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  • dabelgravedabelgrave Posts: 83 Arc User
    edited June 2015
    Hmm.....Sorry if it's been mentioned before but posts, in this thread at least, aren't numbered like on the STO forums. It also seems there's no permalink option or any way to view an individual post to get a direct link to it. So if I wanted to post a link to an individual post, the best I can figure is to go to the page the post is on and copy the URL in my address bar and tell someone to play a game of go fish. :/

    Edit: I also see no option to add color to text. I wanted to make my signature text yellow but I see no options to do so. I got bold, italic, emoji, etc., but no color options.

    Beneath the poster's name on your post is a time or date. I think clicking that will give you a direct link to the post. I just noticed this today.

    Testing color bbcode: yellow red blue. Use [ color="color"][ /color]
  • gulberatgulberat Posts: 400 Arc User
    You're right, it DOES create a direct link.

    Christian Gaming Community Fleets--Faith, Fun, and Fellowship! See the website and PM for more. :-)
    Proudly F2P.  Signature image by gulberat. Avatar image by balsavor.deviantart.com.
  • monkeybone13monkeybone13 Posts: 3,442 Arc User
    edited June 2015
    dabelgrave wrote: »
    Hmm.....Sorry if it's been mentioned before but posts, in this thread at least, aren't numbered like on the STO forums. It also seems there's no permalink option or any way to view an individual post to get a direct link to it. So if I wanted to post a link to an individual post, the best I can figure is to go to the page the post is on and copy the URL in my address bar and tell someone to play a game of go fish. :/

    Edit: I also see no option to add color to text. I wanted to make my signature text yellow but I see no options to do so. I got bold, italic, emoji, etc., but no color options.

    Beneath the poster's name on your post is a time or date. I think clicking that will give you a direct link to the post. I just noticed this today.

    Testing color bbcode: yellow red blue. Use [ color="color"][ /color]

    Yeah that works. Clicking the time under a user's name gives a direct link to it. As for the color thing it would nice if we had colors to choose from like the STO forums where you have a button to click above the box you type your message in. I don't know all the names of colors for doing it manually.

    (Testing signature color) Edit: I just went to edit my signature on the STO forums and copied the text there and pasted it in my signature here. I couldn't seem to get it to work manually as you suggested, but it's working now at least.
    picard-facepalm_zpssvoltqmi.jpg~original
  • gulberatgulberat Posts: 400 Arc User
    OK, according to LT, the post character limit has doubled to 24000. I'm going to test that out.
    If you smile at me, I will understand
    'Cause that is something everybody everywhere does
    In the same language

    I can see by your coat, my friend
    You're from the other side
    There's just one thing I got to know
    Can you tell me please, who won the war ?

    Say, can I have some of your purple berries?
    Yes, I've been eating them for six or seven weeks now
    Haven't got sick once
    Probably keep us both alive

    Wooden ships on the water, very free and easy
    Easy, you know the way it's supposed to be
    Silver people on the shoreline, let us be
    Talkin' 'bout very free and easy...

    Crosby, Stills, and Nash--“Wooden Ships”


    Aboard the captured Undine vessel Stravinsky

    Yellow-green bioluminescence lit the corridors as the Chin’toka away team wended their way through the bioship, accompanied by the ever-present hiss of steam and a slow, steady, almost meditative ebb and flow to the ship’s power grid that resembled nothing more than a slow respiratory rhythm. Captain Strannik could feel the humidity on his body and drifting in it almost reminded him of swimming--except without the terror of being immersed in actual liquid water his natural form was severely unsuited to keep from asphyxiating him.

    Thank God for that mercy--that living in fluidic space did not seem to mean the Undine preferred swimming. As it was, he could still feel the moisture in the air down his throat. Though his tricorder showed nothing dangerously incompatible about the air composition, nor did he feel as if there were, the faint green hue to some of the mist that clung low to the deck was a bit unnerving to look at.

    And based on the looks on the others’ faces, especially Thraz and N’Vek’s, it had to have some interesting olfactory properties, too, that the Devidian was not disappointed to be missing out on.

    I still can’t decide if this thing is plant or animal, Alyosha thought to himself, or both. Tri-faceted muscular valves that seemed to function as blast doors relaxed themselves to reveal each next corridor when the away team approached. Weblike secretions in front of atmosphere intakes, almost seeming to serve the function of mucus, lurked in the corners and on many of the walls. Fortunately for him, his telekinesis served both to navigate away from it and to push it out of the team’s way without actually having to touch it.

    But what he saw through the photoreceptors on feet that weren’t actually touching the deck was...not animal sinew as some of those other systems suggested, but incredibly hard ‘wooden’ planks. Though he hadn’t put his weight on any of them, he had noticed the absolute absence of creaking when his crew stepped on the planks.

    The whole thing reminded him not of a sleek and advanced modern starship--but of the haunted derelict of an ancient wooden sailing ship like the the Mary Celeste. Only the ‘mind’ of the ship itself, such as it was, served in its undemanding presence as any sort of reassurance.

    A song began to circle around in his mind...timeless, and haunting aboard this ship without a home or an era: Wooden ships on the water, very free and easy...

    “How much further do we have?” asked Dr. Sei, bringing the record in his head to a needle-scratchingly abrupt stop.

    The Devidian captain drifted gently to a stop in the bioship’s corridor and turned around to face the rest of his away team. Alyosha and Thraz had both been feeling it since they came aboard the ship and inquired of it where the command center lay--a ‘compass’ of sorts that responded them with a muted sense of encouragement or discouragement depending on their progress. The feeling morphed into a directionless, quiet waiting when the telepaths halted.

    “Oh...I just lost the guide.” The Devidian turned his head to his right, snout now facing Thraz. “You too?”

    “Same here. It seems to respond to our movements.”

    Alyosha turned back to Sei, N’Vek, and Anene. “I had a thought. I’m going to see if I can get the ship to give us a time to get there. I’d like to see if I can get our communication with it onto a higher level.”

    “Stravinsky,” Alyosha sent and spoke aloud simultaneously for the benefit of the away team, “can you tell us how long it will take us to get to the command center at the pace we were doing before we stopped?

    Alyosha sensed…something in reply, some sense that they weren’t far...but it wasn’t exactly helping. “Thraz, did you catch that?”

    “It was definitely trying to answer us,” Thraz replied. “But I think it’s missing the unit of measure.”

    Well...we ruled out a tricorder interface, Alyosha thought to himself. They’d tried that almost the minute they left the shuttle. There were Undine with computer knowledge--as disastrously evidenced on 75-Tau--but until their encounter with the Borg, why would they have ever thought to configure their own ships of the line that way when the telepathic interface not only worked, but was generally hidden from normal-space signal intelligence? From their perspective, their assumption their way was superior would seem borne out by experience.

    “So how do we teach time to a ship that ignores just about every kind of user input that doesn’t come from the mind?” Chief N’Vek asked. “There are those consoles but…something about the way they work is just bizarre. A few bits look like they could be alphanumerics or pictographs--Elements know which--but I’m not so sure. Even the Borg for whatever crazy reason actually make most of their interfaces translatable. I can’t get a UT lock on the Undine pattern. Far as I can tell, no one in Starfleet or the Republic has. Sometimes it looks like bits of it should be translatable, but those squiggles and lights either shift and the UT errors out, or the damned thing just comes back and says it can’t get a lock in the first place.”

    “Why does that remind me of trying to translate Tamarian without knowing the Base Stratum? And I don’t mean that in a good way.” Sei referred to the ‘lower register’ of Tamarian, used with children--the one where words meant what they meant--a construct it turned out the Tamarians had assumed any civilized adult would have progressed beyond the need for. “You may have to avoid language entirely...you need something more basic. Something that engages the senses more directly.”

    Light danced across the Devidian’s skin. “Of course--music!” He actually bounced a few feet further in the air on the last syllable. “Hmmmm...”

    How to be that precise though...old classical’s too subjective...rock--how am I going to know I’m teaching it the exact thing? Techno, though…wait...that one classical dubstep song I remixed--

    “Perfect!” Alyosha exclaimed. “Well...it’s not the most cheerful piece, but I’ve got one. Give me a bit…I’m not having to mouth my words at least, but I’d still rather not try to talk and think at the same time.”

    Spot for me on this, Thraz… The Aenar XO wordlessly agreed to guard the weaker telepath. All right… Stravinsky, prepare to receive time metrics. One minute comprises 120 beats of the first part of this sample. Two beats--one second. Compare to the second part of this sample--one beat, one second, 60 beats per minute.

    He cued the music up in his mind, skipping past the initial windup to--Okh, der’mo! That could so be taken the wrong way... He paused. Disregard all sample linguistic input! Then he started over, bringing the track up to speed, not even noticing he was conducting as though he had a band in front of him, and then the drop hit with a push of intent from Alyosha:

    December the First, 2808--Doomsday.

    He pushed the memory of the song to the bioship, until it returned--

    Translated into Federation Standard words: Error! Highly irregular input detected!

    Bozhe moi, nyet, nyet, nyet!” the Russian-Devidian exclaimed out loud, brightening the words with a human laugh. “Ehto dubstep; nye slushay ehtu chast’!” He addressed the away team. “It locked onto the wrong part of the song.” He mentally highlighted the beat and re-sent… “There we go. We have an answer. Forty-seven seconds at our previous pace.”

    “We just used way more time than that to get that information…” N’Vek commented.

    “We did,” the captain acknowledged with a nod. “But what we got was more than just a calculation. We got proof this ship can align to our frame of reference, bit by bit. If we’re going to have any hope of really translating what’s going on here, we’ve got to keep doing things like that.”

    With a gentle telekinetic nudge, Alyosha turned back the way they’d been headed--and there it was again: that sense of confirmation…destination just ahead.

    As promised, it wasn't long before a larger, more robust tri-faceted valve than they'd seen since the one to the 'shuttlebay' relented at their approach to reveal...

    A cavernous chamber with inscrutable swirled-motif consoles not just before them on ground level, but running up the ceiling where by everything Alyosha had ever known...except from studies of the early interplanetary era, before artificial gravity...they ought not be. N'Vek shuddered visibly. They'd all seen the footage of Undine crawling down from the ceiling to spring on their victims unawares. Light shone down from the front--at least Alyosha assumed it was the front based on the consoles' orientation--as if from a giant skylight on the upper level.

    "Wow," Anene breathed. Alyosha had to agree. Truly this was the living center deep within the ship.

    "Even an Odyssey's bridge has nothing on this," Thraz confirmed. "Your footsteps have a long way to go before the echo comes back to you."

    "What I don't see anywhere is a viewscreen," N'Vek observed. "I'd feel a little better about all of this if I could see where the Chin'toka is parked."

    "That would be nice," Alyosha agreed. This deep into the bioship, and it could be doing just about anything and they wouldn't know it. "Stravinsky, can you give us a way to visually observe outside conditions from the bridge?" he inquired with thought and voice, sending an example image of his own bridge's front viewer.

    Something shifted. He couldn't see it when he aimed his attention frontwards and up where he knew it ought to be--but for just a moment the sensation resonated as if a healing itch upon his own skin. He turned to Thraz. "Did you feel that?"

    "Very much so," he affirmed. "Actual tactile sensations, like an extension of our own bodies."

    "That could be very helpful in diagnosing the ship if something went wrong," N'Vek supplied.

    Anene chipped in, "I bet it would really, really hurt if something bad enough happened."

    “That depends on how close the link is,” Thraz said. “And just how severe the injury is.”

    Alyosha nodded. He remembered--regretfully--when he’d shapeshifted on broken bones on 75-Tau, and the pain contorting Thraz’ and Spitz-Reader’s faces both.

    “So what did you sense?” Sei asked.

    “Well, I...have a feeling what the ship is doing up there,” the captain said, looking back up at the spot that had compelled him earlier. Though his head turned one direction, his fingers keyed commands into his tricorder as other photoreceptors monitored that work. “I’m going up to get some closer readings.”

    He didn’t even have to hear words from Thraz to catch the wave of worry and skepticism at that idea.

    “I’ll need you all taking baseline readings as well. As for me…” Alyosha pointed at a conduit running along the right side of the bridge up to the top level--or maybe it shouldn’t be called a conduit at all. Maybe an artery or vein lurked beneath its sheath; there was no telling. “I’m going up that, and I’m going to stay well to the side of whatever it’s doing.”

    With that, the Devidian lowered himself to the ground. His feet touched down and as his knees bent, he swept his arms out for balance and...vaulted up at the wall, over a ground-level console. He didn’t quite do as he’d seen footage of the Undine doing--he did still like to actually grab onto things with his clawed hands when he climbed this way--but he pulled up onto the pipe. Once actually up, though, his feet didn’t actually have to touch the pipe beneath them. Just seeing it was directly beneath him at a reasonable proximity was good enough.

    It feels good to move like this outside a holodeck once in a while, he thought to himself with an inner smile.

    He drifted up to the upper level--up towards the area where he sensed activity in the ship’s structure--but then...he pushed further. He wasn’t far from the seeming ‘skylight.’ And though planked off for the most part, he caught a glimpse of the light. “Ohhh, krasivo!” he whispered to himself.

    Light poured out from another chamber--far more expansive than the bridge--like gold of the rising sun, though not quite that painful to look at. Painful and magnificent--not exactly as the Gameptian phasic onerite had been, but equally captivating--it streamed between bedewed silk-strands, which sparkled like stars in a nebula. Further within, as best as he could tell...lay the ‘core,’ or ‘mind,’ of the ship.

    Sometimes there is still joy in the discovery, he thought to himself. Even here--even in a ship that has been used so terribly, there is still beauty.



    Starfleet Runabout Onyx
    Beta Ursae Sector Block, en route to the USS Akellen Macet


    Gul Tayben Berat’s thoughts were anything but beautiful. True, they weren’t as vicious as before, when he’d stood before...he couldn’t help himself. He glanced back at the aft compartment where Grady’s ashes, and all of the murdered captain’s personal effects that hadn’t been destroyed in the fight, had made the journey to Mars. The book of condolences, too, that Colonel D’Moj’s Moabites had compiled for the family...that had been back there too.

    Though they carried a different cargo now, he couldn’t help but see the meager material remnants of Lofton Grady’s life--ended by the Undine.

    Berat and Jark hadn’t spoken much on the ride back. Not that Jark was cleared to know about the possibility Starfleet Command was infiltrated--the Ferengi lawyer’s natural resistance had protected him about as much as Berat’s disciplines had--but the encounter with Admiral Quinn had cast an ugly pall over what would have been an unpleasant trip no matter what.

    Berat couldn’t stand the silence anymore. “So. You saw Quinn and Martens, and heard what they had to say. What’s your professional opinion?”

    “Quinn’s in defiance of the Omega Doctrine--and my reading of the Doctrine is the same as yours. If he thinks he can define it how he wants because of what it’s called, well, he’s dead wrong. When you read what it actually says, it applies to ‘all equivalent biological or technological threat species’ that meet the criteria of one--forced conversion, and two--malignant spread. The only way you’d be able to wiggle your way out of it is if there’s actually a practical chance of negotiating a cease-and-desist order with the parasitic species.” The Ferengi snorted. “Fat chance something like that could ever happen.”

    “Do you believe it’s willful?”

    “Oh, yes--absolutely. Until the incursions started, the Borg threat’s been front and center, and there’s no way in the Vault of Eternal Destitution that Quinn wouldn’t have been right in the thick of writing a critical doctrine like that! You don’t delegate something that’s going to cost that many lives to your staff to write without even one little due diligence check, not unless you’re a lobeless idiot, trying to commit career suicide, or a frinxing traitor. And those come in all sorts of nice flavors, like ‘on the take,’ ‘industrial espionage,’ and ‘just plain old crazy.’”

    Berat offered a solemn nod. “Which do you think it is?”

    “Honestly? If I had to guess, I’d say the guy’s on the take. Federation morality my ass. Look at his aide! It was pretty much ‘monkey see, monkey do’ as the humans say…” He did not say ‘hew-mons.’ “No independent thought. Every reaction of his mirrored Quinn’s, way more than it should’ve. If Martens was uncomfortable with what his boss was doing, there’d be at least some tiny tells. And yeah, even right in front of the kingpin himself...only an AI can hide things that well.

    “I can’t decide whether Martens was blackmailed, or on drugs, or maybe a combination of both. And before you say that’s crazy, I’ve seen that kind of thing before in sex trafficking rings of all things. Either the mark is an addict before the ring gets a hold of him, or they slip something in his drink for a while to get him started and then show up with the ‘solution’ right when he’s about to come completely and totally unhinged. You do it to keep someone compliant, beholden to you for your supply and maybe some ‘protection money’ while you’re at it, and you keep them afraid to tell the truth because it’s the junkie’s word versus the upstanding citizen. Who’d believe a sezz case or a neurohead over the CinC of Starfleet?”

    Wow...he’s close!

    Jark paused. A long, haunted pause. “An unwilling neuroslave. Someone who didn’t have the ego or the ambition. Never sought this out. And now he has all the lobes in the world to know exactly what’s been done to him and what’s going to happen to him if he doesn’t get the next dose. He also knows he can’t tell anyone--they’ll throw him in jail, wean him, let him rot because the law’s against him just for living like that. He deteriorates...he goes into a care home...his family, his friends, the colleagues he still cares about, all screwed over because of something that’s not even his fault like it is with most neuroheads. And he can imagine it all in painful, holographic detail. Someone like that...he’s not even dosing for power or success or fame, none of the things neuroheads usually chase their tails for. He’s dosing just to live and he feels like sh*t about it the whole way.”

    He’s surely suffering just that badly, Berat thought to himself, if not even worse. He fought not to stare at the aft compartment again.

    The Cardassian knitted his eye ridges as best as the thick cartilage allowed, and turned devil’s advocate even as he tried to suppress the image of Grady’s tormented corpse. “I don’t know that Martens’ behavior was far off enough to reach all the way to drugs,” Berat said. “He didn’t seem to have any problem staying on his feet, he wasn’t slurring his speech, he didn’t have any unusual tics or spasms, there were no signs of desperation...might that be a bit of a reach, Commander? Could it also be he just didn’t know Quinn was in the wrong on the Omega Doctrine?”

    “Well…” The JAG officer let out a sigh that sounded more like a hiss than anything. “You could be right, sir. That would be the other explanation as to why he didn’t object, or show any signs of unease. Still...it stands to reason he’d be neck-deep in the research for the Board of Inquiry, and he ought to know better. Of course if you’re delusional enough or sociopathic enough, the normal tells wouldn’t show either. But--sorry, Admiral for saying, but you’re more likely to find a sociopath in command than administration. I still think, with all of the circumstantial evidence, and everything you told me about your last run-in, when Martens wasn’t there, that Quinn’s your kingpin.”

    “And given the implications of that...” Berat fixed Jark with a stare intense enough to trigger the ‘prey’ instincts in the Ferengi and make him squirm in his seat. “I’ll want a complete listing of all the other points of evidence and deviations from lawful conduct that you observe or suspect. You are under orders not to discuss this matter with anyone but myself, Admiral ch’Harrell, Strannik, th'Valek, or Redmond. Those are the only people cleared for this. The power that man has at his disposal if he’s corrupt--if the political moves we’ve seen lately are any indication, he may already have blood on his hands. Put simply, it may not take another beastly invasion force like the last one to overrun the Quadrant. It could well implode from within. This fleet must survive--must avoid undue attention--until it is time to strike.”

    Jark released another one of those hiss-sighs. “Strike…how, precisely?”

    How indeed.

    “Very carefully.

    Christian Gaming Community Fleets--Faith, Fun, and Fellowship! See the website and PM for more. :-)
    Proudly F2P.  Signature image by gulberat. Avatar image by balsavor.deviantart.com.
  • gulberatgulberat Posts: 400 Arc User
    Aboard the captured Undine vessel Stravinsky

    Alyosha launched himself off of the high beam directly behind the bioship’s new...growth...to a gasp from Nurse Anene. He hurtled down and tucked as the deck rushed up towards him, then instinctively reached out with his will and shoved against it with a telekinetic counterforce that broke his fall before impact and bounced him back up to his preferred altitude of 25 centimeters or so. He let his legs settle into a comfortable rest position. “I’m fine,” he reassured the young Nigerian in a warm voice, arms outspread.

    “Sorry, sir.” He perceived a flicker-flare of neural energy he guessed was embarrassment.

    “It’s all right...I know how it looks, especially in this form.” His musculature wasn’t enough to walk unaided--how could the human mind expect him to break a fall? That said… An odd thought struck him. “Truth be told, it would probably scare me if I saw someone else do the same thing.”

    Alyosha drifted back, joining rest of the away team as he stared back up at the upper pylon at the fore of the bridge where he had been. A triangular structure had taken shape--asymmetrical, almost a clumsy attempt in some ways--but considering how limited their communication had been with the Stravinsky, this was astounding enough. Inside the quasi-wooden frame was stretched a bioluminescent...tissue sheet, upon which green patterns shimmered like the auroras of Arkhangelsk.

    Or even…something a little nearer. The Devidian captain looked down at the hand he was clutching his tricorder with. Except for the claws at the fingertips, energy skittered across his own bluish-whitish skin, with the occasional fluorescent hues mixed in: the subtle signs of emotion that only his family...and to a limited extent, Jiana Sei, could read from him.

    “I think it’s a viewscreen,” Alyosha supplied for Thraz’ benefit. “It actually grew one for us.”

    “I concur,” Chief N’Vek replied. “Perhaps you could get it to display that visual of the Chin’toka we were discussing earlier?”

    Alyosha nodded. While the captain was almost sure by now such duplicity was beyond the bioship--lying needed volition, after all--he didn’t want to give it any specific suggestions as to what they were looking for. Even just the science officer in him didn’t care to taint the experiment. “Stravinsky, display real-time visuals of the exterior environment...put them on screen.

    The auroral hues swirled and arranged themselves into shapes and shifted colors in a way that almost reminded the captain of the way Industrial-Era animators would draw an enchanted mirror, until Alyosha could clearly recognize the pinpoints of stars against the deep cold blue of the Kounamab Nebula. “Good,” he said aloud only, then resumed his simultaneous telepathy and speech. “Locate and display visuals on any power sources in the nearby vicinity.

    The images whirled and blended again, revealing their Phoenix-variant escort. Its upgraded Aegis systems created a study in shadows and burning light upon the ship’s hull, the pattern only broken by the standard running lights, and the bright spots revealing the ship’s name and registry, and the crosslike sword of the 77th Fleet.

    Alyosha ‘smiled’ telepathically as he gestured to the monitor and said, “Looks like we’re in good shape.” Then he adopted a more solemn tone and squared his shoulders. “Now…there are some critical answers we have got to get out of this ship--like what killed the crew, not to mention whatever other intelligence we’re able to safely get it to yield. But I don’t think that’s going to happen until we get past the translation issue. The ship seems to understand telepathic orders, and its actions show that, but we have yet to get true linguistic communication in return.”

    Dr. Sei picked up on the Devidian’s train of thought. “We’ve got it giving us images on command. I’d suggest having it display our ship’s vitals. The chief here especially would be in a good position to get a lock on it, since he knows best what to expect.”

    th’Valek nodded. “That may be better than asking it to work through a basic lexicon,” the Aenar concurred. “It doesn’t seem to speak vocally, and I have this sense--it’s hard to quantify; it’s a telepathic impression--that its translation capabilities are limited. What I think I’m sensing is that it can render non-Undine languages into Undine, but that it doesn’t have much ability the other way around. That would square with the after-action reports from ConOps, where the Undine prisoner used telepathy to communicate ship-to-ship with the task force.”

    “All right, then...tricorders up,” Alyosha ordered, doing the same. “Stravinsky, display power readings and vital statistics on the main viewer for the Federation starship.” He carefully avoided the word ‘tactical’ in his speech or projected thought, even though the more he worked with the ship, the more natural it felt to do so.

    The screen swam with circles, swirls, and curves mixed with the occasional character that almost struck Alyosha as an alphanumeric of some kind--but still nothing, no spark of a clear enough pattern. It almost felt blurred to Alyosha for lack of a better word, not in terms of clarity, but as if he were looking at impressionistic brushstrokes comprising an image he just couldn’t get the right perspective on.

    Or a znamenny chant without lyrics, or red marks to show what melody each stroke represents, he realized. The notation itself is incomplete...the rest...comes from somewhere else. The translation algorithm he simultaneously watched on his tricorder through a different set of photoreceptors than the ones aimed at the viewer cycled, the percent completion stuttering its way towards 20%, then crashing back down to almost zero several times in succession.

    Fvadt,” N’Vek grumbled. Damn.

    “Same results as mine?” the captain queried. “As in, stuck looping?”

    N’Vek nodded. Sei did the same. “Just when I think it’s locking onto some sort of lexicon, it drops out. Like what we have is only an outline of the whole thing--”

    Thraz spoke up. “Maybe it is just an outline. I’ve been noticing a telepathic signal from the ship that fluctuates every so often, but since I don’t have the visual or lexical contexts, it’s not coming together for me.”

    Alyosha’s thought leaked out telepathically despite himself. Why didn’t I notice that?

    “All due respect, sir,” Thraz relied aloud, “but even though you know how to use your telepathy, you aren’t used to high levels of background noise, not just from telepaths but all of the non-telepaths. This ship is transmitting several different telepathic signals all at once, but it’s got the feeds turned down to keep from overwhelming us. With it being such a foreign pattern, that could make it difficult for you to pick out. Here; let me show you…”

    Thraz guided the Devidian’s awareness, and...there it was, like a song with harmonies, structures, and instrumental timbres of which he recognized neither the scales or possible phonemes, nor the phrasings or structures. I don’t understand! he thought at the Stravinsky. Yet you understand me. True, it might not have real consciousness, but the life that sustained it made it hard for him to address the bioship as a mere object. Show me, if you can without harming me. My friend too. Show us how to understand those readouts…

    “It can’t teach me directly,” Thraz responded aloud after a moment. “But I can help to buffer it for you, since you have more than enough visual processing power. With Jiana monitoring…”

    “Captain,” Chief N’Vek interjected, “my people have stories about psionic technology from the time of the Sundering. I didn’t believe it growing up--but when Hobus happened, my evac ship took a hit in the aftershocks and had to make an emergency landing on Crateris...and I became ‘ir-Kratiryai’ when the Remans there took my family in and protected us. I learned their histories and mythologies...and their stories were detailed enough, and their abilities strong enough that even the engineer and the skeptic in me finally had to believe it. And the thing that the Romulan and Reman stories were dead consistent on was warning about the telepathic backlash that happened if you pushed it too far.”

    “I appreciate your concern,” Alyosha told the elder Romulan. “Unfortunately, I believe the only other telepath besides the commander and me, that could be trusted with this contact is on Earth right now.” Though to be honest, the Russian-Devidian admitted to himself with a spark of nervous energy, Spitz-Reader would be more qualified than I am. Even more than Thraz...though that, not by so much. “Still...both of us have had telepathic defense training, and have had to use it. Thraz and I have even trained together all the way back to the Academy...and I believe with his help, we have a good shot at this. But...we will be careful.”

    He addressed the question to the ship. “Stravinsky, how long would it take to teach me?

    Captain Strannik turned his head towards th’Valek; the Aenar sensed the movement and his silent search for confirmation. “Something like half an hour, if I’m understanding it correctly,” Thraz replied.

    The Devidian indicated Dr. Sei with a tip of the hand. “Does that sound possible?” he asked. “Or reasonable?”

    “Some kinds of connections allow it,” Sei confirmed. “A Vulcan mind meld, for one, and far more quickly, in that case.”

    Are you willing? he asked Thraz with a gentle silent voice. His friend did nothing to disguise his unease. At the same time though, he found his own flame of curiosity matched. And that ultimately drove the assent. He had his answer. Alyosha breathed in deep. “We’ve decided,” he announced. “We are ready to try it.”

    He barely noticed as he drifted down into a pedestal-like seat, Thraz and Jiana at his side. His mind was already beginning to drift therethe flow and the shape of a thought, not the whole of it, for what is seen is dead without the Life that breathes it--

    Christian Gaming Community Fleets--Faith, Fun, and Fellowship! See the website and PM for more. :-)
    Proudly F2P.  Signature image by gulberat. Avatar image by balsavor.deviantart.com.
  • gulberatgulberat Posts: 400 Arc User

    Now the soil takes your breath
    Nothing left
    Just bones and empty roads
    And a want for something more
    Open door
    But careful not to ask

    And holding fast

    Now sorrow burns around you
    Anger, fear and death surround you
    So afraid
    Helpless
    Where is the void you're after?
    Emptiness, the final chapter
    So afraid
    Helpless hope

    To the hollow hands of fate
    No escape
    No panic, no reprieve
    And the faith it was too blind
    Too unkind
    But faithful in the wholeness of

    The hole itself

    Now sorrow burns around you
    Anger, fear and death surround you
    So afraid
    Helpless
    Where is the void you're after?
    Emptiness, the final chapter
    So afraid
    Helpless hope

    Let go
    Follow

    Now sorrow burns around you
    Anger, fear and death surround you
    So afraid
    Helpless
    Where is the void you're after?
    Emptiness, the final chapter
    So afraid
    Helpless hope

    Demon Hunter--“Helpless Hope”


    Descend into hysteria
    Chaos of mankind but who is listening to the voice of hatred
    Tortured souls lost so completely lost
    Weakened in the concept of decline, deception

    Are we alive or just breathing
    Don't close your eyes, see the images…

    Killswitch Engage--“Just Barely Breathing”


    Light flooded around him as photoreceptors reactivated, and as he caught his breath, he looked up at the viewscreen and saw/felt…{{Void-Space shell-vessel, attack class with reconnaissance enhancements. Indigenous identifier Chin’toka. Logged by Reiqh’Qe as a moderate combat threat: erratic maneuvering, adaptive shielding, and likely originator of widespread gravimetric distortion complicating navigation to Living-Space…}}

    Okh, ya ponimayu!” Alyosha burst out as Sei’s medical tricorder whirred around his head, Anene’s trilling in tandem next to Thraz. “Ehto rabotal! Teper’ ya mogu chitat’ vse--” He stopped. True, the Universal Translator conveyed his words to the team, as he occasionally allowed it to do, but this time he hadn’t even noticed that he’d reverted to his native language. Continuing in English he said, “I’m able to read everything onscreen, as long as I aim both my photoreceptors and my mind...but the strange thing is, when I see it I’m not thinking in a foreign language. It’s as though it’s Russian in a completely foreign writing system. Or English, if I make it into that. But if either the sight or the signal is missing, I’m almost back where I was before.

    “And...I think I can transmit like this telepathically, too. I can call it to mind for any of my thoughts, just like I would the writing systems I know. Except there’s no way to write it in a way you can fully understand. I've never experienced anything like it."

    "Commander," Dr. Sei asked, "what about the contents of his thoughts? Any change there?"

    Thraz squirmed uncomfortably; this sort of disclosure was not the Aenar way. Go ahead, Alyosha thought to him. "Other than comprehension...no change," th'Valek reported. "We'll still both submit to the Voigt-Kampff after we're done here, to make absolutely sure."

    All of us will,” Sei emphasized, looking at N’Vek and Anene both.

    Alyosha nodded his acknowledgment. “All right...then I think it’s time to view the ship’s final logs. What I just read up there confirms there is some kind of data storage in the bioship. Whoever this...Reiqh’Qe...is--” If he’d been in human form, he would have winced; it wasn’t like him to struggle with a name. He knew he’d probably just butchered it, as the equivalency in his mind had come with no description of what actual Undine phonemes that corresponded with. “An Undine who logged information on the Chin’toka during the battle...he or she may have left more. Something that might explain what happened to the crew.”

    “I definitely want to see it,” N’Vek said. “The data you sent me...even if you account for the ship’s regenerative abilities, the readings the Zhang He got don’t account for an all-hands-lost scenario.”

    Nurse Anene visibly shuddered, though she said nothing. The captain sympathized. Until they knew, they had to consider the chance that whatever it was could happen to them, too. But they had to know what it was, lest it provide the key to turn back any future Undine assaults. Or drive out would-be infiltrators before they could murder others like they had Captain Grady.

    “Stravinsky, show me a list of logs and footage available from your last battle.

    The text onscreen swirled--the captain deactivated all of his dorsal photoreceptors and turned his full concentration upon the readout and saw…{{Full combat log available. Audio-visual feed confirmed. Telepathic input streams from five of five crew confirmed until cessation of life.}} He read it to himself again before repeating the text aloud.

    “That adds more evidence to the theory that the ship wasn’t that heavily damaged in the fight,” Alyosha commented with a nod to N’Vek. “Show us the AV feed of the events that directly caused the crew’s...cessation of life. Give me text subtitles for all spoken input, and replace telepathic input with text. Begin playback on my mark.” God, he prayed that would give him enough separation to avert telepathic overload. He turned to Thraz. “I have a feeling the text is going to be moving pretty fast...I’ll need my full concentration. It would help if you would speak for me.”

    For his Aenar friend, there would be only the voice of Alyosha’s mind, not the visual images his brain wasn’t designed to process. “I’m ready,” Thraz said.

    From the seat at the bridge’s center, Alexei Ivanovich ordered, “Begin playback now.

    The screen wavered, and upon it, the dread forms of five muscular Undine, three of them with some sort of biotech battle rigs strapped on, took shape

    ...the ship shuddered and bucked with each blow to its shields. The commander of the bioship--Qa’lreeq, the text feed seemed to suggest, sat at the center of the command chamber on the same stool Captain Strannik now did, in deep rapture as she issued commands to…her Greatbody. Alyosha recalled the tickling on his skin as the Stravinsky grew the viewscreen, and in some small way, he understood. The Undine commander twitched, jumped every time the ship took another hit, but revealed little of the frenetic, transcribed activity within.

    {{Damn the void-walkers! That’s a vanguard formation--they’re running for the rift!}} her subordinate--the log named him Reiqh’Qe, the observer-tactician who made the eyes of the ship his own.

    {{They know it’s hopeless,}} Qa’lreeq intoned. {{They aim to cull our breeding in hopes that the Masters’ reign over them might be shortened. I have tasted some of their minds. We are a bare step up from the Blighted Genespawn of the first wave, in their eyes. They will see no cause to hesitate in burning home-nests; to them, there are no young and rearers, only beasts.}} The bioship commander snarled aloud, then immersed herself in the greater gestalt between the vessels. {{We do not stand alone in our theory. Warmaster Q’le deems it likely as well.}}

    Reiqh’Qe’s head whipped over to Qa’lreeq at something he’d heard/sensed in the fleet commander’s transmission. {{There’s something wrong--the Warmaster is under duress somehow--I’m losing his mind!}}

    Qa’lreeq leaped forth from the command seat faster than Alyosha’s photoreceptors could see, and cuffed Reiqh’Qe hard across the top of the head. Her claws rent into Reiqh’Qe’s flesh, though bioregeneration took hold so quickly the gashes barely had any time to bleed. {{You will not inject doubt into the mindstream!}} she snapped. {{To the sacred task!}}

    One of the planet-killers detonated right that second in a blinding ball of matter-antimatter annihilation. The insane Moabite assault on the planet-killer, Alyosha recalled. For a second, the explosion stunned them all, even...no, especially Qa’lreeq...into silence.

    {{The vanguard has crossed the threshold,}} Reiqh’Qe soon reported. {{Their coursework is sloppy--they’ve hit severe spatiotemporal distortions...that alone will finish them--Life will prevail! The Masters will prevail!}} Alyosha couldn’t put his finger on why...but the latter rang a bit like an afterthought to him, especially judging from the renewed vicious look--at least, that’s what he inferred, that Qa’lreeq gave the observer-tactician when he was slow to proclaim the Masters. At least she hadn’t hit him again.

    Suddenly, Reiqh’Qe growled, a sound that came across to Alyosha as perplexed indignation. {{Odd--the distortion rate has increased!}}

    {{Describe!}} Qa’lreeq snapped, and patched the underling into the greater gestalt where the knowers of physics could analyze. Reiqh’Qe’s information hit almost instantaneously, along with the reports of others and on their findings, Qa’lreeq issued the order: {{Prepare jump solution, Mi’haqq--}} Observer-navigator, the subtitles supplied. {{--we will jump their lines while their eyes are facing the nest-slaughterers, and burn the insect-young the instant they think they’ve taken victory upon our own! Q’ar--}} Combat-tactician. {{--lay suppressing fire on the gravity-twisters. Tl’oq,}} Ship-healer. {{Take precautions for turbulence. Aperture to Home-Space in three--two--one--}}

    Tl’oq screamed aloud in dissonant polyphonic agony. The rest joined in the next instant, clutching their heads in obvious, blinding pain as the ship jolted so hard that the footage almost cut out entirely. From the sound of it, the pain wasn’t abating. It was only growing worse.

    Now the screams resolved into words Alyosha could see before him.

    {{The rift! They’ve blown the rift!}} That was Mi’haqq. {{I’m blind--we need a navigation fix!}}

    {{Propulsion lost!}} Tl’oq, the ship-healer. {{Resuscitation failing!}}

    {{We’ve failed! They’ll punish us--the Strongest Ones, the Masters--they’ll cull our lines--my young!}}

    {{No! No!! Life-bearer, Life-bearer, it hurts, it hurts, it won’t stop!}} Reiqh’Qe cried.

    {{Dear young! I’Qil! Loq’ra! Be strong when they come for you! Fight them when they come!}}

    {{Get us out of here, shield us, hide us, something!}}

    {{Where is Home-Space?! Take us home!!}}

    {{My young, I’ve failed, I’ve failed you!}}

    {{Life-bearer, no! It’s burning, it’s all burning, you’re burning--}}

    Words gave way to incoherent screams--screams gave way to rattles--rattles gave way to...stillness. To death. The footage onscreen froze. At least it seemed to, for there was no more motion and no more text to delineate the passage of time.

    Thraz, standing at the captain’s side, made no secret of the tears leaking from his sightless eyes. Sei, at his other side, stood transfixed. As Alyosha reactivated the rest of his photoreceptors to look behind him, he saw N’Vek, and Anene too, staring at him. Slowly it dawned on him that he must not have watched their last seconds in silence. That in his natural form, he had forgotten himself and let out a piercing, high-pitched shriek in accordance with his deepest, Devidian instincts.

    Chidibere Anene was the first to speak--her voice hushed, her eyes wide...and wet with tears. “I was saying it before...how bad it would hurt if something went wrong with the ship. That was worse--way worse…” She trailed back off into silence.

    God knew it filled Alexei Ivanovich with anger, to think of the lives the Undine had taken, the destruction they had wrought. All of that was still there. But so too were the cries of horror as virtues--loyalty, zeal, love for comrades and even love for young became burning brands upon the flesh--and even worse…

    Life-bearer, you’re burning!!!

    He remembered what it had been, that awful day mere weeks into life, to ‘taste’ fear and death--yet nearly caught up into Heaven. And now they weighed heavily on him, the words of St. Isaac of Syria as the ancient ascetic spoke of Hell...not as some created realm for torment, but the suffering of being loved by that all-consuming light and fire which one had desperately and fundamentally rejected, of being too shattered and twisted to withstand it…

    It did not overturn the deeds of the Undine. The threat they presented. The fact that they had to be stopped.

    Yet he found himself praying desperately that he was wrong. That some mercy unseen and unobservable had interceded in some way beyond his understanding, between the first silence and the final death. That he had not heard what he feared he had heard.

    Не дай Бог!


    Descend into hysteria
    Chaos of mankind but who is listening to the voice of hatred
    Tortured souls lost so completely lost
    Weakened in the concept of decline, deception

    Are we alive or just breathing
    Don't close your eyes, see the images

    Are we alive or just breathing
    Don't close your eyes, see the images

    The sky weeps tonight, our bodies washed away
    I am waiting for you, deliverance
    The sun falls through the clouds
    Hear my cry

    Are we alive or just breathing
    Don't close your eyes, see the images

    Are we alive or just breathing
    Don't close your eyes, see the images

    The sky weeps tonight, our bodies washed away
    I am waiting for you, deliverance
    The sun falls through the clouds
    Hear my cry

    I am waiting for you, for you

    Killswitch Engage--“Just Barely Breathing”



    ...Horror grips us as we watch you die
    All we can do is echo your anguished cries
    Stare as all human feelings die
    We are leaving, you don't need us

    Go, take your sister then, by the hand
    Lead her away from this foreign land
    Far away, where we might laugh again
    We are leaving, you don't need us

    And it's a fair wind blowin' warm
    Out of the south over my shoulder
    Guess I'll set a course and go.

    Crosby, Stills, and Nash--“Wooden Ships”

    OK...I just got something that I posted in a single post on the original board, into 3 posts. At least this time there was enough post length for me to break it in natural section breaks. I am not sure how that will affect other writers who do longer sections, but at least I am somewhat better with this.

    Christian Gaming Community Fleets--Faith, Fun, and Fellowship! See the website and PM for more. :-)
    Proudly F2P.  Signature image by gulberat. Avatar image by balsavor.deviantart.com.
  • jonathanlonehawkjonathanlonehawk Posts: 612 Arc User
    What I don't understand is why I don't see the format abilities (bar?) that others seems to see when editing their signatures. Could it be a cache thing? Need to completely clear my cookies? I have a format bar when typing this out in the leave a comment area, just not in the signature edit area.
    [b]Still can't use BBCode for my signature, so I'm writing it out in each post... sad.[/b]
  • monkeybone13monkeybone13 Posts: 3,442 Arc User
    edited June 2015
    gulberat wrote: »
    OK, according to LT, the post character limit has doubled to 24000. I'm going to test that out.
    If you smile at me, I will understand
    'Cause that is something everybody everywhere does
    In the same language

    I can see by your coat, my friend
    You're from the other side
    There's just one thing I got to know
    Can you tell me please, who won the war ?

    Say, can I have some of your purple berries?
    Yes, I've been eating them for six or seven weeks now
    Haven't got sick once
    Probably keep us both alive

    Wooden ships on the water, very free and easy
    Easy, you know the way it's supposed to be
    Silver people on the shoreline, let us be
    Talkin' 'bout very free and easy...

    Crosby, Stills, and Nash--“Wooden Ships”


    Aboard the captured Undine vessel Stravinsky

    Yellow-green bioluminescence lit the corridors as the Chin’toka away team wended their way through the bioship, accompanied by the ever-present hiss of steam and a slow, steady, almost meditative ebb and flow to the ship’s power grid that resembled nothing more than a slow respiratory rhythm. Captain Strannik could feel the humidity on his body and drifting in it almost reminded him of swimming--except without the terror of being immersed in actual liquid water his natural form was severely unsuited to keep from asphyxiating him.

    Thank God for that mercy--that living in fluidic space did not seem to mean the Undine preferred swimming. As it was, he could still feel the moisture in the air down his throat. Though his tricorder showed nothing dangerously incompatible about the air composition, nor did he feel as if there were, the faint green hue to some of the mist that clung low to the deck was a bit unnerving to look at.

    And based on the looks on the others’ faces, especially Thraz and N’Vek’s, it had to have some interesting olfactory properties, too, that the Devidian was not disappointed to be missing out on.

    I still can’t decide if this thing is plant or animal, Alyosha thought to himself, or both. Tri-faceted muscular valves that seemed to function as blast doors relaxed themselves to reveal each next corridor when the away team approached. Weblike secretions in front of atmosphere intakes, almost seeming to serve the function of mucus, lurked in the corners and on many of the walls. Fortunately for him, his telekinesis served both to navigate away from it and to push it out of the team’s way without actually having to touch it.

    But what he saw through the photoreceptors on feet that weren’t actually touching the deck was...not animal sinew as some of those other systems suggested, but incredibly hard ‘wooden’ planks. Though he hadn’t put his weight on any of them, he had noticed the absolute absence of creaking when his crew stepped on the planks.

    The whole thing reminded him not of a sleek and advanced modern starship--but of the haunted derelict of an ancient wooden sailing ship like the the Mary Celeste. Only the ‘mind’ of the ship itself, such as it was, served in its undemanding presence as any sort of reassurance.

    A song began to circle around in his mind...timeless, and haunting aboard this ship without a home or an era: Wooden ships on the water, very free and easy...

    “How much further do we have?” asked Dr. Sei, bringing the record in his head to a needle-scratchingly abrupt stop.

    The Devidian captain drifted gently to a stop in the bioship’s corridor and turned around to face the rest of his away team. Alyosha and Thraz had both been feeling it since they came aboard the ship and inquired of it where the command center lay--a ‘compass’ of sorts that responded them with a muted sense of encouragement or discouragement depending on their progress. The feeling morphed into a directionless, quiet waiting when the telepaths halted.

    “Oh...I just lost the guide.” The Devidian turned his head to his right, snout now facing Thraz. “You too?”

    “Same here. It seems to respond to our movements.”

    Alyosha turned back to Sei, N’Vek, and Anene. “I had a thought. I’m going to see if I can get the ship to give us a time to get there. I’d like to see if I can get our communication with it onto a higher level.”

    “Stravinsky,” Alyosha sent and spoke aloud simultaneously for the benefit of the away team, “can you tell us how long it will take us to get to the command center at the pace we were doing before we stopped?

    Alyosha sensed…something in reply, some sense that they weren’t far...but it wasn’t exactly helping. “Thraz, did you catch that?”

    “It was definitely trying to answer us,” Thraz replied. “But I think it’s missing the unit of measure.”

    Well...we ruled out a tricorder interface, Alyosha thought to himself. They’d tried that almost the minute they left the shuttle. There were Undine with computer knowledge--as disastrously evidenced on 75-Tau--but until their encounter with the Borg, why would they have ever thought to configure their own ships of the line that way when the telepathic interface not only worked, but was generally hidden from normal-space signal intelligence? From their perspective, their assumption their way was superior would seem borne out by experience.

    “So how do we teach time to a ship that ignores just about every kind of user input that doesn’t come from the mind?” Chief N’Vek asked. “There are those consoles but…something about the way they work is just bizarre. A few bits look like they could be alphanumerics or pictographs--Elements know which--but I’m not so sure. Even the Borg for whatever crazy reason actually make most of their interfaces translatable. I can’t get a UT lock on the Undine pattern. Far as I can tell, no one in Starfleet or the Republic has. Sometimes it looks like bits of it should be translatable, but those squiggles and lights either shift and the UT errors out, or the damned thing just comes back and says it can’t get a lock in the first place.”

    “Why does that remind me of trying to translate Tamarian without knowing the Base Stratum? And I don’t mean that in a good way.” Sei referred to the ‘lower register’ of Tamarian, used with children--the one where words meant what they meant--a construct it turned out the Tamarians had assumed any civilized adult would have progressed beyond the need for. “You may have to avoid language entirely...you need something more basic. Something that engages the senses more directly.”

    Light danced across the Devidian’s skin. “Of course--music!” He actually bounced a few feet further in the air on the last syllable. “Hmmmm...”

    How to be that precise though...old classical’s too subjective...rock--how am I going to know I’m teaching it the exact thing? Techno, though…wait...that one classical dubstep song I remixed--

    “Perfect!” Alyosha exclaimed. “Well...it’s not the most cheerful piece, but I’ve got one. Give me a bit…I’m not having to mouth my words at least, but I’d still rather not try to talk and think at the same time.”

    Spot for me on this, Thraz… The Aenar XO wordlessly agreed to guard the weaker telepath. All right… Stravinsky, prepare to receive time metrics. One minute comprises 120 beats of the first part of this sample. Two beats--one second. Compare to the second part of this sample--one beat, one second, 60 beats per minute.

    He cued the music up in his mind, skipping past the initial windup to--Okh, der’mo! That could so be taken the wrong way... He paused. Disregard all sample linguistic input! Then he started over, bringing the track up to speed, not even noticing he was conducting as though he had a band in front of him, and then the drop hit with a push of intent from Alyosha:

    December the First, 2808--Doomsday.

    He pushed the memory of the song to the bioship, until it returned--

    Translated into Federation Standard words: Error! Highly irregular input detected!

    Bozhe moi, nyet, nyet, nyet!” the Russian-Devidian exclaimed out loud, brightening the words with a human laugh. “Ehto dubstep; nye slushay ehtu chast’!” He addressed the away team. “It locked onto the wrong part of the song.” He mentally highlighted the beat and re-sent… “There we go. We have an answer. Forty-seven seconds at our previous pace.”

    “We just used way more time than that to get that information…” N’Vek commented.

    “We did,” the captain acknowledged with a nod. “But what we got was more than just a calculation. We got proof this ship can align to our frame of reference, bit by bit. If we’re going to have any hope of really translating what’s going on here, we’ve got to keep doing things like that.”

    With a gentle telekinetic nudge, Alyosha turned back the way they’d been headed--and there it was again: that sense of confirmation…destination just ahead.

    As promised, it wasn't long before a larger, more robust tri-faceted valve than they'd seen since the one to the 'shuttlebay' relented at their approach to reveal...

    A cavernous chamber with inscrutable swirled-motif consoles not just before them on ground level, but running up the ceiling where by everything Alyosha had ever known...except from studies of the early interplanetary era, before artificial gravity...they ought not be. N'Vek shuddered visibly. They'd all seen the footage of Undine crawling down from the ceiling to spring on their victims unawares. Light shone down from the front--at least Alyosha assumed it was the front based on the consoles' orientation--as if from a giant skylight on the upper level.

    "Wow," Anene breathed. Alyosha had to agree. Truly this was the living center deep within the ship.

    "Even an Odyssey's bridge has nothing on this," Thraz confirmed. "Your footsteps have a long way to go before the echo comes back to you."

    "What I don't see anywhere is a viewscreen," N'Vek observed. "I'd feel a little better about all of this if I could see where the Chin'toka is parked."

    "That would be nice," Alyosha agreed. This deep into the bioship, and it could be doing just about anything and they wouldn't know it. "Stravinsky, can you give us a way to visually observe outside conditions from the bridge?" he inquired with thought and voice, sending an example image of his own bridge's front viewer.

    Something shifted. He couldn't see it when he aimed his attention frontwards and up where he knew it ought to be--but for just a moment the sensation resonated as if a healing itch upon his own skin. He turned to Thraz. "Did you feel that?"

    "Very much so," he affirmed. "Actual tactile sensations, like an extension of our own bodies."

    "That could be very helpful in diagnosing the ship if something went wrong," N'Vek supplied.

    Anene chipped in, "I bet it would really, really hurt if something bad enough happened."

    “That depends on how close the link is,” Thraz said. “And just how severe the injury is.”

    Alyosha nodded. He remembered--regretfully--when he’d shapeshifted on broken bones on 75-Tau, and the pain contorting Thraz’ and Spitz-Reader’s faces both.

    “So what did you sense?” Sei asked.

    “Well, I...have a feeling what the ship is doing up there,” the captain said, looking back up at the spot that had compelled him earlier. Though his head turned one direction, his fingers keyed commands into his tricorder as other photoreceptors monitored that work. “I’m going up to get some closer readings.”

    He didn’t even have to hear words from Thraz to catch the wave of worry and skepticism at that idea.

    “I’ll need you all taking baseline readings as well. As for me…” Alyosha pointed at a conduit running along the right side of the bridge up to the top level--or maybe it shouldn’t be called a conduit at all. Maybe an artery or vein lurked beneath its sheath; there was no telling. “I’m going up that, and I’m going to stay well to the side of whatever it’s doing.”

    With that, the Devidian lowered himself to the ground. His feet touched down and as his knees bent, he swept his arms out for balance and...vaulted up at the wall, over a ground-level console. He didn’t quite do as he’d seen footage of the Undine doing--he did still like to actually grab onto things with his clawed hands when he climbed this way--but he pulled up onto the pipe. Once actually up, though, his feet didn’t actually have to touch the pipe beneath them. Just seeing it was directly beneath him at a reasonable proximity was good enough.

    It feels good to move like this outside a holodeck once in a while, he thought to himself with an inner smile.

    He drifted up to the upper level--up towards the area where he sensed activity in the ship’s structure--but then...he pushed further. He wasn’t far from the seeming ‘skylight.’ And though planked off for the most part, he caught a glimpse of the light. “Ohhh, krasivo!” he whispered to himself.

    Light poured out from another chamber--far more expansive than the bridge--like gold of the rising sun, though not quite that painful to look at. Painful and magnificent--not exactly as the Gameptian phasic onerite had been, but equally captivating--it streamed between bedewed silk-strands, which sparkled like stars in a nebula. Further within, as best as he could tell...lay the ‘core,’ or ‘mind,’ of the ship.

    Sometimes there is still joy in the discovery, he thought to himself. Even here--even in a ship that has been used so terribly, there is still beauty.



    Starfleet Runabout Onyx
    Beta Ursae Sector Block, en route to the USS Akellen Macet


    Gul Tayben Berat’s thoughts were anything but beautiful. True, they weren’t as vicious as before, when he’d stood before...he couldn’t help himself. He glanced back at the aft compartment where Grady’s ashes, and all of the murdered captain’s personal effects that hadn’t been destroyed in the fight, had made the journey to Mars. The book of condolences, too, that Colonel D’Moj’s Moabites had compiled for the family...that had been back there too.

    Though they carried a different cargo now, he couldn’t help but see the meager material remnants of Lofton Grady’s life--ended by the Undine.

    Berat and Jark hadn’t spoken much on the ride back. Not that Jark was cleared to know about the possibility Starfleet Command was infiltrated--the Ferengi lawyer’s natural resistance had protected him about as much as Berat’s disciplines had--but the encounter with Admiral Quinn had cast an ugly pall over what would have been an unpleasant trip no matter what.

    Berat couldn’t stand the silence anymore. “So. You saw Quinn and Martens, and heard what they had to say. What’s your professional opinion?”

    “Quinn’s in defiance of the Omega Doctrine--and my reading of the Doctrine is the same as yours. If he thinks he can define it how he wants because of what it’s called, well, he’s dead wrong. When you read what it actually says, it applies to ‘all equivalent biological or technological threat species’ that meet the criteria of one--forced conversion, and two--malignant spread. The only way you’d be able to wiggle your way out of it is if there’s actually a practical chance of negotiating a cease-and-desist order with the parasitic species.” The Ferengi snorted. “Fat chance something like that could ever happen.”

    “Do you believe it’s willful?”

    “Oh, yes--absolutely. Until the incursions started, the Borg threat’s been front and center, and there’s no way in the Vault of Eternal Destitution that Quinn wouldn’t have been right in the thick of writing a critical doctrine like that! You don’t delegate something that’s going to cost that many lives to your staff to write without even one little due diligence check, not unless you’re a lobeless idiot, trying to commit career suicide, or a frinxing traitor. And those come in all sorts of nice flavors, like ‘on the take,’ ‘industrial espionage,’ and ‘just plain old crazy.’”

    Berat offered a solemn nod. “Which do you think it is?”

    “Honestly? If I had to guess, I’d say the guy’s on the take. Federation morality my ass. Look at his aide! It was pretty much ‘monkey see, monkey do’ as the humans say…” He did not say ‘hew-mons.’ “No independent thought. Every reaction of his mirrored Quinn’s, way more than it should’ve. If Martens was uncomfortable with what his boss was doing, there’d be at least some tiny tells. And yeah, even right in front of the kingpin himself...only an AI can hide things that well.

    “I can’t decide whether Martens was blackmailed, or on drugs, or maybe a combination of both. And before you say that’s crazy, I’ve seen that kind of thing before in sex trafficking rings of all things. Either the mark is an addict before the ring gets a hold of him, or they slip something in his drink for a while to get him started and then show up with the ‘solution’ right when he’s about to come completely and totally unhinged. You do it to keep someone compliant, beholden to you for your supply and maybe some ‘protection money’ while you’re at it, and you keep them afraid to tell the truth because it’s the junkie’s word versus the upstanding citizen. Who’d believe a sezz case or a neurohead over the CinC of Starfleet?”

    Wow...he’s close!

    Jark paused. A long, haunted pause. “An unwilling neuroslave. Someone who didn’t have the ego or the ambition. Never sought this out. And now he has all the lobes in the world to know exactly what’s been done to him and what’s going to happen to him if he doesn’t get the next dose. He also knows he can’t tell anyone--they’ll throw him in jail, wean him, let him rot because the law’s against him just for living like that. He deteriorates...he goes into a care home...his family, his friends, the colleagues he still cares about, all screwed over because of something that’s not even his fault like it is with most neuroheads. And he can imagine it all in painful, holographic detail. Someone like that...he’s not even dosing for power or success or fame, none of the things neuroheads usually chase their tails for. He’s dosing just to live and he feels like sh*t about it the whole way.”

    He’s surely suffering just that badly, Berat thought to himself, if not even worse. He fought not to stare at the aft compartment again.

    The Cardassian knitted his eye ridges as best as the thick cartilage allowed, and turned devil’s advocate even as he tried to suppress the image of Grady’s tormented corpse. “I don’t know that Martens’ behavior was far off enough to reach all the way to drugs,” Berat said. “He didn’t seem to have any problem staying on his feet, he wasn’t slurring his speech, he didn’t have any unusual tics or spasms, there were no signs of desperation...might that be a bit of a reach, Commander? Could it also be he just didn’t know Quinn was in the wrong on the Omega Doctrine?”

    “Well…” The JAG officer let out a sigh that sounded more like a hiss than anything. “You could be right, sir. That would be the other explanation as to why he didn’t object, or show any signs of unease. Still...it stands to reason he’d be neck-deep in the research for the Board of Inquiry, and he ought to know better. Of course if you’re delusional enough or sociopathic enough, the normal tells wouldn’t show either. But--sorry, Admiral for saying, but you’re more likely to find a sociopath in command than administration. I still think, with all of the circumstantial evidence, and everything you told me about your last run-in, when Martens wasn’t there, that Quinn’s your kingpin.”

    “And given the implications of that...” Berat fixed Jark with a stare intense enough to trigger the ‘prey’ instincts in the Ferengi and make him squirm in his seat. “I’ll want a complete listing of all the other points of evidence and deviations from lawful conduct that you observe or suspect. You are under orders not to discuss this matter with anyone but myself, Admiral ch’Harrell, Strannik, th'Valek, or Redmond. Those are the only people cleared for this. The power that man has at his disposal if he’s corrupt--if the political moves we’ve seen lately are any indication, he may already have blood on his hands. Put simply, it may not take another beastly invasion force like the last one to overrun the Quadrant. It could well implode from within. This fleet must survive--must avoid undue attention--until it is time to strike.”

    Jark released another one of those hiss-sighs. “Strike…how, precisely?”

    How indeed.

    “Very carefully.

    Noooooo!

    Holey great walls of text Batman! :#
    When quoting you it shows the WHOLE text. I had to scroll way up to pic an emoji. :'(

    I still can't figure out how to log out of this site without going to the Arc website directly.

    I click the 'Home' button on the top left above my avatar it takes me to here http://perfectworld.vanillaforums.com/
    Nowhere on the page is there an option or popup when hovering my mouse to log out. *scrolls up to the moon to pick an emoji* :(

    Edit: There is also no link to this page here http://www.arcgames.com/en/games from the forums home page. At that page I can log in and out. Edit: There is a 'sign in' button on the forums homepage but after logging in it takes me away from the forums and puts me on the http://www.arcgames.com/en/games From this page I click 'Social' then 'Forums' and it gives me a list to the specific forums to each game instead of taking me to the Arc forums home page. So from the Arc website I can't figure out how to get here (I got the link for the Arc forums homepage from a dev blog Trendy had posted).
    picard-facepalm_zpssvoltqmi.jpg~original
  • gulberatgulberat Posts: 400 Arc User
    Well, good news for you monkeybone, on my REAL fanfic posts, I typically write something like "story" into the thread title, so you'll know what you're getting into before you ever open the thread. :p ;)

    Christian Gaming Community Fleets--Faith, Fun, and Fellowship! See the website and PM for more. :-)
    Proudly F2P.  Signature image by gulberat. Avatar image by balsavor.deviantart.com.
  • monkeybone13monkeybone13 Posts: 3,442 Arc User
    gulberat wrote: »
    Well, good news for you monkeybone, on my REAL fanfic posts, I typically write something like "story" into the thread title, so you'll know what you're getting into before you ever open the thread. :p ;)

    Well I'm not into fanfic so I don't have to worry about lengthy posts there.

    What I *do* find annoying is someone leaving a "why didn't you fix this and this and this and this" great walls of texts in threads for patch notes or other things that have nothing to do with reporting bugs, and/or they go on lengthy rants. :*
    picard-facepalm_zpssvoltqmi.jpg~original
  • monkeybone13monkeybone13 Posts: 3,442 Arc User
    edited June 2015
    Thank you whoever. Looks like it's fixed. I can now log out while on the forums home page. :)

    Just noticed: the problem before was it was missing the Arc logo, Games, Social, Arc News, etc. links at the top along with the shopping cart icon and username at the very top right corner. Now I click my user name there and get the same account/log out options as the main Arc website. :D
    picard-facepalm_zpssvoltqmi.jpg~original
  • monkeybone13monkeybone13 Posts: 3,442 Arc User
    I'm starting to like it here. I have over 3,100 posts on the STO forums and I have to start from scratch here.

    Some people don't like change but I can adjust to it.
    picard-facepalm_zpssvoltqmi.jpg~original
  • nrglgnrglg Posts: 347 Arc User
    I think most people can deal with or want the change. However, there are still real problems that haven't been resolved (exploits/bugs). There are also numerous usability issues that exist and that have been talked about throughout this thread. That's the real problem. If they'd resolve those issues I think most people would be okay with the change. I for example, love Markdown. So I want this forum to be adopted because of my fetish of it. However, usability and security issues are more of a concern to me than that feature.

    Look back at page 11. I broke their parser: http://perfectworld.vanillaforums.com/discussion/7895/testing-bug-hunting-and-finding-exploits/p11

    These kinds of issues do bother me because it shows incompetent programmers. Mind you, not PWE, but the Vanilla Forum people. This kind of incompetence terrifies me to no end because it just screams more security exploits to come. vBulletin had this issues for a long time as well, but has mostly stamped it out. Either they've hired more competent people or they've become more competent. Either way, I doubt I've even touched the tip of the ice burg with what I found. I'm on vacation though, so I'm not really in the mood for doing anymore digging or paying attention to this. Plans will likely go forward and at some point if someone pays attention to what I've been saying, and has the skills, they may find what I found and more.

    GAME FORUMS (Direct Link & Arc Frame)
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    Forum Enhancements and Visual Improvements
    (Greasemonkey/Tampermonkey and/or Stylish required)
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  • catgirldesucatgirldesu Posts: 24 Arc User
    Hm.. ignore this post.. just checking something.
  • asterelleasterelle Posts: 368 Arc User
    So can you still use HTML by modifying the hidden input element?
  • asterelleasterelle Posts: 368 Arc User
    asterelle wrote: »
    So can you still use HTML by modifying the hidden input element?
    Ahh so you can still quote an HTML post as BBcode but you'd lose the formatting. That's decent. This input will need a color picker for all the people who rely on that on pwi forums.
  • crypticarmsmancrypticarmsman Posts: 2,399 Arc User
    And as you can see it works fine if I use the same code in the comments:
    Formerly known as Protector from June 2008 to June 20, 2012
    STO%20LCARS%20Sig-Andromeda7022.png
    If the KDF can get a Fleet D7 (That can be upgraded to a T5-U), the Feds should have a Fleet Exeter.

    1) all tags and tag entries need to be lower case in the signature editing field - if they're in uppercase you get what you were seeing when you first copy-pasted from the vbulliten STO board.

    2) Even though a center tag is available in the new 'Vanilla' sig editor, whatever they are doing to process the signature BB code - center isn't a recognized tag.

    Don't know what to say as I had the same issue you did when I first copy pasted my sig code from the forums, but in checking the editor functions all the B code icon had the tag info in al lowercase, so changing all the code tags in my ig to all lowercase got me the results you see (which is also why I see the center tag isn't yet supported by what I see in my and others sigs currently.
    Formerly known as Armsman from June 2008 to June 20, 2012
    TOS_Sig_Sm1755Pop.jpg
    PWE Drone says: "Your STO forum community as you have known it is ended...Display names are irrelevant...Any further sense of community is irrelevant...Resistance is futile...You will be assimilated..."
  • gulberatgulberat Posts: 400 Arc User
    I suspect the reason my centering is working is because some HTML I did got grandfathered in somehow.

    Christian Gaming Community Fleets--Faith, Fun, and Fellowship! See the website and PM for more. :-)
    Proudly F2P.  Signature image by gulberat. Avatar image by balsavor.deviantart.com.
  • cococyacococya Posts: 230 Arc User
    edited June 2015
    Hm.. ignore this post.. just checking something.

    :open_mouth: Desi, I love your Holo avatar <3 .
    ladybeard-crossdressing-wrestler-death-metal-singer-05.jpg
  • thestargazethestargaze Posts: 722 Arc User
    Testing form
  • thestargazethestargaze Posts: 722 Arc User
    My image won't show up in the signature? I can't even preview in signatur editor.
  • xtern1tyxtern1ty Posts: 864 Arc User
    Great to things moving forward again. Got a meeting for now but I'll be back to run sig tests.
    [img][/img]hcSfM9O.gif
  • kurumimorishitakurumimorishita Posts: 555 Arc User
    Test......
    "My people have a reputation for arrogance. I'm afraid it's well-earned."
    gnmIUhe.jpg
    "She may have flaws, but she has teeth."
  • gulberatgulberat Posts: 400 Arc User
    My image won't show up in the signature? I can't even preview in signatur editor.

    I can see your sig just fine. Are you seeing it now?

    Christian Gaming Community Fleets--Faith, Fun, and Fellowship! See the website and PM for more. :-)
    Proudly F2P.  Signature image by gulberat. Avatar image by balsavor.deviantart.com.
  • salacnar070890salacnar070890 Posts: 152 Arc User
    How does one get gifs to work
    Comptia A+ and Network+ Certified, Microsoft Certified Proffesional
    Original Join Date: October 22, 2009 During CBT of STO
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  • kimonykimony Posts: 492 Arc User
    edited June 2015
    <center>Attention Signal</center>
    <center>https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/07/Emergency_broadcast_system.ogg</center>

    <center>CivilDefenseLogo.jpg</center>

    <center>This is a test of the Emergency Broadcast Arc forums posting functionality.. This is only a test.</center>

    <center>Edit:</center>
    <center>
    "Woohoo.. I finally made it!"
    </center>

    B)

    <center>We now return you to your regularly scheduled posts in:</center>
    • 3
    • 2
    • 1

    Post edited by kimony on

    -v- Originally Posted by coupaholic -v-
    "Don't Panic, They're Just Topping Up The Tanks With Awesome Sauce."
  • jonathanlonehawkjonathanlonehawk Posts: 612 Arc User
    edited June 2015
    What the h e double hockey sticks. is everyone using BBCode or HTML for their sigs? How come yours are showing up but mine isn't.
    [b]Still can't use BBCode for my signature, so I'm writing it out in each post... sad.[/b]
  • kimonykimony Posts: 492 Arc User
    edited June 2015
    What the h e double hockey sticks. is everyone using BBCode or HTML for their sigs? How come yours are showing up but mine isn't.

    I used this link:

    arcgames.com/en/forums#/profile/signature

    my signature pic is being pulled from image hosting site, the text was typed in the box on that page automagically

    Edit:
    I also found this simple guide (How I did everything on my first post):
    freewebs.com/pinkpuppet/allyouneedtoknow.htm

    :)

    edit 2:
    Colored text in the signature area uses this format:

    sigtextformat_zps2n4v7jcp.jpg

    Here is a color guide:
    freewebs.com/pinkpuppet/bbcodecolorchart.htm

    To use the colors in the color guide insert the #abc123 (including the # symbol) of your desired color in between the " "s where it says "your color here"
    in the example above.

    :)

    Edit 3:
    Here is my signature code to use as an example for centering, color, bold text. etc:

    mysigcode_zpswzdqd8va.jpg

    Here is a link to find the live text that can be copied and pasted or edited ( Insert your link and text replacing mine) rather trying to copy by typing:
    textuploader.com/nj1c

    :)
    Post edited by kimony on

    -v- Originally Posted by coupaholic -v-
    "Don't Panic, They're Just Topping Up The Tanks With Awesome Sauce."
  • kaiserkactokaiserkacto Posts: 471 Arc User
    edited June 2015
    Let me try this, I want to see if my signature is working fine

    So, the
    [center] [/center]
    
    tags don't work, but the
    <center> </center>
    
    tags do

    ...
    ...
    ...
    ok then :/
    Post edited by kaiserkacto on
    "In every age,
    In every place,
    The deeds of men remain the same..."
    76561198047946164.png
  • rahmkota19rahmkota19 Posts: 1,454 Arc User
    Just casually slipping in a post to check if the signature is gonna work correctly.
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    Get the Forums Enhancement Extension!</div>
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