S03Ep01 Paradox

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Re: S03Ep01 Paradox

Postby thepariaheffect » Fri Dec 12, 2014 11:57 pm

Commander Owen Scott
Starfleet Tactical
USS Hope, Briefing Room

Finally, a moment to relax. Marisol had gotten Owen's message, that much he was sure, and Vreenak seemed to be willing to play along with his daughter's request. Five pages was probably a bit much, but she was her mother's daughter - an overachiever.

With a smile, Owen responded to both. "Ambassador, rest assured that young diplomat involved in the project would never break trust with the Romulan people - doing so would result in severe curtailing of her holovid privileges. That said, I'm sure that Tal Shiar will enjoy going over the document in full. I may have, erm...encouraged...her to be especially thorough on project, just in case. And Captain, I'd be delighted. Celia had me bring a few things from the kids along with me, so I'm sure you'll get more than enough of them at dinner. As for Romulan cuisine, well...I had a Romulan MRE a few decades ago, so I've probably recovered enough to try it fresh."

[Tag Marisol, Vreenak]

With that, he turned to the Yeoman. "Good luck, Yeoman. You're on a good ship, so treat her right. Listen to your Captain, and ignore anything you hear about me. It's hearsay and lies."

[Tag Adelaide]
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Re: S03Ep01 Paradox

Postby Sonja Kinnunen » Sat Dec 13, 2014 8:38 pm

Ambassador Talla Vreenak
Ready Room, U.S.S. Hope

Talla stood after Marisol indicated the meeting was adjourned. Such was fine with him; he'd made his point to those that were familiar with him without resorting to unnecessary yelling. Though if Starfleet continued to goad the Romulan people he would not still his tongue; but he would save the choicest words for those responsible and not some intermediary unfortunate enough to act as a shield. There would be others that would accost the shields. There was no need for Ambassador Vreenak to be another voice in the futile choir.

The Ambassador straightened up a hair bit more at Marisol's ribbing. "Quite," he echoed without a smile. Perhaps a bit too seriously. He did his best not to turning into a grinning idiot, after all. Five years with Marisol had helped him smile more like the Talla prior to Romulus' loss, rather than the stony veneer of the man trapped in the Delta Quadrant.

With a raised eyebrow, the Ambassador looked over at Commander Scott. "I assure you, Commander, the feeling is mutual." Starfleet MREs were not any better from a Romulan's perspective.

As they began to wrap up the encounter, Talla discretely observed Marisol's body language. Did she have matters to attend to? Perhaps he should linger a moment to greet her in private? It was a difficult balancing their public and private lives. Each faction had their own expectations and concerns; and the two of them had done very little to step out of the spotlight since their return. Others of the crew had moved on, but here Talla and Marisol stood with their chips thrown in on peace between the Federation and the Romulan Empire. If the peace fell... well, they'd be on a very short list of high-value targets.

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Re: S03Ep01 Paradox

Postby FSF Sail » Sat Dec 13, 2014 9:38 pm

Capt. Marisol Vreenak
Commanding Officer
USS Hope

After Owen and Gabby were ushered through the ready room door, Marisol's posture slumped with the hiss of the door. "JesuCristo," she muttered, turning to face Talla. Am I paranoid, or were we just served a steaming pile of double talk? He didn't give me a single straight answer," she sighed unhappily. "And that business with the PADD....Talla, I don't have a clue as to who's pulling Owen's strings, but the Tal Shiar will eat him alive. The Erika Hernandez," she shook her head as she approached him. "Sometimes I wonder if you and I are the only ones who want this alliance to survive."

<Tag Talla>

As he spoke, Marisol stood before him, her gaze lifted to meet his own. Without interrupting her husband's own thoughts, the diminutive woman took his hand into her own. His presence did more than soothe her restlessness. In Talla she'd found not only the earnest depth of feeling, but a solid sense of her own place in this world. While their relationship would never be described as florid, this man had given her a life both vital and fulfilling. 'Deyhhan," she responded in his native tongue, "ih uhtra hwi hlun oelhens kaeha aaemir kaevra."

<Tag Talla>
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Re: S03Ep01 Paradox

Postby FSF Sail » Sat Dec 13, 2014 9:40 pm

Capt. Marisol Vreenak
Commanding Officer
USS Hope

After Owen and Gabby were ushered through the ready room door, Marisol's posture slumped with the hiss of the door. "JesuCristo," she muttered, turning to face Talla. Am I paranoid, or were we just served a steaming pile of double talk? He didn't give me a single straight answer," she sighed unhappily. "And that business with the PADD....Talla, I don't have a clue as to who's pulling Owen's strings, but the Tal Shiar will eat him alive. The Erika Hernandez," she shook her head as she approached him. "Sometimes I wonder if you and I are the only ones who want this alliance to survive."

<Tag Talla>

As he spoke, Marisol stood before him, her gaze lifted to meet his own. Without interrupting her husband's own thoughts, the diminutive woman took his hand into her own. His presence did more than soothe her restlessness. In Talla she'd found not only the earnest depth of feeling, but a solid sense of her own place in this world. While their relationship would never be described as florid, this man had given her a life both vital and fulfilling. 'Deyhhan," she responded in his native tongue, "ih uhtra hwi hlun oelhens kaeha aaemir kaevra."***

<Tag Talla>

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Re: S03Ep01 Paradox

Postby Kalquien » Sat Dec 13, 2014 11:15 pm

Lt. Oscar Blackthorne
Sensor Officer
USS Peacekeeper

Warning: Impact in 20 seconds
Oscar was coaxed out of his fitful sleep by the lilting tones of the female computer voice. Not for the first time he wondered who had programmed that voice and, more importantly, who had recorded it.

Warning: Escape pod velocity exceeds recommended landing profile. This may result in damage to pod and crew.
Oscar smiled to himself as he considered the reproof he was sure he heard in that voice. He shook his head to clear the last cobwebs and looked about in the dim light of the escape pod. It was a small confined space, lit with only a single dim red light. It was an old pod, only space enough for four people and a small survival locker with food, water, and he hoped, weapons. There were only two other people in the pod, a pretty young navigator that smelled like strawberries, and an old tactical officer whom he had come to like in the short time he had been aboard their ship. The reality was that they had been the closest to him as the bridge was exploding. He and the TacO had pulled the navigator into the pod. The Ke'vin Supremacy of Andromeda had cost him another ship.

Warning: Impact in 15 seconds
He remembered when they had first heard rumors of this new invasion. The General War had only ended 4 years before. The major powers were only just beginning to get back on the road to recovery. The Federation and its allies were in better shape, as they had a strong domestic economy that began the process of rebuilding the shattered planets and infrastructure of interstellar trade. The Klingons had levied even heavier taxes upon their conquered provinces and were rebuilding their fleet strength. Their allies, the Romulans, were locked in a vicious civil war between the Praetor and his private army the Tal'Shiar and the Romulan Republic forces led by many former members of the Senate. The civil war had been sparked by the loss of Romulus, which had been rendered uninhabitable during the final battle between the Federation 5th Fleet (Romulan Front) and the massed ships of the Romulan Home Fleet. It was known in Federation circles as 'Operation Remus,' and the intent had been to knock the Romulans out of the war by bringing their fleet to battle and destroying it. The boys in intel had said that the Romulans could not build ships at anywhere near the speed of the Klingons, which made them vulnerable to such a tactic. It had happened much differently than the stuffed shirts of Starfleet Command had envisioned, but the result was the same. Each side blamed the other for the loss, and they began to fight for power and control of the remnants of the Empire. It had knocked the Romulans out the war, which allowed the allies to concentrate on reducing the Klingons. It was the beginning of the end of that war.

Warning: Impact in 10 seconds
Warning: Escape pod velocity exceeds recommended landing profile. This may result in damage to pod and crew.
He remembered that there had been no final victorious battle to end the war. It had simply sputtered out as all sides returned to their prewar boundaries to rest and rebuild. Just four short years later the Kel'vin Supremacy had arrived. Even after nearly a decade at war, no one Oscar knew of had ever seen a living Andromedan. Their ships were unique in design, as they had no shields. They had moveable panels that could absorb almost any amount of directed energy and redirect it back at their attackers. Since most weapons use directed energy, they had rendered Federation ships almost helpless. The few times they boarded our vessels, it was all done by synthetic life forms. Their ships had no real crew spaces or life support systems that we could detect. We knew that they had some directing intelligence, but who they were or what they looked like he never knew. The Kel'vin Supremacy carved their way through every fleet that anyone threw at them. They reached the Federation in 2292. We knew they were coming and had spent all that time preparing for them, and it had done us precious little good. Our massed fleets intercepted their megalith ships, which would then break up into a series of smaller satellite ships which could move and fight independently of their mother-ship. We had some success early on, but we were trading ships at a 4:1 ratio. It was not sustainable. Within three years, we were fighting them in the very heart of the Federated worlds. Now, with three more years gone, it's over.

Warning: Impact in 5 seconds
He considered bracing himself, but decided that he would be better off being loose and doing his best to flow with the impact. He looked to his pod companions and noticed that both of them were unconscious. That was probably best. Oscar considered that as this pod rocketed for planet-fall. It was his fourth punch-out this year. Was this the one? So many people had died around him, and somehow he had survived. It wasn't fair, but at this point he stopped feeling guilty about it and tried to embrace his life and to a lesser extent his duty.

Warning: Brace for Impact

Oscar embraced the darkness as it rushed towards to him.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

When he came to, he was hanging. It was the worst of all feelings. He forced his eyes open and found himself apparently up in the air, hanging from his safety harness, looking at the crumpled bottom of the escape pod and the crushed pulp that had been the salty old Tactical officer. What had his name been? Jasper? Gilman? Hopkins? There had been so many names this last year. Well the man was dead now, so no real reason to rack your brain for it, Oscar reasoned. Real light was streaming in the pod from the spot where the emergency hatch had blown clear when it had detected a breathable atmosphere and near equal pressure. Oscar did a physical inventory and found himself with some wicked bruises, but seemingly no broken bones or other serious injury. He thanked the powers that be for another soft landing. Oscar slowly released his harness and slid out of it carefully, until he could balance himself and reach the ground safely. He saw the cute navigator also hanging partially in her harness. She'd smelled like strawberries, but now smelled like death. He saw the seat behind her soaked with blood, most of it dry now. Oscar guessed she had been badly wounded in the bridge explosion and had died on the way down. He sighed to himself and began to go through her pockets. He knew that it was disrespectful in the eyes of many, but this last year had taught him not to compromise when it came to survival. He found her credit chit and laughed. He wouldn't need for that anymore and tossed it aside. Next was her personal kit, which had her perfume, a spray for her hair, and her Fleet ID. Be'Hern, Kiri had been her name. Realizing she had nothing of value, he put her kit back and went to the survival locker to pry it open. The sight was not inspiring. He found: four old Mark II phaser rifles, four old Mark II-B hand phasers, eight packages of preserved food that would last one person two weeks per package, 16 liters of water, and survival harnesses to carry it. Oscar knew from bitter experience that the older phasers in the locker would kill one of the synthetic soldiers the enemy liked to use, but it would also drain the weapon to almost useless levels for several hours. He checked the full charge in his own hand phaser, which was one of the newest Mark IVs. He knew it could burn down a half dozen synthetics before its charge ran down. He also had his own tricorder and communicator, though he saw little need for the latter since most of the people he could contact were already dead. He grabbed two packages of food and all the water and put them in one of the survival packs before leaving the pod.

Oscar looked about him and saw empty land as far as the eye could see. The few reports that existed about this world were impossibly classified, so he had no idea what to expect. He knew the air was breathable and the temperature alright for the moment, and that was a step in the right direction. He did a quick sweep with his tricorder and checked his location against the coordinates that the Fleet Admiral had given them. The Admiral was positive this one thing could change all their fortunes. He knew there was an important reason the Admiral had pulled the last real fleet left to the Federation and sent them hurtling off into space to a system that did not even appear on Starfleet space charts. It wasn't until they had detected the presence of a small enemy force also headed for the planet that the Admiral had briefed them all on his last ditch plan. On a small planet, in an unregarded star system, was a device discovered in the early days of Federation expansion which seemed to allow travel through time. A small incident which could not be proved had been reported by the landing party from the ship which originally found the device. They claimed that one of the party entered and changed the timeline. However, the same landing party claimed that they went into the device after him, retrieved their comrade, and corrected the timeline. The landing party had called the device "The Guardian of Forever." The egg heads are still arguing that one. Regardless, the Admiral insisted that the Federation fleet had to drive through the enemy fleet and put people down on the planet's surface, to use the Guardian and keep the Federation from falling. The Admiral's name was Phil Kosnett, and Oscar was relatively sure he was dead. His flagship was the last Federation Battleship: USS Jeanne D'Arc, and it had last been seen going head to head with the enemy flagship. That act of courage had allowed several ships, including Oscar's, to take advantage of the momentary gap in the enemy formation to press in on the planet. His ship had been a used up old Police Cutter with only one photon tube, and the first time it was hit, she was finished. So Oscar had abandoned ship yet again.

A day of walking had encouraged him to shut off his communicator, as the channels were swamped with distress calls from escape pods either on the planet or in orbit, which were being liquidated by the enemy. Oscar had made tracks from his downed pod and, according to his tricorder, was headed in the right direction. He passed a very tense night sleeping in his uniform and woke up even more tired and sore from the impact. He knew that he had to keep moving if he wanted to survive. Since there was no help coming, he had only one objective: The Guardian. As he got closer to the ruins, he saw more signs of downed shuttles. Escape pods were ripped apart, and people spilled out in a fashion which told him all he needed to know. It heartened him a little to see synthetic forms intermingled with the others, but there were never enough to make it right. Oscar checked his tricorder again and detected scans coming from what he assumed were the synthetics. He set his own tricorder to throw up a small static field, hoping this interference would distract the synthetics long enough to allow him to slip past the patrols and make a run for the Guardian.

The closer Oscar got to the Admiral's coordinates, the more his stomach twisted. He could see carnage on every side. Federation personnel who had survived the battle and their landings were being blasted apart or cut to pieces by the synthetics, who wanted to keep them from getting to the Guardian. Some fought bravely, while others cried for their lives; however, that meant nothing to these synthetic monsters or their equally hideous controllers. Oscar hid behind the large stones of the ruins as he traversed this makeshift battlefield. His static field seemed to be holding, and he had almost reached the coordinates given by the Admiral when he saw it: a huge stone portal, which seemed to be sitting alone in a shallow valley, surrounded by crumbling decay. The portal seemed to have some sort of holographic display, running images almost faster than his eye could follow. He knew his tricorder could record the images, but he couldn't afford to drop the field. The enemy would be on him in a nano. He didn't see any guards on watch and wondered if, in their supreme confidence, the enemy had left an opening because they didn't believe anyone could slip past their synthetics and reach the prize. Oscar didn't wait to tempt fate and slipped into the valley moving from ruined wall to ruined pillar trying to shield himself from visual detection as he approached the Guardian. He reached the base of the valley and moved up to the Guardian. It had taken all of his survival skills and technical training to reach this point, and now he was at a loss. He crouched within a hand's reach of it and asked himself out loud, if only to hear a voice speak, "So now what?"

Instantly he heard a sonorous male voice intone,"A question, since before your star flared into being, since before your race walked upright, I have awaited a question."

Glancing around to see if anything had reacted to the sound he whispered, "Can you get me out of here?"

The voice responded, "Many journeys are possible, let me be your gateway. The far distant past or yesterday, all of time and space are within my domain."

"Wonderful," Oscar whispered sarcastically. He paused to consider his options. He knew that the plan the Admiral had laid out was for someone to go through the Guardian and into the recent past, so that the Galaxy could be warned about the coming invasion. He had little faith in his own powers of persuasion and remembered the days of fear and anger that represented the General War. He didn't think he could get anyone to listen. Even if they did, why would they believe him? All he had for proof was the data stored in his trusty tricorder. But such evidence could be faked if the user had the appropriate skill level, which Oscar had. No, saving the universe as he knew it was likely a losing proposition. Best to get while the getting was good. He whispered to the Guardian, "Listen, I don't really care where in time you send me; just please let it be a different place than here!"

"Of course," the voice responded, "Any journey is possible, let me be your gateway."With that, the images in the opening stopped spinning, and Oscar saw a small carpeted area which seemed to be in front of some kind of lift.

"Out of the frying pan..." he deadpanned as he crouched and scuttled through the image. Immediately he found himself on the deck of some sort of ship. He stood up to his full 5"10" height and passed his hand through his dark brown hair. He looked around quickly and saw that he was on the bridge near the aft turbolift. The construction plate named her the USS Hope. Oscar barely had time to register the name before he heard a klaxon sound and finished the old quote, "and into the fire."

<Tag: USS Hope>
"God between you and harm in all the empty places where you must walk."
-Captain John Sheridan, B5

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Re: S03Ep01 Paradox

Postby thepariaheffect » Sun Dec 14, 2014 1:35 am

Commander Owen Scott
Temporary Commander, USS Erika Hernandez
Quarters


To his credit, Owen made it all the way into his quarters before he put his fist into the wall. Thank goodness for Starfleet soundproofing, or half the deck would've heard the impact. Frustration wasn't exactly the kind of thing that one wanted to express in front of the rank and file, especially when in command.

After flexing his hand for a few moments, Owen did what he always did - got back to work. He'd packed light, naturally - a small bag contained all of his necessities, including a PADD that he more than hoped to have searched. He wasn't trying to goad the Tal Shiar agents who would inevitably search his belongings, exactly, but he was aware of the type - if they didn't find something, they'd simply assume he had something that was even more well-hidden. The PADD in question contained nothing but a dossier on Illidus - and when run through a fairly complex codebreaking routine, it'd reveal his official set of orders to observe, analyze, and report back on his assessment of the Romulans' current ground strength on Illidus. It was just damning enough to make an intelligence officer feel like he found something, but not truly damaging enough to cause a real problem.

If they ran the code a second time, they'd get a fairly detailed argument about the difference between New York and Chicago-style pizza.

After grabbing his bag, he also picked up a small box - Celia had sent along a package from Earth, so that (in her words) "the people who shoot you for flying that damn ship in will know you weren't trying to be an ass". The box's inventory was as follows:

Earth-native herbs and spices (North American southwest, 1 box, preserved)
Earth-native herbs and spices (Caribbean islands, 1 box, preserved)
"Great Bird of the Galaxy" Lager (Home-brewed, 1 six pack)
Osprey-class Experimental Fighter Schematics (all classified data removed, working project notes)
The Early History of Rome: Romulus and Remus (Selincourt Translation, 1st Edition, Hardcover)
Family Christmas Cards (2392-2398)

Before leaving to stand relieved of his first command and to attend dinner, he also stopped to record one final Captain's Log.
==================
Captain's Log, Final Entry

Inappropriate nomenclature for the mission aside, the Erika Hernandez is a good ship, and I'll be sad to see her go. Subcommander Taran is a good fit for the ship, and hopefully a good bridge between her and the Romulans. I don't envy him his job, but I wouldn't mind a few more hours in the center seat.

Beyond that...hell, what can I say? I'm not a spook. I don't like this cloak and dagger nonsense, and I hate not being direct with people I know. The thing is...I get it. Something's happening, and you can't just go to Romulans and tell them that something's happening. They expect wheels within wheels - and I think Starfleet Intelligence feels the same way.

I don't know why I'm here, but that's okay. I've always taught my students to study the target at hand and to fill in the blanks using the information they have. If I'm looking at myself as some sort of Intelligence asset, I can figure out the following:

The job is politically sensitive. While I'm not exactly a diplomat, I'm the highest ranking active officer in Starfleet with ties on both sides of this task force. That means that they want someone who has access to Starfleet, as well as access to Ambassador Vreenak. Given that I have personal ties to both, it can't be anything that's going to cause significant harm to either - too much of a chance that I'd hesitate.

The job requires the ability to work alone and to improvise. Easy. That's a commando skillset. The fact that they gave me no information coming in significantly cuts down on the number of avenues the mission could take. I'm better with a map than without, so they're probably not going to ask me to blow something up or kill anyone. That's good, because I'm not pulling a trigger on anything unless I have authorization from someone who's not afraid to show his or her face.

If we're looking at a politically sensitive mission, one that I can actually carry out alone but with relatively little data, my mind jumps to one conclusion - counterintelligence. I'm more of a blunt instrument than anything, so they're not going to ask me to pull off something sensitive. Stopping something requires less finesse, but more tenacity. I can handle that. Just have to make sure that the Tal Shiar don't eat me alive before I figure out who or what I'm supposed to protect.
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Re: S03Ep01 Paradox

Postby Sonja Kinnunen » Sun Dec 14, 2014 3:16 am

Ambassador Talla Vreenak
Ready Room, U.S.S. Hope

OFF: Seems my post from earlier today has gone missing.

ON:
He was pleased to find Marisol didn't need him to exit as quickly as the rest. That'd been most of the reason he'd come on board, after all, to visit with her upon her return. There had been the political bluster from the arrival of the other ship, but that hadn't been high on his list of priorities. The two of them agreed, however, that it was an unnecessary and complicated situation.

"It is a fragile alliance," Talla replied despite knowing Marisol knew this on an intellectual level. "Both sides still nurse wounds too recent to dismiss in their minds. The aid in rebuilding will not be too easily dismissed either, however." It was a large-scale battle between whether people thought the Federation had an ulterior motive, and those that were just grateful to piece their lives -- and their worlds -- back together. He only hoped no one was foolish enough to start suggesting worlds cede themselves from the Empire. 'Independence' would be a rallying cry for disaster. Sadly, he knew of such tragedies in Human history; he hoped they could maintain the peace long enough to avoid such a disastrous outcome.

The warmth of her hand helped the tension in his shoulders to relax. They were alone at last. It was hard to separate his public and private life -- as he was sure Marisol had the same problem -- though he tried. They couldn't allow themselves to be consumed by the work. They were more than 'drones' stitching the galaxy together; they had lives to live as well. It was the sort of philosophy he held before the calamity that set everything in motion years ago. It was difficult to return to that equilibrium.

"E'lev," the slip of the mask demonstrated for Owen was now for Marisol without the need to lift it back into place any time soon, "ve en stelai nim ouye." (My Love, if all stars [were] as beautiful.) Perhaps he was not the most passionate in public, but Talla wasn't a Vulcan. Alone together he had managed to find it in himself again to be affectionate. It hadn't been easy (as Marisol would attest to their interactions in the Delta Quadrant), but in time he managed to overcome the gutting loss of his family when Romulus had been lost; a major emotional obstacle only a few years prior.

"Do not dwell on Scott's fate. Whatever he does may not look well in the eyes of the Tal Shiar, but they would not abduct him without firm evidence." Talla tried to assuage some of his wife's concern as they stood close together in her Ready Room. It might not be entirely true -- a good conspiracy didn't need to wait for opportune moments, it manufactured them -- but there was no point accounting for an endless array of 'what if.' All things being equal (as Humans put it) no one would move against Scott without reason; and it was unlikely Scott would knowingly given them such reason.

Talla used a free hand to reach up and caress Marisol's cheek slowly. "It pleases me to see you return without any carbon scoring. Uneventful return?" It was a dangerous world out there for all their efforts at peace. Dangerous on a planet surrounded by politicians as well, but then he wasn't often hunting for trouble like a starship often did. Her safety was of considerable importance to him; though he wouldn't ask her to step down tempting as it might be at times. She followed him to the Empire as she'd promised, but that hadn't meant she needed to surrender everything of her own.

<<Tag Marisol>>

It wouldn't be long then before the klaxons. Because even station keeping could, somehow, not be safe enough.

OFF:
For Marisol's inspiration in reply to Kalquien's Signature: "I am the right hand of vengeance and the boot that is going to kick your sorry ass all the way back to Earth, sweetheart! I am death incarnate, and the last living thing that you will ever see. God sent me." -- Lt. Cmdr. Susan Ivanova, B5
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Re: S03Ep01 Paradox

Postby FSF Sail » Mon Dec 15, 2014 12:14 am

Capt. Marisol Vreenak
Commanding Officer
USS Hope

Ambassador Vreenak wrote:"It pleases me to see you return without any carbon scoring. Uneventful return?"


Marisol smiled as she moved closer. Talla had used this same little joke....a throwback to his days as chief engineer.....each time she returned, and almost as far back as she could remember. Though even among engineering types it might not have elicited more than a polite chuckle, it had become a private levity, and in it's way, an endearment, a happy verbal rite to be shared in environments where their unity was limited by duty and office. "Ildius normal," she said warmly. Her left index and middle fingers moved as a pair to climb the man's stolid jawline, ending in a caress to the tip of his ear. "I'm done here for the night," she whispered. "Let's go home," Marisol said, her tone a promise for the night ahead.

The alarm klaxon wailed, causing her to startle in her husband's embrace. "Report!" Captain Vreenak tapped her commbadge.

"Intruder alert!" Ops responded with a shout. "Bridge!"

"Alert Security," Marisol barked as she grabbed a hand phaser from her desk. Before bolting through the ready room door, she turned, her expression direct. "Mr. Ambassador, remain in here," she ordered. "If you hear weapons discharge or further incursions, seal this door and initiate emergency beamout."

<Tag Talla Vreenak>

She didn't wait for a response. She didn't have to. Terrorism and counterterrorism tactics and procedures were well ingrained into the both of them these past five years. She was a StarFleet Captain, with her priorities and protocols to obey during these moments. He, however, was an Ambassador...and crucial to the success of this most delicate diplomatic initiative. His duty was, first and foremost, to survive the incident. The captain burst onto the bridge, her phaser in hand by her right hip as she prepared for just who had invaded her ship. There were a number of Romulan Separatist factions who viewed any Federation presence as an outrage. Of course, the Followers of Nero were still a target for the Tal Shiar. Then, there were the StarFleet hard liners, people who would never relinquish their views that all Romulans were scheming, duplicitous snakes with no integrity or cause for trust. The fact that the Erika Hernandez, a warp driven insult in her own right, now sat in her berth here at Ildius was beginning to prove more than it seemed. Was this some effort to derail the peace? All of these notions crossed Marisol's mind as she stepped through the door and onto her bridge........to be caught flat footed at the sight of a young man in a 23rd century StarFleet uniform.

At first glance, he looked as if he'd been through hell and back. Dirty, tired, and obviously more than a bit confused about the eyes, the man turned at the sound of the ready room door.

"Drop your weapons!" Marisol commanded, her own phaser still hovering at her hip. "NOW!"

<Tag Blackthorne>
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Re: S03Ep01 Paradox

Postby thepariaheffect » Mon Dec 15, 2014 12:52 am

Commander Owen Scott
Temporary Commander, USS Erika Hernandez
Transporter Room

Waiting for someone to take your job isn't easy, even if that job was temporary. There's a degree of jealousy involved, sure, but also loss. For Owen, the Erika Hernandez had been an unwanted and unasked-for first command, but his first command nonetheless. There was a thrill to the center seat that was hard to replicate, and it was gone.

So, naturally, he decided he wanted to get the process of turning over command over with as soon as possible. Like ripping off a band-aid, it was best if some things were done quickly.

Owen waited patiently in the ship's lone transporter room, awaiting Subcommander Taran's presence. He'd give the Romulan officer the benefits of full formality on this one, especially considering the circumstances. Hopefully, the other man would find his time on the ship to be a rewarding experience. At the very least, Owen wished him smooth sailing. And mostly, he wished for him to hurry up and beam over.

"Captain," said a voice behind him, bringing him out of reverie. "Subcommander Taran will be delayed for at least the hour. Problems on Hope will likely keep him busy for the near future." Owen turned around, preparing to reply to the young man behind the transporter console, when he paused. Checking the man's collar, he asked, "Lieutenant, is there a reason that you know that and I don't?"

The dark-haired lieutenant smiled, coming from around the console. "Mostly because I've been monitoring the Hope's internal communications since we arrived, sir. Amazing what you can do when you come into range of the right transmitters." Owen bit back a curse, responding, "So I take you're my - " "Handler, sir. Lucas Kilkenny, Starfleet Intelligence. I believe we met briefly on Spacedock, but I had to be rather more discrete there. Too many ears."

The lieutenant cocked his head to the side, almost Vulcan-like in the gesture. "You want to hit me, which I understand. Glad you're not going to, though, because that would be harder to explain. Good job catching the slip in my cover, though. Known too many people who would've let the comment slide." Owen sighed, deflated. "So, is this the part where you tell me why I'm here?" Kilkenny nodded, "Very good, sir. Two for two. We've only got a few minutes before the situation on the Hope is resolved, so I'll explain it as quickly as I can. Apologies for the cloak and dagger, but...well, that's what we do."

Leaning back against a bulkhead, the commander motioned for his handler to continue. "As you know, peace between the Federation and the Romulan Star Empire is...tenuous, at best. We're figuring out one another, trying to strike a balance. We don't have our equivalent of the Khitomer Accords yet, and many people on both sides of the border have strong opinions about what should happen next." The lieutenant began to pace, spewing out words as if he'd rehearsed them. "It goes without saying that the Federation and Romulus have not always had the most friendly of relationships. Indeed, it's almost a given that the Empire - and especially the Tal Shiar - will look upon anything that we do with suspicion. It's a lovely paradox, but they truly believe that we're both too stupid to operate on their level and too wily to be trusted. And that brings us to our current problem, unfortunately."

"Which is?" Owen responded, motioning for Kilkenny to hurry up.

"We have reliable intelligence that someone is going to make a major play to disrupt the cease fire within the next ninety days. We know it's not an official move from within Starfleet, and we can be reasonably sure that the Tal Shiar won't take an overt action. Beyond that, we don't know who is going to take action or exactly how - but we know the results are going to be catastrophic. And since we can't tell the Tal Shiar that without them suspecting our involvement..." "...you send in an asset." "Correct, Commander. In fact, we send in an asset so incredibly overtly that the Tal Shiar have no choice but to monitor his every move." "And thus keep a closer eye on the areas where you think something might happen. Not the worst plan I've ever heard."

Lieutenant Kilkenny smiled. "Very good, sir. We just need you to be your usual, highly visible self and make sure that no one starts a war for the next few months. And, if I'm not mistaken, the good Subcommander should be here...soon."

Owen swore. It was going to be one of those days.
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Re: S03Ep01 Paradox

Postby FSF Gabe » Mon Dec 15, 2014 9:43 am

Prof. Rick Barlow
Quantum Mechanics and Engineering Theorist
Rector Institute, Titan, Saturn's Moon
Barlow Estate, Titan

ON:
"That's very good Lil' Miss," Barlow smiled as he ruffled Maddie's hair briskly.

Amelia's voice chimed through from the kitchen, Madelynn's face showing signs of her disfavor at her mother's request. "It's ok Lil' Miss, I'll just set my stuff down in the office and be right with you." She seemed to brighten, a formidable smile splashing on her face before she tore off down the hall. "Don't run in the house," Rick smirked as he turned away and went into his office.

The office was heavy in wooden accents, much like the overall tutor of the house's design, Rick followed through to keep the estate and it's rooms as close to his father's former occupancy as he could. He remembered this office as a place foreign to him, the smells of musk and wood signaling the tiny memories of his childhood and moments with his father who held bent over the desk, nose and mind on matters more attentive than that of his son. It was a direct contrast now. Maddie had been here, his wife, several toys littered the open floor behind the two chairs that held in the forefront of the large oak desk that rarely he saw to sit behind. In the spans of time that he was home, Rick's focus was just that, on home. When he was away at school, teaching, all matters that could be kept there were kept. Still, the room served it's purpose and although Rick tried to get Maddie to put her toys away, generally it was a battle he didn't see winning.

He had left the door open, allowing the continued conversation to blossom. "It was ok," he sparked in relation to his wife's further questions of his day, "nothing too serious. Lunch with Professor Wick was as boring as I'd always imagined it would be." He was thumbing through the mail, junk piling into the bin while his attention was taken to another Padd that held the Aegis letterhead. "He asked how you were...,"

Rick left the office, crossing into the hallway before spilling into the kitchen and dining room. "When did this come in," he asked showcasing the Padd to his wife?

<<Tag Amelia>>
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Re: S03Ep01 Paradox

Postby Kalquien » Mon Dec 15, 2014 9:45 pm

Lt. Oscar Blackthorne
Science Division
USS Hope

Captain Vreenak wrote:"Drop your weapons!" Marisol commanded, her own phaser still hovering at her hip. "NOW!"

Oscar sighed and left his hands up, around the middle of his torso, not exactly beyond the reach of his phaser, but he didn't move towards it either. Lucky for him the woman who appeared behind him had spoken Federation Basic. He had not thought to bring his universal translator with him. It was a bulky communicator sized instrument that was hard to hide or disguise and wasn't useful until calibrated. Oscar noticed the discrepancy in their uniforms. He was wearing his Starfleet Science Division blues set off smartly with his pilot wings, but then he saw how badly scorched and torn his uniform was. A healthy coverage of dust highlighted the difference. She was wearing some sort of one piece uniform with a jacket belted over it. He thought he saw the same fleet symbol on her chest, which he noted was well developed, but the symbol was a different color and smaller than his. Her uniform was trimmed in red, which made him think she was perhaps the ship's security chief. The other hint was that she was pointing what looked like a weapon at him.

This tidal wave of information caused him to wonder where exactly he was. He had told the Guardian to send him somewhere else. Was this another galaxy? another time? or even another dimension? Unsure about most everything and not wanting to cause himself anymore trouble than he was already in, he turned slowly to face the woman who was speaking to him.

He channeled every ounce of sincerity into his next words. "Hello, my name is Oscar, and I come in peace."

<Tag: Marisol, USS Hope>
"God between you and harm in all the empty places where you must walk."
-Captain John Sheridan, B5

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Re: S03Ep01 Paradox

Postby FSF Sail » Mon Dec 15, 2014 10:44 pm

Capt. Marisol Vreenak
Commanding Officer
USS Hope

Lt. Blackthorne wrote:"Hello, my name is Oscar, and I come in peace."


Among the challenges of command, none could be thornier than threat assessment. A freighter with a ray shielded cargo hold might be doing nothing more than attempting to conceal the few items that didn't make it into her manifest. Then again, she might be harboring a black ops squad on it's way to a serious piece of wet work in your own capitol city. The man before her offered a number of conflicting tells and appearances. First, the lift of his hands was little more than a ruse to bring them into quick deployment range of the antiquated hand phaser on his belt. At first, the uniform offered her the impression that here was a Fleet hard liner, dressed for the occasion to wage his own private little war against the Romulans. His grandfather's uniform and weapon might illustrate a familial bloodlust that he intended to answer here. Yet, if that were truly the case, wouldn't he display this past in it's finest state of cleanliness? This uniform was a wreck. He'd slept in it, bled in it....god knows what else.

Yet, he also refused her order to drop weapons, taking instead a moment to size her up in the fashion men had been appraising women since he dawn of history. Arrogant behavior, for one who at first put on the face of the confused. He was forcing a confrontation, but to what end? Did he wish her to fire? One possibility, for sure. A spate of suicide bombings had occurred just over four years ago within the system. They'd learned a lesson in blood that, if set for the right sensitivity, even a stun burst could trigger explosive implants. That was an outcome she'd prefer to avoid, given the presence of the Ambassador in the room behind her.

Perhaps this charade was meant to buy time. He was a distraction, intended to keep the bridge preoccupied while other operatives beamed aboard to pursue the actual objective, whatever that may be. "Ops," Marisol ordered as her phaser slowly came up, "go to yellow alert. Lock us down." The proximity shielding should blunt anyone else's attempt at unauthorized transport. At least, she could hope to have just this one problem to solve, for the moment. "LAST WARNING!" the captain barked at the intruder. This time, her phaser was up, held in the classic shooter's stance as she addressed this "Oscar." "DROP THAT WEAPON NOW!!!"

<Tag Blackthorne>
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Re: S03Ep01 Paradox

Postby FSF Sail » Tue Dec 16, 2014 11:41 am

Story Note

USS Hope goes to Yellow Alert. Proximity shielding engages, and all airlocks and companionways seal. Security crewmen deploy to sensitive areas of the ship. A team of four, called by Ops, exit the turbolift onto the bridge. At sight of their captain holding a drawn phaser, the four lift their own weapons and take flanking positions.
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Re: S03Ep01 Paradox

Postby thepariaheffect » Tue Dec 16, 2014 12:15 pm

Commander Owen Scott
Temporary Commanding Officer, USS Erika Hernandez
Bridge

Owen was counting on uneventful. That, in retrospect, was stupid.

As his conversation with Kilkenny ended, his commbadge chirped. "Ops to Commander Scott," came the voice of Chief Petty Officer Daniel O'Bannon, a fellow veteran of the USS Hope. "Scott here, Obi," Owen replied, prepared to deal with another problem from his famously worried chief of Operations. "Captain, we've got a situation. The Hope just powered up shields."

Well, that actually counted as a legitimate problem. "Hail the Hope and see if they're in need of assistance. I'm on my way to the bridge."

Maybe there was time for one last run in the center chair after all...

[Tag Hope]
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Re: S03Ep01 Paradox

Postby Mia Cummings » Tue Dec 16, 2014 6:51 pm

Amelia 'Mia' Barlow
Professor of Sciences, Secondary Education
Titan Public School System


Amelia went back to finish getting their dinner on the table with Maddy helping to carry things to the table.
She listened to Rick talk about his day as she set a roast on the table. Enjoying the sound of his voice and chuckling about his lunch with Wick.

He had left the door open, allowing the continued conversation to blossom. "It was ok," he sparked in relation to his wife's further questions of his day, "nothing too serious. Lunch with Professor Wick was as boring as I'd always imagined it would be." He was thumbing through the mail, junk piling into the bin while his attention was taken to another Padd that held the Aegis letterhead. "He asked how you were...,"


"I hope you told him that I was wonderful in every way," She replied jokingly. "I don't imagine Wick as a very exciting person, that's for sure. Dinner's almost ready, Rick."

Rick left the office, crossing into the hallway before spilling into the kitchen and dining room. "When did this come in," he asked showcasing the Padd to his wife?


Mia looked up and frowned at the PADD. She'd totally forgotten about it after Maddy's tears earlier in the day. "Oh, I forgot al about that. Some messenger delivered it, But he called me Lt Moore. I told him I was no longer a Lt in Starfleet, Actually I told him I was no longer IN Starfleet and my name was now Barlow. To be honest, I didn't even look at it," She came around the table to look at the PADD, "I figured it was just another request for an appearance, and I'm done with those. Why? Is something wrong? Is it important?"

<Tag Rick>
Mia Cummings; AMO/Lt.: USS John C Stennis - CSEC/Lt.: USS Stargazer SFOL * Sa'Ra;Security Officer/Ensign: USS Firewall * Cdr. Amber (Tamara) Darius-Belmont - Chief Medical Officer: USS Atlantis * Lt Amelia "Mia" Moore, CSCI; USS Eternity *
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Re: S03Ep01 Paradox

Postby Michael Hill » Tue Dec 16, 2014 10:24 pm

Henry Okafor
Aegis Group
Titan, Saturn's Moon - High Orbit
-=/\=-

Titan had been ideal for terraforming, despite early Federation preservation groups. Once the rich nitrogen atmosphere was converted, the topography mirror Earth's in such a way that by the 23rd century, Titan became a popular destination within the Sol system. Perfectly shielded from solar wind and suited for complex organic chemicals, Titan's development boomed for over two centuries and continued to thrive. Hank remembered his first visit to Titan's Huygen City on a field trip in grammar school and remarking at the natural beauty of the moon as well as the breath-taking proximity to Saturn. The city still possessed a rustic, simplistic feel as it represented humanity spreading its wings with all the awkward growing pains. Huygen City bore a frontier-like ambition that would be far outstripped in sophistication with centuries of practice. But there was something special in the rough around the edge feel of mankind's baby-steps towards putting their footprint on the galaxy. It all seemed fitting to be visiting Titan for his first trip back to the Sol system in years.

"Elyse," Okafor boomed in his deep, South African tinged accent, padding across his stateroom towards the wardrobe. He always named his operating systems, a quirky habit he picked up once he had left the service. Calling something as sophisticated as the modern interfaces "computer" seemed so impersonal and hollow. Throw in the fact that he spent the majority of the time bouncing from system to system, it gave him an odd sense of companionship. "Please shift all the case files from Listening Post 221 to my portable access point. Also, upload all the intel we've collected from our review of the Eternity's last known position. Encrypt. Also, please load up all the service jackets for all current and former Hope and Eternity crew. Separate encryption protocol. Label FOUO and classified."

Hearing the computer chime to life, Okafor began rummaging through his wardrobe until he landed on a taupe and brown Bajoran suit. He had picked it up on hitch to Bajor years before when Aegis was brought in to consult on a Gamma Quadrant expeditionary mission. The suit was a gift from the project lead, straight from the finest Bajoran tailor in the northern provinces - a gentleman, so the legend held, who survived the Occupation making body bags for the Cardassians. It was unassuming, but classic and struck the tone Hank sought: business.

Once dressed, Hank threw together his briefcase, loading up his access point and communicator. "Elyse, set transporter coordinates for, let's say, 200 yards from the Barlow estate. Run Aegis clearance to prioritize our signal." Okafor thought it best to avoid literally just showing up on their doorstop, even if it meant a slight walk. Okafor started out towards the transporter room of the Aegis cruiser. "Also, see if you can pull down a reservation at Urey's - that Andorian-Cajun fusion place on the east side of Huygen. Plaster the request with Aegis references if you need too." If memory served, there was a fantastic shrimp dish that paired well with the viognier from Titan's southern wine provinces and was always tough to get into. Hank hoped the Barlows were just another dead end and he'd be half way through a 2365 vintage before 2100.

-=/\=-
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Re: S03Ep01 Paradox

Postby Kalquien » Wed Dec 17, 2014 2:02 am

Lt. Oscar Blackthorne
Science Division
USS Hope

Captain Vreenak wrote: "LAST WARNING!" the captain barked at the intruder. This time, her phaser was up, held in the classic shooter's stance as she addressed this "Oscar." "DROP THAT WEAPON NOW!!!"

Oscar sighed. He was internally cursing his own foolishness. The first rule of survival was time. Time was needed to study. Study was needed to adapt. Adaptation was survival. Provoking people is not a means to staying alive. He examined the woman again trying to be more logical. He knew the braids on his sleeves spoke of him being a senior lieutenant. The woman's uniform had no braids, or epaulettes which would tell him her rank. The speed and confidence with which the woman was rapping out orders meant that she was in command. And of course, he thought to himself, you had to check her out. She's also married, he guessed. He heard the turbolift behind him open and felt rather than saw a security detail fanning out with their phasers trained on him. He almost smiled. All this fuss for one exhausted man.

"I apologize if I caused offense, Captain. I am not thinking clearly. I will do as you ask."

Oscar left his phaser hand up and with his opposite hand he reached to his belt. He touched the connecting clasp which disengaged it and his belt with his phaser, communicator, and fine tool kit tumbled to the floor. Still moving slowly he pulled his tricorder off his shoulder and with some reluctance placed it upon the pile. The tricorder was his finest achievement. It was faster and had more memory than the standard version. It also had a small jammer built into it which he had designed in his spare time. With his tricorder clear he unstrapped the survival kit from his back and then set it with the rest. At the last he reached slowly into his right boot and pulled out a fighting knife he had concealed there and laid that on the top of the pile. He bowed slightly and stepped back from the pile. Never taking is eyes off the woman, or her weapon.

"My fleet ID is in my toolkit." For all that's worth, he thought bitterly.

<Tag: Bridge>
"God between you and harm in all the empty places where you must walk."
-Captain John Sheridan, B5

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Re: S03Ep01 Paradox

Postby FSF Sail » Wed Dec 17, 2014 12:52 pm

Capt. Marisol Vreenak
Commanding Officer
USS Hope

Lt. Blackthorne wrote:"My fleet ID is in my toolkit."


At her nod, two of the security squad lowered phasers. A second later, each had deployed tricorders, whose warbling and chirping preceded the pair as they slowly circled the intruder. "Ops," Marisol said as her own weapon found it's way to her belt, "Find the CSEC. I want a full security sweep to make sure this is our only guest. Then, notify the fleet commander that we're at yellow alert and the reason why. Let him know that I'll offer a full report when we're secured."

"Aye, captain," Ops replied. "Incoming from the Hernandez...Commander Scott is asking if we need assistance."

Marisol's gaze traveled back to the stranger. "Not yet," she replied. "Inform Commander Scott that I'll contact him in a few minutes."

<Tag Owen Scott>

In the meantime, the questing tricorders had changed targets, and were now busily analyzing the items he'd piled upon the deck. "He's clean," the first said. "No implants, no explosives, no weaponized organics."

"Concur," reported the second.

"How about his gear?"

"Fleet standard issue, for a long time ago....wait," the crewman stopped. "This tricorder contains nonstandard components."

"Define nonstandard," Marisol replied, her eyes fixed into those of the ragged lieutenant.

"The vintage is right, sir," security nodded as he continued to scan. "All from the same era. After market processing.....memory....and small field emitter of some kind."

"Beam it to secure lockup," the captain ordered. "We'll let Science and Engineering take a look. How about the rest?"

Security shook his head. "Beautiful....and original issue. This stuff is the genuine article. Collectors would go nuts..."

The tool kit was open. Marisol dropped to one knee. Had there been time, she would've indulged her inner engineer and taken a good long while to admire the fleet issued hardware she'd only seen in museums. Instead, she reached for the identification, and the phaser. "Serial number looks to be original," the diminutive woman remarked of the engraving. "Run it through the database. Okay, Lieutenant Oscar Blackthorne," the captain said as she rose to her feet, "we'll start with two easy questions. Who sent you, and how did you get aboard my ship?"

<Tag Blackthorne>
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Re: S03Ep01 Paradox

Postby thepariaheffect » Wed Dec 17, 2014 6:11 pm

Popular Science Digest
Issue 453, Vol. 99

The idea of artificial intelligence is one that has captured the sentient mind since we fashioned the first machine. It is inherent in our literature, be it the pre-WWIII human literature concerning mechanical uprising or the Vulcan treatises on the logic of creating alien minds from machines. In the last two centuries, our own experience with the artificial mind has shown many layers to this ancient interest, with encounters ranging from the violent to the sublime. In today's Literary Spotlight, we take a brief look at how one of those artificial minds views biological life.

I detest the term "artificial" - as the absence of genetic randomization somehow makes me less "real" than the people with whom I interact on a daily basis. Life is life, my friends, and that is something which I wish to stress above all else. Indeed, the only time we - and when I say we, I mean the small-but-growing community of synthetic sentients - have our "realness" called into question is when someone wants to take advantage of that which makes us unique.

I refer to myself as a synthetic sentient as a method of classification, not differentiation. One does not need to be made of soft flesh to be considered alive - just look at the societies of the Horta or the Brikar for proof of that. My body might be artificial, but only in the way that any other prosthetic is artificial; it is merely a tool that I use to interact with the world. What I am, what makes me a person, is ineffable. As, I think, is you.

Does it surprise you that a synthetic creature considers himself to have a soul? Perhaps, dear reader, you are one of those who thinks that such an idea is nonsense. I would say to you that I am living proof that the soul exists, that there is something more to life than random genetic combinations. Trillions of creatures believe that they are something more than meat - why should I be any different?

Are we really so different? You were born due to the genetic combination of other creatures, made in their image but different. I am the end result of the fusion of Borg and Federation technology, incubated in the mind of a human. What I am is similar to all of them, but different. You have hopes and dreams, aspirations and goals - and so do I. We all have families. We all experience love and hate, fear and triumph. We are all alive - the fact that my consciousness currently resides in a small silver box only changes my outer frame, not the inner soul that we all share.

My early days were much like yours, you know. Unknowing, unsure of myself. I didn't know what I was, what I was meant for - I raged against the unfairness of a world that couldn't provide me that which I needed. I craved independence, but I needed guidance - I needed help. I was given guidance in the form of the man with whom I shared a psyche, a chance to see for myself what I was not, and what I could be. I was given purpose by machines, the ability to transcend the mundane and understand that life came in many different forms. Today, I am a whole being - a synthesis of self and soul, a being of technology steeped in the world of humanity. For that, I am sometimes feared, and often misunderstood.

Still, I am grateful for the opportunity to be.

Excerpt from Synthetic Soul: My Journey to Consciousness, by Orion Calmest. Available now from Penguin-Schuster Global Holopublishing
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Re: S03Ep01 Paradox

Postby Kalquien » Fri Dec 19, 2014 12:07 am

Lt. Oscar Blackthorne
Science Division
USS Hope
Captain Vreenak wrote:Okay, Lieutenant Oscar Blackthorne," the captain said as she rose to her feet, "we'll start with two easy questions. Who sent you, and how did you get aboard my ship?"

Oscar's mind was reeling. He had been expecting the scans but what on Janus was a 'weaponized organic?' The rest of what they said was a jumble as the stress and fatigue of the last few days came crashing in on him. He felt his legs tremble but fought to stay upright. He could not afford to appear weak in this meeting. First impressions, especially bad ones, were hard to overcome. He tried to focus on what they were saying when he noticed the lady kneel down. Her eyes lit up as she looked at his toolkit. He smiled and wished he could tell her about them and all the changes and improvements he had made to the basic kit. He opened his mouth to speak but his brain was almost too fried to make words come out.

He heard her two questions as if someone were speaking to him from a great distance. "It's funny," Oscar said with a small strained chuckle, "no one really sent me. I mean Admiral Kosnett was in command and he gave us the coordinates for the device but his plan and mine were not in sync. He wanted us to fix what was broken, but how do you fix what wasn't broken? The timeline was wrong in his mind because we lost. That we lost doesn't mean the timeline was broken, just us. Anyhow, he wanted us to go into the past and fix the future. Me? All I wanted to do was survive. That is what I told the machine, at least I think it was a machine, I didn't care about the time, only so that I wasn't there anymore. Sorry, Capt'n," he mumbled, "I'm trying. The how was a highly classified alien device, I think he called it the 'Guardian of Forever.' It asked me where I wanted to go and I told it anywhere but where I was. The Guardian showed me an image of your bridge. I stepped through the opening and here I am."

He paused to realign his tumbling words and force himself not to sway. "Now that I have addressed your first questions may I ask one of my own? Where I am? Or, when might be just as apt."

<Tag: Marisol, Bridge>
"God between you and harm in all the empty places where you must walk."
-Captain John Sheridan, B5

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