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Episode 02: Cosmic Imperative / Re: PRO S [ Day 1 | 1200hrs ] ALL ABOARD the Crazy Train!
Last post by Ellen Fitz -
[ Cmdr. Cross | Conference Lounge | D. 8 | V. 2 | USS Theurgy ] ATTN: @TWilkins

The question was solid, and the philosophical implications reminded Cross of the many debates the Voyager’s return created and the ripples the declassified reports had caused once they’d been shared. This very same question had already been asked by more than a few of the officers and crew of the Theurgy since they’d first discovered the Infested threat, and likely, many more would continue to voice the question until the threat was eradicated.

“There has been a continued debate regarding Starfleet, even before this more recent threat and schism, if you’ll allow the term. When the first Enterprise was sent out to explore, it did so with the frankly naïve notion that diplomacy and reason can win over anyone. Yet, we know what came of those early years of exploration, and Captain Archer himself advocated for more defensive weapons and armor for ships before more were sent out. Starfleet has tried to balance on the thin line of being a power for exploration and being a power for protection. Starfleet was designed to explore and create, to protect and support. To have either, you have to have the means and the mindset to back it up with more than mere words. This is the debate, Ensign, how many guns are too many? How far do we allow ourselves to be pressed before we respond with force? We can cite ideals, but that’s what those are, Ensign, ideals and very few ideals hold up perfectly under all circumstances.”

He gestured to the entirety of Llewellyn-Kth ‘s body before continuing. “What are your non-negotiables? Every man and woman will be put through a number of crucibles in their lifetime, and through those difficulties, they’ll discover their non-negotiables. This crew has been and currently is in a crucible. Though many don’t realize it, all of the Federation is. What has been determined as non-negotiable is that no one in our galaxy can truly be safe so long as the Infested haunt and infiltrate us. Understandably, Talarian crisis is something the Federation would and should be allocating resources to deal with, yet because of the Infested influence, they are being manipulated into reallocating resources to get rid of the threat against their undisputed power. They desire chaos and destruction and nothing short of that. We know from experience that diplomacy and reason do not work with the Infested and we have been and are still working to use non-violent means to bring the truth to the masses so that the threat can be fought and won on multiple sides. But make no mistake, Ensign, we have to back-up the desire to win with actual movement to win. That means sacrifices, not of ideals, but of lives.”

Cross leaned back in his chair, tipping his head to the side as he studied the ensign again. They were not so far apart in age, and yet it felt they’d lived through entirely different timelines.

“No one on this ship is being encouraged to abandon the foundational tenents on which Starfleet and the Federation were built. On the contrary, we are encouraging everyone to look through the flowery words meant for bureaucrats to the core of each tenant. That’s why we’re here, still, even as our memorial wall grows. We found our non-negotiables and we aren’t giving up on a future of a return to those core values for Starfleet and the Federation once the Infested are taken care of.”
Episode 02: Cosmic Imperative / Re: CH 2: S [Day 01 | 1857 hrs] Expectations
Last post by Ellen Fitz -
[ Lt. Cmdr. Cross | Arboretum Cafe | D. 20 | V. 3 | “Ranger” of USS Theurgy] Attn: @joshs1000

Cross laughed, shaking his head, “I actually hadn’t thought about whether or not you’d like the water.” He shrugged. “Aside from a portion of my re-education and Starfleet training, I’ve not spent much time on Earth. At least not enough to have picked up on ALL the stereotypes. I can say that my human mentor had a cat that loved to go swimming in the lake near his house; not sure what type of cat it was, but when asked if I’m a dog or cat person, I’d normally say dog, I also think of that cat and could see myself enjoying having that kind for a pet.”

Tapping his fingers against the table in connection with the song's rhythm, Cross shook his head at his own mental musings on what a picture drawn by his hand would look like. “I’m a precision shooter but I don’t think I’d be much good for drawing or painting. I mean painting a bulkhead or a house, sure, but not a landscape that’s for damn sure.”

Their conversation was interrupted briefly by the waiter’s arrival, wishing to clear out the last of their empty plates and cups while offering another round of anything if desired. Cross was content and waved off the offer, waiting until after Lok spoke and the waiter left before he answered the Kzin’s question.

“I like to play through noir-style holonovels, mystery adventures typically. I’m a bit of a scotch and whiskey sommelier and enjoy pairing drinks with the food I cook. I also enjoy certain strategy games, touring historical places, going to concerts, and listening to music. I have already mentioned my love of small arms, so I unwind with shooting practice. I also enjoy sparring and challenging my body to push its old limits.” He gave a semi-mirthless chuckle, reaching up to tug on the bottom of his earlobe. “I’m not your typical Vulcan, that’s true, as up until not long ago, I was a hybrid Vulcan-Bajoran, manufactured in a Cardassian lab and re-educated by my Starfleet rescuers. If it weren’t for the Savi bastards we tangled with on the Versant, I’d still be a hybrid, but they ‘fixed’ me and a number of others onboard into being just one part, and they determined for me that my Vulcan side was my best side.” Cross muttered “dumb fucks” not so subtly under his breath before shifting his weight and giving a half-shrug. “Still getting used to the whole full-blooded Vulcan business, to be frank, and it hasn’t been without its challenges, but I’ll be damned if I start playing Kal’Toh for fun. I’d much rather drink whiskey in my skivvies while listening to some classic rock.”

Oh fucking Hathev, his subconscious offered, but Cross merely smiled. He wasn’t about to shock the poor man with his awakened enthusiasm for enjoying his girlfriend’s mind and body assets.
Director's Cut / [2381 - USS Theurgy] - PRO: S [D01|0533] A Day In The Life
Last post by Pierce -
STARDATE: 57709.01
MAY 10, 2381
0533 HRS

[ Lt. Commander Alana Pierce | Pierce's Quarters | Department Head Officer’s Quarters | Deck 10 | Vector 2 | USS Theurgy ] Attn:

It was early. Too early. Alana's alarm was going off and despite it's subtle nature, her hearing had been amplified enough to hear it whereas before her transformation, she could sleep through almost anything...almost. Her mind was tired still and sluggish from the weeks leading up to now. It wasn't that long ago she joined the crew and began her journey on the Theurgy. Why was her mind racing? What was so damned important she had to get up and around?

Another thing she noticed since the change was the lack of peace. Her mind was always racing and thinking over various scenarios and situations she would no doubt have to tackle yet. But at this moment, she laid still in the comfort of her bed, with the silky Starfleet sheets covering her partially clothed body. Knowing that in a few hours she had a breakfast with her great-great-granddaughter and Reggie, followed by a briefing and other normal work details, she laid still.

Crimson hair strewn across her face that she took an arm and wiped away the sleep from her eyes, clearing the hair with it. Pierce let out a stretch and yawn as she drew her arms above her head, lifting her bust and shirt while stretching her legs out, intertwined under the covers.

"Ugh, I am tired...and still not used to my life..." She mumbled before turning to her side, the weight of her breast leaning on her upper arm and elbow as she looked at the wall. Another feeling she had was to get clean...and to pee. Damn tiny bladder... she grumbled in her mind as she leaned up, head tilting forward with tiredness, and hair falling in her view. Her V-neck Starfleet issue pajamas, with shorts were fitting to say the least, but it was still far less constricting than her undergarments which were non-existent underneath at present.

She looked down and couldn't see past her massive chest. Part of her smirked and then she remembered she still had messages, a shower and a drink to wake up before she headed to breakfast. Finally taking the effort to stand up, Alana glanced at the photo next to her bed of the USS Eagle. Nostalgia at it's finest that she couldn't shake, but like her, survived the tests of time. Seeing the reflective coating, her visage was disheveled. Sleep was evident on her face, hair and clothing. A smirk broke the mental gymnastics going on before she took a quick walk out into the main living area to fully wake up.

Ordering a morning cola to hit the taste buds but also the caffeine fix, she stepped to her desk and began to look over the recent messages. Thus far, nothing she didn't already know about was on the docket. Which meant, more time for lounging. Standing up, and heading to her wall of décor and memorabilia, she had her old badge from the 2280s, a model of the Eagle, a photo of her and the bridge crew, and some of her favorite knickknacks from various travels and missions.

Taking a swig of the drink, she placed the glass back on the replicator as it was empty, the glass dissolved back to the ether. Still odd how that worked she thought. The urge to pee hit her again and she headed to the rest room finally to relieve herself as she took off her top and her pants to shower afterward. Throwing the garments to the edge of her bed, she stepped into the bathroom to start a bath before sitting on the throne.

Finishing her business, she stood up and stepped over the edge of the bath before it slightly burned her foot and lower leg causing a slight yip as she retested it in the water before placing the other leg in. Climbing in, she laid back before sitting down in the water. Thoughts crossed her mind as she relaxed in the tub, closing her eyes and letting the heat build around her.

Her wet hair resting on her chest, and shoulders as she took a deeper dive under the water to rinse her tired face and top of her head before re-emerging to the surface and leaning back again. The last time she went for a swim was several weeks ago when she ran into Tessa and Amanda in the pools. It was jarring but she rather enjoyed her time with Amanda... The thought of their time, made her feel...things she didn't yet know if she entirely enjoyed or not. But the urge was fairly strong as she felt the need to touch places she hadn't done since her change happened...
Interregnum 01-02 S2 / Re: Day 10 [1326] Chaos in the Clouds of Qo'Nos
Last post by Ellen Fitz -
[ Lt. Enyd Isolde Madson | Mekro'vak Region | Qo'noS ] ATTN: @Eden

Her tongue brushed over the elusive ribbon, victory tantalizingly close…


Just as she managed to loop the first bit of the ribbon between her teeth, Enyd’s world abruptly changed, her whole body mercilessly crushed beneath Cal’s as the pilot launched himself backward, landing on a table Enyd-first. For as wily and determined as the diplomat was, mass versus mass when physics applied itself, it was no wonder her lungs were squeezed empty of air in the abrupt landing. Her arms were pinned, face half buried in the dirt, Cal’s crotch resting heavily on her face. If she so wanted, with a further twist of her head, she could abandon the ribbon and instead nibble on his testicles now that the soft flesh of his balls was resting so intimately against her cheek. Enyd did NOT want.

Through clenched teeth, Enyd let out a subdued cry as the initial shock of the fall abated. Something sharp had stabbed into the lower lefthand quadrant of her torso. Be it cutlery, broken plate, or part of the table itself, they would have to deal with that later. There were other areas on her arms and legs where she felt the painful tickle of where new wounds had been opened, mere human flesh no match for the coarse material of a Klingon table or a Klingon plate.

Enyd tried to push up against Cal’s weight but immediately stopped when the pain in her gut fired, sending a teeth-setting groan through her throat. There was nothing she could do, even with the Klingon “steroid” in her veins. No doubt, the pilot would succeed in getting her ribbon now that he had her legs pinned just as effectively as the rest of her. Enyd inwardly sighed, doing her best to breathe through the pain as she focused on the fact that even during and after the shock of the pilot’s merciless tactic, she hadn’t let go of the ribbon clenched between her teeth. This fact would become apparent when he rolled off, which she hoped would be soon. His momentum would do the work for her, and though he would have scored the victory first, hers would not have been far behind.

Her chest fluttered with a muffled chortle. It wasn’t so different than pleasure in the between the sheets. It was so much easier for a man to reach his climax first than for a woman, and only a truly skilled man knew how to bring a woman to her peak before his own. Maybe later, when she wasn’t bleeding out into the Klingon dirt with Cal’s cock pressing against her ear, she could tease him about this very fact.
Parallel Universes - "What if?" / Re: [2376] Entanglement of Chaos
Last post by Ellen Fitz -
[Ens. Enyd Isolde Madsen | Reception Area | Federation Embassy Compound | Cardassia Prime ] ATTN: @RyeTanker

In the time since barging in one Zark naked, the Andorian had managed to make Enyd sore in places she hadn’t thought possible (and not in a sexual way, either). Enyd had always kept up-to-date with her required training and kept up with her hobbies of dance and gymnastics with some martial arts mixed in, yet none of these had prepared her for the grueling taskmaster that was Zark. However, the hapless yet competent diplomat wasn’t about to complain, as she appreciated her improvement under Zark’s tutelage. Now, when, not if, they found themselves in a fight, she’d be able to support Zark (or others) better than before.

Enyd’s first impression of Zark’s wife was far from disappointing. She’d felt bad about hitting her friend in the head, but the risqué announcement had come at the worst time possible (when in the context of sparring), and there’d been nothing either of them could do about it. Watching the Andorian Peacekeeper (Zark had briefly related her spouse's vocations at some point in time during their getting to know one another while not under fire conversations) wriggle suggestively in Zark’s arms may have made the receptionist tut in flustered annoyance from behind the counter, but it only made Enyd grin with amusement. The subsequent crash to the floor elicited a wince from the human and another chuckle when neither woman looked remotely fazed.

Catching the eye of an aide who’d stopped to stare in confused shock, Enyd shrugged. “Traditional Andorian greeting. Remember it for next time an Andorian official comes to visit, eh?” The aide blinked at her a few times, trying to measure if she was serious or not, but was spared questioning when Zark’s wife addressed her. Intrigued by her enigmatic phrases, Enyd gestured for her to follow, “I think Zark may describe me as the problem but it is all a matter of context.”

“Ensign,” the receptionist's haughty voice cut through while the Andorians righted themselves, “she’s not been cleared.”

Enyd crossed the room and picked up the PADD the receptionist offered. As much as she wanted to complain about the bureaucracy, Enyd knew it had its place. After a moment longer, she handed the PADD back, and Zark’s wife was officially invited to tour the compound sponsored by Enyd (as protocol prevented Zark from sponsoring a family member).

“We can discuss our mutual problems in my quarters. Unless,” she glanced down at herself, still clad in form-fitting workout gear, and then over to Zark, “you’d rather have some time to clean up and get reacquainted first and meet me in my quarters after?”
Episode 02: Cosmic Imperative / Re: PRO S [ Day 1 | 1200hrs ] ALL ABOARD the Crazy Train!
Last post by TWilkins -
[ Ensign Sylvain Llewellyn-Kth | The Conference Lounge | D.8 | V.2 | USS Theurgy] @Ellen Fitz

Sylvain nodded sagely as the Commander answered his questions, breathing out a small sigh of relief now that introductions had been concluded, even though they seemed to have raised more questions than they had answered; Cross wasn’t an especially Vulcan name, and the Commander didn’t have an especially Vulcan demeanour. The Ensign had privately wondered if such things could be linked to the man’s previous comment about the Savi ‘fucking’ with his genes, but Sylvain was far too polite to ask something so invasive.

It scarcely mattered to him either way; it wasn't his business what had happened to the Commander at the hands of the Savi, though the Ensign did have an inkling that the volumes of data awaiting him in his quarters would probably shine a light on what they were capable of... Regardless, he at least knew the Commander's name, whatever use it was to him; it wasn’t as if Sylvain was going to start referring to the Commander as ‘Cross’ like they were a pair of shirtless lads playing velocity on the holodeck. 

Still, it gave him the chance to make a better first impression to whomever he would be reporting to once he got aboard the Erudite. "Commander Cross provided me with the relevant tactical data. would come across a lot more professional than A Vulcan provided me with the necessary information, do you know him? Commander, bald, curses a lot....

“Thank you Commander.” Sylvain responded softly, somewhat comforted by the thought of how much information would be waiting for him when he arrived at his quarters; being able to busy himself sifting through volumes of tactical data, would hopefully keep his anxiety at bay for the duration of his journey to the Hobus Star. “I’m certain it will be plenty to keep me occupied until I can be of use to the Erudite team.” He confirmed with a weak smile, returning his PADD to his bag now that he was unlikely to have use of it, the motion an attempt to distract himself from the thoughts of what information might reveal to him

If he had interpreted Cross’ words correctly, and the Savi were capable of manipulating genetics to such an extent, that they could rewrite a hybrid individual’s genetic makeup… It brought a rather harrowing array of ideas into his mind. He was glad that the Erudite crew themselves didn't seem to be responsible for what had been done to Commander Cross, but that wasn't quite enough reassurance to stop his mind from wandering... Sylvain couldn't help picture such scenarios in his head.

Would he wake up aboard the Erudite to find himself fully Human, completely lacking any trace of his precognitive capabilities, suddenly able to completely understand his own psyche? Or would he discover half-way-through his lunch that he'd become fully Yattho, that he'd suddenly gained complete control over his psionic gifts, and was able to envisage the future with uncanny accuracy? Both options, frankly, terrified him.

Realistically, for better or for worse, he’d accepted who he was. The thought that such things could change was, confusing…

Though, in the face of the sudden flash of panic he felt, when he considered that the thought of the Savi demonstrating their genetic expertise on him could be precognitive, Sylvain did momentarily consider the benefits of such an outcome...

“I did actually have one further question Sir, if that’s okay…” Sylvain continued with a gentle wariness to his tone, pushing thoughts of genetic resequencing out of his head and raising back up from where he’d returned his PADD to his bag, conscious that he didn’t want to take up the Commander’s time any more than necessary. In truth, he probably had a thousand more questions that he could have bombarded the man with, the entire history of the USS Theurgy's mission to start with, but the Ensign knew that this was neither the time nor the place. However, there was one question in particular that had been playing on his mind in the recent weeks, and this seemed to be his best chance to get an answer to it.

“Are we still a Starfleet crew?” He inquired cautiously, a subtle optimism in his tone that indicated which direction he hoped the answer would fall in. “I appreciate that you might not be in the best position to answer me, and that our circumstances aren’t exactly what Starfleet ideals were designed for…” The Ensign quickly added, cautious not to present himself as someone too innocent, too naive of the realities of their predicament; sticking to Starfleet’s directives in such circumstances would surely be challenging at best, and impossible at worst…

But still, Sylvain had seen for himself what happened when Starfleet failed in their duty; if that was going to be his everyday now, he’d at least want to be prepared for it.

“When the Bowman received the message from Starfleet Command to return from our mission early, our Captain asked what vessel would be replacing our posting…” Sylvain began, figuring that an example might be the clearer way to get his point across. “Starfleet Command just told us that we'd been recalled, that it was of utmost importance that we proceeded to the rendezvous with task force Archeron… That we couldn't afford any delays...” He paused, gazing at the surface of the table with a certain pensiveness in his gaze.

“They didn't send any vessels to replace us, and it’s been two months since the Bowman was recalled from the border..." He continued, his fist somewhat tightening as he spoke. “Half of the colonies on that frontier will have been raided by now; the Talarian separatists treated our colonies like glorified replicators, stealing food, resources, medical supplies, technology, dilithium, anything they could get their hands on, all things that the colonists need and can’t replace on their own…" He'd only been on a few away missions to the colonies, but he'd seen enough to know that their conditions would have been dire without the Bowman's support. "They don’t have starships to defend themselves or advanced weapons to fend off attacks. Some of the separatists even used to kidnap children to raise as their own; the colonies don’t have the diplomatic power or the resources to get their children back without Starfleet’s help…”

Sylvain took a pause, a breath, realising that revisiting such thoughts was making him far more tense than appropriate for a newly assigned officer.

“My point is…” He paused again, conscious that he might not get an answer to his question at all, and that even if he did, there was a good chance that it would not be the answer he was looking for. “The Parasites are steering Starfleet away from the ideals that it’s supposed to embody, and I just…” Sylvain glanced to the side, looking out of the window and into the void of space beyond. “I just wanted to know whether this war is forcing us to do the same?”
Director's Cut / [2366] USS Augusta: Kath's Horrible Terrible No Good Very Bad Day
Last post by JacenSoloDjo -
Theta-Omega VIII | 2366 | Unnamed Battlefield #48586; Federation-Cardassian War 

Ensign Katherine MacFarlane was twenty years old and she was convinced she was about to meet her maker. But, she wasn't alone there. Down the line she could hear one of the other security officers from the Augusta whispering Hebrew prayers. Of course she understood every word, understood the prayer itself, but pretended not to even hear so much as 'Sh'ma Yisrael, Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai echad' and certainly not 'Baruch Shem, k'vod malchuto l'olam va'ed'. Instead she was leaning back against a rock with her arm covering her eyes because it never became fully night on the planet and she had been running on empty for thirty-six standard hours after being dropped planet-side forty-eight standard hours previous. 

Joining Starfleet and then being sent to fight Cardassians after her graduation had not been in the cards. She wanted a new hand. But even through her fear, Kath kept her breathing steady. The only reason they were even on the planet was to investigate and neutralize a Cardassian laboratory. Something that couldn't be performed just through scans on the Augusta. She wasn't even in orbit. She had 'fled' with the remaining crew when it had dropped off Kath's 'squad' after a Cardassian warship suddenly howled towards her from the other side of the planet. And so Kath and her small unit of four young Starfleet officers (well, more accurately Kath and 3 enlisted along with her best friend, Sandra Morales who had just gotten her butterbar.) 

The young man reciting the prayer was even younger than she was, having gone through the boot camp for enlisted and getting pushed through while he was still eighteen. And he looked it. He reminded Kath (uncomfortably) of her younger cousin. She never would have wanted him in this situation and thus felt the same way for young Jacob. 

On Kath's left sat Althan, quarter Vulcan and younger than his face showed. And that was entirely the fault of the facial hair he had acquired since they had gotten planet side. Between Kath and Jacob was Sandra, obsessively checking and rechecking every weapon strapped to her person. It was, in some ways, Sandra's stimming action. She was always fussing with something, whether it was a PADD or a phaser. The last in the lineup was Brenton. He held himself like a veteran of uncountable wars but Kath knew that the man was a mere eight years her senior. He had seen the Federation-Cardassian War since its awful beginnings. He, too, sported facial hair but it was much bushier than Althan's though he had been growing it for the same amount of time. 

This all meant that Sandra, awkwardly, was the commanding officer of their little ragtag group. Their 'squad' was atypical. Their squad had been moderately bigger when they had first arrived. It had been thinned out by Cardassian booby traps and ambushes. The Augusta had been unable to beam them in closer to the facility, as there was some kind of protective screen forming a perimeter around it that prevented transporter signals from getting through. They all trusted Kath's tactical instincts more and so followed her directives regardless of who was supposed to be in charge. Sandra held no objections to this. Chain of command snapped in half quickly on the field. Kath kept hearing in her memories her father recite the age old wisdom that no plan survives contact with the enemy. 

Brenton was the one to be on watch when the Cardassians narrowed down their hiding spot. Kath's group had been trying to recover, regroup after all the losses they had taken. But they all knew it was only a matter of time, despite how small their group was now, before they were discovered. 

Sounding the alarm, Brenton's phaser rifle spat its fire at the attacking Cardassians. Kath lunged for Jacob and tackled the younger man to the ground as he was too shell shocked to move before a Cardassian nearly took his head off with their own phaser rifle. She heard Sandra step forward and dual wield phaser pistols to take out the Cardassian that had nearly ended Jacob's life. 

Rolling off of Jacob, Kath sprang to her feet and snatched her own phaser rifle from where it lay on the forest floor. In quick succession, burps of subatomic particles ended the lives of three Cardassians. But she noticed that the 'Cardies' were surrounding the small glen the Federation crew had hidden within. 

Before she knew it, Althan was down with a gut shot. Hands shaking, Jacob tended to the other man's wound while Sandra stormed forward and sniped an encroaching Cardie in the head. Brent suddenly appeared through a cloud of smoke from the phaser fire setting the surrounding greenery alight. He punted a grenade from where it had dropped just a yard from where Althan and Jacob were huddled. It exploded in mid-air and fractured numerous trees. Shrapnel of wood burst out in all directions, pelting Kath as she flitted through the trees to use her K-Bar that was hundreds of years old to dispatch any Cardies she could find in the odd version of twilight on the planet. 

Jacob lifted his head in time to see Sandra swiftly getting prodded into position to be in between two Cardassians with their sights trained on her. 

"Lieutenant! Watch yourself!" Jacob called out but the chaos around them drowned his voice out and Sandra could not see the danger she was in. 

But one of her allies had. Kath's legs pumped and sent her airborne off of a mess of boulders. The blood stained steel of her K-Bar sank deep into the lower neck of the Cardassian. She swiped her hand off to the left, ripping open the neck fringe and sending blood splurting out with enough force that Kath was covered in Cardassian blood even though she was sprinting away towards Sandra. 

It was too late. A third Cardassian that no one had seen sprang up from the ground like a snake. His phaser rifle took a hefty chunk out of Sandra's side and raked down her thigh. Deep enough that it almost hit bone. Kath landed a moment later, one arm slipping around Sandra's middle. The classically trained soldier then pivoted, using her own back to shield her friend. The tactical jacket covered her lungs and her heart but it did not extend down far enough to protect her hips. Multiple shots hissed out, slamming into her own thigh and hip. But she was on the move regardless, limping heavily and pulling Sandra along with her. 

Another shot sizzled through Sandra's leg and burned a hole in her patella that would have been worthy of awe if it weren't an enemy and it didn't hurt like a mother fucker. Sandra's belated scream ripped through the air and made Kath's ears throb from the volume. 

"I've got you, mi amiga, I've got you," Kath assured her friend as she looked frantically for cover. All she found was a giant tree stump. That would have to do. She nearly flung her friend down behind it then collapsed next to her. 

"How bad is it?" Sandra gasped out, palming her sole remaining phaser pistol. Kath glanced down at the ruins of her friend's leg. Brown eyes met Sandra's green and a subtle shake of the head was given. Sandra swallowed thickly but nodded. Kath rummaged in the pouch on her uninjured hip and removed the small hypospray. She injected it into Sandra's remaining hunk of thigh and hip. Then a dose was pressed into her own, nearly identical wounds. But the beam had been smaller, with less energy behind it. Her leg would be fine. Sandra's... not so much. They both knew it. 

"Cardie fucking... lech lehizdayen!" Kath heard Jacob shout but she couldn't figure out where he was. There were too many trees, too much smoke. 

"Yaakov!" Kath blurted the Hebrew version of his name as she saw what she thought was his outline in the smoke. The figure froze then turned towards her. Limped forward. It was not Jacob. Her hand came up and fired before she could fully comprehend the target was not her crewmate. The Cardassian collapsed. Another form took his place but this one was actually Jacob. The young man tripped over the body and when he did Kath watched his right arm seemingly 'come loose' from the rest of his torso. It dropped to the forest floor with a sickening thud-splat that made Kath gag and nearly throw up the ration pack she had eaten what felt like days ago. 

"Go," Sandra rasped in her ear. Kath crouched and rushed over to Jacob. Despite herself, she scooped up his severed limb in one arm and Jacob himself in the other. She guided him to the tree stump where Sandra hid, figuring that was the best place for him. He was shaking, going into literal and metaphorical shock. Not knowing what else to do with it, Kath put his arm in the man's lap. When he looked over her shoulder, she saw his eyes widen. Quickly pivoting on her heels, she got off two shots before the Cardassian making her way through the thick smoke could fully see the small group. 

"Brenton! Althan! Sound off!" Kath called out, shuffling through the trees in a crouch. Her hip and leg screamed at her but she had more important things to worry about. She could deal with her wounds later. So long as she wasn't also going to need to accept more deaths of more friends. 

She ran right into Brenton's legs as she was looking frantically in a 180* swivel for him and Althan. She fell backward onto her ass and looked up. He was holding Althan in the oh so poorly named bridal carry. As far as she could tell, Althan wasn't breathing. 

"No, no, no," the desperate mantra left her lips as she rolled back to her feet. Her palm brushed across his blood and sweat stained forehead. His neck looked like it had been attacked by a wild animal. It was a miracle his head was still attached. Brenton was holding him in a careful carrying position, and she realized a better description was how one held an infant. Supporting the head and neck-- what was left of the latter. 

"I-I'm sorry, Ensign. I tried... to get to him. I was too late. Cardie bastards have mined the perimeter without us noticing. He ran right into it," Brenton half sobbed out. 

"It isn't your fault, Brent. C'mon. I don't see any more Cardies. I'll go minesweeping in a bit," she said, gently guiding him along by the elbow back to the tree stump. 

Staring numbly as Brenton tenderly placed Althan on the ground next to where Sandra was desperately trying to staunch the bleeding just shy of her carotid artery with synthetic dermal patches, Kath collapsed opposite them. Tears pricked her eyes. So many hours of training. Simulation after simulation. Smoke, water, zero-g. None of it had prepared her for seeing the body of her friend so badly mangled. Or watching a friend's limb just... fall off like in one of those zombie holonovels from the twentieth century. No, not holonovel. 'Movie'. Vaguely recalled learning that term during a class on more primitive technology, one example of many that the Academy felt the students might come across in their travels.

Kath only noticed her hands were shaking when she tried to check her phaser rifle and make sure its battery pack was full. Her hand shook so bad that she dropped the battery pack multiple times trying to push it into place. Barely managed to tap her COMMbadge. 

"Augusta, this is Ensign MacFarlane. It's a massacre down here. C-can I get-- can we get an ETA on your return?" even her voice shook. Her father had once warned her that it didn't matter how much she trained, it would never hold a candle to the real deal. Of course she hadn't understood. Then. She did now.  

"Hang in there, Ensign. We had to boomerang around the local star. What's the status of your unit? Where's your Lieutenant?" the voice of the First Officer sounded tinny coming from her COMMbadge. At the moment she couldn't recall her name, or her face. 

"Sh-she's wounded bad. Barely missed the artery in her leg. Three quarters of my unit is dead. Dios, they nearly decapitated Althan with one of their traps," Kath finally managed to answer after a few times of moving her mouth but no words leaving. "Y-you need the medical bay prepped for surgery. J-Jacob... his arm... it just... just fell the fuck off!" Kath's voice went a little higher in pitch but she managed to keep her tone level. 

"Don't worry, Ensign. We will. We'll get that arm back on good as new. What's your personal status, MacFarlane?" the First Officer said, as soothing as the situation allowed her to be. 

"G-got slammed bad with phaser fire in my leg. But I can walk. I can fight. Pr-protect my unit before you get here," Kath said, dismissing her own health and wellbeing for the sake of her friends, her crewmates, her family. "Lieutenant Morales's is worse than mine. Ayyy!" The pain made her vision go black at the edges for a moment. 

"Alright, Ensign. Just focus on the next few minutes. Are you in a safe place?" 

"N-nowhere on this shithole is safe. But I think we got rid of the Cardie unit that was in the area."

Pain spiked through her leg from her hip to the tips of her toes and back again as she tried to push herself back up to her feet. 

"Good. That's good. You've done amazing, Ensign. Focus on your successes." 

"What successes? We didn't even get into the facility!" she snapped. 

In the silence after her angry remark, Kath snarled her pain as she peeled away her uniform pants from the wound. The fabric clung to the phaser furrow in her hip, blood crusted on it to keep it in place and make it too painful for her to fully remove even just the fabric that made up the leg of the trousers. 

"We're back in-system, Ensign. We're sending a shuttle now." 

The First Officer's voice sounded so distant, so warped. All of Kath's adrenaline and endorphins had drained away. 

"Kath? Kath, stay with me!" Sandra said even as she was still struggling to staunch her bleeding. She could see Kath drifting further into shock. Wound wise. Psychologically. 

But it wasn't enough. Kath's consciousness slipped away like sand in an hourglass. She slumped where she sat against a tree opposite the giant stump. Her friends were safest there. Their wounds were more severe. She would be... fine. 

When she woke, she could feel the familiar rumble of a T3 class shuttle around her. It was soothing, almost. Her remaining unit was saved. She couldn't see where they had taken Althan's body, or Jacob's arm. 

But she saw Sandra, hooked up to all kinds of machines and fluid intake. Lying on a biobed, her wounded leg expertly dressed in synthetic dermal patches. But it was wrong. Sandra's foot was angled wrong. If Sandra managed to keep a hold of the limb, it would likely hurt her for the rest of her life. 

Moaning from the pain of the effort to move, Kath dragged herself over to Sandra's biobed. A scream ripped from her lips as she grabbed the edge of the biobed then yanked herself to her feet. 

"S-Sandra? Sweetheart?" Kath whispered, gently grasping the darker woman's hand. It didn't feel as warm as Sandra usually did. Sandra wasn't her lover, but they were close friends. 'Bosom buddies' might have been apt if they had been living in the twentieth or twenty-first centuries. 

Watching with worry, Kath saw Sandra slowly rouse from whatever amounted to slumber when so blanketed with pain. As she saw Kath, Sandra offered a small smile and squeezed Kath's hand. 

"Hey, puta," Sandra said, purely teasing. It was their way. Insults they could never mean in a thousand years. 

"Who you fuckin' callin' puta you carajo?" Kath managed to throw back even as her eyes filled with tears. For Sandra, seeing her usually more stoic friend crying just made her worry that much more about her prognosis. 

"Hey. Hey. S'gonna be 'kay. 'Kay?" Sandra murmured, whatever drugs she had been given for pain making her words slur together and come out half-formed. 

"Y-yeah. 'Course. I know. You're a tough hijo de puta.

"Aww, don't give me that conojo shit!" 

"S-Sandra. Please. Look. I dunno where they took Jacob but. But you need to know something," Kath said, gently squeezing Sandra's hand. She swallowed thickly. 

"Can't it wait? I'm so tired." 

"NO! I... No. It can't. Sandra. I'm gay. Er. Well. I like everyone. No matter what they got in their pants."

"Now is not the time to ask me to marry you, Katherine MacFarlane," Sandra said sternly. 

It made Kath give a proper laugh for once. "No! Nothing like that. I just. God forbid but. In case anything happens I needed you to know." 

Sandra laughed softly but nodded. She took Kath's hand and kissed the knuckles. "Well, I love you no matter what you like in peoples' pants. I just ain't gonna marry you. I don't love you like that." 

Kath forced another laugh. "Th-thanks."

Both looked over as they heard footsteps. 

"We need to take Lieutenant Morales into surgery now. Try to save that leg," one of the nurses Kath recognized from the Augusta said. 

Swallowing a lump in her throat, Kath nodded then gently released Sandra's hand. "Of course." 

By the time the shuttle returned to the Augusta, Kath learned that nothing could be done for Sandra's leg like had been done for Jacob's arm. All they could do was fit Sandra with a prosthetic and get her started on physical therapy immediately. She was out of the war until further notice. 

When the shuttle docked in the bay of the Augusta, Kath walked between the biobeds for her two friends. When she looked behind her she noticed Brent was on a bed himself. 

"Got pinged a little close to the spine. They didn't want to try anything until we got back home," Brent said, grimacing in pain. He had carried Althan despite his own injury? An injury that could be career ending if not treated properly? 

"Brent..." Kath breathed. She couldn't handle this. Her unit had been cracked apart like an egg. Her own injuries seemed to pale in comparison. Guilt gnawed at her. 

Kath said a quick goodbye to Brent then to Sandra and Jacob. 

Then, setting her jaw, Kath limped her way back to her quarters. There she made use of the relative soundproof of the room to scream at the ceiling, her heart hurting more than anything else. She didn't understand why she had survived in so much better shape. 

When she next saw Sandra, the woman was being fitted with a life-like prosthetic that exactly matched her skin tone. She had what could be a year of physical therapy to get through. And the regular head-shrinking therapy too in order to cope with such a huge change to her body. And all Katherine MacFarlane had was a line of scars on her hip and thigh to show for it.

And yet, Kath was put on the next transport back to Sector 001. Back to Earth. Along with Sandra, Jacob, Brenton, and Althan. 

"Sh'ma Yisrael etc.,"- Part of the Sh'ma/Shema that observant Jews recite upon waking, upon going to sleep, during services, and when they believe they are about to die. Generally, the first prayer Jews learn, and the last they hope to be able to recite when their time on Earth is done. It means 'Hear O Israel, the Lord is Our God, the Lord is One'. Kath is also accidentally fulfilling one of the customs of the Sh'ma: covering your eyes as you recite even if she isn't the one doing the reciting. Read more here. Spelling used is found in the Mishkan Tefilah, the prayer book for Reform Jews.
Butterbar- Slang for a Lieutenant JG/Second Lieutenant. The US military insignia for a 2nd Lieutenant is (was in Trek time) a single gold-painted 'bar' or stripe.  Versus a full Lieutenant/First Lieutenant having a single silver bar. (And the silver bar further cloning itself when one is promoted to Captain.) I couldn't figure a good slang based on the ridiculously simple system of rank pips and stripes.
Lech lehizdayen- 'Go fuck yourself' in Hebrew.
puta/hijo de puta- bitch/son of a bitch
carajo- slang for dick
Conojo- slang for pussy (not cat)
Episode 02: Cosmic Imperative / Re: Ch 4 S [ Day 01 | 1915 ] The Remains of a Crew
Last post by Dree -
[ Ens. Sashenka Kreshkova | Unnamed Cell | Alternative Asteroid Station | Romulan Space ] ATTN: @Ellen Fitz

Sash felt Ehfa’s gasp before she heard it.  The gruesome hand or paw, whichever it was, with the attached arm, tightened - nearly pulling it out of her grasp.  She wanted to say, ‘you’re okay,’ but she knew that wasn’t true.  Neither of them was okay.  Neither of them would be okay as long as they were captives to this savage race.

These ‘examinations’ were more than her body, her spirit, or her emotions could bear.  In all honesty, she had lost hope - hope that they would be okay, hope that they would be rescued, hope for anything other than a quick death.  She knew death would come, but Sash prayed that it would come soon and it would be quick. 
In this paltry reality, she wasn’t living.  The only truth she knew was mere existence. But maybe even in this continuation of breath, she could make a very small difference for this half person - half wolf laying exposed in front of her. If she could make her companion’s last moments or days a little more endurable, maybe if there was an afterlife like she had been taught, she’d had a better chance of landing in the better of the two.  But that wasn’t the reason that the young woman wanted to comfort her companion. No one should have to suffer by themselves. 

The young woman watched as the half-wolf / half-human opened her eyes.  She saw consciousness spread across her grotesque features.  Skin here, hairy patches there.  And then with the absence of clothes, she could see masculine features but two lines of what she thought were teats, and she didn’t understand what she was seeing, but that didn’t matter.

Then moments later, she heard the person try to speak, but nothing seemed to come out for awhile.  When he or it finally found its voice, she heard, “Hhoww arrrrrre youuuuuu?”

That was a loaded question.  Could she even answer it?  She certainly wasn’t alright.  Even if they escaped or were rescued, could she ever be alright again?  She couldn’t even answer that.  “I’m….alive.”  That was really the only thing she could say in answer to that question.  She didn’t want to to describe or discuss the attrocities they had both lived through.

What she could say though was, “You’re not alone, but zhey aren’t here.  It’s just you and me,” Her words were only a whisper, but they were filled with emotion.  But as she continued to stroke the creature’s hand, she couldn’t stand to see it naked - even in its mottled form.  She unbuttoned her shirt - the shirt that had been a navy blue at one point - and now looked more like a muddy brown.  At least she still had a bra and pants on.  She lay her filthy shirt along the torso of the naked creature.  It didn’t cover much, but it did cover some.  “I’m Sash,” she whispered again, not wanting to call any undue attention to either of them.  “Vhat’s your name?
Main OOC Board / Re: Main OOC Thread
Last post by Dumedion -
Hey all. To those I owe posts to (and those I've plotted future ones with) I'm sorry to say that I am slammed with work atm, then taking a couple weeks off-line for vacation. Feel free to skip/npc my chars while I'm gone so I don't hold things up. Yall take care and I'll see ya on the flip side.
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