SIM:Five Long Years
|Rich • Talk Page • Characters • Ships of the Line • SIMs • Dept. of Veterans Affairs|
Author's Note: May 15, 2015, marks five years since I first joined StarBase 118 as Tenzin Zhou in 2010. Thank you all for simming such great characters and stories. It’s because of you all, your wonderful writing, and the friendships I've formed here that have made these past five years such a joy. I look forward to the IC and OOC adventures that lie ahead!
The events in this SIM occurred on stardate 239205.15.
Tenzin Zhou: One
((Tenzin Zhou & Yasmin Ibrahim’s Residence, Ohmallera, Betazed))
::Dr. Tenzin Zhou was watching the evening news broadcast when he felt the wooden toy shuttlecraft hit his foot. He looked over to his 2-year-old daughter Zahra grinning proudly.::
::He smiled back, leaned over, and picked up the toy for a moment.::
Zhou: For me? Why thank you!
::Zahra blew a raspberry at her father.::
Zahra: No, daddy! Not yours!
::He chuckled as he played around with the two animal co-pilots she’d stuck in the cockpit, a friendly sehlat and targ.::
Zhou: Well, looks like Mr. Targ got lost, then…
::She returned a pout before Zhou finally put the toy shuttle on the floor again and rolled it back to her. She let out a cheer as he looked back at the broadcast.::
FNS Reporter: // In the latest round of violence on Inox, three people are dead and more than a dozen injured when protesters clashed with security forces in the planet’s capital of Grand Karra City… //
::The tired doctor sighed before he heard his wife come home. From her own sighs, he figured it must have been another long day of work at the university.::
Zhou: Welcome back.
Ibrahim: Remind me why we decided to live on a planet full of telepaths again?
Zhou: You like the weather and the beaches. Oh, and the matriarchal society...
::Yasmin just shook her head as she put down her things and walked into the living room. Zahra looked up from playing with the toy shuttle and smiled at her mother as Yasmin bent over to give her a quick kiss on the top of her head.::
Ibrahim: Yeah, well… there are nice beaches elsewhere, too.
Zhou: I take it the presentation didn't go well?
Ibrahim: Oh, the presentation went great… it was the Q&A afterward that was a disaster. Do you know how frustrating it is to be unable to finish an answer because someone keeps interrupting just to counter your thoughts?
Zhou: Hey, I learned to develop a poker mind to match the poker face a long time ago already. Vital to establishing that doctor-patient trust when your patients can read your mind…
Ibrahim: Poker mind? Hmmph, more like absent-minded.
::She glanced over at the monitor, seeing the FNS reporter.::
FNS Reporter: // ...President Bacco is expected to formally announce the program with business tycoon Tyson Holt in attendance at her State of the Federation later this week aboard Astrofori One. Terra Novan councillor and presidential candidate Kevin Steiner, a vocal critic of the Astrofori One project, continued his criticism of the president’s decision to give her State of the Federation outside of the council’s chambers on Earth. //
Steiner: // “This president seems to conveniently forget her obligations when it suits her, and so I'll remind the president that one of those obligations as mandated by the Federation Charter is for her to appear before the council to deliver the State of the Federation, not turn it into a political rally…” //
::Yasmin frowned as she looked back at her husband.::
Ibrahim: Don’t tell me you've just been sitting here all night…
::Zhou blinked once, turning his attention to Yasmin.::
Zhou: No, of course not. Dinner’s already set on the table.
::She gave a broad smile and kissed him.::
Ibrahim: Ah, you're too good for me.
::Zhou chuckled. After years of trying to make things right again, finding a way to live their lives together, he and Yasmin were finally together as one. He might not have been on the edge of the frontier, but he was happy.::
Zhou: I might not be telepathic, but I think I've learned to read *your* mind by now.
Eitan & Ayelet Kadosh: Two
((Bridal Gallery, Tel Aviv, Earth))
Ayelet: Really? “It looks nice” is all you have to say?
Eitan: What else is there to say?
::Ayelet Kadosh, dressed in an ivory strapless tulle and lace A-line dress, let out an exasperated sigh as she crossed her arms.::
Ayelet: You're not helping.
Eitan: I’m sorry. I don’t know why you even brought me here… shouldn't you have asked Nadira or something? Or Kathryn? She'd have loved to come.
::Eitan Kadosh then rose an eyebrow at Ayelet.::
Eitan: Or honestly Mom? You know she’s going to be upset when she realizes.
Ayelet: Relax. Mom and Nadira are going to help me out at a later appointment. Tell Kathryn she’s welcome to join them as well. I just wanted your thoughts while you were in town.
::The Dominion War veteran returned a perplexed look at his younger sister.::
Eitan: You wanted the thoughts of a retired marine pilot on your wedding dress?
Ayelet: Well, I'm marrying a marine pilot, so it kind of makes sense, doesn't it? …and no, I want the thoughts of my caring brother who loves his sister and would do anything for her.
::Eitan didn't hide his skepticism.::
Eitan: Uh-huh, sure. Where’s Tamir and Rafi then?
Ayelet: Tamir as you know is halfway across the quadrant, and Rafi… well, I've already tortured him enough, I think. I’m giving him a day off.
Eitan: I always suspected he was your favorite.
Ayelet: Of course, he’s the only one who listens to me. Anyway, so this one gets added to the “nice” category. Fine.
Eitan: Is that bad?
Ayelet: Well, considering that the last three dresses have all been “nice,” I'd like to find one that earns a new adjective. Maybe even “beautiful.”
::Eitan rolled his eyes.::
Eitan: You look beautiful in all of them.
::His sister smiled at the touching comment.::
Ayelet: Aww, Eitan…
Eitan: Well, except for that second one, with the frills. But to be fair, I don't know if that was really your fault or the dress's, so-
::Ayelet frowned and shook her head.::
Ayelet: Okay, you should have quit while you were ahead.
::Eitan chuckled as his sister grabbed ahold of the dress, pulling it up slightly as to not trip as she walked over to the replicator console to pick the next one to try on.::
::”Quit while you were ahead.” He supposed Kathryn would have agreed with that sentiment after his last stint on a starship. After several years as an instructor for the Marine Corps’ training facility on Mars, he had suddenly been ordered to report to the USS Drake in 2389, taking him away from his wife and family.::
::It'd been hard on Kathryn and the kids, especially after Graham MacNeil’s death on the Mercury just a few months later. But it was finally when Eitan himself had a brush with death--yet once more--this time by a cosmozoan (essentially a giant, intelligent “space whale”) that had nearly destroyed the Drake.::
::Since then, Eitan found himself first sent back to Mars and then Earth briefly for a stint at the academy, but he finally left the corps a year ago, taking on a senior leadership position with Holt New Alliance.::
::All in all, he had to admit that though he'd been unsure of what life would be like after the corps, it wasn't as terrifying as his worst fears had made it out to be. He and Kathryn were able to see their children grow up together. He was able to spend more time with Ayelet, who'd seen her own share of heartache and horrors during her brief stint in Starfleet at the hands of the Vaadwaur and the Mirror Universe before that furball Zeet Tidari, a Caitian marine pilot, swept the trauma nurse off her feet.::
::Yes, it was a different life, but one that he and his brethren had fought and sacrificed for. It was time he embraced it himself.::
::Ayelet returned, holding up a new dress in each hand.::
Ayelet: All right, let’s try between these two. Which one first?
::Eitan just looked back up at his sister, now with his own look of exasperation.::
Eitan: God, you're worse than the Dominion...
Charles Sampi: Three
((Operating Room 14, Medical Starbase 253))
Mol: So have you made a decision yet, Charles?
::Charlie kept his focus on the patient as he began gently guiding the laser scalpel, separating the different layers of tissue.::
Sampi: It’s not really up to me, doctor.
::Dr. Grishols Mol, Charlie’s supervising physician and director of the surgical critical care fellowship program, likewise was keeping his eyes on Charlie’s hands and the work in front of them, but the Zakdorn continued talking casually as if the two weren't in full surgical scrub attire with a room of nurses and techs standing around them.::
Mol: I’m disappointed, Charles. Three years later, and you're still thinking like a fresh graduate.
::Charlie wanted to roll his eyes. He called to one of the techs.::
Sampi: Number 5 Pulaski, please?
::As the tech handed over the tool, Charlie verified that there was no bleeding before he began attaching the microfibers to the muscle.::
Sampi: If you can recall, doctor, I was already a chief medical officer when you recruited me.
Mol: Ah, yes. How could I have forgotten. But you were still thinking a bit naively even then.
::Truthfully, Charlie had despised Mol back then. Sent as an “observer” from Starfleet Medical, Mol had basically been there on the Tiger to evaluate whether Charlie was worthy of being a CMO. Sure, he could understand the need to prove himself, but he had thought he'd *already* done so quite clearly, not just on the Tiger but the Independence before that.::
::Then, there was the fact that Mol had been--and still was--a jackass.::
::But, three years later, Charlie had gotten used to the man and his off-putting personality. And he'd come to realize Mol only reserved his most aggravating antics for those whom he actually had some sort of affection for. It was the man’s way of showing he cared.::
Sampi: I aspire to grow more cynical and jaded every minute I'm with you.
::Charlie finished the first row of stitching the microfibers into place. He called to the tech to get the next set of fibers.::
Mol: Hmmph, well the point is Charles, I'm going to miss you.
Sampi: Is that so?
Mol: Believe it or not, yes. And I am a man of my word. If there’s a particular place you want to go… some special mission that intrigues you… well, I'd like to think I still have some clout.
Sampi: I hope so, too. Otherwise, this was just one long course in knitting and developing a very high tolerance for pain.
::The Zakdorn chuckled as the surgery continued.::
Mol: Well, you did develop a sense of humor, too, while you've been here.
::The two men continued to keep their eye locked on the patient.::
Sampi: I think you'd have to.
Zhou Tai-Sheng: Four
((Ornara, Delos system))
::He supposed he’d been in worse dumps before as he took a glance around the shoddy excuse for a “bar.” Veritas was still three days away, which meant her first officer Zhou Tai-Sheng had a bit of time to kill. Sadly, despite their recovery from decades of crippling addiction, the Ornarans didn’t exactly have the finest grade entertainment available.::
::Fortunately, though, there were the women. And plenty of them. But, one woman now stood out in particular, sitting by herself at the bar. Stepping up besides her, Zhou looked over nonchalantly.::
Zhou: What’s your poison?
::Her eyes glanced up briefly before she returned to the data pad in one of her hands.::
Blake: Not interested.
::He raised an amused eyebrow.::
Zhou: Suit yourself. ::to the bartender:: A glass of Xarantine ale, please.
::As the other man tended to his drink, Zhou looked back at the blonde woman, her eyes glued to her PADD. From the pictures and headlines, he could tell it was a news feed of some sort.::
Zhou: Anything exciting happening around the quadrants?
::She gave a huff, dropping the data pad down onto the bar, finally turning her full attention to the new comer.::
Blake: Why are you interested? Seriously, *can I help you* or something?
::He smiled now that she was looking at him directly, with a slight scowl on her face. The feisty ones were always more fun.::
Zhou: Maybe you can. I’m just passing through. Figured I’d see if I could find some pleasant company for the evening.
Blake: Well I don’t think you’re going to find it here.
Zhou: Waiting for someone?
::She winced. The true answer was no. She wasn’t. There was no one to wait for. She was technically dead, for Noree’s sakes. She felt half empty when her bondmate died, her kids were stranded on Brekka, and she didn’t belong anywhere anymore.::
::Sky was stuck on Ornara - well, not necessarily *stuck*, because she could leave whenever she wanted, it was just that she didn’t believe she had anywhere to go. So she’d been doing the occasional job on the side, been helping out with local law enforcement in this area. It hadn’t made her friends with a few of the tourists, but it was something she could keep her mind on.::
Blake: Are you?
Zhou: ::chuckles:: Depends on where this conversation goes, I suppose.
::He put up a hand.::
Zhou: But if you are taken--and I wouldn’t be surprised--just let me know. ::He nodded his head towards the data pad.:: Or if you really want to be left alone.
Blake: I’ve dealt with a lot of smooth talkers in my time - you’re nothing new. Either you start looking for “entertainment” elsewhere, or I break your arm.
Zhou: ::raises an eyebrow:: Well, that certainly escalated quickly.
Blake: Does that mean you’ll back off?
::The bartender returned with Zhou’s drink, and then a price popped up on the display integrated into the table.::
Zhou: Oh, shoot. Currency…
::He looked over at the woman and shrugged.::
Zhou: I don’t suppose you could spot me?
::With a roll of her eyes, the Brekkian Betazoid hybrid held up a card for the bartender to see, indicating to add it to her tab. Despite being a tad miffed at the man’s behaviour, she wasn’t exactly heartless.::
Blake: I’m not paying for the next one. Now what do you want?
::He grinned in appreciation. He hadn’t expected her to actually take him up on it.::
Zhou: I thought you wanted me to leave?
Blake: You’re being very persistent, you’re not from Brekka or Ornara, and since you don’t have any latinum with you, you either just got onto Ornara or you’re very stupid in thinking that they take Federation credits. ::She paused.:: Am I on the right track?
Zhou: Well, I’d say it’s possible that it’s not an “or” but an “and” on that last one. ::He then pulled out a cash card from his pocket and handed it to the bartender.:: But I was really just teasing you before I left you to your lonesome. ::He nodded.:: But thank you for the offer. Not enough kind people left in this universe.
::Sky blinked, green eyes trained to the Terran.::
Blake: Are you seriously telling me that I just paid four bars of latinum for you to pull that out and wave it in my face?
::Zhou returned the look of indignation.::
Zhou: I know! Isn’t it ridiculous, these taxes! It’s practically highway robbery. ::He looked over at the bartender.:: Refund her, will you? Oh, and add the next drink of hers to my tab as well, please. ::He looked back at the woman.:: For your generosity.
Blake: Who the hell are you?
::Because she was ridiculously close to either zapping him or breaking his arm.::
Zhou: Zhou Tai-Sheng. But people just call me Zhou. ::He took a sip from his glass as he sat down finally on the seat next to her.:: Who the hell are you?
Blake: Sky Blake, consultant to Bintac Law Enforcement.
::Normally that scared the hell out of a lot of tourists, and she was *really* hoping that it would yet again, but something told her that that wouldn’t happen this time. She was starting to get really annoyed now.::
Zhou: Ah… explains the face, I guess.
Blake: State your business or I’ll break your *own* face.
::Zhou sighed before taking another sip. Seems it just wasn’t in the cards this time. Oh well. Her loss.::
Zhou: Well, Sky Blake, consultant to Bintac Law Enforcement, it’s funny you should ask--or command, I guess. ::He shrugged before clearing his throat.:: Anyway, I’m looking for a Sky Blake, former Starfleet security officer.
::Her eyes narrowed. A certain lack of telepathy meant that she had no idea of what he was thinking - something she’d grown surprisingly used to whilst working on Ornara, but it was still unsettling when some random Terran walked into a bar looking for her. Her Starfleet file should have closed when Brekkian Embassies or whatnot sent her death certificate to Starfleet Medical - she’d only gone on leave, and they couldn’t exactly call a dead Chief of Security back to work.
::Nobody here on Ornara recognised her - it was half the reason she was here. No Starfleet, and certainly no Brekkians trying to kill her for various reasons. Not to mention that her family were now only a planet away should they need her (not that they knew that).::
Blake: She died a while ago. Should read Brekkian news outlets a little more often.
Zhou: Yeah, that is what they said on Brekka. Hmmph, isn’t it just uncanny?
::He shrugged again before taking a final sip of his drink. He squinted his eyes as he slammed the still half-full glass on the table.::
Zhou: Ooo, that really clears the sinuses! Well, Ms. Blake, it was… interesting talking to you. ::He glanced back around the room.:: Perhaps you were right about this place being a dead end.
::He got up to leave but then placed his cash card on the table next to her data pad.::
Zhou: Feel free to use whatever’s left on that. As you know, I’m not going to need it. Have a good evening.
::And with that, he walked out of the bar.::
::She sat there glaring at the card for a few seconds considering her next actions. A Terran on Ornara only normally happened when the Terran was involved with drug smuggling. But he knew her by name before she introduced herself and that she’d been in Starfleet. *No* Terran on Ornara knew that.::
oO Don’t go after him. Don’t go after him. Don’t go after him . . . Oo
::With careful fingers, she lifted the card off the bar, only to look back towards the door.::
oO Tosser. Oo
::She got up in a flash, pulling her jacket off the bar with a whip as she went after the Terran.::
((Outside the Bar))
::He’d been standing for a few minutes by the side of the street with his hands in his coat pockets as a cool breeze ran through the air. A couple of young women walked by, looking a bit friendlier than the last.::
Zhou: ::nods:: Evening, ladies.
::The two smiled back, but then he heard the door behind him open.::
Blake: Mr Zhou.
::He looked back.::
Zhou: Don’t tell me you used it all already.
::She didn’t bother giving an answer to that as she pulled her jacket on, not a fan of the chilly weather.::
Blake: Who do you work for?
::It was a legitimate question. For all she knew, he could have been an assassin sent to make sure Sky Blake really was dead.::
Zhou: Well… if you can keep a secret… ::He cupped his hands around his mouth and “whispered.”:: It’s this little merchant service from back on Earth. Called Starfleet. Yeah, I know, corny name, but hey… seems to get the kids excited.
::She frowned. Sky had met a lot of interesting people whilst an officer but this was just ridiculous.::
Blake: How’d you find me?
Zhou: Well, now, *that* is certainly an interesting story. But I’m actually kind of hungry now. Mind if we talk about it over dinner?
Blake: You tell me how you found me first. I’m not stupid - you’re a threat to me. And if you really were Starfleet, one would expect that you’d get straight to the point.
::She’d survived the last few years with a cloak and dagger, hiding away from merc groups of whom she’d pissed off on Brekka. She didn’t intend to be brought down by some pain in the ass whose lies she fell for.::
Zhou: ::shrugs:: Like I said, I’m just passing through. Wanted to see if you were up for some company tonight. If you want the whole, “Yes, sir! No, sir!” song and dance, I guess we can do that, too, in a few days when my ship gets here. They sent me to find you, see if you’d come back for a special mission. I figured I’d get a read on you, see if you really wanted to be left alone before telling them I couldn’t find you.
Blake: A Starfleet ship in the Delos system? ::She laughed once.:: Now I’ve definitely heard it all. Last time that happened, the Brekkians ended up in a very difficult situation. They’re not major players, but the last thing Starfleet needs right now is to be blamed for an interplanetary war between Ornara and Brekka.
Zhou: Hmmm, I guess someone should tell them. Anyway, this is all *very* interesting, but I wasn’t kidding about being hungry. I’ll see you around, Ms. Blake.
::He started walking down the street, looking for a diner. He kept walking as he heard her voice behind him.::
Blake: What makes you think you’ll be able to read Gentic Ornaran? For all you know, you might order a tyne’s foot.
Zhou: Isn’t that part of the fun? You really should try spontaneity sometime. Who knows, you might like it.
::She bit her lip, a small smile on her face when she realized that he had absolutely no idea what a tyne was. With a roll of her eyes, she started walking, grabbing his arm to pull him along towards the central district.::
Blake: It’s not me I’m worried about.
::He glanced down with amusement at their connected arms. Clearly, she enjoyed being in charge.::
Zhou: And where are we going then?
Blake: Itaci Gener. Somewhere where you can order something that’s actually edible.
Zhou: Sounds good to me.
::They walked a bit further before Zhou turned to Sky.::
Zhou: You did grab my card, right?
Msafiri Bakari & Roshanara Rahman: Five
((Security Suite, USS Garuda))
::Msafiri pinched the bridge of his nose before he gave a nod at the teal shirted crewman and the two walked into the security suite. He found the Garuda’s new first officer--and object of T’s affection--already there, along with an angry couple.::
Rahman: Once again, Mr. and Mrs. Rasper, you have my deepest apologies.
Mr. Rasper: Sorry doesn't cut it, commander! Do you know how terrifying that was? To suddenly be transported away like that? It’s a violation, is what it was!
::Msafiri tried to keep a straight face as he stepped up to the group.::
Bakari: oO Actually, I do… Oo
::Mr. Rasper’s wife looked over at the newcomer.::
Mrs. Rasper: And just who are you supposed to be?
Rahman: This is Commander Bakari, adjunct to the Starfleet Region Commander. Commander, this is Mr. Jerry Rasper and his wife Olivia-
Mr. Rasper: Enough with the pleasantries! I demanded to speak with the region commander, not the adjunct to the region commander.
::Msafiri cleared his throat.::
Bakari: Unfortunately, as I'm sure you can understand, Fleet Captain Egan Manno is quite busy with the preparations for the launch of the station.
Mr. Rasper: Well, as I'm sure *you* can understand, commander, I am quite agitated with what I've been through!
::Roshanara looked over at Msafiri. She didn't have to say anything else. Her eyes said it all.::
Rahman: I was just explaining that an emergency had occurred…
Bakari: Indeed. Yes, unfortunately, as you saw, that section of the station abruptly lost power. It appears the station’s… quarantine protocol had been triggered, causing the blackout, and as such, an emergency transporter activated and beamed you to a safer location.
Mr. Rasper: Bullsh-
::Msafiri took out a PADD with “records” of the transport. There was also a biofilter anomalous readings report.::
Bakari: It appears the computer identified that you might be carrying a dangerous pathogen.
Mr. Rasper: What!
::Mrs. Rasper, still looking distraught, took a slight step back from her husband.::
Bakari: Yes, that’s why we need to get you to sickbay right now to get checked out. If you’d please follow Crewman Garnell, please, he'll lead you there.
::Mr. Rasper looked like he wanted to argue, but then turned and began following the crewman with his wife.::
::As the two officers walked out of the security suite behind them, the Garuda’s first officer turned to the adjunct.::
Rahman: Does sickbay know about this?
Bakari: Yeah, don't worry. I already contacted them. You owe me one, commander.
Rahman: You certainly handled that a little more… “creatively” than I would have thought to.
Bakari: I spent five years on Deep Space 17 as a security officer. If I didn't learn how to come up with “creative” solutions to deal with these sort of things, I would have washed out by now.
Rahman: Hmmph, well I’m glad you didn’t.
::They kept walking for a little while longer before Roshanara spoke up again.::
Rahman: Captain Egan Manno knows about this plan of yours, too, right?
Bakari: That depends.
::The Kriosian turned, confused.::
Rahman: That depends? On what?
Bakari: On whether it works or not.
::She closed her eyes for a moment and sighed.::
Rahman: This is how you did things for five years? Just make #$@% up?
Bakari: That’s right. Five long years.
Doctor Tenzin Zhou
Medical Officer, Starfleet Division - Betazed
Former Marine Officer, USS Drake
Former Nurse, USS Independence-A
Doctor Charles Sampi
Surgical Critical Care Fellow, Medical Starbase 253
Lt. Commander Zhou Tai-Sheng
First Officer, USS Veritas
Lt. Commander Msafiri Bakari
Adjutant to the Region & Starfleet Mission Commander, Menthar Corridor
Lt. Commander Roshanara Rahman
First Officer, USS Garuda