shocked, Alenis quickly intercepted him by standing between him and the cage. “But, Arvel--”

Arvel grabbed the hologram by the arms. He didn’t have time for this. “Don’t ‘but’ me, missy! The paperwork is already taken care of, and my transport leaves in two hours.”

Not one to take abuse from anyone, Meru wrested her arms free. “Arvel, what’s wrong? You obviously came here for something, and--”

“What’s wrong?” Arvel shouted incredulously. “What’s wrong? The woman I love has been killed and replaced with some holographic sexbot, and you’re asking me what’s wrong?”

Alenis sighed. “Arvel, is this about Jason? Look, that was just so--”

“No, this isn’t about Jason!” he exclaimed. He couldn’t believe he was arguing with a hologram. “How would you feel if I were to die and there was some replica of me walking around, pretending to be me?”

“Arvel, I didn’t ask for this to happen,” replied the hologram, her eyes filling with sadness. “Please… I still love you. We can talk about this.”

“There’s nothing to talk about.” Arvel shook his head. He wanted to simply take Ko-ko and be gone, but the hologram wasn’t making it easy. “The Meru I fell in love with died on that planet. I accept that. And it’s time for me to move on. There is nothing to be gained by trying to carry on a relationship with a hologram and pretending that it’s the same.”

Alenis sighed. She had lost a lot in the past few days, and now she was losing Arvel as well. “Then why are you here?” she asked, challenging him.

“I just want to get my bird and leave,” he replied.

“Not Ko-ko!” exclaimed Alenis. Even though it wasn’t really her, she had rebuilt a relationship with the bird over the past few weeks. With Arvel leaving and her career in doubt, Ko-ko was all that she had left.

Arvel sighed. Staring at the bird, all kinds of memories of the times he had spent with Meru had come rushing back. The times he spent breaking through her tough exterior and seeing the sweet, caring person underneath. The times he spent caring for her in some of her darkest moments, and the passions they had developed for each other. And the sadness he felt when she left him, the joy of their reunion, and the sadness again when it was cut short. As he looked back and forth between Ko-ko and the hologram, he realized that perhaps, that too, should be left in the past.

“You know what,” he said, stroking his beard. “You can have her. Take good care of her, and don’t spoil her with mint leaves too much,” he added with a hint of smile. Alenis was always feeding her mint leaves.

“Really?”

“Yes, really.” As he looked into her eyes, Arvel saw why he had fallen in love with her so many years ago. “You know, I know you’re not the real Meru, but… I never got a chance to say goodbye.”

The hologram’s eyes lit up at that last comment. “Oh, Arvel,” she said, as she approached the man she loved for one last embrace.
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Re: Mission Four: "Requiem"

Sat Apr 25, 2015 7:20 pm

The Triad
Admiral Washington's Office
MD01, 1400 hours
Authors: Admiral Washington (played by Alenis Meru), Admiral Anderson (played by Tyrlai Zade), Admiral Cresswell (played by Jason Beauvoir)


For what seemed like the tenth time, Admiral Washington was re-reading the reports from the last mission of the USS Portland. Though they shed light on what happened on Gamia III, they left him with as many questions as answers. What really happened down there? What is to be done with this hologram? And who fired the fatal shot?

As he pondered these questions, he was interrupted by a knock on the door. "Right on time," he muttered, getting up from his desk. "Come in!"

Admiral Tanner Anderson walked in staring at readouts on a pair of pads. It was one of his signatures, her would often carry a datapadd in each hand and read them both. In this case a letter from his wife, Jourdana, and the latest overly descriptive duty report from his grand-daughter, Rebecca McKinnon, a linguist who had managed to escape the destruction of three ships in her first two months on active duty. He looked up and smiled, "Mister Washington, how is that daughter of yours?"

"Ellen is doing well; she's just started her first assignment," replied Washington. "She's on the Portland. The whole crew is going through a bit of a rough patch though, but her executive officer assures me that she's all right." He offered his colleague a faint smile; they both knew that the Portland was the reason why he was here. "Care for anything from the replicator? Tea, coffee? Or perhaps from the bottom left drawer in my desk?"

"You have no idea how tempting the latter is, but I will have coffee please, Brazillian Robusta if possible. What do you know of Timothy Rouse?" Anderson stepped over to where Washington's replicator sat along the far wall. Normally stationed in San Francisco, Anderson had been a last minute replacement to form a quorum.

"Rouse?" replied the Admiral as he walked over to the replicator. "Computer, one Brazilian Robusta please." Still not quite back in shape after his third heart attack, he leaned against the wall as the coffee materialized on a silver tray, on top of a lace napkin, with a small silver creamer and sugar bowl. As he handed Anderson the tray, he continued. "I've met him a few times. He's alright. Clean service record and all that. A real boy scout. Why do you ask?"

Anderson scrutinized the overly formal platter of trinkets he'd been handed for his coffee. "I sometimes prefer to hear more opinions than I find in service records. How many are we debriefing?"

"Well, I think we're going to have to talk to all the senior staff, and anyone else who was on the surface at the time of the captain's death. I see a lot of decisions in this report that are going to need to be explained to us," he said, returning to his desk and picking up a PADD. "The conduct of Lieutenant Zade, the decision to bring a fourteen year old girl on a diplomatic mission, and this hologram..." Washington shook his head. "Did you read about that part?"

"Zade? Is that the Zade?" Anderson shuddered, he had been born on the Farrugut, Captain Zade had been the scary babysitter. The stern one who told scary stories. He had heard Zade was back in a new form. "The Trill one?" He shook his head. "We might have been better off with the fourteen year old. From what I see though that was the Captains decision, and it did not lead to the incident. If anything it prevented us making a hasty decision there. Tough part of these things, we cant question the Captain at this point."

"Well, according to this reports. we can question someone." Washington slid a PADD across the desk towards his counterpart. "Apparently the crew had developed a..." his face curled up in disgust for an instant "...most interesting method of dealing with a Vulcan officer's pon farr. According to these reports, they have a hologram that contains all the memories of the Captain, right up until about a day before she went down on the landing party." Shaking his head in disgust, he continued. "Of course, what to do with it is one of the questions before us. The hologram thinks it's a sentient being."

Washington took a deep breath before continuing. "And yes, this is the Zade."

*******************************************

Admiral Graham Cresswell stormed down the corridor on his way to Admiral Washington's office. "Damn Cardassian architecture. " He muttered.
He was unhappy with being called away from his 'important work' on Starbase 63 to help oversee the investigation of some incompetent crew who couldn't even perform a simple diplomatic mission without losing their captain and creating a diplomatic incident.

Arriving at Washington's office he knocked on the door. Not waiting for an answer he walked in and said. "Good, we're all here, how long's this going to take, anyway?"

"I imagine about two to three days of interviews," replied Washington. He knew Cresswell fairly well. The man had a well-deserved reputation as a pompous, arrogant, self-righteous stuffed shirt, though once you become a flag officer, you can afford to be a little arrogant. He was also known to be a stickler, which would no doubt be beneficial in getting to the bottom of the death of the captain and the conduct of the crew. "Then, of course, some time for us to mull over the evidence and render whatever judgements we see appropriate. May I get you anything, Admiral?"

"Water.still. Best to keep a clear head in these proceedings, wouldn't you say, Washington?" Cresswell replied.

"Of course," replied the Admiral getting up from his desk to walk over to the replicator again. "Computer, one glass of water for my friend." After placing the glass in front of Cresswell, he returned to his desk and opened the bottom left drawer of his desk. "Of course, a little bit of scotch helps focus the mind and keep one sharp," he added, producing a bottle of Islay single malt and a tulip shaped glass. "Now, Cresswell, have you read the initial reports from Commander Rouse yet?"

"Yes, and I've studied his service record. A good officer, but it appears he's let himself be swayed by bad influences such as Lieutenants Beauvoir and Zade. A pity really, let's hope it's not gone too far." Was Cresswell's reply.

"I'm sure Captain Alenis was able to keep him on the straight and narrow," replied Washington before taking a sip of his scotch. Fine scotch was a taste which he had spent several decades developing, and as an Admiral, it was a luxury he could easily afford. His doctor had encouraged him to quit drinking after his latest heart attack, but he figured that with all the studies out there, at least one or two had to associate scotch consumption with improved heart health. And even if the studies showing it was good for you tended to be funded by Scottish distilleries, to him, life without scotch was hardly worth living. "May she rest in peace," he added, placing the glass back down on his desk.

"Of course." Cresswell replied. "And I agree Captain Alenis death is the tragic waste, we can't afford to lose experienced officers like her."

"Yes," replied Washington as he pulled out a stack of PADDs. "Now, lets get to work."
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Re: Mission Four: "Requiem"

Tue Apr 28, 2015 4:16 pm

Of pasts and prophets...
June 2412
The Black Hole Tavern
Terra Nova

"Care for a refill? Or perhaps some appetizers? We have a special on wings and pitchers tonight, and sixteen different beers on tap--" called out Trix, barely concealing her annoyance towards the party at table number 8. With a blue mohawk, a number of tattoos, and an attitude to match, Trix was doing her best to be a good server, but this table was seriously getting on her nerves. The table had been here all night, and all they had barely ordered anything. Just a couple pots of Bajoran tea, and a few pieces of bread midway through the night. In their black robes and hoods, they looked like monks. And that frustrated Trix, as monks are notoriously bad tippers.

"No, thank you," replied one of the monks, interrupting her before she could list their liquor offerings. A middle-aged Bajoran man, he appeared to be their leader. His robes were slightly more ornate than the rest, with some muted grey trim to set it apart. "Just some more tea, please."

"Very well," the waitress replied, sighing as she went to fetch another pot.

As they sat drinking their tea, the four hooded figures were closely examining a man drinking alone at the bar. They had traveled a long distance to find this man, and went through numerous intermediaries, each one more shifty than the last, before finally tracking down his favourite bar, where they would lie in wait. And tonight was their lucky night. One member of their party had earlier caught a glance over his shoulder at the PADD he was reading. When she saw it was an invitation to the decommissioning of the USS Portland on Starbase 66, in low orbit above Trill, she knew they had their man.

When they saw him polish off his beer and start heading for the door, the monks knew it was time to go. "Check please!" called out the leader, holding his hand up to get Trix’s attention.

Trix just sighed again as she returned to the bar with a fresh pot of tea. But by the time she returned to the table with the bill, they were gone. Fortunately, the few slips of latinum they left behind was enough to cover their tab. And then some. She breathed a sigh of relief; at least it wasn’t a total waste of a night.

********************************

Outside the bar, the four dark-robed figures looked around for a moment before reacquiring their target. As their target stumbled towards a run down area of town, it didn’t take long for the monks to catch up. “Commander Rouse!” called out the leader.

The man slowly clenched his fists, ready to deal with trouble. He hadn’t been called that in almost twenty years. “Who the hell--"

But before he could put his fists up to defend himself, three of the figures were on top of him. Quickly subduing him, they held him up aginst the wall in an alley.

“Who are you? What do you want?” demanded Tim angrily as he struggled in vain against their grasp.

“Open your eyes,” replied the leader, as he pulled out a small box, shaped almost like a lantern. With his other hand, he pulled open the door on the front, revealing a white crystal inside, glowing intensely and illuminating Tim’s face as well as most of the alleyway.

“No,” shouted Tim, trying to turn away from the bright light. “Nooooooo!”

********************************

Overcome by the flash, when Tim blinked his eyes open, he found himself in a place that was all too familiar. Around him was the bridge of the Portland, bathed in white light. "No..." he gasped.

"You left her behind..." said a grey haired man standing up from the helm console. As he turned around, Tim recognized him.

"Admiral Washington?" he asked, surprised. "But you died of a heart attack five years ago! This can't be!"

"Why did you leave her behind?" This time it was Ellen, the woman he loved, who had long since left him, asking the question.

"I don't know who--"

"Your friend and colleague," replied the prophet Tyrlai. "Why did you leave her?"

"You mean Meru? She was dead!" protested Tim. He didn't know who these people were, where he was, or what they wanted with him. "We did all we could to save her!"

"Her pagh remains," said a woman's voice that Tim had not heard in twenty years.

"Meru?" asked Tim, turning towards her and collapsing at her feet. "I'm so sorry. I tried to save you..."

"Go free her pagh," replied the prophet Alenis. As she placed her hands on his shoulders, another bright flash of light filled the room, then everything went black.

********************************

As he awoke in an alleyway on Terra Nova, Tim rubbed his head. He had passed out in alleys before, but this time was different. He remembered a vivid strange dream, and four Bajorans in robes. As he tried to shake it off, however, he found a note in his pocket. Examining it, he saw, scratched on parchment paper, was the coordinates of a small Bajoran temple in an oasis in the Okana desert.

He didn't know what he had to do, but at least he knew where to go.
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Re: Mission Four: "Requiem"

Wed Apr 29, 2015 11:29 pm

Tee Time...

Holodeck 2

Authors: Tyrlai Zade, and Parker Hudson

His large stride in his step Parker walked down along Corridor 21-C Diefenbaker and intersected turning left onto Hanover 22-A. It was a confusing set up for any Starfleet Cadet to become aquainted with, yet the 'Street System' was a tried and tested grid often grandfathered along on Starship's as old as; as seasoned as the Portland.

Anyone could be confused at the Calloway attire that Parker was dressed in Golf argyle sweater and khaki coloured long dress pants.

"G'Day Chief." Meyers one of the Shuttle Bay prep crew gave a nod, abiet confused in passing.

Parker giving a nod back grabbing the left side of his white visor at him "Beautiful day Sir!" He gave a slight smirk at the man. This was /his/ day and he was happy to be off duty. Four hours solid booked into Holodeck 2, Palm Springs Country Club and Golf Course and excellent sunny weather with a perfect tee off time! It couldn't get better than this.

In his time having arrived on the Portland Parker hadn't met many he could truely call friends yet, not that he wouldn't soon enough. It was he needed to slowly open his self up to others and that was tough. He had a few beers and hung out with the ships XO Commander Rouse and he was a swell guy.

Then there was also Tyrlai a swell broad who was a hoot. The many times he had cracked up inside at the things she had said or had done so far on this mission. Lately she was in a real need to be picked up.

Hiking up his real pair of athentic drivers on his left shoulder he reached forward and pressed Tyrlai's quarters chime.

"Enter," Tyrlai said pausing gracefully, arms raised and feet apart on tiptoes in kata seven of the Andorian ice cycle. She was dressed in long flowing white slacks and a matching wood toggled sleeveless vest, her hair pulled back in a tail dangling behind her as she moved. She swept her hands back in the fluidic dance before kata eight. She caught sight of the outfit Parker was wearing. "Is this a fancy dress sport?"

The doors swished open to Tyrlai's quarters. Knowing her he would be expecting something off the wall but not literally. "Is this some fancy meditation stunt?" He inquired.

"Yeah" He pulls at the vest, "I should have gone with the black argyle instead of the blue. This is 'fancy sport' but on a whole new level...You've been in here for a while lately, that's not you. Is it?"

She looked over at him, wanting to say 'well you don't kill your Captain every day', but it was likely to kill conversation and make for awkwardness. So she answered the other question instead. "Not meditation, light exercise and relaxation. I've been feeling oddly energetic and full of energy, this takes the edge off and gives me something to do. So do we hit each other with the sticks then?" She looked at the assortment of weapons he had brought along.

"No," he chuckled. "Just pick an outfit and follow me.




On the Holodeck

Tyrlai watched as Parker's ball rose sharply into the air in a back-heavy parabolic pattern. It was so tiny and you hit it so very far. She decided there were probably several million of these things lost on Earth right now if this was one of their pastimes. She adjusted her little visor hat and took a sip of her umbrella drink before setting it on the close cut grass of the tee area. She stepped up to the ball with one of the larger headed clubs Parker called woods, they had a strange end heavy feel to them. Looking down she lined up her shot, looked down the long field place and just as her holographic caddy started to suggest taking a few practice swings she reached back and slashed downward sending the little white ball ripping through the air on an almost perfect line to the end stick thingy.

"Well done miss Zade," her caddy started striding towards the little ball off in the distance, "A bit of beginners luck no doubt."

She picked her umbrella drink back up and walked after the caddy. "Computer, make caddy-Zade 40% more obsequious, and change his name to Bevins. Do you really think so, mister Bevins?"

"Come to think of it, Im sure you have a natural talent for this sort of thing, I'd expect nothing less really."

"Did you hear that, Parker? I've a natural talent for this sort of thing." She smiled striding down the course jauntily.

<Lieutenant Parker, report to engineering.> A lightly panicked voice crackled over the ships intercom.

Tyrlai smirked, "Ahh, you have to go so soon?"

"That it seems." He shouldered his 'bag of sticks' as she had called it and headed for the exit that has appeared in the middle of the tee.

"Hey Parker." She said lining up her next shot, not realizing you had to follow the first ball and hit it again. "You did a pretty good job out there. Thank you."

"Welcome." He said after a moments pause. He tipped his golf hat and stepped through the exit.
Tyrlai Zade
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USS Portland

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Re: Mission Four: "Requiem"

Sun May 03, 2015 4:27 pm

Changing Color
Deck 1 - XO's Office
Authors: Cmdr. Timothy Rouse and Lt. (JG) Sera Williams.



Still recovering from the loss of his dear friend, Cmdr. Timothy Rouse was suddenly dealt with another crisis: one of human resources.

Thrust into temporary command, he had to deal with crewing his ship in the face of a number of resignations and transfers. Parker Hudson had applied for and was given a transfer to a Galaxy class starship. In the security department, Amata Zan had taken leave to return to Bajor and get in touch with his roots, and Grel had somehow inexplicably got promoted to running the entire security department of Starbase 63. The last one almost made Tim laugh: Grel was barely competent and highly irritable, but his sympathy for the poor commanding officer who was stuck with him paled in comparison to his relief at seeing him gone.

In truth, he couldn't blame anyone for wanting to leave. This crew had only been out of spacedock a few weeks, and already the Portland was home to too many bad memories.

He had just about managed to work everything out. A couple young officers would be getting the opportunity of a lifetime and their chance to show Starfleet what they're made of. The only challenge was the engineering department. Apparently, most of the Miranda specialists had long since retired, and ambitious new engineers tended to be attracted to state of the art vessels. So, he found himself staring at the personnel file of one Ensign Sera Williams. Her academy career was fairly impressive, but her extra-curriculars made him smile. Clearly, her time heading up Delta Squad showed some ambition and leadership abilities.

He tapped his comm badge. "Ensign Williams, this is Lt. Cmdr. Rouse. I need to see you in my office right away."

Sera was in Engineering, making sure the last rounds of calibrations were holding when her comm badge chirped with the voice of Commander Rouse. "Yes sir, on my way," was her response. She took a look at Ensign Mendez and gave her a nod. The other Ensign then took over the station where Sera had been working as Sera made her way to the Turbolift.

As the turbolift shot up, Sera assumed that this would be some sort of interview about what had happened on the surface. She wasn't certain she was ready to bring up those memories. Sera had only met the XO once or twice, but never for any length of time... which added to her nervousness. As she neared the door, Sera gave herself a once over and smoothed out the uniform where needed and insured that no strands of hair were out of place. With a calming sigh, Sera pressed the blue request entry button marked with the Starfleet logo.

"Come in," called out Tim, still staring at a PADD containing Sera's personnel file. As the door opened, he looked up at the young ensign and made a motion with his hand towards a chair. "Have a seat."

Tim took a deep breath. He had dark circles under his eyes from his inability to sleep, and his face betrayed the sadness which had been his constant companion since returning from that cave on Gamia III.

He could see the nervousness and distress on Sera's face as well. "How have you been holding up?" he asked.

Normally, Sera would've given the generic 'I'm fine, Sir,' answer under normal circumstances. However, in her time as a Starfleet officer she had visited the Mirror Universe, been attacked by her mirrored self, seen her Captain killed in front of her, and had put together her Captain's doppelganger hologram. Needless to say, these were not normal circumstances, especially given the fact that the former XO looked to be in a similar emotional state.

As the doors whooshed closed behind her, Sera answered, "It has been rough, Sir. I've been trying to bury myself in work so I don't think about what has happened." Looking into her acting-Captain's eyes, she added, "It's hard to believe I left Deep Space 9 to join the Portland not so very long ago, it feels like ages."

She decided that maybe she had said too much, then a bit awkwardly she asked, "Are you ok, Sir?"

"I'm feeling the same way," he replied, raising his hand to his head and pressing it against his temple. "We all are."

Letting out another exasperated sigh, he picked up his PADD again. "I've got another problem. Lieutenant Hudson is transferring out, and I need someone to replace him." He paused for a moment, looking at Sera's file again. "Ensign Williams, I understand from your personnel file that you are quite the pilot?"

Sera's demeanor changed slightly as she listened to the Commander's proposal. She came into the meeting thinking this was going to be some sort of incident report interview about what happened the surface, but it had the distinct feeling of a job interview. Sera shifted in her seat a bit, then responded, "Yes Sir, I was the squad leader of Delta Squad's Rigel Cup victory last year." She knew the information from her squad of cadets would definitely be on record because they represented the Academy, though she wanted to be as open as possible.

"Impressive," replied Tim as he made a note in her file and opened his desk drawer. "Squad leader..." Looking back up at Sera, he produced a small jewelry case, containing a single black pip. "Ensign, in light of your leadership experience at the academy, you're my first choice to head up our engineering department. Unless, of course, you don't think you're ready for such responsibility."

Sera had gotten along with her former Chief, though they had never become best friends. Her first instinct was to blurt out something along the lines of the Portland must be pretty low on Starfleet's priority list if an almost fresh graduate would be given the Chief Engineering job instead of transfering a qualified candidate. Instead, she picked up the small black pip and looked at it. Trying to break the sadness of the last few days, Sera replied, "Does this mean I get the big office down in Engineering?" Not completely knowing Tim yet, she immediately followed it up by adding, "I don't think anyone ever truly knows if they're ready for the next step. I'll do my best to make you proud, Sir."

"Excellent," replied Tim as he stood up and walked around his desk towards Sera's side. He extended his hand out for Sera to give him back the pip and carefully pinned it to her collar. "Well, Lieutenant, I suppose you have some work to do..."

Sera extended her hand to shake the acting-Captain's hand. "Thank you, sir. I won't let you, or the crew, down."

"Oh, and one more thing, Lieutenant. If you need to talk to someone, I'm here. And so is Dr. Carlisle."

"I appreciate it. I may just take you up on that offer." As Sera turned to leave, she stopped as if remembering something. "Sir, I'm not sure if you'd be up for some distraction, but some of the Engineering crew are getting together for some poker tonight if you're interested. Also, Nikki and I have been working on a holodeck program that is starting to get pretty popular with the crew if that is more your thing."
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Re: Mission Four: "Requiem"

Sun May 03, 2015 5:12 pm

Matchmakers
Sickbay, USS Portland
MD2
Authors: Lt. Brad Silverton, PO Maria Hill and Ellen Washingon (written by Alenis Meru)

"Are you sure this is a good idea?"

"Of course it is."

"But what if..."

"Trust me, Ellen, they'll both thank us later."

"I don't know, Maria. How do we know that they'll be compatible?"

"I just know it," replied Maria. "Besides, it can't hurt to try, can it?"

"Maria, she is my--"

"Quiet!" called out Maria, hearing the door to sickbay whoosh open. "He's here! I'll take the lead!" she added in a harsh whisper, just quiet enough to not be heard on the other side of sickbay. As she walked towards the door, she was treated to the familiar sight of her Chief Medical Officer. "Good morning, Doctor Silverton!" she called out in a voice that was much more cheery than usual for 0658 hours as she walked towards him, her reluctant friend in tow.

"Ahh good morning Ellen. Maria." Brad nodded to each one. "It looks like we have a busy day ahead of us. Lots of new crew members joining the ship will be needing their physicals. Plus I think we could all us some shore leave after recent events."

"Of course," replied Maria, glancing over at her Ellen for a moment. The other nurse had a look of horror on her face and tried to give her a subtle nod encouraging her to abort the mission, but it was no use. No one stops Maria Hill from meddling in the affairs of others. "Though there is one other important matter you should be aware of. It's... a matter of the heart."

"Oh?" Brad looked quizzically down at his PADD with his schedule for the day. "I didn't see any circulatory issues in any of the patients today?"

"Not the heart heart," interjected Maria, blushing slightly. There was no turning around now, the plan had been put into motion and she would have to move forward with it, regardless of any last-minute hesitations that she or Ellen might have. "It's... well, you have kind of a secret admirer, doctor."

"Oh." repeated Brad rather straight faced as if thinking about the statement. Then he started to smirk. "A secret admirer huh? Someone too embarrassed to say anything to me? I haven't had that since primary school. And who exactly would this someone be?"

"You'll find out tomorrow night!" exclaimed Maria. "I got you a table for two at Bartoli's on the Promenade, 1900 hours. Dinner by candlelight in an authentic Italian restaurant complete with a wood-fired brick oven with tables overlooking the wormhole... It's one of the most romantic establishments this side of Trill." Maria was getting excited just talking about it. "She'll be wearing an elegant green dress, and she's one of the most beautiful women you'll have ever seen."

Brad looked a bit surprised and taken aback. "But tomorrow night is a seminar on an experimental Bolian therapy and I had planned to attend that. A date has already been setup?!"

"Really, Doctor Silverton," replied Maria in a droll voice. "You would miss out on a chance at true love in favour of some seminar on Bolian therapy?"

"True love is it? Well I can't pass that up now can I. And after all the work you went through to arrange this. Plus it seems this other person already agreed if they have a time, location, and outfit selected." Brad was nodding while he talked and logically weighed the pros and cons of his plans. "Alright I'll do it. The lecture will have notes on it anyways."

Maria breathed a sigh of relief. "A good choice doctor, I assure you you won't regret it."

"Good. Well if you'll excuse me I am still needing my first cup of coffee for the day and on top of all our other appointments, I have a meeting with Admiral Washington later this afternoon. Nurses." Brad nodded to them as he took his leave and went back into his office.

As soon as Brad was out of earshot, Maria turned towards Ellen. "Okay, that was the easy part. Any idea how to get the other half on board?"
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