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DAY 04: The Flutter of a Pair of Wings [1750 hrs.]

DAY 04: The Flutter of a Pair of Wings [1750 hrs.]

[ Lt (jg) Sarresh Morrali | Science Labs | Deck 04 ] Attn: Jien Ives

He spent the whole of the raid on the Black Opal site down in the science lab that had been converted into a poor mans temporal observatory. He felt the ship rock under the fire of the battle with the Romulan warbird and didn't once look away from his screens. He couldn't move if he wanted to, his mind forced into a focused obsession. Red Alert came and went and not a bit of it phased the Ash'reem turned Human. He never heard it. All he heard was the sweet siren song of time itself, ringing in his ears, drowning out everything else around him.

Something had changed.

How he knew, he couldn't put a finger to. What changed, well, he couldn't rightly tell that either, but it was there. It was plain as day on his monitor, and it sang in his heart, thumping, fluttering gently in the wind, the pulse in tune with the ebb and follow of the universe. He couldn't explain it any other way, feeling it all from a displaced position, over his own shoulder. Watching the scene unfold around his body as if a ghost.  And yet at the same time, whiteness also flooded his vision. He was both blind and all seeing, his body vibrating and convulsing, yet also still as a rock.

When he came back to himself - when those artificial eyes focused in again on the there and now, he'd lost 10 hours. A whole shift, gone. No one had come looking for him, oddly enough. Perhaps they'd been too busy with what ever had happened - and he did have the vaguest awareness that something had happened, in the here and now, instead of the temporal sense. But it was the temporal sense that forced Sarresh to tap the badge on his chest.

"Lt -" his voice cracked, and he coughed. His throat was dry, bone dry, and suddenly he was thirstier than he'd ever been. It felt - and he sounded - like he'd swallowed sand as he forced the words out through teeth that still felt wrong in his mouth.  "Lt. Morrali to Cpt. Ives," he finally croaked out, "Something...something has changed. It's happening again."

Re: DAY 04: The Flutter of a Pair of Wings [1750 hrs.]

Reply #1
[ Captain Jien Ives | Ready Room | Deck 01 ]

Seated at his desk, Captain Ives had been slaving over the tasks at hand after they had departed from the Black Opal. Or rather, the residues of it - already drifting on the solar winds.

When the strained voice came from his combadge, he frowned. The cryptic message he was left with was only made a little less cryptic considering the unique position that the speaker had, but 'cryptic' aside, it was a whole lot more alarming because of the same fact too. He was given no clue as to how immediate the danger was, or if there was any immediate danger at all. Junior Lieutenant Morali was warning him, so a temporal incursion might be underway. Was he to assume that the former Ash'reem had the sense to be more specific if he could? Would he say so if Jien had to put the ship on Red Alert?

"This is Ives. I am on my way." Was the man's word even credible yet, having just left Sickbay after his transformation? "Thea," he said in the end, both about to give the Temporal Affairs Officer the benefit of the doubt in regard to his message's lack of immediate tactical alert, and also personally verify the credibility of the claim.

[Yes, Captain?] said the ship's A.I. over the intercom.

"I need a site-to-site transport to wherever Lieutenant Morali is," he said, and came to stand in the middle of his Ready Room in preparation for the transport protocol. He was in command of the largest starship in the fleet, so if there was any immediate need to deal with a situation, taking the turbolift was inadvisable. Site-to-site transports were not advisable as an ordinary means of transportation, but Jien simply did not know what he would hear, so he did not dare take any chances. Not with the chances of a temporal incursion akin to the one that had put the Calamity in their timeline... "Energise when ready."

[Aye, Captain. Initiating transport protocol. Energising.]

[ Science Labs | Deck 04 ]

When he had materialised, Jien looked around, and when he saw the man, he could not help the thought about what had befallen the former Ash'reem, and what they had suffered through together on Theta Eridani IV. If any man's fate was cruel, it was Morali's, considering what he had sacrificed for their mission. Bitter yet, that he had no recollection of volunteering for the mission, and did not know if he had foreseen his personal perils and the loss of his people in the time-stream. Seeing the man made Jien feel both guilt and dubious admiration - not knowing the man's past or present motivations.

And yet, Jien depended entirely on the man to prevent another disaster like Niga. Morali had been instrumental in making the Calamity retreat the first time she showed herself, and all Jien could do was to hope that they were not up against another adversary like that so soon after destroying the first.

"What is happening?" he asked the man with the new face before him, and he stepped closer, "Need I put the ship on Red Alert?"

Re: DAY 04: The Flutter of a Pair of Wings [1750 hrs.]

Reply #2
[ Lt (jg) Sarresh Morrali | Science Labs | Deck 04 ] Attn: Jien Ives

The telltale whine of a transporter beam alerted the slightly addled Temporal Agent just moments before Cpt. Ives coalesced in the makeshift observatory, casting the room in the blue white sparkle of thousands of tiny lights before returning to its normal, console generated illumination. It took Sarresh a moment to listen to the other mans words, all while pondering why the Captain had chosen to beam in for such a short distance. It was a short...no, it wasn't not really, he belatedly remembered.

That didn't seem right, did it? How could he be sure that the distance from the bridge to the labs were both short and not short? Paradox.

Gods, he hated those.

With a sharp jerk of his head from side to side - a profoundly human gesture not common among the Ash'reem - Lt. Morrali rose to his feet. It would perhaps be best to say he shakily, slowly rose to his feet, clearly not physically at his best just then. Stiff, and slightly dehydrated, it took the genetically manipulated man longer than he was happy with to address his Commanding Officer. Not that he was ever really happy to address Ives, in whatever gaze he - or she - chose to appear in.

"Sir, I don't - no, its...blast." He drew in  a ragged breath, reminding himself that was a Starfleet officer, however reluctant and resentful he might be in the moment. Even that was muted by the awe that filled his mind. "I do not believe it is an imminent tactical threat. Not Red Alert worthy...not yet. The changes...." he looked at his screens, gesturing, almost wildly now, moving to draw his finger across the waves and ebbs of lines, warping about, rippling.

"They, they're coming from us, Captain," he said, as if only just now seeing it for himself. "This time we are the source....at least, that's what it looks like now. Its....it keeps shifting. Flickers of time, changes..." he sighed, "I'm not making a damn bit of sense, am I?"

Re: DAY 04: The Flutter of a Pair of Wings [1750 hrs.]

Reply #3
The initial silence that Morali allowed to linger had Jien worried at first, and he was almost about to ask Thea to scan the sector. Yet before he did, the Temporal Affairs Officer got on his feet - albeit awkwardly. When he spoke, there were little answerw coming, only vague implications... begging even more answers.

Frowning in silence, Jien looked at the readings that Morali indicated, and he was feeling a great deal of unease about what the former Ash'reem was saying. Of course, he could not make any sense of what he saw on the screens. None at all, even if he liked to think himself fairly aquainted with temproal mechanics. At least as far as knowledge went in his own century. What he was seeing was... else. No, he had to listen to what the man said, and try to pry the sense out of nonsense.

So, he turned to Morali and spoke as the renowned diplomat that he had once been... before he became the infamous captain that brainwashed his crew and stole a multivector dreadnought for the Romulans. At least that was what the news fed the public...

"No, you are not, but what you say suggests that there is no external threat, as much clear," he said and put his hands on his hips, forehead creased in thought. "Changes, you say? Coming from us? Do you mean that we have changed, or that we are still changing? Do you know - and can you explain - why and how we are changing?"

There had been no indication from the bridge that they'd gone anywhere near an anomaly of any kind. If Morali had detected something, Jien had no means to find any answers on his own. He was fully depending on Morali to explain it, and Jien tried to not let the man's lack of composure to irritate him. He had no right to question his capacity to handle whatever condition that the MEM treatment had left him in. He had no way to know what Morali was going through when these spells came...

...but he needed answers. Without answers, the man was not fulfilling his duty. He was not serving the mission, and Jien was unable to safeguard his crew.

Re: DAY 04: The Flutter of a Pair of Wings [1750 hrs.]

Reply #4
[ Lt (jg) Sarresh Morrali | Science Labs | Deck 04 ] Attn: Jien Ives

Letting a slow hiss of air out of his teeth, Sarresh listened to Ives, and then turned to face his display again, frowning. He'd kill someone for a glass of water - another glass, had he had one already? No? Yes? Damn Paradoxes he thought again, though really he couldn't blame those on his inability to remember the little details of what he'd just done. Downside of temporal exposu....exposure? hmmmmm

Discarding his own concerns about his mental health just then - it was a jumbled mess anyway - he traced one thick, blue line to a pulsing pink point that kept...bouncing back and forth on the line. Well damn

"The temporal breach occurred - and will occur, funnily enough - here and here along our time stream. The change has already taken place and will take place in our future, simultaneously." He shrugged and crossed his arms, turning to face Ives, "It's not exactly an ongoing affect. It's happened but will also still happen again. The same event at two separate points in our time line. Damned annoying." Sensing that wasn't quite enough, he added, "This could indicate, Sir, that whatever happens in the future radiated back to our very near past - as in, the last few hours, give or take, and is rippling, creating changes further back that we haven't yet detected. At least that would be my bet.

"As for danger....we don't seem to be in immediate harm. Though I think I heard a Red Alert earlier?" He looked both tired and sheepish suddenly, "I was...indisposed because of all of this." He gestured to the monitor, then tapped the side of his head sarcastically.

Re: DAY 04: The Flutter of a Pair of Wings [1750 hrs.]

Reply #5
Arms folded, Ives listened to Morali, trying as best as he might to derive some kind of linear sense to what was being said. Of course, he knew that linear sense had its limitations when it came to temporal mechanics, but it was still a concept that could be applied to a timestream.

"So the flow of time is gradually changing... in an upstream direction?" he said, his forehead set in a scowl. He did not like what he heard, concerned about what might already have changed without them realising it. It could literally be anything, and they had no way of knowing they were affected. It made Ives feel helpless at first, because whatever was lost he would have no recollection of, and whatever had been gained was already being taken for granted. The uncertainty, the undercurrent of fear in his thoughts were a product of the encounter with the Calamity. He thought all temporal incursions caused by malevolent intent. He ought to know better, of course. They were still on the course towards Starbase 84, and as far as he was aware, the battle for the future was still at hand. He had no way of knowing if he should be suspecting something else, and he would have to take faith in how Sarresh Morali was there on the Theurgy because of that exact reason - to foresee and to know when the mission was at the risk of being compromised by the enemy.

"We raided the Black Opal, and the Romulans came to try the same thing - the location of the depot fed to them by the enemy. We sent them back limping to the RNZ, and the Opal's staff has joined our crew - hopefully also joining our cause," he said idly in answer without looking at Morali, still looking at the pulse on the monitor - thoughts on the questions he had and which were qualified ones for the situation. "Can you determine the degree of changes that have occurred, and which are occurring upstream as well? Can you give me examples on what kind of changes this breach has caused? Could we have lost something important for the mission, or are the changes lesser in implication? I realise that it might be too late to do something about it now, but the more we know, it might aid us in restoring the timeline when we reach the downstream breach, right?"

Then again, perhaps their timeline was a lost cause already. Indeed, Jien had a feeling that they were already in an alternate universe. Perhaps, like Lieutenant S'Iti had said as well, the true change occurred a long time back, when Starfleet Command was compromised by the parasites. Perhaps it happened when they - as far as Ives was aware - made their first temporal incursion and made the planet Niga a trap set for them. Or perhaps the timeline was changed when they managed to treat the Niga virus with the Relativity's help, and that the timestream now changed direction with each course-change that the Theurgy made from that point and onwards.

Ives hoped that the latter was the case, because he liked to think that it would aid the mission. That the message from Starbase 84 wouldn't be jammed by the enemy, and that what they did - what they endured - served a purpose. That they were making a difference, and that the enemy couldn't predict their every movement. If that was the case, then the Calamity could have been sent to only destroy the Harbinger outside the Hromi Cluster, but when the Theurgy had been present as well, the enemy had sought to destroy them both even if they had only been aware of the Harbinger's location. Perhaps it was wishful thinking on Jien's part, but he had to believe in something to justify what he put his crew through on their voyage.

Perhaps he ought to ask Morali what he thought... despite the fact that his mind had been rinsed from facts such as those. Perhaps he was having a lucid and less frustrated moment, so that he could get something constructive out of him.

Re: DAY 04: The Flutter of a Pair of Wings [1750 hrs.]

Reply #6
[ Lt (jg) Sarresh Morrali | Science Labs | Deck 04 ] Attn: Jien Ives

The  'human' man listened to the answer his CO gave him and looked back at the poor mans temporal observatory he'd managed to build in the science lab. Nothing really stood out to him with the revelation that they had been facing off with Romulans inside Federations space. Although.... a wisp of a thought ghosted through his conscious, something about the Romulans, the temporal cold war, and implications with a race called the Suli...the Suli....it was gone again, and those artificial eyes scowled in frustration.

Ives' words drew Sarresh back to the here and now however, and he once again faced the Captain. It took him a moment to process the other mans question and he then had to mull over a response. He gripped his chin with one hand and curled his shoulders forward, thinking through how he could answer.

"Imagine yourself on a boat, navigating by the stars," Sarresh said, brow furrowing as he worked through the nautical analogy, "One moment, you're bringing your ship about to line up with....with a familiar constellation. The next moment, the starts are gone - but not gone, just not where you thought. The constellation no longer exists.  And you know it was there, and that it should be there and that these stars are wrong. But! At the same time, you know that these new stars are the way the stars have always been, and look, there's the great...The Great Bird of the Galaxy, its wings denoted by a grouping of 12 stars, that's always been there, and really, wasn't that what you were navigating by, instead of the ...the...oh, what was it called? Kahless' Batleth? Now why would you think of a constellation called that? Never happened."

He ran his hand over his short cropped hair and shrugged, "You go about things as they were, dismissing this sudden nagging notion about a constellation that never existed, you put your ship back to rights and sail on to port just fine the next morning. Within days the memory of the event is gone, because there never was a Kahless Batleth, so why would you have thought about it in the first place?"  He sat back against the desk, and pointed to the line with the bouncing pink points, "That's whats going on right now. As far as I can tell," he prefaced his statement with that little caveat, "things are still on course. What changed? I have no idea. I feel like this room used to be smaller, for instance, and there's a fleeting sense of disorientation but to be honest, I don't know if that's from this -" he gestured to the board behind him, and then to his own temple, tapping it lightly, "Or all the mental rewiring that happened back on the Relativity."

A sigh escaped his lips and he adjusted his seating on the console edge, wrapping his arms around his chest. As much as it had driven him mad in the past, he found himself missing the flexible, liquid filled body wrap that he used to wear back before his genetic overhaul.  An odd thing to find comfort from, considering how restrictive and oppresive it had felt back when he'd been a true Ash'reem.

"Whatever has happened, whatever had changed, and will change - and believe me, Captain, something significant has changed, I...feel, that we are still on course,  still headed for our intended port. Just...guided by different stars, to stick to our analogy. Sir." He added, belatedly.

Re: DAY 04: The Flutter of a Pair of Wings [1750 hrs.]

Reply #7
As vaguely reassuring as the notion that they were on the same course as before might have been to Ives, he was still not entirely comforted by it. Morali's perception of their current existence was all he had to go on, and while any number of things could have happened, Ives was only privy to a notion that the room they were in might have been smaller once. How was he supposed to make any sense out of that? In the end, there was little actual use to the report he had been given, not beyond making him ill at ease and beginning to doubt if they were entirely in control of what was happening in their little part of the tapestry of time.

"What can you tell me about our current course?" he asked, pacing the room, meaning to try and verify his earlier thoughts somehow. Perhaps it might be an exercise in vain, but if he was to accept that things had changed without being able to do something about it, he was going to try and learn what the current situation in the time-stream was. If he could make some sense out of it, he might be able to use it.

"I need to know if this present, this mission, is an alternate universe to the real timeline, and if it is," he said, knowing that he was asking for too much but unable to help himself. "...If it is, I need to know what the enemy knows. Are we at their complete mercy, with their asset in the Temporal Cold War predicting everything we do... Or are we setting a course unknown for everyone involved? If so, when did we divert from the reality we ought to have known? Was it at the onset of this conspiracy, when the enemy usurped the command of the fleet, or was always supposed to happen?"

Once he began to vent his ire-laced frustration, he did not stop. "Was it when they retroactively changed Niga to host the virus, or when the Relativity came to save us?" he asked, not pointing out how Morali had been the one to find them in the time-stream after Edena Rez made her personal log. "Are we merely sailing different waters than we should have sailed... or are the waters changing around us because we deviated from the route set for us? Is that why our past is changing too? If the future is also uncertain, how can we prevent the enemy from dictating it for us?"

In the end, the real question was simple. Clenching his hands into fists at his side, he levelled his eye on Morali. "Is there any hope for us and the crew, or are we adrift in time?" Was the breech about to swallow them as these changes continued? "Do we have a chance to find our way home?

Re: DAY 04: The Flutter of a Pair of Wings [1750 hrs.]

Reply #8
[ Lt (jg) Sarresh Morrali | Science Labs | Deck 04 ] Attn: Jien Ives

Now there was a loaded question if ever Sarresh had been asked one. Accordingly, he scowled and turned back to the image board behind him. Once again he crossed his arms and squared his shoulders, drawing a breath as he reviewed the indecipherable statistics displayed in front of Ives and himself. Well, indecipherable to Ives at least. They were mostly understandable to Sarresh.

"The Relativity intervened to correct a change in the time line, to force this ship, the whole of time itself, back onto course. Niga was a violation. Niga should never have happened, but it happened and we interceded to push things back as close to as where they were supposed to be." He slumped his shoulders a bit, "For all I know, the ripple that is about to happen, and has happened, is a result of that action, an after effect of the correction to the time line. I feel this," he tapped his chest, and then his head, "With absolute certainty. Niga was the violation. We corrected it as best we can."

He sighed and hung his head for a moment, "Beyond that? I am here now. I cannot say that I was meant to be here, or if my presence, the correction, has spawned a new time line. But I know my being here has already thrown the enemy off. They are as much unaware of what is to come as we are, Captain. They have tried, with the Calamity and yet here we are all the same. They could not know our every action - if they could, we would not have prevailed." It was so hard not to pace, so hard not to lecture Ives as if the other man were a child. His own distaste for the captain did nothing to help, of course.

Re: DAY 04: The Flutter of a Pair of Wings [1750 hrs.]

Reply #9
Ives had learned as much as he needed to know, or at least as much as could be supposed by the former Ash'reem. There were still a lot of questions to be answered, with Morali just as much in the dark as he was, but at least it was quite likely that for the time being, the enemy wasn't able to predict the course of their current timeline - a timeline sprung by the corrective actions taken at Niga.

Morali being one of those counter-measures, and just then talking about it as if his being on the Theurgy did hold merit in the current crisis, Jien put the grander scope of the time-line from his mind and focused on the officer that had been transferred to serve on the mission. Since Niga, the opposition against the parasitic aliens in Starfleet Command was a joint effort between Starfleet of the 24th and the 29th century. Captain Ducane fought the same war that Jien did, only on his own battlefield, which terrain transcended time and space and touched upon the intricate dealings of the Temporal Cold War. Communication between the Relativity and the Theurgy had been scarce, with the Level 10 security level forbidding Jien to spread what little has been reported, but there had not been any progress in the 29th century in regard to finding the benefactor of the current enemy.

"I am glad to hear that you have some more confidence in your assignment despite all that you have been through," said Jien quietly and leaned against a desk with folded arms. That said, the elephant in the room had been addressed, and it was long overdue that they spoke of what had happened on Theta Eridani IV. His face was sombre as he stood there, the hum of the ship all that was heard aside from his words. "My condolences on your loss, and my regrets that we couldn't save her."

Amikris Neotin. Withered feet. Stripped of skin. Giving him forgiveness for not being able to save her - unable to take her home.

"I can but hope that you understand the importance of your mission, and why I sanctioned the treatment that made you what you are today. As it has turned out, with you and me being able to have this conversation, you have adapted remarkably well to your new body, but I realise - I know - that it could easily have turned out for the worse." Jien figured that he would put the attitude that Morali had given him down on Theta Eridani aside and begin the conversation with an apology. "I am well aware that what I had done to you was a gamble at best - I was rather hoping for a miracle - and the fact that Dr. Nicander and his team were able to make you as whole as you are was no guarantee to begin with. I knew not about the Asurian and the cells of her Velsren sac, nor about the closest aquatic denominator Ash'reem held to the human genome - the fortunate circumstance granted in proving the Aquatic Ape Theory. I knew none of this, and I still ordered you to be restored from the state you were in so that you could carry out your duty. For this, I can but apologise, because the fortunate result does not absolve me from the miracle I demanded."

He said naught more, waiting for the former Ash'reem to have his say.

Re: DAY 04: The Flutter of a Pair of Wings [1750 hrs.]

Reply #10
[ Lt (jg) Sarresh Morrali | Science Labs | Deck 04 ] Attn: Jien Ives

Unbidden, memories surfaced in a torrent, assaulting Morrali. Sensations that he could no longer physically feel were still there all the same - the ghost sensations, phantom caresses. The way she smelled, as only an Ash'reem could smell it. He expected it to hurt more, that loss, the reminder of what he had had, for only a brief moment in time. The utter loss of the only thing - the only person - that made being stuck in this time period worth it. Such a short, bright love, stamped away, corroded as he was saved...

And yet it was muted. Every time he thought of Amikris - and he tried, very, very hard not to think of her - the pain was muted, stunted. Not since the first time had he cried. That struck him as wrong, but at the same time, right, and if that wasn't confusing - well, what about this wasn't confusing? And of course, now mixed in with thoughts and memories of the...relationship he shared with Amikris were heated, brief flashes of the tryst he'd had with the Bajoran Petty Officer Ryuan Sel.

Forcing the memories away, Sarresh frowned at the captain. He didn't give a rashokan's ass about the doctors "Aquatic Ape" theory. He understood the basics of what was done to him, the manipulation forced upon his body for the sake of the mission. That somewhere, far back in the human and Ash'reem genomes that there was a common base point - or one close enough in any case - to turn him into a (mostly) human being. Those artificial eyes narrowed darkly. He understood that Ives would have done it again, and again, given the same choices, and that set his lip to curl at the apology handed down from the other officer.

Sucking in a slow breath, Sarresh saw two paths forward. He could vent every nasty feeling he had for Ives -and there were plenty of those, lurking in the depths of his soul. That pain could easily be stoked into outright hatred. And it would be so very, very easy. It would take no effort at all, to hold onto that disdain. Ives had cost him his love. His very species, quite possibly, and certianly any chance of living among them as one of their own. Not only that, but he didn't really fit in as a human now either. All of which could be blamed on Ives.

Or he could take the high road. What he imagined Amikris would want. He didn't want to absolve Ives of the guilt he felt. Sarresh wanted the man to be haunted by it for the rest of his life. But what would that help?

"No," Sarresh finally said, softly, "It doesn't absolve you. Nothing would," he addmited, and then, "but you acted in the moment. You acted for the mission. My life - or death, and her's, in exchange for the fate of the Federation."

Re: DAY 04: The Flutter of a Pair of Wings [1750 hrs.]

Reply #11
The former Ash'reem's say was perhaps not unexpected, as it were, but nonetheless, it stung more than Jien would have thought.

For of course the man would remain the same as before, despite what kind of skin and body he happened to wear. The resentment was still there, as a foundation for the new blame cast upon Jien. While there was truth to the accusations to some degree, Mister Morali seemed to prefer to make him a villain despite the import of the mission and what it might demand of them both. Gone was the man that had volunteered to fight by Jien's side, traded by the MEM treatment for someone else. This resentful shadow of the man that Ives had met aboard the Relativity after the Niga Incident. For even when accepting the mission as a priority, the man did not hesitate to begrudge Jien that same priority the next. At least he could separate his personal feelings from his professional conduct.

Did he need to retort? Did he need to defend his decision? Neither mattered, but Jien did wish to put it in perspective for his TAO.

"Absolution," he said, as if tasting the word in his mouth. It was a bitter-sweet concept, filled with regret, shame, of cost and losses, and yet somehow making it all go away - all in the same time. Put in its extreme context, it was an oxymoron... for no true crimes ceased to linger. "I need no false forgiveness for protecting the Federation. You must understand how the guilt of killing entire ignorant crews wears more heavily upon me. For you, personally, you might think my decision to save you weighs just as heavily, but I assure you, that is not the case. Your survival, and the gamble thereof, it does not keep me sleepless at night. This, you need to understand, because it would be falsehood to claim anything of the sort."

Then, however, Ives' oaken eyes hardened, along with his features. "Yet you may not add the life of Cadet Neotin to my regrets. She was already dead by the time we were beamed out, the transporter signal locking on life-signs." Ives did not step up to the man, but with his tone, he might as well have drawn a sword. "You may not lay her life at my feet along with all the other blame you hold towards me. I did not kill her... just as little as I killed your people or forced you aboard this ship."

Re: DAY 04: The Flutter of a Pair of Wings [1750 hrs.]

Reply #12
So much for trying to be reconciliatory the Ash'reem thought bitterly. So he hadn't been all smiles and hugs. He didn't absolve the captain but he didnt condemn him either. He'd thought that acknowledging that Ives would put the betterment of the mission ahead of his wishes, and accepting that would be enough to appease the other man and at least ease some of the issues between them. But clearly he was wrong, because instead of easing off, Ives went into 'hard-ass' mode again. Sarresh damn well knew that whatever guilt Ives might or might not have about what he'd done to the TAO - and until just now he wasn't sure there had been any at all - wouldn't weight when counted against all the Stafleet officers Ives and his crew had been forced to harm.

He wasn't an idiot - but apparently his captain felt he was. Well fuck you too he thought, fighting to school his features and hide the scowl. The lighter haired officer didn't see any discord between accepting the mission and still being pissed about what happened to him. Being rebuilt, pushed into a new species? Yes he would damn well resent that.

And Amikris....rage bubbled up at the mention of her, of how Ives absolved himself - that word again - of any guilt there.  His lover, whom memories still burned, even if not as bright as he thought - even if mixed now with other, fresher memories.  Those artificial eyes did nothing to hide the flames of anger that Ives was stroking deep within, behind the facade of professionalism.

And frankly, he was getting sick and goddamn tired of constantly being reminded of the man he was supposed to be. The little quips here and there about how he volunteered.

"Maybe if Ducane's boys had done their job right," Sarresh said as he tapped his temple, "I'd remember volunteering - remember anything of the man you claim I am," his tone was cold, ridged, borderline nasty, "The man I was trying to be again, for Amikris. And now all I have left, is your mission." Perhaps not strictly true, but with all the utter crap they'd been through in the past week..."It's all I have left."

Re: DAY 04: The Flutter of a Pair of Wings [1750 hrs.]

Reply #13
Even through Mister Morali did not challenge his claim about Amikris, Jien did note the way he looked at him - the ire plainly there to see.

"Perhaps they didn't succeed with the MEM treatment," he said, putting his hands on his hips as he met the gaze of the angry officer. His tone was not lecturing, and while he had no idea what it would be like for someone with a permanent form to suddenly switch to another species entirely, he hardly thought it merited the kind of attitude the TAO was showing. No, the anger sprung from something else, either of the reasons Morali had mentioned before, he imagined. Paramount, however, was the simple fact that Morali had come to dislike him, and even if the basis of that resentment had been false - the idea that Ives had forced Ducane to make Morali transfer to the Theurgy - it did't do anything to appease that resentment. Rather, it seemed those feelings had become stronger. "Then again... perhaps it was of some kind of import that you didn't know. A reason I could not guess. Perhaps I was wrong, thinking they did too much, be it out of spite or not. Perhaps they wanted you to be like this; wroth with me for some purpose neither of us know yet. Perhaps they saw merit in this poor dynamic between us."

Having said this as he paced the lab slowly, he looked away from Morali and took a deep breath. "Be that as it may, I am pleased to see that your resentment towards me doesn't make you shirk your duties, even going beyond demands to facilitate the spread of Lexorin at the end of the mutiny, despite how you had barely healed from your surgery. That is commendable, just like you put aside your personal feelings for sake of the mission and report the anomalies you are able to detect. So, you may keep resenting me if that helps you somehow, as long as you keep preforming your duties in the exemplary fashion that you have."

Turning his head towards Sarresh again, Jien added, "The mission might be all you think you have, but it is one important mission. I wish you could cease to lay your blame at my feet, but at this point, I reckon it is too late to reconcile. Just bear in mind that I expect you to not act insubordinate in front of the rest of the crew, since that would undermine the chain-of-command and obstruct set mission parameters. Understood?"

Jien was not about to tolerate any kind of attitude, despite extenuating circumstances, so he meant to be succinctly clear on that point.


Re: DAY 04: The Flutter of a Pair of Wings [1750 hrs.]

Reply #14
Exercising self control wasn't exactly a strong suit for Sarresh - or maybe it had been before the MEM work was done to him. As he'd just said to Ives, he had no idea anymore. He could remember so very, very little of the man he'd used to be. But despite his desire to knock the Captain on his ass when the other man put hands on his hips and gave him that (in his mind) withering look, the TAO kept his mouth shut and let the captain speak. After all, the man was his CO, like it or not, and even given Lt. Moralli's lackluster approach to military standards, he didn't interrupt.

Having no idea what motivations were behind the crew of the Relativity and the memories they had left him with - whether accidental or on purpose. He couldn't deny that Ives was spot on though, the dynamic between the two officers was shit, and Sarresh's most recent attempt less than 5 minutes ago hadn't done a damn bit of good and - and he was going in circles in his mind. He needed to get the hell out of here, needed to get space, get away - but that wasn't going to happen.

Artificial eyes tracked the chameloids path across his lab as the captain paced and talked, and rose to meet the other mans dark eyes as he leveled both praise and warnings. Sarresh stood up just a bit straighter and clasped his hands behind his back to hide the way they were starting to curl into a fist. His jaw twitched a bit as he struggled to keep his ire under control. He wasn't sure whether the compliment on his commitment and his actions during the mutiny was a backhanded one or  not. Wasn't sure how he was supposed to feel.

Instead, he chose to focus on the last bit. He knew how to deal with that.

"I haven't crossed that particular line yet, sir. I don't intend to start now." For better or worse, Jien Ives was the Captain they had. "If I wanted to undermine your authority, Captain, I would have stayed in my bed and let Vassar do the job for me."

Re: DAY 04: The Flutter of a Pair of Wings [1750 hrs.]

Reply #15
"But you didn't," said Jien simply without batting an eye at the mentioning of Vasser.

"And that is another reason why I have tolerated that unbecoming attitude you hold, but from here on out, I have higher expectations. We are about to reach Starbase 84, and since there are still people aboard this ship that are not convinced this mission is advisable, I will expect you to not fan those flames in any way, because too much is riding on a favourable outcome at the starbase. Unless you have already thought of it, as a Starfleet Officer from the Relativity, people do look up to you, and with your... 'resurrection', the enlisted crew think of you as something of a living and breathing miracle. If you, especially you, act insubordinate towards me in public, then you might spark something among those who have yet to make up their minds about the mission."

It was true, the TAO was getting a bit of a following, and while Ives was not concerned about that in itself, now that Morali was up and about again, his actions would gain a lot more attention than when he was recovering after his reconstructive surgery. There were mixed feelings, of course, because of how he was not human from birth, but what had happened at the acidic lake on Theta Eridani IV had become quite a story. On the Theurgy, alone and exposed as they were, rumours spread at warp speed, and a tale of heroism and self-sacrifice like that of Morali's - misguided as Ives thought his actions had been - they were embellished beyond recognition too. As it were, Ives own involvement was barely mentioned any more.

"All I ask," he said to him, "is that you try to avoid causing another mutiny to the best of your convenience."

Re: DAY 04: The Flutter of a Pair of Wings [1750 hrs.]

Reply #16
A terse nod of his head was his response. You're damn right I didn't he thought, but managed to keep the thoughts from expressing themselves in his features. What he wasn't able to keep off his face was the surprise - not the anger at being told to act like a professional.  As far as he was concerned, he'd been surly, but not publicly so.

No, it was the revelation that people were stupid enough to look up to him! The more he listened to Ives, the more aghast he looked. He even took a step back as the commanding officer finished talking, and breaking all decorum at that point - certainly not what Ives wanted to see, but perhaps it was  - he dragged his head across his face and then looked up at the ceiling, as if pleading with unseen forces.

"Angels and ministers of grace defend us," he murmured as he looked back down and slumped his shoulders. He reached out behind him to steady himself and shook his head. "They really need a better hero," he added, before looking up at Ives. Oh, he still didn't like the man, but that little revelation rocked him. Now he was angry, tried, and baffled. "I tend to stay locked up in this room. I had no idea..."

Standing up again, Sarresh made an effort to pull himself into a more professional cadence, in tone and appearance. Though exhaustion was starting to show now - having not moved for hours on end earlier, coupled with the report, the fight, and the revelations, it was taking quite a toll - he still managed to look like an officer. "No mutiny's will be in-sighted because of me, Captain Ives," he stated bluntly. We'll all like as not be dead in a few days anyways he thought quietly to himself, I can keep a lid on it at least that long.

Re: DAY 04: The Flutter of a Pair of Wings [1750 hrs.]

Reply #17
"That's good to hear," said Ives in reply without much of a pause. After all, as much was what he'd expect from any member of his crew. "I expect a report on the temporal changes that have affected us, as much as could be made certain, as well as the theory behind it. The Senior Staff needs to know about this, and allay any fears that might rise among the ranks because of their memories failing them."

Jien began to walk towards the exit, believing that there was naught more to gain from trading more words with the former Ash'reem since it might incite an argument that could get out of hand. There was one thing, however, that he realised he'd not had the chance to tell Morali yet, so he paused just as the doors opened for him. He turned his head, and changed... to her female form. Thoughts on Amatras and Amikris had come to her, and she remembered how the quartermaster had said that the daughter of the Neotin family had been living alone, and stored her personal logs on one of the PADDs there. It remained where it was, and while Jien had not asked to have it uploaded to Thea so that she might read it herself, she reckoned that the TAO would like to find that PADD. She just hoped the words there brought some kind of closure to the man, after all the personal losses he'd suffered.

"While you have no need for the Ash'reem accommodations any more, the Neotin family quarters are yours to keep. If you some day wish to change to ordinary quarters, just tell the Quartermaster and he'd arrange for it. Good day, Mister Morali."

Then, she left the science offices - returning to her Ready Room.

Re: DAY 04: The Flutter of a Pair of Wings [1750 hrs.]

Reply #18
[ Lt (jg) Sarresh Morrali | Ryuan Sel's Quarters | Deck 05| USS Theurgy ] Attn: Ryuan Sel

That shift that Ives did always disconcerted Sarresh. The ability to simply change forms, especially given what the former Ash'reem had undergone recently, was off putting at the very least. Never mind that the new form was rather attractive. It was still the same man - woman, he supposed - that aggravated him so. And now he found himself disconcerted and utterly envious of that ability to change form so readily, when he himself was trapped in a body he didn't want.

But Ives words, once again, left him cold and quiet. He nodded as the other officer left the lab. And then slowly he sat down in a chair and hung his head, lost in memory, reflections, and trying to wrap his head around all of it - Amikris, the Neotins, his encounter with Ryuan Sel during the mutiny, the mutiny it self, and the revelation that people were looking up to him, stupidly.

He needed a drink.


OOC: I think that about wraps this thread up, yes?

 
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