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PROLOGUE: Supplementary [Conference Lounge]

[ USS Theurgy | Conference Lounge | Deck 01 | 1100 hrs. ] Attn: Kurohigi, Valarie, TheBanshee, Leonal & Nolan

On top of the large table in the Theurgy's briefing room rested Lieutenant Commander Carrigan Trent's duffel bag.

It had first been brought to Jien's Ready Room after it had been scanned, and they had then brought it to the larger room. The contents were quite unremarkable. Two spare uniforms, spare boots, two changes of civvies, some gym wear, a toiletry kit - which included an old-fashioned straight shaving razor -  and the two promised data cubes. These data cubes had been inserted in a closed circuit data system for analysis and scanning of malign software, and then projected as a holographic image in the air - suspended above the table.

The contents were - as promised - Starfleet strategic information. Patrol routes, deployment orders, last known courses and locations, communications encryption for six months, supply depot inventories and manning statuses. The second data cube contained all the evidence the Intelligence Officer had collected on everyone he thought to be replaced - or joined - by one of the unknown enemies. It was a lot of data to sift through, with two years of communication logs for all of the suspects. It was unknown how long the enemy had been present in the upper echelon of Starfleet Command, but it seemed the Lieutenant Commander had managed to collect two years worth of data before he defected. Lastly, Carrigan Trent's personal research in the field of electronic warfare could be found on the cube, added with his collective published and unpublished journals.

Jien Ives - in her female form - had spent two hours together with Edena Rez in the Conference Lounge, going over the information that had been brought to them. It was far too much data to study in detail in a single sitting, yet given the contents, they had made it a priority. Two hours they had set as a limit until they would move on to other items on their agenda, and a dull headache had come to Jien - lingering across her temples and her eyes. She knew it was due to the fact she had not eaten at all that since the day before, when they had still been on Theta Eridani IV.

Since she had woken up in that modular shelter with Cam, she had been through hell and acid, faced a whole fleet ready to kill them and ceaselessly pushed herself without rest. While it was still a couple of hours until noon, her stomach made a small noise in protest to the lack of proper nourishment. Still staring at the scrolling data together with Commander Rez, she reached down inside her open uniform jacket with a sigh, and ran her hand over her flat and empty stomach. She could not keep her eyes focused on the patterns she was trying to untangle. Names and numbers were all becoming a blur, and she finally leaned forward over the table to press the heels of her hands against her eyes. "Enough for now," she murmured and pushed to her feet - finally able to stretch her legs. "So far, we can at least judge this intelligence to be legit..."

Jien removed her jacket and tossed it over the back of a chair, folding her arms underneath her breasts while she looked out upon the space of the KNZ. Cloaked as they still were, the low lights touched her dark hair and her red undershirt where she stood - thoughts leaden as she considered their two new passengers and the situation they were in. "Provided that Security and Medical clear them, should we give them both the benefit of the doubt, Commander?"

They were expecting company any minute. Ensign Henshaw was supposed to arrive as soon as she had rested. Also, Jien had ordered their three new Senior Staff members to present themselves. Tatiana Marlowe, Sjaandin Fedd and Simon Tovarek all about to officially be promoted to Lieutenants and given the security access that came with their new Department head status.

"And if Wenn Cinn is who he claims to be, should we let him return to his former position as Chief of Security?"

While Jien was ready to do so if ThanIda zh'Wann could vouch for his credibility and Medical had done their scans, she wanted Edena's thoughts on the subject as well. There was also the matter of Sarresh Morali and the expected report from Dr. Nicander about the chances to restore the Temporal Affairs Officer, which they would get to eventually. Added to this, whether or not Kiya - whom Jien had quite vivid memories of - was willing to assist in the undertaking.


OOC: Tatiana, Sjaandin and Simon can all meet up outside the Conference Room and enter at the same time once they are all present. Valarie: Ensign Henshaw can enter as soon as she can.



Re: Prologue: Supplementary [ Conference Lounge ]

Reply #1
After helping out Tatiana with the damage control and repairs, Simon made his way to the conference room where he had been called to by the captain and the first commander. After that he had gone for some shut eye, yet he only managed to sleep for a couple of hours. His mind couldn't get any rest with the cloaking and the past events on Theta and what had happened just after it. He wanted to know what this Carrigan character was on about and if he could be trusted or not. He figured the conference room meeting would shed some more light to the case.

Dressed up in a clean new uniform without any scorchmarks or ash on it, he made his ways through the corridors of the ship. He met a few crewmembers on the way there and he nodded at them quietly while going over some data that had been gathered during the cloaked flight of the Theurgy. Seeing that this was pretty new technology to Starfleet personell he wondered if there could be any side effects to the crew inside or to the ship itself. So far the scans showed nothing special and after taking a turbolift he arrived on deck 01. He made his way to the conference room and waited now for the rest of his crewmembers to show up before entering. He leaned against the wall as he was the first to arrive and he tapped his combadge while looking around "Thea, correct me if I'm wrong, but the conference meeting for senior crew members was in about 10 minutes, correct?" He asked the Ship AI while looking up to the empty corridors.

Re: Prologue: Supplementary [ Conference Lounge ]

Reply #2
As her new emitter needed recharging after frequent use, Thea was able to answer Simon Tovarek in person. There was a shimmer in the air before him, and her holographic projection appeared - wearing her black chameleon body suit. She had her hands folded behind her back and she smiled faintly to him where she stood.

"Correct, Lieutenant. You and Junior Lieutenants Marlowe and Fedd are due to be promoted to full Lieutenants and officially assume your positions as Chiefs of your separate departments. Congratulations, and I am sure it won't be long until Captain Ives and Commander Rez are ready to receive you."

Thea missed her ability to sense things like a human might now that she was restricted to her old hologrid. The world seemed a mere image around her when she could not feel the air upon her face and sense things with her hands. Her emitter would be fully charged shortly, and she kept a close tally on the seconds remaining until she could download herself to her second processor and data storage in the emitter. It was odd how she had adjusted so quickly to her new preference of using it. Her emotion chip made it utterly clear that using the hologrid was inferior to the emitter. Being as she were, she felt... bleak and lonesome. Being like the organics, at least in the sense of feeling the world like they did, had made her feel that she belonged to them in a new way. A real way.

Indeed, she already felt like a lesser version of her digital self after only having used the emitter for a week. She did not like to show what she felt to the Lieutenant, though. No, she maintained her usual demeanor as best as she might. "I understand that it might feel odd, assuming Amatras Neotin's duties so recently after she..." Thea trailed off, that bloody chip that she couldn't turn off making it hard to finish the sentence. Perhaps it was because of the daughter's fate, and the father's before that. A whole Ash'reem family gone within a week's time. Unless they could somehow save Sarresh Morali, there would be none of the Ash'reem left. Thea had no idea what they might do with the Ash'reem quarters then, when their indigenous pool had been rendered obsolete. She just hoped that Dr. Nicander and the other doctors could help the poor time traveller.

She swallowed, her smile returning. "I am sure you will do fine filling her shoes, Lieutenant Tovarek."


Re: Prologue: Supplementary [ Conference Lounge ]

Reply #3
Simon smiled a bit faint as he heard from Thea that he'd be promoted to full lieutenant with the other crewmembers that he was waiting for. The idea of promotion had totally escaped his mind amidst the events that had transpired and he slowly felt his face flush a bit as if he was caught with his hand in a cookie jar. "Right, promotion..." He mumbled and his eyes went back to his PADD before he looked back at Thea. "Thank you Thea for your kind words. If you'd be able to stand here in physical form I'd have to be inclined to give you three kisses. Sort of like a custom back on Earth." He said as he waved it away again as he realised that he probably rubbed it in that she wasn't in her more physical form. He could give her the three kisses now yet he wasn't sure if it would be giving the desired effect like on a human. Her emitter would probably enhance the feeling and he shook his head slowly as his mind started to race forward to what he or she might say.

As she spoke of Amatras now Simon felt an uncomfortable feeling rising up. It started to make him wonder about the fate of Sarresh and the complications that might involve his demise if he could not be saved. Yet Amatras was a great SCO, she had served the ship and the department well. Her death had filled him with certain disbelief and anger, rage even. He looked at Thea now and looked deep into her eyes to see for any emotion from the AI. He was somewhat surprised to see the actual emotions going on within her. Yet it shouldn't have hit him as a surprise seeing how Lin Kae's fine work had proven to be very effective and functioning. He smiled a bit at Thea as she told him he'd do well replacing her "I'm sure I'll make the best of it." Feeling the conversation grinding to a slow yet uncomfortable stop he brought up the emitter anyway "How are you enjoying the emitter Lin made for you?"

Re: Prologue: Supplementary [ Conference Lounge ]

Reply #4
The suggestion that she would not feel those three kisses on the cheek hurt her a bit, and reasserted the personal need for her new emitter to be recharged soon. Already, it seemed the crew knew that she was a bit more numb to touch when she was restricted to the ship's internal hologrid. She wanted to object, saying that only two months ago, before Lin Kae had found his brilliant solution for her freedom and could calibrate her tactile senses, she had been state-of-the-art and a highly advanced holographic being that merely lacked senses of smell and taste... but what was the point to argue the moot point? In part, she said nothing because technically, Tovarek was right. Thea had to accept the fact that she had become more than she was before, and as high of a standard her programming once had been, she had been improved.

"The emitter is..." she searched for an appropriate word. There were too many to pick from. Too many cultural variations to illustrate her feelings. All languages in her database had suggestions on how she may describe it, and those words had several ways to be translated into Federation Standard. And yet all words were inferior to how she had felt when walking the soil of Theta Eridani IV. She reveiewed literary works for options too, and scourged the holo vids in her memory storage. The search for the most fitting word took 0,521 seconds. "...liberating."

Lifting her gloved hands to gesture while she spoke, she explained. "Mostly, the difference to me is the texture of things I can touch, and the sensation of the air around me. My original programmers did not bother to take into account the minute sensation of air currents touching upon my projection, so that is something that is always there. Nor can I feel this body suit upon me, so its an interesting feeling to wear real clothing. I had a wardrobe in my quarters to begin with, and I liked to wear clothing upon my projected body even before Lin Kae made me the emitter. Yet now, the augmented feeling of garments upon my skin is... so odd, admittedly, but fascinating too. I hope that makes sense."

There were - of course - other... aspects to her sense of touch too, but it was not socially acceptable to bespeak them openly.

Re: Prologue: Supplementary [ Conference Lounge ]

Reply #5
Tia had the decency to look a little sheepish as she rounded the corner to see Tovarek standing there in a clean uniform.  In all honesty she had lost track of time with the repairs that had been so desperately needed and each time she had said 'Just this and then I'll go' had been a circular argument with herself.  Dark circles were beginning to show under her eyes and the ash that was still left on her face and clothes were streaked with sweat and other unidentifiable engineering grime.  By the time she had realised that she was due at the conference room she had no time to tidy up and change.

As her mind had been broken out of its constant planning and reworking of plans for repairs it had had time to remember it was feeling pain.  Her fingers were still stiff and there were numerous scrapes that still hadn't been attended to.  She'd just been too busy.  Whatever it was, and she wasn't completely sure if she had been told, she had to be there for she just hoped it would be acceptable to look like she had been dragged through a hedge backwards.

She smiled at Thea as she arrived and nodded to them both, "Glad you see you've at least managed to get some downtime Tovarek.  I seem to have lost track of time entirely."

Re: Prologue: Supplementary [ Conference Lounge ]

Reply #6
[Edena Rez]

"While we do have information provided to us, I think we would best send out some long range proves, see if this information can be verified as accurate, and not part of the deception.  I can recommend three points of interest on these star maps that are within operational range of our probes."  Again, Edena felt the need to practice due diligence with what they had.  If they were going to use these star charts to avoid trouble, they needed to confirm they were genuine, not just to affirm the loyalty of Lieutenant Commander Trent, but to determine if his departure would have any affect on the maps provided.

"Wenn Cinn's status is . . . a bit unusual.  He has been listed as KIA, and while his security clearance can be restored to as it was before the incident, we must also ask ourselves if both he and the security department are still the same.  I would suggest, Captain, if it is your wish to reinstate him as chief of security, that we have another within the department provide a competency report on him for a while, just to assure he has not, as humans would say, lost his touch.  Psych evaluations with our counselor might also be in order.  He is a man back from the dead, being placed back into a high ranked position.  Assuring he copes would be a high priority."

Re: Prologue: Supplementary [ Conference Lounge ]

Reply #7
Jien listened to Edena and nodded slowly, the advice sound. Appearances of the data aside, they ought to verify it somehow if they were - for example - to chance using the charts in order to get by the closest starbases and into the Alpha Quadrant. When the readings from the probes reached them, they'd know.

"Agreed," she said, turning away from the vista of space, "make the arrangements to launch the probes towards the areas you mentioned. If the cloak will make that difficult, we'll have to launch them a bit later. Perhaps when we rendezvous with the Harbinger. Good thinking, Number One."

Then there was the matter of Wenn Cinn.

"Changes," she mused, sitting down next to Edena again. Her eyes searched the fibres of the table for the answers. "Deputy zh'Wann was - and still is - Deputy. We have lost people in his old department. David Grayson and Adam Kingston being the more prominent ones. Marija Ferrik too... Besides the losses, and the effect that our voyage might have had upon the survivors, our mission remains the same. More complicated, yet I have faith in Wenn Cinn to keep things uncomplicated. He has a gift of being able to see things in black and white when he needs to."

Pausing, Jien leaned back in her chair. "Psych evaluations, yes. Naturally. Yet I am not sure how well Wenn Cinn would respond to having someone evaluate him and send us competency reports. Perhaps... if this was done in the open, with his knowledge. Because asking for such reports without him knowing it would seem in his eyes as a betrayal - present circumstances accounted for." Jien thought some more then dismissed the idea with a small shake of the head. "No, I will deal with the follow-up personally, like I do with all of my Senior Staff. Unless proven otherwise, now or later, I have no doubt towards his competence. I will not jeopardise his trust and loyalty by keeping tabs on him."

Then came the matter about Kiya, something that had arisen due to present demands. Since she knew Kiya best in her male form, Jien changed and turned... his head towards Edena. "I mentioned briefly the present need in Sickbay. Like I said, I wonder if Kiya may be qualified to assist during the time when - or if - Sarresh Morali undergoes treatment. It's a different century, the equipment none like it was back on the USS Augustus, but Kiya would know how to run a Sickbay on a managerial level, as long as she entrusts the real treatment to the doctors and nurses. Right now, it may be a one time thing. As long as the treatment may take."

There was, however, no telling what needs may arise another time. Jien smiled faintly, hoping that the ordeal he and Kiya went through had not turned bitter over time for her.


OOC: I will postpone posting with Thea until Tovarek has replied. :)

Re: PROLOGUE: Supplementary [ Conference Lounge ]

Reply #8
"Liberating?" he repeated after her now and he smiled a bit, he tried to follow her as she tried to explain it to him and he nodded eventually. "I think I understand. I suppose you could make a human or any other race feel the same like you do when you hit them up with some sort of neural agent. The kind of agent that intensifies feelings instead of numbing them down or poisoning them. I believe that in some cases it was used as a device of torture or well... I suppose also during sexual escapades." The change from scenery made Tovarek pause for a bit as he tried to figure out how he got from clothes to neural stims and he shook his head "Not sure if that made sense... But I'm glad that you're feeling more... Liberated." He answered her now with a smile and he noticed Marlowe turn around the corner.

Tatiana looked like a mess and it seemed she entirely didn't freshen up or get some sleep. "Good to see you too Marlowe. Well, you have looked better than today, I have to admit." He blurted out now and smiled a bit coy. "Well, time is relative.. At least we're still alive for now. How are the works proceeding in engineering? Are my people managing to help to you?" He asked a bit concerned now and wondered if they couldn't use drones to speed up repairs somehow. It would be an idea that he had to discuss with Tia when the time was ripe. "So we're just waiting for Mister Fedd I presume?"

Re: PROLOGUE: Supplementary [ Conference Lounge ]

Reply #9
"Don't wait on my account," said Sjaandin Fedd, as he strode across the corridor from the turbolift. Bit of a dramatic entrance, he thought, but oh well. "Tovarek, Marlowe, Thea," he said, making eye contact with each in turn.

Fedd was straddling the line between Simon's impeccable appearance and Tia's... well, he supposed it could be politely described as "casual." Not that he was there to judge; although he wore a fresh uniform, stubble was beginning to show on his carved cheekbones. His hair looked alright, but it usually did regardless of what he did to it. It was still plainly obvious to anyone observing that he had not enjoyed any real downtime.

"Hard at work, I see," was all he said to their grime-smeared engineer, with a smile. Really, he envied the engineering team sometimes. They were the ones who got to get their hands dirty. He had splashed some water on his face in his quarters, to get rid of the bloodstain on his face, and that was the extent of his ablutions. There were only three people present, and one of them was Thea, so he felt like he could relax a bit and let his mind spread out instead of keeping it caged like a bird.

Re: PROLOGUE: Supplementary [ Conference Lounge ]

Reply #10
Tovarek's talk about neural agents did make sense to Thea, at least in the way she interpreted his meaning. Not that she could fathom why any organic would like to feel like she currently did. When he mentioned it, her databanks summoned images of the poisoning aspects of neural agents, in regards to all the implemented uses. Among them, rapid shots of torture, drunk driving and the odd - completely unrelated - heightening of emotions during coitus. The combination made Thea want to clear her gigaquads of recent cache memory... as if she was some 20th century computer.

"I am feeling more liberated, indeed," she said, swallowing, when I use my new emitter, that is...

Then Lieutenant Marlowe showed up around the corner, and the Ship A.I. returned the smile she was given. She was happy that the Assistant Chief Engineer had made it out of the Engineering Outpost on Theta Eridani IV. This, after having calculated the possibilities of survival in asking her to do so. Captain Ives had given her the order to help getting as many people she could off the planet, and the only way she had seen to save as highest number of the shuttles and people on the ground had been to restore the shield dome over the valley. She'd had no choice but to ask for the nigh impossible of Tia when she contacted her, reducing the chance of survival for her into the very, very lowest of percentages.

And yet there she was. Alive. Thea had assumed the engineer dead when she contacted Narik Cinsaj to get the emitter aligned, and through the bad transporter signal, the horrible static and interference of the roaring planet, she had detected two life signs, and gotten them both to Sickbay. Thea wanted to say something to Tia, yet the third new Department Head showed up, forcing the Ship A.I. to be content with the smile they had exchanged.

Sjaandin Fedd, who like Tovarek had been with them on the voyage since they left the Sol System in cold of November, joined the small gathering. Thea remembered the walk through the corridors she had shared with Lieutenant Rennan Cooper during the week of repairs, and she thought that the Valkyrie Program's director might have made a fine Chief Tactical Officer if he had gotten the time to brush up on his targeting practice. She was confident, however, that while Lieutenant Fedd might not know the intricate, miniscule details of the phaser arrays on her hull, the Betazoid was a far better shot than Cooper had been during the simulations. As a thoroughly trained tactician, Fedd knew how and when to shoot.

"Lieutenant Fedd," said Thea and smiled to the second man, noticing the various states of their appearances with fleeting amusement before addressing the whole gathering. "Captain Ives and Commander Rez is going over the information in the datacubes that Lieutenant Commander Trent brought to us. They will likely be done any minute."

Thea was just about to switch off her holographic projection and return to her quarters in wait for her emitter to be recharged, yet at the last millisecond, she changed her mind. "I have a question..." She was in the company of three very bright organic minds, so perhaps they had valuable input for her pasitronic one.

"According to my records, the first sizing for female clothes came out in terms of the bust measurement. Using that simple method somehow did not work for me when I began replicating clothing to wear..." She spoke in all seriousness about her conundrum, hands folded behind her back. "What I've learned when using my replicator, and following up on research in my database, is that for some reason no woman want to see their actual measurements on a pair of trousers, for example, ending up with me having to learn ten different convoluted sizing scales for different kinds of garments that all say nothing numerically. While I can manage, certainly, I am perplexed at the complexity of organic wardrobes. What is more serious is that I think there might be a constant and needless power consumption going on in the crew replicating different sizes to make garments fit. Is it the same for men? Either way, I strongly recommend standardisation."

Re: PROLOGUE: Supplementary [ Conference Lounge ]

Reply #11
It took her a while to get out of the shower and longer for the redness in her eyes to fade away. If she could have ran she would have. It was the only thing that seemed to help get everything worked out in her mind. Dressing she forsaking her bra and panties as normal never having seen the point of them unless she needed them. Her mind was still lost in grief and duty. Only when she was sure she was ready would she leave making her way towards the conference lounge. She had grabbed a PADD to help her make notes about what they had gathered.

Looking up she noticed four people waiting outside. As hard as it was Cameron forced a warm friendly smile to grace her lips as she approaching the four of them. "Captain Ives will surly be admitting all of you soon. We do appreciate your wait," she said her voice soft and friend before she walked past them slowly entering the conference lounge taking her seat next to the captain laying her PADD on the table ready to take notes. "Hello," she said softly looking to Edena. Turning her warm sad laden eyes to Jien her smile grew only a little as she addressed her captain. "Hello, Sorry for being late,"

Re: PROLOGUE: Supplementary [ Conference Lounge ]

Reply #12
[Edena Rez]

At the request for Kiya to assist in Sick bay during the busy time ahead, Edena surrendered control of her consciousness to Kiya, to allow her to discuss the matter directly.  The shift was accompanied by no physical change, but many other tell tale signs.  Kiya sat up straight then Edena, hands folded elegantly in her lap as opposed to fingers stitched together on the table in front of her.  Her eyes were lightly lidded, giving an older, more mature look then the often bright eyed Edena.

"You have no need for concern over my ability to recognize the changes in medical technology, Captain.  As an aspect of Edena, I have seen everything she has seen since her joining to the Rez symbiont, and followed many such advancements in medical technology since my time.  Save for the license to practice medicine, I feel that I lack nothing a currently instated MD would.  What I do have concern about is the willing consent of Mr. Morali.  You were proposing an ocular transplant to restore his vision, yes?  In my time, I once performed a kidney transplant from a deceased wife to a comatose husband.  When he discovered this, he was so horror stricken with grief he nearly tore it out with his bare fingers.  A patient needs time to accept things such as this if at all possible, to avoid psychological trauma, especially when the person the transplant came from was close to them."

Kiya's concern was whether Morali would reject the new eyes, attempt self-harm trying to remove them in his own moment of grief.  A softer touch was needed, the kind that came with speaking to the man, with presenting the option and allowing him the right to accept or refuse.

With the arrival of the Captain's Yeoman, Kiya restored Edena to her proper place, allowing the true host of the Rez Symbiont to return a greeting, before she looked to Ives again.  "Discussion of what Kiya says can wait for a more opportune time, Captain.  Right now, we have more pressing matters to attend, yes?"

Re: PROLOGUE: Supplementary [ Conference Lounge ]

Reply #13
The former host of the Rez symbiont spoke words of wisdom in regard to the time when - or if - Sarresh Morali would become conscious. Like Dr. Nicander has said when Jien gave the order; the Ash'reem had lost everything. His former commissioning on the USS Relativity, his memories, Cadet Amikris, his CSO Amatras Neotin, his people... and now his own body as he knew it. Lesser things might rob a man of his sanity.

"I think Lieutenant Morali would merit if someone was there when he woke up, even if the eyes might be just one in many prosthetic replacements he ends up with. We have yet to receive the report from Nicander, but I would like for you to be there if he responds well to whatever treatment they come up with to restore him."

Like Edena said, the topic had to be put aside since it was due time to admit the people waiting outside. "Indeed we do," replied Jien, having smiled faintly and nodded to Cameron when she entered the room. When he continued, he spoke to the both of them. "We will continue going over the intel that Lieutenant Commander Trent brought us after we have had something to eat. First, let us greet our new officers, shall we?"

Jien pushed out his chair and stood at the middle of the table, and since this was a ceremony, however watered out it had become after all the field promotions that they had been forced to do during the past two months, he waited until Rez and Henshaw also stood up on either side of him. "Thea, can you please bid them enter?" he said, and to his mild surprise, he saw that the A.I. was standing outside when the sliding doors opened. The holographic projection led the way, her body suit changing colour to its red nuance. She gestured for the three Junior Lieutenants to stand at the other side of the table, facing their First Officer, Captain and his Yeoman.

"Welcome," he said, somehow finding a faint smile despite all that had happened. On the tabletop rested three small boxes, having been placed there ahead of time. "Despite the great toll this last battle took upon us, the number faces that we will never see again, I remain gratified to - at least - be here to witness your entering this new chapter of service aboard. I look forward to working with all three of you in your new capacities as full Lieutenants and Department Heads."

Jien walked away from where he stood between Rez and Henshaw, slowly stepping around the long table - hard eyes distant. "Even before we were made outlaws, we bore certain and heavy responsibilities in our profession as Starfleet Officer. Now, these responsibilities are even more important, so that we never forget what we are. What we remain despite what fate may have in store for us."

Standing next to their short line, Jien continued as he looked upon their profiles. "Today, you're stepping forward to join our Senior Staff and to help lead our ship on this hard voyage ahead," he said as he resumed moving, passing by in front of them as he spoke. "Whether you are an engineer... a tactician... or a scientist, you have all earned your new ranks and positions. You may think it is all because of the body-count, and the need to preserve the chain-of-command. You may belittle your right to be here today, thinking we'd have no choice but to promote you, and to pick you as leaders for your different divisions of Starfleet aboard."

Coming to a stop, Jien turned slowly to look at them from the far end of the table. "This is not true. No officers are promoted on a whim. As much Commander Rez can assure you if you do not believe me. Your background, your experience, your training, your skills... they all complement those of your fellow crew aboard this ship, and you enable us all - upon the Theurgy and the Harbinger alike - to deliver on our pledge, our obligation, to spread the truth and to defend the Galaxy against our hidden enemy. You are examples. You not only do great work, for you inspire it in others."

Captain Ives returned to their side, and he picked up one box, facing Simon Tovarek squarely. His words, while mentioning the human's fortes, were still spoken as if directed to them all. And as he spoke, he opened the small box with the golden pip. "You are the scientists whose dedication, expertise, and resourcefulness create the conditions for our success," he said, and replaced the black pip with the new one in Tovarek's collar, "You find the ways to thwart the enemy. The means through which we can ensure victory before the battles are even fought."

Silently, when the pip was replaced, Jien extended his hand to shake Simon's, his own oaken eyes solemn with meaning. Then, he stepped to the Betazoid in the small group, picking up the second box and meeting the man's black eyes. "You are the tactical officers who possess the alacrity, the cunning, and the resoluteness to protect the truth we carry by any means necessary," he said, and shook Sjaandin Fedd's hand as well, his words forthright, "...even if it means that we may have to fire upon ignorant brothers and sisters in Starfleet."

Next, Jien stepped to the woman in the group, facing Tatiana Marlowe. "And you are the engineers," he said, looking into her eyes as he finished with her collar, "who apply technological genius to our cause and give us, on this mission against a foe equally relentless as he is resourceful, our technological edge. You keep Thea together, and makes sure she can carry us all the way back to the Sol System." He shook her hand as well, making neither comment nor lingering look upon the state of her appearance. He was certainly not the kind of officer to care when they were in such dire straits as they were.

"You are now also leaders," he said stepping away, "and one of our most fundamental duties as leaders is to inspire your personnel. To make them think less of the grief and blame that stain the memory of our loved ones back home, and to focus on their work. If we falter. If we give up. Only then has the enemy won, and we might as well believe the lies told of us, for they would be rendered true. Failure to do our duty as Starfleet Officers remains the same kind of failure as when we were still a part of the Federation... and not out here."

Jien returned to stand between Rez and Henshaw. "Thank you for all the hard work that has brought you here. Yet remember. This is not a reward for that. This is a informed decision about your potential to do even more. As such, I welcome you into executive service on our Senior Staff."

The faint smile appearing again, Captain Ives inclined his head to the three, the mechanic, the marksman and the scientist. "Well done, all of you. If you have nothing to comment or to report, then you are dismissed for now. Not you, Marlowe, you will be staying."

The last comment left no clue as to the reason for the order.

Re: PROLOGUE: Supplementary [ Conference Lounge ]

Reply #14
Cam quickly made herself as comfortable as possible in the seat even with all the questions running through her mind. There was the situation with Morali, the crew moral, everything that had just happened and everything they would have to end up sorting out after all of this. There would be so much they would have have to work with to get Lieutenant Morali to a state where he could function both mentally and physically. Carefully she made a note to make sure to make frequent checks on his condition. The last thing they needed was someone going crazy aboard the ship. It took her a few seconds before she realized that Jien had stood. Almost too quickly she stood feeling her cheeks flushing ever so softly. She watched as the new officers entered watching the ships A.I. Leading the way.

As the captain bit them welcome she would only nod her head softly offering a soft faint smile. Her eyes turned to Jien for a few seconds seeing that same weariness resting on his brow once more. Just as quickly her eyes turned back to her PADD making a note to make sure and check on the ones being promoted making sure their transition was smooth and there wasn't anything they could do to help. She watched her captain go through what had become a somewhat hollow ritual of promoting officers. It seemed when every they did something like this it was just more meat for the grinder so to speak.  She watched silently as the ceremony continued. How many more times would they go through this? How many more officers would be promoted to replace those that died. It seemed so unending. As it all ended Cam slowly brought her hands up offering the three of them an applaud for having made it into the service of the senior staff  hoping in her heart this would be the last time they would have such a meeting.

Re: PROLOGUE: Supplementary [ Conference Lounge ]

Reply #15
Tia had been thinking of a response to Thea's garment issue that made any kind of sense but was struggling since female clothing sizes were more of a mystery than the true identity of Jack the Ripper.  Just when she thought she had worked something out that might be vaguely understandable the call had been made for them to enter.  As they turned she whispered, "I'll try and help you out on that later," before entering the conference lounge.

Tia had no idea why they were there but despite wracking her brains she could think of no reason she would be getting into any trouble.  It wasn't until she spotted the boxes that it made any kind of sense.

The Captain's speech was moving as much as it was a reminder of their obligations and new responsibilities yet despite feeling the pressure just that little bit more Tia couldn't help but feel the warm glow of pride deep inside.  Yes they had been through hell, in her case the only thing missing from that cavern was the horned beast with the pitchfork, but they had come out of it.  Not everyone had done so but it was up to them to continue this fight so they did not die in vain.

She held Jien's eyes when the pin was attached to her collar and she hoped that despite the grime and the scabbed cuts that still adorned her she looked suitably grateful and determined to continue serving to the best of her ability.  Tia had been on the fence about becoming the renegades and fighting to free the Federation but after all that had happened recently she could see that if nothing was done even the people back at home who currently thought ill of them would suffer.  Better that they were the enemy for a short while than leaving their loved ones to who knew what fate.

As Jien rounded off his speech she allowed herself to think of her next plans.  First was the shower, she knew this would be the best shower of her life.  Then to Sickbay to get the burn that was beginning to itch and any scratches that needed treating seen to.  Finally, bed, sleep, even just for a couple of hours.  The Engineering teams were working fine enough without her, there was plenty to be getting along with and they were doing it without needing her hovering over any shoulders.  She wouldn't be missed for a couple of hours at least.

Then she was ordered to remain as the rest were dismissed.  Inside she sagged a little as she put those thoughts to one side then picked herself back up and with a deep breath readied for whatever was coming next, "Aye sir."

Re: PROLOGUE: Supplementary [Conference Lounge]

Reply #16
Feeling proud to be part of the senior staff now, Tovarek tried to shield most of his thoughts from Fedd. He smiled a bit coy to the captain just before he moved further down the way to meet Sjaandin and his eyes now went over Cameron and Edena. He presumed the the lot of them would have more regular appointments in the future or when time would force them to call emergency meetings. Somehow it felt like a burden had fallen of Tovarek's shoulders as he now made full lieutenant and he couldn't help but feel a wee bit proud. Not because of climbing the ranks like any officer would, but just because he thought that this would be a promise he had filled in. A promise he made to a man a few years ago when he last was on a starship.

The thoughts that went through his head made him a bit sad, he was disappointed that he couldn't let his good friend know what had transpired and what they were doing. Sending a message to Novorosk would give away their position but also spread the danger to him on Earth. It was a new burden that he had to bear, yet this burden could not outweigh the one he just dropped. He looked at Ives now as he told them they were dismissed besides Marlowe and he nodded "Aye Sir." With a quarter turn he made his way to the door and walked out, making his way back to the turbo lifts. He decided that he could work on some course projections and punched the button towards the holodecks. "Anywhere you need to go Sjaandin?" he asked Fedd now as he kept the doors open.

Re: PROLOGUE: Supplementary [Conference Lounge]

Reply #17
Fedd could not help himself. When Thea questioned them about garment sizing, he burst out laughing. "Oh, Thea," he said at length, when the heaving shudders of his ribcage had subsided, "I am not mocking you. It's just that... you have touched upon a topic universal to the cultures of those present. Before the age of smart fabrics, finding clothing that fit was like finding a kal-toh set in an asteroid belt, I am told. Even nowadays... gods help the wide-hipped man, or the long-legged woman. And that's not even covering Caitians, Nevomites... Whomever runs Starfleet's uniform department, I sincerely hope they are a four-star admiral."

He was still chuckling when the doors opened, but sobered himself immediately for the presentation of rank pips. He comported himself with solemn honour as Ives fitted the lieutenant's insignia--his insignia, Sjaandin reminded himself--onto his formerly sweat-stained collar. He listened with grateful respect during the captain's speech, but his face twitched at the word "brothers." It had been a long time since Sjaandin's brother had crossed his mind, but with that little speech he recalled that they might end up on opposite sides of this conflict. Roxin Fedd was a member of Starfleet Intelligence. Due to the secretive nature of his work, his communications with Sjaandin were few and far between even before the Theurgy went AWOL.

"Thank you, sir," he murmured barely above a whisper. As Marlowe received her promotion, and then as they were dismissed, everything mounted up on Fedd, and a tear escaped his dark eye and ran down his chiselled cheekbone. He immediately felt a surge of anger at it for betraying him, like a host enraged at the rodent making an appearance in front of houseguests. Fortunately no others followed, whilst he was rapidly blinking and following Tovarek from the room. The CSO's voice brought him back from his reverie, and he realized the man was considerately holding the door for him. "Actually, I could use a good stiff drink," Fedd replied. "If you are busy, I can wait and see if Ms. Marlowe will join me."

Re: PROLOGUE: Supplementary [Conference Lounge]

Reply #18
At first, when Lieutenant Tatiana Marlowe remained alone before he table, Jien Ives said nothing, walking away from her slowly.

"You came to us from the Harbinger," he said eventually "a new fish in the pond that only had a couple of days to learn your way about Thea's systems. She claims that even as it was not the easiest of transitions, you did adapt quickly, and while you were quite outspoken and almost insubordinate towards Chief Rosek - who had been your colleague - your comments were astute and acurate."

Returning, Jien soon came to stand between Rez and Henshaw, his unblinking eyes taking in her uniform and her overall state of appearance. It did not only illustrate how she made her priorities in the wake of the crisis, but also bore the visual imprint of what she had been through on Theta Eridani IV. "Rosek never had a chance to truly prove himself on the Theurgy, yet it was clear that while he was often missing in Main Engineering during the repairs, we had you there - picking up the slack and getting the teams to work in his absence. What you did not know, for obvious reasons, was that Rosek was working on the hardware for our new phasing cloaks. Together with Lin Kae, who handled the emitter assembly unit inside the device - because of his unchallenged expertise in field of projection technology - Rosek managed to finish the two devices in time, while CWO Ravenholm on the Harbinger handled the required software."

His tone becoming more quiet, Jien had come to touch upon the dreadful morning they had shared. "Unfortunately, he never got the chance to see the device activated. Had fate been kind, none of us would... but that opportunity has long passed by now. After the shield dome failed us under the orbital bombardment from the Calamity, Chief Rosek transported himself to the Engineering Outpost in order to get it up again. Would you mind telling us - in your own words - what happened next?"

In the background Thea remained with her hands folded behind her back, yet even she would not know what might have transpired in the depths of the bedrock after she had sent Tia down there.

Re: PROLOGUE: Supplementary [Conference Lounge]

Reply #19
She had expected that a report would have to be submitted about what had happened in the cavern on Theta Eridani IV but had not expected it to be a verbal one in front of the senior staff.  At first she thought perhaps she was being accused of something less than savoury when the prickly relationship between her and her former superior had been brought up but she realised that there was no accusation in the words.

Standing at ease, hands clasped in the small of her back, Tia closed her eyes for a brief moment as she recalled what had happened in those moments before she had been contacted by the Theurgy AI.

"I was in my module just before the attack started," she began as the images unfolded once more in her mind's eye, "Thea contacted me shortly after to say that Rosek had beamed down to the shield generator but that someone else was needed.  It wasn't an order but there wasn't a choice really and she beamed me down into the cavern too."

She looked around the room to the watching eyes and grimaced, "The heat was already intense when I got there and Rosek was trying to do everything at once.  Both recalibrating the generator and the relays so that once last surge of power could be transferred to the emitter to get the shield back up and running.  He ordered me to return to the Theurgy, his own combadge had malfunctioned, and I refused."  There was no point in denying any of it, she had refused a direct order from a superior officer.

"I had just started on the work to try and increase the power tolerance of the generator when a massive bubble of magma rose and then burst sending it everywhere," Tia paused for a moment and shuddered, her hand involuntarily moving to rub the still-sore areas where she had been splattered before returning to her original stance, "I managed to get some cover but Rosek got hit badly.  That's when I threw my jacket over him and had him beamed to sickbay for treatment.  Someone had to stay and get the shield generator working."

Her eyes no longer looked at anyone directly, instead staring into the middle distance while the memory of hell played out like a macabre dance in her mind, "I got the power to the emitter but in doing so the generator overloaded and exploded.  I tried to get back out through the door but it was jammed.  The lava was rising so quickly.  I was trapped there.  The emitter was misaligned too, vertical and not the dome it should have been.  I had no idea if anyone was even aware it was online again.  I didn't have a choice... so I climbed."

Tia's speech had become faster as the memory of being trapped in that place came back.  As she came to the point where she started to talk about the climb she shook herself out of the imagery in her head, took a breath and looked at the Captain, "That's when I came across Narik Cinsaj, she had been sent to realign the emitter and that's how I got out.

It actually sounded so tame when she spoke about it.  The heat, the pain and the fear were impossible to convey in a formal report like this.  She hadn't expected to have come out of there alive, despite her fighting for every last breath.  Most of her injuries had remained untreated, ignored while she worked on getting the ship repaired.  Even now, as she stood there, the aches and pains wormed their way into her mind and she fought to keep from fidgeting.

Her arms ached from the climb, as did her legs.  Her hands were still raw from the rock and metal.  Her skin was still blackened and burned from the splashes of liquid fire that had claimed Rosek's life.  Her head began to ache from the falling rocks that had threatened to knock her into the flaming pool below.  Yet despite all of that she was still alive, no thanks to Starfleet.

With that her eyes returned to their neutral position and she remained at ease, waiting for someone to say something, ask a question or demote her back down again.

Re: PROLOGUE: Supplementary [Conference Lounge]

Reply #20
In the wake of Tia's account of what had happened, ending with how the Boslic civilian Narik Cinsaj had aligned the emitter and gotten them out of there, Thea spoke up from where she stood - approaching the table with a couple of steps.

"The power readings made it clear that the emitter went online, so I sent Ms. Cinsaj to the mountainside - her being the last engineer available on the planet - and I asked her to try and realign the emitter," she said, hands still folded behind her back. She looked towards Tia and gave her an apologetic smile, "My sensors also showed that the Engineering Outpost was flooded with volcanic lava, so I had to assume you dead and send someone else. Since you relinquished the combadge on your jacket in order to get Lieutenant Rosek out, I had no means to confirm your status, nor retrieve you. When I established communication with Cinsaj, she told me of your survival, and I could ultimately beam you both to Sickbay."

Thea looked down to the deck plating. "I... lack the words in my databases that would describe how relieved I felt learning that I had not sent you to your death, Lieutenant Marlowe. It still amazes me that you managed to climb the vertical tunnel to the emitter platform - enduring the seismic tremors without loosing your grip. Your odds of survival were 4,352 %."

Nodding slowly, feeling that he had learned enough, Jien glanced towards Edena Rez meaningly before he continued. "You did right to not follow Rosek's orders, because according to Thea's calculations, the quick way in which the dome was raised saved a minimum of one hundred lives during the evacuation. Yet that's not all, for when you were finally aboard, you assumed your duties without delay despite your ordeal. After the threat of Task Force Archeron was revealed, I ordered you to install the cloaking device that your predecessor had assembled - being given basically no time at all to complete the task. Still, you made it in time, and since we are using the cloak right now, it seems that you were quite successful too. It would seem, to us, that you are uniquely well-suited to working under pressure. So many people alive... that would otherwise have died - myself included. We all owe you our thanks for your collective actions today, Lieutenant Marlowe."

From the assorted items on the table, Jien picked up a black rectangular box and walked around the table. "Therefore, it is with great admiration and respect for your efforts," said Jien quietly as he came to stand before Tia again, handing over the box to her on his fingertips, "that we present you with the Starfleet Medal of Commendation."

Waiting until Tatiana had opened the box, Jien continued with a faint, weary smile on his lips."It is but a small token in recognition of your actions, but at least it is something that shows how grateful we all are." He extended his hand to shake hers. "Thank you, Lieutenant Tatiana Marlowe."

Re: PROLOGUE: Supplementary [Conference Lounge]

Reply #21
Despite her attempt to keep facing forwards, when Thea spoke Tia turned to listen to what she was saying.  A smile pulled on her lips gently as Thea spoke of her relief that Tia had made it out alive despite her calculations of the odds.  In truth she had no idea how she had managed the climb other than by survival instinct with a healthy dose of sheer bloody-mindedness.

As Jien spoke she turned to face forwards again, ready to accept whatever was going to happen next.  Despite being on the run from Starfleet the level of professionalism had to be maintained.  Regulations and protocols had to be enforced now more than ever to keep discipline and morale up.  Tia accepted this, understood the need for it and awaited judgement as a Starfleet officer should.

That was why, when Jien spoke, Tia had an internal double-take at the positivity of the words.  Her actions had not just been approved of but they were being lauded.  The Captain's thanks for helping to save many lives would have been enough, to know that her efforts had not been in vain was a boost to her tired mind but Jien didn't stop there.

As he handed her the small box, Tia wasn't quite sure what to expect but hesitantly opened it and eyed the contents with surprise and a glow of pride.  The Starfleet Medal of Commendation twinkled at her from the black case.  Protocol and regulations being upheld, just not the way she had expected.

She looked up into the eyes of Jien as he spoke once more and she shook his hand with a smile.  "Thank you, sir," she said, still not quite believing it, "I'm pretty sure any of the crew in my position would have done the same... but... thank you."

With a crew full of people who had risked or given their lives to help get the ship back off the ground and defend the people while they got back aboard Tatiana felt a little embarrassed and extremely humbled.  She hoped silently that there would be others getting awards of this nature, to be the only one aboard with such an honour would make her feel even more uncomfortable around others than usual as they would have deserved the same if not greater recognition in her opinion.

Re: PROLOGUE: Supplementary [Conference Lounge]

Reply #22
The Captain's smile was faint as he spoke, ending the handshake. "I can but hope that the entire crew would follow your example, but this is not a medal that we give you for what you could do, but because what you did. To do and be able to do is not the same thing, and especially in times of crisis."

Walking back around the table slowly, Jien gestured with a calloused hand as he spoke. "While many would say they would sacrifice themselves to save so many, not everyone might, instead trying to save themselves - relying on their survival isntinct. Even fewer would strive to do even more after they performed a feat such as you did this morning. Yours is truly an unyielding spririt, Lieutenant Marlowe, and you should be lauded for what you have done. Now, and after our names have been cleared." He raised his hand a little and pointed towards the box. "Because that medal, like the rest of those we have rewarded our crew with for their extraordinary efforts on our voyage, will all be made official in the eyes of the fleet we once belonged to."

Seating himself, Jien next words were cast in iron. "Indeed," he said, one hand resting on the table, his countenance matching his words in utter conviction, "the entire of the Federation will know our true story before long. They will not just know the names of the ships we had to destroy, or the unfortunate losses Starfleet has suffered because we were forced to defend the truth, but I'd be damned if they will not know the names of those we lost as well... and those who rose up when they'd fall."

Leaning forward, Jien's unblinking stare bore into the woman standing before him. "I promise you this, Lieutenant Marlowe, that what you did will never be forgotten. Ultimately, we are all now soldiers, regardless what we might be doing aboard this ship, and we are meant to stand. For in this field of battle that our voyage has become, we stand, or we die. This morning, you stood, and you helped us all to stand with you because you did."

Since it was not possible to add anything that wouldn't diminish what had been said, Jien leaned back and ended the 'ceremony', as it were with a fleeting smile. "Dismissed. Shower and rest. Visit Sickbay if you need to. You will be summoned for the next Senior Staff meeting."

Despite appearences, Jien found himself bleeding inside in the wake of his own words. He looked down upon his hands, half expecting there to be blood upon them when thinking of what they'd had to do when they fled the Sol System. I can but pray that we will not forget all of our sacrifices. For the surviving families would surely not forget the losses they suffered from his orders. It made it hard to breathe thinking of the collective hate that faced him even if he held the righteous path. Even if he stayed true to the mission, despite being raped and loosing hundreds of people in order to save them all, he would still face the blame of thousands... and it was not something he could just ignore. I pray I can save my tears for the day when all our pain is far behind.

He had no gods to believe in, especially not when Ishtar had undermined all belief in divine purpose. Now, Jien only had a sense of duty towards a Federation that had branded him and his crew traitors. He did not know who he prayed to anymore to find his courage. Please... He closed his eyes a moment.  ...give me the strength to be the truth.

When he opened his eyes, he took a deep breath and looked towards Cameron Henshaw. "What is the next appointment?" he asked quietly of his Yeoman, hoping that there were not too many more since he was weary from the morning's ordeal. He then looked towards Commander Rez, hoping that his First Officer had been able to keep track of the incoming messages from the ship. "I know the reports containing the accounts of the battle are still coming in, but among the people considered for more awards, are there any that stand out above the rest?"

Re: PROLOGUE: Supplementary [Conference Lounge]

Reply #23
Smiling at Fedd as he mentioned going for a drink, Tovarek shook his head and turned the offer down. "I'll think I'll pass for now. I have some calculations to make and other things to do. But I'm sure Miss Marlowe could use a drink after all we've been through. Actually, I think she might use it since I believe her section has been hit the most compared to Tactical or Science..." He paused for a moment to think about what he just said and than pressed the door of the turbolifts to close. With a slight ping, the doors shut and Tovarek decided to make use of the new found way of communicating with Fedd as the lift would almost start moving. 'Have fun with the Lieutenaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa....' was the last thing Fedd could pick up. The last bit only because the turbolift responded to the order given and moved away from the corridor of the conference lounge deck.

Re: PROLOGUE: Supplementary [Conference Lounge]

Reply #24
Cam stayed close to her captain always feeling this was her place to be. Looking up at him it did her heart good to see the faint smile grace his lips once more. As he spoke she could hear the cold strong conviction in his words knowing if anyone could do it would be him. When he ended their ceremony she was happy knowing soon enough she would have him to herself again. "Rihen Neyah, Captain," she spoke seeing the weight once more resting heavy on her captains shoulders. "She wants to meet with either you or Rez," she said her hands folding on the table wishing she could comfort him but knowing while someone else was around it wasn't something that was possible. Soon enough she told herself. Soon enough. "She wants permission to host a show in below decks. I think we really should allow this. It would be good for crew morale. Right now anything to take their minds off of Theta Eridani IV would be a step in the right direction. I also think it would help your image with the crew letting them know you are not above letting the relax and blow off steam in this way," Cam said as she pulled her PADD from the table resting it on her lap as she looked to Jien. She hopped the captain would see the merit of allowing the crew some time to put everything aside and enjoy themselves.

Even though her words held the normal warm bubbly nature inside was still raw and hurting with everything that had happened. Something she knew wasn't going to end until they could permanently put this all behind them. "Risian is waiting outside the conference lounge to present the idea," Cam said hoping giving them time to mull over the idea would help them say yes.

 
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