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S03Ep01 Paradox

Wed Nov 05, 2014 10:10 pm

Season 3
A contradiction. A statement or proposition that, despite all points of reasoning from the acceptable premises, lends to a conclusion that is senseless. The Universe exists towards the definition of paradox; that which lasts forever does not and that which doesn't does. If one timeline ends, it does not end but continues even as another is born. In a Universe so vast as to house multiple universes, multiple realities, the prospect of what is truth and what is false becomes something of one's perception; an equally messy prospect.

Episode 1 "Paradox"
Six years have passed since both Hope and Eternity returned to the Alpha Quadrant, returned home. Their arrival marking a victory over the Borg Collective, and a new Golden Age for the Federation. The technology brought back becomes the sunspot for all advancements in starship design, branching mankind further than ever they thought possible. Settlements setup in moments to the further reaches of the Gamma and Delta Quadrants, the societies and civilizations broken by Sion "Xatrix" Logan and the Machine Wars now find comfort in the stability and friendliness of the Federation's more than welcoming arms. The Syndicate, the Resistance, and even those liberated from the Collective's Hive mind find a bond with the Federation, a melding and partnership.

The prophesied End has been prevented.

To the heroes, those still alive and those sacrificed, a remembrance. The events in the Delta Quadrant spoken as truth and told to others. These heroes scattered themselves, with the disbanding of Hope, the confiscation of the Eternity, the crew returned home for those six years, left to their own devices.

Now. The year is 2398 and the six years of peace defined as the Golden Age is about to come to an end.


Mon Nov 24, 2014 1:16 pm

"Echos of Eternity"

"Admiral," First Officer Captain Cynthia Bowman replied nodding at her Commanding Officer as he entered the vast openness of the Bridge, walking down the lower incline towards the central dais that sparked alive with holographic readouts. The crew stood momentarily at attention before the Commanding Officer, Admiral Benjamin Rannoch, waved them off with an: "as you were," before taking seat at the central Captain's chair that pushed forward to his presence, the displays moving forward in adjustment.

"Tempest and the Maelstrom are awaiting our orders. Asgard is awaiting our request for clearance."

Six years ago, almost to the day, Starfleet had had a boom of technological advancements, so much so that it was being equalled if not overshadowing warp drive, when mankind discovered faster-than-light technology. Though, contrary to warp drive testing and before the Federation's indoctrine, Starfleet wasn't held back in it's development. The R&D Departments were red lined, an explosion of creativity and refits as new bigger and better ships of the line were pushed forth and commissioned. Admiral Rannoch and seen most of these prototypes through save for that one stint where he had to take leave for his daughter's wedding. Mankind was evolving beyond itself, the tools brought back were just enough to open the doorway, but that doorway had been pushed open almost instantly.

There were hundreds of ships, hundreds of prototypes, each one unique and each one ingrained and serving the Federation's continued mission to explore that which was unknown. The Universe was vast afterall, even with what was brought back from the Delta Quadrant. He wasn't an Engineer, he was appointed to watch over and administrate the development of these ships. In all honesty he had very little business commanding the newest ship about to roll out of spacedock. Truth be told, Rannoch was very much sitting on the Captain's chair out of nostalgia, out of sake for being there for something as momentous as this.

With a deep breath, the Admiral touched the holographic display, the communications readout blaring in a slight chirp. "Space Dock Asgard. This is Admiral Rannoch. Requesting clearance for departure."

There was a slight silence taken. A void of time that seemed approachable to infinity. But a voice, as clear as glass and as strong as a storm responded.

"Roger that. Eternity is free and clear. Godspeed."

The Eternity exited in all it's grandeur. The size larger than the largest of ships in the Starfleet line, rivaling even the Galaxy. Its streamlined form and titanic bulk cleared the moors of Asgard at one quarter of it's impulse power to the thrones of maddening cheers and applause from everyone that stood in the observation dome to look upon it. Worker bees held back, self-guiding drones stalled as the massive beast finished exit, its twin nacelles powering in flairs of greens and blues.

"We have exited Asgard. On course."

"Initiate warp drive test. Relay coordinates to the testing grounds to the Maelstrom and the Tempest," the Admiral called, the process a practice always exercised. The two assault ships would move into the sector of the training grounds, patrolling while the Eternity-Class moved into position for it's sensor tests. They would then move onto weapons and then, as par with this new line, the quantum slipstream drive test.

"Coordinates are set. Malestrom and Tempest are enroute."


In a flash of brilliance, as the nacelles fired and the massive Eternity thundered into warp, the entirety of the ship vanished on course to the testing grounds...,

..., it was never seen again. Reports from both the Maelstrom and the Tempest Commanding Officers would lead the investigation to note that the Eternity-Class never reached the testing grounds.

Re: S03Ep01 Paradox

Mon Nov 24, 2014 1:24 pm

Story Note
Six years ago you returned home. The Eternity and Hope returned to the Alpha Quadrant with a collection of Syndicate warships and Liberated Borg. This event was pinnacle in Starfleet and the Federation's growth, what some are calling the Golden Age of space exploration. Bigger in size and scope than when man first discovered faster-than-light technology.

Six years ago, you returned home, the fight over, the enemy slain. You were, and still are in the eyes of your peers, a hero.

What does a hero do when there are no more monsters to be slain...,

<<Open Tag>>

Re: S03Ep01 Paradox

Mon Nov 24, 2014 2:00 pm

Owen Scott
Instructor, Starfleet Advanced Tactical Training
Colorado City, Earth

"Red alert, Commander."

Owen rubbed his eyes, doing his best to drown at the wailing. "Status?", he grumbled, attempting to pull the blanket back up over his head. "Hostiles have breached containment.", replied a decidedly feminine voice from next to him. "And that's 'Status, Captain', to you." Attempts to ignore the issue were clearly going to be useless - it was his duty to make sure that the threat was neutralized...

Unfortunately, the former security chief was quickly overcome by the hostile invaders. The pillowy death rained from above, followed by the screams and giggles of the children.

It was a good morning.

The last six years had seemingly gone by in an instant. Being part of the Eternity's crew had carried a level of fame, at least for a time, and it'd been good for the chief's career. He'd returned to Tactical almost immediately, climbing up the ranks until he found himself back at Advanced Tactical Training - this time, as an instructor. As successful as his career had been, his personal life had been moreso. Reunited with his old flame Celia Rawlins, things had progressed quickly. A whirlwind wedding and a pair of children later, Owen was happy for the first time in years.

After disentangling himself from the tiny death machines, Owen made his way through his morning. After getting dressed, he checked his messages - mostly work related, with a few from mom and dad mixed in. There was the odd request for an interview, as there always was around this time of year, but he decided to decline. No one really wanted to hear from him, anyway - he'd barely been a part of the Eternity's crew as it was, and his role in liberating the ship had been minor at best. Whatever celebrity he'd gained from his time in the Delta Quadrant, he'd be more than happy to see it go.

Saying his goodbyes and grabbing a coffee from the replicator, he grabbed a shuttle to the city's transporter complex.

"Scott. Looking old, I see."

Owen looked up at the familiar voice, greeting its owner with a smile. "Calmest - or is it Orion now? I can't keep up. Surprised to see you here." The other man, bearing the same face he had used in the Za'hara simulation and a Starfleet uniform, took a seat next to his former host. "Lieutenant Calmest, actually. Command decided to commission me, ostensibly to command more respect from the students. ."

Calmest's journey had been...strange, to say the least. Starfleet Intelligence had been incredibly interested in the Borg program, eventually finding a way to upload him from Owen's brain into a holographic matrix. From there, it was just a skip and a jump away until the sentient program had acquired a mobile emitter and become one of the Federation's most sought-after voices on artificial sentience.

"So, what brings on the visit? I haven't seen you on Earth in...must be a year, now." asked Owen, idly looking out the window. Calmest looked...well, like he always looked, before favoring Owen with a shrug.. "Call it nostalgia." said the hologram. "Besides, I'm heading the same place you are."
Last edited by thepariaheffect on Tue Nov 25, 2014 12:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

Re: S03Ep01 Paradox

Tue Nov 25, 2014 12:24 am

Talla Vreenak

Six years ago the Eternity returned home by some means that wasn't entirely clear. The thought it was the construction of the Eternity itself was questioned in his mind by the survival of the other vessels. Truthfully, even when he saw that the core had been ejected he'd known they were about to perish along with whatever remain of V'Ger. Engaging warp at the last second would do nothing at all. There was no escape from a particle that didn't obey linear progression -- causality. That they'd harnessed such power was a feat unto itself. Like all good miracles, however, they were so easily perverted into gross displays under trying circumstances.

So to not only survive, but to arrive home was absolutely dumbfounding to the Romulan. He liked to think he played it off well, but the hesitation in voice answering the first hail and in all of the debriefings there after must surely have belied his mental state. He kept looking for a tell that it was all an illusion or some sort of deception. Discretely, of course. All of the pomp and cheer over their return, the collection of technology, and news that the Borg should -- hopefully -- be nothing more than scattered, inactive debris was overwhelming. It wasn't just the uncertainty of how real everything appeared, but that he was in such limelight at all.

After the inquiry, they were released to more fanfare and ceremony. A relief to see those that had survived. A deception could include their likeness as well, but it gave him hope that if it were something nefarious that he was not alone. Although it still could be some sort of hallucination caused by oxygen deprivation or a space-time disruption. Neither seemed entirely likely though; the world was too clear and progressed in a relatively logical manner. No visages of the dead.

Marisol, of course, was the most welcome sight. He'd known her the longest -- well, he'd known Anam as well, but they weren't 'close' in the same way -- and had been concerned over her well-being. He didn't know whether she'd survived ejecting the core. Hadn't known if her head trauma had been treated. Couldn't even be sure if whatever phenomena occurred had brought everyone back. It was just as likely to be a patchwork effect as it was a solidified field. Whatever the case, they were promised a deal of time to 'recover,' which meant they didn't need to worry about the galaxy ending or the ship falling apart for a day or two. They could sit. Talk. Look up at the stars without dreading what happened tomorrow.

It wasn't long, however, before Vreenak started investigating certain options afforded by their public profile. With the Borg dealt with, he could turn his attention toward the future of the Empire. Despite all that had happened, Vreenak was still devoted to doing whatever he could. Perhaps, this time, he could do more than spy on Engineers -- although with all the technology they'd brought back spying on Engineers wouldn't be a bad idea. Instead, he worked on convincing Federation representations of a new proposal. Things remain as unstable as he'd left them; there was still discord over perceived encroachment of the Empire's territory and sovereignty. Even the Klingons tested the fleet thinking they could move in. Rather than continue on what Vreenak foresaw as an ultimately destructive confrontation -- again -- he had a new strategy.

It was only after he'd begun garnering attention using his notoriety while it was still at the forefront that he approached Marisol. After all, if the idea never took off... truthfully, there hadn't been a plan if that'd been the case. Fortunately things worked out in the end. He explained his proposal to reaffirm the sovereignty of the Empire while renewing the alliance between the three largest powers in the Alpha and Beta Quadrants. It would be a long and hard fought battle as distrust and a loss of morale lingered, but he was confident it could be done. It was a better future than gradual erosion and inevitable retaliation. A dangerous vision, however; one the Romulan observed he'd understand if Marisol didn't wish to participate. Despite their time together and what they'd said a year ago, he wouldn't make demands of Marisol. After everything that happened she deserved to choose her 'destiny.'

The plan was simple. Carrying it out was not. First they would find the ruling body that remain elusive to Federation Agents, which Vreenak pointed out would be easier considering he was a Romulan himself -- and a high profile one at that. Then he would make his proposal to them with the Federation offer already at hand. They could open a dialogue about establishing borders and putting aside any lingering hostility in exchange for supplies to rebuild. Obviously the Empire would pay for the supplies by various resources and product that they were adept at fashioning already -- though it might take time to rebuild any lost facilities from previous conflicts.

Vreenak himself would become something of an 'Ambassador' or Advisor between the two organizations. He didn't feel like becoming Praetor, and they already had a leader that needed reassurance Vreenak wasn't vying for his position. The Scientists-Commander turned Ambassador would travel throughout the Empire to bolster morale and explain how working with the Federation would ensure their culture remain intact rather than the opposite as many feared. Joining the Federation was an issue that could wait until much later; long after the people had a chance to see the Federation wasn't trying to gut their territory and take advantage of any perceived weakness.

Every so often there'd be a trip to Earth, of course, to continue discussion face-to-face. Subspace communication even with holograms was only so effective and it served as a show of good will -- the borders remain open and representatives were well treated. Of course, Vreenak had something of a personal boon on the front. There were still some that whispered about it, but he hadn't tried to hide it. It was a show that the alliance could work. It was a demonstration that he would not hide because of unfounded paranoia and politicking. Leave the politics to the politicians; his role was about moving their people forward to ensure their role in events to come, not playing word games.

Although there was his share of carefully worded speeches. Politics were inescapable no matter how little he cared for them.

They were... challenging times. Convincing the new government to even listen to the idea had been miraculous. Vreenak, however, believed it was important to approach the Federation on a level they understood rather than continue to fight them. While Humans were not pacifists, they preferred to avoid a fight. Talking was their primary means of settling disputes, and there were plenty of Romulans that enjoyed a good verbal sparring match. Furthermore, Humans idealized freedom, individuality, community, and trust. How better to exemplify these things than to acknowledge the Romulan peoples' desire to remain independent? But then if the Federation contributed so much effort and aid, how could they then spit in their face afterward? An Alliance was only natural. From there the two entities could come to understand one another better or, perhaps, one day go their separate ways -- much like the Klingons and Federation nearly had done twice since the Khitomer Accords.

Despite how difficult things could be at times, however, Vreenak could always rely on his partner to be there. A reassuring presence. They'd seen and experienced so much together it was trying at times to be separated; but each had their own duties to perform. He was just grateful they could reunite frequently; after all, the Romulan Commander in command of the Eternity upon its return hadn't been the only person exalted as a 'hero.' Nor was he the only one that might have bent an ear with a loud voice as countless eyes watched their every move and hung on their every word shortly after their return. It wasn't extortion. Or if it was then it was no less than anyone deserved after what had happened in the Delta Quadrant.

<<Tag Marisol>>

Re: S03Ep01 Paradox

Wed Nov 26, 2014 8:00 pm

Edwards, California

The rising heat of the Mojave set the horizon to shimmering in all directions. The night breezes, which always chilled the endless sea of flat, chalky yellow soil and brown scrub to unnatural coolness, were fast dwindling under the relentless advance of the sun. Above, the sky was a pale blue, a limitless expanse broken only by the scudding presence of puffball clouds high up. All along the desert floor, as far as the eye could see, the plantlife made lush and green during the winter rains was drying out. Soon, the unforgiving heat of summer would make all a brown crackle to blow away on a listless furnace wind.

She didn't have much time. Her latest brood, six healthy young, had all finally been weaned off. The last, a male with an odd black streak across the top of his head, had been the most persistent in clinging to his mother, and would only relinquish the bond by her forcibly nipping and chasing him from her burrow. Of this, she felt no pang of separation. It was simply the way. Next year, if the rains came again, there would be mating, and a fresh brood of baby squirrels to tend. But, to breed, she had to survive the hot time. And that required body fat for the long sleep. Instinctively, she knew that she was behind in this pursuit. Catching up was a twofold challenge. With each sunrise, the food supply withered. And of course, she wasn't the only creature hunting for a meal. The rattlesnake had been trailing her for a good while now. As it drew close, the sound of it's belly scraping the ground would offer warning. A wind shift might offer hint of the musky smell that seemed to be the lot of snakes, at least those she'd encountered. This one was a patient hunter. It followed, never hurried, forked tongue flicking the air as it offered an occasional display of it's brown diamonds, all moving in neat precision from one outcropping to the next. Taking it's time.

She hadn't survived these seven seasons without learning a thing or two about snakes. This one, she understood, would track her to her burrow. There, in the dark confines, it would make it's attack. Or so it thought in it's little snake brain. She would lead it far, far afield, onto the lake bed, if it were so brave as to pursue her in the open. While it was always a gamble, being on the flat with no cover, she'd rightly seen both hawk and coyote reject her small frame in favor of the much larger meal a rattlesnake might afford. She would employ the trick again today. In her path lay a low ridgeline, it's subtle rise cragged and dotted with numerous hiding places from which to test the air for foodsource, and observe the progress of the pursuing snake. Of course, sanctuary for her also meant the possibility of concealment for another predator, perhaps watching her even now from the shadows on the ridge. Head up. Sniff the air. Listen. Dart left. Dart right. Head up. In this fashion, the Mojave Ground Squirrel made her cautious ascent. She brooked the summit, and turned to observed the rattlesnake. A shadow fell upon her. The bird was right there. There would be no escape.

In an instant, all was a screaming fury. A powerful roar drowned out all sound, as if the world were ending. As her body tumbled and flipped in a noxious hurricane wind, she had only an instant to note the gigantic head of the creature above her, and wings which flashed brightly in the sunlight. The power of the thing sent her tumbling down the backside of the ridge toward the lake bed. The urge to flee, sprint blindly away, sent blood roaring throughout her system. But where? It was everywhere. And then, it was gone. In the distance, the growling roar dissipated as the bird climbed into the sky. She regarded it for a moment. Would it turn? Make another attack? No....it was a man thing. She glanced toward the ridgeline. The rattlesnake had given up the chase. As her heart and breathing returned to normal, the ground squirrel returned to her forage.

The P-51 powered skyward, soon to level out just over ten thousand feet above the desert floor. It flashed through the clouds, gleaming fuselage reflecting both sunlight and shadow as the Rolls Royce Merlin engine thrummed the song of it's power. But for her insignia, a flat black anti glare strip atop her engine cowling, and the alternating black and white "invasion stripes" which adorned her wings, the Mustang was a streak of machine polished silver. Yet, for the next few moments, the beauty and grace inherent in her design would be forgotten by anyone who had chance to witness the awkward maneuvers to which the aircraft was subjected. Jerking turns, suicidal sideslips, climbs which threatened to stall the engine, and even the opening throes of a death spiral were visited upon the Mustang. The plane wobbled, lurching drunkenly between the clouds, ailerons and stabilizers flapping madly. Eventually, as the craft recovered from the latest abuse, it's pilot feathered the prop, pitched the nose downward, and watched as the P-51 dove for the base of the landing strip, nearly two miles below. The dive became almost completely vertical, altering the song of air over the wings to a screaming, high pitched whine as the plane built up speed. The altimeter spun crazily downward, as the desert floor raced upward to claim the life of one more aircraft. Still, the pilot did not react.

Just as all appeared lost, the mustang lifted it's nose, pulled smartly from the death plunge, and sprouted it's gear in time to make a textbook three point landing. Once down, the miscreant pilot took the controls again. The plane lurched sharply left, one wheel coming off the tarmac as it turned abruptly for the hangar. It left the runway, soon to bounce and stumble across the rough hewn grass strips between the old taxi ways. Ahead stood the hangar, with two nervous looking ground crewmen at the ready. A third figure leaned casually against the metal door, watching the display through sunglasses that gave no hint of the expression beneath. Forty yards shy of it's final destination, the Mustang throttled up again, bounced back onto the tarmac, and immediately cut it's engine. The aircraft coasted the rest of the distance, before coming to a sudden whiptail turn and a jarring stop.

The ground crew ran forward, scowling, as the canopy slid back. The pilot, grinning broadly, lifted her goggles to rest upon her forehead as she extracted herself from the cockpit. Ignoring the homicidal glares of the two ground crewmen, she flashed the pair a jaunty "thumbs-up," before leaping off the wing. At this, the solitary figure detached itself from the hangar, before strolling casually toward the abusive pilot. "So," the woman, clad in leather flight jacket and khakis, began the conversation. "You tryin' to break my airplane?"

"Yes," Marisol laughed.


"You weren't lying," the diminutive pilot replied to the taller woman. "I tried to stall her, overturn her, fly her into the side of a ridge, not to mention that so-called landing. The safeties are all top notch. You've got something here. I think I want a piece."

Andrea Morgan chuckled. "Then I think we need a drink."

(To be continued)

Re: S03Ep01 Paradox

Wed Nov 26, 2014 10:32 pm

Pancho's Happy Bottom Riding Club
Edwards AFB Flight Experience
Edwards, CA

"Yes," Andrea replied as she poured drinks. "We rebuilt the Happy Bottom Riding Club on the spot the original once stood. Before we did, we had sort of an archaeological dig on the site. The place was pretty picked over by trophy hunters, but we still found a couple of unburnt planks, and several nails. We built them into the bar," she offered a smile as the drinks landed on the table. "The real find was a picture frame. After combing every photo we could find, we determined the frame actually held a picture of Pancho Barnes herself."

Marisol watched her former shipmate, now a retired captain. Clearly, Andrea was in her element, immersing herself in the romance and history of early twentieth century aviation. Despite the woman's predilection for this era of flying, she'd also managed to craft together a guest experience that was already lining up prospective customers at the door. "And the Edwards Base museum? What do they think about sharing the base with you?"

"They like the idea of airplanes buzzing around while people are touring the museum," Andrea replied. "We're fifty-fifty on the restoration, and I naturally welcomed them to lead tours of Pancho's and our flight line. The weather here is great year round, which means we're not seasonal. With your backing, we finish hiring staff, stock up supplies, and open on schedule."

"Sounds good," Marisol nodded. "My attorney is Eduardo Montez, Mexico City. I'll put him in touch for the funds transfer."

"Great," Andrea replied. "And how should your name read on the contract?"

"Marisol H. Vreenak," she said. "V-R-E-E-N-A-K."

"Got it. So, this is a pretty big move," Andrea said cautiously. "Do you want time to think it over...consult with your husband?"

"He has to remind me to buy new shoes," Marisol chuckled. "I'll show him the financials when I get back to Ildius. That money is still in my personal account. He'll be fine with it."

"So, can I ask the obvious question?"

"Marriage to a Romulan?" Marisol asked. At the affirming nod, she spoke. "We've been married just over five years," she said. "He's not a Vulcan. He is a very subtle man. I know what we were all trained to look for...that Romulan deviousness," Marisol said, her head tilting slightly. "While Talla's never one to lay all of his cards on the table, he's got a very genuine depth of feeling about some things. Children," she said, remembering the boy who'd once found himself an unwilling guest aboard Hope. "And me," she offered a smile. "He doesn't say much. He doesn't have to."

"What about children?" Andrea asked pointedly.

"Maybe someday," Marisol offered a quiet smile. "As for now, there's too much going on."

"Right," Andrea nodded as she sipped her drink. "The uniform you wore yesterday. Romulan and StarFleet insignia. That makes a statement."

"It's supposed to." Marisol sipped her drink, then lifted her eyes to meet Andrea's. "Colin's mother isn't doing well."

"No," Andrea frowned. "I was hoping that she wouldn't read the official report. It was a little....."

"Harsh," Marisol completed the sentence. "Incomplete, and pretty heavily biased."

"But it's the official record now," Andrea shook her head.

"And the wunderkind could do no wrong," Marisol scowled into her drink, "because he brought home that death ship. I think my debrief went right into the recycler. Andrea, Mrs. Byrne......she was so broken up. I wanted to tell her....let her know the truth..."

"It's good that you didn't," Morgan replied. "She was very glad that we both showed up to see Colin's stone laid in the family plot. I think that's all we can do." An unhappy silence took the table as both women finished their drinks.

"You're probably right," Marisol nodded. "And on that note, I have to go. We cast off in three hours."

"Then let me hug my new partner," Andrea smiled as she rose from her seat. The two women embraced, a firm bond of a longterm friendship. "You've got a good life," Marisol," Andrea whispered. "A good husband, and you're both making a difference. If Colin had some small part in that, than it's all worth it."

"I know," Marisol said. "I think he did, but the evidence..."

"Screw that," Andrea retorted. "Just make sure that you come back soon. Bring that husband."

"I might just come and play mechanic," Marisol smiled as she tapped her commbadge. "Vreenak to Hope."

"Commander Taran here, Captain," came the voice of her First Officer. "Your order?"

"One to beam up."

<Open Tag>

Re: S03Ep01 Paradox

Thu Nov 27, 2014 12:31 am

Ambassador Talla Vreenak
Ildius Central Academy

"Ambassador," a voice called out from those in attendance, "how is it you married a non-Romulan after your return?"

Vreenak's black eyes regarded the young Romulan as he sat there; the muscles in his face relaxed. It was hardly an uncommon question. Surprising how difficult it was to disseminate certain information given how easy it was to obtain such information (having been recorded any number of times); then again, it was no doubt that ease that made it difficult to focus on such a 'minor' detail (despite the frequency in which it was brought up) when there was so much else to discover. In this case those that did not already know wish to know how he hadn't picked someone better 'suited' given his choices were no longer limited to the Delta Quadrant.

"Survival dictated I could not avoid the entirety of the crew. Forced to work with them, to rely on them, and in some part know them better created an 'exception' to my long-held beliefs that other races were beneath me," Vreenak explained, harkening back to the ship being cast off into the Delta Quadrant. "Inevitably, from an objective or academic point of view, those 'exceptions' call into question the rules. If there is one non-Romulan that is worthy of even the slightest acknowledgement, are there not more? That is one of the many reasons upon my return I sought to strengthen the dialog between the Empire and the Federation. While we may disagree on many things, we can benefit from each others strengths."

He let them have a second so that point -- which he made time and again in many different ways to reach different audiences -- wouldn't be lost in the direct answer to the question poised. "So it is in marriage. We may disagree at times, and we may not be the same species, but we do not let those differences dictate who we are. Never rely solely on external criteria to define who you are and what you believe; it can be taken away and with it your identity." As a people with a strong tradition in keeping a part of their name secret, and one that had suffered such a loss when Romulus was destroyed, Vreenak expected others to fully appreciate the need for self-understanding.

"That is how I arrived at my conclusion," to summarize, "that my wife, while not Romulan, was the correct choice. I understood who I was, and I understood who she was. We continue to discover more of one another every day, and are stronger for it."

Several minutes later as he walked out of the auditorium, Vreenak heard the soft council of his assistant, "Ambassador, you know the Tal Shiar are displeased when you talk like that."

He nodded ever so slightly as they made their way toward the meet-and-greet area of the Academy for those that were interested. "And you know my response..."

"'If they are concerned about how Imperial Citizens will define themselves in their hearts, then the Tal Shiar should do better at teaching younger Romulans why they should believe in the Empire and how they can serve the the public good,'" Nveid replied with a soft sigh. "They love it when you tell them how to do their job."

"It is not their job. It is the job of every Romulan," Vreenak corrected with a glance back at his aide. "We cannot afford to lose sight of who we are as a whole any more than an individual should lose sight of who they are as a person."

Nveid nodded slightly. "I do listen to your presentations, Ambassador." A small smile graced the younger man's lips.

"Praise the Ancestors. I was afraid I would need to answer 'What will we do without a constant enemy at our border?' again." As if the Empire needed Starfleet as a worthy foe to give them purpose. Space was vast even if the Federation grew far faster than it should -- all the lesser powers were interested in the strength of their peers. The Empire could surely continue to expand in other directions before the Federation surrounded them -- that was, in fact, one of the reasons Vreenak called upon the new government to open talks in the first place. They could continue to fight, but eventually they would be surrounded and eventually become absorbed; would it not be better to work with the Federation to rebuild and retain their identity?

"Well, there is still the matter of the Klingons," Nveid replied quickly.

A small joke. Wasn't the first time Nveid had used it. Vreenak was only one Ambassador; resolving the age-old tension between Romulans and Klingons would require a great deal more effort and unlike the Federation Vreenak didn't have the ear of the Klingon High Council. One major step at a time. If the two Empires could ever find a way to reside side-by-side together.

<<Open Tag>>

Re: S03Ep01 Paradox

Sun Nov 30, 2014 1:45 am

Capt. Marisol Vreenak
Commanding Officer
USS Hope

"Captain's Log. Stardate 68378.4. We return to the Ildius system with holds full of construction material and basic fabrication equipment. The Romulans have proven themselves single minded in their devotion to rebuilding their empire. With that desire comes a certain level of pride that of late has given the impression that our shipments are more tolerated than appreciated. I plan to discuss this with both Ambassadors, as we clearly do not wish to strain our newfound collaboration over a negative view concerning material assistance....."

Yellow alert. Yellow alert...

Marisol paused her log recording. "Vreenak to Taran," she said with a tap to her commbadge. "Report."

"There is a cloaked vessel bearing three-three-one-mark-zero-four-eight. Klingon drive signature. He's charged weapons."

"On my way." She rose quickly from her desk, and moved to exit the ready room. At forty-six, Marisol still maintained the health and fitness of her StarFleet training. The daily three mile runs had kept up her stamina, but nothing could stand resistance against the first threads of grey beginning to work their way into her hair. Most of the time, she kept it tied back, out of deference to the short cuts worn by Romulan females. She had once considered adopting their look, but soon gave that up when she realized that Talla enjoyed the length and curl of it during their times at ease together. The uniform she wore was the current StarFleet version, but for a few important changes. The turtleneck shirt that poked out from it's tunic bore the multicolor check of the Romulan services. Upon the neck lay two sets of insignia, 4 StarFleet pips on the right side, and the triple silver crescent of the Romulan Star Empire on her left collar. To her thinking, it was a perfect example of the tightrope that all who wished the success of this alliance were forced to walk in their allegiances.

As she stepped onto the bridge, LtCdr. Taran rose from the command chair. "You'll be interested to know, Captain, that we've recorded this drive signature before."

"I'm certain," the Captain nodded. Taran had proven every bit the capable young First Officer. Though his diligence often reminded her of her husband's performance as one time First Officer of this ship, she still couldn't shake the notion that he had Tal Shiar connections to support. "Three guesses," she said aloud as the wave pattern displayed itself on the forward viewscreen. "Kall'orgh."

"Our findings agree."

"So, he's out there?" Marisol asked as she took her seat.

"Most assuredly."

"Open a channel." She straightened her back, pulling her knees together before she spoke. "Kall'orgh......this is captain Vreenak. We know you're out there." The dead silence of the channel caused her to glance toward her First. "Kall'orgh.....let's stop playing games. Mr. Taran, phasers at five percent strength. Just enough to paint him....."

"Klingon vessel decloaking," called the helmswoman. "K'vort class."

"He is now hailing us," Taran reported.

"Onscreen," Marisol said as she rose to stand before the image of a scowling Klingon.

"You would fire on me?" Kall'orgh demanded, leaning forward, eyes ablaze.

"I'd rather not," the diminutive captain folded her arms. "What are we carrying today, Kall'orgh?"

"Twenty metric tons of quadrilithium ore," the Klingon growled. "Not that it's any of your concern."

Marisol cast a glance to her Ops officer, who scanned the Klingon vessel and quickly confirmed her cargo. "Good. Now, please show me your tax stamp and manifest."

Uttering a frustrated growl, the Klingon forwarded the proof of his exchange.

"Very good," Capt. Vreenak smiled at the Klingon. "All your documents are in order. have a safe journey, Capt. Kall'orgh."

At her greeting, Kall'orgh cut the screen. Before them, the Klingon cruiser turned, and wasted no time in getting clear of the scene. At her side, Taran spoke. "Captain," he said, "Kall'orgh's manifest does not document the nine barrels of ale in the cargo hold."

"Romulan ale," the captain said.


"Basic psychology, Mr. Taran. Tax Stamps on Romulan Ale would barely pay for a tankard," Marisol replied. "But if the ale is flowing in the Black market, that sends a more important signal..." she continued. "If this is back to normal, then what else might be?"

"Understood," the First replied with a formal nod, one eyebrow raised at the unorthodoxy.

Marisol offered a smile. "I'll be sure to offer an explanation to Fleet Commander Tomilok, if he asks. Speaking of which, Ops, please contact the Fleet Commander, and Ambassador Vreenak. Inform both that Hope will be docking at Ildius Prime within forty-five minutes."

"Aye, Captain," came the response from the ops station over her left shoulder. The woman settled into the command chair. For all her repairs and upgrades since returning to the Alpha Quadrant, Hope was still very much an Intrepid class of the original design. Many of the modifications, made of urgency's dictate while they were surviving Sion's pursuit, were now removed, in favor of the original design specs, or fleet approved upgrades. Intrepids had not been cleared for Tachyon core retrofit...or the fearsome array of planet killing weaponry that went hand in hand with the new source, a fact that hadn't troubled her in the least when Fleet offered "Hope" for the Ildius lliason mission.

Ildius.....the stars of home. Ahead lay the seat of government, and the house she shared with Talla. Despite the challenges of her human status, and the mistrust inherent in a people she sought to aid, the one she held most dear believed firmly in the importance of this alliance, and her mission. That made Ildius, and this ship, all important parts of what Marisol now thought of as her home.

<Tag Vreenak>

Re: S03Ep01 Paradox

Sun Nov 30, 2014 12:45 pm

Commander Owen Scott
Instructor, Starfleet Advanced Tactical Training
Redshirt's Bar, San Francisco, Earth

Owen sipped at the Tellarite microbrew, grimacing at the taste. It'd been a rule at Redshirt's for years that you always had to try something new when you walked through the doors - and for a regular, that could become a fairly dangerous game.

Still, it gave him something to do as Calmest, perhaps the only being in the bar that wasn't concentrating purely on inebriation, collected a small pile of gold-pressed latinum from yet another would-be challenger at his fifth game of darts that night. The holo-entity had insisted on shadowing him during work that day, a distraction to be sure, but the fact that he'd followed along that night was just...disconcerting.

Since coming home, Owen had felt that his life was inevitably bound up with that of the computer program. It'd been Calmest's idea to reveal his presence to Starfleet Intelligence, and the program's decision to have himself removed from Owen's mind. At the same time, though, it'd been Owen who had tirelessly worked to make sure that the former program was given his due rights as a sentient being, something that Starfleet had a long history of denying. It'd actually been Owen's father, a long time member of Starfleet's JAG Corp, that had found the solution that satisfied both Starfleet's needs and Calmest's - the so-called "Thomas Riker" precedent, where Calmest was granted full rights not as a holoprogram, but rather as the result of an accident that separated Owen Scott's personality. As far as the fleet was concerned, the program was his brother - something his parents found far more amusing than Owen.

After a few more games, Calmest finally returned to the table - now significantly wealthier than when he'd left. As was his wont, the program said nothing. He just...stared.

"Alright," Owen began, finally tiring of the game. "Why're you here? And don't say that it's to visit. We don't do 'visits'."

The program shrugged, counting its latinum. "I was informed that you'd turned down the position on the Eternity six months ago - something I'd found curious, of course. I simply hadn't had time to return." Owen returned the gesture, looking into his glass. "I've been the Chief of Security on that ship before. Didn't find a lateral career move necessary. Besides, I enjoy teaching."

Calmest raised an eyebrow, an almost Vulcan motion. "We both know that's a lie, of course. I was more interested in investigating the pattern, Owen. After turning down the Eternity, you've turned down almost a position a month. Not just in security - I've been told you turned down the executive officer position on the Hope, as well. I simply found your lack of drive...curious."

Owen bit back a response. It was terribly difficult to lie to Calmest, a creature that'd literally been born inside his own mind. The variety of excuses that he tended to use would ring hollow, as they were little more than that - excuses. He'd be completely honest if he brought up the fact that he enjoyed being home with Celia and the children every night, or that he felt that his work on Earth was important. Deep down, though, he knew that there was more.

"I trust you've been seeing the counselor," continued Calmest, a hint of reproach in his voice. Owen nodded. "It's a slow process. I'm just not ready to go back out there yet, you know? Everything here just seems so...tenuous. Like it's going to fall apart if I look away. Going out there again, it's...tough."

From seemingly nowhere, the hologram produced a PADD and slid it across the table. "I'm very sorry to hear that, Owen. New orders." Owen frowned, reading through the PADD. "Illidus system? Why in the hell do they need me out there?" "Building a joint security force as a gesture of good will, of course. Starfleet wanted an officer with significant ground experience, one who wasn't currently zipping around the galaxy on a starship," Calmest replied. It's only a few months, but Starfleet thought that you'd fit the position. And I agreed."

Owen stood, nearly knocking over the table. "What the hell do you mean 'you agreed''? Since when do you have a damn thing to do with my career?" he bellowed. Calmest, for his part, merely wiped a few droplets of the Tellarite brew from his uniform. "Since Starfleet Intelligence agreed that I'd be an incredibly valuable asset. Also, since Intelligence realized that I share every memory you have, without all of your...let's say, minor shortcomings. Besides, they're giving you a ship."

Re: S03Ep01 Paradox

Sun Nov 30, 2014 10:16 pm

Commander Owen Scott
Commanding Officer, USS Erika Hernandez
Bridge, En Route to Illidus System

Besides, they're giving you a ship.

If nothing else, Calmest still knew how to push Owen's buttons. Sitting in the center seat was one of the few things the former security officer would never pass up, even if the plan was somewhat more brief than the hologram had suggested. An ego's a remarkably hard thing to ignore, after all. If nothing else, Owen was able to assuage his feelings of unease with the fact that it was a very temporary assignment.

The Erika Hernandez was a small ship, one of Starfleet's lamented Sabre-class experiments. Not a bad design, by any stretch of the imagination, but the ships had a particularly rough go of things during the Dominion War - they'd been among the most common lost with all hands aboard, outdone only by a few ship classes. In peace time, though, the ships had found a new life as fleet support vessels.

Someone in Starfleet had thought that the Hernandez would make a fine fast courier for the few Starfleet ships assisting the rebuilding of the Romulan civilization, to say nothing of a good excuse to put another quick ship in the region. Someone was playing at politics, as far as Owen as concerned - after all, why send out a ship named for the first captain of the first Starfleet ship destroyed in the Earth-Romulan War? It was as good as saying, "we'll help you today, but we will never forget."

The plan for the vessel was to turn it over to the joint command, likely for a crew that was more familiar with the situation. Owen was simply a temporary shepherd for the ship, taking it from point A to point B. Once he arrived, he'd move on to his next assignment - helping to train the joint security forces, and then leaving as soon as a ship could be dispatched to bring him back home. If nothing else, the assignment was a good clue that he could expect a more permanent command assignment in the next few years.

Leaving Earth was remarkably painless, likely due to Celia's own career. They'd both known that either of them could be re-assigned at any moment, so there was relatively little wailing and gnashing of teeth when he let his wife know what was going on. The kids were a bit more distraught, but suitably pacified once he promised to "bring home something Romulan". All it took after that was a fitful night's sleep, mostly spent waking up and looking over the situation in the new Romulan home system.

Once he was in the center seat, though, most of his concerns were abated. He even felt the ghost of a smile on his lips as he gave the order to the conn - "Illidus system, maximum warp. Hail the fleet as soon as we arrive."

[Tag Anyone in the Illidus System Who Is Not Busy, Or Anyone Who Would Like to Be Here]

Re: S03Ep01 Paradox

Mon Dec 01, 2014 1:09 am

Ambassador Talla Vreenak
Ildius Prime Spacedock

Of course Talla would be present when the ship docked. Not that it kept him from his work, unfortunately. Nveid scanned through reports and listened to communiques with the pertinent details passed on to the Ambassador as he stood there waiting. You would think being a special Ambassador would mean less to do; his duties were far more focused than that of a normal Ambassador. You would be mistaken. Partially his own fault though. Talla Vreenak hadn't taken the easy route when it came to putting theory into practice; he sought to travel wherever he could to educate people how an independent Romulan Empire was a good thing. It would be far more stable sooner and for a longer period of time. Any sort of 'change' could be done because the Romulan people desired it. There'd be no doubt over whether certain ideals had been forced upon them.

It was an exhausting endeavor. More so than he'd anticipated. Him an Ambassador. Then again he'd also been Chief Engineer and First Officer of a Starfleet-based vessel for roughly two years.

Eight years. Vreenak drew in a deep breath as he reflected on how quickly time had gone by. They were... hard won years. Full of surprises. Loss. But, eventually, 'salvation.' Terrible term, but they did manage to return home from the Delta Quadrant in the blink of an eye. In the wake of that moment he'd decided to both break from tradition and yet seek to restore its rightful place in the Empire. Well, perhaps with a few minor adjustments.

The changes were necessary, however. They couldn't afford to be so vulnerable again. Even if Ildius were destroyed the Empire must be able to continue on; there could never be another Romulus. The Empire wouldn't survive it; not without a great deal of time passing between such calamities. But in order to correct that weakness they couldn't bring up young Romulans to look to Ildius as they did Romulus. Truly it was the center of the Empire, but it was not the Empire. One planet among many.

Oh the critics loved that one. 'One among many? Are we Vulcans? Humans? We are the Empire.' As if that were an answer. Jingosistic nonsense. The Empire was so much more than a single planet, and Vreenak didn't understand why some could not grasp the concept.

"Thank you, Nveid." Vreenak turned to look back at the younger man. The point was made as the ship neared. He preferred to await Marisol's return without an ear-full of bureaucratic chatter as a distraction.

<<Tag Ildius Open>>

Re: S03Ep01 Paradox

Mon Dec 01, 2014 9:42 am

Henry Okafor
Starbase 10
The Aegis Group offices

"What follows is the conclusive ransom report for Mr. Sydney Lydon. Location: Tylus IV. Result: Positive."

A dark skinned man in a cool, grey suit removed a pair of reading glasses, folded them neatly on his station, and circled to the front of a long conference room table. The sleek conference room teemed full of other well tailored suits. The transparent aluminum walls dimmed to a vague translucent as the room lights faded. Ambient light from the neighboring Gamma Hydra system drowned out, small reading lights rose, and charts and holographic images splayed across the room walls.

"Mr. Lydon was abducted on 21- August, 2100 hours Federation standard. His Transgalactic charter was waylaid and four, specifically targeted businessmen, including Mr. Lydon, were abducted by force. Lydon Spaceframe Dynamics initiated its K&R policy with the Aegis Group on 23-August. Aegis assets were deployed to the Tylus system within one stellar week with first proof of life being obtained on 1-September."

The man briefing took a sip of water. "Within 48 hours of that definitive proof of life, Mr. Lydon's captors were identified as rogue Romulan dissidents. Intent: extortion. Aegis ruled out LSD competitors definitively on 15-September. Original ransom demands revolved around gold press latinum and three LSD fleet cruisers, ostensibly for piracy purposes. My ability to negotiate was hampered by official Romulan and Starfleet activity in the Tylus system as a result of their own extraction efforts. Final proof of life was received and negotiations landed on one LSD aged freighter and free passage out of the system."

"The Romulans holding Mr. Lydon are responsible for over 45 kidnappings over the last 18 months, with increased boldness regarding prominent business fixtures within the Federation. My confidence in our ability to extract Mr. Lydon was further compromised by increased violence in the sector between Starfleet and the Romulan pirate groups. Relying on the intelligence from our partners in the area, the hostage payment and hostage exchange proved doubtful, at best. The Romulan pirate contingent was
designated highly aggressive and mobile while Starfleet 'ambassadors' in the area were proving more unpredictable. Under my assessment, the hostage payment would be made in exchange for Mr. Lydon."

Images of a decrepit D'Var province on Tylus IV found the conference room holoviewers and personal displays. "I delivered the LDS freighter on 23-October into the D'Var provinice. Upon exchange, Mr. Lydon's health was nominal. Extraction was complete upon review of the freighter. Unfortunately, our timeframe was compromised by an overzealous Romulan and Starfleet ambassadorial display of strength. Violence ensued between the pirates and the peacekeeping forces, destroying the hostage payment in the process. Given transporter inhibitors employed by the pirates and diminished communications due to Starfleet flooding the bandwidths, an Aegis Group sponsored shuttlecraft executed our further extraction. Mr. Lydon was returned to LDS security on 24-October."

The dark skinned man unbuttoned his suit jacket and returned to his seat at the table. He reached for a pair of reading glasses and tapped through a few screens on his holoviewer. "My final report on the K&R of Mr. Sydney Lydon will be filed and the policy noted in the LDS file."

"Excellent work, Hank." A balding, doughy, grey haired executive, craned back in a chair at the far end of the room. Slowly the displays faded out and the Gamma Hydra system became visible through the view ports. "LDS is one of our largest accounts and their founding partner being abducted was about as high profile as it gets."

"Thank you, Mr. Benoit. Clearly, my clandestine ability to function in the Tylus sector has been compromised with the overexposure to the Romulans, both pirate and 'official'." Hank Okafor smoothed a hand down his grey suit jacket. "However, I think the results warranted the risk."

"Very good, Hank. Ladies. Gentlemen," the executive Benoit continued, "that is all for this morning. Mr. Okafor, if you would remain behind, please."

As the room emptied, Benoit stood and paraded towards the massive view ports along the wall. "Hank, something else has come up that we'd like you to look into."

A small smile crept over Okafor's features. "With due respect, Mr. Benoit, I was hoping to put in for some leave. See the family. Standard stuff." The relatively dry briefing package Okafor had just laid down belied the point that the Lydon situation had been anything but easy. From liaising with Lydon's family to wrangling Starfleet while negotiating for a hostage, capped off with a near disastrous and highly violent shoot out, Okafor needed to recharge his batteries. Preferably somewhere tropical.

Benoit returned the smile. "I know, Hank, I know. But this one is coming from Aegis' senior partners."

Okafor leaned forward on the conference table, the smile fading from his face. His silence gave enough consent.

"Computer, Aegis encryption routine 9A." Benoit looked up to the main view screen as a Starfleet uniform came into focus. Clearly, the request was less a request than an order as a Starfleet admiral clearly had been on hold, waiting his chance.

"Gentlemen." Admiral Winfield Graves appeared on screen, hands folded on a desk in what looked like a standard Starfleet ready room.

Benoit nodded to the screen. "Admiral, apologies for the delay, but our Aegis schedule ran over this morning. I have Mr. Okafor here. He has not been briefed, but our conference room is secure."

"Mr. Okafor," Graves nodded.

Okafor placed his reading glasses down on the desk, returning the nod. He saved his words since, in his experience, a Starfleet Admiral's time was always fleeting.

"Starfleet Command authorized me to reach out to you regarding a matter of Starfleet and Federation security." Graves continued, unabated.

"An incident has occurred during one of our most recent test events. We are speculating that it may have involved an act of piracy. Starfleet has reached out to the Aegis Group for technical and
logistics assistance in the retrieval of this vessel."

Okafor shot a sidewards glance at Benoit. "Admiral. While the Aegis Group has served as a contractor for Starfleet on matters of security in the past, surely Starfleet Intelligence and the full muscle of the fleet certainly exceed our capabilities."

Graves shifted in his seat and stole a quick glance away from the screen. "There are those in Starfleet that would agree with you, Mr. Okafor. However, this was the USS Eternity that has disappeared."

The admiral let the news hang over subspace. All three men in the conversation knew the gravity of losing the heroic Eternity - the gateway of the Golden Age of space exploration. "Mr. Okafor, we have reached out to Aegis for both discretion as well as the Aegis' intergalactic latitude, as it were. Right now, we don't know whom to trust. That's why we are talking.

"We are forwarding the information gathered from the Tempest and the Maelstrom at the time of the disappearance. All the sensor logs and intelligence gathered to this point. Command recognizes that this does not comprise the entirety of situation, but we know that time isn't on our side. You should know that Starfleet is placing the full brunt of its resources behind this investigation as well." Graves finished.

"Hedging your bets." Benoit concluded from his perch at the view port. The skepticism oozed from his voice.

Graves nodded solemnly. "We are leaving nothing to chance. Mr. Okafor, we will talk again once you have chance to formulate your first report. Aegis' resource account will be replenished in concert with
asset activity. Graves out."

With that, the admiral's visage winked off the viewer and room went quiet.

"Damn strange that Starfleet doesn't trust its own to clean up their own messes. Let alone a boutique risk management firm like Aegis." Benoit looked out over Gamma Hydra. "Damn strange and damn risky."

Okafor rose, joining his superior for the view. "Sir, Starfleet, for all its shiny white hull plates, has a history of some ugly warts as well. Either, Starfleet Intelligence has leaks or Aegis is being used
as a political prop. But the ship of the line is missing and someone's head has to roll."

"Aegis has authorized the company cruiser and crew to depart to Federation Listening Post 221, outside the proving ground Starfleet was using before Eternity went missing." Benoit clapped the larger Okafor on the shoulder. "Get there. Do your due diligence. Keep us posted, Hank. And for God's sake, be careful."

Re: S03Ep01 Paradox

Mon Dec 01, 2014 10:13 pm

Capt. Marisol Vreenak
Commanding Officer
USS Hope

The worlds of Ildius glowed as blue gems before the backdrop of stars. Among them, USS Hope made her final approach at full impulse. Ildius Prime station was a flashing orb in the distance. Marisol held the command chair, silent, as her Romulan First Officer delivered the approach orders.

"Helm, reduce to one half impulse," Cdr. Taran said in concise voice. "This is the First Officer," he announced over shipwide com, "Hands to docking stations."

"Clamps are open," Ops reported. "Mooring tractors online."

"Acknowledged," the First replied. "Station entry in three minutes, forty-two seconds."

"Ildius Prime confirms our approach," Ops reported. "We're cleared for docking in berth Epsilon Three......wait......Captain, I've got inbound traffic at high warp...Federation ID...."

"Federation?" Marisol lifted an eyebrow. Taran had turned to face her, his expression inquisitive. "Continue approach and docking," she ordered, taking to her feet. "Ops, do we have information on that ship?"

"Sabre Class," the answer came quickly. "NCC 81705....USS Erika Hernandez."

"The Hernandez?" Hope's Captain asked in genuine surprise. "What pendejo made that...." She glanced toward the viewscreen, which now presented the newcomer as it dropped from warp. "Any reaction from Ildius Prime?"

"No change in status," Ops reported. "They're being given docking instructions."

"Curiouser and curiouser," the captain shrugged.

"One minute to station entry," Taran cautioned.

"Send a hail," Marisol said as she once again took her seat. "Invite their CO aboard after docking."

Before them the station grew to surprising size. Though some would suggest that the fledgling Empire had perhaps invested too much of it's resources for construction, one only had to glance at the two D'deridex warbirds currently at moorings to gain an insight. One, se recognized as the flagship of Commander Tomalak. "No hails from him, either," she thought. Clearly, there'd been some developments while she was away. Hopefully, Talla might be able to fill her in prior to meeting the captain of the Hernandez.

Marisol observed the smooth entry and nearly textbook docking procedure. "Finished with engines," she said with a tap to her comm. "Switch to station power and conduct maintenance as needed. Mr. Taran," the captain said easily, "Liberty call for all Romulan crew.....twenty-four hours, pending updated orders. That includes you. I'll be in my ready room."

<Tag Vreenak, Scott>

Re: S03Ep01 Paradox

Tue Dec 02, 2014 4:55 pm

Henry Okafor
Aegis Group
Listening Post 221

During the halcyon days of nautical exploration on Earth, a fixture in the constellation of vessels was the light ship. A navigational necessity, ships capable of marking treacherous waters or shoals moored around the globe to mark the way for their more grander sisters. From oil light to high powered electrical lanterns, the light ship bobbed the oceans, bays, and lakes of the planet so that other, ironically more "important" ships could see. Starfleet's listening posts functioned in very similar manner. Originally deployed as sensor relay stations and communication hubs as well as listening platforms along the neutral zones, the listening posts played key roles in the safety and communication of the Federation. Never a desired billet nor the best of conditions, the listening post remained an absolute necessity.

Henry Okafor could attest that Listening Post 221 was far from an attractive billet. The facility itself was over 100 years old, overhauled again and again with an eye to function over fashion - a far cry from the cushy conference rooms of the Aegis Group. He had set up shop in their best conference room on the observation level. The room itself was woefully outdated. A beige disaster, Okafor had thought setting up his gear. A bland mishmash of khaki and rose with worn traction carpet and tan walls. It looked like it hadn't been revamped in 30 years. Even the technology the listening post employed was more aligned with a early commissioned Galaxy class, more fitted for a museum than a Starfleet facility. Okafor had to roll his eyes when he was negotiating a replicator with an LCARS that was at least 20 years old. At least, the damn thing could generate a cup of coffee.

And the coffee had become a necessity and of itself. For the last few days, Okafor had poured over every bit of information LP 221 had to offer. From sensor logs to ship manifests to communications activity. Starfleet had peeled back its books with an alarming transparency that Okafor found astonishing - either they were completely in the dark and desperate or going out of their way to hide something. Nothing could be take at face value, but face value seemed to be the only value around.

"One more time, Lieutenant Weinburg," Okafor activated the recorder on his Aegis-issued equipment. "Run me through what happened."

"Sir," Lt. Weinburg leaned in a little closer to the recorder, even though the equipment was so sensitive it could pick up what was happening two rooms over. In fact, Okafor hadn't stopped recording since he put his boots on the ground, but he always found it interesting to see how people reacted to the change in conditions. "We were tasked with tracking the Eternity's progress to the proving ground. We had the chatter from the Tempest and the Maelstrom and the Eternity. We had sensor and telemetry and communication link with the Eternity. All of our equipment was green."

Weinburg and his limited staff had been extremely helpful and if they had been coached by Starfleet Intelligence or anyone else, they weren't putting on any sign of it. Okafor would need to review some of the bioreadings on the discussions later but everyone seemed above board.

"So, you had the Eternity from their last report in and then what?" Okafor flashed a disarming smile and leaned back in his rickety rose colored office chair.

"Well, Eternity's tachyon core played hell with our sensor feed. We just aren't calibrated for that, so a lot of the sensor transmissions, as you've seen, come up very garbled." Weinburg continued. "We reduced the noise as much we could, and continued to monitor."

"That's when you noticed what you thought was a secondary ship?" Okafor offered.

"That's right, sir. An additional," he paused to collect his thoughts, "Eternity-like shape hit our sensor board." Weinberg was a green O-2, but seemed capable, despite the less than prominent billet so it came as no surprise that while he didn't seem evasive, he was certainly suspect of what he had seen.
"We were getting so many ghost images off that tachyon that it was hard to tell what we were looking at, sir."

"I understand, Lieutenant. I've reviewed your logs and understand the confusion whole-heartedly." Okafor nodded, striking as genial a tone as the inquisition would allow. "This is when you hailed the Eternity."

"Correct, sir."

"And nothing?"

"Check." Weinburg nodded. "Nothing on any channel. Then we lost Eternity. And, ostensibly, the other ship that had waylaid her, sir."

"Damn peculiar, Mr. Weinburg." Okafor stood up, plucking his mug from table, swirling around what was left of disgusting French roast. "Computer. End recording." The recorder continued anyway.

"Sir, you said you've been able to cross-reference the sensor data from all the vessels in the area?" Weinburg looked up from his seat, clearly the weight of so much activity was anything but routine.

Okafor nodded, pacing slightly in the smallish conference room. "We have all your data, any Starfleet vessel data, as well as information purchased from any private vessel in the area that may have had long range sensors up."

Weinburg nodded, returning his gaze to the desk. "The Tempest's captain was building a similar profile when they pushed off as well."

"I spoke with the Tempest and we are building off her modeling and profiling. We should have something within the next couple of hours."

"Then you'll have the other ship?" Weinburg spun up.

"If there was another ship. These slipstream readings are highly difficult to interpret. But all options are on the table."

"I know what we saw, sir. And I can't imagine Admiral Rannoch going rouge with the jewel of the fleet."

Okafor waved his mug towards the young lieutenant. "No need for wild speculation. No one is pointing any fingers. Right now, this is search and rescue and fact finding."

All signs were pointing to Eternity and another ship leaving the area and leaving with more questions than answers.

Re: S03Ep01 Paradox

Tue Dec 02, 2014 4:59 pm

<Double post removed!>
Last edited by Michael Hill on Tue Dec 02, 2014 6:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Re: S03Ep01 Paradox

Tue Dec 02, 2014 5:30 pm

Commander Owen Scott
Commanding Officer, USS Erika Hernandez

"Sir, Captain Hocevar's requesting your presence once we dock."

Owen shifted in his seat, focusing on the screen. The [i]Hope/i] looked different than he remembered, more in line with a standard ship of her class. He imagined she was finally in one piece after all these years, the gaping hole in her core finally replaced and systems finally up to code.


Tearing his eyes away from the screen, he nodded. "That'll be fine, Obi. Tell the crew to stand by - hopefully, we'll get everyone off the boat as soon as I talk to the chi - to Captain Hocevar."

O'Bannon signaled the all-clear from OPS, and the conn began the laborious process of docking the ship with the station. It wasn't mechanically difficult, of course, but the clearances - so many clearances - to dock a Starfleet vessel were difficult to obtain. While the ship continued its journey, Owen made his way down to his quarters. Wouldn't hurt to come prepared.

Truth be told, he was slightly nervous to speak to a member of the Hope's old command staff. Despite the press from earlier days, Owen had made something of an effort to leave the Delta Quadrant and the old crew behind. It wasn't out of any sort of malice or ill-will, but he'd never quite felt at home on the ship, more of a tag-along to the heroic crew than anything else. As such, it'd been the better part of five years since he'd seen anyone in person.

Still, Owen did what he could. He straightened out his uniform, and did his best to pull together all of the relevant data on Starfleet's plans for the ship. The face in the mirror was much the same as it was six years past, albeit with half a decade's age ground in. He might have been pushing forty, but his job with SATT didn't leave much room for getting soft - the only real casualty in his battle with time had been his hair, now starting to develop a bit of a salt and pepper hue. Frankly, he was less worried about how he looked than presenting yet another Starfleet ship to a project that seemed to neither want nor particular need its presence.

Once the ship was docked, he made his way through the airlock. Time to face the music.

[Tag Hocevar, Vreenak]

Re: S03Ep01 Paradox

Tue Dec 02, 2014 10:18 pm

PO3 Gabriella Adelaide
USS Hope

Gabriella was walking across the bridge towards the Captain’s ready room at a steady pace which allowed her red hair to flow behind her. It was one of the rare days where she had decided to leave it down. She stood outside of the ready room straightening herself to her full height of 5’6” and closing her green eyes for a brief moment while taking a deep breath. She released her breath and rang the chime just as someone else crossed the bridge for the ready room. She gave him a brief smile and a nod.

As Gabby stood there, waiting to be allowed to enter, she couldn’t help but think about her previous assignments. She had served on a starbase for a few years and had heard about an assignment serving aboard a ship and decided it would be a nice change of pace for her. She was just hoping that she wouldn’t miss the basics of a starbase too much.

She had received transportation to the USS Hope via the USS Erika Hernandez and had made her way right over to the Hope, hoping to get things situated as soon as possible. Gabby looked up and briefly smiled again towards the fellow standing next to her before looking down, closing her eyes again. Mere seconds after she rang the chime, they were told to enter but it felt like minutes as she stood there. She sure may be organized but sometimes she got a bit anxious and unfortunately this was one of those times.

Gabby motioned for the fellow next to her to enter first and followed in behind him, handing her PADD over to the Captain before going to attention. ”Petty Officer Gabriella Adelaide reporting for duty Ma’am. I can leave you two alone if you would like and return when you have finished.” She stopped talking, staying at attention hoping she wasn’t intruding on anything that had been pre-scheduled.

<TAG: Hocevar, Scott>

Re: S03Ep01 Paradox

Tue Dec 02, 2014 11:53 pm

Ambassador Talla Vreenak
Bridge, U.S.S. Hope

Hearing that Marisol was remaining aboard, Talla made his way to the transporter platform to be conveyed to the ship. Fortunately they'd dealt with all the political concerns and paperwork long ago so his setting foot aboard this particular ship was no more complicated than standing aboard a Warbird. He had served as its First Officer for a prolonged period of time, he'd pointed out, and as such no one could truly argue he should be treated as an outsider.

Marisol's lingering presence might have had something to do with the other Federation vessel that dropped out of warp on the Hope's approach. Vreenak had to admit its arrival could have been more poorly timed, but even now was far from an olive branch. Just another topic now at the top of his list to contend with between two Empires. There was always something. Far too much politicking for his tastes, but he'd put himself in this position; Vreenak could hardly just walk away from it.

A few minutes later, the Ambassador set foot on the bridge. It wasn't his first time, though he didn't get to visit as often as he might like. They both had duties to attend to, however. Many times the ship had been quite useful; there had been no shortage of crisis to be dealt through military might or diplomatic channels. Of course, it was now a different Vreenak in command. No one had officially stricken his rank, but invoking it except in dire circumstances would only give him a headache afterward when the 'inquiry' began following those events.

With a slight nod to any that might look, he drifted toward the door that sat between the bridge and the ready room. Marisol wasn't in her chair, which suggested she'd be in her personal office. Dressed in his Romulan checkered uniform with ivory jacket flap trim to denote his Ambassadorial position -- as opposed to gold and many other metallic colors -- Vreenak strode up and touched the controls to request access. Even if Marisol was his wife, she was the Captain of this ship. It'd be inappropriate to barge in unannounced.

Though there'd been that one time, when there'd been a 'miscommunication' between the two factions, when he played the irate representative. Not that it was Marisol's fault, but even Vreenak had wondered what Starfleet was thinking.

Like he was wondering what they were thinking dropping the second ship on them now. It wasn't a firestorm yet. Hopefully wouldn't become one. Then again, Human-Romulan history had become especially important in Academic Institutions of late. It was likely people had not forgotten the name.

<<Tag Marisol, Hope Bridge>>

Re: S03Ep01 Paradox

Wed Dec 03, 2014 10:00 pm

Capt. Marisol Vreenak
Commanding Officer
USS Hope

She searched the fleet database, only to find disappointment. There was no flight plan, nor could she find a Neutral Zone entry permit. Though the Neutral Zone truthfully existed in name only...the current space occupied by the Ildius system was as porous as a rabbit's warren....the protocol for entry by any vessel with a UFP identifier was to give credence to the bureaucratic practices of their hosts. That particular edict bore doubly true for any vessel that might be considered "Star Fleet." Yet, there she was, dropped from warp on the Romulans' doorstep, now lying sweetly at her berth. Seemingly, with no more official attention than any freighter or scow might garner. "That's a real head scratcher," the diminutive captain muttered, her musings cut short by the sounding of the door chime. Surely, Talla must've had a hand in the arrangements.

"Come in."

The door opened to two familiar faces. The first, belonging to the Petty Officer who'd been assigned as her Yeoman, had only been seen in a StarFleet personnel file. The second face, however, caused her jaw to drop, then break into a broad grin. She hadn't seen Owen Scott since the last of an exhaustive round of awards ceremonies in the aftermath of their return. The sight of him now, sporting Commander's pips, loosed a glad surge within her as she stepped forward.

PO3 Adelaide wrote:”Petty Officer Gabriella Adelaide reporting for duty Ma’am. I can leave you two alone if you would like and return when you have finished.”

"Not on your life, Yeoman," Marisol chuckled, offering her hand. "I'm Captain Vreenak. Pleasure to finally meet you," she said as they shook. "This post generates paperwork like you would not believe. And I can tell you now, Petty Officer Adelaide, that this guy standing in my ready room probably means an all nighter for us both." She turned from her first new charge to face the next, her grin broadening as she stepped forward to hug the one time security chief of USS Hope. "Owen," Marisol said as she put her arms around him in welcome. "It is so nice to see you!"

<Tag Adelaide, Scott>

At that moment, the chime sounded. "That'll be Ambassador Vreenak," Marisol said, breaking the embrace. "Come in." The door opened, permitting Talla Vreenak entry to the ready room. For a moment, her eyes met his in a flash of welcome. Five years of marriage to a returned son of the Empire had been sufficient time for the human woman to learn the social cues and graces. While now there might come a gentle clasping of hands, further demonstration of their enthusiasm for her homecoming would take place later, in the seclusion of their residence. "Ambassador Vreenak," Marisol said with a genuine smile, "it is very good to see you again. Allow me to present my new Yeoman, Petty Officer Third Class Gabriella Adelaide." Though to the casual observer, her husband's expression and demeanor didn't alter a whit, the woman who'd been his wife this half decade recognized the subtlety of his surprise at the sight of Owen Scott. "You remember Owen," she said casually. "I'm sorry, Commander Scott. He commands the Erika Hernandez. Please, everyone, take a seat."

As the little group all took to the chairs before her desk, Marisol moved to her own. "Well, Owen, you're the man of the hour," she offered. "What brings you to Ildius?"

<Tag Adelaide, Scott, Vreenak>
Topic locked