Star Trek: Tesseract

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by kes7, Jul 18, 2009.

  1. KimMH

    KimMH Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Naomi Campbell never entered my mind but she may be fairly inspired. I will have to look up Karen LeBlanc - I confess I don't know who she is!
     
  2. Diogenes

    Diogenes Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Kes 7! I finally did my goo-diligence and found some pics of Karen LaBlanc on the Google machine. I get it now. She looks amazing. She's beautiful. She looks smart, strong, forceful AND subtle, gets-the-job-done, guardedly tender, perceptive, athletic... From her photographic mien, I'd have expected her to be taller. I keep wracking my brain for an alternative, but come up blank (or, perhaps I should say "Blanc" :guffaw:) . Now that I've seen LaBlanc, I'm uncertain I'll be able to really picture another face for Adele. I'm hard pressed to imagine that you'll find another actress whose face and bearing seem so right for Adele.

    (sigh... I just got the song "Betty Davis Eyes" going through my head, but instead of that lyric, exactly, what I'm hearing is "Betazoid Eyes. :scream: )
     
  3. Diogenes

    Diogenes Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Uhm, I beg... I Pray, all within reach of my electronic voice: Please never mention Halle Berry as a prospective Adele again. I know this is all fun, speculative chit-chat, but Adele is just too terrific a character to be "played" by Halle Berry. Yes, yes, yes, Halle Berry has a pretty face. But unless acting an "in extremis" role (like in "Monster's Ball"), her simpering vapidity is overmatched only by her anemic, two-dimensional affect, her inability to invest any (ostensibly) quotidian moment with a degree of weight. She RUINED Storm in the X-Men flicks for me... I recall reading X-Men when I was a kid (in the 80s, when it really had that Martin Luther King, Jr./Professor X vs. Malcolm X/Magneto ethos going. I started just before the time that Storm lost her mutant abilities to Forge's power-nullifier. The character grew into what I think was her most interesting period---incidentally, the time when "Storm" (sporting a mohawk and wearing a black, leather biker-chic ensemble) most evoked an image of Grace Jones. Storm compensated for her loss of powers (in fact, besting Cyclops in combat for the right to lead the X-Men) with martial arts, cunning, and ruthlessness. The character became, as she had not been before, an ebony exemplar of grace, fortitude, and leadership. She is and always will be my favorite X-Man... From the moment Halle Berry trundled on to the screen, with her bandy-legged, truck-stop debutante gait, muttering her dialogue with her mewling voice, tremulous and devoid of all gravitas, I felt like screaming to comic book geek heavens: WHYYYYY?! :scream:

    Beckley would eat Halle Berry-Adele for a snack.

    Now, I apologise for indulging my Halle Berry animus.
     
  4. KimMH

    KimMH Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^I'll chalk your passion to love for Storm. I too am a true believer. The last time Marvel killed Jean Grey I called Marvel and cancelled all my subscriptions. (The hubs was glad for the saving s$) To make it better Emma Frost EMMA FROST whom Charles so graciously was trying to rehabilitate took up with Scott in a psychic affair. Psychic affair my ass! If'n I were Jeannie I'da smooshed her into a sooty smudge on a dirty street! Please please please do not tell me you're okay with Scott and Emma. UUUUURRK!

    If the X movie franchise had continued I know Emma would've been next with a miraculously resurrected Scoot (Sp intentional) and my only reason to pay to get into the theater would be to throw rotten fetid blackened produce at the screen. My son would be so ashamed - yeah - my mom got arrested for protesting - no she wasn't protesting violence or gratuitous sex or even poor writing - she was protesting X-Men!
     
  5. Diogenes

    Diogenes Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I liked the character Emma Frost, but I didnt dig what they did with that Scott-Jean-Emma love triangle. At least we can, I think, be reasonably sure that Kes7 wont freak/creep us out by arranging a romantic relationship that would make us vomit. Can you imagine Adele and Beckley hooking up? Yeah, gross and insane. But that's how I imagined you felt about Emma and Scott.
     
  6. KimMH

    KimMH Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yes, I wanted to vomit and kick some a** !!! I am only now finally reconciled to Henry mutating into a big fuzzy kitty. I know there was a whole point to that and I don't believe Grant Morrison or whatshis face ruined X-Men but I was pretty miffed.

    I'd be less nauseated than most of you if Adele and Beckley were to end up together - I am still on the fence about Beckley myself. I feel like he could swing either way in spite of feeling so icky! There is someone for everyone after all . . .

    Speaking of Adele, CC Pounder, the Avatar actress who is the Queen of Panwherever it is seems like a good candidate for Adele - she is orig from Guyana I believe, and seems regal and intelligent and capable. I've seen her in a lot of other stuff and did not realize she was in Avatar (I know I am NOT the last person in the world to see it yet . . .)
     
  7. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

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    You know what, this advisory board isn't all that bad. Except for Beckley and Gentry, everyone seems to genuinely want to help Adele as much as they can.

    I might have said it before but I'm quite torn on the whole advisory board thing. I think Starfleet deciding to have one on board, headed by an actual Admiral no less is a horrible idea. From a story telling perspective, I think it's bloody brilliant because you have so much potential for conflict and a whole load of other issues that inadvertently come into play with these guys breathing down the captain's neck all the time.

    As for Adele firing Maren. I'm not seeing it. Temporary suspension, maybe. Relieving her entirely, no. Of course it be an interesting development in your story if it happened. Having said all that, we still haven't heard her side of the story. Even though it is hard to imagine what she could possibly say in her defense at this point that would make her look better than she does now.

    Great stuff. Looking forward to more.
     
  8. kes7

    kes7 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    CHAPTER FORTY-THREE

    “I can’t believe you never told me.” John sounded so hurt as he spoke the words that Maren felt like she had been punched in the gut.

    One look at the expression on his face was all it took for Maren to realize he was angrier than he had ever been at her or Icheb. It was understandable. He had been there for both of them for nearly eight years. To find out he’d been being lied to for four of them had to be a lot to take, especially on top of the sudden revelation that his best friend was dying.

    “I wanted to tell you so many times,” she offered weakly, knowing it wouldn’t be enough.

    “But you didn’t,” John said coldly, meeting her gaze. After a long moment, he sighed and dragged one hand down his face tiredly. “I have to say, this all makes a lot more sense to me now. His leaving, how neither of you would talk about it ...”

    “J.Q., I never wanted to lie to anyone. Least of all you. But you don’t understand, you don’t know what they wanted to do to him and how scared he was that they would find a way to use his condition as an excuse. And he didn’t want Seven to find out, either. Try to understand, for me to tell anyone would have been such a huge breach of trust, and too many people had already done that to him. I couldn’t be just another person he loved who let him down. He trusted me. He didn’t trust anyone else.”

    “More like he knew he couldn’t control anyone the way he’s always been able to control you,” John said harshly.

    “That’s not fair,” Maren protested. “You know it was never like that.”

    “I don’t know anything about what it was like, apparently,” John shot back. “Because the Maren I thought I knew would never help someone she loves hurt himself like that.”

    “It’s not that black-and-white, John! The Doctor did everything he could. It was logical to believe that no one else in the Federation could do better; the man is literally a walking database of medical information. The chance that someone else could help Icheb was so slim, but the chance he’d be jaded for life if I betrayed his trust, that was one hundred percent. What was I supposed to do? He was going to be my husband. I had to be on his side.”

    “Even if being on his side meant hiding his condition from Starfleet and letting him just give up on life?”

    Maren’s cheeks flushed with anger and embarrassment. There was no way to answer that. When she looked rationally at her own choices over the past four years, she saw the same thing he did. How could she explain why making sure Icheb never felt betrayed by her had seemed to be the most important thing in the universe to her ... apparently, more important than even his survival? She hated herself, and the tears erupted before she could stop them.

    “I don’t know,” she sobbed. “I just thought we’d come up with a solution somehow. And then he left, and it was like the one last thing I could do for him was just keep my promise not to tell anyone. Because telling would have seemed like some kind of retribution or something, and I didn’t want that. I just wanted him to come home. I knew why he left. I hated it, but I understood it. By the time I had gotten my head back together enough to think rationally, I got assigned to this mission. And then rationality few right out the window again.”

    “I’d say rationality left you right around the time you met him, if what I’ve learned today is any indication,” John retorted. “How could you not see how stupid this is? I don’t care what Icheb told you, you’re smart enough to know better than this. Lying to Starfleet? Helping Icheb refuse treatment? What the fuck, Maren? You know better than that.”

    “You weren’t there, you didn’t see how much he went through just in the time The Doctor was treating him!” Maren cried. “We tried for two years to fix this, and every treatment was more painful than the last! And you don’t know what it would do to Seven to know that --”

    “What do you think you’re doing?” a sharp, British-inflected voice from behind them interrupted. Julian Bashir stood in the doorway of Maren’s private room in sickbay looking angrily at John. He gestured toward the biobed display. “A rise in blood pressure like this could cause the swelling in her brain to increase again. She could have a seizure, or an aneurysm, or worse. I asked you to stay with her to try and keep her calm, not to upset her more. Now, just what is going on in here?”

    John looked at the doctor and sighed. “I’m sorry,” he muttered quietly. “I need to take a walk.” He brushed by Julian on his way out the door, and Maren wiped the tears from her cheeks with the back of her hand and stared miserably after him. She closed her eyes and rested against the elevated back of the biobed, trying not to think about the truth of everything he had just said.

    “Can I get you anything?” Julian asked, looking at her with concern. She opened her eyes long enough to glance over at him and shake her head. Julian walked over to her and scanned her with his medical tricorder just to be sure she was okay.

    “It’s all right,” she told him. “I deserved everything he just said to me.”

    “I only heard part of it,” Julian said. “And it’s none of my business. That said, I’m already researching Icheb’s problem. I can’t promise I’ll be able to do any better than the EMH, but I’m going to try. Any information you have that I don’t would be very helpful.”

    Maren sighed. “I told you most of what I know already, but I’ll try to answer any questions you have. I have some detailed scans I took of his cortical array a while back stored on an isochip in my room, too. I can send John to get them. If he ever comes back,” she added bitterly.

    “He’ll come back,” Julian reassured her. “It’s too bad we’re on communications blackout,” he noted with frustration in his voice. “I’m sure the EMH has a lot more information than you do.”

    Maren nodded, wondering how much trouble The Doctor would be in for helping them cover this up. What a mess, she thought to herself. John’s right, how was I so stupid?

    “You were doing what you thought was right,” Julian told her, as if he had read her mind. “It’s too late to change it now. I suggest you concentrate on getting him back,” he said gently, tapping the PADD full of Borg script sitting on the tray beside her bed with one finger.

    She nodded again and picked it up, continuing the tedious translation. She desperately wished she had Icheb there to check her work. She had to admit he had been her training wheels at the Academy, and that without his pushing her and challenging her intellectually all those years, she would probably never have been named chief engineer of the Tesseract less than four years out of the Academy. Not that you’re going to be keeping that job, she told herself dejectedly. She was fairly sure the captain wanted to throw her out of the nearest airlock. She would be lucky if she avoided the brig. At this moment, she realized, she didn’t particularly care.

    After an hour and a half, she had made a respectable amount of progress on the translation when Julian reappeared at the door, this time accompanied by the captain.

    “Is now a bad time, Lieutenant?” Adele asked coolly.

    Maren set down her PADD. “No, sir.” Julian gave Adele a warning glance that seemed to say, “don’t upset her,” then he left them alone.

    As soon as the door closed behind Julian, Adele gave Maren a long, hard look. Maren shifted uncomfortably in her bed under the captain’s stare, but managed to hold her gaze.

    Nearly a full ten seconds passed before Adele started speaking. She gestured toward Maren’s still faintly bruised head. “I want you to know that the luckiest thing that happened to you this morning -- besides that insane plan of yours not getting us all assimilated -- is that head injury,” she said seriously. “It’s enabling me to keep you confined here in sickbay without attracting suspicion from the advisory board or the engineering staff while I decide what to do about you.” Maren stared back silently, and Adele sighed. “I also want you to know that if we were anywhere near Federation space, you’d be off this ship.”

    Maren nodded. “Yes, sir,” she murmured.

    “You deserve to lose your commission for the stunt you pulled this morning, but I don’t think I’m going to do that,” Adele said. “That being said, I’m honestly not sure I can in good conscience send you back into main engineering to command one hundred twenty-four of my crew when you’ve shown yourself to possess such extremely poor judgment. For the time being, you’re relieved of your duties as chief engineer. I’ll let you decide whether Telek or Loren Daniels will be your replacement.” Maren nodded silently, looking utterly miserable as she fought to hold back tears.

    “We’ll tell the advisory board and the engineering staff that this is temporary medical leave, at least for the moment. Hopefully, they’ll ask fewer questions that way. But you and I need to have a serious discussion about your motivations this morning, among other things.”

    Maren didn’t answer right away, and Adele looked at her for a moment, then said, “Lieutenant, I suggest you take this opportunity to explain yourself, because it’s the only chance I’ll be giving you. You put fifteen hundred lives at risk this morning by not killing those drones. I want to know why. I also want to know why you and my first officer have been lying to Starfleet for four years about his implants failing. You’re both highly intelligent people; I know you both realize he’ll die without treatment.”

    Maren blinked back hot tears and glared at Adele. “Do you really think we took that decision lightly, Captain?” she challenged her.

    Adele sighed heavily. “I don’t know what you were thinking, O’Connor,” she snapped impatiently. “And Icheb isn’t here for me to ask him, so I’m having to rely on you to speak for both of you. So if you want to fall on your sword out of some ridiculous notion that you’re somehow protecting his privacy, go right ahead, but know that I’ll toss him onto that blade right behind you as soon as he gets back.” She paused for a moment to let that sink in, then gave Maren a pointed look. “For the moment, you’re his advocate as well as yours, so I suggest you explain yourself, and do it well. Start with engineering. I think I know why you incapacitated those drones instead of eliminating the threat, but I want to hear it from you.”

    For a long moment, Maren simply stared at her hands, which were fidgeting nervously in her lap. She felt like a little girl next to the poised, authoritative captain on a normal day, and it didn’t help that she was now out of uniform, lying in bed, and covered with blankets.

    “What do you want me to say?” she asked quietly. “The truth is, I don’t really know why I did it. I had seconds to make a decision, and there were about a hundred variables I was simultaneously considering. I know you think I was trying to save those drones, and I can’t deny the thought crossed my mind. Maybe it was even my primary motivation, I don’t know. In all honesty, I haven’t been able to stop worrying about Icheb long enough to really even think too much about what happened in engineering yet. But believe me when I tell you that I was very conscious of the fact that there was a Borg cube facing off with us, and that turning engineering into a radioactive waste dump was probably not an ideal plan. I mean, there’s only so much you can do from the bridge when things go wrong down there, so I wanted to keep it accessible. The cortical monitor I modified for Icheb gave me an idea, and I knew I had to at least try, for our sake and theirs. The omicron radiation was a backup that I knew would work. And I wasn’t expecting Telek to disobey orders and stay behind! I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m sort of glad he did now that it’s all over, but it complicated things. I thought I was only risking my own life.”

    “And what makes you think that was okay?” Adele snapped, cutting off the sudden flood of words coming out of the chief engineer’s mouth. “You’re the chief engineer. You didn’t attain that position at your young age by being unremarkable or interchangeable. We need you much more than we needed the chance to rehabilitate a few drones.” She sighed and softened her tone a bit. “To be perfectly honest, I questioned Command when they recommended you for the job. You’d been out of the Academy barely three years, and your file photo makes you look like a teenager. But everyone insisted you were the best. That you understand slipstream technology and the new computer systems like no one else but Torres, and she didn’t want to come, so it came down to you, and Torres herself heartily endorsed the pick. Admiral Janeway even gave you her vote of confidence. For someone your age, that’s flat-out amazing. Why would you throw all that away for a few drones?” Adele was aware she had just crossed the line from professional questioning to personal curiosity, but she didn’t care. She wanted an answer.

    (cont. below)
     
  9. kes7

    kes7 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    (cont. from above)

    Maren sighed. She had spent most of her life following rules, being honest, overachieving, and in the span of a day, everything she had worked so hard for was probably gone. What the hell? she thought. Maybe my opinion will at least make a difference.

    “I got the impression you already knew before I told you today that I had a relationship with Commander Icheb,” Maren said carefully.

    Adele nodded. “I was aware of it, yes,” she said.

    “Did you also know we were engaged?”

    “No, I didn’t know that,” Adele replied, raising her eyebrows slightly in surprise.

    “Well, we were. I spent five years of my life with him. I know him better than I know myself, or at least I used to think I did. He’s a beautiful, unique, incredible person who never would have had a chance if Admiral Janeway had just killed him because he was Borg. She almost did that, too, because he and the others were a real threat. They attacked one of her officers and were trying to destroy her ship. But she found a way to save them and her ship, and I’m so glad she did. He did some terrible things on that cube as a drone, but it wasn’t really his fault, and he’s done so much good since then. And those drones this morning, when I looked at them, I saw him. And I saw Sev -- I mean, Annika Hansen. And I couldn’t just kill them without at least trying to help them first.”

    Adele sighed heavily. “You can’t save them all. I’ve read the reports on Annika Hansen’s experience. She almost wasn’t salvageable, and she put Voyager at risk many times as a result. It was Admiral Janeway’s call to keep her on board, just as it’s my decision what to do with these drones you’ve left us with. I have half a mind to have you come up with a way to wipe their memories and dump them on the next M-class planet for re-assimilation, and that’s being kind to them, as far as I’m concerned. The transition from the Collective to Federation society isn’t the easiest, or so I’ve heard. I would think you would know that even better than I do.”

    “I do know that. You have no idea the extent to which I know that,” she added, thinking of the few heartbreaking times Icheb had opened up to her about his time with the Collective and shared the memories of what he had done on the cube. His struggles to fit in on Earth were nothing compared to the struggle inside his own mind to truly forgive himself for the things he had done. Logic told them both that he hadn’t been fully responsible, but she knew it was hard for him to feel that way when every memory was preserved in perfect detail by his cortical implants. “But Captain, we have a chance to -- ”

    “Enough, O’Connor. I understand your perspective. You fell in love with an ex-drone. Perhaps you and Doctor Hansen are close, as well. But the decision you made today was not yours to make, and whatever kindness you may want to offer these drones could very well come back to haunt us sooner rather than later. The Borg aren’t known for abandoning their property -- Icheb’s rather unique experience notwithstanding.” She paused and added, “I like you, Maren, but I’m not throwing away twenty six years of service if I can help it, even if it means I have to take a hard line with you. I don’t want to have to do that. The problem is, I doubt you’re a very convincing liar, and there’s a Betazoid on the advisory board. Not mixed, like me, either. A full telepath. I’m not sure what we can do, here.”

    “I’m so sorry, Captain,” Maren said quietly. “Whatever you decide to do, I just want you to know that. Fifteen hundred people could have lost their lives because of me this morning, and I’m so, so sorry.”

    “I know you are,” replied Adele. “And frankly, it doesn’t make this any easier for me. Like I said, I like you. I don’t know you very well, but I feel I’m a decent judge of character and you’ve always struck me as a sweet, dedicated, conscientious young woman. You really remind me of Icheb in a lot of ways, and I guess that’s not surprising, considering how long you were together, at such a critical point in both of your development. The thought of locking you up for seven years doesn’t appeal to me on that level, but it also bothers me because you’re by far the most gifted engineer we’ve got. Telek and Daniels are fine officers, very competent, but you’re the star. That’s why you’re here, despite my initial misgivings.”

    Maren nodded miserably, unable to think of anything to say. Her mind was light years away, worrying about Icheb and wondering if he would be all right. Her career, her goals, her entire life before this morning seemed like a distant memory. Her head hurt badly, and she wondered if it was time for more painkillers. She suddenly felt very, very tired.

    Adele could sense the despair and exhaustion coming from the young woman. It was painfully familiar to her. She fought back her own memories of the day she had lost her Imzadi. She wondered who had it easier. She had lost her husband forever, but at least she had known his fate. Maren had no such certainty.

    Adele spoke in a much softer voice. “We’re going to do everything we can to get him back, Maren. But I need you to pull it together. First of all, I need you to finish translating that data chip. Secondly, I need you to prepare yourself to face the advisory board. I’ll do everything I can to keep you from having to talk to them, but the odds of success are not in my favor, there. They’re going to want to know what happened, and they’re going to want to talk to you. If you’re planning to lie, you’re going to have to believe the lie completely.”

    “Are you telling me to lie, Captain?” Maren asked, sounding a little astonished.

    “I’m telling you that if you want to be in a position to help find Icheb, you can’t tell the advisory board that you’re in love with my exec, or that you put the ship at risk because of sympathetic feelings toward the drones. I suggest you think extensively about the intelligence possibilities you opened up for us this morning. Come up with a plan. Prepare yourself to face those drones, because you’ll be the one doing the talking.”

    Excuse me, Captain?”

    “Of everyone on board, you have the most experience with them as people. The way they think, the way -- ”

    “With all due respect, Captain, I’m just an engineer. I dated a single ex-drone for five years and socialized casually with another. I don’t have the necessary expertise to -- ”

    “Maren, like it or not, you became an ambassador of sorts the moment you entered a relationship with Icheb. I believe you can do this. I’m ordering you to do this.”

    “Captain! I was an eighteen-year-old girl when I entered a relationship with Icheb. A first-year cadet. I wasn’t looking to become an ambassador to the Borg Collective!”

    Adele was unmoved. “I’m sure that’s true, but I suspect you’re the best chance we have to make a connection with these drones. You understand better than anyone else what’s possible for them. All I’m asking you to do is talk to them. Find out everything you can about what’s happened to them over the last eight years, and try to gain their trust.”

    “Captain -- ”

    “Lieutenant, you have your orders. Now finish that translation so I can give it to T’Pring. Then, work with Doctor Bashir to bring him up to speed on Icheb’s medical condition. I’ll expect a full accounting of everything that you mentioned today as far as his implant failures, and trust me, you and I will be talking again about why you both felt it necessary to hide this for so long.”

    “Yes, sir,” Maren replied quietly.

    “And Maren ...” Adele trailed off as she realized she didn’t know quite what to say to the miserable young woman. I’m sorry seemed too pessimistic, hang in there seemed clichéd. She finally went with the truth: “I hope we get him back.”
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2010
  10. KimMH

    KimMH Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Poor Maren! and what to do about her?!?!?!

    Maren must feel like a great weight has been lifted but it may affect her relationships and career forever. One split second decision that will play out consequences forever. She must feel very alone and scared.

    And I am worried about the advice Adele is giving Maren - it could cut either way. Beckley is a shark and if he smells blood in the water there will be a feeding frenzy. his lapdog Gentry will be in her element if it comes to light either Adele or Maren are being less than 100% forthcoming. It feels like everything is on the knife edge where this situation gets resolved and paves the way and sets the tone of the next seven years - or the wheels will completely fall off the wagon!

    Yikes and Thank you!!! I always look forward to the new chapters and this one was worth the wait!
     
  11. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    This conversation between Adele and Maren has been coming for awhile now. Adele is taking a very risky tack with the young engineer, especially since her suspicious about Maren’s motivations vis-à-vis the Borg were confirmed by the lieutenant herself.

    Part of me hopes Maren can somehow manage to come out of this with her department head status intact, but the leader in me also thinks her taking a back seat to Telek or someone else for a few years of seasoning might do her some good.

    And the thought of Maren facing the combined experience and insight of the advisory board is downright chilling. The two captains’ decades of experience, Beckley’s razor-keen mind and interview/interrogation skills, the abilities of a fully telepathic Betazoid counselor, and the reasoning acumen of a top-notch lawyer… yeah, it’s going to be like throwing a kitten into a den of wolves.

    Really wonderful character development material here as you drive the emotional core of the story forward.
     
  12. KimMH

    KimMH Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I suspect Beckley's ability to slough off both the full and part-Betazoids means he's got some tricks up his sleeve that don't just involve the treachery of old age overcoming the skill of youth (apologies Ben! ;))
     
  13. CaptainSarine

    CaptainSarine Commander Red Shirt

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    Hi Kes!

    A great chapter here, with two amazing confrontations that have been a good few chapters in the offing, both pulled off with your usual panache! I thought you managed to describe Maren's emotional turmoil especially well, as she gravitates between anger, frustration, sorrow, fear, despair... A really good description of what she must be going through.

    I'm assuming John's reactions are being slightly coloured by his feelings for Maren, but he is totally justified in his actions here, I feel. To learn that the two people he cares for have been lying to him for so long, that they have not trusted him enough to share this... Man, that's gotta hurt.

    And again, Adele proves what a fantastic captain she is, way up there with Janeway (and in my opinion even better). She really cares for these crewmembers, but is willing to make the tough choices. I just hope her feelings for her crew haven't led her down a dangerous path here. If Beckley has recording equipment in sickbay as well... Things could get ugly.

    Another great addition to Tesseract, looking forward to seeing how all of this plays out!

    Joel
     
  14. kes7

    kes7 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Sector 001
    oldstredshrtevr - I feel bad for Maren, too. In the span of a couple of hours, she lost her first love, her best friend, and her job, and she has no idea if she'll be getting any of them back. We'll see if Adele is thinking straight or not with to her advice to the engineer. The captain's had a lot thrown at her in one day and she doesn't even have her Number One to help her sort it all out. (Of course, he's now one of her biggest problems, too.) So, let's see how things go .... Thanks for the kind comments!

    Gibraltar - Kitten in a den of wolves? Could happen. Or she might surprise you. She may be a miserable, crying mess now, but she's not a weak person. If she could just get a minute to catch her breath, she might be able to pull herself together ... but the way things are going, it's not looking good for her. Thank you for reading and reviewing! (I said a bit more at Ad Astra, too.)

    CaptainSarine - Thanks for the nice commentary! Maren's in a crappy place right now, that's for sure. You now have a bit of background that others don't thanks to the stuff I sent you, but suffice it to say, this is about 180 degrees from where she was a couple of years ago. And then there's John. I didn't include the scene where Maren lays it all out for Julian and Adele (because that much exposition is just boring!), but John was close enough to hear just about everything she said -- a major WTF moment for him, I'm sure. He's definitely angry and scared and just ... well, needs to take a walk. (And maybe hit something.) As for Adele ... I'm glad you continue to like her. She's sort of flying by the seat of her pants here using her admittedly keen, but not infallible instincts as one thing after the other gets thrown her way ... we'll see what happens when the dust settles. Thanks again for reading and reviewing!
     
  15. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Boy, I hope Adele remembered to exhale. She's absolutely justified in giving the engineer a stern lecture even though maybe next time she could wait until she aint got a life threatening brain swelling ...

    I'm not entirely sure why or if she has to justify her chief engineer to the advisory board. It's her ship and her crew. I suppose if Starfleet Command would learn of her engineer's reasoning they might have a few choice words and bring up possible charges but as far as the board is concerned, I think Adele needs to toughen up and keep issues regarding the ship and crew soley on her shoulders.

    This does not mean that I don't think Maren deserves punishment. As much as I like her, she can consider herself lucky if she ever gets to to get back within 100 yards of main engineering.
     
  16. KimMH

    KimMH Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
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    Oy!!!! You're killing me Kes7! What's that? Oh, you have a life do you? Ok, I suppose that's true. I'll just lurk around waiting for you to drop more yummy crumbs from your banquet table of delights . . . :(
     
  17. kes7

    kes7 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    Location:
    Sector 001
    oldstredshrtevr -- I really needed that today, thanks! I've been working on the next chapter ... running into a few writing roadblocks and real life busy stuff, but I'm hoping to have something up tonight or tomorrow! Thanks for asking, seriously. It means a lot to know it's missed! Sorry for the delay.

    Cejay -- Thanks for the comment! I think right now, Adele is just reacting her way through a hectic day. She hasn't had time to really analyze everything yet, she's had too many people in her face asking questions and dropping bombs on her. We'll see how it shakes out with Maren and Adele and the board and all that ... assuming I can get these next chapters written! Off to write!
     
  18. KimMH

    KimMH Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
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    :techman: feeling so much better knowing another fix is on the way! :techman:
     
  19. kes7

    kes7 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    Location:
    Sector 001
    CHAPTER FORTY-FOUR

    Ten Forward

    “What a day,” said Iden Nix as she collapsed into a chair at a table in the crowded lounge. She had thought Ten Forward would be empty tonight, but it was busier than usual, if a little more subdued, and she realized that everyone was looking to forget about the Borg and their missing first officer.

    “Indeed,” T’Pring replied, sipping calmly at a cup of tea. For reasons she did not fully understand herself, she had agreed to accompany Iden to Ten Forward this evening. She had to admit to herself that she was feeling a tiny bit unsettled. She had maintained her outward serenity flawlessly today, but the loss -- even temporarily -- of their XO, upon whom she depended to be the logical counterbalance to their emotionally-driven CO, had been a disappointment to her.

    “Well, if it isn’t the man of the hour,” Iden suddenly said quietly, looking at the doorway, where Telek, the Andorian engineer had just entered, looking like he had the weight of the world on his shoulders.

    “I fail to understand why the members of this crew persist in discussing his actions today as if they were praiseworthy,” said T’Pring. “By all accounts, he disobeyed a direct order from Lieutenant O’Connor and put his own life at risk.”

    “Exactly. To save her life,” Iden shot back. “That’s heroic.”

    “Only because he succeeded,” T’Pring noted. “He could just as easily have been killed, along with Lieutenant O’Connor. Then we would have lost two engineers, in which case I highly doubt you would all be calling his decision anything but foolish.”

    Iden gave T’Pring an exasperated look and waved Telek over. He cautiously approached the table. “Nice job today, Telek,” Iden told him. “I heard you saved Maren and then neutralized the drones after she was injured.” Telek nodded, looking uncomfortable.

    “Has anyone actually seen Maren since this morning?” Iden asked no one in particular and everyone at once.

    “I believe the captain conversed with her,” T’Pring said. “I assume the medical staff has done so, as well.”

    “I mean any of us,” Iden clarified. “Non-captain, non-doctor people.”

    “I tried to go see her after my shift ended, but sickbay access is restricted due to a drone. The one I injured is still there,” Telek said quietly, taking a seat at the table.

    “I bet Quigley’s seen her,” Iden said. “Ryzal was bitching about him disappearing this morning. I’d bet my last credit he was with her.”

    “He’s the young tactical officer, a very tall human?” Telek asked.

    “Yes, him,” replied Iden.

    “He was leading the security team in engineering just after she was injured. I got the impression they were quite close.”

    Iden snickered. “I think he wishes they were closer.” T’Pring raised an eyebrow at this, but said nothing.

    At that moment, Alex Slidell walked in, ordered a synthale and sat down uninvited with Iden, T’Pring and Telek.

    “No fire water tonight?” Iden mocked him in a faux-innocent voice. He gave her a dirty look. “Where’s Marcus?” she asked.

    “Working,” Alex replied. “What a crazy day, huh?”

    “Crazy,” Iden agreed. T’Pring stared at her tea, and Telek sighed and nodded. The table fell silent as they all lost themselves in their own thoughts.

    *****

    Sickbay

    John had come too late to apologize. Maren was sound asleep. Sheila Duggal reported she had spent most of the afternoon alternately working, crying and sleeping for only a few minutes at a time, so Sheila had finally given her something to knock her out for a few hours so she could get some real rest. He almost hadn’t been allowed in due to the way he had upset her earlier, but he had promised Sheila he was only there to apologize and find out what he could bring Maren from her quarters. The young doctor had relented and let him in to see her.

    He tried to get comfortable in the visitor’s chair next to the biobed, but his tall frame didn’t fit well, and it was a losing battle. He sighed and looked at Maren. Even sound asleep, under heavy sedation, her face still looked tense. He felt horrible for her, especially knowing he had played a part in making her terrible day even harder than it had been to begin with. Thankful she was so very unconscious, took her hand in his and squeezed it gently, while examining her fragile-looking fingers. He had always liked her little hands.

    “She’s lucky to have a friend like you,” a female voice from behind him said. John flinched and dropped Maren’s hand, turning around to see who had come in. It was Taran Madar, and he suddenly remembered today had been his counseling day. “When you didn’t show up for our session today, I thought I’d come and find you,” she explained. “Given what happened with Commander Icheb and Lieutenant O’Connor, I thought you might need to talk.”

    John sighed. “You’re not supposed to be in here,” he said irritably. “How did you get past Doctor Bashir?”

    “Professional courtesy,” she replied. “I wanted to check on my patient. He’s spying on us to make sure I don’t talk to her, see?” She pointed through the glass window, and John saw Julian keeping an eye on them. He nodded in Julian’s direction, and Julian responded in kind.

    “I could use a walk and a drink,” John sighed, standing up and stretching. He looked back at Maren and consulted the chronometer on the biobed display. “She shouldn’t wake up for another hour or two. Ten Forward?” he suggested.

    “All right,” Taran replied. John hesitated briefly as he took a last look at Maren. What if she wakes up? I really should stay.

    “I can ask Doctor Bashir to call us if she wakes up,” the Betazoid reassured him.

    “Did you just read my mind?” John asked accusingly.

    “I didn’t need to. Your concern for her is written all over your face. Like I said, she’s lucky to have a friend like you.”

    John sighed and ran a hand through his closely cropped blond hair. “Not really,” he sighed. “Let’s go.”

    *****

    Ten Forward

    As they sat down at the long bar in Ten Forward, Taran looked over at John. His face was drawn and stressed, and she couldn’t help but feel the mix of emotions emanating from the slightly younger officer even as she effortlessly blocked out his thoughts.

    “What do you think our chances are of finding Icheb?” Taran asked.

    John looked at her critically. “I’m under orders to refer all mission-related questions to Captain Oyugo,” he responded.

    “Of course,” she replied with an air of bemusement.

    The bartender, a twelve-tentacled being with spotted skin and large, glossy black eyes, took their orders as they sat at the long, curved bar. The atmosphere in the lounge was both tense and festive, and Taran could sense the crew’s relief that the Borg were behind them, along with worry over the mission and their missing XO. Taran ordered a glass of uttaberry wine, while John ordered a neat whiskey, which he downed in a single desperate pull. Taran sipped her wine slowly. Iden Nix stood up and came over.

    “John, are you okay? How is Maren doing?” Iden asked with concern. She knew the tactical officer was close not only to Maren, but to Icheb, and he looked exhausted. She really was worried about him.

    “She’s still in sickbay,” he answered, unable to give any more details than that. “I’ll let her know you asked about her, I’m heading back there in an hour or so.”

    “How are you holding up?” Iden repeated, putting a comforting hand on his shoulder.

    “I’ll be happier when we find Icheb and Maren is back on duty.”

    “Understood,” the Bolian woman replied, nodding. She looked at Taran. “Hi, I’m Iden Nix,” she said, offering her hand.

    “Taran Madar,” Taran replied, shaking it.

    “Well, I’ll leave you two,” Iden said. She looked at them thoughtfully for a moment and then headed back to her table. John ordered another drink.

    “Are you okay?” Taran asked him, in a tone of voice that almost never failed to convince people to open up. John blinked a couple of times, staring at his drink, then looked at her.

    “You’re the mind reader, you tell me,” he finally said irritably.

    “Are you giving consent for me to read you telepathically?” Taran asked carefully.

    John blushed and shook his head. “No. I just don’t know what to say.”

    “Try the truth. We can go somewhere private if that’s easier.”

    John shook his head. “Here is fine. We could move to that table over there, it’s kind of quiet.” Taran glanced over and nodded, so they picked up their drinks and walked over to the relatively secluded spot.

    As soon as they sat down, the story came spilling out of John. How he had met Maren at the Academy and fallen hard, but she had met Icheb and fallen in love before he had worked up the nerve to do anything about it. How he had gradually settled into his role as best friend to both of them, and even come to think of Icheb as the brother he’d never had. How the two of them had been three months away from their wedding day when Icheb suddenly left without explanation, and never returned. What a mess Maren had been afterward. How they had all been assigned to this mission to the Delta Quadrant, and he thought enough time had passed that the wounds had healed, but he was wrong. And how now, suddenly, being around Maren every day, she was almost all he could think about.

    “I’m not a good friend to either of them,” he told Taran quietly. “I’m in love with her; I have been since we were all kids. It was easy to pretend I wasn’t when they were together, but now they’re not, and it had been two years, you know? I don’t know what I was thinking, I asked her to that party and we both drank too much and I kissed her, and then Icheb disappeared and she almost died. It’s just a lot to process in twenty four hours.”

    He didn’t know why he was opening up to the counselor like this, but it was a huge relief to let it out. In all the time since Icheb and Maren had gotten serious together, he had never told anyone else about his feelings. He finally looked at Taran and shrugged. “That’s all I’ve got,” he told her. “Think you can fix me?” he added with a sardonic smirk.

    Taran ignored his flippant question and put a hand on his arm. “The fact that you care this much proves you’re a wonderful friend, John. You love them both. It’s natural that you have feelings for Maren,” she said comfortingly.

    “Natural or not, I’d be pissed if it was the other way around and my best friend did it to me,” he replied. “I have to put it out of my mind,” he said, “get over it and just be a good friend. Neither one of them needs their life to be more complicated.”

    “What about you?” Taran asked. “Don’t you think you’re making your life needlessly complicated by hiding your true feelings?”

    “I can handle it,” John said, starting to clam up again. He didn’t have to be an empath to feel Taran’s disapproval.

    *****

    Sickbay

    Maren clutched her phaser rifle like a lifeline as she made a sweep of the small room within the Borg vessel. Slowly, she approached one of the maturation chambers along the wall and peered through the glass front. She exhaled with relief. Empty. She moved on to the next, and the next. Both empty. Two more to go. She again peered through the glass and the familiar feeling of dread washed over her as she realized this one was occupied. She reached out and touched a small console, and the interior of the chamber was illuminated, revealing Icheb, who appeared to be sleeping, totally unaware of the implants that had sprouted all over his face and body.

    Frantically, Maren started tapping at the interface, but she couldn’t seem to remember how to read the Borg display and figure out how to release Icheb. She desperately entered sequence after sequence, thinking that if she could only get him home, The Doctor would fix everything. She set her rifle down to give the task her full attention, and gasped as someone grabbed her from behind. She felt the assimilation tubules pierce the flesh of her neck, and her perspective suddenly shifted. Suddenly, she was looking out through a glass panel herself, surrounded by an eerie green glow. She could feel implants sprouting out of her own skin as the Borg nanoprobes coursed through her veins. She tried to scream, but found she couldn’t control her voice. All she heard was the Collective in her mind: “You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.”

    She woke up in her room in sickbay gasping, the sound of her own heartbeat echoing in her ears. No matter how many times she had the same stupid, horrible dream; it still scared her just as badly. Back on Earth, the nights she had dreamed it were the nights she had been thankful that Icheb regenerated instead of sleeping. He may not have been able to hold her while they slept, but he had no idea she had ever had nightmares about him and the Borg, either. She knew she wouldn’t be sleeping again any time soon.

    As she looked around her small room, she started to feel as claustrophobic as she had inside the maturation chamber in her nightmare. Thankful the medical staff had finally deactivated the restraining field so she could work, she pushed aside her tray table and carefully slid off the bed.

    Outside her room, sickbay was quiet, and the lights were dimmed. She could see a task light on in Julian Bashir’s office, and a couple of medics sat in a far corner, chatting quietly to one another. In the very back of the spacious chamber, a security officer stood guard next to a biobed containing one very unconscious Borg drone.

    Maren’s curiosity got the better of her. She quietly padded across the floor in her socks and blue patient’s gown until she was right next to the force field, staring at the drone, totally lost in thought. The part of her mind that was devoted wholly to engineering followed her eyes as they traced the various implants, instinctively identifying them and attempting to discern the way they interacted as a system. She compared the layout of the visibly damaged cranial implants to the structure of Icheb’s, which she had long since memorized. As she did, the dark thought crossed her mind that if only Icheb were here, she could probably have this drone’s cortical node out and installed in Icheb’s cortical array before anyone was the wiser.

    Almost without thinking, she reached out to deactivate the force field to get a closer look, but the security officer shocked her back to reality by grabbing her wrist before she could touch the panel.

    “What are you doing, sir?” he asked in that brusque ‘security officer’ tone she knew so well from hanging out with John and his friends.

    “I- I wanted to take a closer look at the damage to her cranial implants,” Maren stammered quietly. “I wasn’t thinking, I’m sorry. It’s probably the medication, I feel a little foggy,” she added truthfully. She was already starting to think leaving her bed hadn’t been the best idea.

    Julian Bashir clearly agreed. He was already right behind her. “What are you doing out of bed?” he asked her, taking her by the arm. “Come with me,” he said, guiding her back in the direction of her room. Maren planted her feet and resisted.

    “Wait,” she said. “I see that you repaired the organic tissue, but not the cranial implants. I think I can assist you with that if you need it. Let me show you.”

    Julian glanced at the drone and back at Maren. “For the moment, she’s stable. You can show me tomorrow. Right now you need to get back in bed.” Maren didn’t argue. She was starting to feel like she might faint or throw up. She leaned on Julian as he helped her back to her room and onto the biobed. As soon as she lay down, she closed her eyes, feeling slightly dizzy. Julian checked to make sure the biobed was reading her properly again, and did a quick scan with his medical tricorder.

    “What’s going on? Is she okay?” a voice asked from the doorway. Julian and Maren both looked over to see John standing there. “One of the medics let me in,” he explained.

    Julian gave him a coolly appraising look. “She’s all right,” he said, then turned to Maren. “Shall I leave you two?” he asked.

    “It’s okay, Doctor, he can stay,” she said quietly, nodding, then added, “Think about what I said. I’d like to help if I can.”

    Julian nodded and left the room, giving John a last warning look as he did. As he entered his office, he asked the computer, “Locate Captain Oyugo.”

    “Captain Oyugo is in her quarters,” the computer replied. Julian hesitated for a moment, then decided to go ahead and pay her a visit. His curiosity had been piqued by her reactions to some things today, and he wanted to ask a few questions. There was a reason he was on this ship, after all, and it wasn’t simply to treat damaged drones and injured engineers.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2010
  20. KimMH

    KimMH Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2009
    Location:
    The poster formerly known as ORSE
    SQUEEEEE!!!!

    I had to change a diaper and take the fur-baby on the fastest dog walkies/potty ever to get here!

    I have to post in small increments as the lappy keeps timing me out!

    I love your group dynamics scenes - the swirl of emotion is almost palpable! I'd love to be part Betazoid and just be aware of emotion radiating off Vulcans - particularly when you know they are composing themselves. Evil of me - I know!