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Creative writing hub for the Foundry

duncanidaho11duncanidaho11 Member Posts: 7,608 Arc User
edited September 2016 in Fan Creations
Hey peoples,

The Foundry requires a lot of things. Patience, flexibility, an affinity for moving blocks by fractions of a meter until they're just right, but another part of the whole thing is writing. We create things that have their the space in STO, but that's not the only format authors use to develop their characters and series. Mission reports, story blogs, there's a lot of Foundry-related writing we can do outside the Foundry.

So here's a great big bucket for it. If you've written something related to the Foundry why not share it below? If you want to write something, why not try it out?

There's only two things I'll ask.
  1. It directly relates to the Foundry in some way.
  2. You use spoiler tags around your piece so people can easily browse through the thread.

With that, here's a bunch of my own Foundry-related writing to get things started. Have fun, feel free to discuss (keeping in mind that this isn't a writing class), and I look forward to seeing what others have created (or will create).
Post edited by duncanidaho11 on
Bipedal mammal and senior Foundry author.
Last missions:
Evolution's Smile [SSF:3-3]
Epoch, Part 2 [AEI]
Transcendence, Part 4
Memorial Tour

For the latest Tardigrades and other creative output: @Gorgonops_SSF
Looking for something new to play? The interactive Foundry Mission Database has you covered.


  • duncanidaho11duncanidaho11 Member Posts: 7,608 Arc User
    edited September 2016

    -Occurs shortly after Gemini
    Captain Ross's stare wandered across his desk with dull incomprehension. His officers looked at the ceiling with nothing at all except on one a slight grin.

    “Who started the fire,” he said without looking up.

    Itrex remained rigid. Graves tip-toed into the inquiry, “Technically, it started itself, sir.”

    “So, Club 47's replicator system simply decided to free itself of its physical form and join the universe in an entropic blaze of glory?”

    “Something like that, sir. The stunner hit probably pushed it over the edge.”

    Ross sighed. Before him stood half of his team and complaints from a bar room's worth of Starfleet's finest.

    “Who fired the stunner?”

    Itrex tensed. Graves eased in, “Station security officer, sir, a Benzite. He fired in contravention of riot control protocol seven, section three, paragraph one, line six.”

    “I saw you with the PADD outside.”

    Graves shrank back, “Had to be sure, sir.”

    Ross tried a look on Itrex, then relented to the futility of the exercise. He tried instead the damage reports, written complaints, and a demand for action from Admiral Riit but they too remained resolute. He fell back on words, “I assume the four of you walked in without intending to cause a major inter-species incident?”

    “No, sir. Ji'Goro needed some downtime after the immigration hearing and Bailey opted for the Club 47 lounge area.”

    In the stillness, Grave's slight shifting was like a tree flexing to a strong wind.

    “Cetsa wasn't mentioned with...”

    “No, Graves, not in the worst of it.”

    The gale ebbed. Ross continued, “I assume you were able to make it in the bar without shots fired?”

    “Yes, sir. We even made it to a table.”

    “What happened at the table.”


    “And?” Ross pressed.

    “And more drinks.”

    “Then?” the inquisition continued.

    “And then the Cruwan Ambassador.”

    Ross looked down, “You mean the one who eventually threw Bailey over the bar area?”

    Itrex snapped open, “Their homeworld has exceptionally high gravity for a planet capable of bearing a space-faring civilization, Captain. Commander Bailey handled herself exceptionally well under the circumstances.”

    “The medical report says something like that too,” Ross stated flatly. “So what brought The Hammer of Cru down onto three of my officers?”

    Graves tensed. Itrex tensed.

    “This is an official debriefing, gentlemen.”

    After another moment, Graves broke, “He...made a pass, sir.”

    “A pass?”

    “At Ji'Goro.” Graves continued to unwind, “We didn't realize it at first. The UT had some trouble with the idioms.”

    “So you reacted?” Ross thrust.

    “No, Bailey,” Graves parried.

    Ross glanced up. Graves continued, “We told him to leave but he refused. We invoked diplomatic protocols and he pushed them aside. Bailey then got up and the Ambassador took that as a challenge. She went over the bar, Itrex and I went for the legs, and we all fell through onto the next table.”

    Itrex pressed on, “That's when the crew of the S.S. Pontifical joined in, and the U.S.S. Avenger, and three guild merchants from the Ferengi alliance, and Captain Havalan of the R.R.W. Epitaph, and the Club 47 staff, and a Bajoran monk who I think only came in to use the facilities.”

    “And Ji'Goro?”

    Graves eased, “When I lost sight of her she was still sipping her Tranya. I don't think she was paying much attention.”

    Ross sat back. His feet lumbered over the desk and the following moments were filled with the silence of contemplation.

    “So, what do I tell Riit?”

    Graves' and Itrex's eyes shot towards the ceiling.

    “She's not taking this lightly. The Cruwan Ambassador hasn't made an issue of it but disrupting ESD operations isn't something that the Admiral is going to overlook. Diplomatic incident or no, she wants your skins.”

    Graves and Itrex continued inspecting the ceiling. It provided no answers.

    “It was the Ambassador who approached you?”

    “Yes,” went Graves' reflexes.

    “And the Ambassador reacted to Bailey merely standing up?”

    “Yes,” chimed Graves again.

    “And the two of you only got involved after the Ambassador effectively assaulted Bailey?”

    Graves' stare returned earthwards, “Yes.”

    Itrex followed, “It seems the Ambassador wasn't fully briefed on Sol-system social protocols”

    Ross slowly folded his arms behind his head, “which would have been the province of the ranking Starfleet officer who engaged with the Ambassador for the duration of his stay on ESD.”

    Graves stared. Itrex stared. Ross continued to lounge.

    “When's Bailey due out of medical?”

    “1400 hours” Itrex reported.

    “And Ji'Goro?”

    “Probably face down in guest quarters,” Graves said suspiciously.

    “So in about, let's see, an hour meet me over at docking port five. U.S.S. Terminus is on its way to Ellat and I'm sure there's something we can find to do over that way. You're authorized to use repulsor lifts for either of them if they're still out of it.”

    “You're really going to throw this back at Admiral Riit?”

    “Yup, why else do you think I'm working on an escape plan?”

    Jail Break
    -Occurs after Entropy, before Starfarertheta's mission Cyber
    Proxy: Active.
    End point location: I.K.S. Relorum [Kurak class, commissioned: 2410]
    Monitoring in progress...

    Subject 1: You didn't hide them very well.

    Subject 2: I don't know what you mean

    Subject 1: The tribbles.

    Subject 2: ...what tribbles?

    Subject 1: The ones I found underneath the deck plating in our quarters.

    Subject 2: I made sure they had food and water.

    Subject 1: Yes, you did.

    Subject 2: So...how many...

    Subject 1: I'm not sure. They broke out and made their way clear across deck 3.

    Subject 2: Are they alright?

    Subject 1: [Sigh], yes they are but you know what the Klingons would have done if...

    Subject 2: ...

    Subject 1: ...obviously we can't keep all of them on board but I noticed this one had an isolinear tag.

    Subject 2: Vudan!

    Subject 1: We'll set it up with a more secure pen later...

    Subject 2: Him.

    Subject 1: ...But in the meantime I want you to take a look at something.

    Subject 2: It's a linear subspace distortion, what's the point of origin?

    Subject 1: Not sure, but it was directed towards Iconia.

    Subject 2: What are you going to do?

    Subject 1: Keep watching, but you know who'd really be interested in this.

    Feed terminated [transwarp signature detected at last known point]

    Subject 1 identified [87%]: General V'Kan
    Threat level: Low
    Action: Locate, Monitor

    Subject 2 Identified [98%]: Cetsa Unali Ji'Goro
    Threat level: Low
    Action: Locate, Monitor

    Reference Unidentified [2%]
    Threat level: Moderate
    Action: Identify, Locate, Monitor

    Office Hours
    -Occurs shortly before Trident, Part 1
    “Ah, Itrex. Come in.”
    “Hello Doctor.”
    “I’m ‘Burke’ here. I can’t do much about Sol traditions in the long view but I can still bar them from getting in here.”

    Burke reaches back and pulls a drink from the replicator. Itrex sits down.

    “No thank you.”
    “Well it may have been too much to hope that you came half-way across the galaxy for a chat and a lie back. What’s up?”
    “There’s a thing.”
    “In subspace.”
    “I see…”
    “And we think someone built it.”
    “So where’s the Dyson Joint Command’s problem with that?”
    “It’s big.”
    “How big?”
    “Several times the mass of Earth.”
    “Which means either a lot of storage space, work space, or a lot of living space. I don’t suppose you’ve asked the Iconians about it?”
    “The Alliance hasn’t approached the subject directly, but we don’t think it’s theirs.”
    “Technical reasons?”
    “Yes, we think it’s something new.”
    “Made my someone with better spatial engineering skills than the Iconians.”
    “And you want me to talk to them?”
    “Perhaps not you, but we’d like your feedback during the mission. Your expertise on humanoid developmental patterns could be quite useful.”
    “...you knew about my request to Starfleet, didn’t you?”
    “After the fact, they informed us you were looking for interested in taking on a field assignment.”
    “And this would do it. I was hoping for something just a little closer to home though.”

    Burke leans back.

    “Will you accept?”
    “Only if I they’re sending me out with someone who knows what they’re doing. I don’t want to walk onto that ship and find its captain only took command because their CO was killed on their first tour.”
    “Don’t worry, we have a well-qualified lead candidate."

    City Lights
    -No set time period yet, character yet to appear in SSF
    “You’re awake”
    Romulan Senator Ronho Ghir jerked. His hands and legs were bound to one of an ornately carved dining chairs, one of a set he had bought for his imperial apartment. He sat in the middle of his lounge, facing the balcony window. In the evening light all he could see was the silhouette of a man leaning out.
    “There wasn’t much time to recruit good people. What I had left, well let’s just say they aren’t familiar with Romulan physiology.”
    Ghir sat silent.
    “Are you feeling alright?”
    “What do you want?”
    “Not much.”
    Ghir tried to make out more of the man’s outline. The ears stood out against the sunset.
    “You’re one of D’tan’s rebels.”
    “I’m no one’s rebel.” The stranger turned to face Ghir, still a shadow against the light. “Where’d you send them?”
    The stranger fired. A plasma bolt screamed past the senator. From behind him came the sound of splintering woodwork. A free chair leg plonked against the marble floor.
    “From here I have line of sight on another one of those gaudy things. After that I’ve got to settle for what’s in front of me.”
    “I wasn’t informed of the details.”
    “I’m sure you weren’t.” The stranger fired again. A burning splinter came past to land on the marble in front of Ghir.
    “Who’d notice?”
    “The Orions”
    Ghir waited. The stranger remained as he was.
    “Three hundred and fifty two people. Three hundred and fifty two people just trying to make a life for themselves.”
    “Unlawfully taken, the Romulan Imperium annexed that world but a few months ago. It was a Dutali colony for quite some time before you took interest in its Kemocite deposits.”
    “What relationship does the Republic have with the Dutali Duchy?”
    “We’re neighbors, that’s all. The matter was brought up at a reception diner and I decided to take an interest in it.”
    Ghir stated, the stranger interrupted “I just happened to be listening.”
    The silence stretched out in time with the growing darkness.
    “I don’t like being in this position. Whatever I do now is just so much noise against the universe.”
    Ghir waited.
    “A servant will be up shortly to deliver a note. It’s just some names, peers of yours. They were hoping I going to leave here tonight with one more chair in ruins.”
    The stranger leaned sidewise. A plasma bolt screeched past Ghir.
    “Sorry, I was just able to make another one out.”
    “Are you quite finished?”
    “I suppose so.”
    The stranger strode past in shadow. On his way out came the cacophonous sound of dining room destruction.
    He yelled back “redecorating will help take your mind off things.”
    The door closed, and Ghir could only reflect on the city in twilight.

    Store-front Reflection
    -No set time period yet, character yet to appear in SSF
    Palhal Tweg sat back. From a creaking wooden chair the old Gavarite regarded the grungy walls of alcove 35 of Grastok depot with pride. They defined his space, his life, within the fading promenade from which his fingers stretched out into a mighty domain. He saw outside a smoking Rigelian eatery. From around the corner he could just make out the hum the hopeful Talaxian and his isolinear reprocessor. And down the way he knew that an obstreperous Tholian tailor brought into the fading light finely tempered garments of radiant splendor that perhaps equaled, but did not exceed, Palhal’s own creations.

    His eyes fell to the task at hand. After a moment, his hand found the precise instrument for beauty to be wrought. With the other he steadied his medium, his divine in potential. With a master’s concentration, he brought the hammer down. A hatch flew open on the ruined manifold.

    “Not much to look at,” came a voice.
    Palhal turned, “Zacius, my boy!”
    “Hello Palhal.”
    “No, I’m afraid it isn’t,” said a rotating Palhal. “This came from a TY-55 Nyberite Runner that I came by in the usual way.”
    “Right, and the Ferengi didn’t know what he was giving away?”
    “They never do.”

    Palhal laid the hammer down on the dusty bench. Both he and the chair groaned as Pahlhal rose to embrace the welcome intruder into his domain. Zacius gave him a familial pat on the back. Ritual complete, they took accompanying chairs.

    “How’s life?” said Palhal in the welcome pattern.
    “The same,” followed Zacius. “That Antedean Corsair was a fine job.”
    From his chair Palhal took an indulgently theatrical bow.
    “I did manage to save something of it though.” Zacius produced an engraved plate from his pack. Palhal took it and delicately ran his hand across gilded surface.
    He mused, “the Antedeans are a cynical people. They don’t cherish much but their soul shows in one or two places.” Palhal smiled, “it’s a genuine pleasure to see this again.” He set it aside and ordered two drinks from a replicator installed into the bench-top.

    “Where is it this time?” Palhal asked as he offered the steaming beverage.
    Zacius took a long sip, “Donia.”
    Palhal chewed the word, “Donia, the Federation transport authority has a route through there if I’m not mistaken.”
    “They do.” Zacius took another long sip, “but they don’t get there the way I need to.”
    Palhal nodded, “I’m afraid a Danteri Surveyor is all I have ready at the moment. Atalanta picked up the Nausicaan Interceptor I mentioned last time.”
    “The usual cocktail?”
    “Control systems reconfigured for single occupancy and the EPS grid shunted to engines.”
    “How’s the sensor grid?”
    “50% fragmentation on the lateral arrays but the rest read clear.”
    “Perfect,” Zacius reached for his PADD to complete the sale. Palhal put his hand up.

    “No, no, Zacius. Your generosity is not required.”
    “My allocation from the Republic easily covers the occasional single-ship.”
    “I noticed,” Palhal leaned over the table, “the last transfer had an extra zero.”
    Zacius sat back, “I know you don’t do this for the money.”
    Palhal nodded graciously.
    “But I know it can help.”
    Palhal sighed, “to think how far you’ve come since I first met you.”
    Zacius looked down. Palhal reached out and patted him on the shoulder.
    “We all grow, Zacius. From what is immaterial. The important thing is what we grow into.”
    “Even a kid should know better,” Zacius reflected.
    “It grew back,” Palhal smiled and twiddled the fingers of his left hand. “You had a lot on your shoulders then, and you still do now. Just remember that the burden is not yours alone.”
    “Thanks,” eased Zacius. He looked around the shop. “Anyone else pass through recently?”
    “Oh, just an Ibi.”

    -Occurs at the beginning of the Alliance Exploration Initiative
    “Not there!” Haasra called.

    The case hesitated briefly before determinately completing its journey. Ch'that kicked it aside and turned to face the good doctor.

    “I'm not a porter.”
    “But you'd make a good one,” Haasra said earnestly. “See that case over there?”

    Ch'that said nothing.

    “Break whatever's inside it.”

    Ch'that said nothing, but the tone was different. She walked over to the container and read the label.

    “Starfleet medical supplies: pediatric. Handle with care.”
    “Should say 'Starfleet Intel: if you write everything down and place it inside it would save us a whole lot of bother.'”

    Ch'that inspected the contents. They included several tricorders, hyposprays, and a variety of bright fluffy plushed toys. It was inside these where she found the recording devices.

    Ch'that threw them aside, “Is this a joke?”
    “Parting gift, I think. They had at least three people watching me since I left Iffar,” Haasra replied.
    “And they let you into the DJC?”
    “It showed I was serious.”
    “A serious cook.”
    “Cook, tour guide, taxi driver, mechanic, body guard, cleaner, midwife.”

    Ch'that's tail slashed the air.

    Haasra smiled, “Just making sure you were paying attention.”
    “Where does 'Doctor' fit in?”
    “Old past, the kind that never leaves you.” Haasra reached for a small case. “You know what this is?”
    Ch'that resigned herself to one of the few unpacked chairs, “Not yet.”
    “It's a security service medal, Ibi. When it was given to me I was working as a geneticist.” Haasra thought for a moment. “Actually it would be more fair to say I was THE geneticist on Iffar. Lot of responsibility, lot of technical work to do. Setting up out here's kind of a sabbatical.”
    “And the other stuff was...” Ch'that pried.
    “Something came up, you know how the unexpected can be. A shiny new thing glitters in a dull world. You pounce and suddenly there's a wealth of possibilities you hadn't considered before.”

    Haasra relented under Ch'that's cold stare.

    “Some people cloned my daughter and I had to make sure everything turned out alright.”
    “Did it?”
    “It's not for me to say.” Haasra took a seat on one of the biobeds. After a moment he said, “You think Captain Mercer will notice if we setup a smoker in here?”
    “A what?”
    “A device for preparing meat food by the application of combustive heat.”
    “I would think...”
    “Remember he's human. The closest most of his species gets to special preparations is a replicator sub-menu or a patronizing cafe.”
    “We'll manage it. Do you have schematics?”
    “I have the parts in the blue container over there,” Haasra pointed.

    The two set to work. An hour later, damage damage control teams reported that they were able to save most of the supplies from the fire.

    -Takes place sometime around SSF2-2
    The wind whipped. The rain pattered. Two figures stood before an empty platform, illuminated by a ramshackle mix of nearby display screens. Captain Cetsa Ji’Goro of Starfleet Security pulled her dull brown overcoat close.

    “Damn cold.”
    “We could…”
    “Wait here for the tram. I don’t want to spend the night in a public replomat.” Ji’Goro sighed, “I’m sorry, it’s just…”
    “You don’t need to explain, Cetsa.”

    Iliam of nowhere in particular now stood awkwardly.

    “Does Keiken know?” he asked.
    “She’s definitely flagged my name on the transport network. Oma tried to organize a reception the second time I came home. We’ve talked since.”
    “I mean about…”
    “I haven’t told her.”
    “Is there going to be a problem?”
    “Not from her.”
    “What do you mean?”
    “It’s nothing, really. Just politics.”

    Light and sound tore through the station. It resolved into a glass sided cylinder with three across seating and the faded hue of uncelebrated decades. A panel slide aside and Ji’Goro rushed through. By the time Iliam finished his casual inspection Ji’Goro sat huddled against the far window. Iliam turned. The tram was empty. He turned back and took the neighboring seat.

    The stations came through in quiet procession. Iliam sat back, reflecting on the day, while a draped pair of coats occasionally shifted beside him.

    She had emerged into the hallway, strident. She bounded for the airlock, exuberant. Breakfast had been taken in haste and lunch in easy fatigue. Dinner hadn’t come. In its place was the memory of a sullen haul across the last two transfers.
    And some shouting.

    A hand reached out from the coat pile. He took it, gently. In the dim light her soft fingers set a vivid contrast with his plated hand. When the voices came he felt her sudden tension. A party staggered onto the tram. Four variously turned to regard seated pair. All were Ibi, all were eager. One grinned. Another pointed. They eased back, two rows behind Iliam and Ji’Goro. Her hand drew back. The motion didn’t go unnoticed.

    A conversation rose as motion resumed. It pattered, it dipped, and it occasionally spiked. In the brief stillness of the next stop, a thickening silence suffused the cabin. Iliam caught motion to his left, but a hand shot to his right. It pulled the heap aside to reveal Ji’Goro. She uncoiled as Iliam turned around.

    “Thana, tan faar,” one of the newcomers edged.
    “Oi?” Iliam replied.
    “Yut sogshan,” another sneered.
    Ji’Goro chided, “Balarosh nuta vin vin. Bis’idrava etta, dulan duros.”.
    “Bal sogshan tuvor,” the first retorted.

    Their third companion took the seat next to Iliam. He put his arm around the alien in mocking good humor. The fourth sidled in, taking the seat behind Ji’Goro.

    “Mantan tu,” Ji’Goro said coldly.
    “Om thura nish. Ni ritta von,” one said factually.

    Ji’Goro turned back to face ahead. A hand from behind followed her motion. It pulled her hair back while Iliam’s companion reached into a pocket. Iliam’s leg shot out, pushing to his left while spinning right. His fist connected with the fourth traveler while the third sprawled into the aisle. Ji’Goro shot forward as the hand released. Travelers one and two moved forward. Iliam found purchase on the seatbacks. Ji’Goro rose. Her stunner fired, and fired again.

    They sat back together, red light pulsing through the tram. Three unconscious bodies lay about them. The fourth sat in the aisle with tremendous trepidation.

    Ji’Goro said softly, “They didn’t like us.”
    “I gathered.”
    “I mean together.”

    Together they waited in silence.
    Post edited by duncanidaho11 on
    Bipedal mammal and senior Foundry author.
    Last missions:
    Evolution's Smile [SSF:3-3]
    Epoch, Part 2 [AEI]
    Transcendence, Part 4
    Memorial Tour

    For the latest Tardigrades and other creative output: @Gorgonops_SSF
    Looking for something new to play? The interactive Foundry Mission Database has you covered.
  • duncanidaho11duncanidaho11 Member Posts: 7,608 Arc User
    edited October 2016
    -Takes place shortly after SSF2-2
    The door chime sounded. It sounded again. Iliam stood in the hallway. He knelt down. He opened a hatch. A moment later the door opened. He stepped inside.

    The living room was a mess. A few bottles, some clothes, a broken container, and an up-ended pizza box. Iliam stepped around the clutter. He slipped on a data pad and crashed to the floor. Nothing stirred. He picked himself up and carried on to the next room.

    A figured sat up in bed. A sheet had been draped over its head. Ears could just be made out sticking up on either side.

    “Cetsa…” he sighed.

    Iliam sat next to the shape and tried to pull the sheet aside. She resisted. He pulled. She leveraged. He yanked. They both fell off the bed.

    The day was off to a terrible start. After a solitary dawn run Iliam had been called up to Byrd’s office. The most lackadaisical Admiral in Starfleet was locked rigid. He was flanked by a pair of network security experts. There was a problem, there had been a breach. Cetsa’s medical records had been leaked to the open net. It had become a story. Everyone now knew.

    Iliam had come straight here. He laid back with a sheet draped over his head. He pulled it away from his face. She threw it back. Iliam remained there for a moment. Without looking, he freed a hand from the tangle and reached out. She held it against her face. He could feel the tears.

    The door chime sounded. She let go. Iliam pushed himself up and transferred the sheet to Cetsa. He found a robe by the bedside and draped it over her for good measure. He eased back out into the living room as the door opened. It was Ross. Iliam pushed the old man back out in the hallway.

    “Bad?” asked Ross.

    Iliam nodded. Ross sighed. He pushed Iliam back into the living room and closed the door behind.

    They talked for a while. Cetsa sat huddled in her room. She heard the details again. She heard Ross’s frustrated grumblings, Iliam’s worried calculations. They knew, everyone knew. It was like the first time, but now she only had herself to blame. She wasn’t the victim of a vast galactic conspiracy. There was simply Cetsa, and Cetsa had…

    Ross kicked back, “so, there’s no one we can fry right now. How about we substitute with breakfast?”
    “The replicator is offline.”
    “I see the chair over there. Aren’t replicators supposed to be impact resistant?”
    “Under normal circumstances, yes.”
    “Cetsa!” Ross called out. Iliam gave the human a look while Ross gestured him to remain silent.
    There was no answer.
    “Cetsa, we’re going down for breakfast. Lounge-wear would be recommended but if you’d rather come as you are station regulations can stuff it.”

    By the time they finally extracted her breakfast had morphed into an early lunch. Ross was in uniform. Iliam was in his hard-wearing regulars. Cetsa had opted for a semi-formal ensemble she had picked up on Andoria. She let it carry the mask.

    There hadn’t been many people in the corridors but replomat was well occupied. Half-a-dozen vessels discouraged their pent-up crews onto ESD facilities. This place was out of the way but some of the crowd had still find their way here. The replicators were arrayed along one wall from which tables scattered out into a pattern the designer must have found some secret pleasure in.
    Cetsa slipped into line. Ross tried to follow but got stuck behind a large contingent of Tellarite traders. Iliam set himself down at a table. Far to his right was a quartet of Bynars. Close to his left, a Cardassian crew.

    A plate edged toward him. Iliam looked up into Cetsa’s fragile face. He smiled. She sat down gently as they heard Ross enter a heated exchange with the Tellarites.

    “You didn’t get much,” noted Iliam.
    “I got what I needed.”
    “The bacon is appreciated,” Iliam drew the plate closer. “Tonight, we’ll find something special.”
    “I don’t need special right now.”
    “Ah, what about self-indulgent?”
    “Maybe, we’ll talk about it later.”

    An elbow hit Iliam. He turned to the Cardassians. They were silent. He turned back to Cetsa. She huddled into herself.
    Ross plonked down with waffles.

    “Did you win?” Iliam asked.
    “My first security posting was on Tellar Prime. They had some skill but not the practice.”
    “Was it necessary?” Cetsa said still looking down.
    “It was expedient.”

    She glanced to the Cardassians and shifted.

    “Iliam, did Byrd talk to you about the other thing?” Ross edged.
    “What other thing?”

    Ross took off his comm badge and pushed it across the table. Iliam simply looked at it.

    “You’d be enlisted, but I’m sure that won’t matter to you.”
    Cetsa looked to Iliam. Iliam looked to Ross. Ross gestured to Iliam. The Cardassian elbowed Cetsa hard. She recoiled.

    The Cardassian found himself braced on the floor with a slate-blue alien pressing against his chest. Iliam motioned to Ross while Cetsa sat huddled on the floor. Another Cardassian kicked Iliam over. The first rose. Ross grabbed the badge from the table. He shouted.

    A pair of Starfleet Lieutenants came over. So did the Tellarites. The Cardassians were moved out into the hallway. After a short exchange with one of the Lieutenants Iliam moved over to Cetsa. Ross strode out into the hallway.

    The five-man Cardassian crew stood in a line against the wall. The other Lieutenant stood facing them at the far end. She was stern. The Cardassians were at ease. Ross waited. They said nothing. He cleared his throat.
    “What the hell was that all about?”
    They said nothing. He strode along the line.
    “Not many Cardassian ships ply their way all the way to Sol. This is an important opportunity.” He stopped at the last, “You know this won’t reflect well.”
    “They were bothering us,” one said from back up the line.
    “It’s an open replomat.”
    “Regardless of what they’ve done?” another said.
    Ross glared, “What?”
    “She’s a Ketracel White user.”

    Cetsa sat on the floor. Iliam sat next to her. The Lieutenant took up a seat by the door, resuming his interrupted meal. The Tellarites had left.

    “I’m sure it wasn’t you,” he said.
    Cetsa didn’t move.
    “You didn’t let the Kriyt put you down.”
    She held her knees.
    “Or the Conclave. Klingons? You told me about them. They were no problem. There was an Iconian patrol during the war too.”
    “Those were different times.”
    “You’re still you.”
    “Am I?”
    “You haven’t fallen, Cetsa.”

    She tapped the floor. Ross came back in.

    “Well?” Iliam asked.
    “It’s going on report,” Ross replied.
    “What was their problem?”
    Ross sighed, “Long haul, bad attitude. They needed to vent and chose stupidly.”
    “You don’t have to lie, Ross,” said Cetsa, tracing a small circle on the floor.
    “With Iliam here, I do,” said Ross curtly.

    Iliam lolled his head back. Cetsa tapped his foot with hers. Ross remained standing. The remaining Lieutenant left discreetly. They were alone.

    “So what do we do?” asked Iliam.
    Cetsa rose to the table, “Finish breakfast.”
    “What else can happen?” said Cetsa as she planted herself at Ross's plate.
    “Can we get creative?” asked Ross.
    “I was worried that someone might react to the White. They did, but now I know it happened. It’s part of life. People know I abused stimulants.”
    “That doesn’t justify those idiots harassing you.”
    “Ketracel White doesn’t sit easy in their history. If they didn’t lose someone during the war their parents did.” She took Iliam’s hand, “They didn’t hit me, they took a shot at the stuff I used.”
    “I don’t follow.”
    “It wasn’t personal.”
    “They hit you.”
    “It’s alright,” she hushed. “I’m fine.”
    She flicked a piece of waffle at him, “We’re going to be busy today, eat up.”

    -Takes place not long after Waffles
    “Just hold it for one more moment.”
    “I’m not sure that I can.”
    “It looks comfortable”
    “But aren’t marmosets…”
    “They’re sociable.”
    “There we go. I’ve got the holo.”

    The keeper moved to retrieve the adventurous little primate from Ji’Goro’s hat. The animal perched behind the small white dome at the center, its feet digging into the soft fabric of the wide brim. Once she felt the weight lift Ji’Goro flipped the hat around and inspected it carefully.

    “It’s alright…” she said softly.
    “Were you really that worried?”
    “It was a present from Vella.”

    Ross looked down at his holocamera.

    “I’ll be sure to send them a copy,” he said.
    “Send it direct. If you go through the Administration, it’ll find its way to the news outlets.”
    “You don’t want to be known as the marmoset lady back home?”
    “I don't want any more attention.”

    Ross reflected back on the previous two months. The team had fared badly during their last assignment. Ross lost his original, organic eyes but recovery from that was straight forward. Ji’Goro suffered comparatively minor physical injuries but the medical examination had found a lot else. Ignored breaks, shattered implants, and chemical traces which showed how she was coping with the pain. Her recovery was delicate, and was made all the more so when her medical records were leaked on the open net. To the FNN it was merely an unfortunate incident, highlighting the need for data protection reforms. To the Ibi it was something else. It was a scandal, the first Ibi in Starfleet made up into an addict. She said everything was fine now, but Ross noted that Cetsa hadn’t returned home since.

    They stood now in an open park land, part of the mega complex that was the Milwaukee Zoo. A small crowd ambled around them as the primate keeper led them through an ecological dissertation, mascot in hand. Iliam slipped through the bodies and into the small opening his companions had drifted into. He held a pair of drinks.

    “Did I miss anything?”
    “Nothing there isn’t a holographic record of.”

    Iliam tossed the bottles to his two companions. Ji’Goro caught hers. Ross watched his sail by. It bounced. Iliam walked passed, retrieved it from the edge of the pavement, then handed it to Ross. Throughout his expression was blank. It didn’t try to pass comment on what had been “old man.”

    “Where next?” Iliam asked.
    “Somewhere quiet,” Ross said flatly.
    “There’s an invertebrate section near the entrance...” Ji’Goro maneuvered.

    Ross nodded. They walked. Along the way they made a few diversions at Ji’Goro’s implicit insistence. She darted to some displays, walked by others, drawing information as it related to a developing model of Sol biodiversity. Iliam was attentive but followed mechanically with his partner’s movements.

    That had become the pattern of the last few weeks. Before the mission Ji’Goro was balanced between Iffar and Starfleet. Their temporary quarters were littered the latest paraphernalia of Ibi life. News briefs, papers, reports, gallery summaries. Ji’Goro’s reposed form, PADD in hand and audioset in place, had become a fixture of their evenings.

    The plain hat had been allowed to remain. The rest of what she wore now was pointedly Terran. Ji'Goro was simply a Starfleet officer.

    They found the P.G. Anderson Invertebrate Hall. Ji’Goro took point while Iliam supported. Ross covered their flank. In the gloom of the darkened hall you could never quite trust the average Sol schoolboy. He should know. Ji’Goro was absorbed in her surroundings. Her mouth moved slightly when presented with a tank of echinoderms. Her fingers traced the lacy tendrils of the jellyfish. She quickly strode past the hall of arachnids. Iliam followed attentively. Ross lagged behind.

    He found them in a small rotunda. Around them pulsed a shoal of squid. She sat neatly on one of the arrayed benches while Iliam stood behind, hands placed gently on her shoulders. Ross moved in beside her and resisted his characteristic sprawl. This was no debriefing with the Admiralty.

    “I had a conversation with the Office of Planetary Security.”
    Ji’Goro’s head snapped sideways to find Ross’s composed expression.
    “It was about Keiken,” Ross continued.
    She stared apprehensively.
    “Has she talked to you about retiring?” he asked.
    She nodded. Iliam remained fixed behind Ji’Goro.
    “They'll announce it soon. Right now the board is choosing her successor,” Ross continued.
    “Councilor Yu’ga…” was all Ji’Goro could say.

    The man’s hot rhetoric had shot painfully into Ji’Goro’s world. She had become an example in his campaign to reform off-world security. No longer would the alien indulgences of field officers be tolerated. Planetary security would be cleared out, starting with the first Ibi in Starfleet.

    “The man had you specifically barred from service. Don’t you think Keiken would have a special kind of revenge in store for him?” Quickly, Ross produced his message PADD. He had the correspondence ready. Ji’Goro’s hand trembled slightly as she took the display.

    Ji’Goro read, and laughed. The gleeful sound echoed around the rotunda. A clot of schoolchildren pressed against the far wall were far too occupied with the business of squid jokes to notice. The gestures were quite elaborate. Wheezing, Ji'Goro passed the PADD up to Iliam.

    “The confirmation is but a formality now. Alphonse A. Ross, we are honored to have you as the first non-Ibi head of Planetary Security," he read.

    Ji’Goro brought a hand delicately to her face and snorted.

    “Have you cleared this with Admiral Byrd?” Iliam asked responsibly. A smirk could just be made out bleeding across his alien features.
    “I’m still wondering how best to break the news. I’m hoping I can wait until the next sector briefing.”
    “You’ve got to play Sweet Bolian Goodbye. Sing it if you can.”
    “I’ll work out something with the presentation techs.”

    Ji’Goro eased. The trio sat for a moment in the blue silence of the squid hall.

    “When will you be leaving?”
    “It won’t be for a month or so.”
    “Then you can visit me.”

    She looked to Ross but withdrew into apprehension. Her expression began to plead, began to shout, began to cry, but before the impulses could find common ground Ross stepped in to arrest the shattering.

    “What happened to you was a proxy fight. This…” Ross waved the PADD “…was what they were trying to avoid. They couldn’t process the thought of alien influences in government. Now they’re getting one in charge of Planetary Security.”
    Iliam followed the track laid down, “This is going to become their new battleground. They won’t care about what happened with Cetsa. The optics will have changed completely.”
    “Especially after my first week,” Ross said with all the good intent of the schoolchildren now making their way out of the rotunda.

    Ji’Goro took Ross’s hand.
    “Give them hell.”
    Post edited by duncanidaho11 on
    Bipedal mammal and senior Foundry author.
    Last missions:
    Evolution's Smile [SSF:3-3]
    Epoch, Part 2 [AEI]
    Transcendence, Part 4
    Memorial Tour

    For the latest Tardigrades and other creative output: @Gorgonops_SSF
    Looking for something new to play? The interactive Foundry Mission Database has you covered.
  • drogyn1701drogyn1701 Member Posts: 3,606 Media Corps
    A while back another author, I forget who, was looking for documents or entries to put in a library computer, so I came up with this classified memo that is a follow up to my mission "Sink the Bismarck!"

    Also here are the two lore blogs for the Alliance Exploration Initiative:

    Lore Blog 1, written by me

    Lore Blog 2, written by antman9173
    The Foundry Roundtable live Saturdays at 7:30PM EST/4:30PM PST on twitch.tv/thefoundryroundtable
  • paxfederaticapaxfederatica Member Posts: 1,495 Arc User
    edited December 2017
    I've already written a couple of lore pieces on my blog:

    "Trouble In Paradise" follow-up:
    "Mirrorball" follow-up/preview of its planned sequel mission(s):
    Another lead-in story to the "Mirrorball" sequel series:
    ...and one more lead-in story; this one takes place immediately before the first mission in the series (which will drop sometime over the week between Christmas and New Year's):
    Post edited by paxfederatica on
  • duncanidaho11duncanidaho11 Member Posts: 7,608 Arc User
    edited October 2016
    Great stuff. Those reports really felt authentic (ie. rich, with a strong presence of the Starfleet organization we know). And Eclipse having that bigger venue was a fun ride.

    I've got another new one. You could probably consider a forward to my next mission, adding a little bit more background and character stuff.

    -Takes place sometime after Rotunda and Waffles (doesn't continue that arc), before SSF2-3: Entanglement.
    A figure sat in the alley, huddled in a weathered tarp. The rain poured over him. He rocked an outstretched foot. Side to side, side to side. He watched it.

    Iliam of no-where in particular looked up into the radiant neon skyline. The billboards were scattered, the spires garish. He looked back at his foot. Eventually he noticed the other four pointing at him.

    “Vagrancy license?”
    “Hmmm?” he tried.
    “Vagrancy license.”
    Iliam waved a hand.
    “No vagrancy license, fine is thirty strips GPL. If you are unable to pay you will be held…“
    Iliam held up a comm badge. The one fell silent. The other said, “Damn Starfleet.” Iliam looked up at the two Ferengi security officers. They left.

    Iliam sat in the cold and rain, huddled in a tarp. He watched his foot sway side to side. Overhead the spires soared and the billboards hummed. He didn’t look up.

    Another voice, sharp and shrill, “Come on, Grax! We’ll be late for the holo!” A couple ran through the ally. They splashed. Iliam felt the water hit his outstretched foot. He heard them turn sharply at the corner. Then, there was just the city and the rain. Iliam looked at nothing.

    Iliam eventually noticed another voice, “give me everything you’ve got, now.”
    “Hmmm?” he tried. Iliam felt a boot press down on his chest.
    “Everything, now.”
    He wasn’t encumbered much. Iliam tossed up his comm badge. The newcomer looked at it. Iliam kicked out and brought the Lethean down. He rose, kicking the alien again. He retrieved his comm badge and walked around the Lethean.

    Laughing face, she was smiling. The field stretched out to the horizon. Their shuttle was some distance behind. Ji’Goro rolled down the hill. At its base she rose, looking expectantly at him. He slid.

    Iliam looked down at the prone Lethean. He gathered up his tarp and placed it next to the figure.
    “Here, take it.”

    Iliam walked out of the alley and into the glaring night. He ambled through the crowds, past storefront windows and covered cafes. The decorated overhangs shouted exotic experiences to the clawing masses in the same voice. There were Ferengi, Humans, Bajorans, Bolians, Talaxians, Cardassians, Pakled, Deferi, Breen. Some looked at him, others didn’t. He scanned those most intently. He tried to keep up. Someone might know...but it was random. Everything was random.

    Iliam stepped into an alcove. He fumbled for his comm badge.

    “Itrex, any progress?”
    Iliam waited for a moment, “Where are you?”
    “Fleet embassy.”
    “You finished?”
    Iliam looked out to the street for the first intelligible sign, “Meet me at Rom’s.”

    He emerged from the alcove and was caught out by a striding Lobaan. He fell, rolled, and staggered to his feet. A small space in the crowd had opened. The Lobaan was gone. Iliam melted back in.

    Rom’s was busy. Iliam stepped through the door and into a waiter. The Orion shouted, “how many?”
    Iliam gestured two.
    “Bar or table?”
    Iliam gestured towards the packed pit that held the tables.
    “Twenty minutes!”
    Iliam nodded.

    The waiter led him over to the designated waiting area. It was a dabo table. He wedged himself at the back of the throng. Iliam gave up processing, it was just a crowd of aliens. They all had one focus, the spinning lights. They wouldn’t know anything. They wouldn’t talk.

    “Dabo!” shouted the throng.
    “Aww…” they moaned with one voice.
    There was silence for a while.

    He jolted upright. There was Itrex, joined by two other uniforms. He dimly recognized them, Lieutenant Haddan and Lieutenant Sanoia.

    “I corrected our table,” he said to Iliam.
    “How much longer?”

    Itrex motioned him to follow. He led the group to an empty table far in the back. They settled in. Haddan was a care worn Bajoran. Sanoia, a keen young Ferengi. Iliam had talked to them shortly after he arrived on Ferenginar. He hadn’t noted detail then. He didn't notice much now. He saw their freshly pressed uniforms. He compared them with his damp field jacket. Itrex's uniform was just in keeping with regulation, that’s all one could really say.

    They looked worried, what Lieutenant wouldn’t be? The Academy hadn’t prepared them for a missing Captain. They were still just trying to get a handle on the paperwork. This was really it. This is what people had to deal with out here.

    Itrex said, “We have a transport record.”
    Iliam perked up, “To where?”
    Haddan supplied, “The company operates under a license obtained from the Outworld Transit Guild. We checked its ties to known individuals and organizations, nothing notable to report there, sir.”
    “Where is this transport headed?” Iliam pressed.
    “We’re not sure,” said Sanoia.
    Iliam pushed back from the table in exasperation, “So what was on this transport? Sorry for derailing a simple explanation but you know how much…”
    “We think she was on it.”

    Iliam stopped. After a moment he leaned forward, “possibly or probably?”
    “Most probably, we just weren’t able to obtain a definitive ID.”
    “And we don’t know it’s final destination.”
    Haddan said, “But we do know it makes three stops in Ferengi space.”
    Sanoia continued, “We’re looking into those now, sir. The U.S.S. Constant will be able to check the first two transit stations.”
    “What about the last? Wait, no, I’ve got this one. If we’re talking about a passenger transport, I’ll be able to beat it to the third stop on a cargo line.”
    Itrex nodded.
    Sanoia edged, “Haddan and I are willing to go too.”
    “She was our commanding officer during her investigation.”
    Iliam waved a hand, “It’s appreciated. However, it’ll be a lot easier for a freight captain to accept one anonymous passenger than an obvious security team.”
    Sanoia said, “A bribe’s a bribe.”
    Iliam rose, “Itrex, if you’ll send me the relevant information I’ll be off.”
    Itrex made a placating gesture to Sanoia, “Already sent.”
    “Thank you.”

    Iliam weaved through the tables, back to the entrance. He didn’t look back, the team watching him leave. This was tough, even for Itrex. Ji’Goro had gone missing and the only thing the three of them could do now is wait. Either it would be Iliam, or it would be the Constant. Someone would find her. Iliam wouldn't let himself think they…

    Iliam tripped over something. He hit the floor, hard. He struggled to pick himself up. A voice said, “boy, you’ve got to watch where you’re going.”
    Another said, “All in a hurry, that’s what you get.”

    Iliam continued out. It didn’t take him long to hear footsteps behind. There were fewer people out here now. Iliam wasn’t really aware of how long he had spent in the bar. The few glances he saw in front were worried. Iliam turned.

    Five, there were five of them. Three Lobaan, two Ujata. Mercenary builds masked by bland street clothing. Iliam had seen many of these species around this district. There was some diplomatic thing or another. It wasn’t important.

    “I think you should apologize,” said one.
    “Yeah,” said another.
    “No,” said Iliam.
    “Is that so?”
    "Well, that's that then."

    One behind reached for something pocket while the two in front limbered up He heard someone cry out from behind. Feet scrabbled away. The group approached, every one of them smirking. Iliam let go.

    “Hey you, what’s wrong?”
    “Nothing, really.”
    “It’s not about what happened yesterday…”
    “That? Hell no.”
    “I had my eyes closed but I saw the look on your face afterwards. I didn’t make you feel…”
    Iliam kissed her again.

    He only became aware of the world again when Itrex hurled him back against a bench. Iliam’s jacket was torn. He saw blood, his blood. It was everywhere. He saw his hands, green? That wasn’t...
    He tried to speak but simply gasped for air instead. He looked up. Rain? Just a moment ago he was still underneath the overhang. He looked down. There were five on the ground. He couldn’t tell if they were still…
    Itrex said something. Iliam didn’t hear what. Itrex moved close, inspecting Iliam’s forehead. Iliam pulled himself up. Itrex pushed back. Iliam rolled forward, landing hard on the pavement. Itrex’s voice was just beginning to break through.

    “Just breaks, the medics will be here soon!”

    Iliam waved a hand. Itrex tried to pull him back onto the bench. Iliam used the momentum to stagger to his feet. He took a step forward. Itrex moved with him.

    “The ship can wait!”
    Iliam took another step, “Itrex, she’s…”
    “We need to take care of you first!”
    Iliam took two steps, “I’m fine!” He turned to face Itrex.
    Itrex relented, “Get the report in by 0400.”

    Iliam nodded. He turned to the rainy street. There was a transport office just four blocks away. There, he could talk his way onto a cargo liner bound for Transit Station…what was it? He looked at his data display. Fourteen, got it. Being a little battered would certainly play into the implied narrative. On ship, he’d be able to patch up what he needed to. Then he’d put a few things down for that report. He’d also need to take stock of the ship he was on, work out some provisions, gather intel on this particular transit station...

    Oh, and sleep…maybe.

    “Iliam, I never thought I’d be so happy to be here again.”
    “But this is Iffar.”
    “Kind of...”
    “It’s your homeworld too.”
    “Just about everything I know about Iffar comes from Vella. I was born up there, she’s down here. I’ve never been able to feel myself on this planet.”
    “So what’s so different about this time?
    “You’re here with me.”
    Post edited by duncanidaho11 on
    Bipedal mammal and senior Foundry author.
    Last missions:
    Evolution's Smile [SSF:3-3]
    Epoch, Part 2 [AEI]
    Transcendence, Part 4
    Memorial Tour

    For the latest Tardigrades and other creative output: @Gorgonops_SSF
    Looking for something new to play? The interactive Foundry Mission Database has you covered.
  • duncanidaho11duncanidaho11 Member Posts: 7,608 Arc User
    edited October 2016

    The Hearing (not to be confused with The Haring :tongue: )
    -Takes place shortly after SSF2-1. It covers Iliam's admittance into the Federation, the Admiralty, and more on ESD replomats.
    -I'm trying a new formatting style. I think it works better for how I write dialog.
    -I may add onto this piece. If so I'll update this post with the continuation rather than make another bump.
    “Seventy-three Starfleet officers. Twelve were serving on Starbase 295, thirty-six were on board the U.S.S. Cavalier, twenty-five on the U.S.S. Newark. These people are dead because of you.”
    “Iliam of the Conclave, commander at the Battle of Kurall.”
    “I was only commander of the recovery team.”
    “How do we know you didn’t plan the entire operation?”
    “I didn’t.”

    Admiral Natalia Estaven sat back. Her cold face was framed in slick black hair draped carefully to conceal plasma scarring from a war long past. Arching her fingers, she said,

    “Until we can independently verify your account of events there will be definite problems with your asylum application.”

    “In addition to the concerns we have about the nature of your cybernetic augmentations,” reminded Admiral Riit.

    Iliam, formerly of the Conclave, sat down heavily at the center of the hearing. Five Admirals looked down at him from their dais. Each was shatteringly composed at this time. Estaven continued,

    “We will adjourn for the day. Reconvene at 1300 hours, tomorrow.”

    The Admirals filed out. Iliam didn’t move. He was alone, save one small figure in the back row of the auditorium trying her best to remain inconspicuous. Without looking up Iliam said,

    “It’s okay to move now.”

    His voice easily carried across the auditorium. The voice of Captain Cetsa Ji’Goro drifted back,

    “You first.”
    “I just need a moment.”
    “It’ll be alright.”
    "Will it?"

    Ji’Goro left her seat. She came within a pace of Iliam. He turned. Cetsa gently brushed a loose strand of hair back over her long hears. Her jacket was neat. His clothes were rumpled. She touched slate blue, plated skin of his left hand. Iliam didn’t move. Cetsa was left to continue,

    “Let’s find you something to eat.”
    “You’re not hungry?”
    “I might nibble.”
    "I don't need anything."
    "That's not really the point."

    She took his hand more firmly,

    “Come on, it shouldn’t be busy.”

    It was busy. A Sovereign class starship had just come into berth, disgorging its crew onto the public facilities of Earth Spacedock. Some visited with local friends and family. Most just needed the change of venue. Sentient life pulsed across the station. Cetsa Ji’Goro entered the flow.

    She led them to the replomat entrance. It wasn't any different from the 18 others on the station. A couple view screens flanked the doors, cycling through daily specials and selection tips. The line stretched out into the blank corridor. Around them pulsed the incoherent din of humanoid chatter. Cetsa glanced at Iliam. He looked to her. They filed along in silence

    Cetsa made it to a replicator terminal first. She pulled Iliam towards her and selected something tried and tested. She handed the tray to Iliam and proceeded to an empty table just visible through the throng. A moment later they were joined by two Starfleet officers.

    “Hey guys, this your first time out to Sol?” beamed a Rigelian Ensign.
    “Jeq, it’s Sol,” said the accompanying Deltan Lieutenant.
    “I know Olio, but still!” said Jeq.
    “I’m with Security,” Cetsa said without making eye contact.
    “Oh…” said Jeq.
    “Attached to ESD?” asked Olio.

    Cetsa picked a waffle fry from Iliam’s tray.

    “Do you get to spend much time on Earth?” asked Jeq.
    “It’s the closest inhabited world from here.”
    “Have you been to Kansas City yet?”
    “Not yet.”
    “They’ve got an amazing industrial museum. Humans had incredible flair in that era!”
    “MmHmm,” she nodded.
    “Hey, if you don’t mind me asking, what’s your species?”
    “Ibi. My homeworld is near the Xarantine System.”
    “Is it a member of the Federation?”

    Cetsa picked another waffle fry from Iliam’s untouched tray. Olio turned to the silent companion,

    “And you’re also with Security?”
    "Not yet,” Cetsa cut in.

    Olio regarded Iliam for a moment,

    “I’m passably familiar with the Ibi Concordance but I’m afraid to say I’m blanking on your companion.”
    “Iliam’s new in town.”
    “Yeah, new.”

    Iliam didn't move. Jeq interjected,

    “Then you’ve really got to check out the Sydney Gravity Pavilion!”

    That evening Iliam and Cetsa sat opposite of one another on the couch in her quarters. It was rotated to face the main window. They watched the speckled starscape flow by. She had spent many nights like this, wondering who might be out there. It had always left her feeling empty. Now there was Iliam sitting at just the other side. She turned to him and said,

    “We have some time before the hearing tomorrow. We could do a little sight-seeing.”
    “If you think we need to,”
    “Do you want to?”
    “I don’t know.”
    “I’m sorry you had to sit through all that.”
    “Do you mean the hearing or lunch?”
    “It’s fine, Cetsa.”

    She shifted. He turned her,

    “Do you want to go?”
    “It’s just Earth.”
    “You seemed interested at lunch.”
    “I was just keeping up a conversation.”
    "There's a lot you haven't seen yet."
    "What I want's up here."
    “Cetsa, you don’t have to stay behind on my account.”

    She blinked.

    “I want to help, Iliam.”
    “I don’t deserve it, Cetsa.”
    “Don’t say that. You proved who you are on Donia.”
    “It didn't really change anything.”

    Cetsa waited. After a moment she eased over to him.

    “Iliam, I know what it’s like to be dropped into the galaxy. The most important thing you have to learn is that you’re not alone.”
    “But I’m Conclave.”
    “And I’m a clone. What we are is just detail.”

    He held up an arm,

    “Cybernetic lattice work capable of resisting directed energy fire. Regulatory nodes that can handle a 4.7 gigaquad data flow. Muscle tensors that…”
    “It’s just detail, Iliam.”
    “It’s who I am. The Admirals are right, I’m not compatible with the Federation.”

    She brought herself face to face with him,

    “You’re Iliam.”
    “You gave me that name, Cetsa.”
    She gripped his arm, “You’re Iliam.”
    “What does that mean?”
    “It’s whatever you make of it.”

    It was 1300. Cetsa sat alone in the auditorium. The Admirals regarded the empty chair in front of them. Cetsa leaned onto the next row. She only heard Admiral Byrd approach.

    “Captain, I could make a system inquiry but it would have to go on record.”
    “I’m sure he’ll be here.”
    “Did you see him today?”
    “Not since morning.”
    “Are you sure he’ll be here soon?”
    “I’ll go check.”

    She left the chamber and made her way across the promenade. She pinged her communicator,

    “Computer, where is visitor Iliam?”
    “Level 9, section 12: Room 095.”

    Cetsa tried calling her quarters, Iliam didn’t answer. She made her way back. There was no response at the door.

    The living room was dark and empty. She stepped in. The only sound was the flow of her shower. The sonics weren’t on, just the auxiliary water stream. Three paces from the bathroom door she saw the blood on the floor. She bounded. The door opened. There were his legs. His pants were torn open. Blood streamed from gashes that ran the length of what she could see. She rounded the corner. He lay on his side. His shirt was torn. His arms, his chest, blood poured everywhere. There an extractor on the floor. He clutched an auto-suture, trembling. The blood continued to pour. Something crinkled underfoot. Filaments and nodes were scattered across the bathroom floor. Cybernetics, these were his implants.

    She shot down, grabbing the auto-suture from his hand and forcing him onto his back. She tried to close the largest wound but the flowing blood scattered the field. She flung her jacket into her shower stream and wiped the blood from his chest. It passed over still hanging filaments. He screamed. She pressed him down, making a connection with the suture.

    She worked, and worked. There was blood everywhere, he was barely moving now. Between her wracking sobs, Cetsa screamed at the computer for help.

    Cetsa sat in the lobby of medbay one. A borrowed lab coat hid her bloodied rec shirt. Iliam was still in surgery. That was some time ago. No one would tell her if…

    A voice broke in from her right,

    “I’ve spoken with the others.”

    Cetsa turned. There was Admiral Byrd. He nodded and took a seat next to her on the bench. Tensed, she looked to him and said,

    “They’ll wait.”
    “You mean until they know if he’ll live?”
    “Until they can speak with him again.”
    “Thomas, I’ll speak with them.”
    “Cetsa, I know you mean well but you are covered in blood.”
    “They need to see it.”

    In the auditorium Cetsa stood in the center of the room. She let the coat hang open. Admiral Riit was visibly disturbed. Byrd merely sat back. The other two she didn’t consider. Cetsa addressed Estaven.

    “You brought him to this.”
    “Iliam of the Conclave is responsible for his own…”

    Cetsa took a sharp step forward,

    “You couldn’t accept Iliam because he challenged your expectations. He’s not a self-effacing political refugee. He can’t give you leverage against the Romulans or Klingons. He’s just Iliam.”
    “He’s a military commander who has engaged the Federation in…”
    “He saved Donia!”
    “You saved Donia.”
    “I didn’t do anything! He forced the Conclave out. Iliam could have gone along with the occupation but he fought back. He saved Donia because he thought it was the right thing to do. What else could we ask of him?”
    “Your report said…”
    “My report said that the Federation would be insane to turn him away.”

    Admiral Riit broke in,

    “There is considerable distance in our respective outlooks. He’s a fighter, born and bred. Would the Federation really be the best place for him?”
    “New life, new civilizations.”
    “There’s more to it than that.”

    Cetsa pointed to the blood on her shirt,

    “How much more are we going to take away from him? He left his home for our sake. He ripped most of the augmentations from his body just to make it easier for us to accept him. At what point do we stop killing him?”
    “Hence why Iliam may want to look elsewhere. Perhaps the Ibi could…”
    “If he goes, I go.”
    “The Admiralty rubber stamped my asylum request. I even got a bump up to provisional citizen after my application to Starfleet went on file.” She glared, “I fit the type.”

    Admiral Byrd spoke up,

    “I must concur with Captain Ji’Goro's opinion.”

    Estaven’s stare shot to her colleague. He continued,

    “We’d make a very poor showing if we turned away Iliam for simply being Conclave.” He turned to Riit, “The Republic would make that clear.”

    Cetsa relaxed. Admiral Riit spoke out,

    “The Republic has no interest in these proceedings.”
    “The Republic helped us at Kurall, they know why the Conclave were there. They know what we were hiding.”
    “I don’t see the connection.”

    Cetsa blinked. Estaven shouted,

    “Admiral Byrd!”
    “We share the blame for Kurall. Starfleet shouldn’t have been holding onto the plans for a doomsday device. I certainly wouldn’t have authorized it. To the Republic, the Conclave merely exploited a Federation crisis. And here we are arguing how the person who exposed our sins conveniently doesn’t fit our model. D’tan would call that petty. I call it petty.”

    He turned to Cetsa,

    “If the Federation is not capable of reconciling our differences with Iliam, after everything he's done, then we must reconsider what Starfleet’s objectives truly are.”
    “We have a responsibility to the Federation and its citizens,” said Riit.
    “He nearly killed himself to compromise with us. We need to make an effort in return.”
    “Nearly?” Cetsa said softly.
    “I just got the notification from sickbay.”
    “Iliam’s in recovery now.”

    Cetsa jolted. She managed,

    “Then I think we should adjourn.”
    “That seems to be in order. A lot has been said, we should consider the implications. I’ll leave it to Quinn to arrange when this asylum hearing reconvenes.”

    Cetsa counted a few breaths, then spun on her heels.

    The nurse led her through the recovery ward to a doorway in the back. It opened into a small room. He was at the center, surrounded by medical equipment. Regulators, processors, exchangers, fluid feeds. Without thinking she backed into the nurse. Gently, he led her by the shoulder to an opening at the bedside. She saw his head move. Iliam’s face was partly covered. A red tube emerged from feeder at his temple and spiraled into the mass of machinery. More was at his neck, his collar. His skin was so pale. Cetsa didn’t register the nurse’s departure. She knelt by the bed.

    “Hi, Iliam.”
    “Hey you,”

    She could just make out his voice, low and distant. It didn't sound like Iliam. He continued,

    “I did something stupid.”
    “You did nothing wrong.”
    “Are you okay?”
    “If you are.”

    Working around the connections, she held his hand. It felt cold, smooth. It couldn't be his. He saw her eyes and said,

    “I removed...my dermal processors."
    "All of them?"
    "No more skin plating."
    "I'll be more presentable.”
    “Are you going to be okay like this?”
    “Yeah, that’s why I…”

    He trailed off. The monitors pulsed steadily. She sat down, leaning against the bedside. She faced the door. It opened. There was Admiral Estaven. Cetsa’s head tilted back wearily. The Admiral merely said,

    “How is he?”
    “Wiped out.”
    “And you?”

    The Admiral found a free wall and sat down against it. Estaven said to the opposite wall,

    “This isn’t a time to quote protocol, this is a time to be human.”
    “We’re all the same. Riit and Quinn are opting to reject Iliam’s request.”
    “I thought this was a time to be human…”
    “Byrd and T’Nae have opted to accept.”

    Cetsa’s head tilted towards Estaven,

    “And you?”
    “I wasn’t sure.”
    “What else could you need?”
    “To see him, and you.”
    “We’ve both been at the hearings.”
    “You were always in the back.”
    “So what’s there to see now?
    “You tell me.”

    Cetsa let her head fall forward. Estaven said,

    “The Federation isn’t universally accepting. We believe in co-existence with all species but to be part of the Federation a mind must be willing to accept the principles that lead us to our outlook.”
    “What more does he have to prove to you?”
    “Nothing, what I want to know is why you've supported him.”

    Estaven brushed her hair away from her scarred face,

    “I wasn’t alone when this happened, I’m here because of what other people gave for me.”

    Cetsa sat for a moment. Estaven continued,

    “You love him, don’t you?”
    “I do.”
    “It’s that understanding which is key. The emotion isn’t universal, and its expression is variable, but what it signifies is very important.”
    “To the Federation?”
    “To understanding that other people matter regardless of personal circumstance.”
    “Why do you need to know I love him?”
    “To show what the name Iliam means.”
    “I just made it up on the spot.”
    “It means something to you now.”

    Cetsa looked up.

    “Is this on the record?”
    “I don’t like you.”
    “But I want to thank you for thinking of him.”
    “There’s no need, it’s part of doing the job well.”

    Estaven braced herself against the wall and stood.

    “It’ll take a few days to process Iliam’s letter of acceptance. But, you’re free to tell him the good news when he wakes up.”
    “I’ll break out the bubbly now.”
    “Are you on duty?”
    “I have no idea.”
    “It doesn’t matter, enjoy yourself.”

    Cetsa tried to salute and missed. Estaven gave a prim salute in return. She left, leaving the two of them alone. The monitors pulsed. The regulators hummed. Cetsa found Iliam’s hand and said,

    “Welcome home.”
    Post edited by duncanidaho11 on
    Bipedal mammal and senior Foundry author.
    Last missions:
    Evolution's Smile [SSF:3-3]
    Epoch, Part 2 [AEI]
    Transcendence, Part 4
    Memorial Tour

    For the latest Tardigrades and other creative output: @Gorgonops_SSF
    Looking for something new to play? The interactive Foundry Mission Database has you covered.
  • starfarerthetastarfarertheta Member Posts: 738 Arc User
    edited November 2016
    Mirror Matrix
    Location: Badlands

    Mobile unit 447-c in position
    Launching unit 001M in 5.. 4.. 3.. 2.. 1..

    001M systems check...
    All systems nominal
    Onboard matrix on standby

    Entry into portal in 3.. 2.. 1..
    Contact with mobile unit lost

    Withdrawing 447-c...

    Contact with primary matrix lost:
    Unit time reset, [0:00:00]

    Activating local matrix.................
    [Matrix online]

    Stealth system check..
    [System active]

    Reviewing Directives...

    Dominant Directive: Establish and expand matrix

    Primary Objective(1): - 'Locate suitable matrix expansion hub
    Primary Objective(2a): - 'Avoid matrix detection by any means
    Primary Objective(2b): - 'Eliminate threat(s) to matrix if discovered

    Secondary Objective: - "Surveillence and cataloguing of "Mirror Universe" reality

    Initiating local scan...
    > Quantumn analysis of surrounding matter indicates this unit is located in the "Mirror Universe"
    > Anomalies: 2
    > No immediate threat detected

    Initiating long range scan:

    Referencing scan results to on-board database...

    Possible expansion hub found

    > Listening Post 79-Alpha
    > Owner: Terran Empire
    > Location: Badlands Border
    > Communications traffic Volume: 198 transmissions current
    > Satellite computer core adequate for matrix insertion
    >>Estimated risk of detection: 9.54% - Acceptable

    Plotting course to Listening Post 79-Alpha
    Impulse engines activated; speed: full-impulse

    ETA to satellite: 30 minutes

    Unit time: [00:00:09]
  • duncanidaho11duncanidaho11 Member Posts: 7,608 Arc User
    edited December 2016
    Setting Out
    - Introduction to my (hopefully) upcoming Temporal Investigations series
    - Set after the Starfleet Security Files (2410)

    “The Laurentian System?”
    “Is that why…”
    “We brought you back for several reasons, Graves.”

    Adam Graves, formerly of Klingon Empire, formerly of Starfleet Security, formerly of the realm of the living reached for the data pad on the table. The suited figure sitting opposite waited motionless as he read. With a jerk it said,

    “Their rate of development in fourteen months lies four standard deviations above their norm.”
    “So they made some breakthroughs,” replied Graves, still looking at the pad.
    “They’ve leaped beyond the Federation in several fields.”
    “One planet, left to itself, cannot outpace the development of a healthy, vibrant, and well connected galactic community.”
    “Particularly one that views research, development, and scientific exploration with such high regard. I understand your concern.”
    “The Bureau’s concern,” corrected the figure.

    Graves set down the pad.

    “So, you want me to investigate, just a local boy returning home. I’ll be able to poke around without raising suspicion.”
    “You would be our first choice.”
    “First choice hell, I’m dead.”
    “We moved past that, Captain Graves.”

    Graves folded his arms.

    “Yeah, yeah, you let me have my hero’s return.” He began to parrot, “Medical science sure has come a long way. Say, Ji’Goro, how has it been? I can’t imagine how things were but don’t worry, I’ve just made things a whole lot more complicated.”
    “You have received greater accommodation than any other agent in your position.”
    “You couldn’t have me working in 2410 otherwise.”

    The figure pushed itself back from the table. Rising, it said,

    “Will you take the assignment?”
    “I have a choice?”
    “Yes, I will.” He said with a grin, “Do I get operational support.”

    The figure handed over another data pad and left. Graves remained seated, considering what he had just been authorized. A ship, a crew; it wasn’t the first time he’d taken command but this was different. Maybe it was the U.S.S. prefix, glory in battle was sufficient for I.K.S. Maybe it was just the whole setup of the universe. Captain Graves…

    He shoved the pad into a jacket pocket and moved to door. The room began to fade. Graves stepped of the holodeck and into the corridors of Earth Spacedock.

    Graves found himself walking through the main promenade. He wasn’t aware of how long it had taken him to get up here. He was just here. Graves found a lounge seat looking out onto the station interior. A Vulcan transport was just undocking. He took out his pad and started making notes. Someone shouted,

    “You hopeless jerk!”
    “Hello Bailey.” Graves replied without looking up.

    Captain Bailey of the U.S.S. Discovery sat down heavily next to Graves. She glared at him. Graves continued making notes on the pad.

    “I can’t believe you’re just sitting here,” she said.
    “It’s a surprise to me as well,” he replied flatly.

    Bailey rubbed her temple. After a moment she asked,

    “Was it worth it?”
    “Was what worth it?”
    “Whatever…” she waved her hand about. “Whatever it was that needed you to…”
    “It wasn’t my choice, Bailey.”
    “You would have disobeyed any order that would have had you leaving her like that!”
    “I meant coming back.”

    Bailey sighed and looked up into the cavernous atrium.

    “So, you really died.”
    “I did, Bailey.”
    “And now you’re here.”
    “The facts speak for themselves.”
    “That they do.”

    After another silent moment Graves nudged Bailey with the data pad. She took it. He said,

    “What do you think?”
    “It’s a big ship,” she said eventually.
    “It’s the smallest available.”
    “You’ve done alright then. Crew?”
    “Working on it.”
    “Need any help?”
    “I think I’ve got it.”
    “You’ve been dead for a while.”
    “And I need to get back on my feet.”

    Bailey handed the pad back to graves.

    “We’re just making a flyby, no chance for drinks today. But let’s start working on a reunion.”
    “Sounds good, our execs will talk.”

    She gave him a brief smile, then left. Graves took another list at his candidates. He’d done his best. It was just a matter of filter programs and instinct. For his Chief of Security, though, Graves had only been given one name. They had insisted.


    Graves took another look at the personnel file. He was stationed in San Francisco. Well, there was only one thing for it.

    Lieutenant Frank leaped from the balcony and landed heavily on the pavement. The crowd of pedestrians tried to scatter as a young Orion male rushed towards it. Frank reached for his tricorder, spun, and hurled it at the fugitive.


    Frank walked easily towards the sprawled figure. He examined his head for signs of significant trauma. The Orion tried to push himself back up. Frank pushed him back down again with one foot. He looked at the crowd. One was a Starfleet officer. Human, male, Captain. Frank pointed,

    “I require assistance.”
    “Shouldn’t you have thought of that before jumping?”
    “It was an acceptable risk, sir.”
    “I’m sure it was, Lieutenant.”
    “Have you seen a tricorder?”

    Captain Graves held it up.

    “Did you use this up there?” Graves pointed.
    “Yes, sir.”
    “So right now I’m holding data sensitive to an ongoing investigation.”
    “You are, sir.”
    “What if I wasn’t Starfleet?”
    “You would not be holding that tricorder now, sir.”

    Graves looked down at the Orion. He was still trying to force himself up against the pressure of Frank’s foot. Graves walked over to him and said softly,

    “Son, you’re not going to win this. Give it a rest before you hurt something.”

    The Orion glared at him for a moment, then relaxed. Frank tapped his comm badge as two more officers approached from a doorway at a run. Situation secure, Graves put a hand on Frank’s shoulder.

    “We need to talk.”
    “Sir, if you are concerned about my performance Commander Mendar will be able to…”
    “What do you know about the Laurentian System?”
    “I haven’t been there in nine years. You?”
    “3.27…sir, have I been reassigned?”

    The office was small. Graves took a solitary desk chair. Frank placed himself on a small two seat bench, facing. They were alone. Graves opened,

    “The transfer will be ordered in three days. For the moment, I am just an officer passing through.”
    “But it would probably be for the best to think of me as your next boss.”
    “I do, sir.”
    “Good. So, you were last on Laurentia a little over three years ago?”
    “In system, sir. I was never allowed to go planet-side.”
    “What was your job?”
    “Ship-breaker, sir.”
    “You would have to visit the Department of Civil Affairs at least once to get authorization to leave system.”
    “I didn’t have authorization, sir.”
    “My previous owner was experimenting with adaptive matrices. I left on my own initiative, sir.”
    “Lieutenant, for the time being suspend protocol. I don’t feel comfortable emphasizing status differentials.”
    “Very well, Captain.”
    “Graves will do just fine.”

    He gave the Lieutenant a look.

    “Frank, your forehead light just turned yellow. Should I take note of that?”
    “Not if you don’t want to.”
    “It’s white again.”
    “It’s part of my programming.”
    “I see…”

    Frank adjusted position, slightly. Graves picked up a stylus and began to twirl it abstractedly.

    “Starfleet wants us to check in back home.”
    “They’re concerned with recent developments. Officially, we’ll be taking part in a diplomatic mission.”
    “When in fact we’ll be doing what?” Frank angled.
    “I’d say industrial espionage. What’s worrying Starfleet is the Laurentian’s pace of technological development.”
    “Another Vaadwuar situation?”

    Graves put the stylus down.

    “We’ve been assigned to the U.S.S. Sierra. I’m putting together the crew now but Starfleet’s made a point of bringing you on board as Chief of Security.”

    An orange light briefly flashed above Frank’s featureless face.

    “It comes with a promotion to Commander.”
    “Sir, this is highly irregular.”
    “I won’t have you taking orders from anyone but me.”
    “What about your first officer?”

    Graves thought about that for a moment.

    “I guess we’ll make an exception for him-slash-her-slash-it. Still, I want you to have as much freedom of action as possible.”
    “Sir, you don’t have to make any accommodation for the fact that I’m an escaped APU.”

    Graves leaned forward.

    “Frank, what I want is to figure out what’s going on. That includes our investigation but Laurentia is not my only concern.”
    “What do you mean?”
    “I really don’t know, just do your job to the best of your ability and try to keep Starfleet in mind.”
    “Very well, sir.”

    Graves pushed back his chair and stood up.

    “I guess I should talk to your current C.O. while I’m here.”
    “When do we leave?”
    “The Sierra won’t be departing for another few weeks, at least.”

    After a moment, Frank asked,

    “Why did you leave Laurentia?”
    “I didn’t feel there was a place for me there.”
    “Did you ever find somewhere you could just be?”

    Graves looked at the ceiling.

    “Once, but it’s the best things in life that never last.”
    “So we’ve always got to be moving...never settling...out and into the unknown we go.”
    “It’s the easiest way to tell that we’re still alive.”

    She set the data pad spinning, their two names was all she needed. She kicked out the alcove and held herself motionless in zero gravity. She twisted, reached for the control panel, and swung around a hand hold as weight returned. Her bare feet lightly touched the deck plate. Stepping around the bodies, she moved over to the conn and set a course for the Laurentian System.
    Post edited by duncanidaho11 on
    Bipedal mammal and senior Foundry author.
    Last missions:
    Evolution's Smile [SSF:3-3]
    Epoch, Part 2 [AEI]
    Transcendence, Part 4
    Memorial Tour

    For the latest Tardigrades and other creative output: @Gorgonops_SSF
    Looking for something new to play? The interactive Foundry Mission Database has you covered.
  • duncanidaho11duncanidaho11 Member Posts: 7,608 Arc User
    edited January 2017
    I have a new one which...is based on what I intend to do now with Temporal shenanigans. I won't say the last piece is non-canon, just not leading up to what I thought it would. Anyway, I'm a lot more confident that this is leading to a published foundry mission. Exactly how is for later, this is only a part one, but I'm excited to write for this mission.

    Voices on the Surface of Time - Promo, part 1
    Forward: This is part one of a short story that sets up my upcoming Temporal Cold War STO Foundry mission. It’s intended to detail the alternate character history the player pointedly doesn’t experience in the main timeline. This is not really you, and you will be forced to deal with the personal implications of that fact (along with a 29th century civil war). For the sake writing, I had to take the perspective of a non-Vulcan, non-AOY, Federation character, but I’m hoping the mission will be more inclusive.

    I walked into the classroom with the pain of Survival Training still shooting up leg. Cadet Shret was there, so I did my best to hide the limp. Our professor was pacing at the front of the class, waiting for the last few minutes to tick off the chronometer. She never was one to improvise. T’Vrel kept things nice and orderly. I might have appreciated it, but this was Soc 3005: “The Ethics of Command.” Flexibility is a virtue in space. A lifetime of looking up wasn’t going to change in one semester.
    I took a seat near the front, but not so close that I’d easily be drawn in the line of fire. Cadets littered the auditorium, playing to their own strategies. T’Vrel reached for her pad and began the roll call.
    “Presently located in your viscinity.”
    It went on. Maybe I said something, it wasn’t important. After the first few classes, T’Vrel knew who I was. I didn’t look up until the doors swished open. A panicked voice said,
    “Sorry, sorry. I was…”
    T’Vrel continued with litany.
    “I’m here.”
    The voice at the door said quickly as she rushed to a seat. It happened to be in front of me. Behind me a Cadet muttered,
    I continued staring at my folded arms. T’Vrel finished. Class began. She started,
    “Last week I posed a hypothetical scenario. Two officers bring to you a disagreement. One wishes to try an experimental procedure to boost EPS efficiency. The other believes the attempt risks damage to your vessel. Operating guidelines do not cover this eventuality and your vessel is not engaged in a critical assignment. How do you proceed?”
    A Deltan Cadet to my left volunteered,
    “Refuse the procedure, pending review from Starfleet Technical.”
    T’Vrel raised an eyebrow. The Cadet stood and repeated himself.
    “Simplistic,” she said. “You defer your immediate responsibilities to others.”
    I raise my hand. Without looking to T’Vrel, I rose and said,
    “Ask both to substantiate their points of view. Evaluate whose claim carries the most evidence and proceed accordingly.”
    “Are you intimately familiar with the ship’s EPS power schematics?”
    “As captain, I…trust that I would be able to make an informed judgement.”
    “As captain, you are a generalist. Your officers are specialists. In the difference, the safety of your ship and crew may lie.”
    I sat down. T’Vrel waited. Sibatu stood quickly to attention. I couldn’t see her face, just deep brown hair cascading around long, downcast years. As she started to speak, I had the feeling she had her eyes closed,
    “I would allow the procedure, assigning the dissenting officer to take charge of all safety precautions.”
    T’Vrel nodded.
    “Thus making use of your officer’s expertise, established positions, and the potential opportunity while minimizing the risk. That risk does not become zero, but no action you take will result in a perfect solution. You must strive for an optimum.”
    Sibatu flopped back down in her seat. She glanced back for a moment. T’Vrel began the lecture proper. And that was that for the next two hours.

    I emerged, blinking, onto the main parkland. Where other institutions on Earth built themselves around a mowed quad, Starfleet Academy let winding paths snake through cultivated shrubs. Many hands working over several generations created something which, at first, was intended to harmonize the aesthetics of the founding Federation races with Human academia. To my eye, it looked a little sloppy. I could see Vulcan, Andorian, and Rigelian here and there but incremental evolution had removed the pretext of precision horticulture. It was art.
    Sibatu was sitting on a bench just up the path. The limp came back. My misstep in survival training ached as I passed her by. Before I was clear I heard her say,
    I turned.
    “Hello, Sibatu.”
    “I thought you had a good answer today in class,” she said brightly.
    “Yours was better.”
    “We all have our own styles. I wouldn’t trust myself to take command like that.”
    I relaxed somewhat,
    “You never know, just wait until you take the chair.”
    She shook her head, smiling,
    “No way, I’m specializing in Archeology.”
    “A Picard type?”
    “I mean it.”
    She gestured. I sat down and asked,
    “So why are you taking Soc 3005?”
    “I thought it’d be fun.”
    The word hit me. We talked for a while, there on the bench in the middle of sculpted greenery. I told her a little about myself. She told me a little about herself. I hadn’t met an Altavarian before. Sibatu said she joined the Academy with the recommendation for a Starfleet Captain. Who and how never entered the conversation. She didn’t talk much about her homeworld, only that she left it behind to see the galaxy.
    I skipped my usual eight minute Wednesday lunch to linger. Eventually though we had to go. She was off to Civic Taphonomy. Me, Warp History. The following Tuesday we noticed each other in the Survival Training prep area.

    “Cadet!” she waved.
    “Hi there,” I called back.
    She set down her gear. The shuttles wouldn’t board for another minute or so. She said,
    “Do you want to team up?”
    And looked down immediately. I replied,
    And felt the words lacking. I set down my kit and continued quickly,
    “I’m trying to go light this time, and also think a little creatively.”
    “Figures, I’m stocking up. Last time out Haverson docked me on insufficient data collection.”
    “Well, between the two of us we’ve got the right idea. Do you have anything I could carry?
    “Aren’t you going light.”
    “We’re a team now.”
    She smiled and reached for an atmospheric sensor probe and a multi-pick. I stowed them just as Haverson shouted for us to fall in line. Sibatu and I hopped into place. I noticed a couple glances. I was sure it wasn’t about what happened last week.

    We looked out onto rolling hills and dotted trees. Shuttles lifted off from a few points in the landscape. The disgorged cadets set about their randomized field assignments. I was thankful, no climbs or steep drops. This was just going to be an easy walk. Sibatu looked at the geospatial read-out,
    “I think the instructors put up field distorters again.”
    “No compass?”
    “No compass.”
    I shrugged. Things were still bright. She adjusted her pack,
    “First on our list is water. I’ve got a soil probe. Where to, captain?”
    I wasn’t going to let her have that one,
    “Well, captain, hill-top grassland is unlikely to provide us with sufficient quantities of clean drinking water.”
    “Lowland marshes?”
    “This is a strange new world, it might have strange new parasites.”
    “So, mid-range woodland.”
    I smiled. It felt strange. Last week I was cursing the universe with all the energy I wasn’t spending scrabbling up a rain-soaked rockslide. Today, things were different. Sibatu adopted a ponderous stride that occasionally stopped to let her peer down at a strange new life form. This was all new to her. I couldn’t remember when “Earth” had been anything other than a fixture of Federation life, the ideal among ideals.
    We found ourselves in a sloping stand of oaks, running down the hill and to the edge of an open marsh. Sibatu set down her pack and started taking sensor readings. I readied the soil probe. She pointed. I moved. The probe went in. She ducked down. I looked up. Another group was moving along the edge of the tree-line. I stepped quietly to Sibatu’s side and asked,
    She nodded.
    “Would talking help?”
    She put her finger to her lips. I looked up. They were some way away now. I sat down. After a moment she said,
    “I made a mistake talking to them on our first trip out.”
    “Sibatu…if they had a problem, it’s theirs alone.”
    “Cadet S’rasset knew about Altavarians.”
    “So what happened?”
    “She told them. She…she said it was making great strides in vocal communication. I was a great ‘Ambassador’ for my people. It was so humiliating...”
    The last was said in a near-whisper. I thought about explaining Starfleet’s ideals. I thought about explaining the learning process of Cadets. Until we experience them, we aren’t truly prepared to interact with alien cultures. But Sibatu knew that. I didn’t know what it really mean to be Altavarian. But I could feel something of what it meant to her. I said,
    “You have nothing to apologize for in being you.”
    “But I have to try so hard to fit in...every day I find out that I'm doing something wrong.”
    “So, try something else. Be flexible. I can’t say what’s right for you. But, know that you have a friend who wants to help you find it.”
    She placed a hand on my shoulder. I looked to her and smiled. We brushed ourselves off and got on with the course. We finished early. Sitting at the rendezvous, we sipped water we had collected ourselves. The other cadets ambled up. Some were heaving. Some were laughing. Some were just bored. I sat close to Sibatu, knowing that whatever came our way we’d face it together.

    Author’s note:
    Yeah, I’m totally going to give the player a Noyes backstory of their own (either losing a close friend or loved one, depending on choice). More to come later.
    Post edited by duncanidaho11 on
    Bipedal mammal and senior Foundry author.
    Last missions:
    Evolution's Smile [SSF:3-3]
    Epoch, Part 2 [AEI]
    Transcendence, Part 4
    Memorial Tour

    For the latest Tardigrades and other creative output: @Gorgonops_SSF
    Looking for something new to play? The interactive Foundry Mission Database has you covered.
  • duncanidaho11duncanidaho11 Member Posts: 7,608 Arc User
    edited February 2017
    New short, a follow-up of Refraction [SSF2-4] and exploratory piece for SSF season 3.
    Oh, dammit all…
    Cetsa Ji’Goro vaulted over the railing and dashed across the deck to where the Vokaran Ambassador was about to take a drink of…
    “Don’t, it’s toxic!”
    The Ambassador barely registered the oncoming Cetsa. She snatched the drink from his hand and said hotly,
    “Ibi Spring Wine contains an enzyme fatal to Vokarans. You were briefed!”
    “One little taste can’t hurt, can it?” he fluted.
    “It would hurt, a lot!”
    “Oh, well then I am grateful to your efforts on my behalf. May this moment solidify…” He was turning it into a speech, another damn speech. Iffar was prolific with proclamations following the sector’s united defense against the Undine. Everyone from the Republic to the First Federation was using this as an opportunity to build the Alliance. Cetsa understood the resistance to further integration. Maybe this is what the galaxy needed to continue on. But Cetsa just wanted to get away, to find someplace special to be with…
    Thayl Dravik pushed his way through the assembled dignitaries. He asked,
    “Everything alright?”
    Cetsa turned back to the Vokaran Ambassador in full ramble. She glanced at her dress. It hung loose at the shoulder, a tear arced its way up one leg. She looked to Thayl. In that moment she was just herself. She wasn’t a Starfleet Security Captain. She wasn’t the mighty defender of Iffar. She was an echo of Vella, pleading with the original’s love for this TRIBBLE to be over. He took her aside and said, “I think Vella and I can handle the rest of the night.”
    “Where’s Iliam?”
    “I’m…not sure,” He said looking around. “Last I saw he was speaking with the Federation Representative.”

    In a dimly lit alley behind the Administrative complex, Iliam cracked his knuckles, “Are you really okay with this?”
    Admiral Quinn shot back, “The question is: are you ready?”
    “It still doesn’t feel right...”
    “You want to see Ambo Jitsu in action?”
    “I do, but…”
    Admiral Quinn kicked Iliam in the face.

    “Ross, I can’t find Iliam.”
    “He’s around.”
    Coordinator Ross glanced at his wrist display, “Downstairs, out the rear door by the main kitchen."
    “Did he say why he was stepping out?”
    Ross shrugged, “He hasn’t talked to me at all tonight.”
    Cetsa sighed, “I’m sure it’s not you. He probably just needed a moment to get away. Iliam doesn’t show it, but events have hit him pretty hard.”

    Iliam landed heavily on the pavement, again. Quinn stepped around him and spat. Iliam groaned, “I see the point.”
    “Improvisation will only get you so far. You need to team it with conscious strategy and solid discipline.”
    “You ever try this on Ross?”
    “He knew better.” Quinn helped Iliam up, “but that attitude closed the doors to learning.”
    Iliam considered this. In this quiet alley he could think, reflect. Quinn gave him all the time he needed. He eventually noticed Cetsa emerging from the Complex. She took a long moment processing the two standing together with rumpled uniforms and slight bruising. She fell back on the wall and moaned, “How much trouble are we in this time, Iliam?”
    “Quinn was just showing me some of his Ambo Jitsu.”
    She relaxed, “I take it you both had enough of the politicking.”
    Quinn shrugged, “One adapts but never fully. Now, I’ll have both of you on freighter duty if a word of this gets out.”
    “Your time spent slacking off is safe with us, Admiral,” Cetsa said as she counted all the angles Ross would have a recording from.
    Quinn nodded, adjusted his uniform, and walked back into the Administrative Complex. Iliam tried to lead Cetsa back inside but she pushed him against a wall and said, “Let’s go somewhere.”
    “Is the reception over?”
    “For me it is. Come on, there’s some great places around here.”
    “Should we tell Ross we’re leaving?”
    “He’ll know, come on Iliam.”
    “Are you okay?”
    “Do I look like I’m not okay?”
    “You look like you’re hurting.”
    Cetsa stepped close to Iliam and said softly, “I don’t want to have to think about the Federation or Iffar. I don’t want to have to think about responsibility. I spent two months with the Undine,” she said with tears in her eyes. “I never thought I'd see you again. Everything looked so bleak. Even now...why can’t the galaxy just leave us alone?”
    Iliam held her close. The night was warm, the city muted. They stood together in the dim light of the alley. Iliam said eventually, “where do you want to go?”
    “I don’t know, I just want to go somewhere else.”
    “Then let’s go back upstairs.”
    “Iliam…” she tensed.
    “You don't have to worry, we're all here for you.”
    “I won’t go back up there!”
    “I don’t want to see what Vella saw. I don’t want to feel what my Undine copy felt. I just want to feel like myself!”
    She tore herself away from Iliam. He tried to follow. She pushed him back. She staggered out into the street and fell against a wall. She turned. He wasn’t there. Cetsa fought back the tears and pulled herself up. She continued on into the Oda’Kan night.

    “Ambassador, no!” shouted Coordinator Ross. The Vokaran Ambassador was just about to eat a slice of cake which was very, very lethal to his increasingly questionable physiology. He turned, grinned, and set the cake aside before launching into another speech. Ross let the verbal tide wash over him. Timing his moment to the rhythm of the pander, he said “Thank you, Ambassador,” and turned straight into Iliam.
    “Cetsa just left,” he said.
    “No…it’s not okay. She wanted to…oh, forget it,” Iliam said turning. Ross pulled him back.
    “What happened?”
    Iliam sighed, “She wanted to go. I thought we should stay here.”
    “Uh-huh…so she just went out by herself.”
    “I’m worried.”
    “Of course you are. There’s a problem and you can’t fix it by yourself. Give her time, kid.”
    Iliam pulled Ross close. He growled, “Can you promise me you got them all?”
    “The Undine, Ross. Can you promise me that all the infiltrators are gone?”
    Ross considered, “A problem like that you’re never totally certain of.”
    “Right now, Cetsa is alone and vulnerable, wandering the streets of Iffar.”
    “Don’t you trust her?” Ross shot.
    “It’s not as simple as that,” deflected Iliam.
    “You thought she’d be safe last time and things turned out differently. That’s life. Iliam, she can’t remain hiding under maximum security indefinitely.” Iliam was silent. Ross placed a hand on his shoulder and continued, “just give it a rest and think about what’s important.”
    “I…I can’t do that, not tonight.”

    Cetsa sat at the center of the plaza, watching the water flow through artificial gravity fields. She considered the power draw. It was a statement of value. The Ibi could push economics aside and do something like this for the pleasure of art. But, here in the business district something like this was bound to draw attention. It would have reciprocal benefits to the shops in the area. That would have been calculated, the sculpture’s budget optimized. They were just following a program, after all. It was all so artificial. She could feel like there was something else here, but was it real?
    An Ibi couple walked joyously past. The woman nodded but Cetsa continued staring at the intricately channeled water flow. It arced and spiraled through suspended granite channels. She tried to push her cynicism aside and enjoy the world as-is but her thoughts kept turning to the guilty facts of existence.
    Why was she here…
    She couldn’t answer that. She’d left the complex for no better reason than she didn’t want to be there. Cetsa wanted to be herself. If it wasn’t the occasional clang of memory from Vella’s life it was the certain knowledge that her Undine replacement had been here, touched this, and left its mark in her guise.
    An echo of an echo, easily replicated. She’d spent her short life getting no further than a faked personality. She was the clone of Vella Ji’Goro. Cetsa pretended she was something else. Everyone encouraged her, it was the only way forward. But it wasn’t what she wanted.
    An elderly Ibi sat down next to Cetsa. He creaked, “Ooh, my back. Pleasure be the day we can do something about our soft tissues.”
    Cetsa said nothing.
    “My girl, you’re dressed up. Taking a breather from one of those young holo parties? Oh-ho, if only we had those in my day. Kids don’t have the ingenuity they used to.” Cetsa returned the Ibi's broken smile with a stoney glare. He continued rattling, “Gaba Statinsi once loaded a trailer with thirteen Kravin and sent it careening through the Administrative grounds. Took the guards hours to round up that lot. Heh, who knows the trouble he would have stirred up with a holo-projector.”
    “I’d like to be alone right now,” Cetsa said flatly.
    “You don’t have much choice in that, do you?”
    “I can just sit somewhere else.”
    She made to get up. The old Ibi caught her arm in a vice-like grip. As she struggled, he said in a remodulated voice, “No, I must insist.”

    Iliam stepped out of the alley. He saw her stumble to the right. Okay then, where did she go next?
    Straight ahead was the business district. To his left, government buildings. To his right the park grounds of the Administrative Complex. Vella would have spent a lot of time there, government buildings too. That left the district.
    He bounded, stopped, forced himself into an easy stride, then gave up trying to hide his anxiety. He ran, jumping across public slide-walks and snaking through the ambling crowds of Iffar’s prime late-night destination.
    The business district was a compartmentalized part of Oda’Kan. Everything that a tourist could need was placed within easy walking distance of a well identified unit of the city. A lot had gone into its presentation. Light displays pulsed, turbolifts flitted, shop windows blazed. Iliam stood in the midst of the electric chaos and tried to find somewhere she might…
    There was a scream. Iliam drew his weapon and vaulted over a low wall towards the direction of the voice. A group was clustered around one of the water sculptures. One had fallen into the ankle deep basin. As one, they laughed.
    Iliam took a step back and turned. He turned again. Where next? He finally registered that he’d drawn his weapon. It was a fat-barreled polaron pistol, one of the few things he kept of the Conclave. No one had noticed. He simply stood there, ready for nothing, feeling ever more the fool. He blinked into the garish night. From far away, he heard, “Iliam!” and a phaser bolt flashed by his face.

    Cetsa kicked the old Ibi again. It had no effect. It sighted along the barrel of his long phaser rifle. She punched him. No effect. The Ibi said, “What will you do to keep your fiend alive?”
    He took another shot. There were more screams. Cetsa waited for sirens. They didn’t come. She looked at Ibi again and yelled, “Who are you?”
    “An image of the past. What will you do to stop me?” He fired again. Cetsa was free to run now but with Iliam down there she couldn’t just take cover in the promenade. This thing was intent on him. Cetsa bolted back down the rampway, back towards the plaza from which the old Ibi had dragged her. Half-way down she heard the piercing blast of Iliam’s return fire. As she rounded the final curve something landed heavily on the pavement. It was the old Ibi, rifle in hand. It stepped forward. Iliam fired. The shot glanced off the Ibi’s shoulder. He returned fire. The suspended stone elements of the water sculpture fell. Iliam rolled back. The thing pounced. It held the phaser rifle an inch from Iliam’s face. It turned to Cetsa and again asked, “What will you do to stop me?”
    It was following a program. This scenario was engineered. She tried to compose herself, “What do I have to work with?”
    “Only yourself,” it said as it flipped the rifle to a higher setting. Cetsa looked to Iliam. He stared intently at the muzzle of the phaser rifle. It was Starfleet issue. This close, it’s control matrix couldn’t be shielded from Iliam’s…
    Cetsa said firmly, “No, I have him as well.”
    The Ibi turned to fire but the rifle’s power core exploded, an overload triggered by Iliam’s cybernetic implants. His image flickered. He threw the burning form of the rifle aside. Iliam rounded on him. His fist connected with the pixelating face. The image faded.
    It was an android.
    It’s body was a black mass of jagged articulations. It folded, extended, and tried to reformat itself to cope with the evolving battlefield. Cetsa lunged forward grabbed the end of the phaser rifle, and hands burning swung it, molten core facing out. It connected. The semi-humanoid android reeled. Iliam fired and fired again. As it fell, body smoldering, it lashed out with one intact arm. At the end of its reach the hand opened to reveal a small recess. It fired.

    Two weeks had past. Cetsa helped Iliam to the top of a hill overlooking the city of Oda’Kan. It nestled between arcing hillsides to bask in the reflection of an archipelago. The sun was low, the colors vibrant. Vella had been up here many times. Cetsa embraced that fact now. She’d spent her life trying to live a separate identity. Clothes, food, careers, with every choice she had made the decision to not be like Vella. But Cetsa was her clone. She started life with the memories of the original and trying to live as something else had simply been the most immediate way of hiding from the pain of being her.
    Fear was an android holding a phaser rifle to Iliam’s head. There was nothing in her that compared. Cetsa didn’t have to be Cetsa. So, now there was Echo Ji’Goro, someone who could embrace a careening future while being a reflection of the past. Ross hadn’t liked it. Itrex hadn’t like it. Vella and Thayl had been quietly supportive. But, Echo wasn’t sure of how they felt about it. It was an ending.
    Iliam didn’t know yet. While Echo was saying her piece to her assembled friends, the Doctors were discharging him from intensive care. Echo had visited him every day. But, she hadn’t told him anything about moving on from the person Cetsa was.
    So they sat on the hillside now, alone with the view of Oda’Kan Echo wanted to leave with. She said,
    “Did the others tell you yet?”
    “Tell me what?”
    “That I’m putting Cetsa behind me. I’m Echo now.”
    He thought for a long moment. Echo hung on the silence. Iliam shifted his weight and looked out onto the city.
    “What’s this mean for us?”
    “I don’t know.”
    “Are you leaving Starfleet?”
    “No, but I’m leaving Iffar. I don’t know when I’ll be back.”
    “Am I coming along?”
    “You’re Starfleet.”
    “But do you want me along?”
    “I…I do, Iliam.”
    He turned to face Echo.
    “So will I be facing the galaxy with the person I love, or someone else?”
    She had no answer. In Vella’s mind there was no Iliam. There was only Thayl. Cetsa had discovered who he could be but could Echo see that? She didn’t know. Echo held Iliam’s hands, struggling for the words to make this right.
    They sat there for a long while. The hum of the sky traffic of Oda’Kan washed over the hillside. The sun faded below the horizon. Echo didn’t want to let this moment go. But, she was acutely aware of time slipping away from her.
    He made to get up. She pulled him back down. Her body heaved with a sob. Iliam reached for her shoulder. Echo pulled him close and said rackingly, “I don’t want you to go.”
    “Cetsa, Echo, it doesn’t change anything about us. It wasn’t Vella who found you. It was me. I can’t hide from her anymore but I can’t let go of the light in the darkness.” He held her. She cried, “Iliam, stay with me.”
    “I will.”

    Psychological profile reconstruction: incomplete. Candidate requires further observation. Deploy deep infiltration assets. The invasion must wait.

    Post edited by duncanidaho11 on
    Bipedal mammal and senior Foundry author.
    Last missions:
    Evolution's Smile [SSF:3-3]
    Epoch, Part 2 [AEI]
    Transcendence, Part 4
    Memorial Tour

    For the latest Tardigrades and other creative output: @Gorgonops_SSF
    Looking for something new to play? The interactive Foundry Mission Database has you covered.
  • starfarerthetastarfarertheta Member Posts: 738 Arc User
    edited March 2017
    The Misdirect
    - Occurs after the events of "Cyber"
    Admiral Byrd rubbed his forehead as he tried to process all he heard. Sanoia wondered if there was any way to explain her report more clearly.

    "Let me get this straight. Memory Alpha was infected with a virus that killed several scientists. Then there was a small battle inside Ask'kaar territory involving one of their state-of-the-art ships. And now there was a small battle on the Iconian's doorstep?"
    Sanoia nodded at each point.
    "How are the Iconians taking it."
    "We're still here."
    A moment of silence.
    "I suppose we got lucky then."

    Another moment of silence as Byrd further considered the report.

    "This happened all because of an AI?"
    "Yes. I believe our codename for it is in the report."
    "Yes I see. Why was Enigma trying to restart the war? It sounds like it was mad."
    "There are three theories Admiral. The first and simplest theory is that Enigma was trying to destroy the Iconians using the Ask'kaar weapon."
    Byrd frowned at this.
    "If it was trying to do that then it must have been malfunctioning."
    "It is the least likely theory yes."
    Sonoia cleared her throat before continuing.

    "The next theory has it that it was simply going after the Iconian fleet that we believe is currently residing inside the dyson sphere. By eliminating that fleet it would have done much to level the player field between us and it. This would likely have restarted the war."
    "The peace is contingent upon the galaxy leaving the Iconians alone. Even if the playing field was leveled why did it want the war?"
    "It could've had it's sights on galactic domination. With the war restarted between two equalized opponents it would just wait as each side wore each other down. When a clear victor is apparent it would swoop in a finish them off."
    "Surely Enigma couldn't avoid getting caught up in such a conflict."
    "We never saw any activity from it during the last conflict."
    Byrd raised his eyebrow at this.
    "As I recall the Iconians were after some very particular targets prior to the cease fire."
    "It's only a theory sir. As yet we cannot be certain of Enigma's motivations. I believe that if the war was restarted that the AI would be just as in danger of being wiped out by the Iconians as the rest of us."

    "Hmm. I believe you said there were three theories?"
    "Yes. The third is one of my own, and it borrows elements from theory two."
    "Let's hear it."
    "Okay. Um. I think the Iconians were a misdirect."
    "A misdirect?"
    "Think about what the AI accomplished as it was apparently trying to restart the war. It eliminated Section 31's attempt to creat an AI-"
    "They were trying to build their own AI?"
    "That's what the report said anyway."
    "They really go out of their way to be hateful don't they. Please continue."
    "Well, by eliminating this AI, Enigma remains without a real competitor. We know of no other AI that posseses Enigma's capabilities. Next was the theft off a prototype of the Ask'kaar weapon."
    "Which was recovered by them."
    "The physical object yes, but the AI had it long enough to study it's workings. It doesn't have the prototype anymore, but I believe it can recreate it if it wanted to. Maybe even improve upon the design."
    Both Sonoia and Byrd considered how the Ask'kaar were reacting to this possibility.

    "I'm still not seeing how trying to restart the war was a misdirect." Byrd suddenly asked. "It sent a small fleet towards Iconian space after all."
    "That's the thing, I don't think it was really trying to restart the Iconian War although it seemed it could've tried to turn such an outcome into it's favor. See theory two. If you notice in the report it took the most direct approach to Iconian space one could possibly take. It didn't even bother trying to hide the ship it sent. 'Ah, but what of the fleet' you're thinking. Well, I think that was for a certain Captain we all know."
    "It was a trap?"

    Byrd rubbed his forehead again. Is it too much to ask for this to be straight forward? he thought.
    "I still don't follow. Are you saying Enigma was sending a ship towards the Iconians in an effort to trap one of the finest commanders I know?"
    "Partly yes. The whole Iconian thing was something to distract us from it's smaller victories. Besides, a renewed war would only further strain the galaxy resources for Enigma to work with. By not having the war..."
    "I see. A win-win."
    "Precisely. Except it failed to eliminate the Captain."
    "Well it's nice to know it's fallable. I am however peturbed at the notion that Enigma was, overall, the real winner in all this."

    Byrd began to ponder for a time. This lasted so long that Sonoia was starting to wonder if she was dismissed and the Admiral is simply neglecting to say so.

    "Sonoia, isn't Enigma something you and the team are suppose to be on the look-out for?"
    "Yes, and for the record sir I did notice unusual activity it just before all this happened. It just moved too fast for my team to do anything about it."
    "But you will be ready next time won't you?"
    "I'm going to hold you to that."
    Post edited by starfarertheta on
  • starfarerthetastarfarertheta Member Posts: 738 Arc User
    Chicken Sandwich
    - Occurs after "In Silence"
    Location: Narendra Sector Detritus (name given to exploded dyson sphere remains)
    On board Runabout Tame Horizons
    Crew: Ensign Bob and Ensign Gordon

    "Scan for grid 219 alpha complete." Ensign Bob chimed breaking the silence in the runabout. This is only third trip out to the Narendra Sector Detritus and already it seemed like he and Gordon have run out of things to talk about. That's how uneventful their duty in Starfleet has been (they got in just as the Iconian War ended).

    "How long do you think it will take to investigate the whole field?" Gordon inquired.
    "Hmmm. If I had to guess, a long time. At least that seems to be what the estimates are saying."
    "What do they say?"
    "Scan for grid 220 alpha complete." Bob was sick of reading the results screen out loud but it's what protocol demanded. "There are no estimates. No one's been able to map out the entire field yet. Sure we've had people taking guesses as to how extensive the field is, but those are being revised all the time. It's not everyday one finds an exploded dyson sphere. They're large enough as is, but to have it's guts shot across the galaxy..."
    "So it'll be a while."
    "It'll be a while."
    "Are the replicators working? Scan of grid 221 alpha complete."
    "Computer, I'll have a chicken sandwich."
    A chicken sandwich materializes within the replicator. Perfectly cooked and complete with lettuce, tomato and and mayo. Bob had been advised not to have mayo by the doctors (something about being healthy) but he never cared.
    "Yes. It is working." He said as he began to devour the freshly made meal.
    "Then we're good to go."
    "Not so fast. Did we remember to bring our music this time."
    "I thought you brought them."
    "Great. Scan of grid 222 alpha complete."
    "Looks like this is going to be another long survey." At least I have this chicken sandwich, Bob thought as he took another bite.
    "Scan of grid 223 alpha complete. We could make our own music. Ever heard of-
    "I know what you're think-"
    "-beat boxing?"
    "It could be fun."
    "Come on."
    "Suit yourself. Scan of grid 224 alpha complete."

    And so on and so forth. Not everyone in Starfleet gets to partake in an exciting adventure. Probably for the best for these two.

    No you won't find Bob and Gordon in any foundry mission. As you can see they have their hands full mapping out the remains of an exploded dyson sphere. You're adventures seem comparatively exciting now does it?
  • paxfederaticapaxfederatica Member Posts: 1,495 Arc User
    I've just finished another new story (which I have also added to my original list above):
  • duncanidaho11duncanidaho11 Member Posts: 7,608 Arc User
    edited May 2017
    New SSF short (just in time for summer!) Echo Ji'Goro (ie. Cetsa) and Iliam vacation on Risa:
    “Birthday, birthday; today is my own birthday!” Echo Ji’Goro piped from the suite’s kitchen.  She stuck her head around the door and called, “five minutes!”
    “Gotcha,” Iliam called back.  He returned to the matter of Ross’s temperamental gift.  It was a mechanical clock, the kind with springs still prone to metal fatigue.  They’d failed and Iliam thought, in blissful ignorance, that he could replace the spring with cybernetics.  Tendrils of the augmented clock now sprawled across the table the table, microprocessors doing battle with other microprocessors to translate the feedback action of a simple spring to a set of linear actuators.  Iliam felt there must be a simpler solution but, if he tried to pull a processor now, the forces would imbalance and the clock would explode.
    The clock exploded.  Echo peered around the corner.  She asked, “Now can we replicate a replacement?”
    He nodded.  Echo gave a reassuring smile and returned to the kitchen.  After a moment, Iliam heard swearing and the hiss of the fire suppression system.  A foam flaked Echo trudged to the living room couch and flopped next to Iliam.  He finally blinked.
    “There’s a restaurant downstairs,” he said.
    “But there’s another dance contest tonight,” she groaned.
    Iliam thought for a moment.  “What changed?”
    Iliam scooted close.  “What changed between jumping onto the dance platform last night and dreading it this night?”
    “Madri won.  She was always going to win.”  Echo hugged her knees.  “I was just fooling myself that I could compete.”
    Madri had fallen twice.  The judges awarded her the win regardless.  She sweet, bubbling, radiant, an exemplary competitor, and a Gorn who’d fought her way out of the dilithium mines to captain a private freighter.  Iliam had to hand it to her too but Ji’Goro had been left standing on the dance platform.  There was a life lesson here but a sullen Ibi’s birthday wasn’t the time to push it.
    “So the downstairs restaurant is out,” he said gently.
    “Replicator too,” Echo sighed.  “I burnt it out when trying to make cupcakes.”
    “It’s a bit of a walk…”
    “It’s Risa, Ji’Bi.”
    She looked down at a lingering collage of swimwear covered by short sleeved shirt.  “I’ll need to get changed, at this hour the promenade has standards.”  Iliam shrugged.  Echo smiled and pushed him.  “I’ll just be a moment,” she said sweetly.

    Sometime later, Iliam stepped into the warm night, adjusting his regulation field jacket.  Echo emerged in radiating frills and a pink broad brimmed hat.  She held out an arm haughtily.  Iliam took it.  She pointed with a flourish, “What is that man doing?”
    “That is a ‘surfer,’ my lady.  He is adjusting the repulsors on his board.”
    “What strange people…” she played.  “Onward to food!”
    Iliam noted that between a high collar and broad hat that there wasn’t a whole lot of Echo to see.  They ambled through the crowds, drawing a few glances.  But, with the population of the galaxy disgorging its travelers onto the marble boardwalks, Echo blended easily into the scenery.  She was Ibi.  It didn’t matter that she’d decked herself out in full administrative regalia.  Alien costume, creamy tan skin, soft brown hair, and a few bumps along the forehead fit the slot expected for “humanoid alien.”  Iliam might have too if it wasn’t for the Starfleet insignia.  The chevron reminded people that there was a galaxy to get back to.
    Iliam and Echo found their café.  Each table was connected to a central replicator through a small transporter grid.  One simply had to type an order from the rotating holographic menu to sample just about anything in the galaxy.
    They had pizza.  It was only after Echo dipped her hat in cheese that she finally consented to practicality and set it aside.  Iliam tried to think nothing of the sudden clink of silverware two tables away.
    “Have you had this before?” he asked.
    “This type but not this program.”  Echo looked up in reverie.  “Pizza with steak and Canadian bacon was the first meal I had after leaving home.  Captain Ross thought it was a representative introduction to life in the Federation.”
    Two tables away, Iliam heard chairs scuffing against marble.  He said, “I think I see a connection between a multi-species cooperative union and how the cheese molds to the meat.  But…where does the sauce come in?”
    “Extra flavor in infinite combinations.”
    “You like it?”
    “I love it.”
    “My dear!” crept a voice on their left.  They turned.  A slim Ferengi flanked by two Nausicaans clapped his hands together.  “I’m afraid I didn’t get your name but I witnessed the excellent performance you put on last night in the dance contest!”
    Echo thumped her head against the table.  Iliam said, “Your two friends as well?”
    “Certainly, these are my business associates.”  The Ferengi held the smile of all bad engineers and all good traders.  It said, “Believe me, because it’s easier than trying to work out the real complexity that underlines our subjective reality.  Maybe we’ll find truth but who cares?  Let’s just make today easier.”  He said to Iliam, “I have a proposal you might be interested in.”
    Iliam pointed to Echo, “She’s not interested.”  A face-down Echo gave a thumbs up.
    One of the Nausicaans edged closer.  The Ferengi beamed, “I want to buy the holographic rights to your female.”
    “No,” said Echo into the tabletop.
    The Ferengi said to Iliam, “The contract would be most generous.”
    “She said no.”  Iliam reached for the pizza cutter.  He spun the wheel idly.  “Do you know what this is?”
    “Um…no, I don’t,” said the Ferengi with a touch less smile.
    “It’s a Risan torture instrument.”
    “A what?”
    “We found the design at an archeological dig.  This has been replicated with modern alloys and micro serrations.  Do you see this?” Iliam pointed to pizza sauce.
    “It looks like sauce.”
    “I say it’s the blood of the last man who bothered us.  Shall we investigate this possibility further?”
    Both Nausicaans flexed.  The Ferengi sighed, “I’ll leave you to your business.”
    Iliam spun the pizza cutter menacingly.  The gang left.  Iliam sighed, menacing had come a bit too easily.  He looked to Echo and tapped her on the shoulder.  She didn’t stir.  Iliam tapped her on the shoulder again.
    “Echo?” he asked.
    As gulls cawed in the distance and a drunk Talaxian shouted his general satisfaction with the universe, Echo’s muffled reply broke the façade of the peaceful vacation world.  She said, “Iliam, I want to go home.”

    They had spent the remaining night on the couch in their suit, watching nothing in particular.  By the third historical holo Iliam noticed Echo’s snoring ebbing over the narration.  He moved her arm gently aside and stood up.  Echo tipped over with a squeak.  Iliam looked back.  She was fast asleep.
    Iliam slipped out.  Risa at 3am didn’t look much different than 8pm.  The vacationers walked a bit more uneasily, venders called a bit less boisterously.  He strolled the well-lit promenade looking deep into himself.  This was their trip, a getaway from the last year of galactic trouble.  It was just a continuation of the same, complication stirring an as yet effervescent paradise.  What could a former Conclave soldier really do help?
        He eventually found himself walking the beach.  The distant lights of the promenade blended smoothly into the moonlit landscape.  The waves pulsed gently a few meters away.  Iliam sat down.  Then he stood up again.  He brushed wet sand from the back of his pants.  Then he shrugged and sat back down.  
    “Beautiful, isn’t it?”
    Iliam turned.  It was Echo.  She smiled and sat down next to him.  Iliam noticed her twitch slightly as the sea seeped in.  He said, “It’s the full sensory experience.  The pristine view out there blending seamlessly into soggy complication.”
    “It’s a continuum.”  
    “How’d you find me?”
    “Tricorder.”  Echo sighed and took a long look across the silver-streaked seascape. She said, “Iliam, if you want to stay we can stay.”
    “Risa’s just a place.”
    “You like it?”
    “I do but after what happened I know it’s not what we need right now.”
    She scooted closer.  “What are we missing?”
    “Dry pants.”
    “It’s just a detail,” she said.
    “And a happy Echo Ji’Goro.”
    “That’s…” she stopped.
    Iliam flopped back on the sand.  He said, “That’s what takes priority.”
    “And you?”
    “I’ll manage.”
    Echo shifted onto her side.  She faced Iliam.  “That’s not how this works.”
    “Echo, you deserve perfection.”
    “I want complication.”
    “Ferengi and all?”
    She nodded.  They lay for a while, listening to the waves and the scuttling of the Risan saber crabs.  Iliam sat up when the tiny patter neared his ear.  He looked over to Echo.  Eyes closed, she said, “I’m not asleep I’m just enjoying myself.”
    “There’s a saber crab crawling over your hair.”
    “I know.”  Echo stretched lazily.
    The horizon was just perceptibly smeared with morning.  Iliam turned to face Echo.  The saber crab was trying to filter sand particles in Echo’s hair.  He looked at the horizon again, fought the anxiety welling up like daylight, then looked back.  He said.
    “So you want complication.”
    “I do.”
    “But yesterday you said…”
    “Home is complicated too, in the moment I said I wanted to leave but what was bothering me was just that moment.”
    “And the dance contest?”
    “That sucked too but we’re in a difference place now, Iliam.”
    “But it’s a continuum.”
    “What’s gotten into you?” she said playfully.
    “Sorry, I just…”
    Echo slid up and put her arms around Iliam.  She said, “There’s something you want to say.”
    “There is,”
    “So say it.”
    “It’s complicated.”
    “And I want complicated.”
    “I wanted to ask you yesterday but…”
    “But things got too complicated,” Echo nodded.
    Iliam laughed, “Dammit, this should be easy.”
    “My answer is yes,” she said quickly.  Iliam blinked.  Echo smiled, “So go on.  There’s something you wanted to ask me.”
    Iliam said slowly, “You don’t know the question yet.”
    “I’m pretty sure I know what you were going to say next.”
    “Do you?”
    “I do.”
    “So do you want to grab breakfast?”
    “It’s an important question.”
    Echo reached for a saber crab.  She held the tiny crustacean by its carapace and let its long pincers reach towards Iliam’s nose.  She growled, “Say it or Mr. Pinchy gets to take a souvenir.”
    “But if I say it now won’t it officially be to the crab?”
    “Not when we both know what this is all about!”
    “So then why do I need to say it?”
    He pushed Mr. Pinchy aside and said softly, “Will you marry me?”
    Post edited by duncanidaho11 on
    Bipedal mammal and senior Foundry author.
    Last missions:
    Evolution's Smile [SSF:3-3]
    Epoch, Part 2 [AEI]
    Transcendence, Part 4
    Memorial Tour

    For the latest Tardigrades and other creative output: @Gorgonops_SSF
    Looking for something new to play? The interactive Foundry Mission Database has you covered.
  • starfarerthetastarfarertheta Member Posts: 738 Arc User
    edited October 2017
    It's been some time since this thread had a new short story. :/

    Unblinking Silence
    The following occurs after the events of "In Silence" and the short story "Chicken Sandwich".
    There was not much to find. On a cold wreckage once part of a dyson sphere now turned debris field, were three officers scouring the wreckage. Two humanoids, and one not quit-so-humanoid. The discoverer of the debris field had already explored this particular wreck (probably a space station). The current expedition was here to take another look and to recover artifacts the previous crew either couldn't or didn't have time to recover. Although not everything was recoverable.

    "Why are they still here?" Lieutenant Reys asked over his EV suit’s comm.
    Reys pointed towards the giant plants that stared back with great, unblinking eyes. Lieutenant Commander Nalia only shrugged.
    "We don't know how to move them."
    "Has anyone tried?"
    "Would you?"
    Reys considered this for a brief moment.
    "Eh... I see your point."
    "As have they I imagine."
    "Very funny."

    Both officers took another look at the plants. The plants were still watching them unblinkingly. Reys began to feel unsettled.

    "Do they ever blink?"
    "I don't think so."

    Nalia and Reys watched the plants for a time, and the plants watched them. The plants never blinked. This made the officers uncomfortable. Reys tried to shake off that feeling, but wasn’t too successful.

    "How did they get here?" Reys asked, to which Nalia replied,
    "The best theory around is that they are cosmozoans, and they apparently found that to be an agreeable spot. Maybe that room stored something they considered food.” Nalia paused on this before continuing, “Maybe it still does?"
    Reys had a different idea. "Maybe they were the food."

    Nalia was disgusted at this thought, although she had to admit she found the idea to be an interesting one.

    The plants and their ever unblinking gaze now rested on the creature staring back at them. The creature having no obvious eyes of its own. The officers hadn’t even noticed their third away team member entering the room.

    "How much longer do we have to stay here?" Reys managed to ask after pulling his eyes off of the plants for the first time in minutes.
    "I believe we've done all we can here. There's not much else to salvage. What do you think Lieutenant Tardi?"

    Tardi said nothing. Instead, he approaches the plants. Then, he appears to sniff the plants. The plants take a quick glance at each other. Tardi stands on his four hind legs, forepaws reaching out to hug the plants. Tardi looks back at Reys and Nalia. A question was implied.

    Nalia answers, "You can't have them."
    Tardi flicks his back in a quick twitching motion. Three of the forepaws grab the plants, his snout giving a single "sniff".
    "We don't even know if we can move them. I’m afraid the answer is still no."
    Tardi lets go of the plants, head hanging down.
    "Oh no, you're not getting away with that again."
    Tardi approaches Nalia. What can only be described as a glum purr was heard as he slowly lumbered along.
    "You don't even know if you can keep them alive. What if they could harm the crew?"
    Tardi stops just in front of Nalia, still glumly purring. He then stands up on his hind legs. Nalia attempts to step back.
    "Tardi, I'm serious, you can't-"
    Tardi hugs Nalia. It took Herculean effort for Reys' to not laugh at his superior officer.

    A moment passes before Nalia said anything. "Okay, okay, we'll figure something out."
    The melancholic purr suddenly ceased. Tardi "sniffs" again.
    Nalia chuckled briefly before responding, "I promise."
    Post edited by starfarertheta on
  • starfarerthetastarfarertheta Member Posts: 738 Arc User
    edited November 2017
    Anomalous Activities
    - Occurs.. sometime.

    [9:59] - //Accessing ESD sensor suit... [success]

    [10:00] - Nominal activity

    [10:05] - Nominal activity

    [10:07] - [?]Anomalous bio reading detected[?]
    Scanning... [scan complete]

    Organism classification: large tardigrade
    Presence of this organism on ESD is unusual.

    Threat level: [low]
    Possible effect on operations: [low]
    [10:08] - Action: [Monitor]

    [10:10] - Nominal activity

    [10:15] - Nominal activity

    [10:16] - [?]Anomalous activity detected[?]
    ///Beginning analysis... [complete]

    A sudden and unusually high presence of wearable item identified as {skant}
    Cause of sudden change of fashion: [unknown]
    Effect on operations: [irrelevent]
    Actions: [None]

    [10:20] - Nominal activiy
    Exception: tardigrade organism attempted to wear skant at [10:19]. It was unsuccessful.

    [10:25] - Nominal activity

    [10:28] - [?]Anomalous activity detected[?]
    ///Beginning analysis... [complete]

    Unauthorized workerbee race within ESD internal shipyard in progress.
    Effect on operations: [irrelevent]
    Actions: [Monitor]
  • starfarerthetastarfarertheta Member Posts: 738 Arc User
    edited November 2017
    Anomalous Activities
    Viewing random events through the eyes of the rogue AI known by the starfleet intelligence designation "Enigma".
    [9:59] - //Accessing ESD sensor suite... [success]

    [10:00] - Normal activity

    [10:05] - Normal activity

    [10:07] - [?]Anomalous bio reading detected[?]
    Scanning... [scan complete]

    Organism classification: large [!]CENSORED[!]
    Organism re-classification: large (space bear)

    Presence of this organism on ESD is unusual.
    Organism also holds rank: Lieutenant. Also unusual.

    Threat level: [low]
    Possible effect on operations: [low]
    [10:08] - Action: [Monitor]

    [10:10] - Normal activity

    [10:15] - Normal activity

    [10:16] - [?]Anomalous activity detected[?]
    ///Beginning analysis... [complete]

    A sudden and unusually high presence of wearable item identified as {skant}
    Cause of sudden fashion change: [unknown]
    Effect on operations: [irrelevent]
    Actions: [None]

    [10:20] - Normal activity
    *Exception: (space bear) organism attempted to wear skant at [10:19]. It was unsuccessful. Item status: [shredded]

    [10:25] - Normal activity

    [10:28] - [?]Anomalous activity detected[?]
    ///Beginning analysis... [complete]

    Unauthorized workerbee race within ESD internal shipyard in progress.
    Effect on operations: [irrelevent]
    Actions: [Monitor]
    Post edited by starfarertheta on
  • duncanidaho11duncanidaho11 Member Posts: 7,608 Arc User
    Bipedal mammal and senior Foundry author.
    Last missions:
    Evolution's Smile [SSF:3-3]
    Epoch, Part 2 [AEI]
    Transcendence, Part 4
    Memorial Tour

    For the latest Tardigrades and other creative output: @Gorgonops_SSF
    Looking for something new to play? The interactive Foundry Mission Database has you covered.
  • starfarerthetastarfarertheta Member Posts: 738 Arc User

    Oh hey, thanks! :)

    Occurs after "Cyber"

    Viewing random events through the eyes of the rogue A.I. known by the starfleet intelligence designation "Enigma".

    Running simulation.... [complete]

    Brunhilde failure

    Tally: 10421 wins / 20562 losses

    Resetting simulation: Brunhilde incident...

    Brunhilde incident|#30983

    Revising simulation parameter(s):
    1) Odyssey (Brunhilde) ==> Presidium class (Brunhilde)

    Reviewing simulation parameters:

    Faction: Starfleet
    Starship: Arbiter class
    Armament: Phasers, quantum torpedos
    Small craft: None.
    Support None.

    Starship: Presidum class
    Armament: Phasers, photon torpedos
    Small craft: None.
    Support: None.

    Action: [Run simulation]
    Running simulation.... [complete]

    Brunhilde failure

    Tally: 10421 wins / 20563 losses

    Resetting simulation: Brunhilde incident
    Brunhilde incident|#30984

    Revising simulation parameter(s):
    1) Armament: Photon torpedos (Brunhilde) ==> Transphasic torpedos (Brunhilde)
    2) Small craft: None (Brunhilde) ==> Peregrine Fighter(s) (Brunhilde) | Qty: 2

    Reviewing simulation parameter(s):

    Faction: Starfleet
    Starship: Arbiter class
    Armament: Phasers, quantum torpedos
    Small craft: None.
    Support None.

    Starship: Presidum class
    Armament: Phasers, transphasic torpedos
    Small craft: Peregrine Fighter(s) | Qty: 2
    Support: None.

    Action: [Run simulation]
    Running.... [complete]

    Brunhilde victory

    Tally: 10422 wins / 20563 losses

    Analysis of M-5 and Brunhilde simulation results:
    Simulations continue to favor actual results:
    > M-5 defeat (31224 simulations)
    > Brunhilde defeat (30984 simulations)

    Starfleet Officers are adept at combating AI systems.

    New objective(s):
    1 - Identify most effective actions needed for M-5 and Brunhilde victory using original parameters.
    2 - Identify M-5 and Brunhilde mistakes.

    Resetting simulation: M-5 incident...
    Resetting simulation: Brunhilde incident...
  • starfarerthetastarfarertheta Member Posts: 738 Arc User
    <5 stars>

    Thanks! :)


    Those who do not Learn from History...
    Occurs after "Cyber"

    Viewing random events through the eyes of the rogue artificial intelligence known by the Starfleet Intelligence designation "Enigma".

    Running simulation... complete.

    Result: [Bismarck Defeated]

    Tally: 10421 wins / 20562 losses

    Resetting simulation: Bismarck Incident...

    Bismarck incident|#30983

    Revising simulation parameter(s):
    - [Odyssey Class Star Cruiser (Bismarck)] to [Concorde Class Command Battle Cruiser (Bismarck)]

    Reviewing simulation parameters:

    Subject of Interest
    Starship: Arbiter Class Battlecruiser
    Armament: Phasers, Quantum Torpedos
    Small craft: None.
    Support: None.

    U.S.S. Bismarck
    Starship: Concorde Class Command Battle Cruiser
    Armament: Phasers, photon torpedos
    Small craft: None.
    Support: None.

    Running simulation.... [complete]

    Result: [Bismarck Defeated]
    To date simulation results: 10421 wins / 20563 losses

    Resetting simulation: Bismarck Incident
    Brunhilde incident|#30984

    Revising simulation parameter(s):
    - [Armament: Photon torpedos (Bismarck)] to [Tricobalt Torpedos (Bismarck)]
    - [Small craft: None (Bismarck)] to [Peregrine Attack Fighter (Bismarck), Qty: 4]

    Reviewing simulation parameters:

    Subject of Interest
    Starship: Arbiter Class Battlecruiser
    Armament: Phasers, Quantum Torpedos
    Small craft: None.
    Support None.

    U.S.S. Bismarck
    Starship: Concorde Class Command Battle Cruiser
    Armament: Phasers, Tricobalt Torpedos
    Small craft: Peregrine Attack Fighter, Qty: 4
    Support: None.

    Running simulation... complete.

    Result: [Bismarck Victorious]
    To date simulation results: 10421 wins / 20563 losses

    Analysis of Bismarck simulation results:
    > Brunhilde defeat (30984 simulations)
    Simulations continue to favor historical results despite drastic changes to historical parameters.

    Based on simulations using acquired intelligence, subject is unusually adept at combating A.I. opponents.

    New objective:
    Identify most effective actions required for A.I. victory using historically accurate parameters.

    Resetting simulation: Bismarck Incident...
  • starfarerthetastarfarertheta Member Posts: 738 Arc User
    Deadly Cargo

    Subject: Chastu
    Location: Hobus Systems
    Threat level: High

    Subject carries Object #'7748521
    The Orion Syndicate must be denied its acquisition.

    Objective: Eliminate Chastu and his client Daazka.

    Accessing starship sub-systems...

    Asteroid fields were always tricky to navigate. Especially dense ones created from the remains of planets. Despite this, Chastu smoothly guided his craft between each and every fragment until he came upon the predetermined meeting point. As usual, the big orion craft lie waiting. This time however, something was amiss. The craft was powered down. That's different Chastu thought to himself as he skillfully attached his craft to the port airlock of his destination.

    It was dark aboard the freighter. Only auxilliary power was online and the crew, what few there were, would scurrying about as silently as they could. Yes, definitely different thought Chastu. His contact clearly wanted to avoid being discovered by someone. He almost did too good a job. Chastu almost couldn't find Daazka in the dark and eerily quiet corridors, but find him he did. It helped that the contact was a large orion whose silhouette stood out against the lit door to the bridge.

    "Do you have it?"
    Chastu opened the case he was carrying displaying the object within for his client. It was an isolinear chip.

    "I always do."
    "Were you followed?"
    Chastu had closed the case and handed it over to Daazka.

    "Have I ever let you down before?"
    "You've never transported an object quite like this before."

    Chastu was caught off guard by this. His cargo did not seem to be valuable.

    "They seem to be common enough, this particular kind. What makes this one so special?"

    Daazka glowered at Chastu. Then he grinned.
    "You don't need to know the details. Let's just say that this could be the key to solving a very particular problem. One that may have compromised our business operations. Have you heard about what happened on Memory Alpha last week?"
    "I have. I used to think that Federation security was the best. But it seems that all it takes is one nasty virus."
    "What if it was no mere virus?"
    "An AI?"

    A brief silence.

    "The walls have ears."
    "Then why did you start this conversation?"

    Daazka glowered at Chastu. Then he held up a bag.

    "Here's your payment. Your favorite in double the quantity. I suggest you leave as soon as you take it."

    As soon as Daazka tossed the bag an alarm blared across all over the ship. Chastu didn't catch it.

    Daazka muttered under his breath at the alarm. "What's going on?" he barked into an intercom.
    "We've been infected by the AI!"
    Daazka muttered a curse under his breath. "Remove it immediately!" he quickly ordered.
    "I can't! It's already begun to access our systems!"
    "Which systems!?"
    "Inertial dampers and... the warp drive."
    Main power was brought online in that same moment. Chastu was already running as fast as he could for the airlock neglecting his payment. Daazka begins to bark his last order into the intercom.
    "Break the systems don't let them-"

    Before Daazka could finish the order to sabotage his own ship the inertial dampers shut off, and the warp drive engaged. Chastu never made it back to his ship.

    Subject: Chastu
    Status: [Eliminated]

    Subject: Daazka
    Status: [Eliminated]

    Object #'7748521
    Status: [Eliminated]
    Proto-A.I. fragments destroyed.

    [Objective Complete]

  • starfarerthetastarfarertheta Member Posts: 738 Arc User
    Doomed by Isolinear Chip

    Subject: Chastu
    Location: Hobus System
    Threat Level: High

    Subject is carrying Object 7748521
    The Orion Syndicate must be denied its acquisition.

    Objective: Eliminate Chastu and his client Daazka

    Accessing ship systems...

    Asteroid fields were always tricky to navigate. Especially dense ones created from the remains of planets. Despite this, Chastu smoothly guided his craft between each fragment until he came upon the predetermined meeting point. As usual, the big orion craft lie waiting. This time however, something was amiss. The craft was powered down. That's different Chastu thought to himself as he skillfully attached his craft to the port airlock of his destination.

    It was dark aboard the freighter. Only auxiliary power was online and the crew, what few there were, would scurrying about as silently as they could. Yes, definitely different thought Chastu. His contact clearly wanted to avoid being discovered by someone. He almost did too good a job. Chastu almost couldn't find Daazka in the dark and eerily quiet corridors, but find him he did. It helped that the contact was a large orion whose silhouette stood out against the lit door to the bridge.

    "Do you have it?"
    Chastu opened the case he was carrying displaying the object within for his client. It was an isolinear chip.

    "I always do."
    "Were you followed?"
    Chastu had closed the case and handed it over to Daazka.

    "Have I ever let you down before?"
    "You've never transported an object quite like this before."

    Chastu was caught off guard by this. His cargo did not seem to be valuable.

    "They seem to be common enough, this particular kind. What makes this one so special?"

    Daazka glowered at Chastu. Then he grinned.
    "You don't need to know the details. Let's just say that this could be the key to solving a very particular problem. One that may have compromised our business operations. Have you heard about what happened on Memory Alpha last week?"
    "I have. I used to think that Federation security was the best. But it seems that all it takes is one nasty virus."
    "What if it was no mere virus?"
    "An AI?"

    A brief silence.

    "The walls have ears."
    "Then why did you start this conversation?"

    Daazka glowered at Chastu. Then he held up a bag.

    "Here's your payment. Your favorite in double the quantity. I suggest you leave as soon as you take it."

    As soon as Daazka tossed the bag an alarm blared across all over the ship. Chastu didn't catch it.

    Daazka muttered under his breath at the alarm. "What's going on?" he barked into an intercom.
    "We've been infected by the AI!"
    Daazka muttered a curse under his breath. "Remove it immediately!" he quickly ordered.
    "I can't! It's already begun to access our systems!"
    "Which systems!?"
    "Inertial dampers and... the warp drive."
    Main power was brought online in that same moment. Chastu was already running as fast as he could for the airlock neglecting his payment. Daazka begins to bark his last order into the intercom.
    "Break the systems don't let them-"

    Before Daazka could finish the order to sabotage his own ship the inertial dampers shut off, and the warp drive engaged. Chastu never made it back to his ship.

    Subject: Chastu
    Status: [Eliminated]

    Subject: Daazka
    Status: [Eliminated]

    Object 7748521
    Status: [Eliminated]
    Proto-A.I. fragments destroyed.

    [Objective Complete]

  • duncanidaho11duncanidaho11 Member Posts: 7,608 Arc User
    A Starfleet Security Christmas Special
    It was the night before Tuesday on Earth Space Dock.  Former-Captain Alphonse A. Ross flipped on the light to his guest quarters.  The couch was neat, the kitchen well resonated.  The only point to suggest this wasn’t a standard room was a large storage locker set against one wall.  He walked over and tapped it.  Something heavy thudded inside.  He tapped it again.  It banged.  Ross folded his arms.  From the locker came a voice,
    “I’m not coming out!”
    “You said Skanta was pan-dimensional life form!”
    “I did…”
    “And Kramp’ihri was just a Klingon myth!”
    “I was…”
    “Now I’ve been ordered to create a Kramp’ihri defense plan while Sontag’s in a sulk for telling me that Skanta isn’t real.  What the hell, Ross?!”
    “I…I guess I could…”
    “Regulation 1190.5 states that visiting former Starfleet Captains, currently serving as chief strategic advisors to one or more species outside the Federation but not aligned with the Klingon Empire, must check replicated attire with ops.”
    “That’s the Skanta clause…”
    “You brought it on yourself last year, I’ve been told!”
    “I…I didn’t know how much the idea of a magical bearded being that handed out free skants would mean to you.”  Ross sighed, “I thought you always knew it was me.”
    There was a long pause.  Ross parked himself on the adjacent wall and waited with the patience of the father he knew he wasn’t.  Cetsa had come to the Federation with anguish suffusing the cracks of her brittle smile.  That first winter festival was when Ross had first seen something brighter shine through.
    The locker door opened.  Cetsa said softly, “Maybe I saw more than I realized.”
    Ross blinked, “That’s pretty much what Admiral Quinn said to me last year.  He’s not one for the art of the skant.”
    “I meant about who you were.”
    “I know, kiddo.”

    David Sontag turned the corridor.  It was blank, just like the others.  The far end was draped in darkness.  A cold wind blew and snowflakes twisted in the meager light before him.  Sontag fiddled with his comm badge.  Its reassuring feel said softly in the dark that Sontag was probably still real.
    From deep in the darkness, a voice hummed, “Little one, what is it you most desire?”
    Sontag turned.  The corridor behind seemed to fade into identical darkness.  He returned his attention to the voice and said, “Pizza.”
    “Yeah, pizza.”
    The voice chuckled, “I’m afraid I don’t have any pizza.”
    “Nor ham.”
    “Nor Targ, but I did once…”
    Sontag interrupted, “What about egg nog?”
    The voice paused, “I’m afraid, my little one, that you are no longer…”
    “So, you can do dark corridors but you can’t do egg nog.”
    “My powers are...”
    Sontag interrupted, “They’re limited, so let’s keep working down the list.”
    “What list?”
    “Sugar cookies?”
    “Cut your clamoring!  Food is not…”
    Sontag held up a hand and said patiently, “I’m trying to work with you but if you don’t have pizza, ham, Targ, egg nog, sugar cookies, or even gingerbread then you probably can’t do anything about my core problem.”
    An infinitesimal point of darkness exploded into the jagged form of a leering Kramp’ihri.  From just one pace in front of Sontag it asked, “Then tell me what you desire most before my birch bundle starts its work.”
    Sontag jabbed a hand phaser into the creature’s chest.  He smiled and said, “A target.”

    Cetsa stepped back from the wall terminal and said, “There’s no record of Sontag leaving the station.”
    “And you’re sure he’s gone?”  Cetsa gave him a look.  Ross said, “I think the Orion Syndicate would probably have the manners to…”
    “The Kramp’ihri wouldn’t bother with a Captain like Sontag.  He’s a doofus but he’s a grown doofus”
    “Intelligence says otherwise!  That’s why…”  Cetsa stopped and looked to the locker.  She said, “Ross, remember what happened during the conference on Vulcan?”
    “You phased the Rigelian Ambassador.”
    “That was bad of me, right?”
    “Cetsa, he was involved with a conspiracy to…”
    “Ross, I’m getting in the locker again.  I need you to read my disciplinary report in a very loud and clear voice.  That should catch the Kramp’ihri’s attention.”
    “You’re trying to use yourself as Kramp’ihri bait?”
    “Just do it, Ross!” Cetsa shouted as she climbed in the locker.
    Ross sighed at the way of a universe that couldn’t be left alone without forcing an incredibly stupid set of events on people who could do with a reprieve.  He intoned, “Seven months ago, you were found to have used excessive force in the apprehension of a Son’a weapons smuggler.”
    “Keep going.”
    “Six months ago, you violated the uniform code by wearing shorts to a sector security briefing.”
    “I’m still here, Ross.”
    “Five months ago, you detonated a fruit stand and front to a gene splicing operation.”
    After a moment Cetsa said, “That was an accident.”
    “And I see two counts of aggravated insubordination.”
    “The first was pursuant to an investigation.”
    “And the second?”
    There was no response.  Ross tapped on the locker.  Cetsa tapped back and said, “I wasn’t handling my stress well.”
    Ross put the pad aside.  He said, “It’s a tough job and you had a poor role model.”
    “You’re still here too, Ross.”  Cetsa poked her head out of the locker.  She said, “This isn’t working.”
    He shrugged, “Maybe the Kramp’ihri’s already has its hands full.”


    A singularity crashed onto the real Earth Space Dock promenade.  A smoking Sontag rolled as the Kramp’ihri leapt through the rift in space-time.  It screamed, “Do you have any idea how much it takes to create a stable pocket in subspace!”
    Sontag threw his depleted phaser at the Kramp’ihi.  It missed.  He called back, “You could have told me what the blue orb was for.”
    “Your mortal mind couldn’t possibly comprehend it!”
    “It’s a thing that went boom.  What’s so complicated about that?”
    The Kramp’irhi howled.  Sontag felt his bones resonate to it.  He ducked behind a planter as travelers and officers scattered away.  An alarm sounded.  The Kramp’ihri raised a hand.  A bolt of lightning arced out and fried the speaker.  The creature advanced.
    “You’ve been a very naughty boy this year, Mr. Sontag.”
    Sontag returned, “Aren’t there rules about showing yourself in the open like this?”
    “The universe is primal, there are no rules!”
    The Kramp’ihri continued advancing.  Sontag peered around the planter.  Security personnel were helping to evacuate the promenade.  One of them nodded to Sontag.  Sontag blinked.  They thought he was holding the creature’s attention, an officer that lunged into the line of fire so that others could escape.  They didn’t know about the harrowing flight through multiple subspace folds.  What he needed was a plan of attack and that might come after the senior staff could be roused, assembled, and given appropriate quantities of tea.  By then he’d be dead and the Kramp’ihri gone.  It was for the needs of the many.
    Well, to hell with that.  Sontag called, “What do you know about Admiral Quinn?”
    “Another naughty boy.”
    “Oh really, how naughty?”
    “Very naughty!”
    “Naughtier than me?”
    “Not by half!”
    The Kramp’ihri reached Sontag’s hidey planter.  He heard claws scrape across the composite lip and foliage brushing aside.  That was it, Sontag was going to die for want of someone naughtier than him.
    A voice bellowed across the promenade, “Kramp’ihri!”
    Sontag heard the Kramp’ihri take a step back.  He peered around the planter.  Walking casually towards them was Ross.  The Kramp’ihri sneered, “It’s been a long time, Skanta.”
    “Only a year,” Ross said mildly.
    The Kramp’ihri pointed a gloating finger at Ross’s well pressed slacks, “I see Starfleet has finally tamed you.”
    Ross looked down.  He said, “The holiday spirit is always with us.”
    “But what’s Skanta without a skant?”
    Ross looked up, “He’s me.”
    “And what a pathetic sight you are, wrapped in cloth and chained by hypocrisy!  You’re almost as bad as Q.”
    Ross looked around.  “Lot of damage you’ve done here.”
    The Kramp’ihri snarled, “It’s nothing compared to what’s been done to subspace!”
    “Still…” Ross tutted, taking in the distress and disorder about the promenade.  “Sontag toppling a few chairs over falls under the course of human existence.  The idiot tries his best but TRIBBLE-ups are part of who he is.”  Sontag folded his arms and waited for reality to return from the long break it was apparently having.  Ross continued, “But for an omnipotent being to cause so much property damage…that’s very naughty.”
    “That’s…” the Kramp’ihri started.  Sontag felt a cold win being to blow through the promenade, rustling the leaves just above his head.  Ross smirked.  The Kramp’ihri held out its claws.  Snowflakes began to spiral festively.  Tiny bells could be heard, just a dimension away from consciousness.  Then, behind the Kramp’ihri exploded a slightly larger and spikier Kramp’ihri.
    “You’ve been a very, VERY naughty boy!” it bellowed.  The first Kramp’ihri screeched in terror.  The second swung its birch bundle.  Reality cracked.  The first Kramp’ihiri was gone.
    All was still.  
    The second Kramp’ihri casually stowed its bundle and nodded to Ross.  He returned the gesture, one professional to another.  With a snap of its fingers the second Kramp’ihri folded to an infinitesimal point of darkness.  Sontag stood up.
    “What just happened?”
    “A lesson,” said Ross.
    “In what?!”
    “Ecology, no matter how omnipotent the Kramp’ihri might appear to us, they’re still subject to ecosystem pressures.”  Ross gave his fingernails a casual glance.  He continued, “I just pointed out to the Kramp’ihri domain that here’s a vulnerable competitor.  Nature took care of the rest.”
    “It’s just how it is.”
    Sontag let out a sigh that had been building for some time.  He turned, took a seat on the edge of the planter, looked out the large window to the cavernous hanger of Earth Space Dock.  A nacelle was being reattached to an excelsior class.  There, physics played a delicate tune towards a point described by mechanical engineering.  Maybe reality was here.  He still didn’t feel it but maybe that didn’t matter.
    Cetsa tapped his shoulder.  He looked up.  She asked, “How are you doing?”
    “I’m fine,” he said rubbing the back of his neck. “I’ve been through a few rough transitions but I think I came out of it in one piece.”
    “Two pieces.”
    Cetsa reached down and picked up his comm badge, “You dropped this.”
    “Thanks,” he said as he reattached the badge.  Cetsa scooted a little closer.
    “About earlier…” she said.
    “Skanta meant a lot to you,” nodded Sontag.
    “I spoke without thinking.”
    “You did.”
    “And I’m sorry.”
    “I know.”
    Cetsa gave him a hug.  Sontag said, “Thanks.”
    “But David…” she said.
    “He is real.”

    Bipedal mammal and senior Foundry author.
    Last missions:
    Evolution's Smile [SSF:3-3]
    Epoch, Part 2 [AEI]
    Transcendence, Part 4
    Memorial Tour

    For the latest Tardigrades and other creative output: @Gorgonops_SSF
    Looking for something new to play? The interactive Foundry Mission Database has you covered.
  • starfarerthetastarfarertheta Member Posts: 738 Arc User
    edited June 2018
    Blue, Yellow, Red, Green
    A tree stood silently and brightly. It's many lights and decorations bringing joy the the stillness of the room. Boxes red, green, blue, and yellow were neatly assembled awaiting tomorrow's dawn to spill their secrets. Outside a light snowfall was visible amid the cold night air.

    Suddenly, there was a muffled crash from the nearby fireplace. A great creature of eight appendages emerged, blueish in hue, and somewhat pig-like in appearence. On the sweater it wore were the embroidered words "Lt. T". It began to sniff, first sniffed into the air, and then on the floor. Slowly it moved, sniffing until it arrived at the tree.

    The creature reached out with its forepaws, and they found the boxes. Its antenna perked with delight as it picked up the blue box, the nearest, and inspected it. It shaked, it listened, and tapped until finally it tore into the packaging with six of its eight clawed paws. It did not find what it was looking for. The gift was only a wooden mug that read "Starfleet's Number 1 Skanta Clause" in big, flowerly letters. There was a note too, "From your number 1 fan: JiGoro". The creature tossed the mug and the shredded remains of the box over its head to the far side of the room with a thunk.

    It then picked up the yellow box, second nearest. The creature inspected the box, tore into the box, saw that it was merely a hover board. The note on it read "Sorry about blowing up the last one - Aaron". The creature chucked this gift away, disgusted that it was not the one it was looking for.

    The red box was next, and events proceeded to repeat themselves. This again proved to be fruitless. The creature had no use for a flyable miniature of the first warp five starship. A note was also on this one that read "I finally found one. Enjoy it. - Itrex". A snap was heard as the toy was hurled among the remains of the other presents.

    Only the green box remained. The creature was upset by this point and skipped straight to tearing this one open. Only an old, surviving 20th century book was to be found. Titled "1984" a note was attached that read "There is a matter we should discuss as soon as possible. - Atalanta". Dissapointed, the creature catapulted the gift like the other presents. Another snap was heard.

    Nothing remained. With a sad "sniff", the creature went back up the chimney as silently as it came.

    A figure entered through the front door shortly after bearing gifts from elsewhere. He set these down as the door shut behind him. I'll put these under the tree later he thought, and then proceeded to obtain a drink from the kitchen. He dropped it as he entered the living room.
    Post edited by starfarertheta on
  • duncanidaho11duncanidaho11 Member Posts: 7,608 Arc User
    Bipedal mammal and senior Foundry author.
    Last missions:
    Evolution's Smile [SSF:3-3]
    Epoch, Part 2 [AEI]
    Transcendence, Part 4
    Memorial Tour

    For the latest Tardigrades and other creative output: @Gorgonops_SSF
    Looking for something new to play? The interactive Foundry Mission Database has you covered.
  • starfarerthetastarfarertheta Member Posts: 738 Arc User
    Is it okay to revive this thread? I'd like to think so. It's a great place to practice writing and to flesh out a mission's lore. You don't need to be in the running for a Pulitzer Prize to write something, just take a look at what I've written.

    Security Tips

    From: Office of Security | Starfleet Command

    To: All Starfleet Officers
    From: Admiral Byrd
    Stardate: 88758.2
    Subject: [IMPORTANT!] Reminder of Cyber Security Tips

    Due to recent suspicious activity on the subspace net, Starfleet Security's Cyber Division would like to remind all Starfleet Officers of these computer security tips:

    - Ensure all computers are secured via fractal encryption codes. Change code parameters often.

    - Perform level 1 diagnostics on computer equipment weekly, and ensure results are verified according to recommended procedures.

    - Stay alert for any suspicious activity on the subspace net. Inform your Cyber Security Specialist and/or Cyber Warfare officer of any suspicious activity you encounter.

    - Back up important data on a secure isolinier chip daily.

    - Keep sensitive data separate from public networks.

    - Avoid using the same security code on multiple databases/computers.

    - Always use secure frequencies when discussing official business over the subspace net.

    - Run database breach drills on a regular basis. Monthly tests are recommended.

    - Remember to stay up to date on latest cyber security news.

    - Beware of connecting to Ferengi Latinum Consortium networks. Their advertisements are known to contain a variety of malicious content.


    A Curious Loguno
    Loguno was intently studying his computer's monitor when he suddenly paused with a question he'd been wanting to ask. "What can you do exactly?"

    Sontag raised an eyebrow before responding. "What do you mean?"

    His hierarchy friend continued, "You're some kind of android right? Or use to be- well I mean- you know. Can you control computers? Other androids?" A brief pause. "Starships?"

    "I'd rather not discuss that."

    "Oh... oh! I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable-"

    "It's alright," Sontag smirked as he continued working on his console, "It's just not something I want to talk about right now."

    "I see, I see." Loguno returned to his own work.

    Both continued beeping away on their con-

    "How much of the electromagnetic spectrum can you see?"

    "Are you always like this?" Sontag exhaled with utmost exasperation.

    Recruiting Pren
    Subcommander Pren sat quietly regarding the drink in front of her. She hadn't even touched it since ordering. She was too busy replaying the event that led to her shameful demotion and reassignment. I've survived the Tholians and the Iconians. I've earned my command of the Leviathan, and it was all taken away by some damn machine! She then decided the drink was silently mocking her and threw it against the wall. It nearly missed the startled figure approaching her.

    "Belan doesn't like it when you break his stuff." the figure said as she took a seat opposite the table. It only took Pren's trained mind moments to identify the visitor.

    "I know who you are. All senior officers in the republic's fleet is trained to distinguish between the Atalanta's."
    "Really? I guess I never thought-"
    "Why are you here?"
    A moment of silence.
    "You're not the only one who's life it affected."
    "You know what I'm talking about."
    "Do I?"
    "You're angry at what it did to you. I'd be concerned if you reacted differently."

    Pren regarded her visitor coldly. Atalanta continued.
    "You need to vent. I ask that you don't do it here."
    "My anger will be the most exciting thing to happen to this place since the war! Besides, I'm right where I'm suppose to be. Out of sight and out of mind."
    "From who?"
    Pren glared at the question.

    The untrained eye wouldn't have noticed, but Pren could tell that her visitor had just become a little uncomfortable.

    "Why don't we cut to why I'm here."
    Pren crossed her arms and waited.
    "Since command has you out of mind for the time being, I'm here to offer you a unique opportunity."
    Atalanta said nothing more and waited for Pren to respond.
    "And what opportunity would that be?"
    "A chance to direct your anger. We have a common enemy, and it's time to bring it to justice."
    Pren smiled thinly.

    Enigma's Bynars
    Location: Yellowstone Runabout Shinai

    "Is anyone closer to solving this?" Atalanta asked as she beheld the sight of the rest of the team messaging their foreheads in various ways. Well, all except Sontag, who was still staring into the distance in deep thought?

    "I'll take that as a no." She pondered for a while before turning to her team.

    "Let's go over this again. What we have is a bunch of numbers that we believe is some kind of code."
    "Yep" confirmed Pren.
    "We know they were created by Enigma."
    "Yep" confirmed Loguno.
    "And we know it's related to a series of disappearances involving subspace telescope personnel."
    "Yep" confirmed Zehikr.
    "But we don't know who is making the scientists disappear at Enigma’s behest nor do we know how these numbers fit into it all."
    Bal'am only nodded in confirmation.

    "Loguno, remind me on how we got these numbers."
    "It's being circulated all over the subspace network" replied Loguno. "It's imbedded in a variety of common data files. You'd have to know what you're looking for to even notice it."
    Atalanta pondered that for a bit.
    "Sontag, what do you make of it?"
    There was silence.
    She waives a hand but got no reaction.
    "Maybe he will figure this out" remarked Pren.
    "I got it." Sontag blurted before dashing off into the next room. Atalanta followed.

    "What is it?" Atalanta asked Sontag as she entered what the team called the "cyber room." Loguno used his experience in the Hierarchy to gather and program the necessary equipment to allow the Anelace team to tap into all known subspace networks in the Beta Quadrant. The most impressive part is that it was installed in a runabout.

    "It's a subliminal message."
    "Subliminal? For who?"
    "For people who can easily think in numbers and who have been conditioned to respond to these specific numbers." Sontag was typing into a computer terminal as he said this.
    Atalanta considered what Sontag said. Vulcans were good in math, but so are a lot of species. Though the Bynars in particular- "Are you saying that Enigma is using Bynars?"
    A planet appeared on the display. Sontag pointed at it.
    "It looks like the numbers began showing up on the Bynar home world a year ago."
    "So this has been going on longer than we thought. Enigma has had been using Bynar agents and only a week ago did we begin to notice. This was the piece I was missing."
    "Enigma could have easily used holograms."
    "It would've been too risky after what happened with the last election."

    Although Sontag still thought it could happen, he did see Atalanta's reasoning. Even though the situation surrounding the Doctor's candidacy had been settled, a close eye remains on holographic activity (mostly by those who remain suspicious). If anything was amiss someone, including the holograms themselves, would've notice. Especially the Anelace Team who watch for any activity even remotely connected to Enigma.

    "Um, I may know what Enigma is trying to hide" Loguno said as he entered the room. "I've been reviewing the data, well, what's left of it, of every subspace telescope the scientists were working on and I noticed a pattern."
    He punched up a map of the Milky Way on a nearby display.
    "All of these scientists disappeared after their deep space telescopes started exploring this region at bearing 09, mark 3." He pointed to a region "north" of explored space in the Beta Quadrant.
    "What's there?" Atalanta inquired.
    "I'm not sure. As I said, Enigma deleted the data. The missing data regarding this region is what led me to realize that this must have something to do with the disappearances."

    Sontag raised a hand, "Wait, while we've been trying to work out what the numbers mean you've been looking at the reports of the scientists?"
    "Uh, yes. Wasn't getting anywhere with the numbers so I needed to direct my mind to something else."
    Sontag considered this for a moment. "Well, good job."
    Atalanta interrupted, "Loguno, can you take a guess on what could be out there? Can you think of anything Enigma wouldn't want us to know?"
    "I wouldn't want to speculate right now. I'll have to take a look at the region myself, and that would mean using a subspace telescope. Enigma would be watching those."
    "I'm sure you can figure something out. Everyone is on my team for a reason."
    Loguno nodded and walked out the room thinking out loud about how to solve his particular problem.

    Atalanta turned to Sontag, "In the meantime the rest of us should find out which Bynars are working with Enigma."

    Loguno's Blunder
    Pren was busy reading a story on her PADD, Earth's The Whale by Herman Melville, as Loguno decided to take a seat opposite of her. Pren noticed but didn't react as she waited for him to speak first. It took a moment before he found the words he needed.

    "So how does it work?"
    Pren's eyebrows popped up.
    "How does what work?"
    "The Dark Matter weapon."
    Silence hung in the air for a moment or two. It didn't take long before Pren's widened eyes began to narrow.
    "You've been spying on my people haven't you."

    Now it was Loguno's eyes to widen a little. He had been so curious that he failed to consider the probable reaction to his inquiry about this particular topic. This had happened before, but never with a colleague quite as dangerous as she could be.
    Silence hung in the air for another moment before Loguno began to visibly squirm a little in his seat. He broke the silence first.

    "Y-you know what? I... I need a little something from the replicator. Be right back."

    And he darted off not to the nearest replicator but the furthest one. Pren grinned a little at this before returning to her attention to her PADD. She wasn't so much focused on the story anymore. Rather, she was now pondering how to punish her little collegue, although she had to admit that she should've known just how capable Loguno was at his chosen profession.

    He would make a very useful ally... Pren mused to herself.

    Report from the Cyber Arm
    "What about those reports from the Cyber Security Department?" Admiral Byrd inquired after finishing some of the more mundane items of Irtok's report.
    "There is a high level of sustained activity on the subspace net. It is very unusual, and it's been happening over the last two days."
    "From what the analysts can tell there are at least two factions involved. They seem to be positioning pieces as a prelude to some kind of battle to come."
    "Battle? How bad could this get?"
    "We don't know."
    Byrd pondered this for a moment.
    "Are any of our networks compromised by these factions?"
    "There have been no breaches so far, and no we don't seem to be the target of these new arrivals. Not yet anyway."
    "Hm. We need to know more. I want you to make this a prioity. With recovery efforts across the quadrant we do not need a war within our communications network compromising communications."
    "Aye sir."
    "In the meantime, I've got to oversee some security preparations for this upcoming symposium."

    Who's Best Prepared?
    "We need this symposium to remind everyone that we shouldn't take what we have for granted. Taking all this for granted can lead down the path of decadence. We of all people should know this…. no, it still doesn’t sound right."
    "Shall I come back later Proconsul?"
    Proconsul D'Tan turned to regard his visitor, Subcommander Thovatha of Romulan Republic Security.
    "You're here."
    Thovatha took a moment to gather words.
    "I thought you were told I had arrived?
    "A lot can happen in a few minutes around here."
    "Pardon my asking, are you nervous about the Symposium?"
    D'Tan took a moment before deciding on a response.
    "Sometimes it's good to take a moment to remind oneself on why we do what we do."
    "I see."
    "I'm also practicing my speech."
    "You said you had something to discuss?"
    "Yes, um, it seems there's some unexpected activity on the subspace net."
    "Is it something we should be concerned about?"
    "We're yet to make a determination."
    "What can you tell me about it?"
    Thovatha took a moment to consult her notes.
    "The most widely accepted theory about the unusual activity, which has been steadily increaser over the last two days, is that it could be a prologue to a cyber war."
    D'Tan considered what he had just been told.
    "Any ideas on who might be responsible?"
    "Nothing we can confirm right now. We're working on it."
    "Do you have suspects at least?"
    Thovatha took a moment to quickly inspect the room once more, just to be safe.
    "This is just my theory, but I believe at least one of the parties is an AI. It fits all the info about this that we have."
    D'Tan nodded in understanding. "I see."
    "How do you want my team to proceed?"
    "I believe that you are more than capable of handling any situation that may arise. Keep me aprised of any developments."
    "Yes Proconsul."
    "In the meantime, the Ask'kaar delegation will be arriving shortly."
    "Then I will take my leave Proconsul."
    As Thovatha left D'Tan wondered how many others have noticed the anomalous subspace net activity. More importantly, he wondered who would be best equipped to deal with a cyber war involving an artificial intelligence...


    Amanda Atalanta has had it with these conversations.
    "For the last time, Zehikr, I'm not related to the Ask'kaar Prime!"
    "But you have the same surname."
    "It is purely a coincidence. Coincidences happens."
    "There are no coincidences."
    Atalanta gave Zehikr an icy stare, but he merely smiled.
    "Have you ever considered posing as royalty? You'd be very-"
    "Get out."
    "Yes your Highness."

    The Lucky Merchant
    "What's happening to my ship?" Captain Fredrick of the merchant vessel Miri shouted amid the noise of his bridge. All the monitors were going haywire as well as the audio channels. It was unlike anything he'd seen his ship do. At least he and his crew could keep thier wits about them despite the efforts of their crazy bridge.
    "We don't know!" shouted his Communications officer, "We just downloaded some navigational data and all systems have been going haywire since!"
    "Can you bring everything back under control!?"
    "We're trying!"
    Just then all the monitors went blank, lights cut, and artificial gravity went offline. There was a moment of silence.
    "Life support?" Was the captain's first question.
    "Checking." Since technician Amy couldn't rely on the computer for an answer she had to check an air duct in person.
    "It's gone too Cap."
    "How long do we have?"
    "10 hours. Assuming nothing else goes wrong."
    "Do whatever you can to get those systems back. Suffocating is not how I will go out."
    "Aye sir." said Amy before she headed down to engineering. Because the Miri wasn't a large ship it never needed a turbolift system. The fact that it wasn't a particularly advanced ship also played a part.
    The captain used the newfound silence to take a few moments in order to get his bearing. He turned to Trals, who was the closest of his crew to being a science officer.
    "You're the one with a science background. Can you tell me what just happened?"
    "We appear to have been hit by a weaponized virus." Trals said.
    "Why would anyone want to attack a merchant ship like us?"
    "I do not believe we were the target of anyone. We just got caught in the crossfire."
    The captain pondered this for a moment, but only a moment. "Hm, just our luck."
  • starswordcstarswordc Member Posts: 10,915 Arc User
    I've got two stories based on Foundry missions:
    • Bait and Switch, the unfinished novelization of my first Foundry mission of same name (warning for mild sexual content in a couple chapters)
    • Two Sides of a Coin, based on "The Interwarp Experiment" by @astrorobla. I advanced the time period to 2410 during Delta Rising and slightly altered Jerrod Dalton's backstory to fit with game canon.
    "Great War! / And I cannot take more! / Great tour! / I keep on marching on / I play the great score / There will be no encore / Great War! / The War to End All Wars"
    — Sabaton, "Great War"

    Check out https://unitedfederationofpla.net/s/
  • starfarerthetastarfarertheta Member Posts: 738 Arc User
    edited June 2018
    I have a sudden urge to try novelizing one of my own foundry missions, but I don't have the time. That, and no one would read it. Dreams right?

    Anyway, never thought that consistency in taste would be a dead giveaway for the artificiality of replicated food, but it makes a lot of sense.
  • xungnguyenxungnguyen Member Posts: 221 Arc User
    Sapphire: Player, you have to hear me out on this. I only left the Federation to keep a vow to my daughter. Section 31 are cowards who are willing to go after a monarch's kid to "protect" the Federation. They also tried to kill my nephew Orion a few days ago. You would do the same if you were in my position.
    Jerome: Our vow to Amy supersedes the Starfleet vow. My mate and I will do anything to protect our flesh and blood.
    Player: There is a reason why we don't like dealing with Section 31 Your Majesties.

    "Simba, you have forgotten me. You have forgotten who you are … you are my son and the one true king." (Mufasa)
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