|Cmdr. Lily Ventu
Starbase 118 Operations
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New Places, New Faces (The Triumphant)
In the middle of June 2384, Lily arrived on Deep Space 17, the hub starbase for the Ithassa Region. She left the Constitution's shuttle to be autopiloted back to its mother ship and reported to the docked Triumphant. There, she encountered her new commanding officer, Captain Rhys Bejain, while he was repainting the walls of his office. He welcomed her aboard, and informed her that her official acceptance would be staged at a banquet that night.
Following the banquet, Lily's first act as first officer was to retrieve Ensign Tal Tel-ar, a security officer, from the station's detention center. After his release, she was also responsible for disciplining him instigating the brawl he was incarcerated for taking part in.
Nick arrived within the week, and after discussing his past assignments with Captain Rhys, he was assigned as the Triumphants's chief operations officer. As a member of the senior staff, he was offered his own quarters, but he and Lily decided to share her larger (but still fairly tiny) executive quarters instead.
The Triumphant's first mission involves the Free Trade Union, an Ithassa-only group previously unknown to Lily. The Federation was interested in establishing trade with the F.T.U., and they've assigned Captain Rhys, a former diplomat, to engage in trade negotiations at the F.T.U.'s base, the Asterospolis.
Lily's first experience in leading an away team comes after Rhys briefs the crew en route and informs them that his contact within the F.T.U. has been murdered. Lily is tasked with covertly exploring the Asterospolis, although she doesn't make much headway until she's approached by an Orion woman.
The woman, who introduces herself as Captain Elos, invites Lily and her team to a more secure location in one of the Asterospolis's shadier districts. There, Elos and her sister Merina inform them that while they supported the trade talks, others within the F.T.U. didn't, and it was one such person who murdered their contact. Elos suspects a high-up in her opposing party, Captain Brol Isak; her suspicion is all but confirmed when Captain Isak makes a wide-band announcement that he is about to attack the Federation's Wheeler Colony.
Abandoning the trade negotiations, the Triumphant rushes to Wheeler, hoping to beat Isak's ship there. However, his ship, the Kojatak, is a modified Dominion battleship with a cloak, which means it's both faster than the Triumphant and undetectable to the Federation vessel.
The Triumphant arrives at Wheeler to find the attack over, and most of the colonists wounded or dead. More surprising still, Isak's ship is simply orbiting the colony, not making any effort to continue to attack, to attack the Triumphant, or to attempt to escape. Captain Elos's vessel, the Guardian, appears and offers assistance, but this appears to be a signal for Isak, who contacts the Triumphant and informs Captain Rhys that it was the Guardian that attacked Wheeler; the Kojatak and her crew had just arrived, and were willing to offer assistance.
Although implausible, neither Isak's story nor Elos's alibi are immediately admissible or dismissible, but both captains agree to allow Captain Rhys to serve as arbiter as everyone attempts to ascertain exactly what happened. Captain Isak beams over to the Triumphant to meet with Captain Rhys.
Meanwhile, Lily oversees the relief efforts for the colony. Using the resources of the Triumphant and Wheeler's own support vessel, the Yellowknife, Lily's able to offer some help to the colony. She liaises with Magistrate Connor Ashmore, first from orbit, and then directly, when she beams down to the surface with a small away team. However, when the Kojatak appears to be taking up an offensive posture, the team is immediately removed.
Despite the fact that their captain's still aboard, the Kojatak engages the Triumphant, damaging many of its systems and knocking out several important officers - both Rhys and Isak are left unconscious in Rhys's ready room, with all entrances blocked and the transporters offline. Lily takes emergency command and manages to hold the Kojatak at bay - at least, until several boarding parties beam aboard and kidnap her and half the remaining senior staff.
In the Kojatak's holding cells, Lily and the others are rescued by an undercover of Elos's crew, another Orion woman named Vala. With Vala's help, Lily and her team slowly make their way to the command center of Isak's ship.
Back on the Triumphant, Nick is left in emergency command. Still a scientist at heart, he finds himself completely unsuited to leading the ship during a crisis situation. Even worse, he lacks an experienced command staff - many are incapacitated, more have been kidnapped, and Junior Lieutenant Quinn Reynolds, the chief engineer, is leading an away team to the worse-off Yellowknife, taking CMO Prox and pilot Will Hart with her.
Vala helps Lily's team disable the Kojatak's shields so they can beam over, and also helps them send a message to Elos's Guardian, asking for help. Lily returns to the Triumphant as the Kojatak gears up for battle again; although its shields are just being reassembled, the vessels arrayed against it - the Triumphant, the Yellowknife, and the Guardian - are all small ships, and already battle-worn.
Nevertheless, the allied ships make a glorious stand against the Kojatak. However, it seems like it may not be enough; even with their captain on the Triumphant, his ship is shooting to kill. In a last, desperate maneuver by Quinn Reynolds, the Yellowknife is set on a direct collision course with the Kojatak. Lily beams away its acting CO at the last moment, saving Quinn and finally destroying the Kojatak.
Rescue ships from the F.T.U. and Federation arrive. Elos and the Triumphant part ways; the Guardian is being escorted back to the Asterospolis, and the Triumphant is headed back to Deep Space 17. Although the loss of life and equipment was great, the rescuers who arrive are confident that the Wheeler Colony itself will be back on its feet and no time and a replacement for the Yellowknife dispatched immediately.
En route, Captain Rhys and others remain in medical stasis while Lily remains in transitory command. Compounding her difficulties is Nick, who appears different following his temporary flirtation with battle and command. When Lily finds messages on his computer terminal - very familiar messages, she observes - signed "Hayden," she confronts him, and asks if he's cheating on her.
He both confirms and denies it: He's not physically or emotionally attached to anyone else, but helping Hayden has been a project of his for while. Hayden Reynolds, cousin of the Triumphant's own chief engineer, was lost with his ship, the USS Kestrel, many years ago. However, no debris was ever discovered, and the ship and its crew remain officially listed as missing in action. Nick, however, has discovered that the ship was not destroyed, and is trapped in a pocket of subspace, unable to move or break out or contact anyone. Thanks to his earlier research, in which he bounced messages around subspace in similar bubbles, he found Hayden by accident, and has been working since before the Constitution on a way to bring the Kestrel home.
The mystery's explained, but things don't go back to the way they were. Neither Lily nor Nick feel the way they did on Risa, and neither can explain it. They agree to let it sit for now, to go about their shore leave as they see fit, and to hopefully cool down.
Back on Deep Space 17, the crew leaves the cramped Triumphant for some much-needed leg-stretching. Captain Rhys and the other injured members of the crew undergo intensive healing at the base's medical facilities, and the surviving crew has recovered within the week.
After his recovery, Captain Rhys makes a disturbing announcement: He has been reassigned to Bajor and the Triumphant is being decommissioned. Starfleet would prefer to keep the Triumphant's crew active in the Ithassa Region, though, and so many of them are reassigned to the USS Independence-A, including Lily. However, due to a lack of command positions on that ship, Lily is offered the position of chief medical officer. She grudgingly accepts, though she fears it may be too far outside her experience area.
Nick, however, will not be joining her. Given his recent research into subspace theory, he's being kept on Deep Space 17 as a science specialist, with a full lab and a staff. As such, both he and Lily come to the mutual conclusion that an end to their relationship would be best.
Lily, along with Lieutenant Quinn Reynolds and Junior Lieutenant Tildaen Ethelwin board a runabout bound for Starbase 118, where the Independence will pick them up.
Growing on the Independence
Lily, Quinn, and Tildaen cooled their heels at Starbase 118 for a week or two while waiting for the Independence to arrive. Towards the end of their stay, Lily is approached by a messenger who says he's delivering Nick's tidings.
The letter he delivers explains that Starfleet's recalled Nick even further, all the way back to Jupiter Station in the Sol System, to head the prestigious base's Experimental Subspace Theory division. The promotion, the letter says, came as a result of a breakthrough in Nick's subspace bubble research, a breakthrough which allowed the rescue of the Kestrel and its only surviving crew member,
Doctor Hayden Reynolds. The letter ends with a postscript: The letter-bringer is Hayden himself.
Hayden's chosen to throw himself right back into Starfleet life. He had been chief medical officer on the Kestrel, but he doesn't feel quite up for another chief position. However, he is ready to assist Lily; she'll be starting as CMO from scratch, and they can likely help each other adjust to the new vessel.
Lily's first month and a half aboard the Independence was anything but smooth. Everyone she transferred with - Quinn and Hayden Reynolds, as well as Tildaen Ethelwin - is having trouble adjusting, with Ethelwin even going so far as to request transfer. Meanwhile, the Reynoldses are both moody and withdrawn,
which is little help to Lily, who continued to struggle with her position and the memories of the Kojatak massacre.
Eventually, Lily nearly slept through a multiple triage disaster. Disgusted with herself, she went to the Independence's CO, Rear Admiral Jessa Anassasi, and requested that she be transferred out of the CMO position, for both her and her patients' sakes. Anassasi reminded her that there were still no command positions available. Lily, however, had a plan: the Independence had no full time, senior counselor, so she requested and was granted that position.
During her months as CMO, Lily spent a lot of time with both of the Reynoldses, and found herself growing a lot closer to both. Her relationship with Hayden quickly turned serious, though neither party really questioned whether it was wise, when they were still obviously using each other as emotional props. The relationship proceeded quickly and efficiently, providing both with the contact they wanted and needed.
Lily's first mission as counselor found her assigned to an away team under Lieutenant Commander Sidney Riley, the Independence's first officer. Commander Riley led her team to Traides-Epsilon IV, a mining colony inhabited by a variety of flotsam from the Ithassa Region, including Grendellai, Tzenkethi, Constellationites, F.T.U. members, and former prisoners of the Gorn. Upon investigation, the crew discovered that the colony was suffering from an outbreak of sarcopic mites. A triage center was quickly established and aid was offered.
Things quickly went south when a bomb exploded near the triage center, seriously wounding several members of the away team and stranding more. Lily found herself trapped with a badly hurt Quinn Reynolds, with no way to call for help and only limited medical equipment and experience. Lily did what she could for Quinn, but in the end, Quinn ended up saving herself.
By entering into a semi-unconscious dreamlike state, Quinn was able to preserve her body functions and keep herself alive. However, use of the state had an unseen side effect: Lily who was physically and mentally close to her friend at the time, had her consciousness vacuumed up by Quinn's panicking mind. Once inside her friend's dreams, Lily was able to interact but not breakout; the subconscious Quinn, appearing to Lily in several guises, had no idea either, and eventually Lily was able to extricate herself through sheer willpower.
Determined to get her friend to safety, Lily overlooked basic medical regulations and picked up Quinn, dead set on carrying her back to the shuttle. Both women were discovered en route and helped back to the shuttle, after which the entire team was evacuated from the colony.
The Independence's crew departed the Traides-Epsilon system, making their way to the reestablished Wheeler Colony to rendezvous with the USS Ronin and USS Ursa Major, two of the other few Federation starships present in the Ithassa region.
The three ships' crews enjoyed some leave time, visiting and touring the other vessels and ultimately attending a large party in the Ursa Major's lounge. However, the biggest surprise for Lily came just before that party, when Hayden took her aside and asked her to marry him. They'd been together for half a year and Lily, very much in the moment, agreed. The first person she tells is Quinn, for whom the party is a first venture outside of Sickbay since the mission to TE-IV. Quinn isn't entirely happy at the news, but Lily, still riding her own euphoric wave, barely notices.
Still smarting from its near-destruction the previous year, the command staff of the Wheeler Colony invites the three ships' COs down to the surface. Each CO brings a couple of officers - in the Independence's case, new chief medical officer Vojana Minerva Satscher and chief of security David Cody.
While down on the planet, an unexplained spatial rip opens up in orbit and sweeps the three Starfleet ships inside. All three are thrown out to the galactic barrier, where they find themselves floating in space, lost and without power.
The power loss is temporary, but the ships' problems aren't, especially the Independence's - the crew restarts the ship and finds a non-humanoid, plasma-based alien running amok on the ship. All attempts to communicate with the alien are in vain, as are the subsequent attempts to remove it by force.
Lieutenant Commander Sidney Riley takes acting command of the Independence and names Lily her acting first officer. Meanwhile, in Sickbay, Hayden is the ranking medical officer, and so takes charge down there. The first order of business is the alien, which Sidney assigns Lily to oversee. Meanwhile, she and the bridge crew are working on discovering how the ship was thrown so far out, and how they can get back.
The Ursa Major and Ronin, in the meantime, have picked up an incoming armada of alien ships. Whether they are related to the Independence's stowaway or not remained unknown, but the armada made its intentions very clear: Submit, or be destroyed.
Lily took her search for the alien to Engineering, where Chief Engineer Quinn was reporting some strange readings. Thanks to some unusual scans, the team discovered that the alien was in Engineering - it was hiding in the warp core itself.
Quinn ascertains that the alien is after the plasma in the warp core, as it needed the energized plasma to "re-energize" itself. Seeing no other alternative, Lily okays the experimental procedure; although Quinn believes it will work, failure to do so will result in a warp core breach and the probably destruction of the ship.
The plan works and the alien is re-energize just as the armada arrives. The alien uses its newfound power and freedom to send all three Starfleet ships hurtling across the galaxy, all the way back to the Wheeler colony.
After picking up Admiral Anassasi and the other officers, the Independence sets a course for Deep Space 17 and some leave time before embarking on their next mission.
Once there, Lily and Hayden are able to discuss their engagement and ensuing wedding in-depth ... or so Lily would like. However, Hayden decided to explore the base without her, but with some of his friends from Sickbay, nurses Elizabeth Hathaway and T'Ren. Upon his return, Lily confronted him, and he admitted that while he still wanted a wedding, the idea of a tangible marriage date frightened him. For the time being, the two remained, as Lily put it, engaged without parole.
The Independence set course for its next mission in the Igloo Cluster after only two days' leave time. En route, Admiral Anassasi received a startling rumor from the Snow-on-the-Hilltop system, and decided that, while the Independence couldn't delay its mission, another crew could explore the new problem. The USS Tiger was dispatched with a skeleton crew from Deep Space 17, and the newly-promoted Commander Riley took command. Both Lily and Hayden were ordered to transfer over to the Tiger, as well, and the transfer brought Lily a promotion back to first officer.
The Tiger's Command Track
The USS Tiger launched on May 7, 2385 to investigate a distress call from the Constellationites on Klakkr's Drift in the Snow-on-the-Hilltop system. They reported that a vessel of unknown provenance had been attacking ships and planets in the system. On further analysis the ship appeared to be of Reaper origin, but with a miscellany of additional technology from various Alpha and Beta Quadrant species. There were also reports of a mysterious station which seems to be the base for the strange ship.
As the Tiger neared Snow-on-the-Hilltop, they received another distress call from Klakkr's Drift, and arrived to find three Constellationite cargo ships under attack by the mysterious ship. The frigate-class vessel retreated when the Tiger arrived, leaving one ship destroyed and one in eminent danger of destruction. Lily quickly took triage teams to Cargo Bay 3; the medical teams included Hayden as field surgeon and Galvin Prox
as the new ship's CMO. Under the crew's ministrations, all the surviving Constellationites recovered. Lily interviewed the most senior among them, Second Helper Ulviene, who would only allude to the mysterious ship and station, though he did confirm that the Constellationites also believed that both belonged to the Reapers.
After dropping off the surviving Constellationites, the Tiger received another distress call - this time, from the mysterious frigate itself. En route to the Reaper station, the Tiger began to experience strange systems failures and power losses. The problems were eventually tracked to two unknown devices placed near Engineering, and with much of the engineering staff in Sickbay following the devices' subsequent detonation, it was left to the rest of the crew to repair the damage. Lily took temporary command of Engineering, though she left it to Lieutenant Salak to actually effect the repairs.
The Reapers, in the person of Dodhun, Third of the Father, requested an audience with Commander Riley. Riley offered to host but upon beaming over, the Reapers revealed that diplomacy was the last thing on their minds. Commander Riley and her team were imprisoned in the brig, and while security raced to release them, the Tiger itself was wracked by escalating problems - sensor blackouts, more systems failures, and finally the collapse of the entire shield grid. Lily took command and sealed off the bridge at the same time that Engineering fell to the Reapers. In an attempt to get a signal to Commander Riley's captured group and, hopefully, to another Starfleet vessel, Lily ordered Lieutenant Dickens, chief tactical officer, to launch from the Tiger in the shuttlecraft Eagle.
Lily is forced to wait like the captain of a sinking ship as the Reapers reportedly tore up through the Tiger towards the bridge. She and the remaining bridge crew threw up defense after defense, but it all came to nothing - the Reapers seemed to jump through force fields, shift around phasers, and break into every core system under lockdown. However, Lieutenant Dickens was able to transport Commander Riley's team to the safety of his shuttle and then back to the Tiger, where they trapped the Reapers' leader in a turboshaft and made their way to the bridge.
Lily, fearing Riley's team to be the Reapers, decided on a final drastic measure: If they couldn't keep their ship, then the Reapers couldn't have it, either. She ordered a cold shutdown, hoping that it would force the Reapers to confront and discuss their attempted takeover.
Faced with the embarrassment of shutting down her CO's ship, Lily immediately offered to go below, even though the rest of the ship was still overrun by Reapers, and activate a portable generator to maintain life support. Commander Riley agreed, and Lily, along with chief science officer Clack and security officer Storos, headed below to find the generator.
Activating the generator went as planned; however, as soon as the activation was complete, the group was attacked by Reapers. Lily and Storos managed to hold off the group until power came back on ... but, as Lieutenant Clack reported, his generator was not enough to do so much. As it turned out, the Reapers had been enslaving a native race, the Avor, and using them to power their technology. However, the Avor found that they enjoyed the technology aboard the Tiger - specifically, the bioneural circuitry, which reminded them of their home realm - better, and so rebelled against the Reapers.
The Reapers, with their failing technology and failed takeover, found themselves in even further: Their station was losing its grip on reality, and falling back into the alternate dimension it had emerged from. Unfortunately for the Reapers, they were also being dimensionally dragged, resulting in their expulsion and disappearance from the Tiger.
The Reapers' departure left the Tiger in shambles. Sickbay was overloaded, with all of its major physicians, including Hayden, unconscious or incapacitated. The crew limped the ship back to Deep Space 17, where they put in for repairs and recuperation. Lily's hardest duty, en route, was delivering the casualty list to Sidney, and then writing the letters to their families.
Aboard the station, Lily shut herself away in a dark depression. Initially, she'd wanted to explore the station with Hayden, but when he went out with Ellie Hathaway and T'Ren without telling her, she slumped deeper. Even when it came time for the Tiger's promotion ceremony, she could barely dig herself out of her deep depression to attend ... and, then, she received word that Hayden was one of those promoted, and that he was being reassigned.
She put in an empty-hearted appearance at the ceremony and intended to retire directly after, but she was stopped by CMO Vojana Satscher, Hayden's former supervisor. Although she didn't know everything on Lily's mind, she knew enough, and she told Lily that if she didn't go after him, she'd regret it.
Lily went. She found Hayden deep in his new ship, Antares, about to depart, and asked him not to go, to talk to her, to think about their future. He agreed to delay and came with her back to the station, where she decided that a ceremony full of pomp wasn't necessary. They were married that night.
Although originally a part of the Tiger's next mission - she attended the briefings and led a team of researchers - Lily received some unexpected medical news that sent her back towards the Federation interior: She was pregnant. A small Starfleet vessel ferried Lily and Marcus Dickens, who was taking a leave of absence, back to Deep Space 17. From there, Lily boarded Hayden's Antares for a ride to Starbase 118.