USS ANUBIS - Mission 14
A Friend In Need
POST INDEX
Post # Character Title
001 Bonviva A Brigade of Tribbles
Xana talks to her son
002 Stark Chaos
The clone and Ya'Han confront Mordana
003 Ya'Han Nothing Is Ever Easy
Ya'Han evaluates her situation
004 Bruxa Growing Concerns
Satella and Xana argue
005 Morningstar Rough Seas Ahead
The ship leaves KTARIS, the crew learns the truth
006 Lopez Emotonal Management
Adriana chats with Xana
007 Ya'Han Absolute Darkness
Ya'Han goes through another flashback
008 Bonviva Emergency Transmission
Xana receives an emergency call
009 Stark Loneliness
The clone explores his thoughts and feelings
010 Lopez Personal Sacrifice
Adriana has a discussion with Amanda
011 Bruxa Working Hard
Satella feels left out
012 Morningstar A Friend In Need
The ANUBIS returns to KTARIS
013 Shar'El Beginning of te End
Shar'El watches from the IGC
014 Lopez Breath of Fresh Air
Adriana waits for Xana's return
015 Stark Two Sides, One Coin
Looking through the eyes of Jayson and his clone
016 Bonviva The Man By The River
Xana negotiates with the Ktarian government
017 Shar'El Second Star To The Right
Xana negotiates with the Ktarian government
018 Ya'Han A Dark Trail
Xana negotiates with the Ktarian government
019 Bruxa Counseling Session
Satella goes to see Xana in the holodeck
020 Bonviva Don't Make Me Turn...
Xana strongarms the Remans
021 Morningstar Expected Surprise
Yahan and Jayson are on OLTHAR PRIME
022 Shar'El Personal Complications
Shar'El speaks with Erik about Amber and Elan
023 Ya'Han Distant Sunset
Ya'Han and Jayson enjoy a sunset together
024 Lopez Plan of Action
Adriana speaks with Xana and heads to see Elan
025 Fairborn Feelings of a Giant
Adriana speaks with Elan and gets him to open up
026 Bruxa Crashing Hopes
Satella tells Adriana about Xana's situation
027 Paquette Unwelcomed Distraction
Sonja gives Elan a piece of her mind
028 Shar'El The Direct Approach
Shar'El goes to speak to Erik
029 Stark Out of the Shadows
The clone desperately searches for Mordana
030 Lopez Hurry Up and Breathe
Adriana has to rush to Transporter Room 2
031 Fairborn I Have A Bad Feeling...
Elan gets dragged down to the planet surface
032 Shar'El Feeling Lucky, Punk?
A second away team gets ready to beam down
033 Ya'Han Controlling Feelings
Ya'Han watches as Bardef to open the gates
034 Bruxa Overwhelming Feelings
Satella is mesmerized by Amber
035 Shar'El Feeling trapped
Mordana moves deeper into the ruins
036 Fairborn Feelings of Long Ago
Elan explains living murals, Xana sees something
037 Bonviva Other Duties as Assigned
Xana confronts Amber about the mural
038 Stark Looking Forward, Looking...
The two Jaysons deal with respective issues
039 Bruxa Historical Confrontation
Satella feels bad to Elan
Post # Character Title
040 Shar'El Something Odd, Something...
The two away teams regroup
041 Lopez Seeing The Light
Adriana tries to understand who or what is Amber
042 Morningstar Lost In Translation
Amber reveals what she is
043 Ya'Han A Story of Love
Ya'Han and Jayson debate what love is
044 Bruxa Healing Force
Satella asks Amber about her abilities
045 Bonviva I'm Not Done Yet
Xana confronts Satella about her query to Amber
046 Shar'El A Prison Without Walls
Mordana arrives at the Temple of Light
047 Bonviva Broken Melody
Amber confronts Mordana
048 Shar'El Darkness Eternal
The party deals with Amber's sacrifice
049 Ya'Han Saying Sorry is...
Ya'Han and Jayson talk about what happened
050 Fairborn Not The Last Sunset
Final confrontation between Amber and Mordana
051 Bruxa Weaker, Wiser
Erik visits Sickbay to get Satella's report
052 Paquette Mildly Annoyed
Sonja deals with Maya and Adriana
053 Bonviva Bucket List
Xana flurts with ANI while drunk
054 Lopez Trying to Help
Adriana talks to Erik and beams down
055 Ya'Han The Cost
Ya'Han feels emotionall torn
056 Shar'El Searching Into Nothingness
Shar'El tries to interrogate the Oltharian clone
057 Lopez Trying to Help, Part 2
Adriana returns and speaks with Ya'Han
058 Bruxa Professional Distraction
Satella keepts Jayson busy
059 Shar'El Not A Laughing Matter
Shar'El confronts Xana
060 Lopez Trying To Help, Finale
Adriana puts her plan in action and lands int he brig
061 Morningstar Do Or Do Not, There Is No Try
Erik finds out what happened
062 Bonviva Simplified Version of...
Xana deals with her new lease on life
063 Paquette Clean Up In Holodeck 3
Sonja and ANI go to Holodeck 3
064 Ya'Han The Aftermath
Ya'Han struggles with her emotions
065 Bruxa House Call
Ya'Han struggles with her emotions
066 Fairborn Where The Heart Leads
Elan tells Amber he wants to stay on OLTHAR PRIME
067 Bonviva Diplomatic Immunity
Xana contacts the President of the UFP
068 Shar'El Not in a Good Place
Erik and Shar'El talk to Xana
069 Ya'Han Deeply Confused and...
Ya'Han goes to see Adriana
070 Stark A One-Way Discussion
Jayson thinks he is talking to Ya'Han
071 Bonviva Defend First, Explanations...
Xana asks Adriana why
072 Lopez Loose Ends
Adriana calls Satella and Xana to breakfast
073 Morningstar Time To Move On
Erik calls for a senior officer's meeting
074 Ya'Han Focus On The Mission
Ya'Han gets an unexpected Counseling session
075 Shar'El A Few Concerns
Shar'El speaks to Erik about a few things
076 Lopez So Much to Remember
Adriana struggles with preping to their mission
077 Stark Life Is Not Fair
Jayson tries to cope with the way Ya'Han acts
078 Bonviva My Non-Existent Holonovel
Xana goes to see Satella about Adriana
M14-P001: USS ANUBIS: Bonviva: 34003.1200 ("A Brigade of Tribbles")
"A Brigade of Tribbles"
Previous posts (ANU) "Well, That Could Have Gone Better" / (BAS) "Silver"

=/\=
You say I am strong when I think I am weak

You say I am held when I am falling short

--from Lauren Daigle’s “You Say”

=/\=
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Holodeck 3
Stardate: 34003.1200

[/\]BUT MOOOOOM….I’m bored.[/\]  A young boy with the same azure skin and white hair as the Ambassador but with the blue eyes of his father said on a vid continued on, [/\]And you’re not here and Dad’s not come.  I know you can’t do much but you at least try to be fun.  Dahlia doesn’t even try anymore to be fun,[/\] he said referring to one of his older sisters while surrounded his 6 Tribbles.

The azure woman was sitting in what she was not-so-lovingly referred to as the “pretzel-chamber”.  It was limiting to what she could do; she understood that.  She also intellectually understood that she was closer to her worst (physically) than her best, so rest was for the best.

But that meant she had to sit here.  Alone.  Instead she was catching up on her messages, this one was from the youngest of her 4 children.  Benito “Ben” William Bonviva-Chrichton was sitting on his very messy bed back on EARTH, surrounded by most of his Tribbles doing his best to guilt-trip her back home.  

Ah guilt...her old friend.  Rubbing her brow, she tried to rationalize the feelings.  Ben was *fine*.  He was healthy; surrounded by loving family; his two eldest siblings (Xana’s two eldest children from her marriage with Daisy) were adults and were capable of watching Ben and Dahlia.  And his father (who was *healthy*) would be there for him and Dahlia, hopefully, soon.  It was sweet that he was worried and missed her, but she could rationalize that a little separation was fine.  In fact, it was probably overdue.  Unlike his siblings, Ben had the most stereotypical “normal” upbringing; he hadn’t had to deal with extend periods in warzones, temporal displacements, the Hirogen, Kazon, or disgruntled former Starfleet officers trying to kill or trade him, or even Q asking for you in replacement for a life your mother took.

No wonder his 3 elder siblings said Ben was spoiled.    

When the message ended, the Ambassador leaned back against her pillow.  Starting up a message she responded to Ben, telling him to be patient, to feed the Tribbles (it was the one chore she figured he’d do but it didn’t hurt to remind him), and everything would be fine in the end, and if it wasn’t fine, then it wasn’t then it wasn’t the end.  

Did she believe that?  Xana wasn’t so sure anymore; but she had to install that kind of optimism in her kid.  The universe did not need a disgruntled 10 year old with a small army of Tribbles.

The doors whooshed opened and the silver haired doctor came in.  “Am I interrupting something?” Satella asked.

Xana shook her head as she paused the message.  “I’m just sending a message back to one of my sons,” she explained.  “And hopefully saving my ex-husband some heartache from a Battalion of Tribbles and a disgruntled middle schooler.”

Satella smiled at that as she came over.  “A Battalion of Tribbles?” she inquired.  “What was your life like before you came on board?”

“It had its moments,” Xana smiled wanly.  “No, we do not have a Battalion.  Ben is a responsible “Tribble parent” as he puts it.  We only have 6.”

“Well you’re nice to smooth things out, even without a Tribble Regiment,” the Doctor commented.  Satella looked as if she was going say something else but became distracted.  “You’ve been here for a few hours?  Don’t lie.  You didn’t move right?”

“You would know if I had,” Xana replied.  “Why?”

“Well I’m seeing the an increase in the rapid neutrino actuator but then there’s a decrease in the--”

The Bolian/Human woman blinked at that.  “I’ll send a Brigade of Tribbles for some words I understand.”

Satella looked up from the panel.  “You’re not healing anymore.  You’ve hit a plateau,” she said.

The Ambassador blinked her violet eyes at that.  “Well damn it all to 99 hells...I understood *that*.”

=/\=
Sarah Albertini-Bond

USS ANUBIS NCC 18501
M14-P002: USS ANUBIS: Stark: 34003.1200 ("Chaos")
"Chaos"
[previous (ANU) "A Brigade of Tribbles" / (BAS) "Soothing Melodies"]

[/\]

Setting: KTARIS, Government Building, Underground Cloning Facility
Stardate: 34003.1200

Mordana was beyond mad. For a woman who rarely showed any signs of emotions, the sight of her ready to rip someone's head clean off their shoulders was something to see, and something to fear even more. Following the debacle of the Grand Garden, the trio had returned to the underground base to discover that their problems had only started.

The first bad news they received was that the Ktarian government was holding Mordana personally responsible for the death of Alus Pami. As an official diplomatic liaison, his death had sparked outrage amongst the local government and now they wanted to see the woman, as well as her associates, leave their planet.  While trying to smooth things over, the second bad news came in the form of a report about the destruction of the boarding vessel. If that had not been enough, the third and last bad news concerning the cloning pods was delivered shortly after. Apparently, someone had managed to sabotage them effectively killing the clones and making the equipment unusable.

The sight of so many others like herself had proven to be too much for Mordana to handle in the way she usually handled everything else, and now it was her anger that was there for all to see.

"I will personally rip the eyes out of the one responsible for this," she said glaring straight at Ya'Han.

"She was not the one responsible for this," Jayson said, once again coming to Ya'Han's defense. Since their return to the underground base, Mordana had been ready to blame everything that had gone wrong on the Nylaan, no matter if it was justified or not. "Although no one saw what happened, the style of the work points to only a couple of possibilities, and since there was only one of them present here, we have to conclude that it was Tanith who managed this."

"I knew we should have killed her the moment she was discovered," Mordana hissed while glaring at both Jayson and Ya'Han. "This plan to exchange her for Alus was ill-conceived from the start and proves utterly useless."

"Even if you had killed her the moment I betrayed her, it would not have changed a thing," Ya'Han said not ready to just give up and be made into the one responsible for what had happened. "Tanith had already sabotaged the pods and the result would have been the same. The only difference is that Pami would be alive and we would not have had the chance to discover that the crew of the ANUBIS are able to detect your cloaked ships."

"That is another suspicious turn of events that I have yet to figure who is responsible for," Mordana spoke through clenched teeth, barely managing to contain her mounting rage.

"Listen," Ya'Han snapped back, her red fiery hair showing that she was ready for a fight. "Since Jayson came on board the ANUBIS I have been told how the Lokustaar thrives on chaos. Now it looks like they like to spread chaos but are unable to deal with it when that same chaos is thrown back at them."

"Watch your tongue or you might find yourself without it before the day is over."

"Mordana!" Jayson snapped. As much as he was genetically conditioned to obey all of her commands, he could not just stand by while she was proving to be less than what their creators expected. "Like it or not, she is right. You have grown so accustomed to dishing out the chaos we are here to spread that you have lost perspective. Now that the Orion Syndicate has come out and flexed their political muscles on KTARIS, it will be difficult for them to remain a 'behind-the-scenes' force, in time this will create increased tensions that will ripple to other systems and governments as they wonder if the Syndicate is involved in their affairs."

The Lokustaar lead operative stared at Jayson while bringing her breathing back under control, her anger quickly being pushed aside. As much s she might have hated it, he was right and the loss of the cloning facility would be nothing more than a setback that when taken into account on the larger scale of things could actually play in heir favor.  "At least the communications array is still operational, even if not at full capacity"

"Ya'Han was able to intercept Tanith before she could sabotage the array," Jayson said once again defending the woman standing by his side. "It will take another 48 hours or so for the array to reach full power."

"We cannot stay here that long," Mordana said. "With the Ktarians and the Orion Syndicate breathing down our necks, our being here would only increase the risks of either one of them finding this location. We need to get off this planet."

"We could use the SPHINX," Ya'Han suggested. "The tracking systems on board are still disabled, and with its camouflage abilities intact, we should be able to leave orbit without any problems. The question though is where do we go from there? The craft is not equipped with any type of FTL drive. That means once we reach orbit, we will be just sitting there."

"Leave that part to me," Mordana said. "That is of course as long as you can get us in orbit without being detected."

"If the ANUBIS sees us, they will kill us on sight. If the Ktarians see us, they will either kill us on sight or contact the ANUBIS which will act on their behalf and put an end to the insult that I have become to them," Ya'Han explained. "I am pretty sure that the explosion on the planet surface was meant to more than it did, namely to kill me. After all, I was right there in the center of it all. Captain Morningstar is not just going to let me walk away, so I am well motivated to make sure he doesn't find us."

Mordana did not appear convinced, but she did have very few options available to her at this time. "Get the SPHINX ready, we leave as soon as possible," she said reluctantly before walking away.

Jayson smiled and lovingly glanced at Ya'Han. "See, I knew that this is where you belong. Not everyone would be able to stand up to Mordana, let alone win an argument."

[/\]
Jayson Sousa

Lieutenant JG Jayson Stark [Access Character BIO for Jayson Stark]
Chief of Operations
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M14-P003: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han: 34003.1215 ("Nothing Is Ever Easy")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Nothing Is Ever Easy"
[previous post were (ANU) "Chaos" / (BAS) "Soothing Melodies"]
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]

Setting: KTARIS, Government Building, Underground Cloning Facility
Stardate: 34003.1215

Jayson smiled and lovingly glanced at Ya'Han. "See, I knew that this is where you belong. Not everyone would be able to stand up to Mordana, let alone win an argument." 

The former Sec/Tac looked back at the man and forced a grin to appear, thinking that this most certainly did not feel like a victory. Mordana was barely tolerating her presence and never let the Nylaan out of her sight. Even if the Shadow Agent was not in the room, Ya'Han could feel the woman's eyes constantly on her suspecting that one or more cloaked Lokustaar were nearby waiting to strike the moment she did something wrong.

Getting Tanith back on board the ANUBIS was a huge gamble, only made more difficult by the transfer of the data chip Ya'Han had in her possession. Despite all that had taken place, her allegiance was still with her ship and her crew; this no matter what the crew may believe her to be. They all needed to see her as a traitor to ensure that their reactions were as genuine as could be. Mordana and the others needed to see the hatred in their eyes to help solidify the idea that the Nylaan had indeed been swayed by the clone's strength and charms.

The truth was that she did find a great many things about Jayson's clone appealing. The man possessed a strength that the original Jayson lacked, but the more she thought about the situation, the more Ya'Han came to see that she could never come to love the clone of the man currently recuperating in the ANUBIS' Sickbay. Her attraction to the man responsible for her being here was real, that she could not deny, but it was not the kind of feelings that could support a long-term relationship. Soon enough she would grow to despise him the same way she had come to feel for her father and eldest brother, endlessly loving and hating them all at the same time. Therefore, in order to ensure the safety of her true love as well as that of everyone else on board the ANUBIS, the officially disavowed Sec/Tac needed to continue with this masquerade until the very end.

"We better get moving," the clone said with the assurance and commanding tone she had grown accustomed to hearing from him. "We have to get the SPHINX ready. Winning that argument is not going to make her more likely to forgive us not being ready as she expects us to be."

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
Setting: SPHINX, Flight Deck
Stardate: 34003.1245

The moment they walked into the camouflaged mobile command center, the former Sec/Tac performed a quick system's check to make sure that everything was as they had left it.

"Everything is as it should be," Ya'Han said. "There is no way for the ANUBIS to track the SPHINX, we are completely invisible to them, at least that is as long as we don't go knocking at their door and announce our presence."

"I am pretty sure that Mordana has other plans in mind. After what happened to the boarding vessel, I am relatively certain that she will want to stay as far away from the ANUBIS as possible," the clone said as he sat at the FCO's station. "Speaking of which, I know you said that Sonja and Maya were the ones likely to have figured out a way to detect the cloaked Loksutaar vessels, but how effective do you believe their upgrade to be?"

"It is impossible to say," Ya'Han replied. "Whatever upgrades to the sensors they came up with would not have been fully tested. It is very possible that the range is limited and only provided them with a general idea that something cloaked was getting closer."

"Based on what I know of both Sonja and Maya, it would surprise me that they were able to come up with something so vague," the clone said, challenging the former Sec/Tac's take on the situation.

"If the sensors were able to detect more, do you not believe that they would not have sent the away team down to the Grand Garden the way they did? The place was crawling with Lokustaar ready to jump on them. As much as I can imagine that Sonja and the others want to see me drawn and quartered, I doubt they would have risked the away team's lives to get me. No, my guess is that the sensors managed to pick up something coming closer and not wanting to take any chances, the Captain ordered whatever it was destroyed."

"That does fit the report re received," the clone said. "The boarding vessel was destroyed at close proximity of the ANUBIS, so if they could see it from afar, why wait that long to shoot it down?" He paused and looked at Ya'Han once again. "Your explanation makes sense, but it would still be wise for us to keep our distances from the ship, just in case."

"I agree," Ya'Han said, glad that neither the real Jayson nor his clone possessed any type of mind-reading abilities. The juggling act the Nylaan needed to keep up was increasingly demanding, trying to keep whatever edge the ANUBIS had intact while at the same time keeping her own cover safe. The former Sec/Tac hoped that the data contained in the crystal she gave to Tanith would help them keep the tactical advantage they would need to come up on top against the Lokustaar.

"Are we ready to go?" Mordana said as she boarded the SPHINX.

"All systems check out," Jayson's clone replied. "We should be ready to leave within the next 30 minutes. The best part is that the ANUBIS will still be unable to track us until we reach high orbit, and even then they would need to be on top of us to do so.."

"Good, not that it will matter much. Get the ship ready and set us on the fastest route to reach orbit."

"That is going to take us dangerously close to the ANUBIS?" Ya'Han pointed out. "The ship is in geosynchronous orbit of KTARIS, so unless they decided to move, which I strongly doubt, it means that they are going to be right over our heads."

"That will not be an issue," Mordana said with eerie confidence. "They will be too busy dealing with something else to be concerned with looking for a craft they cannot detect, even if it might hold the former officer they want to punish above all else."

As curious as she was, Ya'Han knew that any inquiry might reveal a level of concern for the ship and its crew that she was not permitted to have at this time. She was an outcast, a traitor, a disavowed officer who should be happy to see her former crew face difficulties no matter in what form it presented itself to them.  All that the Nylaan could do was to have confidence in her friends as well as their skills and abilities to deal with whatever unexpected shadows Mordana had planned for them.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
Hanali Han

Lieutenant JG Ya'Han [Access Character BIO for Ya'Han]
Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M14-P004: USS ANUBIS: Bruxa: 34003.1245 ("Growing Concerns")
=-=
"Growing Concerns"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Nothing Is Ever Easy" / (BAS) "Soothing Melodies"]
=-=

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Holodeck 3
Stardate: 34003.1245

The treatment was theoretical at best, but so far it had shown some solid potential. The Ambassador's condition had improved, although slightly, but it had changed in the right direction. Unfortunately, that progress had come to a stop, hitting a wall that she could neither see or understand. Xana's condition was like no other, as was her treatment for it. This left Satella scrambling to understand what was happening, or more to the point why it was no longer happening.

"According to these readings, everything is working as it should be." The CMO sounded frustrated, almost angry. "The issue is that your body is no longer responding to the treatment."

"You and I both knew that this was a long-shot," Xana said. "I will give credit to Lt. Cmdr. Maya and Lt. Paquette, they both did their best. In the end, though, it was just not meant to be."

"Ambassador, with all due respect, we did not survive the last few days to see you give up." For a physician, Dr. Bruxa appeared quite ready for a full-blown fight. "You made it through some rough negotiations with that Ktarian diplomat."

"His name is Alus Pami," Xana said mournfully. The man might have been nothing more than a vegetable, but she still respected him. The Orion Syndicate had shifted the blame for the death onto Mordana. This meant that the Federation would walk away from this issue with their hands clean. The only stained that remained was on her consciousness. Right or wrong, she felt partially responsible for the state of the man who was still in Sickbay.

"I'm sorry," Satella regretfully said. "I understand that the situation may be difficult for you. That does not mean you have the right to just give up. What about your son? Does he not deserve to have his mother do everything she can to live for as long as she can?"

"Leave the psychological dealings to Miss Lopez," the Ambassador dismissed. "They will be irrelevant if you are not able to figure out the medical aspects of this issue."

"Don't you worry," Satella shot back. "I will find a way to have you get over this plateau. I do not know how yet, but I will find a way. You will live if for no other reason than to save me the unenviable task to inform your son of your passing."

"That is a most honorable sentiment," the Bolian/Human said sarcastically. "Do you always plan on treating your patients this way? Saving their lives for no other reason than to spare yourself the task of reporting bad news."

"Don't try and turn this on me. This is about you and your stubbornness."

"Doctor, you seem to have forgotten that I have been given this fatal diagnosis quite some time ago. You might not have come to accept it, but I have. There is no point in fighting against the inevitable. What is to happen will, that we want it or not."

Satella took a moment to collect her thoughts. "Alright, maybe it is because I am naive. Maybe it is because I lack experience. It might even be because I have seen the impossible come to pass too many times. Whatever the reason or reasons are, I am not ready to give up. As long as you are here, under my official care, I will not give up.  I am sure that with Maya and Sonja's help, we will be able to figure something out."

Xana actually smiled as she gazed back at the agitated CMO. The woman displayed tremendous passion and conviction, something that the Bolian/Human could only admire. "Very well Doctor, I will not give up."

"How are you two doing?" the CNS asked as she walked into the Holodeck.

"She is being stubborn." The simultaneous reply from Xana and Satella caused the women to pause and look at one another. After a few moments, they both started to laugh.

Adriana moved closer. "Glad to see that everyone is in such a good mood."

"Actually we are not," Satella corrected.

Just as the CNS was about to comment, the lights in the holodeck shifted to flashing red. The three women instantly understand what was happening, this long before the announcement was made.

=/\= RED ALERT! All hands to battle stations. Doctor Bruxa, please have your medical personnel ready. We may be facing trouble on a large scale. =/\=

Satella wasted no time and headed for the exit. "You stay here and keep an eye on Xana. Make sure she doesn't give up."

"Give up? On what?" Adriana asked.

"On living," the CMO said just before vanishing from sight. This left the CNS a little perplexed and confused. Just a few moments ago, she had walked in to find both women laughing. Obviously, Adriana had missed something important; the question was what?

=-=
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Sickbay
Stardate: 34003.1300

Doctor Bruxa had no idea what was happening. All he knew was that the ANUBIS had been placed on highest combat readiness and that her staff stood ready for the worst.  Teams were dispatched to all of the major areas to help with emergency treatment and triage while the CMO remained behind. Her job would be to deal with life and death cases.

Giving Sickbay a quick once over, Satella noted that two of her beds were already occupied. One by Lt. Stark while the other was by the vegetative Ktarian diplomat.  The CMO would not have normally hesitated to free up that spot for any incoming emergencies. Following the discussion with the Ambassador though, the physician felt less inclined to act.

"You two," Bruxa said motioning for two of her nurses to come closer. "Take Alus Pami to one of the secondary recovery rooms." Satella could see the hesitation and confusion in their eyes, prompting her to clarify her order. "Move him out of here. We might need that bed. Just make sure to treat him properly and with respect. Ambassador Bonviva would not be overly happy if we did anything less."

With that said, the nurses proceeded to move the Ktarian and freeing up his spot for incoming medical emergencies.

=-=
Rachel Jackie Johnson

Lieutenant JG Satella Bruxa [Access Character BIO for Satella Bruxa]
Chief Medical Officer
USS ANUBIS

[Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint. - Mark Twain]
M14-P005: USS ANUBIS: Morningstar: 34003.1300 ("Rough Seas Ahead")
##########
"Rough Seas Ahead"
Previous posts (ANU) "Growing Concerns" / (BAS) "Soothing Melodies"
##########

“We must free ourselves of the hope that the sea will ever rest. We must learn to sail in high winds."
- Aristotle Onassis

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 34003.1300

With his Chief of Security absent, the Native American thought it best to man the tactical station himself. If the sensor readings were accurate, he could not risk anyone else making a mistake that could easily cost the lives of everyone on board the ANUBIS..

"Morningstar to Shar'El," the Captain said while confirming the battle readiness of his ship. "Please confirm your earlier report," he requested as all defensive and offensive systems showed a green light.

=/\= I'm confirming it all right, there are three, I repeat, *three* Lokustaar capital vessels heading straight for us, and they are not even bothering to hide behind their cloaking ability. They are coming in fast and are making sure we see them coming. If their goal was to scare us, I think it is fair to admit that they are succeeding. =/\=

"My guess is that they want our attention focused on them instead of the planet," Erik theorized. "That way Mordana can escape without anyone noticing or tracking where she might be heading."

=/\= I will say this, =/\= Shar'El said, =/\= that is one very effective distraction. They will be in weapons range in less than a minute, and there are still no signs of any activity from the surface. If this is her plan, she is waiting to the last moment to make her move, that or she is waiting to see what kind of bang we are going to make. =/\=

=/\= Sorry for barging in but ANI and I have been listening to our conversation, =/\= Sonja announced. =/\= The ablative armour was barely able to hold when only one of those nightmares was firing at us with their energy weapons. There is no way in hell that we will survive *three* of them pounding us into next Tuesday. We managed to piss off Mordana in a huge way and this is her getting even with us. She is not pulling any punches. =/\=

=/\= Captain, =/\= the First Officer jumped back in. =/\= The Lokustaar will be in firing range in about 30 seconds. What are your orders? =/\=

The Native American wanted to stay and fight as it was not in his character to abandon one of his officers, no matter how bad things got. That said though, Erik knew that any attempt to engage the three approaching ship could only result in the rapid demise. "Ensign Tanith, set an evasive course that will take us as close as possible to this system's sun before heading back out. That should be enough to mask our warp trail and make sure they can't follow us."

The Flight Control Office simply nodded her head to show that she understood what had been asked of her and after a few seconds the ANUBIS broke orbit and headed for the Ktarian sun.

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 34003.1330

Commander Shar'El stepped into the bridge to find the Captain sitting in his chair, a concerned air surrounding him. "Your plan worked, sensors are not picking up any Lokustaar ships in the vicinity. We left them behind."

"We also managed to leave Ya'Han behind in the process," Erik unhappily noted. "Now Mordana has once again escaped leaving empty handed and without our Chief of Security."

"Speaking of which, it might be a good time to inform the senior officers of what happened," Shar'El suggested. "There are bound to be a lit of questions asked as we start searching for Mordana."

"I thought you offered to take care of that?" The Captain inquired.

"Never got the chance to do it," the First Officer admitted.

"Fine," Erik reluctantly said. "Call for a senior staff meeting."

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Observation Lounge
Stardate: 34003.1345

The Native American stood at the end of the large conference table, meeting the inquisitive gaze if his senior officers.

"Doctor Bruxa, let us start with a status report on those currently not here," the Captain said, delaying the unenviable task he had to perform by a few minutes.

"Jayson is still recuperating from his surgery," the Chief Medical Officer reported. "He should wake up in a few days and back on his feet a week or so after that. Xana is resting in Holodeck 3 and is under strict orders to stay there until we can find a way to fix the equipment."

"The equipment was working fine," Sonja challenged. "What did she do to it?"

"She did nothing, but her body is no longer responding to the treatment. Unless we can find a way to stop the progress of her illness, she may only have a couple days left."

"All right," Sonja sighed. "As soon as we are done with this meeting, Maya and I will head to Holodeck 3 and find a way to keep our white-haired Ambassador around for a while longer."

"Speaking of hair colour," Shar'El said, verbally prompting Erik to say what he needed to tell the others.

"Ya'Han is not a traitor," the Native American announced after having been cornered by his own First Officer.

"I will guess that because she didn't shoot you, your definition of traitor differs from mine," the Chief Engineer huffed, not making any efforts to hide her discontent.

"Ya'Han acted as per my orders," Erik clarified. "We needed someone on the inside and the presence of Jayson's clone offered us a perfect opportunity. This information was not openly divulged to ensure that following actions and reactions we're genuine."

"That means that Ya'Han is not a traitor?!?" Counsellor Lopez was clearly relieved by the news, a sentiment that was alas not shared by everyone present.

"The plan is for us to wait a day or so before heading back to KTARIS," Shar'El explained. "We know that Mordana used the three capital ships to hide her escape, but we are hopeful that Ya'Han will have found a way to help us track their movements or hint as to their possible destination."

"That does explain the data chip she gave me back in the Ktarian Grand Garden," Tanith voiced.

"I guess that means you will be able to hand it over to me so that I can retrieve whatever information it contains," Maya said while looking straight at Sonja.

"I am still not convinced that the chip is not somehow trapped or infected by some electronic shadow virus," Sonja said growling softly.

"Didn't you hear the Captain?" The Counsellor asked. "She is not a traitor; this means that our friend is out there in need of our help."

"She may not be a traitor," Sonja growled. "She may be in trouble and is in need of our help, but she is no friend of mine." Having said this, the Chief Engineer stood from her chair and walked out of the Observation lounge.

"Dismissed?" The Native American said following the departure of Lt. Paquette who had clearly heard enough.

--==(/\)==--
Francois Charette

Commanding Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501

AND

Lt. Commander Elan Fairborn [Access Character BIO for Elan Fairborn]
Robotics Engineering Officer
NEW ALEXANDRIA
M14-P006: USS ANUBIS: Lopez: 34003.1415 ("Emotional Management")
-=-=-
"Emotional Management"
[Previous post: (ANU) "Rough Seas Ahead" & (BAS) "Soothing Melodies"]
-=-=-

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Holodeck 3
Stardate: 34003.1415

While Lt. Commander Maya and Lieutenant Paquette worked on the device meant to help, if not cure Ambassador Bonviva, the Counselor stood next to the woman trapped inside; her attention divided between those Adriana considered being her two most important patients.

"You seemed distracted Counselor," the Ambassador said to her junior aide. "Should I feel hurt, rejected, abandoned even?"

"I'm sorry," Adriana said returning her full attention to Xana. "I'm trying to figure out how much of Sonja's reaction is actual heartfelt anger. I can understand that she is feeling hurt or even maybe betrayed by Ya'Han and her actions, but I would have expected her to be happy after learning that she was not the traitor we were all made to believe."

"Why are you happy?" The Ambassador's question took the Counselor a little off guard causing her to appear lost and confused for a moment. "Alright, let me clarify. Why are you happy that Ya'Han is not the traitor she was portrayed to be?"

Adriana thought about the question and after a few moments smiled knowingly. "Should I be making you a junior Counselor? Sounds only fair given that you made me a junior Ambassador while on KTARIS."

"Dealing with people and their psychological issues is a core prerequisite for anyone working in the Ambassadorial field," Xana said. "The only difference is that we do not usually try to help those we are analyzing or evaluating, instead, we use what it is we learn and discover against them to gain whatever political advantage we can."

"Glad you are on our side," the CNS said giggling. "You are on our side, right?"

The question was meant as a tease and Xana knew it, but it was still enough to make the Bolian/Human smile. "You still have not answered my question. Why are you happy that Ya'Han is not the traitor she showed herself to be?"

The CNS took a few seconds to think of her reply. "I do not know her as well as some of the others, like Sonja, but personally I am relieved that we have not lost a very competent and skilled officer," Adriana replied but when she saw the unimpressed expression on Xana's face, the Counselor knew that the answer had not been what was expected. "Alright, I am also very happy that I will not have to break the news to Jayson.  Everyone knows how in love those two are and it would have broken his heart to learn that she had gone rogue and left him for his own clone. At least now he will be able to deal with what happened with a more professional perspective as she did what she did for the sake of our mission as well as the crew."

"In time, he will be able to accept what happened, but it may not be easy," Xana said nodding with agreement. "As you pointed out yourself, Jayson and Ya'Han are linked by strong emotions that go well beyond those expected to be shared between shipmates. Now, put yourself in Sonja's shoes. Her link to Ya'Han may not be that of a lover, but it is still one that is much stronger than what would be expected to be found between officers. You see Ya'Han as a valued member of your crew, Sonja, on the other hand, sees her as a dear friend. Jayson was spared the hardship of dealing with the woman's betrayal that was perceived to be real by everyone, which means that his accepting what happened will be made that much easier. Sonja, on the other hand, was not spared this and was directly and more important unwillingly involved in the conspiracy, going as far as to be shot by the person she regarded as a cherished friend."

"They do not teach you about close friendships at the Academy," Adriana said. "There are chapters on the development of friendships between shipmates, but nothing that comes close to what I have seen here on the ANUBIS."

"This ship is unique in many ways, not only in its construction and mission profile but also in the way its crew is required to deal with things the likes of which no one else needs to even think about," Xana explained, the Ambassador clearly speaking from personal experience. "The hardships that these people face daily is more than enough to break their spirits, so they need to find ways to better cope and allowing themselves to feel a closer bond to those around them is such a way. Even you have fallen into that pattern."

"Me? How so?"

"Really Counselor?" Xana said rolling her eyes. "Too close to see it for yourself? You and Doctor Bruxa. It is evident that the two of you are very close, far more than would normally be expected to see between the CMO and CNS."

"Now you just need to tell her why?" Amanda said the hallucination of her missing twin sister having appeared leaning over the device built to save the Ambassador from her rapidly advancing illness. "Satella is your best friend for no other reason that she knows about me while no one else does. You two have gone through a lot together but let's face it, I am the reason why the two of you are as close as you are. You trust her with your deepest secret and in turn, she knows that she can count on you to keep whatever secrets she might one day reveal to you.

Adriana remained quiet knowing that both the Ambassador and her sister were right. Unfortunately, all that it all meant was that it would take a lot of time and work to see the relationship between Sonja and Ya'Han return to the way it was if it actually ever happened.

-=-=-
Marissa Montonera-Lombardi

Lieutenant JG Adriana Lopez [Access Character BIO for Adriana Lopez]
Ship's Counselor & Junior Ambassador
USS ANUBIS
M14-P007: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han: 34003.1500 ("Absolute Darkness")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Absolute Darkness"
[previous post were (ANU) "Emotional Management" / (BAS) "Soothing Melodies"]
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]

Setting: SPHINX, Flight Deck
Stardate: 34003.1500

Ya'Han had managed to get a quick glimpse of the ANUBIS as it rushed towards the Ktarian sun, trying its best to avoid a confrontation with the three Lokustaar ships sent after them. The view from the flight deck of the SPHINX, as it reached orbit over KTARIS, was very limited but more than enough to make the undercover Sec/Tac feel a great deal of concern for all those on board. The key was to not allow those emotions to show and possibly jeopardize everything she had so far managed to accomplish.

As the SPHINX floated in space waiting for whatever was to happen next, the Nylaan gazed out through the forward windows of the Flight Deck at the distant stars while her thoughts drifted to another place, another time.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] 
FLASHBACK
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]

Setting: Freighter #3
Stardate: 20313.1 (Age of 14) 

Today, the daughter of the High Sovereign currently sitting in a cold and dark cargo hold turned 14. This day was meant to be a time of joy and celebration as the girl she had been up to this point became a woman in the eyes of her people. Today, the announcement of her betrothal to Daimon Ardrax would have been publicly announced, sealing the trade agreement between the Ferengi and her homeworld of NYLA IV. All of her needs would have been taken care of in return for providing her new husband with the companionship and all of the personal attention he desired. As an official representative of her father, every moment of her life from this point on would have been set, lacking in nothing with maybe one exception -- freedom.

Ya'Han made her choice, choosing freedom over a life of servitude as an object to be admired and used by whomever her new husband deemed worthy of experiencing her charms and skills. She decided to take control of her life and to venture into the dark and cold unknown away from her father, her family and everything she knew. That freedom though came at a price that she was still trying to fully understand.  The world beyond the Imperial Palace was cruel and unforgiving and she learned quite rapidly that any show of emotion could prove deadly.

The other black-hair Nylaan who was in this cargo hold with her the day before had been dragged out by the ship's Captain and tossed out of the nearest airlock for having accused one of the crew members of trying to have their way with her. Ya'Han had seen everything but it quickly became evident that showing any signs of emotions would have meant hr sharing in the poor girl's fate.

As long as she said nothing, as long as she showed no outward emotional reactions to anything happening around her or even to her, the odds of her survival would remain fair. The lesson had come at the price of someone else's life and she owed it to her memory to practice what she had learned to the best of her abilities.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] 
End of FLASHBACK
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]

Setting: SPHINX, Flight Deck
Stardate: 34003.1510

Prying herself out of the painful memories, Ya'Han looked through the forward windows of the flight deck once again but this time saw nothing but perfect darkness. Curious and a little troubled to understand what had happened, the Sec/Tac quickly looked down at the control panel in front of her to get an idea of what had taken place. That was when she discovered that the controls were just as dark as the view from the forward windows.

"Welcome back," the clone said seeing the Nylaan moving her head in search of answers. "You were lost in some sort of daydream. I hope that it was a pleasant one."

"I have had better daydreams," Ya'Han said, not willing to go into any details.

"I figured that you would sooner or later realize that something had happened. You have nothing to worry though; the stars have not all died out and gone dark. One of our ships picked up the SPHINX while we were in orbit. We are being taken to a safer location."

"Safer location?" Ya'Han echoed trying to imagine what could possibly be safer than being surrounded by no less than three Lokustaar capital vessels.

"Safer as far as Mordana claims it will be," Jayson said sounding somewhat amused. "She is keeping rather quiet about where it is we are heading to. She's in the back room right now having a discussion with our associates as to what our next course of action should be."

"She went to the back for that? I suspect that she will never fully trust me," the Nylaan said looking around the Flight Deck to see if the woman in question was close enough to hear the comment.

"It is not just you but me as well," the clone said. "If it was not for you, I am pretty sure that she would have destroyed me and left me on the cloning facility amongst all of the other dead clones."

"You have done everything she asked of you, and more," Ya'Han said. "I am the outsider here, the one who came from a completely different life."

"You have proven yourself through your actions," Jayson said. "Right now though, she is not ready to trust anyone, not that she truly ever did before. We just have to accept that it will take her time to understand that you have made your choice and embraced the destiny that is yours to claim. Imagine the face of that Ferengi troll Ardax when you take control of the throne of NYLA IV and send a few Shadow vessels to decimate his trade fleet. You will even be able to have him dragged down to kneel before you before his head is separated from his shoulders."

"That could be interesting to see," Ya'Han said keeping her thoughts on the scene created by the man sitting next to her instead of the feelings of concern she felt growing within her for the members of the crew who had been left behind without a clue as to her true feelings and purpose.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
Hanali Han

Lieutenant JG Ya'Han [Access Character BIO for Ya'Han]
Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M14-P008: USS ANUBIS: Bonviva: 34003.1430 ("Emergency Transmission")
“Emergency Transmission
Continued from: USS ANUBIS “Absolute Darkness”/USS BASTET “Twelve Days To Go”/USS PHOENIX “Husband And Father”

=/\=
Nothing in this world was more difficult than love
--Gabriel Garcia Marquez

=/\=
Location: USS ANUBIS, Holodeck 3
Stardate: 34003.1430

The two women were quiet in the Holodeck until the Counselor asked quietly.  “Do you think you could have done it?”  When Xana looked over she asked, “What we all thought Ya’Han did...run away for love?”

Xana leaned back, her violet eyes far away.  Adriana wondered if she pushed the Ambassador too much, emotionally, too fast.  Instead the answer the Bolian/Human woman gave left her more confused.  “Dead. Missing. Divorced.”  Looking over Xana clarified, “That sums up marriages: dead, missing, and divorced.  I’m not sure you should be asking me for my opinion.”

Adriana tilted her head to the side.  “So you don’t believe in love?”

The Ambassador laughed at that.  “Don’t believe in it?  We are more than the sum of our past experiences….aren’t we also hopes and dreams for the future?”

The Counselor nodded at that.  “You still have hope?”  She paused before asking softly, “So then I don’t need to worry Dr. Bruxa about the euthanasia paperwork you have on file with the Federation Registry?”

“I’m a dying woman of Bolian descent,” Xana pointed out meeting the Counselor’s gaze.  “Euthanasia has been existing and recognized on BOLARUS IX since the Middle Ages.  Of course I have that paperwork filed.”

“And you have a talented doctor on board who is fighting to save you,” Adriana pointed out, her voice still calm.  “Not to mention our Engineer and Scientist as well,” she said indicating the pretzel chamber that Xana was in.  

Before either woman could say anything there was a shrill sound.  [=/\=] EMERGENCY TRANSMISSION FROM EARTH TO AMBASSADOR BONVIVA [=/\=]

Xana nodded, shared a look with Adriana as she swallowed the lump in her throat.  “Bonviva here.  Authorization Bonviva Alpha Seven Epsilon Two Three Phi.”  

A screen appeared and the Federation logo appeared for a few seconds was suddenly replaced by a young boy who had frequently contacted the ANUBIS in the last few days.  [=/\=] MOM!  [=/\=] Ben Bonviva-Crichton yelled as if he needed to amplify his voice the distance from EARTH to the USS ANUBIS.

“Ben,” Xana exhaled as she stared at her youngest child.  “Why did you initiate the emergency protocols to do a site-to-site live call?”

=/\=
Location: EARTH, Venice, Italy, Bonviva Villa

Ben Bonviva-Crichton was sitting in his room, surrounded by all 6 of his Tribbles.realizing suddenly that he was going to have to explain his obviously brilliant idea to adults.  It was always adults who slowed him down, the 10 year old thought to himself fleetingly.  “Mom, who is that with you?” he asked in response to her question.

His mother looked at the woman next to her and then looked back at the screen.  [=/\=]  This is the junior Ambassador and Counselor, Lieutenant Adriana Lopez.  Now answer my question. Are you hurt?  Are your brother or sisters hurt?  WHAT IS WRONG? [=/\=]

“You didn’t ask about the Tribbles,” Ben pointed out.

[=/\=]You do have a lot of Tribbles,[=/\=] Adriana remarked.  

“Thank you,” Ben nodded, pleased someone cared about his passion.  “I’m the Founder and President of the “Save The Tribble Society” on 3 planets.  I can send you information on joining.  Did you know that--”

[=/\=]BENITO,[=/\=] his mother warned.  It didn’t matter how many star systems away she was, she’d still find some way to ground him, judging from her tone if she didn’t get the answer she wanted.

“I called because Dahlia locked herself in the bathroom,” Ben explained.  “And she’s threatening never to leave.”

Ben watched as his mother looked confused for a moment.  [=/\=]Ben...you initiated emergency protocols for something your sister does every day?  What am I missing?[=/\=]

The 10 year old thought about it.  When put that way, it *did* sound foolish.  “Well...I mean it seemed important,” he tried.  

[=/\=]I know...[=/\=] Xana sighed.  [=/\=]I’m sure you had a reason...just like I’m sure Dahlia had a reason for locking herself in the bathroom *today*.[=/\=]

Ben looked up and was surprised that his father had joined him in his room.  He hadn’t heard his father join him; hadn’t realized that he was here until he felt his bed dip down with his weight.  

“Well I think Dad wants me to say that the reason why Dahlia locked herself in the bathroom today is because of him,” Ben explained as he angled the vid so his mom could see both of them.  

=/\=
Location: USS ANUBIS, Holodeck 3

Xana cleared her throat.  “So, Dahlia’s locked herself in the bathroom?”

[=/\=] Yes, I’m the reason why she’s has locked herself in the bathroom,[=/\=] Jake said.

“Not entirely,” Xana said.  “Ben, go tell Dahlia I’m on the comm and I want to talk to her.”

Lt. Adriana Lopez, Counselor and Junior Ambassador, watched the family drama unfolded.  On one hand, she could reason, she should step back and let the family have its moment on their own.  On the other, she was a Counselor and Junior Ambassador, and shouldn’t she (in both capacities) be here to assist?  So being here was exactly what she needed to do.

If Adriana had to guess from Xana’s earlier comment of “died, missing, divorced” then it didn’t take a huge leap to figure out that this was the spouse that she was divorced from.  And yet...the way the Human Commander at the Bonviva home stared across the galaxy at the Ambassador and she at him, Lopez would not have guessed that they were divorced.  There was more said without using words in this moment than many couples said in their entire lifetimes together.

“Sorry I lost my manners,” Xana murmured.  “Lt. Adriana Lopez, this is my ex-husband, Commander Jake Crichton.  Jake, this is Adriana.  She’s the Junior Ambassador and Counselor.”

“Commander Crichton,” Adriana replied.

Jake nodded at that; he was about to reply when they were interrupted by arguing kids.  [=/\=] They don’t need to hear you two fighting,[=/\=] he said to Dahlia and Ben as they came into view.

[=/\=] Mom is the one who asked for it,[=/\=]  said a teenage girl who came into view.  Adriana noted that like her brother she was similar looking to Ben but she had a Bajoran nose; clearly this was “Dahlia” who they had been discussing.

“I asked for you to come,” Xana pointed out.  Inhaling she said, “Like you asked to go see Jake because he was, and I quote, “more cool since he can do stuff as he’s not dying” unquote.”

Dahlia flushed at that, Ben began yelling, and Jake glared at Dahlia.  “Basta,” Xana said in her native tongue.  “I know that...let’s call it what it is, my dying has been hardest on you and Ben and Erika and Gavi.  I know,” Xana said, as her voice broke as she listed out all 4 of her children.  “And I am so proud of all of you.  I’m proud of how you helped me, Dahlia, with my paperwork on Bolarus IX so if I need advanced medicine and with my will.  I’m proud of you Ben, how you lined up all my medicine every day.  I never asked for your help, but you gave it.  I’m proud of your brother and sister too, because they stepped up, and if something were to have happened to Jake, they agreed to raise you two.  But...it’s time now for you two to go live with your father.  You were right, Dahlia.  You should have fun, there’s no reason to feel guilty about that Dahlia.  And bring your Tribbles, Ben, because no one else will take care of them, ok?”

[=/\=] Okay,[=/\=]  both Ben and Dahlia muttered.  

“Good,” Xana sighed as she leaned back.  “Te amo,” she said.

“Love you too,” the kids replied.  

Xana’s violet eyes flittered up to Jake’s one more time, and they exchanged a look, but they said nothing.  There really was nothing more to say.

The transmission ended, probably by one of the kids, maybe by a Tribble, who knew.  For several moments Xana and Adriana stayed in silence, letting the peace wash over them.  Finally Xana said, “You asked me “Did I think I could have done it?” What we all thought Ya’Han did...run away for love?” Adriana...you know what it would probably make me the worst Ambassador ever but when I thought Ya’Han did run away for love, part of me inside cheered her on.  There is always going to be someone to do our jobs; someone better, someone faster, someone smarter.  But we are the only ones who can live our lives, the only ones who can love the people we do the way we do.”

The Junior Ambassador cleared her throat and finally asked, “I take it that was the divorced out of “died, missing, divorced”?”

Hearing the note of incredulity in the other woman’s voice Xana said nothing for a moment before finally replying.  “Sometimes the greatest act of loving someone means letting them go so they can be happy somewhere else.”

=/\=
Sarah Albertini-Bond

USS ANUBIS NCC 18501
M14-P009: USS ANUBIS: Stark: 34003.1600 ("Loneliness")
"Loneliness"
[previous (ANU) "Emergency Transmission" / (BAS) "Twelve Days to Go"]

[/\]

Setting: SPHINX, Flight Deck
Stardate: 34003.1600

The SPHINX was as quiet on the inside as it was dark on the outside. The small ship was engulfed in a bubble of complete silence and darkness ensuring that everyone was lost in his or her own thoughts. After all that had taken place, it was not difficult to understand why that silence persisted with such tenacity.

Ya'Han had turned her back on the life and people she knew all because of her feelings for him. As pleased as he was about that outcome, the clone also felt a twinge of remorse for what he had helped bring to be. The woman sitting next to him at the controls of the craft was remarkable and he knew her to be destined for much greater things than being the Chief of Security on board a ship. Her bloodline alone demanded that she be more than she currently was, and her skills, as well as her passion, would make it so that nothing got in her way. It was just unfortunate that the life she knew had to be left behind in order for her to embrace this new path.  It was easy to see that the choice she made was weighing heavily on her as feelings of loneliness sneaked into her mind from time to time.

Jayson understood those feelings all too well. The sight of all those dead bodies found throughout the cloning facility on KTARIS had made him feel remarkably small and alone. As a Shadow clone, he knew that he was part of something much larger, and yet he could not help but feel isolated and alone. Where there should have been hundreds, there stood only one, him. His loyalty to Mordana and other Shadow Operatives had been dread into him, giving him clarity of purpose like nothing else could, but something still stirred deep within him. Not only did he possess the memories of the original Jayson Stark, but he also possessed the admiration and overpowering feelings for the Nylaan woman.

As a clone, he could imagine how Mordana felt after seeing so many lifeless copies of herself. She was not afraid of death; none of them were as that was also part of the genetic makeup, but it made sense that the Lokustaar had never expected loneliness to be a factor in any of this. The race was connected in a way that even surpassed the Borg hive mentality, at least while they were in their home dimension. Here, in this dimension, the individual Lokustaar were just that, alone and separated from the others, at least that would be until the communications array on KTARIS went into fully active mode.  This would allow the Lokustaar to regain their connectivity but it would not change the way the clones felt or dealt with the universe around them. No matter what happened, they would be forever doomed to be individual pawns in this game of galactic conquest.

Like the man he had been made to be though, Jayson felt both the full extent of this loneliness as well as the cure for it. Bringing about the darkness that the Lokustaar desired to see spread through the whole of the multiverse was not an issue for him, that was as long as Ya'Han was there by his side. Of course, there was no way for him to openly admit to this, as it would confirm to Mordana that he was not the clone he had been meant to be. Therefore, he had no other choice but to suffer in silence, the cure to his loneliness sitting a single arms-length away, close enough for him to touch her and dream of a life that he would never be permitted to live.

"This ship will be released in about two hours," Mordana said, the Shadow Operative had appeared behind the other two passengers like a ghost, unseen and unheard. "We will leave the SPHINX behind and transfer over to another vessel which will bring us to our final destination."

"Why leave the SPHINX behind?" Ya'Han asked.

"The ship, although small, does possess technology that could prove useful to us," Jayson added in support of the question spoken by the Nylaan.

"I am still not entirely convinced that the ANUBIS is not able to track this craft," Mordana hissed. "Therefore, we will be leaving it behind and see if they manage to find it."

"The ANUBIS managing to find this craft does not mean that Ya'Han betrayed us," Jayson quickly said seeing what Mordana was hinting to. "Captain Morningstar is highly driven and a well-experienced officer who is not just going to give up because there is nothing for him to track. If we leave the SPHINX behind, he will find it, that I have no doubts about."

"I have disabled all of the tracking systems and the camouflage of the outer hull will effectively make sure that no one can see the SPHINX, but that will only last for as long as the power cells remained charged. As soon as the power goes dead, the craft will just be a piece of debris that will be easily detected by any ship traveling within a few lightyears of its location," Ya'Han explained.

"Even if it is not the ANUBIS who initially discovers the SPHINX, it will not take long for news of the find to reach the Captain and he will come to investigate," Jayson added.

"You almost sound like you fear for them," Mordana said while glaring down at the clone of Jayson Stark. "I hope they come to investigate because we will be waiting for them. Maybe I should have you both remain on board to ensure that the bait is juicy enough for them to take it. The plan was for us to gain control of the ANUBIS, as this failed I see no reason to allow that ship and its crew to live. They managed to escape unharmed from KTARIS, now I want to make sure that they pose no threat to our continued plans."

"Leaving us behind would be a tactical error on your part," Ya'Han said as she stood to stand face-to-face with Mordana. "You have already underestimated Morningstar and his crew and look where it has brought you. Do you truly believe that neither Shar'El nor him would not suspect a trap when they see the SPHINX floating in space? Even with three Lokustaar ships hiding nearby, I would not put it past them to find a way to scoop up the craft and get out before the trap can be closed. If we are still on board, it would give our adversaries two pawns for them to use against you and the others. If you trust us so little, your only course of action is to kill us both here and now, sending a clear message to the ANUBIS that you are deadly serious in achieving your objective."

Although the idea of being unceremoniously terminated was not at all pleasant, Jayson could not help but be in awe at the way Ya'Han handled the situation. Her lack of fear made her a formidable adversary to a race that thrives in creating that particular emotion and reaction in others. This made the Nylaan worthy of being considered as an ally, something that the clone figured had played in Mordana tolerating her for as long as she had.

The Shadow Operative locked eyes with the exiled Nylaan, the two women silently sizing the other one. Jayson feared that they might start exchanging blows and silently he hoped for the expertise of the Chief of Security to give her the edge in order to claim victory. After several longs seconds, Mordana took a step back.  "You may end up being more useful than I first believed you to be," she said glaring at the clone. "You certainly have more potential that this clone.  We will be leaving the SPHINX in two hours, be ready." With that said, she turned and made her way back to the rear of the craft leaving the other two to think about what had just happened.

"If you didn't believe me before, I hope that you will now," Jayson said, keeping his eyes on the corridor through which Mordana had vanished.

"I know," she said with a faint smile. "I belong here, but I fear that I might not able to win these little arguments much longer. Sooner or later she is going to stop backing down. She has some major misgivings about my being here but she also has a plan, a plan that will not happen if I am not part of the bait, be it willingly or not. Sooner or later, she is going to see me as being more of a pain than I am worth."

"I won't let that happen," Jayson said with absolute conviction, allowing the feelings the felt for her to be openly voiced, even if only for a very short moment.

[/\]
Jayson Sousa

Lieutenant JG Jayson Stark [Access Character BIO for Jayson Stark]
Chief of Operations
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M14-P010: USS ANUBIS: Lopez: 34003.1600 ("Personal Sacrifice")
-=-=-
"Personal Sacrifice"
[Previous post: (ANU) "Loneliness" & (BAS) "Twelve Days to Go"]
-=-=-

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Counselor's Office
Stardate: 34003.1600

Adriana sat alone in her office; the flickering light of a single candle set on the table in front of her was the only illumination in the entire room. Xana's earlier admission had struck a nerve with the Counselor and to be honest Lopez was not entirely sure why. All she knew was that she found herself tittering on the edge of tears ever since.

"Some top-notch Counselor you turned out to be," Amanda quipped, the hallucination of the twin sister having appeared on the couch set on the other side of the table where the lonesome candle was. "One little admission, which in all honesty, you should have expected at least on some level, and here you are alone in your office ready to let the waterworks loose. How did you ever make it this far?"

"You are an insensitive BIT..." Adriana stopped herself short then drew a long deep breath as she reminded herself that the woman sitting in front of her was not actually there. "Xana let go of her husband and her family to spare them having to deal with her illness. She loved them enough to let them go at a time when she needed help and support the most."

"Alright," the hallucination shrugged. "That does not explain why you are acting like this." Amanda paused before leaning over the table so that the flickering light of the candle touched her face. "You have no husband or children, so why are you fighting back the waterworks?"

The expression of quiet sadness on the woman's face quickly morphed into erupting anger as she mirrored her sister's stance over the table. "I do not have a husband or children because of you! I left mom and dad because of you. I joined Starfleet because of you. I am here, dealing with one of the greatest threats we have ever faced as a species instead of enjoying a quiet peaceful life because of you. I abandoned EVERYTHING to go looking for my sister who I have not seen since the age of 6, which was two DECADES ago. I gave up having a life to go looking for you!"

Amanda smiled a smile of confident revelation, which was a reaction that stunned the sister. "You forget to mention that it is because of me that you made it through the Academy. It is because of me that you survived the attack on the KROGEN, and that is was me who helped you keep it together on CAIT.  If it were not for me being there by your side, that you wanted me or not, how many people would not have benefited from your help? You certainly would not have become friends with Satella. I would also like to point out that I am the reason why you are able to face the things that you do not want to otherwise. I am your conscience, that little voice in the back of your mind that tells you what you don't want to hear and makes you see things from a different perspective."

"You may be a great many things, but a *little voice* in the back of my mind is certainly not it," Adriana said before letting out a long sigh. "I gave up everything for you because I love you and felt incomplete without you. Xana gave up her family because she loved them, and here I am on the other side of that equation with nothing because I loved you more than mom and dad."

"I doubt it is that simple," Amanda added. "I am sure that there is a certain level of guilt in there somewhere, just like there is with Xana. She likely feels guilty for being ill the way she is even though it is not her fault. It is that guilt that made her push her family away, and it is that same general guilt that made you do the same with our parents. It was not her fault that she got sick, nor was it your fault that I vanished, yet you both were driven by that guilt. Her family, just as ours, understand what happened and the reasons behind it. That they agree with it or not has nothing to do with this. In some ways, I think that both her family and ours have come to accept this better than you two have individually. It is always easier to sacrifice one's self instead of fighting on and dragging everyone around you in no matter what might happen."

"We still have hope," Adriana said. "We both do. Xana in that a cure can be found and me in that one day you will be found."

"Hope is only a small part of the equation," the mental projection of the missing sister continued. "You can hope all you want, but if you are not actively working and doing everything you can to make things happen, hope is nothing more than a dream, a fantasy that has been accepted to be something that can never come to pass. Xana may have hope, but if she is not fighting for it, if she is not driven to stay alive to be with her family, the outcome is inevitable. Remember what that mathematics professor used to say at the Academy, you have a 100% chance of failing anything that you do not try to do.  Hope does not change that. Imagine if you please that Captain Morningstar only hoped to find Ya'Han instead of facing the hostile universe that is out there. Do you think she would ever come back to us?  Xana is in the same situation if she accepts her fate, there is a 100% chance that she will die sooner than everyone else hoped, and if you don't fight for me the odds are the same that this hallucination is the only thing of your twin sister you will ever see. Self-sacrifice may be an honorable thing to do, at least according to some, but it is?"

"I need to speak to Xana," the Counselor said. "Computer, lights!"

The room instantly became filled with light showing an empty couch where a sister had been only seconds before. With a determined expression on her face, Adriana blew out the candle and exited her office. Hope would not be the only thing the Ambassador and Junior Ambassador would be claiming to have from this moment on.

-=-=-
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Holodeck 3
Stardate: 34003.1630

Adriana quickly made her way to the 'pretzel chamber' and looked inside at the Ambassador who was in quiet contemplation.

"Is everything alright?" Xana asked, seeing the tale-tale signs of emotional turmoil on the face of the woman looking at her.

"Everything will be, that is as soon as you get out of that contraption and do more than just hope for things to happen. We both have a family that is expecting us to be there for them, no matter how difficult things might be. Your children need you, just as much as my sister does."

"Your sister?" The Bolian/Human woman asked perplexed. "I do not recall seeing the name of a sibling in your file.

"Adriana?" Satella interjected, although here for another reason the Doctor had quickly picked up on the conversation and its focus. "This may not be the place of time to speak of this."

The Counselor smiled, a smile that immediately made the twin think of the one her sister had recently given her. "You like mysteries, right?" Adriana asked of Xana. "Well, call it an incentive. You get out of this chamber healthy and ready to face the future and I will share a secret with you, a secret that only one other person knows."

Xana's purple eyes bounced between Satella and Adriana indicating that she figured out who the keeper of that secret was while still having no clues as to what that particular secret entailed.

-=-=-
Marissa Montonera-Lombardi

Lieutenant JG Adriana Lopez [Access Character BIO for Adriana Lopez]
Ship's Counselor & Junior Ambassador
USS ANUBIS
M14-P011: USS ANUBIS: Bruxa: 34003.1645 ("Working Hard")
=-=
"Working Hard"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Personal Sacrifice" / (BAS) "Twelve Days to Go"]
=-=

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Holodeck 3
Stardate: 34003.1645

In this job, there were days when everything worked the way it was supposed to. Today was not one of those days. Yes, certain things had gone their way, like the explosion in the Grand Garden. Getting Tanith back had also been a welcome turn of events. Learning that Ya'Han was not a traitor or fugitive was also incredible news. The problem was that it did not seem t be enough to tip the balance onto the good side of things. Xana's condition had deteriorated to such a point that the Bolian/Human woman was a prisoner of the 'pretzel chamber'. Everyone was working like mad to find a solution but so far, nothing they did was making a difference. If no breakthrough was found, the Ambassador would not be here to see the next day.

Satella was aware that Adriana had joined them in the Holodeck. Maybe the CNS was trying to cheer their patient, or maybe she was gathering the opinions of a dying woman. Either way, the CMO could not afford the time to investigate. Every minute they lost trying to find a way to stop and reverse the illness was one less minute the Ambassador had to live.  In retrospect, saving Jason's life had been easy compared to this. At least the physician knew exactly what to do then, but here she felt like a first-year medical student.

While Adriana and Xana explored the mystery that the CNS had mentioned, the CMO found herself unoccupied. In an effort to remedy the situation, Satella turned to the CSciO and CEO.  "Maya," Doctor Bruxa said moving in between the two women. "Did you try boosting the temporal field?"

"Without being properly modulated, the field could affect biomatter in the opposite way that we are trying to achieve. Instead of reversing the neurological damage, it could actually accelerate it. We also have to keep in mind the possible cellular repercussions. Stopping the neurological degradation was not easy, but actually reversing it is proving to be much more complicated. We have to carefully target the effects to make sure that we do not end up creating a worse problem. Although unlikely, we could, in theory, end up causing a complete cellular collapse. Cells were never meant to have their inner processes shift into reverse. We need to focus the effect on the nerves alone without affecting any of the nearby biological matter."

"Doctor," Sonja abruptly interrupted. "We have the scientific and engineering aspects of this figured out. We know what it is that we must do, so please, let us do it. All we require from you at this time is to keep an eye on Xana's vitals. Leave the rest to us."

The CEO did not sound pleased but Satella was not certain as to the actual reason. Was Xana's situation the reason why Sonja was on the testy side of things or was it Ya'Han's fault. The way the engineer left the observation lounge had made it evident that she was not pleased. Their Chief of Security was not a traitor, but that did not change what had happened. Being shot by her friend was not something she was soon about to forget or forgive.

Thinking it best to leave Sonja and Maya to their work, Satella took several steps back. From where she now stood, the CMO could see everyone in the Holodeck. Maya and Sonja were working on the machine while Adriana and Xana were talking.  All four were mumbling or whispering to their respective partner leaving Bruxa alone and feeling useless. It was safe to say that the Ambassador was in good hands, even if those hands were not those of the physician.

=-=
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Sickbay
Stardate: 34003.1700

Satella returned to her domain. At least here, no one would tell her what she could or could not do. With the ANUBIS waiting for a safe opportunity to return to KTARIS, things were quiet.

The CMO approached the other patient under her care. Jayson's vitals were strong and it would not take too long before he was awake. Of course, that would create a whole new problem as he would question Ya'Han's whereabouts. How were any of them suppose to inform the man that the woman he loved was not on board? If she had been planet side, the explanation might not have been that difficult. Explaining that she was now undercover within the Lokustaar fleet would be a challenge. Detailing that she was there with a clone created from his own biology would certainly not be easily accepted. To reveal that the clone possessed his memories and feelings would be traumatic if not flat out devastating.

On one hand, Satella wanted Jayson to wake up. In doing so h would demonstrate that the operation had been a success. On the other hand, she hoped that he would remain unconscious for a while longer. At least that way he would be spared the news of what had happened.

=-=
Rachel Jackie Johnson

Lieutenant JG Satella Bruxa [Access Character BIO for Satella Bruxa]
Chief Medical Officer
USS ANUBIS

[Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint. - Mark Twain]
M14-P012: USS ANUBIS: Morningstar: 34005.1500 ("A Friend In Need")
##########
"A Friend In Need"
Previous posts (ANU) "Working Hard" / (BAS) "Stars"
##########

“A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out."
– Walter Winchell

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Observation Lounge
Stardate: 34005.1500

It had been over two days since the ANUBIS was chased out of the Ktarian system by the Lokustaar and the Native American believed that the time was long overdue for them to stop playing 'hide the starship'.  The meeting of the senior officers was called and Morningstar was pleased to see a couple more people present than he had originally expected. Although they appeared weaker than normal; Ambassador Xana Bonviva and Lt. Jayson Stark joined the gathering so that they would be in the know as to what had and would happen next.

"Let us start with a quick recap," Erik said as he stood at the end of the long table. "Our initial mission, to locate and apprehend the Shadow Operative known as Mordana, failed drastically once again. As I saw this outcome coming, I was forced to take advantage of the opportunity that presented itself, this regardless of the risks involved. The possible benefits, namely putting an end to this war was just something that could not be overlooked or ignored. Therefore, under my direct orders, Lt. Ya'Han followed the clone we had captured while claiming to have feelings for him. She also acted to support her claim of allegiance to the Lokustaar. The act was necessary to give as much credibility to her defection as possible, and so far it seems to have worked.  I am sure that I speak for her as well as me when I say that I am sorry for not telling you the truth beforehand. There was simply no time for that."

"If we had known, our reactions to everything that followed would not have been genuine and could have risked not only the mission but Ya'Han's life," Counsellor Lopez offered. "You did what was required and I am sure that we all understand the importance of what it is we are trying to accomplish." Adriana shot a quick glance at Sonja who still displayed clear signs of resentment about this situation.

"How do we get her back?" Jayson asked, the Chief of Operations sounding very keen on getting underway in order to secure the safe return of his beloved. To him, all of this talking, blaming and apologizing was nothing more than a waste of time. The time for action was now.

"Commander," the Captain said as he looked over to Shar'El, passing the next part of the meeting to her.

"The IGC has been closely monitoring the KTARIS communications net, using the listening stations we left behind as well as the channels normally used by the Orion Syndicate," the First Officer reported. "As much as I hate to admit it, the Syndicate did an impressive job in getting the local government to turn against Mordana and the Lokustaar by using what happened to Alus Pami as a catalyst. Although the government building is back under the full control of the local authorities, they have not yet been able to gain access to the lowermost level where the communications array was discovered."

"That thing is huge and was extremely well protected when I came across it," Tanith noted. "Even if the Ktarians did manage to reach that sublevel, which I am sure has been blocked or even sealed, I doubt the local authorities would be able to come anywhere close to the device itself."

"The tactical analysis performed by the IGC and myself supports that opinion," Shar'El added. "Although it was confirmed that Mordana left KTARIS using the SPHINX, there is no report of the Lokustaar doing the same, so it is prudent to believe that they are still there protecting the array even though we have not been able to detect any signs of them on the surface. We also have to take into account that those three capital vessels that chased us out of the system could still be somewhere in the system even though our sensors have not picked up any traces of them. As great as the modifications to our instruments are, they are far from perfect, and that means the Shadows can still hide from us, even if not as well as they used to."

"Why are we bothering with this array then?" Jayson demanded. "We should be going straight after Ya'Han. After two days, there is no telling what trouble she might be in. She could be in dire need of our help."

"Captain," Xana said, joining in on the conversation. "As much as I understand the need for you to rush in after your missing officer, the ANUBIS must return to KTARIS in order to show support to the local government. I am sure that despite Mordana no longer being there, the Lokustaar and their allies are trying to shift the blame of what happened back onto the shoulders of the Federation. Our presence there will help confirm the story created by the Orion Syndicate and make it that much more difficult for the Shadows to regain control. We must meet with the Ktarian government, even if only for a short time to solidify this alliance of need."

"I am guessing that you are offering your services for this meeting with the local government?" Erik asked, looking over to Doctor Bruxa to make sure that the Ambassador was physically able to perform the mentioned task.

"Lt. Paquette and Lt. Commander Maya were able to modify the temporal energy chamber," the Doctor explained. "For now, Ambassador Bonviva *must* spend a minimum of 12 hours per day in the chamber in order to avoid the neurological damage increasing and making things worse."

"In other words," Xana interjected, "Yes, I am volunteering to go down to KTARIS. I need to do something other than being locked in that pretzel chamber; no matter how better it makes me feel. That contraption may be helping my body, but I can assure you that it is not doing anything for my mind."

"I will accompany her down to the planet surface," Counsellor Lopez offered. "As the Junior Ambassador, I should also be present and it will give me the opportunity to make sure that the Ambassador does not overexert herself or finds some way to avoid returning to the ANUBIS."

"Et tu, Brute?" the Bolian/Human woman teased, the smile on her lips indicating that she actually welcomed the presence of the Junior Ambassador on this mission.

"Then it is settled, we will be heading back to KTARIS and while the Ambassadorial delegation is on the planet, we will be looking for clues as to the whereabouts of Mordana and Ya'Han."

"What about that data chip Ya'Han gave to Tanith?" Doctor Bruxa inquired.

"After making sure that it was not some sort of trap of Trojan horse, we were able to retrieve some information from it," the Chief Engineer snarled, not appearing or sounding in any way happy.

"Some of the data dealt with the array," Maya said. "Ya'Han provided us with everything she could given the circumstances but there are a lot of details missing. We can confirm that the array will enable all of the Lokustaar to communicate with one another on a level well beyond anything we know. There is just not enough data to understand how this will work or how to counter it."

"The data also mentioned other cloning facilities scattered throughout the Galaxy," Shar'El added. "Unfortunately, there is no mention of how many of where they might be. Our guess is that Ya'Han was not aware of that information when she uploaded the data unto the chip."

"She was able to give us one thing though," the FCO continued. "We have the locations of a few dozen Lokustaar bases set up on non-aligned planets as well as a few Federation worlds. That may give us a good starting point to start looking for Lt. Ya'Han."

"Well, what are we waiting for? Let's get going!" Jayson was clearly not in the mood for chatting, preferring swift actions.

"All right, Lieutenant. Red alert! All hands to battle stations!" The entire ship fell under the red hue of the status lights as the senior officers quickly filed out of the Observation Lounge. "Counsellor Lopez, Doctor Bruxa, Lt. Stark, please stay."

"Yes, Captain?" The Chief of Operations asked once everyone else was out of the room. Jayson seemed rather annoyed that he was being held back instead of participating in the preparations for their chivalrous return to KTARIS.

"I just wanted to make sure that you are all right, Lieutenant," Erik reassured. "I am certain that our good Doctor will confirm that the operation you underwent was very taxing physically, and the news of Ya'Han being out there instead of here is not making things any easier for you on an emotional level. As we head back to KTARIS, I need to make sure that my senior officers are ready for the tasks to come."

"I am fine Captain," Stark confirmed without hesitation. "I may not be at 100%, but I am more than capable of helping with what we need to do, plus I am sure that you would rather have me at Operations rather than someone else. If there is a way to locate Ya'Han, you know that I will be the one to find it.  I can also provide an insight that you lacked until now. If the clone was created using my biological and psychological identities, I know how he thinks just as much as he knows how I think. When I was unconscious and recuperating from the operation, he had a clear advantage, but now that I am back, I can use that same advantage to give us the edge we need."

"Very well," the Native American accepted before releasing two of the three officers to their respective duties. With a quick look, the Captain instructed the Counsellor to remain behind so that they could have a quick one-on-one chat about what had been said. "What is your take on all of this?"

"To what are you specifically referring to?" Adriana asked, a devilish grin dancing on her lips. "Are you asking me about Ambassador Bonviva's acceptance of her situation? On Jason's excessive need to show that he can and will save Ya'Han? On the still very palatable anger of our Chief Engineer or on your own insecurities towards the way the crew might see you after what you asked Ya'Han to do and how well she performed the deception?"

The Native American hesitated to offer a reply; not having expected to be so bluntly put on the spot, but then again, that was what the Ship's Counsellor was supposed to do when dealing with the ship's Commanding Officer. "All of them," Erik finally offered before leaning back against the edge of the conference table.

"All right, I will give you my report in that same order," the Counsellor said. "Xana is doing her best while walking the thin line that separates what she knew would happen and what we are offering her. Although it is not as simple as that, I can describe it as her standing on the edge of light and dark, of life and death. Although she had come to terms with her mortality, I believe that we all have managed to make her see that there is another possible outcome. For the time being though, I believe she prefers to focus on the task at hand instead of her own situation. The bonus for us is that as long as she is working on helping us find Ya'Han, she is not simply letting her life slip between her fingers. I am certain that she will be of great use to us in the days to come."

"That is indeed very good news," the Native American smiled.

"As for Jayson, he is not holding you in any way responsible for what happened," Adriana explained. "He is just too preoccupied with finding Ya'Han and making sure she is safe and sound. I cannot predict what he will do should we fail in that goal, but I honestly hope that we will never find out. Sonja, on the other hand, stands on the opposite side of that emotional scale. Her anger is quite real and threatens to escape her control at any moment. She feels utterly betrayed by Ya'Han and you for having put her and everyone else through that ordeal. Her anger is clearly misplaced, but it is giving her a drive that would not be there otherwise. In her case, it is our finding Ya'Han and bringing her back safe and sound that frightens me as this will give Sonja the opportunity to unleash her rage."

"Great," the Captain sighed while rolling his eyes. "It is the Kobayashi Maru scenario all over again. No matter what we do, no matter how this ends, we will end up with one officer wanting to see me floating out the nearest airlock."

"I doubt that it will come to that, Captain," Adriana reassured with a smile. "The crew understands the necessity of what you did. The Lokustaar are an adversary the likes of which we have never seen before requiring unorthodox methods in order to effectively fight against them. The crew's trust in your judgment has not changed, and they will follow your orders no matter where they lead us."

"Thank you, Counsellor," Erik said with a clear hint of relief. "We have a great many obstacles to overcome, so we might as well get started. As my father used to say, let's do this one catastrophe at a time."

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 34005.1800

In order to avoid being easily detected, the ANUBIS had snaked its way back to the KTARIS system using whatever they could to hide their approach. Even under the protection of their cloaking armour, the Native American did not want to take any risks. These many detours also provided the crew with a little more time to scan and search for possible clues as to the whereabouts of their Chief of Security.

"We are now entering the Ktaris system," Ensign Jones announced, the FCO ready to deal with whatever might be heading their way.

=/\= IGC to bridge, no signs of the Lokustaar capital vessels. If they are still here, they have managed to find a way to avoid our sensors, =/\= Commander Shar'El reported.

"Makes sense," the Chief of Operations noted. "If the Ktarians no longer want to have anything to do with them, it would only make the situation tenser if their ships were seen floating about the star system." Without realizing it, Jayson glanced over to the tactical station as he said this expecting Ya'Han to be there and offer some supporting comment to his statement.

"Captain," Commander Maya called out from the science station. "Sensors are picking up a faint trace of dispersed ionized particles that most likely came from the SPHINX's propulsion system as the pushed into a higher orbit. The problem is that the trail seems to suddenly end as if the craft was plucked from where it was. One of the three capital vessels or maybe a fourth one could have swooped in and taken the craft making it impossible for us to track. Given that the SPHINX does not warp capable, it makes sense that hey would do this."

"It might make sense, but that is not going to make our job any easier," Counsellor Lopez said, the woman standing right next to the Captain in order to offer support should the need arose.

"Helm, bring us into high geosynchronous orbit over the main Ktarian government building," the Native American ordered. "Commander Shar'El, keep your eyes open for those Lokustaar vessels. It would be nice if we could avoid getting surprised by them."

=/\= Understood, =/\= the First Officer acknowledged.

"Bridge to Ambassador Bonviva, stand by for transport. Please do what you have to do as quickly as possible. The Ktarians might not want the Lokustaar to be here, but I doubt that their desire is going to be enough to force the Shadows out of the system, especially considering that their communications array is still there."

=/\= Adriana and I will be as quick as diplomatically possible, =/\= Xana replied.

"We will reach orbit in about 7 minutes," Tanith reported, the woman was as calm as could be despite the situation they faced.  As odd as the Ensign could be at times, her natural demeanour made it clear that this was where she belonged.

=====
Setting: SPACE, In orbit over KTARIS
Stardate: 34005.1825

Under the protection of its cloaking armour, the ANUBIS hung in the emptiness of space, hovering over the main government building where Ambassador Bonviva and Counsellor Lopez had been down to. While they waited for their return, the entire crew was looking over every cubic centimeter that surrounded them in search for something, anything that might help them find their missing Chief of Security.

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 34005.1826

=/\= Sensors are still not picking up any signs of the Shadows, =/\= Shar'El reported from the IGC. =/\= Either they have left, are hiding under some very big rock or they have managed to find a way to circumvent our modified sensors. Whatever the case may be, I do not like it at all. The techs here, as well as I, are not used to having anything be able to hide from us, and we are finding this very annoying. =/\=

"If being annoyed is the worst we end up suffering from, I think we will be able to consider ourselves lucky," Counsellor Lopez chuckled. There was really nothing funny or amusing about their situation, but Adriana seemed determined not to let anyone fall pretty to their, negative thoughts.

"Captain!" Maya called out in somewhat of a panic. "Reading a huge build-up of energy coming from the government building where the communications array is under."

"Is it some sort of weapon?" The Captain asked thinking that maybe there was more to the large underground structure that had been discovered.

"Unsure," Maya reported, "but the energy clearly possesses a strong dimensional signature. Whatever is it did not originate from this universe."

"The energy wave in increasing exponentially," Jayson reported. "It will hit us is just a few seconds."

Of course, by then, it was too late for anyone to do anything other than brace for impact. What surprised everyone was the lack of any sort of signs that the shockwave had actually happened.

"Report!" The Native American demanded.

"A shockwave of dimensional energy was generated by the Lokustaar communications array and it did hit us, but so far we are not picking up any effects," Maya reported sounding glad and perplexed all at the same time.

=/\= IGC to the bridge, Captain, we have no idea what that energy wave was but it is spreading fast, =/\= Shar'El reported. =/\= We have no idea what it was meant for, but we can tell you this, the dimensional energy has made every Lokustaar vessel within sensor range visible. Only one if the three ships that chased us out is still here and it is hiding in close orbit of one of the moons of the sixth planet in this system. =/\=

"Why would they make it impossible for their ships to hide f on our instruments?" Tanith inquired aloud.

"Forget the ships," the Chief of Operations chimed in. "Sensors are picking up every Lokustaar on the planet, this no matter how deep underground they are. Whatever that dimensional energy wave was, it is making them glow like lights at Christmas."

"Captain Morningstar to Ambassador Bonviva, please respond. This is a priority one communiqué," Erik said after opening a channel.

=/\= Yes Captain? =/\= The Ambassador replied, a hint of surprise in her voice.

"It seems that we have new information available, and we are sending it down to you now. You might want to share this data with the Ktarians, whatever you decide to do though, your rapid return to the ship is imperative. We are not completely certain as to what happened exactly but it looks like we might have caught a break. A very huge break that might have changed everything."

--==(/\)==--
Francois Charette

Commanding Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501

AND

Lt. Commander Elan Fairborn [Access Character BIO for Elan Fairborn]
Robotics Engineering Officer
NEW ALEXANDRIA
M14-P013: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: 34005.1835 ("Beginning Of The End")
=-=
"Beginning Of The End"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "A Friend in Need" by Francois / (BAS) "Stars" by Karen]
=-=

Setting:  USS ANUBIS, IGC
Stardate: 34005.1835

Shar'El could not believe what she was seeing. The ANUBIS' sensors were picking up every Lokustaar biosignature no matter how far they were. For the race known as the Shadows, their days of hiding had come to an end in a single epic explosion.

"Commander," one of the IGC techs said, the crewmember showing a level of emotions that was unusual for anyone working in this department. "We are receiving priority reports from our NEW ALEXANDRIA Operatives inside the Romulan Star Empire and Cardassian Union; several Lokustaar vessels have been engaged."

"This was likely just as much of a surprise for them as it was for us," Shar'El said, leaning back into her chair. "For a race that works unseen from the shadows, suddenly being visible with nowhere to hide must be quite a shock. I am sure that they will adapt quickly enough, but this is the time for us all to strike while we can."

"We are also intercepting news reports of creatures matching the descriptions of the Lokustaar appearing on several planets triggering an immediate reaction from the local population," another tech reported. "Armed forces have been dispatched to deal with these demons."

The First Officer smiled. The Lokustaar's modus operandi was to create fear and chaos, but not that same fear would play against them. Without being able to influence others without being seen, the presence and appearance of these walking nightmares would prove enough to set the public at large against them. The War of Shadows was far from over, but this unexpected turn of events would drastically shift the momentum.  All that was left for those on the side of light to do was to take full advantage of this and deal a crimpling blow to the Lokustaar, making sure that they would never again think of invading this dimension.

With the Lokustaar openly challenged on every front, the First Officer became curious as to the state of the planets where Shadow bases had been reported to be by Ya'Han. The list of worlds was likely incomplete given the manner in which the race operated, but the twelve names provided were enough to gauge the scale of the hold the Shadows had on this dimension. Although Lt. Stark was aware of the number of planets listed, the FCO had not known the exact content of the said list, in fact, only those responsible for deciphering the data knew about the specifics of the data provided by Ya'Han.

A couple of the worlds on the list were not at all surprising, the governments controlling them being a perfect match for the underhanded chaotic ways of the Lokustaar.

* CARDASSIA PRIME, home of the Cardassian Union.
* REMUS, the twin world of ROMULUS and home of the Remans.

Other locations on that list were a little more surprising but Shar'El could see the advantages of establishing a base of operation on those particular worlds, giving the Lokustaar easy access to several other planets and systems.

* MARIAH IV, a well-known and established port-of-call along the Valerian smuggling route.
* THERA, home of the Xyrillian, a race under the control of the Gorn Hegemony.
* OTAR II, an uninhabited planet located within hours of travel of several other systems.
* MIRIDIAN VI, a planet located near the Romulan Neutral Zone.
* CATULLA, a planet located deep inside Federation space.

The next few worlds on Ya'Han's list were the most surprising ones due to the implications the presence of a Lokustaar base created by being there.

* DENEB KAITOS V, the location of the Federation Academy of Sciences.
* MAZAR, home of the Mazarite and location of a large number of interplanetary embassies.
* OLTHAR PRIME, the place of birth of Elan Fairborn.

The last two planets on the list were the most surprising, not because of their locations or political associations but rather because of the personal link they possessed with certain members of the ANUBIS' crew.

* ULLIA, the homeworld of the ANUBIS' own First Officer Shar'El
* NYLA IV, place of birth of Lt. Ya'Han, the ANUBIS' Chief of Security, the woman who was now undercover inside the Lokustaar forces.

With pressure coming from all sides against the Lokustaar, it made sense that Mordana would select one of these worlds in search of refuge, the problem was figuring out which one before it was too late. The knowledge of this list did make things a little easier for the crew of the ANUBIS but it still left them with a sizable set of problems, each planet offering unique challenges and obstacles.

One thing was certain though, having Ambassador Bonviva on board the ANUBIS would prove to be a great advantage, of course, that was as long as the Human/Bolian was able to stay standing for more than a few minutes at a time. That task would become the responsibility of not only Doctor Bruxa but also of their Chief Engineer and Chief Science Officer with possible support from the Ship's Counselor.

This mission would draw upon the skills and knowledge of everyone, and the possible benefits at the end, that is to see the War of Shadows end with a victory for the inhabitants of this dimension, would ensure the dedication of everyone involved. First things first though, Xana and Adriana needed to return to the ANUBIS.

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET
M14-P014: USS ANUBIS: Lopez: 34005.1845 ("A Breath of Fresh Air")
-=-=-
"A Breath of Fresh Air"
[Previous post: (ANU) "Beginning of the End" & (BAS) "Stars"]
-=-=-

Setting: KTARIS, Government Building, Waiting Room
Stardate: 34005.1845

Adriana was getting antsy. Following the communication from Captain Morningstar and the reception of the information concerning the effects of the dimensional energy wave, Xana had vanished behind closed doors, supposedly talking with one or more Ktarian officials. As a Junior Ambassador, she understood that her access to certain people and information was restricted. As a member of the senior staff of the ship giving them this crucial information Counselor Lopez thought that maybe those restrictions would have been for a brief moment lifted or ignored. Evidently, this was not the case.

Pacing back and forth in the waiting room, threatening to wear out the carpet, Adriana tried to find solace in her immediate surroundings. "At least the decor is nicer than it was in the last government building we were in," she said sounding almost as if trying to convince herself.

"You spent the greater part of your time in the sublevels dealing with a diplomat that is now laying in the ANUBIS' Sickbay as a bona fide vegetable," the illusion of the twin sister said. "Of course this place looks nicer, heck, you would likely find the inside of an airlock to be an improvement over that last place."

This was not the ANUBIS and there was no way for Adriana to know if she was being observed or if anything she said was being recorded for future analysis. This meant that the sister had no other choice but to ignore the comments of her twin, something that seemed to be getting harder and harder.

"I wonder if they have a brainwave pattern recognition system in place here," Amanda said, looking at the walls and ceiling in a way that instantly bothered the twin. "I mean, it would make sense to have that kind of system in place allowing security to monitor the thoughts of whoever was here waiting to see if they might present some sort of danger to the official government personnel. In theory, it would also permit them to gauge the mental state of anyone here to see if they are mentally stable or suffering for some sort of psychotic issue or hallucinations. Let's face it, you can never be too careful, there are a lot of nuts out there, right sis?"

Amanda was not real, and Adriana knew this. The illusion of her missing twin sister was nothing more than the creation of her own mind, a projection meant to make her face some of the unpleasant truths that surrounded her. Understanding this made it even more difficult to understand why the projection of the twin sister was so constantly mean to her. Was this some twisted perception of what she believed her sister would be had she actually been here?

"We've already gone through this, sis," Amanda sighed while walking on the couch before sitting on the upper headrest. "We have already established that you would not like having the 'nice and understanding' sister who agrees with everything you do, say or think. That would be pointless. I am here to remind you of those things that you, consciously or subconsciously, want to ignore. We both know that your greatest fear is not being unable to find me, but rather to actually find me and discover that I am not the person you have been dealing with all those years. For all you know, I might be some high-powered government official living life like a queen or some poor girl sold into slavery wondering if she will see tomorrow. That is what scares you the most, that I will not be whom you see me be now."

Again, Adriana found herself unable to react or respond to her sister, not that she needed to. The image was a projection of her own mind; therefore, she knew every thought and feelings that bounced inside her head. Unsure as to how long Xana would be in whatever meeting she had gone into, the Counselor decided to step out. At least that way she might have the chance to say something back to the annoying projection of her twin sister, regardless of how futile it might all be.

-=-=-
Setting: KTARIS, Government Building, Waiting Room
Stardate: 34005.1900  

Adriana slowly filled her lungs with one long breath, the sweet aroma of flowers overwriting everything else. Nothing had changed, this was the same world they had been on not that long ago to proceed with a prison exchange, and yet everything had changed.

The Counselor found herself walking, absentmindedly putting one foot in front of the other drawn by the freshness of the air. Even the light from the sun felt brighter, warmer, something that was scientifically impossible but psychologically made perfect sense. Following the explosion of dimensional energy, the Shadows were driven back to the realm of darkness which they called home, and the universe was celebrated this.

The sound of a commotion drew Lopez' attention to a group of Ktarian security officers. At first, the Counselor believed them to be fighting amongst one another but after closer inspection, she realized that they were attacking a single member of the Lokustaar race. The beast jerked back with each blaster hit, the creature having likely been caught by surprise on the surface desperately trying to find its way back underground.  As the assault continued, Adriana began to hear an ear-piercing screech that was soon after followed by the arachnid-like being falling to the ground. Despite being down and motionless, the weapons' fire continued relentlessly for several seconds until nothing but am unrecognizable shell was left behind.

The idea that the final battle to come would count one less creature of darkness should have made Adriana smile, maybe even cheer, but instead, the Counselor felt a twinge of pity for the being and those like it. The advantage in this War of Shadows had clearly been in the Lokustaar's favor from the start, but now the table had turned and the race of usually unseen beasts would be cast back into a darkness that they would never be able to come back from.

This was the unfortunate truth of war; one side would be victorious while the other would be defeated, but both would come to feel the pain and agony of the emptiness and devastation the conflict would leave behind. The only difference in this particular conflict was that the winning side would be the only one to feel this, as the opponent would likely become nothing more than a dismissed memory.

-=-=-
Marissa Montonera-Lombardi

Lieutenant JG Adriana Lopez [Access Character BIO for Adriana Lopez]
Ship's Counselor & Junior Ambassador
USS ANUBIS
M14-P015: USS ANUBIS: Stark: 34005.1850 ("Two Sides, One Coin")
"Two Sides, One Coin"
[previous (ANU) "A Breath of Fresh Air" / (BAS) "Stars"]

[/\]
Setting: Lokustaar Vessel, Observation Chamber
Stardate: 34003.1600

Their leader, the woman known only as Mordana appeared angry, but more troubling was the fact that she seemed nervous. Since the blast of dimensional energy, everything had changed. The Lokustaar were now on the defensive, running away from conflicts that they would normally have not even been involved in. The balance in this conflict opposing the forces of light and darkness had shifted, and Mordana could feel the control she had once had slipping from her grasp.

From his station, Jayson could see angered Mordana but as much as he tried to focus his thoughts on his work, his mind kept drifting to someone else. His concerns for her were real, even more so following what had taken place. The Lokustaar forces were in disarray and the number of casualties amongst their troops and allies was quickly mounting. The clone's concerns were not for himself, but rather for her as he feared that she too might soon be amongst those who had fallen.

He needed to keep on top of things and make sure that no harm came to her.

[/\]
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 34003.1600

Their leader, the man they knew as Captain Erik Morningstar appeared relieved, but more interesting was the fact that he seemed confident.  Since the blast of dimensional energy, everything had changed.  Since the blast of dimensional energy, everything had changed. The Lokustaar were now on the defensive, running away from conflicts that they would normally have not even been involved in.  The balance in this conflict opposing the forces of light and darkness had shifted, and Captain Morningstar could feel the control he had been so desperately trying to get a hold of finally be within his grasp.

From his station, Jayson could see the confident Captain but as much as he tried to focus his thoughts on his work, his mind kept drifting to someone else.  His concerns for her were real, even more so following what had taken place. The Lokustaar forces were in disarray and the number of casualties amongst their troops and allies was quickly mounting. The man's concerns were not for himself, but rather for her as he feared that she too might soon be amongst those who had fallen.

He and the others needed to find her quickly and before any harm came to her.

[/\]
Setting: Lokustaar Vessel, Observation Chamber
Stardate: 34003.1610

"Mordana," the clone said. "We are receiving a transmission from the GORSHEX Sector, the Cardassians managed to trap one of our capital vessels in an old minefield. The final report to CARDASSIA PRIME states that the ship is nothing more than a mass of inert black goo."

"At this rate, we may not have any ships left for us to go fight with," the Shadow Operative said barely managing to contain her anger. "We need to regroup before it is too late."

"Would that not make it easier for them to find us?" The Clone asked.

"It will also make it a lot more difficult for them to engage us," Mordana pointed out.

[/\]
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 34003.1610

"Captain Morningstar," Jayson said. "We are receiving a transmission from the GORSHEX Sector, the Cardassians managed to trap a Lokustaar capital vessel in an old minefield.  The final report to CARDASSIA PRIME states that the ship is nothing more than a mass of inert black goo."

"At this rate, we may not have any Lokustaar ships left for us to go looking for," the Captain said sounding troubled. "As great as these victories may be, it is going to make our task that much more complicated as they will be forced to retreat and regroup."

"Would that not make it easier for us to find them?" Jayson asked.

"It will also make it a lot more difficult for us to engage them," the Captain pointed out. "Dealing with one Capital ship is one thing; dealing with a whole fleet of them is an entirely different matter."

[/\]
Setting: Lokustaar Vessel, Observation Chamber
Stardate: 34003.1615

The clone watched with dismay the data being displayed on his control panel. The Lokustaar were being challenged on every front with only a few sectors avoiding the conflict, so far. One such sector was the Nylaan system; home to the woman he had grown very fond of. Despite all that was happening, he still wanted to see her return home and claim her rightful place there. Ya'Han was too strong to be a mere follower, her destiny from the day of her birth was to lead.

[/\]
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 34003.1615

The OPS officer watched with dismay the data being displayed on his control panel. The Lokustaar were being challenged on every front with only a few sectors avoiding the conflict, so far. One such sector was the Nylaan system; home to the woman he loved beyond anything else. With all that was happening, he wondered if the Lokustaar would force her to return home where it might be safe, at least for them. Ya'Han was strong, there was no denying that, but could she manage to face her family once again?

[/\]
Jayson Sousa

Lieutenant JG Jayson Stark [Access Character BIO for Jayson Stark]
Chief of Operations
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M14-P016: USS ANUBIS: Bonviva: 34005.1900 ("The Man By The River")
"The Man By The River"
[previous (ANU) "Two Sides, One Coin" / (BAS) "Halfway There"]


=/\=
“Honest speech does not seek secret places.”
-Saint Jerome

=/\=
Setting: KTARIS, Government Building, Tea Room
Stardate: 34005.1900

“And you expect us to believe you, after the way you treated our most exalted Diplomat,” the Ktarian junior diplomat sniffed, “that now you are coming around with some kind of offer?”

Xana said nothing as she eyed the tea, wondering if it was safe to drink.  So far none of the Ktarians in the room had reached for their drink, so she wouldn’t either.  Basic rule of diplomacy was not to touch something unless someone else had, unless you knew the other party you were with very well.  She was discussing the offer with the Junior Diplomat, and there were four guards around the room, none of whom she knew and none of whom touched the tea.  Damn shame; she was thirsty.  Attempting to shift in her seat she stifled a sigh and reframed her offer.  “We are still aligned in our goals for a safe universe, that’s never changed,” she offered up kindly.

The Ktarian Junior Diplomat bounced up and prowled around the room, as if they were a caged lion.  The Federation Ambassador was not someone that the Ktarians could turn away, which is why they had to take this meeting.  However, the Ktarian government were bound to make the Federation pay for every slight.  “You tried to take over our government.”

Xana waved her hand as if to dismiss an annoying gnat.  “Overly zealous negotiation tactic.”  Pausing for dramatic effect she pointed out, “And you had one of the most accomplished linguists held here against her will, and lured here under false pretenses.”  Looking at her nails that were in desperate need of a manicure, Xana said, “Or did you think I, and by extension the Federation, forgot that?”

“You hurt Diplomat Alus Palmi,” the Junior Diplomat pointed out.

The violet eyed Ambassador sighed.  “It’s been a long series of intense negotiations,” she pointed out.  “And we are all worn out.  He’ll be fine now that he’s home.”  Looking over at the Junior Diplomat she said quietly, “You’re not going to listen to anything I have to say, are you?”

The Junior Diplomat’s head reared back at that.  “The position of the Ktarian government is not going to be decided without our Senior Diplomat here,” he said finally.  

Sighing she leaned forward to stare at the tea, seemingly hypnotized by the amber liquid.  The Bolian/Human wondered since the experiments were seemingly not providing the same level of results if her life was really going to end soon.  Certainly she had prepared for it but to know that the anticipated was now a reality hardened in her mind.  When she thought about the end of her life, she had some thoughts and wishes; but nowhere in there did she wish to die by drinking tainted tea with the Ktarians.

Today was *not* a good day to die, Klingon philosophy be damned.

“Look, I’m aware that most see me and think of me as the Bolian Ambassador,” Xana Bonviva explained, referring to her azure skin.  Waving her hand she said, “It happens even within the Federation.  But I grew up on EARTH and I still have a home there, and I am half Terran.  And growing up I heard of a story that I’m reminded of now.

“A man lived at home alone along a mighty river, and heard a report on the news of a terrible flood to come on the news report.  But he said to himself, “I’m a good man, I pray to my gods, I do what I am told so I’ll be fine if I stay here.”  

Xana watched as the Ktarians looked at her with disinterest but she continued on.  “The flood waters, as the news said they would, came up dangerously.  Well then, the man’s neighbor came by with a boat, and the neighbor said, “Come on!  Let’s get out of here,”  And the man said, “No, I am a good man, I pray to my gods, I do what I am told, so I’ll be fine if I stay here.”  

So the neighbor went away, and the man stayed.  But the waters rose.  So the man was forced up onto his roof to survive.”  Xana watched as the Ktarians started to look at her a little more, not wanting to betray their interest in her story.  Leaning in, she said, “Now a hovercraft came by, and seeing the man on his roof, broadcast out, =/\= Come, let me help you! I’ll beam you up! =/\=  But the man shook his head and yelled back with all his might, “No, I am a good man, I pray to my gods, I do what I am told, so I’ll be fine if I stay here.” So the hovercraft left.”

At this point the Ktarians stopped feigning interest and were now standing or sitting around Xana.  Still she sat as she had been the entire time, watching each of them, as she told her story of the man by the river.  “Well the waters rose enough, and the man drowned.  After he died, he met the gods.  So there is he is before them and he said, “What happened?  I was a good man.  I prayed to you.  I did what I was told.  Why did I die?”  

Xana looked at the Ktarians, and paused before finishing up the story.  “The gods answered unanimously, “We sent you a news report, a neighbor with a boat, and hovercraft with a beam.  You shouldn’t have died.  So why are you here?”

The Federation Ambassador paused to let her story settle in before saying, “I came to you, as a representative of the Federation to tell you that Lokustaar is going to come down.  This is not the first time I’ve come to you but this the last time I’ll come to you about this.  We have new information.  You can either join us or you can continue down the path you are.  But much like the man by the river, if you do continue doing things the same, you will drown.  I’m here with a way out.”

Slowly standing up the azure woman dusted herself off and said, “By the way, leaving my Junior Ambassador alone was a mistake.  She’s been making contact with other agencies.  We’re due back to our ship.  Please let us know immediately if you wish to live or drown.”

=/\=
Sarah Albertini-Bond

USS ANUBIS NCC 18501
M14-P017: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: 34005.2000 ("Second Star To The Right")
=-=
"Second Star To The Right"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "The Man By The River" by Susan / (BAS) "Allocation Issues" by Dawn]
=-=

Setting:  USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 34005.2000

"Are we ready to go?" Captain Morningstar was ready to say farewell to KTARIS, as were the greater majority of the rest of the crew. Their last mission to that world had been a nightmare in more ways than one and as long as they remained in orbit and dealt with the local government, there was little chance that things would get any better. Now that the Bolian/Human Ambassador as well as her Junior Assistant were back on board, it was time for them to get moving.

"All stations report ready, Captain," Jayson Stark informed, the Chief of Operations was just as anxious to get underway although his reasons were far more personal than anyone else's on board the ANUBIS. He wanted for them to go so that they could find Ya'Han and save her from the clutches of the Shadow Operative and her clone lackey.

"Heading Captain?" The FCO asked as she looked over her shoulder at the man sitting in the central chair. Everyone was ready to go, but a destination had yet to be determined, which was likely the reason why the ExO / ILO was on the bridge instead of in her usual domain.

"Commander?" The Captain said, passing Tanith's query on to his second in command.

"The one main advantage we now have is being able to locate and follow the movements of the Lokustaar vessels, the problem is that we have no way to know for sure on which vessel Ya'Han is on or even if she is still on one. The entire fleet is in disarray and is scrambling to avoid being confronted by fleets sent to destroy them. It is very likely that by now Mordana has taken her clone and our Chief of Security to a more secured location, away from the conflicts, in order to better coordinate the regrouping of their forces," Shar'El explained.  "Thanks to the intel provided by Ya'Han, we have been able to narrow the possibilities, but even with a half a dozen worlds to consider, we are still left with a very large field to search through.

"So we are looking at a shot in the dark?" Morningstar summarized. "Any suggestions where we should start?"

"I say NYLA IV," Jayson offered even though the question was not directed at him. "If there is a Lokustaar base there, on her home planet, Ya'Han will do everything she can to convince Mordana to head for it. Since the planet is inside Ferengi controlled space, they would also be able to avoid running into the Romulans, the Cardassians or the Federation, which right now seems to be a very inviting proposition. To me, that would be the best and safest place to go in order to coordinate a regrouping of their forces."

"Maybe so, but I do not believe that Ya'Han would be able to sell the idea of her *wanting* to return to the planet she escaped from," Shar'El countered. "If they do go to NYLA IV, it will be Mordana's choice and will be against Ya'Han's official and very outspoken wishes, anything else would leave the Shadow Operative to question the motives of our Chief of Security. As much as it might make sense, I believe that NYLA IV is one of our least valid choices if Ya'Han wants to keep her cover intact."

"Using the process of elimination, we can cross out CARDASSIA PRIME and REMUS from the list as well," the Captain said. "Every report we have received show that both the Cardassians and Romulans have engaged the Lokustaar with as much firepower as they could commit, so I doubt that any base located on their respective home worlds will stay operational for very long. This should help narrow the list down a little further."

"We can reduce it by one more," the ExO / ILO stated. "I doubt that they would venture to ULLIA. Although the Lokustaar have proven themselves immune to the race's telepathic abilities, Ya'Han is not and bringing her there might present Mordana with a set of trouble that she would rather not have to deal with at this time.  That said, I will say that I am rather shocked at learning that there is a Shadow base there, and for that reason alone I would like for us to investigate, but we can do that after we have rescued Ya'Han."

"We have to find her first," Doctor Bruxa said, the CMO joining in on the conversation as she stepped out of the turbolift. "I wanted to inform you personally, Alus Pami's body was returned to the Ktarian authorities. They have thanked us for everything we did, which is all thanks to what Ambassador Bonviva and her Syndicate connections were able to accomplish."

"Thank you, Doctor," Morningstar acknowledged. "Where is the Ambassador now?"

"She is back in Holodeck 3," Satella replied. "Adriana is there with her, keeping her company and making sure that she stays in the chamber for more than a few minutes. Lt. Paquette and Lt. Cmdr. Maya did a wonderful job in getting the machine to work once again, but in order for actual results to be seen, she needs to be in there as much as possible."

"That should not be an issue," the ExO / ILO said. "She can stay there and rest until we reach our destination, which we still need to figure out. From the rest of the worlds where we know there to be a Lokustaar base, none of them stands out over any other, at least not on a tactical manner.  The best we can do at this time is to see which system is in the general direction of their last known heading and head there. It is either that or we wait here for a clue to appear, which might take some time."

"Agreed," the Captain said. "I have never been one to just sit and wait if another option is available to us.  So, let us get underway.  Helm, set course for the nearest world on the list provided by Ya'Han and engage at maximum warp speed when ready."

"Aye, Aye, Captain," Ensign Jones acknowledged, quickly looking at her console and setting their destination into the navigational system.

"Hold on," Jayson whispered under his breath. "We're on our way."

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET
M14-P018: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han: 34008.1430 ("A Dark Trail")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"A Dark Trail"
[previous post were (ANU) "Second Star To The Right" / (BAS) "Allocation Issues"]
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]

Setting: OTAR II, Underground Complex
Stardate: 34008.1430

The man who was in charge of the underground complex on OTAR II stood in front of Mordana as if held by some sort of invisible forcefield as his head bounced at his feet. The Shadow Operative was not in the mood to be given excuses and the loss of yet another cloning facility was more than she cared to deal with at this time.

"I'm guessing that we are done here," Jayson said, not at all surprised by the way this meeting had come to an end.

Ya'Han wanted to feel bad for the man. Whatever he had done, she believed that he did not deserve the fate that he received, but then again he did make a choice to side with the Lokustaar, and if only for that reason the Sec/Tac could not find it within her to feel any sort of sorrow for him.  "Why was this facility not better protected?" The Nylaan asked, instinctively falling back on her ways and training.

Mordana shot an icy glare at the Nylaan before storming away; leaving the clone of Jayson Stark to answer the question, if that was his intent.  "According to the computer records, the base was being attacked by local troops. The Lokustaar normally charged with defending this facility were relocated to help protect the upper levels but somehow, someone managed to make it down here and using a plasma grenade, caused a chain reaction that destroyed all of the pods, killing all of the clones inside."

Ya'Han did a quick count of the shattered pods contained in the room. "12 by 12, that's only 144 clones. Is there another room somewhere?"

"The cloning facility of KTARIS was the largest one," Jayson stated. "This one was meant to be for operatives to help solidify control once the Lokustaar would win the war."

The Nylaan made sure that the Shadow Operative was well out of earshot before speaking. "Well, looks like that won't happen anytime soon. The Lokustaar were too arrogant in the way they scattered their assets throughout the galaxy. They believed themselves to be untouchable, unstoppable thanks to their ability to remain unseen, and that lack of planning will prove to be their ultimate downfall."

"Accusing the Lokustaar of 'lack of planning' show just how little you know them," the clone said in their defense. "The plan to invade this dimension was hundreds of years in the making, and this setback does not mean that the war is over."

"Do you truly believe that they can still win and conquer this dimension?" Ya'Han asked showing a hint of surprise.

"I have to," the clone admitted. "I was created by them and they made sure that I could never doubt them or their ability to achieve their goal.

"Good," the black and purple-haired Nylaan said," I would hate to be part of a fight where my side has already given up.  Might be best to head back and regroup with Mordana. The way she looked after dispatching that man, I would not put it past her to leave us behind."  As she said this, Ya'Han glanced over at the still standing body of the man in question to see it finally collapse to the floor, joining his severed head.  While still looking at him, the former Sec/Tac of the USS ANUBIS began to walk and ended up running into one of the shattered cloning pods. "Ouch!"

The woman's cry immediately summoned the clone's attention who wasted no time to rush to her side. "Are you alright?"

"I was distracted," Ya'Han admitted. "I didn't pay attention t where I was going and ended up running into that piece of glass," she explained pointing to a sharp wedge that had cut her leg.  "It's only a minor cut. My pride is far more injured than my body is. A few seconds of a dermal regenerator and I will be back to the way I was. Let's go, we don't want to keep Mordana waiting."

Jayson's clone smiled, glad to see that Ya'Han was not hurt and that her spirit was just as strong as it had been before. If there was a chance for the Lokustaa to turn the tide back to their favor, he truly believed that the Nylaan woman by his side would have a role to play in this.

Returning the man's smile, the undercover Starfleet officer glanced back at the piece of glass as they walked away, making sure that the sample of blood she had left behind would be enough for Doctor Bruxa to identify her with.  It was difficult for Ya'Han to leave clues as to their presence wherever they went. This was even more challenging if she did not want to be discovered, but so far, she had done relatively well to leave hints as to her being here still alive and well, and if at all possible, provide some sort of sense as to where they would be heading next.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
Hanali Han

Lieutenant JG Ya'Han [Access Character BIO for Ya'Han]
Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M14-P019: USS ANUBIS: Bruxa: 34010.1300 ("Counseling Session")
=-=
"Counseling Session"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "A Dark Trail" / (BAS) "Performance Anxiety"]
=-=

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Holodeck 3
Stardate: 34010.1300

Doctor Bruxa stepped into the holodeck and smiled. Xana knew that she needed to be in the chamber as much as possible if she was to get better. The problem was that the woman was not one to stay still for very long. Therefore, seeing the Bolian/Human where she needed to be was a pleasant surprise.

"Good day, Doctor. As you can see, I am where you wanted me to be."

The Doctor's smile slowly faded. One thing Satella had learned from Adriana was to better recognize when someone was trying to hide something.  A quick scan of the holodeck confirmed her suspicions. "A reclining chair?"

Xana remained silent. Several possible explanations for the piece of furniture came to mind, but none seemed satisfactory. The Bolian/Human hybrid could try to spin the facts in her favor, but by now she knew Satella well enough to know it would not work.  The Ambassador would have liked to believe that the Doctor was just that good. Alas, the patient was convinced that her junior aide had something to do with all of this. "For short periods of time, this pretzel chamber is not too bad. After several hours though, I need to stretch my legs. The fact that I am capable of doing so without any pain is a good thing, no?" The woman paused and quickly blinked her violet eyes. "As you can see, I am doing everything possible to not overexert myself."

Satella sighed. "You should no be leaving the chamber unless absolutely necessary. The progress you are currently enjoying is slow to come and quick to vanish. We still need to do a lot of fine tuning to stabilize your condition."

"Doctor, what is the use of my being able to wiggle my toes if I cannot use them?" Xana said. "I understand your medical concern, truly, I do. You have to understand my psychological needs in return.  There is no use of my getting physically better is my mind goes completely off kilter."

The Doctor chuckled. "You sound like Adriana. My guess is that you two have been talking quite a bit."

"The Counselor has been kind enough to keep my company whenever she can. My guess is that she was tired of getting dismissed by Lt. Stark."

"The situation is uniquely difficult for him," Satella agreed, nodding her head. "Many are worried about a friend, the Captain is concerned for our Chief of Security. Jayson is far more emotionally involved. Whatever the reason is, I am glad to hear that she is keeping you company."

The doors to the holodeck opened once again, allowing the Counselor to step in. "Speaking of which," Xana said.

"Forgot to have the computer remove the reclining chair I see," Adriana chuckled. Clearly, the CNS was in the know about what was happening here.

"Who's side are you on?" Satella was not angry, although she did try to come across as such. The Doctor understood the need for Xana to have a break. The fact that the Ambassador was actually doing the treatment, for the most part, was a victory on its own.

"The away team has returned," Lopez said, changing the subject. "They have a new blood sample for you to analyze. According to the initial scan, it is less than 48 hours old."

"From Ya'Han?" Xana asked. As much as she had not been involved, the Ambassador was keeping track of what was happening.

"That is what we hope," Satella said. "Two days is still quite a lot of time. As long as we find these little clues though, we know that we are on the right track. It is also a way for us to know that she is alive."

"That all depends on how much blood is found on site." The Ambassador was correct of course. Her words had not been meant as a joke, but rather as a factual statement. The thought though proved to be too much for the Doctor to simply ignore. Although nonverbal the reaction proved impossible to miss. This triggered an immediate response from the Ship's Counselor who was also the woman's friend.

"She was simply establishing a fact," Adriana said, her voice soft and calming. "We all know that Ya'Han can take care of herself. We just have to believe in her and to continue following the trail she has been leaving behind."

"You two have been spending too much time together," Satella quietly huffed. "I can't tell where the Ambassadorial lines end and the counseling ones begin. You two can figure it out, I have a blood analysis to perform." With that said, Dr. Bruxa exited the holodeck.

"Is she alright?" Xana asked of Adriana.

"She will be," the CNS confirmed. "Finding clues as to Ya'Han's whereabouts and state is a good thing. I just think that she would have preferred if it came in a different way. On another note, were you able to contact the local governments of those planets on Ya'Han's list?"

"I was able to leave messages to my contacts, but no reply as of yet," Xana replied. "My guess is that with the chaos created by the Lokustaar becoming visible, everyone is too busy to speak to me."

"You continue trying, I will go and speak with Satella." Just as she was about to step through the open doorway out of the holodeck, the CNS turned to look at the Ambassador. "One more thing. Do try to remember to have the computer take the reclining chair out when you are done with it."

=-=
Rachel Jackie Johnson

Lieutenant JG Satella Bruxa [Access Character BIO for Satella Bruxa]
Chief Medical Officer
USS ANUBIS

[Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint. - Mark Twain]
M14-P020: USS ANUBIS: Bonviva: 34011.0800
("Don't Make Me Turn This Ship Around")
=/\=
“Don’t Make Me Turn This Ship Around”
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Counseling Session" / (BAS) "Quick Detour"]
=-=

I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I'm meant to be, this is me
--From “This Is Me” 

=/\=
Location:  USS ANUBIS, Holodeck 3
Stardate: 34011.0800

[/\] Concerns of the Federation are of no matter to us.[/\]

Xana sat back in the recliner waiting for the Reman to get to the point.  The Bolian/Human Ambassador had now wished for a bowl of popcorn or some other kind of snack, but knew that it was deemed “diplomatically impolitic” to eat while being chastised for things she had nothing to do with.  However, she realized that she was going to have to settle in for a long lecture.  Who said her life wasn’t hard?  “No, I’m sure I don’t but I’m sure you can enlighten me,” she murmured as the Reman turbolifted right by her.

As she listened idly, Xana glanced down at the list she was given by the Bridge.  She’d do better if she changed the holodeck to a bar and stuck the list to a dartboard. Some of this list she could reason out: REMUS.  Well, that made sense, which is why she was talking to her CI there (grumpy as he was).  CARDASSIA PRIME also made sense why it would align with the Lokustaar base; as did NYLA IV.  

“Much as I enjoy our conversations as to why the Federation makes your life hellacious,” Xana said interrupting her CI’s rant, “I’m calling you for a reason.”

[/\]You never call me to see how I’m doing,[/\] the CI sniffed.  

The Ambassador rubbed her brown.  “I’m trying to stop Armageddon across the known universe, I’m dying, and I forgot to give you a hug?  Forgive me,” she replied inconstantly.

[/\]You’re forgiven,[/\] the CI replied without any awareness.  

“This is why I have high blood pressure,” Xana muttered.  Waving her hand to encourage the conversation she said, “Now, that you’ve told me I’m a bad Ambassador, you’re going to make it right.  Tell me about the Lokustaar.”

[/\]This is all it is with you.  Tell you about this, tell you about,[/\] the CI muttered.  [/\]Maybe I have needs too.[/\]  Shaking his head he said, [/\] But no, it’s all about our dilithium and what information I give you.  Well that’s it.  This all ends now.[/\]

Xana looked up and tried to count the lines of the grid of the holodeck, in an attempt to calm herself.  Finally she lowered her face back to the screen so she was eye level and managed a very terse.  “Really?”

[/\] Really.  The Remans will no longer be patsys for the Federation.  We will no longer be around for you to come and go--[/\]

“Okay,” Xana nodded.  In a deceptively calm voice she said, “I understand.  So you have two options.”  Holding up one finger she said, “Tell me about the Lokustaar.”  Holding up a second finger she said, “Or else you’re going to make me turn this ship that I’m on right around and I’ll come pick up the 30 MILLION CREDITS that the Federation has given the Remans in both straight trades and what I’m generously calling services rendered in diplomatic services.”

The man on the other side of the screen may have paled in the dead of night.  Still his words were belied his actions as he said, [/\]You wouldn’t dare.[/\]

The azure woman smirked at that.  

=/\=
Location: USS ANUBIS, BRIDGE
Stardate: 34011.1410

Captain Erik Morningstar was on the bridge, waiting.  It was so difficult, but necessary.  He most certainly was not drumming his fingers on the arm of his console.  That would have belied the tense situation.  They had options but no intelligible direction.

=/\=Bonviva to Bridge=/\= came the clear disembodied voice of the Ambassador.  

Morningstar sat up at that; he knew the Ambassador had been trying to outreach to her contacts despite her limited physical capabilities.  “Morningstar here.”

=/\=We need to turn around the ship.  *Now*,=/\= came back the very calm, if firm, direction from Xana.  

“Excuse me?” Erik replied.  

At the same time *another* disembodied voice, one the Captain didn’t recognize, suddenly chimed in.  =/\= You can’t be serious!  You can’t come here.=/\=

The only one who was not confused, it seemed, was the Ambassador.  =/\=I told you not to make me turn around the ship.  Now you have to live with the consequences of your actions which includes a Federation ship in your airspace and me-- =/\=

Morningstar really hoped this was just for show.  He didn’t know the Ambassador that well.  But if this wasn’t a bluff she couldn’t really hope to turn around the ANUBIS around...and for what purpose?  What would have been more important?  And couldn’t she have spent 5 minutes telling him?  

=/\=I’ll tell you about the Lokustaar,=/\= came the defeated voice.

Morningstar exhaled a breath he didn’t know he was holding as the Ambassador said sweetly.  =/\=Captain, thank you for your offer of turning around the ship but I think we’re good on our current course.  I’ll meet you in a few minutes.  Bonviva out.=/\=  

Then she cut the line before Morningstar could (rightly) point out that he didn’t actually offer to turn around the ship for her.  

=/\=
Location: USS ANUBIS, Ready Room
Stardate: 34011.1420

“Ambassador, I never actually agreed to your bluff of turning around the ship,” Morningstar pointed out.

Xana looked over at the Captain and Executive Officer who was across from her.  Even she had enough sense to point out that he didn’t *not* agree to her plan.  Instead she passed across a PADD and said, “Let’s just skip ahead to this.  My CI on REMUS said that the Lokustaar had larger bases on Federation homeworlds.  He thought we should go to MARIAH IV or OLTAR PRIME but that was his opinion.”

Shar’El thoughtfully reviewed the list.  “That does not remove as many from our original list,” she said.  “Still we can remove REMUS, CARDASSIA PRIME, NYLA IV for now.  If we take those that are explicitly aligned then we can remove DENEB KAITOS V and MIRIDIAN VI.”

For a moment it appeared that Erik wanted to return to the conversation about turning around the ship but he too then looked at the list.  “This is concerning that the Lokustaar built up this many bases on Federation homeworlds,” he said softly.  “It means that the Lokustaar is trying to make a statement.”

“I agree,” Xana said quietly.  “The Federation can also make a statement.” 

“How do you figure?” Shar’El asked.  

Pointing to the PADD the Ambassador said, “There are times we are just planets, with our own individual needs.  But there are times we are one Federation, and we come together.  That’s what we need to remind people.”

Morningstar nodded, for once aligned with the unconventional Ambassador.  “The first Earth-Romulan War, the Battle of Narendra III, Dominion Invasion...just to name a few.  We could not have survived in the universe if we were selfish about our needs.”  Leaning forward, he folded his hands and said, “I agree with the concept but how will we get others to agree?”

“Right now I don’t know.  I’ve been primarily the Ambassador you send into conflicts,” Xana smiled wanly.  “I’m not the Ambassador you send into nice areas.”

Morningstar sighed.  He suddenly understood why Xana was sent in with them, now how their profile had changed.  “The Ambassador who threatens to take over government buildings or turn around ships?  You’re not afraid of warzones and getting the other side to stand down because you’ll do something equally dangerous.”

There was a sad smile as her violet eyes seemed shiny for a moment.  “I’ve always been terrified.  I’ve just been more terrified of failing because I know that means people die.”  Shaking off that moment she said, “I’ll figure it out.  You determine where we go and I’ll figure out with Adriana, how to be a different kind of Ambassador.”

The Ambassador got up and straightened her white tunic.  She started to the door and then stopped herself and turned around.  “I’m difficult.  I give others headaches, and that’s on a good day.  I know this.  So to help out I sent a gift.  I hope you like the recliner I just sent to your Ready Room, Captain Morningstar.”  

=/\=
Sarah Albertini-Bond

USS ANUBIS NCC 18501
M14-P021: USS ANUBIS: Morningstar: 34015.0710 ("Expected Surprise")
##########
"Expected Surprise"
Previous posts (ANU) "Don't Make Me Turn This Ship Around" / (BAS) "A Quick Detour"
##########

“When we look upon the distant horizon and see the sunrise, we believe ourselves to be the greatest intellectual force in the universe because we were able to predict this simple, reoccurring daily event. The truth is that the universe has no idea what will happen next; therefore how could limited beings such as ourselves even consider being able to know what will happen in a year, a month, a week, a day, an hour, or even in the next minutes to come?"

- Bardef Talak Emzaw, Representing of the Oltharian Religious Circle, and Leader of the High Council

=====
Setting: OLTHAR PRIME, Outside the Council of Elders building
Stardate: 34015.0710

The Oltharian sun, the physical representation of their deity and belief in light and life, rose over the distant clear emerald watery horizon once again as it began its journey through the planet's sky, a journey that would take 35 EARTH hours to complete. As technologically advanced as the race was, life on OLTHAR PRIME was relatively simple. The Religious Circle saw to the spiritual and physical well-being of all inhabitants while the Scientific Circle took care of ensuring that the mechanical and technological aspects of their everyday lives functioned as intended.

The Council of Elders, the ruling body of the planet and its people consisted of seven members, three from the Religious Circle, and three from the Scientific Circle. Those six were elected from amongst the general population by those who belonged to that Circle. The seventh member, the one whose responsibility was to bridge the two sides in order to create peace and prosperity was elected from amongst the elders again by the population the Council was sworn to represent.

At first glance, this place seemed to be as close to perfection as could be, but like so many other things in this universe, appearances could and often were deceiving. Life on OLTHAR PRIME may have appeared bright and simple, but even in this paradise, unseen Shadows had found a way to dig in their claws.

=====
Setting: OLTHAR PRIME, Council greeting chamber
Stardate: 34015.0715

"Thank you for seeing us on such short notice, Elder," a Human man said as he walked into the room closely followed by a Nylaan woman.

"It is always a pleasure to meet friends of Elan," Bardef Talak Emzam said. Beyond being the Leader of the Council of Elders, and former official representative of the Religious Circle, the aged Oltharian was also the uncle of the only member of his race to have joined Starfleet and traveled into distant space. This was not something that he could use in his professional life, but it did not mean that this fact did not bring him immeasurable joy on a personal level. "So, please tell me, what brings two such fine officers such as you here to OLTHAR PRIME?"

The claim that they were friends of Elan Fairborn had been somewhat of an exaggeration. Ya'Han knew the gentle giant due to his presence on the ANUBIS and his work with Sonja on the creation of the ship's Avatar ANI, but that was the extent of her dealings with the Chief Engineer turned Robotics Expert.  The clone had never actually dealt with the massive Oltharian and knew him only thanks to the memories of the man he stood as a clone of. Still, the lie had been necessary in order for them to see this meeting take place as quickly as possible as time was against them. After all, seeking an audience with the leader of an entire planet was not an easy task, not even for agents of the Lokustaar.

"We came to inquire about one of the Council Member, the Elder Inrask Estan Gorkim," the artificial creation presenting himself as Jayson Stark stated. "A diplomatic envoy who is traveling under a flag of anonymity with us attempted to make contact when we reached orbit but was unable to reach him. The only news she was able to get was that Inrask was currently unavailable due to an unfortunate event. Is he alright?"

The leader of the Oltharian Council of Elder offered a faint knowing smile to the visiting pair before inviting them to sit. Evidently, the answer he was about to give them would neither be a short or simple one. As soon as the two visitors were seated, Bardef turned his attention towards one of the windows giving unto the light of a new day touching the land beyond. "If I may be so bold, may I inquire as to the specifics of the reason your diplomatic enjoy needs to see Elder Gorkim?"

"Our guest did not consider us worthy of being told of the finer details of her visit, Elder," Ya'Han said. "Our role was only to ensure that she made it here safely. As I am sure you are aware that there are dark forces at work out there amongst the stars, which is why we have traveled as we have in the hopes of avoiding drawing any attention to ourselves. It is also the reason why it was deemed safer to have as fewer individuals know as to the specifics of this meeting. All we can say is that this is of the utmost importance for not only the future of your world but of the galaxy as a whole."

Bardef chuckled as he shook his head, a reaction that surprised both Jayson and Ya'Han. "I see that very little has changed. Many, many years ago Elan ventured off this world in search of adventure. His parents wanted him to follow them into the Scientific Circle but his heart belonged to the Religious Circle, unfortunately for him, his own personal beliefs made that impossible. In the end, he had no other choice but to leave this world in search of something else."

"Elan regrets that he was not able to be part of this mission," Jayson said, trying to play the family card to help their position. The clone hoped that mentioning his nephew would make the Elder drop his guard and reveal the reason why they had not been able to contact Inrask.

"After his last visit here, I am not at all surprised that he did not come back," Bardef admitted. "The pain of the memories of what he lost here are still much too strong for him to handle.  As grown up as he may be, as strong as he has become, Elan will forever be a boy at heart, a boy who was faced with an impossible choice to make, a choice that was in the end forced upon him. That is why he brought her with him when he left."

"Her?" Jayson said without actually speaking as he looked with great puzzlement at the woman sitting next to him. Although the clone possessed all of the memories of the original Jayson Stark, and then some, he knew nothing of this *her* Bardef had spoken of.

"Elder," Ya'Han jumped in. 'With all due respect, time is of the essence and we need to know about Elder Gorkim. All of this talk about Elan is not helping and could actually cause delays that would prove costly for us all. I am sure that your nephew would ask you to help us in every way possible if he were here, if not for him, for the woman he took with him."

The Elder paused as if carefully contemplating the words spoken by the Nylaan. In some ways, she reminded him of the woman she had mentioned, and maybe that was the reason why he decided to act the way he would.  "Very well," Bardef said as he turned to face his guests. "Elder Inrask Estan Gorkim is no longer of this world. His life was ended when it was discovered that he had dealings with a dark race who, under his protection, had managed to establish a base on this world without anyone else on the Council knowing about it. His betrayal cost him his life, and now we are desperate in finding a way to rid ourselves of this dark presence on our world."

"Our diplomatic enjoy may be of some help," Jayson said.

"Yes," Ya'Han confirmed, both of them rising to their feet simultaneously. "The diplomatic envoy may very well be able to resolve your problem and make this world safe for you, Elan and all other members of this proud and honourable race, be them here or elsewhere in the galaxy."

The Oltharian Elder gazed into the eyes of the Nylaan woman for several seconds which made the man standing beside her somewhat nervous as he had no idea what to make of this.  "Come," Bardef said. "I will see what we can arrange for you."

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 34015.0830

=/\= IGC to Captain Morningstar, =/\= Commander Shar'El said, a hint of shock and surprise laced the woman's voice which in some ways concerned the Native American.

"Go ahead, what's going on?"

=/\= We are receiving a high priority encoded message from OLTHAR PRIME. It is the Council of Elders, more specifically Bardef Talak Emzam. =/\=

"This is not the time for anyone to be involved in family issues," Erik lamented. "That said, I would hate to be the one to say no to the leader of the Oltharian ruling body. Find Elan and have him take care of this as quickly as possible."

=/\= There is just one problem with that, =/\= Shar'El continued. =/\= Bardef does not want to speak to Elan. He wants to speak to you, personally and immediately. =/\=

The Native American jumped onto his feet. Why would the leader of the Oltharian Council of Elders want to speak with him instead of Elan. Granted the two of them had known each other for quite some time, but this made no sense unless something terrible had happened.  "Patch the communication to my Ready Room, I will take it there."

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Captain's Ready Room
Stardate: 34015.0831

Erik rushed around his desk and activated his monitor even before settling into his chair. Seconds later the face of the aged Oltharian appeared on the small screen.  "Bardef, it is nice to see you again after all of these years."

[/\] The pleasure is shared, but we have no time for pleasantries. Two of your officers are here on OLTHAR PRIME on some secret diplomatic mission, at least that is what they claim. [/\]

"Jayson Stark and Ya'Han?" The Native American sighed aloud. "They are not on a secret diplomatic mission."

[/\] You once that I could call upon you if I ever needed anything, well I need answers. [/\]

"Very well," the Captain said tugging down at his uniform shirt. "Jayson Stark, at least the one you have been dealing with, is a clone of the original who is on board my ship. The man you are dealing with is a Lokustaar operative. Ya'Han, is my own Chief of Security who is currently undercover in an attempt to relay to us the plans of our adversaries."

[/\] That explains quite a bit, [/\] Bardef said sounding almost disappointed. [/\] Some of the things she said about Elan and I made no sense, but I needed to find out why before I acted. [/\]

"As my Chief of Security, Ya'Han would have had access to the highest clearance level information about anyone coming on board, this would include Elan and Amber."

[/\] I figured as much, [/\] the Elder admitted, his sadness growing with each word. [/\] She said enough to let me know that she knew, and yet made mistakes in some of the details that left me questioning everything else. [/\]

"That was her way to let you know that something is not right. You need to be exceptionally cautious. The woman they are working with goes by the name of Mordana, and she is more dangerous than I can relay to you over a secured channel. We will change our course and head to OLTHAR PRIME as quickly as possible."

[/\] Thank you, [/\] the Elder graciously offered. [/\] Before you arrive though, there is one thing you should know. Amber is no longer wherever Elan took her. Elder Inrask Estan Gorkim convinced me to contact Admiral Koniki and have her transferred back to OLTHAR PRIME. I was not sure why at the time, nor did I question the how, but now I realize that it was a ploy to gain leverage against me. [/\]

"Amber Satori is on OLTHAR PRIME?" Erik gasped, the woman had been left on NEW ALEXANDRIA in a come that no one could get her out of, this despite their repeated efforts.

[/\] Amber is more than just here Erik. She is awake and alive. [/\]  The news almost sent the Native American toppling out of his chair. [/\] As I said, I did not ask why or how Inrask managed this, but now I understand that it was thanks to some Lokustaar technology that she was returned to me in order to keep me from seeing what it was that he was truly doing. You need to get here as quickly as possible. I will do my best to keep the clone and your undercover agent busy in the meantime. [/\]

The channel closed leaving Erik stunned and speechless. As much as he had anticipated some sort of a surprise, this revelation was certainly not what he had expected this call would end with. Now, not only did the Native American needed to get to OLTHAR PRIME as quickly as possible, but he needed to inform Elan Talak Fairborn of what his uncle had just said.

--==(/\)==--
Francois Charette

Commanding Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501

AND

Lt. Commander Elan Fairborn [Access Character BIO for Elan Fairborn]
Robotics Engineering Officer
NEW ALEXANDRIA
M14-P022: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: 34015.1300 ("Personal Complications")
=-=
"Personal Complications"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Expected Surprise" by Francois / (BAS) "A Quick Detour" by Moi]
=-=

Setting:  USS ANUBIS, Captain's Ready Room
Stardate: 34015.1300

The ExO / ILO stood in front of the Captain, both of them appearing troubled by the latest twist to be sent their way. The universe it seemed had a perverted sense of humor, delighting in seeing the crew of the USS ANUBIS deal with matters that stood well outside of the norm, even for a specialized Intel vessel.

Following an awkward silence, Shar'El spoke. "I read Elan's file and understand some of the complications the presence of Amber Satori will create, and that would be without her being out of the coma she was in. It is clear that he had, and still has, very strong feelings for her. How could he not, she sacrificed herself to save the crew and him. I easily recall him remembering times shared with her, and before you ask, no I did not go digging for those images and feelings. Elan was openly recalling those times, likely because something was said or done that reminded him of her. He may not speak of her very much, but his thoughts are of her quite frequently."

"Elan's feelings and emotions match his physical size," the Captain said, referring to the Oltharian's imposing 7'6" stature. "I had the opportunity to see them together, and although they never openly displayed their feelings for one another, it was impossible to miss the connection the two shared."

"Sounds like Ya'Han and Jayson, but on a more private level," the ExO / ILO said.

"Trust me," Erik continued with a sigh. "However complicated we believe Ya'Han's story to be, it does not come close to comparing to that of Amber Satori, and I only know a fraction of what there is to know about her."

"I know that," Shar'El said, allowing the man sitting across the desk to know that she likely knew more about the woman than he did. "Amber was transferred to NEW ALEXANDRIA because Elan hoped that the Admiral would be able, through his unofficial resources, to find a way to bring her back. The woman was already known to Koniki and the Intel community before her arrival at NEW ALEXANDRIA, and the search for a cure revealed a great deal more about her past. Following the call from the Oltharian Elder, I requested access to that information.  I can say this, the file was not a small one which is understandable since she has been around for longer than we could have expected."

"I do not believe that her distant past makes a difference in this affair," the Captain said. "My concerns are more about her more recent involvements and relationships."

"Yes," the ExO / ILO agreed. "Her having been in a relationship with both Bardef and Elan is going to complicate things on our end, but it should not divert us from our mission. Right now, we know that Mordana, Jayson's clone, and Ya'Han are on OLTHAR PRIME. That should be our primary focus."

"You are absolutely right," Morningstar said nodding his head. "We should also keep in mind that there is the possibility that the Amber who is there is not the real one but a clone just like Jayson. The Lokustaar could have created her in order to keep Bardef under their control."

"That possibility had crossed my mind," the ExO / ILO admitted. "We have firsthand experience in how effective those clones can be, and we should, therefore, be ready for that possibility.  I can ask Adriana to speak to Elan and have Xana be ready to speak with Bardef.  As the ruler member of OLTHAR PRIME, it might be easier for him to be seen talking to an Ambassador instead of a Counselor."

"Sounds like a plan, but first we have to reach OLTHAR PRIME and get our hands on Mordana.  Being able to track the movements of the Shadow bioships has been a tremendous advantage, but she has still managed to elude us," Morningstar said.

"Mordana, as well as the Lokustaar as a whole, had the advantage when they could move about unseen, but that advantage is gone. As of the last reports received, the greater majority of the worlds who found the Shadows had been on their planet have engaged against them," the ExO / ILO paused to allow a smile to appear on her lips. "They are on the run, and the walls are closing in on them quickly. Even if she manages to elude us again, the number of options where she can go are becoming fewer with each passing day. This is no longer a question of whether or not we will catch her; it is a simple matter of time."

"There is no creature more dangerous than one who believes itself trapped without a way out," the Captain said sighting caution. "The more those proverbial walls close in on them, the more desperate they will become, and that will make them even more dangerous as they realize that they have nothing to lose. As much as I want to see this end, we have to be careful or risk suffering losses that we are currently in line to completely avoid."

"I understand," the ExO / ILO said. "I will speak with Xana and Adriana and bring them up-to-date with the issue surrounding Amber Satori. Do you want me to inform Elan or do you believe it better if this news came from you?"

"I will take care of Elan," Erik said somewhat reluctantly. "Let me know when you have spoken to Adriana though. It might be better if she knows about this before I send Elan to speak with her."

"Of course," the ExO / ILO said before making her way out of the Captain's Ready Room.

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET
M14-P023: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han: 34015.2245 ("Distant Sunset")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Distant Sunset"
[previous post were (ANU) "Personal Complications" / (BAS) "A Quick Detour"]
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]

Setting: OLTHAR PRIME, Beach
Stardate: 34015.2245

The day had been long, in more ways than one. Standing on a planet with 35-hour days was in itself something strange and demanding as most inhabited worlds Ya'Han had visited dealt with a planetary rotation ranging from 20 to 28 hours. This extended length did not take away from the charms of this planet though, which possessed a natural beauty and tranquility that easily reminded the self-exiled Nylaan of her own home of NYLA IV.

"If it was not for the green water, you could almost swear that we are standing on the shore of the Imperial Ocean," the clone said making the Nylaan turn to look at him with puzzlement. Ya'Han had almost forgotten that he was not the real Jayson, but his much greater knowledge of her homeworld always managed to remind her of that fact. The real Jayson Stark was on the ANUBIS, likely worried sick about her while the ship frantically tried to follow the hints and clues she was able to leave behind. 

Returning her gaze to the distant watery horizon behind which the sun was slowly disappearing under, the Nylaan smiled ever so gently. "It is hard to believe that Elan wanted to leave this place to venture amongst the stars."

"You did," Jayson pointed out. "Your world is just as beautiful as this one, and yet you could not wait to get as far away from it as possible."

"That was different," the undercover Sec/Tac huffed. "My father forced me to make a choice. I either could wed that Ferengi troll Ardax or be thrown into a dungeon and left to die for refusing to obey my father's wishes, and that would have been if he felt generous. It was far more likely that he would have beaten me to death and displayed my broken body on the outer wall of the Imperial Palace to remind everyone what happens to those who dare to challenge him -- including his own flesh and blood. Running away was the only way to avoid those outcomes. Elan left because he wanted to, I left because I had to."

"You both made a choice. Yes, those choices were based on a very different situation, but it was still a choice. As for you fearing your father's wrath, he never would have gotten that far," the clone of Jayson Stark said, sounding once again as if he possessed knowledge that surpassed even hers about who her own father was. "The Lokustaar had been manipulating both your father and brother in countless different ways, not that either one of them knew this. You openly defying your father would have been used to push Ya'Kun to claim the throne for himself thus saving you from whatever punishment your father would have seen fit for your refusal to obey him."

"It is hard to believe that my brother would have done anything to save me," Ya'Han said. "The last time I actually saw Ya'Kun, he was ready to kill me in order to ensure that the imposter he brought in to replace me remained unchallenged. He knew that, like my father, he would have little chance to control me and that sooner or later I would stand up to him."

"You still don't get it," Jayson said laughing. "The Lokustaar plan things on a much larger scale than you can even consider. Your running away, your brother's hatred for doing so making it that much harder for him to claim the Imperial throne, even you making it to EARTH, those were all part of a larger plan that was set in motion long before you were born. The plan even took into account the possibility that it would be your sister Ya'Jun who would ignite the conflict between your brother and father. It was figured that her joining with the terrorist Fenix was a better way to reach and influence elements of other governments."

"So the Lokustaar had everything planned?" The Nylaan was not happy, not that there was anything she could do about it. "Was my developing feelings for Jayson, not you now but the original one then, also part of their plan?"

"No," the clone said, his voice soft and gentle, unlike the stricter and more commanding tone she had grown used to hearing from him. "As great as they may be in planning things ahead, the only emotions they know how to control and predict are those that gravitate towards the darker aspects of things. Hatred, jealousy, envy, greed, those are the feelings they understand. Love, kindness, self-sacrifice, those things are a mystery to them despite their greatest efforts to understand them in order to control people.  They could never have predicted that you would fall in love with him, nor could they predict that he would fall in love with you."

Ya'Han turned once again to look at the man standing next to her, wondering if the strange intonation of his words meant that he himself could not understand why Jayson Stark had fallen in love with her, or if he was referring to himself.

"Maybe we should head back and regroup with Mordana," the Nylaan said as the Oltharian sun vanished beneath the watery emerald horizon. "I am sure that she will be wondering where we are, or is you being here with me just another part of the Lokustaar's plans?"

"Last I saw her, she was still talking to the Elder," Jayson said. "As for my being here with you, there is no grand plan other than my wanting to be by your side."

The words were sweet and charming, very much like their enchanting surroundings. The fresh ocean breeze, the sound of the gentle waves washing on the beach combined with the slowly dimming light of the setting sun were more than she could resist. The clone was all that the original Jayson was and more, and as much as she tried to keep this distinction in mind, Ya'Han found it increasingly more difficult to not feel the way she was leading him to believe she felt. His strength of character was genuine and he seemed to become more and more 'human' with each passing day.  As she leaned in and pressed her lips against his, her thoughts went to the man she loved, the man whom she knew would be there for her no matter what the universe sent their way.

As the loving embrace continued, Ya'Han felt something stirring within her. Her mind and body were finding themselves in conflict as they tried to resolve the discrepancies of missing the man whom she felt at that very same moment holding her with such strength and passion.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
Hanali Han

Lieutenant JG Ya'Han [Access Character BIO for Ya'Han]
Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M14-P024: USS ANUBIS: Lopez: 34016.0830 ("Plan of Action")
-=-=-
"Plan of Action"
[Previous post: (ANU) "Distant Sunset" & (BAS) "A Quick Detour"]
-=-=-

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Holodeck 3
Stardate: 34016.0830

Another day had come, another morning was upon them, and yet their problems from the previous day remained.

"Were you able to make contact with Elder Emzam?" Adriana asked as she walked into the holodeck, finding Xana where she was supposed to be, inside the temporal chamber.

"No. I am starting to feel like this is personal. I left several messages but he had yet to call back. You would think that the leader of an entire planet, especially one who was the head of a religious group that comprised nearly half of that world's population would have a better sense of decorum."  The Counselor was not sure if the Ambassador was kidding or being serious, but again that was likely the idea. Xana was not the type to usually let her true feelings show, an expected consequence of her line of work. "Have you spoken with Elan?"

"No," Adriana replied in the exact same tone and manner as Xana had the earlier question. "At least I know that in his case, it *is* personal. Captain Morningstar did confirm that he spoke to him and suggested that he come to see me, but I have not seen any sign of the Oltharian."

"Given the size of the man, that's saying quite a bit," Xana said as she opened the door to her prison. "So after 24 hours of this mess landing on our laps, we are at the exact same place. That does not bode well for us or our abilities as being 'people persons'."

"If it was easy, there would not be a need for Counselors or Ambassadors," Adriana said moving in closer in order to offer a helping hand to the Bolian/Human hybrid. "You seem to be doing much better. I think you just set a new speed record for you getting out of that contraption."

"I have been getting a fair amount of practice," Xana said stretching her arms high above her head. "Being stuck in there like a sardine is no fun, and since I can no longer just lounge around in that recliner, I am forced to get in and out of this chamber of torture every couple of hours.

The Counselor helped the Ambassador with a couple of steps before jumping into the business at hand. "So, what should our plan of action be?"

"I thought I would start with taking a lap around this infernal machine before heading for the Holodeck and waddle my way to the Black Hole Lounge where I would get some breakfast. I could always ask for the holodeck to create an actual meal, but I think that Doctor Bruxa will not be against my getting some exercise. After that, I thought I would return here, get back into my jail and delight in my being able to wiggle my toes while I wait for the old Oltharian to call me back."

"I meant a plan of action in regards to Elan," Adriana said giggling. "Should I seek him out and force him to talk to me or would it be better to wait for him to be more ready to speak about this?"

"Why are you asking me? You're the Counselor, Counselor."

"I thought I was the Junior Ambassador?"

"When I need you, you are the Junior Ambassador. When you need me, you are the Counselor." Xana said clarifying the situation.

"I think we both need each other right now. The situation we are heading into on OLTHAR PRIME may demand a great deal from both of us, as well as the rest of the crew. If we manage to catch up and corner those we are after, the crew will have their hands full Mordana while Jayson will have to deal with his own clone and Ya'Han. I will likely have my hands full with the story between Elan and Miss Satori, leaving you to deal with the Elder on both a diplomatic and personal level if his involvement with Miss Satori is anywhere close to what we have been told.  What do you think?"

"I think I'm ready for breakfast."

-=-=-
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Black Hole Lounge
Stardate: 34016.0850 

"She is not going to be running any marathon anytime soon," Amanda groaned, the hallucination of the Counselor's missing sister following the two women as they walked into the ANUBIS' main dining establishment.

"You are doing great," Adriana said ignoring her sister's comments. "I think Satella would be very proud of the progress you are making."

"Speaking of progress," Xana said looking at a table near the back of the room. "Looks like you are all set up for some progress of your own. Elan seems to be ready to talk, that or he decided that being here was a good way to avoid having to deal with people."

"Maybe I should wait."

"You are thinking like a Counselor. Right now, he needs you to be a Junior Ambassador on a quest to get to the bottom of this affair, not a shrink concerned about his feelings. This is where he is at his most vulnerable, which means he will be ready to tell you things he would not have otherwise. Waiting for him to be ready to talk could take much longer than we have, and that is likely exactly what he is hoping for. He is keeping to himself until he sees Amber for himself before deciding what to do about it. As a Counselor, this could make sense, but you are risking him turning on a dime without any warning. That could prove to be dangerous, not only to the crew but to the mission. We are all going to be faced with countless issues once we get there, so taking care of this one now instead of then is going to make things easier for everyone."

Adriana hesitated for a brief moment. Xana was right, of course, but that did not make what she needed to do any easier. The Counselor suddenly found herself taking several steps forward after being pushed in the back by Xana. There was no turning back.

"This should be fun," the mental projection of the missing sister said. "In the far corner, we have Elan Fairborn, heavyweight champion of robotic. In this corner, we have Adriana Lopez, the lightweight contender in mind games," Amanda loudly said as if announcing a boxing match making the sister glad that she was the only one able to hear her. "My bet is on a first round knock out," the hallucination added making the following steps forward that much slower.

-=-=-
Marissa Montonera-Lombardi

Lieutenant JG Adriana Lopez [Access Character BIO for Adriana Lopez]
Ship's Counselor & Junior Ambassador
USS ANUBIS
M14-P025: USS ANUBIS: Fairborn: 34016.0840 ("Feelings of a Giant")
##########
"Feelings of a Giant"
Previous posts (ANU) "Plan of Action" / (BAS) "A Quick Detour"
##########

<< Life is nothing more than circles inter-linking with and into one another. Within the all-encompassing Circle of the Universe, we find an endless number of smaller Circles, each as important as the next. Within the Circle of Life, we can discover the Circle of our society, and within that one, we find two other Circles, that of Science and Religion. Within those, we find smaller Circles that include friends and associates, and within those, we find the smallest yet most significant Circles of them all - that of our own individual existence. It is, therefore, normal for one to find himself traveling the same road again, completing the circle. The second time around having gathered some of the knowledge and wisdom found where other paths crossed and Circles linked. >>
- Oltharian Belief

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Black Hole Lounge
Stardate: 34016.0840

The Oltharian pondered the news the Captain had given him and why he was not happier than he currently felt. According to what Erik Morningstar reported, Amber Satori was out of the coma that she had been in for years. That alone should have made the towering giant feel as light as a feather, dancing for joy. The problem was that things had changed over the course of those years. Elan had grown, matured and knew a great deal more about life now than when he had met the enchanting and mysterious woman.  The one piece of knowledge he could not ignore was the fact that his uncle and she had been in a relationship together long before the Religious Circle hopeful knew what love actually was.

Elan's gaze slowly fell onto the small ornate wooden box that seemed to vanish in his hands. Slowly, with the care normally associated with a surgeon performing a delicate operation, the Oltharian opened it to reveal a blue velvet-covered inside, which was cradling a small, silver cylinder with one tapered end. Since childhood, the flute had been his, and its music served to ease the giant's troubled thoughts whenever he played it. For years, no one even knew of the existence of the small instrument as he only played it when alone in some isolated part of the forest and later when he claimed sole ownership of the room he was in. Amber Satori was the first person to hear him play, and on that day, the music from the delicate instrument took on an entirely different significance.

Following Amber's sacrifice to save the crew and himself, the small instrument and it's music once again took on a new purpose. The Oltharian now only played his flute in memory of the woman he had lost, the woman who had helped him become the man he was today. But now he was not sure who that woman was and questioned if he ever truly did.

"Commander Fairborn, care for some company?"

Elan looked up to see a visibly nervous Ship Counsellor standing next to him. Had she been anyone else, the Oltharian would have respectfully declined the offer. His upbringing and absolute admiration for those serving in the Medical field though required him to answer differently.

"Counsellor Lopez, I would be honoured to have you share this table with me." As he said this, the gentle giant half stood and pulled the nearby chair away from the table he was sitting at showing that his invitation was as genuine as could be. "How may I be of service, Healer?"

"Healer?" The Counsellor repeated almost missing the chair as she lowered herself into it. "Are you all right? I think you are mistaking me for someone else, namely Doctor Bruxa. I am no Healer."

"I am not mistaking you for anyone else, Counsellor," the Oltharian reassured, the gentleness of his voice creating an absolute contrast to his physical size. "Recent events have simply forced me to re-evaluate parts of my life as well as myself and I have come to the realization that I may not have been as respectful to both yourself and Doctor Bruxa as I should have been."

"I am confused," the woman said while thinking that Ambassador Bonviva had been correct about the man and his readiness to talk. "I agree that we may not have spent a great amount of time interacting with one another, but you have always been nothing short of a perfect gentleman every time we did. In fact, I can say without hesitation that you have been a model and perfectly respectful officer since the day I came on board the ANUBIS."

"You need to understand something about my people, Counsellor; we cherish life in all of its forms and hold those who work to safeguard it at the highest possible level. You belong to that group of revered individuals and as such, I owed you far more respect that I have been showing."

Counsellor Lopez could feel her cheeks warming up as the increased blood flow gave them a brighter red colouring than usual. "I recall reading something to that effect about Oltharians, but again, I and not a Doctor or even a nurse for that matter. So I fail to see how this belief, as sweet as it may be, can be directed to me in any way."

"Doctor Bruxa deals with the physical aspects of life, ensuring that all those in pain are healed to the best of her abilities and knowledge. You, as this Ship's Counsellor, have taken on the task of caring and even when possible healing the mind of those in pain. Although you each deal with different aspects of a person's well-being, easing their pains when such is present, you are both equally important and are therefore deserving of my absolute respect and eternal admiration."

"Does everyone on your world think this way?" Counsellor Lopez asked, trying her best to push back the overwhelming sensation sweeping through her body. This was certainly a side of the man she had never suspected was there.
"For the most part, yes we do," the Oltharian confirmed quickly recognizing the expression on the woman's face. "I am sure that you would find OLTHAR PRIME to be a wonderful place to visit. Many Doctors and Counsellors have asked me if it would be, and each time I reassured them that they would be treated with the same respect and admiration as I displayed to them."

"Wow," Adriana gulped. "An entire planet?" She muttered in disbelief. "As difficult as it may be to believe you, somehow, I do. I just need to make sure that Satella beams down with me or she might never forgive me for leaving her behind," the Counsellor added in an effort to make the gentle giant smile, which he did to her great delight.  "Mind my asking what you have in your hands?"

Elan hesitated for a split second. Again, had the woman been anyone else he would have respectfully declined answering the query, but instead, he slowly opened his hand to reveal the small musical instrument. "It is an Oltharian flute," he said pushing his hand forward ever so slightly to ensure that she could clearly see the silver cylinder.

"I did not know that you played a musical instrument. I would love to hear you play one day." As soon as those words were spoken, the Counsellor knew that she had made a faux-pas. Elan's entire posture and body language instantly changed. His hand withdrew and his body stiffened, and yet he refrained from displaying any anger and any other sort of negative emotion. Still, there was no mistaking it; her words had wounded him in a way that she could never have expected. "I am truly sorry; I did not mean to offend you." Clearly, there was more about the small flute than the woman could have ever expected.

"You have nothing to be sorry for, Healer. You have not offended me in any way, it is simply that only one person has ever heard me play." The explanation was short and simple and yet carried with it an entire universe of significance. Without stating a name or a reason, the Counsellor understood perfectly what the small instrument meant to the gentle giant.

"Amber," the Counsellor said, more as a statement than a question. "That is why you have it here with you. It reminds you of the person she was."

"I believe that I have no right to feel the way I do," the towering Oltharian said as he looked down at the instrument in his hand. "Although to be perfectly honest, I am not entirely certain as to how it is that I am feeling."

Lopez reached out and placed her hand on his. Both the flute and she seemed so insignificant compared to the massive size of his hand. How he could play such a fragile looking item was a mystery on its own that obviously, she would never solve. "We all have the right to feel the way we do. No one can dictate how or when to feel something. Experiencing those feelings is our way of understanding ourselves and the world around us. If people could exert such control, and understood why they feel the way they do at any given time, I would be out if a job." Again the Counsellor had hoped to trigger a smile from the Oltharian, but this time her efforts failed.

"Thank you, Healer," the Oltharian politely said with the greatest level of respect he could as he stood to his full 7'6" height. "If you will excuse me, I should return to work. I believe that Lieutenant Paquette is still working on fixing the ship's Avatar and I am sure that she would appreciate whatever assistance I can offer."

Whatever ground the Counsellor had managed to gain at the beginning of their discussion had been completely lost. The Oltharian had gone from needing to talk to shutting himself off from the rest of the world. This would not be the last time they would talk, not after everything that had been said, but for now, it was best to leave the gentle giant to his own thoughts as much as she did not want to.

--==(/\)==--
Francois Charette

Commanding Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501

AND

Lt. Commander Elan Fairborn [Access Character BIO for Elan Fairborn]
Robotics Engineering Officer
NEW ALEXANDRIA
M14-P026: USS ANUBIS: Bruxa: 34016.1030 ("Crashing Hopes")
=-=
"Crashing Hopes"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Feelings of a Giant" / (BAS) "A Quick Detour"]
=-=

Setting: USS ANUBIS, CMO'sOffice
Stardate: 34016.1030

Satella sat behind her desk, her attention solely focused on the small screen in front of her. The Doctor was reviewing the progress of her high-profile patient, and things did not look promising. The charts looked impressive, but the details painted a bleak picture. Yes, the modifications to the temporal chamber had helped, but not enough. Despite their greatest efforts, their state-of-the-art technology, and unwavering hopes, it seemed as nothing could be done. The Ambassador's condition was terminal and there was nothing they could do to change that.

The CNS burst in the office looking just as distraught as the CMO. "I'm afraid I messed up with Elan." As friends, Adriana knew that she was always welcomed. That is why she did not hesitate to take a seat in front of the CMO's desk.

"How so?" Satella welcomed the opportunity to talk about something other than Xana's inescapable fate.

"Xana and I went to the Black Hole Lounge for breakfast. There, we saw Elan, sitting alone at a table. He seemed lost in his thoughts, which is understandable given what he learned. I was going to give him some time but Xana convinced me to speak to him right away." Bruxa sighed. Was this the legacy they would be left with from the dying Bolian/Human hybrid? Before Satella could say something, Adriana continued. "She was right though; he was more than willing and ready to talk. He explained his beliefs in life and even how he felt that he had not treated us the way he should. Did you know that the Oltharians revere anyone who works in the field of medicine? Not only Doctors and nurses but Counselors as well. Apparently, referring to them as *healers* is a standard way for them to show their respect. I was a little shocked by it at first, but I could have gotten used to it. That is if I had not completely messed things up."

"This is Elan we are talking about, right?"

The CNS seemed confused by the question. "Yes, why?"

"I would not worry about him that much. He is an experienced officer, and let us face it; he is a big boy in more ways than one. According to your own account, he cherishes life, so it is not as if he would do something drastic. I am sure that he will figure it all out and be there to call you 'healer' once again at some point."

Adriana was so engulfed in her own story that she had not realized how troubled Satella was. The words and tone used by the CMO though indicated that something was not quite right. The CNS immediately jumped into action. "You are right, Elan will be fine. What about you though? You seem to be on an all-time low? Did something happen to Jayson? Was his recovery not as complete as you believed it to be?"

Bruxa looked at her friend and grinned. Did she actually not expect Lopez to jump into her role as a counselor?  "Stark is fine. I actually think that this rushing to OLTHAR PRIME is helping him. It has focused his mind as nothing else could have. The man is on a mission, we just happen to be tagging along with it. I actually pity anyone who gets in the way of his 'rescuing' Ya'Han. Not that I believe that she actually needs rescuing. Of the two of them, she is the one I would count on being able to take care of herself. No, it's Xana that I am worried about."

Feeling confused was becoming a normal state for the CNS. "Xana? Why? We just had breakfast and she seemed perfectly fine. She was in great spirits and I heard about her being able to wiggle her toes every 5 minutes or so. The temporal device is working and she knows it."

"Not as well as it should." Satella sighed and pivoted the small screen to show the chart displayed on it. "The neurological damage has been greatly reduced, but we have not been able to stop it. The best we have done is to buy her some time. I truly believed that we had found a cure, but it was not meant to be."  The CMO was visibly upset by the major setback. The work they had all done had given the Ambassador far more time than she would have otherwise had. The problem was that Bruxa had convinced herself that they would be able to achieve more.

"It is a shame. I think she actually started to believe that we had a cure within our grasp." Adriana was just as upset as Satella. Everyone had done their best, leaving them with nothing more to do. "Is there something I can do to help?"

"Just be there for her."

The CNS actually smiled. A faint, gentle smile, but a smile nonetheless. "Oddly enough, I think she will end up being there for me instead. The woman never ceases to amaze me. Whatever happens, she plows on." Adriana paused thinking of a million and one things before settling on one. "How long does she have?"

Spinning the small monitor back o face her, Satella studied the data before offering a reply. "A week, maybe two is she stops using the holodeck completely. Of course, I would recommend against it, as her pain would quickly become unbearable. If she continues the way she has been going, she could easily manage four to eight months if not more. The problem is that I doubt it will end up changing anything. We have done everything imaginable, but this is the best we can do."

Adriana sighed. The CNS was trying to come up with something to say, something positive. She wanted to restore their hopes but nothing could go against the medical data in the small screen. The Ambassador's fate was inevitable. "I hear that there are some very nice beaches on OLTHAR PRIME. Do you think the Captain would be opposed to her going down to wiggle her toes in the sand?"

"I do not believe that he will mind at all. In fact, I might just go down as well if for no other reason than to keep her company. Whatever happens with Jayson and Elan, Xana is going to have her own hopes and dreams to deal with."

=-=
Rachel Jackie Johnson

Lieutenant JG Satella Bruxa [Access Character BIO for Satella Bruxa]
Chief Medical Officer
USS ANUBIS

[Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint. - Mark Twain]
M14-P027: USS ANUBIS: Paquette: 34016.1100 ("Unwelcomed Distraction")
"Unwelcomed Distraction"
previous posts were (ANU) "Crashing Hopes" / (BAS) "A Quick Detour"

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Robotics Lab
Stardate: 34016.1100

"ELAN!" The Chief Engineer bellowed. This had not been the first time the massive Oltharian had done something wrong, but it sure would be the last. "I asked you to do a simple task, which was for you to install a *new* type IV miniature multi-phasic drive coil in her arm. Instead, you put in a *used* type III single-phase coil. If that was not bad enough, you put it in wrong, the poles are reserved. What are you trying to do, sabotage ANI? She's going to be there slapping herself without any reason. As funny as it would be to see that, it is not what I want or need."

The large man looked at what he had just done and confirmed what the ANUBIS' Chief Engineer had just said.  "I am truly sorry, my mind is just not focussed on what I am doing."

"Really? I hadn't noticed," Sonja unleashed with seeping sarcasm. "I let the fact that you put her feet on the wrong legs. I figured you weren't looking or that the people of your race are just too damn tall to be able to see anyone's feet, therefore never noticing the difference between a right and left foot. I even let the fact that you were actually trying to figure out which way her elbows needed to bend slide figuring that maybe you were thinking that ANI was re-designed to be multi-jointed, but this is the last straw. You came down here asking me to let you help with rebuilding ANI, and I said yes. I mean, you were the one who helped design her in the first place, so I figured that you knew what you were doing. So, tell me, what's the problem? Is the air too thin up there?"

"I am distracted," the Oltharian explained, or at the very least tried to without going into any detail.

"Really, you don't say," the redhead engineer growled at the much larger man, clearly unimpressed by neither his size nor his feeble attempt at an explanation. "Tell me something I don't know, and let's make one thing absolutely clear first; you are not touching another spare part or anything else in this lab until you give me an answer that I find acceptable."

"It's about Amber," Elan reluctantly admitted.

"Jesus H Roosevelt Christ," Sonja gasped casting her hands into the air. "You being like this is all because of a woman, really? Thousands of year of evolution across multiple star systems and the universe figured it wise to have every single male in the galaxy have the same bloody weakness. I don't see why the Romulans don't just have a bunch of top-heavy Orion slave girls on board their ships. With the right amount of cleavage showing, they would be able to take down more than half of their opponents the moment they opened a communications channel."

"Amber is not just any woman," the Oltharian defended.

"They never are sweety, they never are. Just look at Jayson, since he woke up and learned that Ya'Han was sent undercover, he has barely slept, spending all of his time on the bridge as if his being there would actually make the ship go faster.  The man could not save himself from a wet paper bag, and yet he fancies himself the rescuer in this story.  With his luck, we will find Mordana and that forsaken clone, he will get into trouble and it will be Ya'Han that saves *him*, not the other way around. Now I have to deal with another hormonally induced male lobotomy? I don't think so." Sonja waved the Oltharian away before turning back to the central work station which housed the ship's Avatar.  "Go see whoever that woman is and leave me to do my work."

"She's on OLTHAR PRIME," the giant said. "My guess is that she is with my uncle Bardef."

"Are you kidding me! What? Was making this issue about a woman not enough? You had to also make it a family love triangle affair as if this was not dysfunctional enough? Is everyone on your planet engage in these sorts of relationships?"

"Amber is not Oltharian," Elan stated.

"What is wrong with you people? I swear, the moment you add in some extra external plumbing, the normal blood flow gets completely diverted away from the brain."

"I am sorry," the giant politely offered, the man just stood there not sure what he should do or say next.

"I don't need your sorry," Sonja lashed out. "In fact, none of us do. The ANUBIS is heading to your home planet at maximum speed because we are trying to save one member of this crew. The fact that another member of the said crew, with the previously mentioned extra plumbing problem making him go gaga over his lady, is already making the job more difficult than it would have been. Now you are telling me that you have a similar problem? I don't want any part of it. Jayson can jump out the nearest airlock and skydive down to the planet surface the moment we reach orbit for all I care, and I will be happy to push you out right behind him. At least with the two of you out of the way, we might actually be able to find and apprehend Mordana. Wait, Mordana? Who is she you ask? She's the woman we have been hunting down for months, remember? The woman who is responsible for the death of countless innocent over several dozen systems. I sure as hell will not let the misplaced feelings of a man get in the way of what we are closer now to accomplish than ever before. If you wanted to talk to someone, you should have gone to see Adriana. As the Ship's Counsellor, I am sure that she will be more than happy to hear about your troubles and sorrows. I, on the other hand, do not have the time or inclination for it. So you have only two options; either turn into an emotional lump and go see the Counsellor or deal with it, let it go, and help me with a clear head. The choice is yours."

The Otharian remained still and silent.  Had anyone else witnessed the scene, they would have likely found the verbal lashing received by the giant from the much smaller woman exceptionally amusing.  After several moments of complete silence, Elan decided that it was better for him to leave, understanding that as much as he might not have liked what Sonja had said, she had been absolutely right.

=====
Lorraine Paquette

Chief Engineering Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501
M14-P028: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: 34016.1545 ("The Direct Approach")
=-=
"The Direct Approach"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Unwelcomed Distraction" by Lorraine / (BAS) "Melody of the Soul" by Jessica]
=-=

Setting:  USS ANUBIS, IGC
Stardate: 34016.1545

The ship was now on high alert; the ablative armor was activated and all weapon systems were primed and ready, all of this despite their sensors showing no signs of the Lokustaar anywhere in the system. The fact that the Shadows could no longer hide in the darkness of space did not make things easier, it actually made everyone that much more nervous. Had the species bent on spreading chaos and destruction throughout the multi-verse figured out a way to regain the advantage they had lost?  Had they devised a new way to surprise their adversaries? If those nightmarish vessels are not here, then where are they and what are they up to? Whatever the case might be, the USS ANUBIS and its crew could not take any chances, so they made their way towards the planet with their eyes wide opened and their minds ready for battle.

"Communications monitoring, report!" The ExO / ILO demanded, allowing her uneasiness of the situation to be known by those in the Intelligence Gathering Center.

"We are only picking up basic communications from OLTHAR PRIME," the IGC tech replied. "Elder Emzaw has still not replied to Ambassador Bonviva's attempts."

"We are not detecting any sort of transmission inhibiters or interference field, Commander," another tech added. "Lines of communications are perfectly clear. As far as we can tell, there is nothing that is getting in his way to send a reply."

"That means the Elder is either unwilling to reply or unable to do so," Shar'El said to no one in particular.  "Are we close enough to get a power distribution readout of the planet?" The query from the ExO / ILO was based on the fact that a cloning facility had been discovered on both KTARIS and OTAR II. Such facilities required a high amount of power to be directed to a very specific area, so it was hoped that the same pattern could be detected on OLTHAR PRIME.

"Not yet Commander," a third IGC tech replied. "We can tap into the orbiting satellites to get a general overview of the planet's power distribution though, but right now nothing seems to be sticking out as being out of the ordinary in that regards."

"Keep your eyes open and inform me the moment something new is detected," Shar'El instructed as she stood from her chair to make her way out of the IGC. The ExO / ILO needed to take care of something in person, that she wanted to or not.

=-=
Setting:  USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 34016.1550

The Commander stepped onto the bridge far enough to allow the turbolift doors to close behind her before she paused. It was the role of the First Officer to help the Captain in every way possible, and as an ILO Shar'El had resources unavailable to others in the same position.

"Captain Morningstar?"

"Commander Shar'El," the CO responded, looking over his shoulder to see an overly serious expression engraved on the woman's face. Shar'El was not normally joyous or bubbly, but the look on her face seemed to be just that much more serious than normal. Understanding the general idea without anything else being said, the Captain stood from his chair and made his way to his Ready Room soon to be followed by the ExO / ILO. "Lieutenant Stark, you have the bridge."

Jayson said nothing as he watched the two senior-most officers vanish into the office. His instruments showed nothing out of the ordinary about the ship or their immediate surroundings, so the Chief of Operations could only guess that this was about something else than their current situation.

=-=
Setting:  USS ANUBIS, Captain's Ready Room
Stardate: 34016.1551

"Alright, out with it," Morningstar ordered, not even bothering to make his way to the other side of his desk.

"Have you read Doctor Bruxa's latest report on the Ambassador's condition as well as her recommendations for when we reach OLTHAR PRIME?"

"I have," the Captain said with a hint of sadness in his voice. "It was my intent initial to have the Ambassador beam down to the surface. I figured it was best to have some sort of diplomatic presence to deal with Elder Emzaw giving us a little more freedom to seek out Mordana. My hope is that he is on our side and will have some way to let us know where Ya'Han and the clone are if they are not with Mordana."

"The Ambassador has not received any replies from the Elder," the ExO / ILO reported.  "Sensors have not detected anything that shows communications being blocked, so the lack of reply from him is of his own doing. We just do not have anyway to know if this is intentional or the result of external pressure by Mordana or the clone.  Without anything to work on, the IGC is trying to identify any high concentration of power usage on the planet to help us locate their cloning facility."

"That may not work," Captain Morningstar said. "I know Elan, his people and OLTHAR PRIME having visited that world before. Although the race is technologically advanced, their world enjoys a more simplistic way of life. I doubt that there is enough power being generated on the planet as a whole to maintain a cloning facility the likes of the ones we have come across so far."

"If the Lokutsaar did not establish a cloning facility on OLTHAR PRIME, than why are they there?" Shar'El wondered aloud.

"I'm not sure," Morningstar shrugged, "and to be honest, that worries me."

"As it does me now that you mention it," the ExO / ILO said. "On another note, I gather that you already know about the potential issues with Elan and his fiancée, Amber Satori."

"I know that Miss Satori was in a relationship with his uncle, but that should not have any impact on our current mission," the Captain pointed out. "We are not out here to judge others by the standards we live by. OLTHAR PRIME is not even a Federation member world, it is only a protectorate. We are heading there to capture Mordana and bring Ya'Han back, however Elan and his uncle want to deal with Amber is entirely up to them."

"While she was in the care of Admiral Koniki on NEW ALEXANDRIA, some details about her were discovered. I thought you might want to know," the ExO / ILO said handing a small PADD over to the Captain.  "This information may not have anything to do with our mission, but I know that you and Elan are friends, and I was debating letting you know this."

"Since the PADD is in my hands, my guess is that you have resolved that debate?"

"Once I reminded myself that my own personal views and opinions have no place in my role as your First officer, the decision was a simple one. What you decide to do with the information is entirely up to you.  Now, barring any surprise encounter with the Lokustaar or anyone else, we will reach orbit of OLTHAR PRIME in an hour.  With your permission, I would like to return to the IGC to monitor all aspects of our approach."

"Go ahead, I will inform Doctor Bruxa that Ambassador Bonviva and she will be part of the primary away team."

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET
M14-P029: USS ANUBIS: Stark: 34016.1710 ("Out Of The Shadows")
"Out Of The Shadows"
[previous (ANU) "The Direct Approach" / (BAS) "A Brighter Day"]

[/\]
Setting: OLTHAR PRIME, Outise the Council of Elders building 
Stardate: 34016.1710

The clone ran as fast as he could, dodging or simply jumping over obstacles as he encountered them. In another time, in another life, he could have been an Olympic athlete. His skills, strength, speed, and reflexes were genetically engineered to be the best that this physical form could handle. Up until now, he had held back displaying those heightened abilities because he needed to be acknowledged as the original Jayson Stark. Here, on OLTHAR PRIME, there was no one he needed to convince, and he found this new-found freedom quite liberating.

If only there had been another reason for him to display those skills. This had not been a way for him to show off, but rather a need born out of necessity. It was a fluke that he saw what he did, or maybe it had been providence, but whatever the reason was he now needed to tell Mordana, now. The problem was that he needed to find her first.  Since their initial meeting with Elder Emzaw, the Shadow Operative and Olthrian leader had been nowhere to be seen.

"May I help you?" Another of the Oltharian Elders asked.

Jayson cared nothing about who he was, his one and only goal being to find Mordana. "I am searching for the black-haired woman who was with us. I believe she might be with Elder Emzaw. Have you seen them?" The clone was visibly frustrated, not only by his inability to locate the woman but also by the fact that due to their height, Jayson felts like his neck would break each time he had to speak to one of them.

"I am sorry, I do not know where they are," the blue-skin giant said... calmly... politely... slowly. The entire planet seemed to operate on a completely different temporal scale. The 36-hour days were already something difficult to get used to, but this overly zen attitude was really starting to get on his nerves.

"This is urgent," the clone said, raising his voice as much as he believed it necessary to get his point across. "You do know what that word means, no? Urgent; a state of urgency; an issue requiring immediate action or attention.  In other words, I need to find Mordana or at the very least get a message to her, now!"

The Elder did not appear shocked or even troubled by the man's irritation; instead, he just leaned in a little closer and smiled. "Young man, we are all very much aware of what urgency means, what you need to understand is that what is urgent to you may not be for us. Even if we did share in your rushed need, there is nothing I can do to help you in this matter, as I do not know where Elder Emzaw or your Lady Mordana are at this time. All I know is that the Elder left instructions that he was not to be disturbed."

Jayson was ready to explode. He began to imagine the entire planet being run-over by a fleet of Lokustaar capital vessels, destroying everything in their path while the Oltharians just went about their daily lives. Maybe that would be enough to impress on them the real meaning of urgent, but the clone somehow doubted it.

"Jayson!" Ya'Han said joining the two men, the Nylaan clearly out of breath from her efforts to keep up with the running man. "Will you tell me what is going on?"

The clone did not have time to explain what he saw, he needed to find Mordana and inform her, Ya'Han and anyone else nearby would learn of this at the same time, but he could not afford to say it now and have to repeat it again. "I was told that Oltharian's cherish life, well I need to get a message to Mordana, it is a matter of life and death."

"There is no need to make such a production of this, Mr. Stark," the woman in question said as she walked out of the nearby shadows. "I am right here, so tell me, what is so urgent?"

[/\]
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge 
Stardate: 34016.1715

"We are now in geosynchronous orbit over the Oltharian Council of Elders building," the OPS Officer reported. "Still no sign of the Lokustaar in the system, but Captain, I still would like to state my objection to our dropping the ablative cloaking armor. We have no way to know for sure that those flying nightmares have not found another way to hide from us."

"A calculated risk," the Captain said. "If the Lokustaar are indeed here, this will draw them out letting us know that they have found a way to hide from us once again. This will also announce our presence to anyone on the surface, which, we hope, will cause some sort of commotion. Using said commotion, we might be able to locate Mordana that much faster, or at the very least provide Elder Emzaw with the distraction he needs to contact us."

"It could also give Mordana and that clone the chance to disappear in the shadows, bringing Ya'Han with them," Jayson said. Everyone knew the reason for his objection, and everyone understood it. This was the closest they had come to getting Ya'Han back, and this gamble could very well set them back to square one.

"A calculated risk, Lieutenant. A calculated risk," the Captain said before reaching for his communicator and opening a channel. "Bridge to Ambassador Bonviva and Doctor Bruxa, please report to Transporter Room 2 for away mission duty. We have arrived at OLTHAR PRIME and it is time for us to push back the shadows and see what comes out."

[/\]
Jayson Sousa

Lieutenant JG Jayson Stark [Access Character BIO for Jayson Stark]
Chief of Operations
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M14-P030: USS ANUBIS: Lopez: 34016.1715 ("Hurry Up and Breathe")
-=-=-
"Hurry Up and Breathe"
[Previous post: (ANU) "Out of the Shadows" & (BAS) "A Brighter Day"]
-=-=-

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Corridor
Stardate: 34016.1715

Adriana heard the Captain summoning Satella and Xana to the transporter room. That was not the problem, as the CNS knew that they were close to establishing orbit around OLTHAR PRIME, which meant that an away mission was imminent. The problem was that she had not expected the away team to beam down from Transporter Room 2, but from Transporter Room 1 instead.

That one little difference changed everything. Lopez had been there waiting to make sure she would be able to speak to the Doctor and Ambassador before they beamed down. Officially, in her role as Junior Ambassador, there was no reason for her to want to speak to either. As the Ship's Counselor though, there were several points she wanted to bring up. Now, Adriana had to quickly make her way to Transporter Room 2 if she wanted to carry out her plan.

Tripping over her feet a few times, Lopez managed to find her balance but it did not take long before she started experiencing difficulties in breathing.  

"Wow sis, you are severely out of shape," Amanda said, easily keeping up with the scrambling woman rushing down the corridors like a lunatic. Anyone seeing her coming was wise to move out of her way, everyone else was taking their own lives into their hands.

"Easy for you to say," the CNS actually said aloud, desperately trying to catch her breath between each word. "You are not running!"

"Of course I am not," the hallucination laughed. "I'm a figment of your imagination, a projection of your troubled mind, an illusion, a hallucination, remember? You were the one who called me all those things. That does give me a unique point of view on this situation, and as I said before, you are so out of shape that it is laughable. You need to stop sitting on that comfy, padded couch of yours while listening to the troubles and issues of others and hit the gym or something. Here is an idea; maybe you can ask Ya'Han to help with your training. I am sure that she could whip you back into shape in no time, that or she will just whip you into a coma. That is as soon as she is back on board that is."

"I doubt she is going to have time to deal with me," Adriana said, her breathing growing increasingly labored. "Jayson is likely not going to let her out of his sight or grasp. Sonja, on the other hand, is likely to want to kill her for what she did. Either way, I am not getting close to Ya'Han any time soon."

"You could always make it an order," Amanda suggested. "You are the Ship's Counselor after all. You could tell the Captain that you need to talk to her, evaluate her psychological state following the ordeal that she endured while away from the ANUBIS and its crew. Not only would that give you the opportunity to speak with her privately, but it could also save her from having to deal with Jayson and Sonja, at least for a little while."

"That's not such a bad idea," Adriana said to her sister rounding the last corner before reaching Transporter Room 2.

"Of course it's not a bad idea. That's why I stick around because I am the smarter one of us two."

-=-=-
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Transporter Room 2
Stardate: 34016.1720 

The door to the Transporter Room hissed open just in time to let the CNS slide in between the still parting panels. Her goal was to make it here first before anyone else, and by the looks of things she had succeeded. The only person in the room was the transporter chief who looked at her as if she was an out-of-breath creature possessing three heads, four arms, and five legs.

"Sorry," Lopes said still desperately trying to catch her breath. "I wanted to make sure that I didn't miss anyone before they beamed down."

"You made it here first," he cautiously said and left it at that.

"He probably thinks that you are completely nuts, which would not be a good thing for the Ship's Counselor to be," Amanda said but this time the twin could not voice any reply. While running through the corridors, Adriana did not have to worry about people hearing her ramblings. If they did, she could always say that she was speaking to someone on an open channel or just talking to herself.  Here, alone with the transporter chief though, those excuses would not work, so instead of replying to her sister, the sister just glared at the mental projection of her missing twin. "Don't give me that look. You and I both know that you *are* crazy, how else can you explain the fact that you see and hear your twin sister who has been missing for nearly two decades?"

The doors to the transporter room hissed opened once again, saving the CNS from having to deal with her sister and the unfortunate truth she had launched her way. Adriana did her best to steady her breathing before looking up expecting to see the Mikulak Doctor and Bolian/Human Ambassador. What she saw instead was the Oltharian colossus who stood in the opened doorway, filling most of the empty space.

"Elan? What are you doing here?" Adriana thought about what she had just asked and quickly amended her query. "I mean, I know *what* you are doing here. I was just asking as to *why*?" Realizing the way her new question sounded, the CNS decided to take a few extra seconds to breathe and put her thoughts in order.

"Doing just great there, sis. Bet he's feeling completely at ease and comfortable," Amanda teased.

"Never mind," the twin said speaking to both the hallucination and the giant. "I also know the *why*," Lopez added sounding discouraged and annoyed about herself. "I just want to make sure that you are alright."
 
-=-=-
Marissa Montonera-Lombardi

Lieutenant JG Adriana Lopez [Access Character BIO for Adriana Lopez]
Ship's Counselor & Junior Ambassador
USS ANUBIS
M14-P031: USS ANUBIS: Fairborn: 34016.1722 ("I Have A Bad Feeling About This")
##########
"I Have A Bad Feeling About This"
Previous posts (ANU) "Hurry Up and Breathe" / (BAS) "Feeling Better"
##########

"We are all masters of our own reality. To hide from the truth is not the way, not *our* way. You left OLTHAR PRIME to seek the greater truth of the universe, be it good or bad. You cannot turn your back now on all that you have discovered, regardless of how painful it may turn out to be."
- Bardef Talak Emzaw, as a vision born of another reality that appeared to Elan over a decade ago while he served onboard the USS ANUBIS as a Lieutenant and CEO

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Transporter Room 2
Stardate: 34016.1722

Elan stood there, looking down at the much smaller woman over which he towered over by more than half a meter. Yet, the over 2-meter tall Oltharian felt small, puny, and insignificant as he gazed upon the Counsellor as if she had been the giant between them. Lieutenant Lopez said that she knew why he had come here to the transporter room. Obviously, this was the reason she was the Ship's Counsellor and not him, as he had no idea why he was here.

Was it because he wanted to see the woman he had not seen or spoken to in years? Was it because he wanted to confront the love of his life with her earlier relationship with his own uncle? Was it because he needed several answers to questions old and new alike? Was it because he loved her more than he could ever express or was it because he despised her with all of his soul for making feel so betrayed?  Elan gazed at Adriana trying to formulate an answer to her last question about how he felt, and the more he tried to define his feelings, the more impossible the task became.

"Healer," the towering man said with sadness embedded in his words before adding a deep and respectful bow of his head. "I am not sure how I feel or how I should be feeling. I love her and have been thinking about her every minute of every day since the moment she fell into that coma. You claim to know why I am here, please, I beg of you, tell me. Why am I here?"

The unexpected and certainly unscheduled counseling session would take hours, if not days, and that was with Adriana being optimistic. She did not know Elan as well as she might have liked to but she knew enough to see that he was a man of feelings matching his stature. As such, any time spent figuring out those emotions would have to match.

"What are you two doing here?" Doctor Bruxa asked as she and Ambassador Bonviva stepped into the transporter room interrupting the short-lived professional moment being shared between them.

"Healer," the Oltharian immediately offered, bowing his head even further than he had done for the Counsellor. "It is an honour to be in your presence."

Satella's eyebrows shut up as far as they could before she turned to Xana who could do nothing but smile back at the stunned woman. "Oltharians you just have to love their admiration for Doctors. It's almost enough to make some people choose that particular field of work over any other."

"Elan," the Counsellor said, trying to draw the gentle giant's attention back to her by squeezing his hand with hers. For a moment Adriana was not sure that it worked for no other reason than because his hand was so much larger and bulkier than hers. Eventually, the Oltharian looked down at her. "Ambassador Bonviva and Doctor Bruxa are needed on the planet surface, we should let them go."

"None sense," Xana said firmly as she made her way to the transporter platform leaving everyone else behind. "Since you are here Elan, you will be beaming down with us. It is my wish and therefore will it will be done."

"What?" The single word reaction was even funnier when you took into consideration that this was not the stunned reply of the Chief Medical Officer or that of the Ship's Counsellor or even that of the Oltharian Robotics Expert, but of all three of them in perfect unison.

"Are you sure that's a good idea?"

"I doubt that the Captain would approve."

"What exactly would be gained by this?"

Three completely different questions all asked at the exact same time by three equally different people each with a different reason to demand some clarification. The Ambassador did not care who asked what, so she decided to answer all three as one. "In situations such as this, meaning my beaming down as a diplomatic envoy to another planet, I have full discretion as to who may accompany me. Since I strongly believe that our potential for success will be greatly increased if we all beam down together, you are hereby ordered to join me. Clearly, Doctor Bruxa is not going to allow me to go down on my own, and I tend to agree that her reasons based on my health may be ever so slightly justified. Having a Junior Ambassador by my side could prove very useful in order to create a diversion or split the attention of those who would be spying on us once we are on the planet. Finally, having the only Oltharian in Starfleet return to his home planet is sure to enlist enough attention and possible commotion to make things difficult for Mordana and the others as they try to hide in the shadows."

"What about Amber Satori?" The Counsellor asked in a half-whispered voice, trying to avoid Elan from hearing the woman's name for fear that it would exasperate his already troubled mental state.

"I am very much looking forward to meeting her," Xana replied with unbridled confidence as she motioned the other three to join her onto the transporter platform. "Now, time to go, we are wasting valuable time here, and my hourly rates are not cheap."

Seeing no easy way out of this, if there actually was one, the Doctor, Counsellor and Robotics Expert took their places on the transporter pads. With a wave of her hand, the Ambassador gave to all clear to the Transporter Chief who seconds later initialized the beam down sequence.

=====
Setting: OLTHAR PRIME, Council of Elders
Stardate: 34016.1725

Four forms materialized in the entrance hall of the Council of Elders building. Only one man was there, waiting to greet them, the stone-cold expression on his face meant that no surprise or concern was experienced at the sight of twice as many visitors as were initially expected.  As soon as the transport sequence was completed, the aged Oltharian smiled, shattering his expressionless visage before stepping forward to welcome their guests. After the first step, he suddenly paused for a moment as his gaze fell upon the tallest new arrival of the group.

"Elan? Is that really you? It is good to see you again. How have your travels to other stars been?"

"Elder, with all due respect," the Oltharian said pointing with an opened hand to the Ambassador and her immediate entourage. "We are here on official business. Could you tell us where the High Elder, my uncle, Bardef Talak Emzaw might be?"

"Alas my boy, I am unable to provide you with an answer as I have not seen him since the arrival of that dark lady who came here with two others. I fear that your uncle might be in some sort of trouble. It is not like his to ignore his duties as High Elder or any duties for that matter."

"The Captain's gamble to openly advertise our arrival and presence might not have been the wisest course of action," Xana lamented. "I am Ambassador Xana Bonviva, special Federation envoy to OLTHAR PRIME. Do you have any idea as to where this 'dark lady' or the others who came with her might be?"

"She, along with the young man, were just here a few moments ago," the aged man replied.

"Mordana and the clone," Satella clarified quickly looking around to see if they might still be around.

"Was there a woman with them?" Adriana quickly asked. "She is Humanoid in appearance with a strong physique? She likely had oddly coloured hair. Did you see her?"

"Yes, I did," the Oltharian said. "She came in after the young man came running in demanding for us to locate this Mordana person. She ended up being right there in the shadows, and the two of them were clearly less than happy at the news of the arrival of your ship."

"What about the other woman, did she react in any way to the news of our arrival?" This time it was Xana who asked the question. Was she concerned for Ya'Han or was the question meant to evaluate a potential tactical problem? No one but her knew the reason for this question.

"She was happy, although she did try to hide it," the Elder replied. "Actually, I am sure that she managed to conceal this fact from her friends, but I have lived too long, seen too much not to be able to recognize happiness when I see it. Speaking of which," the Elder continued as he focused on Elan's face. "I am just as skilled in seeing sadness, and I can see yours, my boy. It runs deep."

"I am merely concerned for my uncle's safety, Elder," Elan offered as an explanation.

"Maybe I can help," a woman said as she approached the group from the side, her musical voice as sweet as honey. On some worlds, she would have been believed to be an angel for no other reason than the enchanting sound of her voice. Her appearance did not stand against such an opinion, grace and charm filling her every steps.

Everyone quickly turned to see who had said this with the exception of Elan who instantly recognized the person the moment he heard her voice. "It is nice to see you," she continued while moving closer, ignoring everyone else but the giant who was trembling as she approached.  "Elan?" She softly, gently pleaded, reaching up to his face in order to caress his cheek. "You need to be strong Elan, for your uncle, for me, for us all," she added moving her hand from his face to rest onto the near center of his muscular chest, just over where his heart was.

=====

"As long as you are in this reality I will always be with you, here, where it counts most," the alien woman added as she pressed her hand against the man's chest where his heart was. "If it is meant to be, we will be together again, not in a dream or in a false reality, but in this one. Then you will be able to tell me about all of your adventures, all of your hardships and how you never gave up on your dreams. Be strong Elan, for us all."
- Amber Satori, as a vision born of another reality who appeared to Elan over a decade ago while he served onboard the USS ANUBIS as a Lieutenant and CEO, this after the woman had sacrificed herself to save the crew and fallen into a deep coma

--==(/\)==--
Francois Charette

Commanding Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501

AND

Lt. Commander Elan Fairborn [Access Character BIO for Elan Fairborn]
Robotics Engineering Officer
NEW ALEXANDRIA
M14-P032: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: 34016.1730 ("Feeling Lucky, Punk?")
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"Feeling Lucky, Punk?"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "I Have a Bad Feeling About This" by Francois / (BAS) "Feeling Better" by Dawn]
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Setting: USS ANUBIS, IGC
Stardate: 34016.1730

In order to defeat an opponent the likes of the Lokustaar, they needed to think like them. Plans within plans within plans were the norm for these invaders from another dimension, but luckily enough, the ExO / ILO had a great deal of experience in such things thanks to her experiences with Admiral Koniki. The head of Starfleet Intelligence and CO of the NEW ALEXANDRIA facility was a master of thinking this way, so much so that Shar'El now wondered if maybe the man did not share some genetic background with those walking nightmares. After all, they both could be rather scary when encountered alone in a shadow-filled room.

The ExO / ILO glanced down at her instruments and confirmed that the away team, comprised of Ambassador Bonviva, Doctor Bruxa, Counselor Lopez and the Oltharian had been joined by some new, someone whom Shar'El could only guess was Amber Satori based on the sensor readings and the reactions of those around the new arrival.  It seemed that Captain Morningstar had learned quite a bit and was now thinking more along the lines of the Admiral and their common enemy.  The 'calculated risk' stated to Lt. Stark was in fact only the tip of the iceberg as the plan devised by their CO ran much deeper than what he had explained. So far, everything was going according to plan, all of them.

"Commander," one of the IGC techs said calling the ExO / ILO's attention to him. "You were right, someone his using the underground passageways leading to the underground ruins."

"Feels good to be back in control," Shar'El said to herself. Since the conflict against the Shadows had begun, the ANUBIS was been playing an endless game of 'follow the leader', forcing them to be several steps back and on the defensive. Now that their vessel could no longer hide, the Lokustaar had withdrawn giving everyone else the opportunity to finally be in control of things.  With a touch of her finger, the ExO / ILO opened a communication channel. "IGC to Captain Morningstar."

=/\= Go ahead Commander. =/\=

"Captain, you were right; someone is using the passageways to the underground ruins. That would likely explain why the High Elder was unable to communicate with Xana, as Mordana needed him to unlock all of the sealed gates. In some ways, this is good news as it means that she needs him alive and well."

=/\= Never thought that my earlier visits to this planet would be of such use, but I am happy to take any advantage we can get our hands on, =/\= Morningstar said. =/\= You know what to do. =/\=

"Understood, Captain," Shar'El acknowledged before closing the channel and opening a new one right after. "Commander Shar'El to Lieutenant Stark."

=/\= Yes Commander? =/\=

"Are you up for an away mission? One meant to get Ya'Han back?"

=/\= Absolutely, did you actually need to ask? =/\=

"Good, you can report to Transporter Room 1. We will be heading to the Oltharian underground ruins but I want to make one thing clear before we beam down, our *primary* objective is to..."

=/\= Capture Mordana, =/\= the Chief of Operations said knowing exactly what the ExO / ILO was going to say next. Jayson understood that his relationship with Ya'Han could make things difficult, but he also fully comprehended the importance to take the Shadow Operative out of the equation. The tides of war had shifted, but the war itself was far from over. =/\= Commander, since we are setting the record straight, can I ask you a question? =/\=

"Of course Lieutenant," the ExO / ILO said suspecting that she already knew what he was going to ask.

=/\= What about the clone? =/\= Jayson asked sounding almost nervous. =/\= I mean, what is our objective in regards to him? =/\=

Shar'El smiled, not that Jayson could see it. This had to be an awkward situation for the man, one that she did not envy him in the least. The clone had been created to replace him in order to get a foothold into the crew of the ANUBIS and possibly even the entire NEW ALEXANDRIA organization, instead, they ended up using him, through Ya'Ha, to infiltrate *their* side. In order to do this, the Chief of Security had to get a lot closer to the clone than she likely wanted to, and the real Jayson was doing his best to not think about that particular aspect. What he wanted though was to put an end to this whole affair, once and for all.  "As much as I suspect Doctor Bruxa and Lt. Commander Maya would love to get their hands on him, your clone is not a primary target; in fact, he is not a target at all. Our objective is to capture Mordana, and if everything goes well, to bring Ya'Han back safe and sound."

=/\= Thank you, Commander. I will see you in the Transporter Room shortly. =/\=

=-=
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Transporter Room 1
Stardate: 34016.1735

The ExO / ILO entered to find the Chief of Operations and the Chief Science Officer already on the platform, waiting.  "Lt. Commander Maya, why are you here?"

"I heard that you are heading down to the underground ruins," Maya sounded like a child looking forward to heading out to a candy store or amusement park. "Those ruins have been sealed for centuries and to even simply be able to see them is an opportunity that I simply could not let pass by. The architecture is said to be truly amazing, showing the steps leading to the Oltharian's current way of life. Did you know that, according to some scholars, the Oltharian civilization was actually divided amongst several dozen Circles? Over time, some began to absorb others leading to the last two we know today. Now, before you dismiss this as being nothing more than my giving in to my scientific curiosity, let me remind you that those ruins were said to be sealed to protect them from the outside world just as much as o protect the outside world from the secrets they hold. You need me to be on this away team unless you can think of someone with more skills and knowledge in this particular domain."

Shar'El shook her head. Fighting against Maya on anything dealing with science would be a futile and complete waste of time, and in all honesty, her argument made perfect sense. Having her with them would be a great advantage in more ways than one.  "Alright," the ExO / ILO said as she joined the other two on the transporter platform. "Energize when ready."

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET
M14-P033: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han: 34016.1745 ("Controlling Feelings")
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"Controlling Feelings"
[previous post were (ANU) "Feeling Lucky, Punk?" / (BAS) "Feeling Better"]
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]

Setting: OLTHAR PRIME, Underground Ruins
Stardate: 34016.1745

After everything she had gone through following her departure from the ANUBIS, this was the last place she expected to end up. The gigantic underground ruins that surrounded them on all sides looked ancient as if they were plucked from a distant past to be dropped here where no one could see or touch them. As she not known better, Ya'Han would have sworn that this was nothing more than a dream thanks to the surreal feeling of the place. As they walked through the latest opened gateway, the Sec/Tac studied it for a few seconds, puzzled by the sheer size of the barrier. The High Elder had complied with Mordana's request to have the gates unlocked, but the leader of the Oltharian people had done so with increased reluctance and without saying a single word, thus keeping the mystery of these gates intact.

It could have been guessed that the sealed passageways were meant to keep people out, not that any reason had been provided for this, but the undercover Sec/Tac suspected that there was another, more sinister reason. The gates were too massive and secured to be meant to do nothing more than to keep the would-be curious at bay. As far as Ya'Han was concerned, those barriers had been there to keep something inside. Now, maybe this was exactly why Mordana had come here in the first place, seeking this sealed darkness in search of an ally in these troubled times. Maybe, just maybe, they had descended into these ruins in search of some ancient Lokustaar spirit or weapon left behind for it to be called upon when the time was right.  Whatever the reason or reasons were for them being here, the Nylaan did not find any joy in walking down these ancient streets. Despite that, she could not help but think of a specific someone who would have been thrilled to be where she was now. Having Maya here next to her might have made this journey into the civilization's past a little less troubling.

"Open this gate," Mordana commanded through clenched teeth, taking hold of the old Oltharian's wrist and tossing him forward against the sealed barrier as if the towering man was but a fraction of his actual size. The usually calm and icy woman was visibly on edge, a sight that clearly troubled the clone of Jayson Stark who knew that the emotional display was out of place. The Lokustaar as a whole did not subscribe to feelings or displaying emotions themselves, instead, they used them as a tool to be used again others. The ability to create fear that would lead to impatience and frustration was a powerful asset, but to see one of their own displaying these traits was certainly not part of their plan.

Despite the dark woman's rapidly growing frustration, the Elder remained in control of his emotions and feelings. It was easy to imagine that the older man had seen his fair share of sunrises and sunsets, granting him the wisdom accumulated over time.  One thing was certain though, his age did not in the least reflect on his physical body, as he appeared to be anything but feeble or weak. That strength allowed him to withstand the abuse he was being subjected to by Mordana, denying her the satisfaction of seeing him be beaten or broken.

With a knee down on the rocky ground, the Oltharian slowly turned to look up at the woman who had just put him there. "I will not open this gate," he calmly said, his defiance evident in his posture more than his words. The fact that he remained polite reminded the Sec/Tac of Elan who always projected an aura of peace no matter the situation. Just like his nephew, the uncle presented himself as a rock that could not be changed as he looked up at Mordana.  "You have already gone too far and I will not help you go any further. You can kill me if you so desire, but doing so will ensure that those gates remain sealed keeping the darkness you seek out of your reach. I have allowed you to come this far to save my people from your darkness, but you will go no further."

"You believe yourself to be more important than you are, old man," Mordana shut back, the venomous tone of her voice cutting through the still air like an icy dagger. "The power to open these gates is bestowed upon the Elder in charge of the Religious Circle because, as far as you want everyone else to believe you all to be, the reality is that the Circles do not trust each other. If the Scientific Circle had access to these ruins, you fear that they would rush down here and ransack these ruins to satiate their curiosity, risking to free what it is that you are keeping hidden down here. The moment you became High Elder, the role to protect these ancient ruins was no longer yours." The Shadow Operative smiled as she drew closer to the still kneeling man. "You kept the knowledge of how to open these sacred gates out of pride, but you are not the only one who possesses it."

"Hello old friend," a voice said as a figure emerged from the shadows stunning everyone into complete and absolute silence.

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Hanali Han

Lieutenant JG Ya'Han [Access Character BIO for Ya'Han]
Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M14-P034: USS ANUBIS: Bruxa: 34016.1730 ("Overwhelming Feelings")
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"Overwhelming Feelings"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Controlling Feelings" / (BAS) "Feeling Better"]
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Setting: OLTHAR PRIME, Council of Elders, Entrance Hall
Stardate: 34016.1730

"Wow!" The lips moved ever so slowly, so much so that no sounds were made. Satella was beyond speechless. Once Elan knew of the woman's condition, the CMO looked into the medial reports. They stated that Miss Satori had woken from her coma although no reasons were given. No information was available on the woman' be it past or present. All that appeared in the report was that she was awake. Bruxa figured that this was due to the patient's rushed transfer from NEW ALEXANDRIA to OLTHAR PRIME.  Without any actual data, the Doctor was forced to look elsewhere for information.

Using the Oltharian's behavior and reaction in the Black Hole Lounge, the CMO had easily gathered that Amber and Elan had been close before the accident. All of that had not prepared the physician for the appearance of the woman though. She was gorgeous, and this by the greater majority of humanoid standards. The Orion slave market would likely be expecting a small moon for her. A Ferengi would most certainly be willing to pay several times his weight in latinum for her.

"Now, now, Doctor," Xana whispered as she gently nudged the physician. "Behave." Obviously Satella had done something to warrant this reaction, not that she could recall. Right now, all that the CMO could do was to compare the two halves of this odd couple.  Compared to Elan, Amber was petite, almost fragile looking. That said, there was no mistaking the power that she held over him. As imposing as the Oltharian was with his 7'6", the 5'6" woman was clearly the one in charge.

Everyone just stood there, silently watching the touching reunion. Satella could only guess as to what the others were thinking. As for the CMO, all she was trying to figure out was how the two could have met and fallen for one another. What unstoppable force of nature had intervened to bring these two together?

It was Adriana who broke the silence that had taken over the group. "Elan, why did you not tell us that Amber was so pretty?"

"See!" Satella fired at Xana while pointing at the CNS. Clearly, the CMO had not been the only one affected by the woman's charms. At least that was the story Doctor Bruxa would stick to from this point on. Whatever magic was at play here, the Doctor was not the only one under the spell.

Amber smiled and caressed the Oltharian's cheek. "Elan was never one to boast about anything." She looked into his white eyes with such love that they all could feel it. The woman's feelings for the man brighten the room like a supernova. Satella was sure that there had to be some sort of pheromones at play here. How else could she explain the way they felt or reacted? Never before in her life had she experience such an overwhelming sensation. Therefore, there had to be some sort of external explanation to account for it. Any other explanation was unthinkable. The CMO could have reached for her tricorder to confirm this. She could have had she not been so completely mesmerized by the woman.

"You said that you might be able to help us. It is imperative that we find Mordana as quickly as possible. One of our officers, not to mention Elder Emzaw, could be in grave danger. Their very lives could be at stake." The Ambassador said either immune to the siren's charms or too focused on their mission to be affected. Whichever it was, it allowed Xana to get them back on track, something that everyone else was thankful for.

The woman with the flowing auburn hair gracefully nodded her head. The face-on sight of her emerald eyes nearly knocked the CMO back a few steps. What was it about her that was so powerful and overwhelming?  There were Terran legends of women possessing unnatural beauty. The names of Aphrodite, Helen of Troy and Cleopatra came to mind only to name a few. On MIKULA PRIME there was only one such legend. The woman was known as Eyja and her beauty was said to be able to stop the heavens. As a child, Satella never believed such stories, but today she became a believer.

"I can help," the woman confirmed while lovingly looking up at the giant standing next to her. "Mordana took Bardef into the ancient underground ruins. She needed him to open the sealed gates." Satori explained.

"Wait, what? Sealed gates? Ancient underground ruins?" The CMO was more than a little concerned at the sound of this. What fresh nightmare had they all beamed down into?

Adriana rolled her eyes. "Of course there would be sealed gates to ancient underground ruins. Why else have an angel greet us if we were not meant to descend into hell itself?"

The Ambassador dismissed her junior assistant's last statement. "The term hell might be a little overly dramatic." Looking straight at Amber, Xana continued. "Do you have any ideas as to why Mordana has ventured into these ruins?"

Elan offered an answer. "Legends speak of a great darkness that was sealed in the ancient city thousands of years ago. Huge gates were said to have been placed throughout the city to protect it and us. To keep this evil confined inside the ruins, the head of the Religious Circle was entrusted with the only way to open those gates." Elan paused as he thought of his uncle and the danger he was in.  "My uncle was that man before becoming High Elder. My guess is that Mordana knew that he would still be able to open them for her."

"Would your uncle actually do this? Would he help her release this 'great darkness'?" Xana felt a chill go down her spine as she asked this.

Amber jumped in to answer. "Bardef may be a great many things, but he is no fool. He was charged with protecting the ruins, and that is exactly what he will do. Even if it ends up costing him his life. He probably took Mordana down with the hopes of trapping her there as well."

"We can't let that happen." Adriana was not going to allow that to happen. She could see that Elan did not want to lose his uncle, and the CMO knew that Jayson would never accept Ya'Han to be sacrificed. Whatever darkness was in those ruins, they would face it if it meant bringing everyone back to safety.

"How do we get to these ancient underground ruins?" Satella asked. The decision was made as far as she was concerned. Judging by the expression on Xana and Adriana, everyone was in agreement.

Amber took a moment to look up at the towering man next to her. "Are you sure you want this?" The Oltharian did not hesitate for a second and nodded his agreement.  "Very well, follow me."

=-=
Rachel Jackie Johnson

Lieutenant JG Satella Bruxa [Access Character BIO for Satella Bruxa]
Chief Medical Officer
USS ANUBIS

[Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint. - Mark Twain]
M14-P035: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: 34016.1745 ("Feeling Trapped")
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"Feeling Trapped"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Overwhelming Feelings" by Rachel / (BAS) "Feels Like Home" by Jessica]
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Setting: OLTHAR PRIME, Entrance Gate to the Underground Ruins
Stardate: 34016.1745

The moment the transporter sequence was completed, Jayson started frantically looking around, his hand resting on his side arm ready to draw it at the first sign of trouble.  "Commander? Why are we here? I mean, why did we not beam down right next to Ya'Han and the others?"

"The reason for that is quite simple, Lieutenant," Maya started which meant that a long-winded explanation was soon to follow. "Although the Oltharians appear as being almost without advanced technologically, they are in fact in possession of quite a remarkable range of sophisticated equipment. The gates, like the one in front of us, are according to historical records I was able to access before joining the away team, placed at the entrances and throughout these ruins to ensure that locals and strangers alike would not be able to just walk in and wonder around. Even if they somehow managed to find a way around the first gate, there are said to be hundreds more scattered through the vast ruins transforming the city into an impossible maze. As for transporting deeper into the city, the entire cave system that we are about to enter is protected by several very powerful energy dispersion fields making it impossible for sensors to scan the inside of the ruins or for any type of matter-to-energy transport to take place. Due to the strength and frequencies of these energy fields, it is very likely that our communicators, as well as most of our more advance technology including your phaser Lieutenant, will not be operational for as long as we remain within these ruins. It is also the reason why smaller crafts, such as a shuttle, cannot be used here either as they would be impossible to fly and end up crashing a few meters in.  I will say that it is truly a shame that our technology is not operational as I was hoping to get some detailed tricorder readings of the markings said to be found throughout the ancient city. Did you know that according to the Oltharian archives, this place once stood as the main capital of their world some two thousand years ago? Thanks to the gates and energy dampening field, the structures have remained undisturbed making them an archeologist's dream come true. They are not a bad thing for a scientist like myself either. I believe that I could spend several years here discovering something new every day."

"Unfortunately, we do not have that kind of time," Shar'El reminded Maya. "We are here to find Mordana and escort her back, hopefully before she and that clone of hers make life impossible for the High Elder, Ya'Han and the rest of the galaxy. Now if you would be so kind as to open these gates, we can get moving and start searching for them," the Ullian said to the Shillian, inviting her to do a little less talking and a lot more figuring and unlocking.

=-=
Setting: OLTHAR PRIME, Entrance Gate to the Underground Ruins
Stardate: 34016.1755

Ya'Han could not believe what she was seeing, at least that was until she glanced at the man standing next to her and remembered what he way. Somehow, Mordana had managed to create a clone of the High Elder, a clone that was now approaching his kneeling counterpart.  "You do not seem happy to see me, old friend."

"Whatever trickery you are up to will not work," the Oltharian said in quiet defiance, refusing to acknowledge what his eyes had just seen and his ears had heard. The man might appear very much like him and even sound exactly like him, but there was no way that the doppelganger could *be* him.

"Ya'Han," Mordana said inviting the Nylaan to come closer. "Care to inform our guest as to just how good our clones are?"

The woman with the mixed-colored hair glanced back at the clone she was often forgetting was just that before looking at the kneeling High Elder, an undignified position that allowed her to face him more directly. "The man behind me is a clone of Jayson Stark possessing all of his knowledge, memories, insights and even his deepest and most secret feelings. If the same technology was used to create this clone as was used for Jayson's, I can assure you that your clone possesses your complete knowledge."

As if wanting to prove this point, the clone of the High Elder moved closer and placed his hand on one of the panels set on the massive gate. After closing his eye for a few seconds, the clone mumbled a few words in the ancient tongue before the gate unlocked and opened.

"You see," Mordana said looking at the kneeling man as a purely evil smile danced on her lips. "You are not as important to us as you might have wanted to believe. In fact, we no longer require your assistance," before the last syllable was said, the black woman unleash such a powerful backhand strike against the Oltharian that he found himself flying through the air to land against the wall of a nearby building. "I needed you before to make sure that the clone knew exactly what was required to open these gates. Your plan to trap us here in these ruins will be your last and final mistake.  I was afraid that the knowledge to open these gates was too deeply encoded into your mind to be properly copied, but I knew that your clone would be more than capable of learning what he needed by simply watching you."

A look of utter terror could be seen on the Oltharian's face. His plan had failed and now the darkness kept sealed within these ruins would soon be released by his own actions. The High Elder gave the Nylaan a short but powerful look, one that pleaded for her to help in whatever way she could. Ya'Han felt trapped, caught between her mission and what she believed to be the right thing.  As Mordana steadily approached the injured Oltharian, the ANUBIS' Chief of Security made a choice.

Rushing in to get in between Bardef and Mordana, Ya'Han positioned herself to block the strike that would have most certainly ended the Oltharian's life. As strong as the Nylaan was, it took everything she had to deflect the blow saving them both, this time.

"You foolish girl," Mordana hissed at the bright-red haired woman before her. "Do you truly believe that saving this man's life will change anything? You have already lost, you just don't understand how yet. At least now that you have shown yourself to be person I knew you to be from the start, Jayson's clone will no longer feel trapped by the feelings he has for you. You as well as those of your ship are amongst the walking dead and your end will come sooner than you could have realized. Jayson! Come!"

Ya'Han watched as Mordana and the two clones made their way through the recently opened gate.  As much as she needed to maintain her cover, the Chief of Security could not allow Bardef to pay with his life in order for her to continue. All she could do was hope that her decision would prove to be the right one in the end.

=-=
Setting: OLTHAR PRIME, Entrance Gate to the Underground Ruins
Stardate: 34016.1815

"With all due respect Commander, anytime would be a good time," Jayson said the Maya growing increasingly impatient and frustrated at their lack of progress. Since their arrival the Chief Science Officer had tried everything she could think of but to no avail, the gate would not open.

"I am sorry Commander," Maya said looking at the ExO / ILO. "Whatever is being used to keep these gates sealed is beyond my understanding or ability to undo. I fear that it may be impossible for us to get through."

"You might have spoken too soon," Shar'El said as she noticed that the gate was opening. Seconds later she noticed the injured High Elder being carried by a struggling Nylaan woman.

"YA'HAN!" Jayson was both thrilled to see her and horrified that she might have been injured.

"Are you alright?" Maya asked, finally having found something more needing of her attention.

"Mordana is heading deeper into the ruins, and she has a clone of the High Elder to help her get there," Ya'Han replied while smiling at the man who was lovingly holding her face into his hands.

"The fault is mine," Bardef said. "I should never have brought her down here. She tricked me and now we are all in danger."

"She is an expert at tricking people and putting them in danger, either one after the other or at the same time," Jayson said looking deeply into his beloved's eyes. "Are you alright? Can you make it back to the ship?"

"We cannot go back," Ya'Han exclaimed. "We have to go after Mordana and stop her. Bardef is hurt and I was hoping to find a safe place for him to wait, but I have to go back."

"Fine," the ExO / ILO said motioning for Maya to come closer. "Take the High Elder back to the Council building and see that he is attended to. Once that is done, inform Captain Morningstar of what happened down here. We are heading into the ruins."

"You cannot go in, at least not without me," Bardef said.  "Mordana has my clone to open the gates; you need me to do the same. Without my help there is no way you will be able to reach her in time."

"Great," Shar'El sighed. "There is nothing like being trapped with no real options out. Fine, Maya, looks like you are taken on the role of medical Officer for the time being. Let's move out."

=-=
Setting: OLTHAR PRIME, Underground Ruins
Stardate: 34016.1820

When the first gate was opened, no one paid any attention to it thinking that it might have been left that way by those who had come before. By the time the second and third gate were just as easily opened, the questions became impossible to hold back.

"How are you managing to open these gates Amber?" Xana inquired.  "I thought Elan said that only the head of the Religious Circle could unlock them."

"The knowledge is passed from Circle leader to the next," the auburn haired woman explained. "Like an old magician passing on his tricks and knowledge to a younger apprentice. The ability to unlock these gates does not vanish once it is passed on or if it is not used for some time. I just happen to possess that knowledge."

The explanation made perfect sense, especially when taking into account that the woman had been in a relationship with Bardef who was the head of the Religious Circle before he became High Elder.  As much as it made sense though, the implication of her answer did not seem to sit all that well with the Oltharian in the group.  Counselor Lopez reached out and touched the giant's arm, silently offering support but Elan simply smiled and continued on their quest. There would be time enough for everything to be looked at, but only after his uncle and Ya'Han were found safe and sound.

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET
M14-P036: USS ANUBIS: Fairborn: 34016.1830 ("Feelings of Long Ago")
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"Feelings of Long Ago"
Previous posts (ANU) "Feeling Trapped" / (BAS) "Feels Like Home"
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"Keep an eye on the past and one on the future. Both may offer surprisingly unexpected glimpses into the present."
- Oltharian Belief

=====
Setting: OLTHAR PRIME, Ancient Underground Ruins
Stardate: 34016.1830

Due to her unexpected ability to unlock the numerous sealed gates that stood in their way, Amber was in the lead of the group closely followed by Elan. The Ambassador, Doctor, and Counsellor were not far behind, keeping a very close watch on both the couple in front as well as the buildings and structures to either side.

The earlier explanation given by Amber, that she had obtained the knowledge of how to open these gates had made perfect sense then. The more the Oltharian thoughts about it though, the more he found himself questioning the validity of her words. Accepting the fact that his uncle and her had been in a relationship together, the once Religious Circle hopeful could not accept that Bardef would have shared this sacred knowledge with someone from another world, no matter how charming she was. Elan had studied everything pertaining to the ways and beliefs of that particular circle, unofficially taking every test he could in order to prove to his parents and uncle that this is where he belonged.

At the time, Bardef had done everything he could to help the young Oltharian achieve his goal even if it went against his parents' wishes.  In the end, though, it changed nothing as Elan failed one of the most important tests required of all who wished to become part of the Klaj~Ra'Shall, the elite warriors of the Religious Circle. All Oltharians held to the highest possible level the sanctity of life in all of its forms, but in order to protect life, it was sometimes required for blood to be shed.  To take one life to save hundreds was a difficult choice to make and an even more demanding task to perform, but that was what those of the Klaj~Ra'Shall were meant to do. After the 'Healers' of their world, the Warrior Priests as they were often referred to were the ones most revered.

Despite his failure, Elan cherished all of the knowledge he accumulated during his studies and even continued his research after joining the Academy of the Scientific Circle. Maybe it was because of this ability to look upon the universe from the perspectives of both Circles that drove Elan to venture off-world. Maybe it was because he could not bear to be so close to the people he had so desperately wanted to be with only to fail. Whatever reason had driven him to ask the Captain of the USS ARMSTRONG permission to board in order to be taken to EARTH, the Oltharian knew this; Amber had not been on OLTHAR PRIME when he left nor had she been there when his uncle was elevated to the position of head of the Religious Circle.  Elan knew this for an indisputable fact as both she and he were together at the time while aboard the USS DISCOVERY* on its maiden voyage and the young Oltharian's first tour of duty as an Ensign.

From that point on, Amber never left the ship so there was no way for her to have obtained the knowledge she claimed to have from his uncle. This could only mean one thing; she was lying, but why? What possible reasons could she have to hide the source of this knowledge? Was it to protect someone beyond herself or was there another, more sinister reason?

"What is that?!?" Counsellor Lopez gasped as they walked by a wall that had suddenly come to life with images like some sort of living mural.

"I heard about these," Elan said, welcoming the opportunity to think about something other than Amber's deception. "It was said that the old capital used holographic murals to display events from our past. It was strongly believed, as it is still today, that we must always remember our past in order to better understand the present and prepare for what is to come.  When the capital was moved to where it currently sits, these types of murals were brought indoors to be enjoyed in a more official setting."

"Your people are full of surprises," Doctor Bruxa said, studying the mural with great interest. "It is almost a shame that Maya is not here."

"More of a blessing I would say," the Ambassador countered with. Although she did not know the Chief Science Officer as well as the others, Xana knew enough about Maya to understand that having her here at this time would only serve to delay, if not completely stop, their progress.  Just as she was ready to usher the group back on track, the Bolian/Human hybrid noticed something strange about the images being displayed. The short video was on a repeating loop that lasted no more than a dozen seconds; this allowed her to focus on one specific aspect of the historical account.  "Elan, what is this scene about?"

The Oltharian gave the living mural a thorough look before answering. "This was the day when the people finally agreed that there would only be two Circles, the Religious and Scientific. Why?"

The Ambassador dismissed the giant's question and followed up with one of her own. "Tell me, is this a recreation of the event? Some sort of computer-generated image?"

"No," Elan quickly replied. "It was believed that such events needed to be shared as they happened, so nothing was changed. At times the recordings were not as clear as they could have been, but that never stopped them from being displayed as they were. What you see here is how it actually happened, down to the smallest detail."

"Where did this technology come from?" the Counsellor asked. "Did your ancestors trade with other, more advanced races?"

"They did not," the gentle giant offered. "Long before the events portrayed by this mural, my people decided on living a much simpler way of life. The Scientific Circle had developed a great many things, but it was always the general belief that these advancements were to be used to improve and assist our way of life, not to replace it. It would have been impossible for us to cherish life the way we did if our own daily lives became nothing more than using technology to accomplish the simplest of tasks."

"So your people never dealt with an outsider to your world?" The Ambassador was clearly trying to clarify something without explaining what it was.

"Our first contact with another race was when the Federation's USS ARMSTONG made first-contact. We welcomed them and they, in turn, welcomed me as the first of my kind to travel to EARTH and eventually join Starfleet."

"I am impressed," the Doctor said while gazing into the mural and feeling as if she had actually been there.  "You are from a very interesting race, Elan."

"Thank you, Healer," the Oltharian offered as he performed a deep bow of reverence. "I hope that I will be able to pass on your praises to my people once we have captured Mordana."

"Speaking of which, we should keep going," Amber said as she stood where the latest sealed gate had been only moments prior.  Everyone agreed and followed, but Ambassador Bonviva took a few extra seconds, studying one particular detail of the living mural she had noticed. Amongst the gathered Oltharian there to celebrate the historic event, the recording clearly showed a much smaller form, one that appeared to be of someone from another world. The image was too small to allow the individual to be identified or even to guess as to what race they belonged to, but it was impossible to deny that a non-Oltharian had been there amongst them at a time when, according to Elan, no outsiders should have been present.

*Disclaimer - The USS DISCOVERY was an RPG unit of the Federation Role Playing Game long before the show was produced. The mention of this ship in this post refers to the FRPG intellectual property and not the TV series, its crew, characters, actors or anything pertaining directly or indirectly to the show. 

--==(/\)==--
Francois Charette

Commanding Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501

AND

Lt. Commander Elan Fairborn [Access Character BIO for Elan Fairborn]
Robotics Engineering Officer
NEW ALEXANDRIA
M14-P037: USS ANUBIS: Bonviva: 34016.1900 ("Other Duties As Assigned")
=/\=
"Other Duties As Assigned"
Previous posts (ANU) "Feelings of Long Ago" / (BAS) "Feels Like Home"

=/\=
"Charisma is the fancy name given to the knack of giving people your full attention." 
--Robert Brault

=/\=
Setting: OLTHAR PRIME, Ancient Underground Ruins
Stardate: 34016.1900
 
Ambassadors were a strange lot.  Very few people every woke up and said, “I want to be a Jill of All Trades, Mistress of None while repping the Federation”.  Xana certainly did not; yet she loved this position more than any other she had.  No, the people who did it were usually plucked from other areas and groomed to be an Ambassador, learning what they needed along the way.  However, what you started out your career in formed that basis of your Ambassadorial career.  The Ambassadorial Corp used those variety of backgrounds to their benefits; they had Ambassadors from every background imaginable, and some not even discussed.
 
Xana Bonviva, during her stint in Starfleet, had made her way through a variety of positions but started out in Station Security.  It was ingrained in her; some part of her still thought like that.  Despite the fact that she was an Ambassador longer than she had been Security Chief she still used that Security training.  She watched, she observed, and her mind cataloged.  Amber Satori was making her nervous; and yet, logically Xana couldn’t say why.  Hanging back from the crowd she watched the woman.  
 
As Xana questioned Elan Fairborn about the murals, something she was interested in multiple levels she tried to steal glances at Amber.  She really didn’t like ignoring her gut; she also didn’t want to her potential last moments to be seen as an illogical crazy woman. 
 
Damn competing priorities.
 
“Ambassador?  Are you okay?” Amber asked in a lovely gentle, clear voice.
 
Damn it, she had been hanging back too long.  “I’m sorry we’re leaving this area,” she improvised.  It was a partial truth; in another time she’d love to stay here and learn more about the Otharian history and culture.  Her travels had never taken her here and part of her own interests were religion and other cultures; in non-threatening ways.  
 
Amber slightly tilted her head to the side.  “I’m not sure we have time.  We need to keep moving.”
 
“What’s the rush?” Xana asked.  Satella’s words replaying in her mind, that *something* was up with Amber and her own instincts were on red alert, Xana decided to push her (gently) to see how she’d react.
 
Amber Satori stood straight, as if isoliner rods lined her spine from navel to skull, and her eyes locked with the Ambassador, trying to take measure of the woman hanging out at the back of the group.  Trying again, she smiled, “We need to move on--”
 
Over the years, Xana had learned a velvet touch (as much as she had one) worked better.  Still she could wield a verbal bat’leth when needed.  Lifting up her chin she said with a smile, “I am the only Bolian Daughter of Serendipity and Design, one of the highest religious honors of my planet.  I am a Federation Ambassador, and as such I am a counselor to the Federation President and Federation Council on intergalactic politics, along with the fun “other duties as assigned”.  I have been personally tasked by Starfleet, the Federation Ambassadorial Corp, and the Federation President with ensuring that we meet a successful end.  So if I want to spend 5 minutes talking about the murals, then we spend 5 minutes on the murals.”
 
Amber Satori moved from where she was over by the latest sealed gate and on light feet gracefully moved to where Xana was.  Placing an arm on the Ambassador, the 5’6” woman looked up with a light in her eyes and said, “My sincerest apologies, Ambassador.  It was presumptuous of me to move us forward without consulting you.”  She paused a moment before saying, “Our thoughts on the murals were that they were academic but given your experiences it maybe there is more here.  Please let us know what else you need from me...or us--”

As the woman spoke, Xana felt her worries gently float away, like dust disappearing into the sunlight.  Although the azure woman was half a foot taller, Xana found herself leaning into to catch what she was saying, as Amber’s voice went from strong and firm to slowly drifting down into a warm blanket.  For a moment, Xana forgot she was in an underground ruin...

“So as a Junior Ambassador, I think what I should take from this study is that first contact is never planned,” Adriana mused as she came back over to the mural.

Satella also flanked the Ambassador.  “Keep the toe work up, Xana,” she ordered softly.  

Contact broken, Amber continued smiling, although the light dimmed a little less behind her eyes.  “Take all the time you want, Ambassador,” she said kindly.

As Amber drifted back over to Elan, Satella leaned over to Xana.  “I *told* you something was up with her.”

“Yes, you did,” Xana confirmed as she stared at the mural.  “And I agree.”

Adriana looked at the mural.  “Wait?  Something is wrong with Amber?” she whispered.

“Not wrong, but definitely up,” Satella whispered back.  “Are we really looking at the mural?”

Xana studied the mural, frowning as she studied it.  “Actually, that wasn’t a lie.  I keep seeing something that I shouldn’t.”

Satella was about snort and say something about it being a distraction and she should listen to her when she saw something on the corner of the screen.  “I just saw it too,” she muttered.  

Adriana turned to Elan and Amber; she didn’t have the same distrust of Amber that Satella and Xana now had.  On the other hand, she knew what she saw.  “Elan,” Adriana said carefully to address her colleague as she turned around.  

“Healer,” Elan replied.

The Counselor/Junior Ambassador, juggling both roles, was careful to thread her words.  “This is the scene when the people agreed there would only be Religious and Scientific Circles, and it was shared as it happened.”

“That is an accurate summation,” Elan nodded.  

Amber stood straight but watched Adriana now.  Adriana kept eye contact with Elan as she continued on.  “Elan, who is this person that Ambassador Bonviva and Dr. Bruxa are studying?  To my eye, that person is not Otharian and yet if I understand your history, it’s before Otharian First Contact,” Adriana asked. 

“It’s not important,” Amber said dismissively.

Xana turned around, raising an eyebrow.  “Adriana Lopez is the Junior Ambassador, with all the rights and privileges.  You’ll be answering to her.  Who is that person?”

=/\=
Sarah Albertini-Bond

USS ANUBIS NCC 18501
M14-P038: USS ANUBIS: Stark: 34016.1900 ("Looking Forward, Looking Back")
"Looking Forward, Looking Back"
[previous (ANU) "Other Duties as Assigned" / (BAS) "Imperfect Perfection"]

[/\]
Setting: OLTHAR PRIME, Underground Ruins (Team 2)
Stardate: 34016.1900

He did not like this. Ya'Han was back, in his arms, and all he wanted was to take her back to the ANUBIS. The others could deal with Mordana and her clone lackeys; he wanted to take care of his beloved. That said, he never could say no to her, no matter what it was about. If she wanted to go after that woman, then he would, without hesitation or second thought.

"You know, I am quite capable of walking on my own," Ya'Han whispered to the man holding onto her arm, supporting her every step.

"I am not letting you go," he replied. The line might have come across as corny, but he didn't care. This was how he felt and there was nothing that would make him let go.  "I am just too happy to have you back safe and sound."

"You might be the only one that will feel that way," Ya'Han said recalling the events that took place prior to her taking on the undercover mission. "I fear that others, such as Sonja, will not be in the least bit happy to see me. I had to do what I did to convince Jayson that I was on his side, and I had to do it all as convincingly as possible to not raise Mordana's suspicions, which did not entirely work. She never fully trusted me kept me at arm's length the whole time."

"You had to do what you did to trick that clone," the OPS Officer said, not enjoying hearing her refer to his copy by his name. He was Jayson Stark, not that unnatural copy. Looking at the woman by his side, he wondered for a very brief moment if she had used his name by mistake or if, maybe, she had actually begun to acknowledge the clone to be him.  It was not uncommon for a hostage to develop feelings for their captor and even though Ya'Han had not been held against her will, the situation could not have been easy requiring her to seek out some sort of comforting presence wherever she could find it.  "No matter what happened, you have nothing to worry about, I am here now and I will not let you go, no matter what happens."

[/\]
Setting: OLTHAR PRIME, Underground Ruins (Shadow Team)
Stardate: 34016.1900

Thanks to the clone of the High Elder, they were making their way through the ancient ruins with ease. It was unlikely that anyone would be following as the gates were being closed behind them as they progressed, but yet the clone of Jayson Stark kept looking back over his shoulder.

"Keep up!" Mordana was not in the mood to wait or waste time, she had a specific objective in mind and nothing was going to get in her way. Jayson could tell that she was beyond pleased to have left the Nylaan behind, considering her to be nothing more than dead weight, especially since she never did trust her. The clone, on the other hand, had grown to not only believe in her but also care about the destiny he would help her to reach. He could not fully understand how it was that he felt, but he knew that some part of him wished that she had still been here with him. Whatever her feelings were for him or the other Jayson Stark, his feelings for her, as far as he understood them to be, were real and an integral part of the person he was made to be.

"Why are we stopping?" Mordana demanded, looking at the replica of the High Elder who had come to a complete stop.

"Look at the markings on those stones," he said pointing to a column to his right and left. "They are protection runes said to keep anyone with darkness in their hearts from crossing."

"You cannot seriously believe this ancient magic stuff."

"It is not a question of whether I believe in this magic stuff or not, the fact that *he* believed in it means that I have no other choice but to also believe. These runes are part of the Oltharian's way of life and beliefs, be them functional or simply for ease of mind," the Elder said sounding as confident and wise as the original would have.

"There is still quite a lot that we do not know about these people and their ways." Jayson's clone pointed out.

"These are only baseless legends," Mordana said infuriated. "What they were able to achieve a thousand years ago was an isolated event, an accident, something that should never have happened. These runes are nothing more than carvings in stone and possess no special magical powers."  Not believing in such superstitions the woman stepped forward while her two followers watched as if waiting for her to burst into flames or something.  "Can we keep going now?"

Mordana rushed ahead leaving the clones of the Elder and OPS Officer several steps behind.  "It could have happened," Bardef shrugged.

"Might have been nice o see," Jayson whispered back before looking over his shoulder once again half hoping to see a specific woman there having used this small delay in order to catch up to them.

[/\]
Jayson Sousa

Lieutenant JG Jayson Stark [Access Character BIO for Jayson Stark]
Chief of Operations
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M14-P039: USS ANUBIS: Bruxa: 34016.1915 ("Historical Confrontation")
=-=
"Historical Confrontation"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Looking Forward, Looking Back" / (BAS) "Imperfect Perfection"]
=-=

Setting: OLTHAR PRIME, Ancient Underground Ruins (Team 1)
Stardate: 34016.1915

Adriana was confronting Amber and Xana was not giving the mysterious woman any room to escape. They would get the answer out of her, no matter what it took. Satella looked on, almost afraid to see what would happen next but unable to look away. There was something about the woman that just did not sit right with them. Her ability to open the sealed gates was strange enough, but that was just the start.  There was something unnatural about her, something that made the hair on the back of her neck stand on end. The way she affected people by the simple way she spoke was concerning to say the least. The CMO could not put her finger on it, but there was no escaping the feeling that something was terribly wrong.

Satella instinctively put her hand on her tricorder, ready to pull it out. A quick scan could set the record straight. At worst case, it might confirm that the woman was indeed hiding something. With the ruins protected the way they were though, their instruments were useless. All they could do was to base their opinions on their observations.  Right now, those observations were quickly adding up against Miss Satori.  

The more she looked at the woman, the creepier she appeared to be to the CMO. Soon the odd sensation became so much that Satella finally forced herself to look away. Her eyes fell back onto the mural so she tried to take advantage of this. Maybe she would be able to see something new, something that might help them get answers. Maybe some new details could force Amber into a confession.  A quick study of the moving images revealed nothing. All that the CMO saw was something that Maya would have loved to see with her own eyes.

Bruxa was truly impressed by the technology as well as the people behind it. Although she only had one member of the race to base her opinion upon, Oltharian's were remarkable. That was probably why the Ambassadorial tag-team of Xana and Adriana felt so driven to getting to the bottom of this. They wanted to protect Elan and his people from whatever the woman represented. After dealing with the likes of Mordana, the crew knew not to let appearances fool them. Instead, they needed to trust they gut feeling, and those were twisting like a pretzel when dealing with Amber.

Trying to look beyond the technology, the CMO focused on the out-of-place detail they had noticed. The small figure that could be seen only for a few seconds at a time was clearly not Oltharian.  It was too short, too small, and it had hair, something that the blue giants lacked. It also appeared to be much more feminine, maybe this was due to the size difference of those near them. Whoever they were, they were not of this world, which was a forgone conclusion. This contradicted what Fairborn claimed about his world never having been visited by other races. The recording was, again according to Elan, thousands of years old and genuine, never having been altered. If what the tall engineer said was true, it still did not mean that the figure in the mural was Amber Satori. There were several similarities but they certainly did not single her out as being the only possibility. The problem was this: if it was not her in the mural, why not just say so? Why be evasive as she was? Surely she knew that this would only raise more suspicions.

The mysterious and enigmatic woman could have flat out denied the accusations. No one would have believed her except for Elan but that would have been the end of it. Xana could not prove who the figure was, and Amber could not have proven that it was someone else. Actually, logic was on the woman's side as she could have easily pointed out that this would make her almost as old as the ruins themselves.  So why had she taken such a defensive stance? Was the question so unexpected that it caused her to hesitate? Once she did, was it too late for her to try and back step her way out? Whatever the answers were, she was hiding something; there was no denying it, but what and why?

Turning her attention away from the mural and back on the confrontation, Satella began to feel pity. Not for Amber whom she was certain was hiding something, but for poor Elan. She could see how torn he was, his feelings ripping him apart. The CMO wanted to reach out and offer some sort of comfort but she knew that he would refuse. As much as he admired those in the medical field, this situation went well beyond the limits of respect. If Amber was right and this was nothing, they were harassing the woman for nothing. The verbal attack was going to be leaving scars that both she and the Oltharian would likely never recover from. If, on the other hand, they were right, all of what Elan knew could be put in question.

What if his ancestor were visited some thousand years ago by other races? What if those visits were kept from the general knowledge in order to protect some sort of secret? Even if Amber was nothing more than a descendent of these travelers, it meant that a part of the history of OLTHAR PRIME was false. If one part was false, what stopped other parts to be equally wrong? Part of their past could have been changed or even completely omitted. Looking at the Oltharian, Satella almost hoped that they were wrong if only to save him the heartbreak. The giant had already gone through enough and did not need more of his world to come crumbling down around him.

Now it was the CMO that found herself torn. Her growing admiration for Elan and his people was weighing heavily on her mind. Was uncovering the truth about Amber Satori worth shattering this man's world?  A world that would be ruined both literally and figuratively? Was this truly the time and place for this kind of confrontation?

=-=
Rachel Jackie Johnson

Lieutenant JG Satella Bruxa [Access Character BIO for Satella Bruxa]
Chief Medical Officer
USS ANUBIS

[Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint. - Mark Twain]
M14-P040: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: 34016.1915 ("Something Odd, Something Old")
=-=
"Something Odd, Something Old"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Historical Confrontation" by Rachel / (BAS) "Imperfect Perfection" by Rachel]
=-=

Setting: OLTHAR PRIME, Underground Ruins, Team 2
Stardate: 34016.1915

Shar'El closely followed the high Elder, helping him whenever he needed. He was hurt but too stubborn to accept staying back knowing that if they were to catch up to Mordana and her cohorts they needed him, and the ExO / ILO knew that he was right. No one else could open the sealed gates that protected the ancient city. Maya had given her best effort but even she had to admit that this was beyond her abilities as a scientist.  What truly took the Commander by surprise was the fact that the method used by the aged Oltharian seemed to be more magical than mechanical. There was something truly odd about what needed to be done, and said, in order to remove these barriers from their path.

For a brief moment, the ExO / ILO allowed her attention to wander to the magnificent structures that stood all around them. There was no mistaking it, this place was ancient, like one of those Iconian ruins now closed to the public. The only difference here was that the technology used at the time was well hidden, made to be a silent partner in the architecture instead of being its driving force. The Oltharians enjoyed a simpler way of life while at the same time taking advantage of the benefits of most modern technology, and this, centuries before many other worlds of the Federation. The only reason why this race had not become a major force in the galaxy was their desire to keep their way of life theirs; as simple and fulfilling as possible without having to deal with the problems of others.

The ExO / ILO's attention was quickly brought back to the here and now when the High Elder collapsed onto the stones that made up the ancient streets of this city. Shar'El quickly rushed to the man's side along with Maya while Ya'Han and Jayson stayed a few steps back not wanting to crowd the injured Oltharian.

"You need to rest," Maya said in her capacity as acting medial officer. Holding his forearm, the Shillian could feel the Olthrian's heart racing. "Your pulse is very high. Without any instruments I cannot tell if this is normal or not, but judging by your current state, I would theorize that this is not normal."

"There is no time," Bardef Talak Emzaw said with difficulty as he pushed the would-be Doctor away and tried to force himself back up onto his feet. The effort was short-lived as he fell back down not having the strength needed to accomplish what he had set out to do. The injuries inflicted by Mordana were proving to be too much for him to overcome regardless of what he wanted, what he needed to do.

"You heard the Doctor, you need to rest," Shar'El said as sternly as she could considering that she was addressing the ruler of this world.  After confirming that the High Elder was complying with her order, not that he appeared to have much of a choice, the ExO / ILO motioned for Jayson and Ya'Han to take over. This would give the other two women a chance to talk more privately. "How is he?"

"I realize that medical work falls under the general umbrella of sciences, but that does not mean because I am the Chief Science Officer of the ANUBIS that I am also able to run a medical department. Maybe if he was Human, or one of the other races we more commonly interact with, I would be able to fill in the gaps in my own knoweldge, but there has only been one Oltharian in Starfleet, so our knowledge on them, be it medical, social or cultural, is actually quite limited. At least if Elan were here, I could use him as a base for comparison, but right now, I have nothing to work with. All I can do is logically deduce using what I am seeing, and from what I am seeing, I believe he is getting worse. Therefore, it should be our top priority to go back and ensure that he recives proper medical treatment before it is too late."

"We can't do that," the ExO / ILO said, glancing over at the man in question. "Don't ask me why, I just know that whatever it is that he needs us to do is important enough for him to sacrifice his life for.  I am getting odd memories from him, from his time as a member, and later as leader of the Religious Circle, but part of what it is I am picking up on is not coming from him, but from this place. It is as if this city is somehow alive, with memories of its own."

"Maybe Doctor Bruxa is not the only medical specialist we should be urgently looking for," Maya sad looking at Shar'El with a single raised eyebrow. "The expertise and skills of Counselor Lopez might be just as equally needed at this time."

"I am not crazy," the Ullian fired back interrupting the Shillian. "As a scientist, you of all people should understand that there are things in this universe that transcend our ability to quantify. These ancient ruins possess a consciousness, one that permeates every building, every stone. The worst part is that I believe it knows what is happening, that someone is here to unleash something they should not, and somehow he is able to sense it, to hear it. That is the only way I can explain why he is driven to keep going and for us to stop Mordana even if it means sacrificing his life to make this happen.

Maya nodded, she did not fully understand everything that had just been said, her expertise being more along the lines of elements that could be seen, measured and quantified. That sad, she understood enough to permit the possibility of some sort of energy field being an integral part of these ruins, a force that the Elder could tap into and that Shar'El was on the very edge of feeling thanks to her telepathic abilities.

"COMMANDER!" Ya'Han and Jayson screamed. The Elder was in the throws of severe convulsions.

"What happened?" Shar'El asked, powerless to do anything about what she was looking at.

"We don't know. He just starting shaking like this," Ya'Han said, the Nylaan now displaying white hair indicating that her medical training, as little as it may have been, had been called up, be it intentionally or not.  "He might have suffered from nerve damage causing these muscle spams. Without any medical equipment, we cannot know for sure or help in any way."

As everyone watched, each trying to figure out what it is they could do, if anything, they heard the sound of running feet heading their way. If hearing this was unexpected, what they saw next was even more surprising. Amber Satori was rushing in as if her own life depended on it while Doctor Bruxa, Counselor Lopez followed behind with Elan carrying Ambassador Bonviva in his arms.

"What are you guys doing here?" Shar'El asked of the CMO and CNS, all of them watching as Amber attended the High Elder after having kneeled by his side.  After realizing that the Oltharan was in some sort of medical distress, Satella joined in leaving Adriana standing next to Shar'El.

"To answer your question, we were running after Miss Satori," the Counselor said. "We though she was running away from us in order to avoid answering our questions."

"Answering questions? What questions?"

"It's a long story," Adriana said looking back to make sure that Elan and Xana were catching up.  "Glad to see that you were able to find Ya'Han," she added.

"That too is a long story," the ExO / ILO said trying to make sense of everything that had just happened. "From what we have been able to gather on our end, Mordana is here to unleash some sort of ancient evil."

"We came down into the ruins searching for the High Elder knowing that he was a prisoner of Mordana and likely in trouble. We were rather surprised when we discovered that Miss Satori was able to unlock the gates, something we were told could only be accomplished by the head of the Religious Circle."

Adriana was looking at Shar'El as she explained this, but the ExO / ILO was looking at the woman in question. "I have the feeling that Miss Satori has more than one surprise in store for us." This made the Counselor turn to see a strange white glow enveloping both the woman and Oltharian.

"What is going on?" Xana asked as Elan every so gently lowered the Ambassador back to her feet.

"I am not sure," Satella observed while kneeling by the Oltharian's right side, "but it looks like she is actually healing him."

"Pulse is slowing down," Ya'Han added, holding on to his left wrist in order to feel his heartrate.

"Could she be channeling this energy you spoke of earlier?" Maya asked of Shar'El. The truth was that no one knew what was happening. The best thing they could do was to wait and see how it all turned out.

"Amber?" Elan asked, looking upon the scene with both amazement and disbelief.

"Elan, I will explain everything, just not right now."

"Well, that should be an interesting explanation," the Bolian/Human Ambassador said as she came to stand next to the Junior Ambassador and ANUBIS' ExO / ILO.

"I agree," Shar'El noted as an expression of surprise and confusion formed on her face as she scanned the woman's memories. She was not sure what it was she was looking at, but she knew one thing, those memories covered a period of time that stretched for thousands of years.

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET
M14-P041: USS ANUBIS: Lopez: 34016.1925 ("Seeing The Light")
-=-=-
"Seeing The Light"
[Previous post: (ANU) "Something Odd, Something Old" & (BAS) "Imperfect Perfection"]
-=-=-

Setting: OLTHAR PRIME, Underground Ruins
Stardate: 34016.1925

No one could have expected what they were all looking at. Exploring new worlds, dealing with new civilizations and cultures did lend itself to uncovering the strange and unusual, but this? Who could have predicted that they would find themselves in ancient underground ruins, looking at a glowing woman who was apparently trying to save that world's political and religious leader? As weird as it all was, Adriana had to actually remind herself that she had seen worse.

From the get-go, Ambassador Bonviva could not bring herself to trust Amber Satori, and it did not take a lot for the Junior Ambassador to follow suit in those feelings. The currently kneeling woman bathed in light was strange in so many different ways that it would have taken days to try to list them all. The first time they met her, she had only recently awakened from a decade long coma. That alone would have explained some of the strangeness that floated about the woman, but things only got stranger in a matter of seconds after their meeting.

Looking at Amber Satori, a woman with a particularly mysterious past, Adriana could feel an odd vide emanating from her. It was as if there was an invisible aura of energy surrounding the woman, a static charge that made someone look upon her differently. The Counselor, nor anyone else for that matter, could see this aura but they certainly all could feel its effect with the exception of Xana. Something in her past, or in her biology, protected the Ambassador from this effect, and they were all very grateful for it.

Of course, Adriana initially kept this observation to herself for fear that she might be considered completely crazy, which was not as far from the mark as the CNS would have liked it to be.  She was suffering, after all, from rampant auditory and visual hallucinations of her missing sister. Now, looking at Amber and the soft white glow that enveloped her and the Oltharian High Elder, Counselor Lopez could think back to that instance with relief knowing that she was not crazy, at least not more than she had been before their arrival on OLTHAR PRIME.

"Is it me or does she look like an angel?" Amanda said, the illusion of Adriana's twin sister having appeared on the other side of the kneeling woman and the Oltharian Elder she was helping. Surrounded by as many people as she was, the CNS could not afford to reply. All she could do was to once again question her own sanity in silence as the hallucination leaned in to have a closer look at the glowing woman. "You have to admit that this is weird and beautiful all at the same time, and I am referring to the scene, not the woman, although you have to admit that it is easy to see why both Bardef and Elan fell head over heels for her. That does raise a simple and yet interesting question though, why? She had to know that they were related and that this would sooner or later come back to make things very difficult. Elan might have left the planet to join Starfleet, but it was unlikely that he would never return or that the two of them would never get in touch with one another. Glowing white light or not, Amber does not appear to be someone who would not have given this some thought."

Most of the times Amanda was there to tease or annoy her sister, acting as a reflection of the Counselor's own thoughts that she did not want to admit to herself. Every now and then though, the mental projection did help in more closely looking at a situation, allowing her to have a full-scale silent debate about whatever it was that had presented itself to them.  In this case, the motivation for Amber Satori's actions from the very start was being questioned. The simplest answer was that she was a woman with needs and had latched on to the closest available male, but somehow the CNS could not accept that as being the answer. The strange and obviously alien woman was too complex to be so easily explained. There had to be another reason, one that Lopez was not yet able to figure out.

"Commander Shar'El," Adriana whispered as she leaned in a little closer. "Have you scanned her memories or does her being Elan's fiancée grant her the same privacy as the other members of the crew?"

The Commander's facial expression did not change making the Counselor wonder if Shar'El had even heard the question. Following a closer inspection, Adriana noticed that the Ullian was not ignoring her but rather seemed somehow frozen, the expression on her face reflecting a mixture of surprise and confusion. Concerned, the Counselor reached for the woman's shoulders and gave her a gentle shake, when this failed to bring her back the Counselor repeated the gesture, this time applying a little more force.

"What is going on?" The Ambassador asked of her junior assistant.

"I do not know," Adriana replied. "She is unresponsive."

Xana quickly followed Shar'El's gaze to see what exactly she had been looking at, not at all surprised that it was Amber Satori that had not only drawn her interest but had likely been the cause of this state. Not wanting to risk interrupting the healing of the High Elder, the Ambassador acted in the only way she could. The slap across the Commander's face landed squarely on her cheek causing a clapping sound that instantly echoed on the walls around them.

"Well," Amanda giggled. "You better behave. Your friend the Ambassador is no one to play nice when things do not go her way."

"Commander, are you alright?" Adriana asked of Shar'El who was rapidly blinking as a hand was brought up to shield the stinging cheek.

"I have been better," the Commander said, glaring at the Ambassador easily deducing that it was she who had just struck her. "Thank you."

"What happened?" Xana asked, looking down at the still glowing woman.

"Nothing," Shar'El dismissed. "I was just lost in thoughts. I am guessing that looking at this affected more than I might have believed it could."

Neither the Ambassador nor the Junior Ambassador was ready to accept the explanation as given, but Adriana figured that Shar'El had to have a reason for not wanting to say more than she had.

-=-=-
Marissa Montonera-Lombardi

Lieutenant JG Adriana Lopez [Access Character BIO for Adriana Lopez]
Ship's Counselor & Junior Ambassador
USS ANUBIS
M14-P042: USS ANUBIS: Morningstar: 34016.1930 ("Lost in Translation")
##########
"Lost in Translation"
Previous posts (ANU) "Seeing The Light" / (BAS) "Imperfect Perfection"
##########

"The universe is always moving, striving to achieve balance.  There cannot be death without life, there cannot be darkness without light, this cannot be changed. Our own existence is governed by this same universal rule; there cannot be sadness without joy, there cannot be hate without love. What we can affect is which side of this grand balance we choose to stand on. Whatever we decide, the universe will counter in order to maintain balance, but the way we chose to live our lives will be ours and ours alone. I have seen the darkness that roams between the stars and I have chosen to stand, through my words, my actions and my beliefs, against it and hope that you will all join me and do the same. Together, we stand as one, a shining circle against the darkness, eternal, unbreakable."

- This speech was given by Ajan Tolpar Sowel to rally support for the creation of the Oltharian Religious Circle, which was created on that same day with overwhelming support.

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 34016.1930

The Captain sat in his chair at the center of the command deck, his eyes studying the magnified view of the planetary capital they were in orbit over. Sensors were still showing no signs of the Lokustaar anywhere in the system but Native American could not find it within him to relax. With the greater majority of his senior officers on the planet surface, all he could do was to wait and see what would happen next.

"Hello, brother," Louise joyfully said as she stepped onto the bridge. "Just came to thank you for giving me access to the historical archives of OLTHAR PRIME."

"I only made the rest," Erik clarified. "I guess my passing mention that I was a close friend of Elan and that he is the nephew of the High Elder might have tipped the balance in our favour just a little."

"Just a little," she laughed. "You and Xana have a lot in common."

"How so?" The brother asked of his older sister.

"When you want something, you always manage to find a way to make it happen."

"If only it were always that easy," Erik sighed while thinking about all of the things he would have liked to simply wish into being instead of having to fight tooth and nail for. One such example was getting his Chief of Security back safe and sound.

"Still no news from your people on the surface?" Louise asked. Although she was not a member of his staff, or even officially a passenger on the ship, her question did not surprise him as he figured the Ambassador would have granted her access to any and all data the Bolian/Human hybrid had.

"No," the Captain confirmed. "Last I heard they were heading into the ancient underground city ruins which appear to be quite heavily protected. Our sensors cannot even give us an idea of where these ruins are located. Whatever it is that is down there, the Oltharians wanted to make sure that no one knew of its presence.

"There might be a lot more about these ruins than you think," Louise said as she handed a PADD over to her brother. "Like any good story, you need to start reading at the very beginning in order to better understand what comes after, so I started looking at the oldest available records. Since they were written in the ancient tongue, one that only a handful of Oltharian's are still able to read, my guess is that no one has been paying too much attention to the old stories."

"Let me guess, you managed to figure out how to read that forgotten language and found something interesting?"

"I would not be much of a linguistic expert if I could not figure out how to read an old language, now would I?" Louise said smiling. "I will admit that old Oltharian was an interesting language to figure out, the whole language seems to have gone through a complete overhaul some two to three thousand years ago. That left me wondering what could have happened to cause this as I have never seen anything like it before today. What I found out in the ancient texts might provide some clarifications but I wanted your opinion on it. You have a lot more experience dealing with space stuff than I do."

The two siblings laughed for a few seconds before Louise went on with an explanation of what she had discovered.  "Did you know that there are actual written records of a visitor from beyond the stars? The being is described as an eternal and radiant entity wandering the cosmos searching for something, what exactly it was searching for was never made clear though, but there is no mistaking it, OLTHAR PRIME was visited before the USS ARMSTRONG came and made first contact. What I did find even more interesting was that the records of this alien visitor were never transferred into the new written language, it was as if they actually wanted the event to remain a secret."

"That's a little excessive, especially for something like that. One would think that it would have become a major part of their history, every other race has made a point to commemorate the exact day and time when they found out that they were not alone in the universe," Erik noted. "The only explanation I could have is that the visitor had such a negative impact on them that they decided to erase all traces of this visit."

"That would be a logical conclusion and course of action," Louise agreed. "The problem is that the ancient records show this entity as being there for each and every major event that followed. It is not clear if it had any direct influence on the decisions made by the Oltharians in regards to their cultural and social development. What I do know for sure is that according to the ancient texts it was there every time, watching and even celebrating the historic achievements. It was there when the Religious Circle was created, apparently standing right next to the man who would be named the first leader of that Circle. It was there when the general population agreed to see their culture governed by only two Circles, and it was there when the Council of Elders was initially formed."

"Those events span almost a full millennia," Erik gasped in surprise.

"As I said, this entity was described as being *eternal* as well as radiant. If it was able to live for a thousand years, or maybe even more, the Oltharians would not have had any problems describing it the way they did," Louise paused for a moment as she pointed to a specific paragraph on the document being displayed on the PADD now in Erik's hands. "There is something else, this entity, whatever it is, is somehow connected to the old capital. The records get sketchy from that point on, as many of the old records were destroyed by some vaguely mentioned cataclysm that led to the old capital to be sealed underground. What I figured is that this entity is trapped somewhere in those ruins and that is what Mordana is after. There are countless legends about creatures of darkness that fed of death and destruction, most of them loving nothing more than to spread chaos everywhere they went. Sounds familiar? Some historical records even go as far as to claim that these *Shadows* searched for entities of good and light to corrupt and use their powers to further push their dark agenda. It may sound like a far-fetched idea born of old stories, but what if this is exactly what 'Lady Night' is doing here and why she needed the High Elder? What if she is heading into the ruins to release and corrupt this ancient eternal and radiant entity to use it against us?"

"That is a lot of ifs," the Native American Captain pointed out. "I am not sure I am ready to accept the story as you have told it, but even if only a fraction of it is remotely true, Mordana being here and finding whatever it is that is down there could lead to our losing whatever advantage we have managed to gain. If we do, the Lokustaar would double their efforts and make sure that no one stands in their way. I'm guessing that they will prioritize the *death* part of their agenda over the *chaos* to ensure nothing else goes wrong."

"I agree," the Linguistic Expert said. "Whatever this entity is or was, we have to consider it dangerous, especially because Mordana is after it."

=====
Setting: OLTHAR PRIME, Ancient Underground Ruins
Stardate: 34016.1830

Amber was kneeling on the ground with Bardef's head resting on her thighs, her hands gently cradling the sides of his head as she looked down upon him.

As he looked up and met her gaze, the High Elder recognized the woman but at the same time could not understand who she was.

"You have nothing to worry," she reassured, her calming voice instantly making him feel better. The pain that was coursing through his body was almost all gone and he knew that she was responsible for this.

"Who, or what are you?" The aged Oltharian asked, unable to recall a single instance from their time together when she had displayed any such abilities or powers. Certainly, if he had ever seen or suspected her of glowing as she was now, he would remember.

"I am what I have always been," Amber replied, her beaming smile letting him know the extent of her emotions. "Now rest, all will be well when you wake."  The Elder smiled back and closed his eyes, immediately falling asleep.

"His he..." Ya'Han asked, the Nylaan still sporting the white-coloured hair of her medical training.

"His pulse is strong and steady," Doctor Bruxa reassured. "He's asleep, how this came to be though I would love to know."

After what had just taken place, all eyes were on Miss Satori who accepted what she needed to do. After carefully taking Bardef's head off her thighs and lowering it to the ground on a makeshift pillow, Amber stood and headed directly to Elan.

The towering Oltharian looked broken-hearted, as much of a Colossus as he was, he seemed ready to crawl into the smallest hole he could find to never return.  "I saw how much you care for him. I will not get in your way."

"My sweet Elan, I love you so. Even after all these years, you are still as innocent as you were that first day we met," Amber said reaching up and caressing the giant's cheek. "This is not what you think," she added glancing at the sleeping High Elder.

"Would you care to enlighten us?" Xana requested.

"I second the motion," Shar'El said immediately after. "I believe we all would love to know what is happening here."

Amber smiled, reluctantly pulling her hand away from Elan in order to better address those around her. "You have no name for what I am. I have been wandering the universe since the galaxies were born. I came upon this planet one day and fell in love with its people. There was such an innocence about them that needed protecting. So I remained, hiding amongst them never being seen or heard, just making sure that they would not fall to whatever darkness might stumble upon their world. Alas, one day the darkness I feared came and threatened to destroy everything they had built. With great effort, I was able to imprison these living shadows in the center of this city. This left me weak and defenseless, unable to return to the form of light I was before, so I copied the physical appearance of the one who was leading this darkness, making some adjustments to make sure I would not be mistaken for it. Over the centuries that followed, I became more active in this race's cultural growth, never interfering but always there to guide as best I could, getting them ready for when the darkness would return."

Amber paused, looking around to see if everyone was still listening or if they had dismissed her as some kind of fraud, or worse as someone who had completely lost their mind. When she saw nothing but interest looking back at her, the Auburn haired woman continued.

"Over time I began to feel lonely, my new form making it impossible for me to return to the stars. I became friends with those whom I saw as being those with the most to offer the people if this world and became a kind of muse to them, guiding, encouraging, supporting whenever needed. In Bardef, I saw the seeds of a great leader, a man of endless compassion and wisdom. I stood by his side until the day I knew he no longer needed me. I was able to sneak onboard the covert Federation mission meant to evaluate the possibility of making first contact, and by the time the USS ARMSTRONG came, I was on EARTH, learning to become someone new.  When Elan arrived, I was pleasantly shocked and was instantly drawn to him. He was the first of his people to venture to the stars. At first, I believed he would need my help and guidance, but it was he who taught me things, such as what love truly was.  So I decided then to stay by his side until the end, but something got in our way. The accident that cast me into a coma was an unfortunate event, one that I have learned had been orchestrated by none other than those wanting revenge for what I had done here, in this very city."

"Why not just kill you?" Counsellor Lopez asked. "If they wanted revenge for what you did, would it not have been easier and simpler?"

"They suspected that they would not be able to reach this place on their own, so the coma was a perfect way to isolate me from the people I would rally to help while the Shadows waited to see if they needed me to undo what had been done. As much of a threat as I was to them, they could not risk my secrets dying with me nor my rallying enough support to oppose them as it happened once before in this very city."

"The creation of the Religious Circle," Elan said. "I remember the lessons that my uncle gave his pupils. He always described that particular moment in our history a crucial moment that sent the forces of darkness into hiding. I always thought he was speaking metaphorically, not literally."

"History and time, the eternal war between what was and what people remember, or in most cases what they wish to remember," Amber grinned.

"All right," Shar'El began, the story given by Amber somewhat fitting with the thousands of years of memories she had managed to get a glimpse of. "If these ruins are keeping this darkness safe and Mordana is here to release it, what do we do next?"

"We fight," Amber said without the slightest of hesitation.

"Fight?" Jayson echoed. "Can't you just imprison Mordana and her clones the same way you did those others before?"

"I do not possess the strength and power I once did," Satori explained. "Here, amongst these streets, I am stronger than I would have been anywhere else, but that is far from enough to accomplish what it is you are suggesting. If we are to defeat the current darkness at is here, we must do it together. The Shadows of today are no different than those of the past. They use fears and distrust to gain the advantage. As long as we believe in each other, as long as we come at them as a single, united, and unbreakable force, there is nothing the darkness will be able to accomplish."

--==(/\)==--
Francois Charette

Commanding Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501

AND

Lt. Commander Elan Fairborn [Access Character BIO for Elan Fairborn]
Robotics Engineering Officer
NEW ALEXANDRIA
M14-P043: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han: 34016.1940 ("A Story of Love")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"A Story of Love"
[previous post were (ANU) "Lost in Translation" / (BAS) "Imperfect Perfection"]
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]

Setting: OLTHAR PRIME, Underground Ruins
Stardate: 34016.1940

"You have to admit that it was a beautiful, heartwarming story," Ya'Han said to Jayson, her faith that things worked out in one way or another, in the end, having been restored, at least at some point.

"What? That she was a being of light who wandered over and got stuck here in this form because she just wanted to help?" Jayson had clearly not heard the tale told to them the same way Ya'Han had, and that bothered her. "It's a story alright, more of a tragedy than anything else in my opinion."

"It's a story of love," the Nylaan said playfully slapping the man's shoulder. "She came across the Oltharians and fell in love with them, with the simplicity of their ways. She protected them out of love, and even went to sacrifice what she was to ensure they would not fall prey to the Lokustaar. Through all that, she managed to discover another kind of love, a more personal one, and Elan was the one to make that possible for her. *That* is the story of love I am referring to."

"This is a being of light and energy we are talking about," Jayson quickly countered waving a hand in the general direction of the woman who had returned to Elan's side as everyone else had expected her to do after what she had shared. "If she fell in love, as you say, with the Oltharians, it would have been more like you or me falling in love with a pet. It is not the same thing. What would an incorporeal being know of love? Well, at least that is what it was before turning into a woman of flesh and blood; one that I would like to remind you was given the appearance one of those Shadow Agents like Mordana. How do we know that she is not more than she appears?"

"She *is* more than she appears," Ya'Han said pointing out the city that they were in with her eyes. "Part of her is here, and has been here for centuries, in these buildings, keeping the Shadows at bay," the Nylaan continued, her hair gradually shifting away from the white of her medical training to the bright red that was more accurately reflecting her shifting mood. "Not only did she protect the Oltharian's but in doing so she might have defended countless other worlds by making sure the nightmares did not go any further than they had." The debate had started as something innocent enough, but that changed quickly enough.

"I'm sorry," Jayson said, easily recognizing the shift in Ya'Han's posture, if the now bright fiery red of her hair was not enough to warn him of impending doom. "I just find it difficult to understand how a being like what she described herself to be before could have fallen 'in love'."

"We did," the Nylaan pointed out looking straight into the man's eyes as if daring him to claim otherwise.

"That's not the same thing," Jayson dismissed. "You and I grew closer over time and our feelings are mutual. What she claims to have been love could not have been, not the way you are claiming."

"Do you love me?" The proverbial gloves were off and Ya'Han would make her point one way or another.  When Jayson hesitated with his reply, she asked again with even more insistence enunciating each word with great care and emphasis. "Do… you… love… me?"

"Of course I love you." Jayson knew that this was the only possible answer he could give, and he knew that it would not matter what he said as he now was squarely in her line of fire and the only intended target. This was the Kobayashi Maru all over again; the only difference was that this was not a simulation.

"Would you defend me if I was in danger?" She asked in a softer, more considerate manner. "Would you put yourself in harm's way to protect me?"

"Of course I would, without a moment's hesitation," he replied hoping that maybe his earlier concerned were misplaced. Could he actually walk away from this without any broken bones or a black eye to show for his misstep?

"As would I," Ya'Han remarked. "Now, would you sacrifice yourself to ensure that I lived a better life than the one I would have had if you had not been here? Would you give up all that you knew, all that you could do in order to give me even a slight chance at a life away from the darkness?"

Jayson felt the walls closing in. Ya'Han had set the trap and effortlessly lured him in without any hope of escape. "Of course I would, you know that. I would lay down my life to save yours without hesitation, without regrets."

"Would you do it because we are shipmates? Would you sacrifice yourself this way for anyone else?"

"Of course not, I love *you*." Jayson could not believe it. How did this conversation turn so quickly and so completely against him? The whole thing started because they were talking about Amber, and somehow it had turned to not only be about him but also against him.

"Exactly, that is what love is, an uncontrollable drive, an irresistible need to put someone else's life above your own," she said before turning to look at Amber and Elan. "Look at her. She sacrificed who and what she was for these people, not out of duty, not out of responsibility, but out of love. She became what she is today because of that love, but do you see her showing any signs of regret? Does she look like she despises the Oltharians for what she did for them?"

Jayson had no real options here as he observed Amber and Elan, the two of them appearing as the perfect couple for that moment frozen in time. "No, in fact, she looks like you when you look at me."

"That, my dear, is love," Ya'Han said before pulling Jayson in for a quick kiss. "Now, let's go. I am in the mood to kick some shadow rear end."

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
Hanali Han

Lieutenant JG Ya'Han [Access Character BIO for Ya'Han]
Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M14-P044: USS ANUBIS: Bruxa: 34016.1945 ("Healing Force")
=-=
"Healing Force"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "A Story of Love" / (BAS) "Imperfect Perfection"]
=-=

Setting: OLTHAR PRIME, Ancient Underground Ruins
Stardate: 34016.1945

With Ya'Han talking to Jayson and Amber speaking with Elan, Satella was left to care for the now sleeping Elder. His pulse was strong and steady, indicating that he was doing well. Even the expression on his face was one of peaceful relaxation. Whatever Amber had done worked, the man's injuries were gone, as if they had never happened.

While still processing this miracle recovery, the CMO's eyes drifted onto the Bolian/Human Ambassador. Medically speaking, Xana and Bardef had nothing in common. Their conditions were completely different and that was not even taking into account their respective biologies. Gender, race, internal organ layout, even their blood chemistry was different. No Doctor would ever consider using the same cure for these two patients. Yet, that was exactly what Satella was doing. Considering the possibility and hoping for a similar outcome.

Amber's explanation of what she was before now, an entity of light and energy, presented the CMO with a unique opportunity. It was obvious that the woman possessed healing powers, the resting older Oltharian proving that beyond any doubts. The question though was could she do the same for Xana? If so, would she?

Without any working scanning instruments, Bruxa had no means to figure out how this miracle had happened. Had it been nothing more than the application of a regenerative field or was there more to this white light? Did she need to be emotionally connected to the person in order to heal them? Was her ability solely limited to Oltharians? The questions multiplied faster than the CMO could process, but they all pointed to the same thing -- Amber Satori. She was the key, and right now, she also was the only available way to save Xana's life.

After making sure that the Elder was comfortably resting, Satella stood and made her way to Elan. The dozen or so steps might as well have been light-years. The CMO did not feel comfortable doing this but she had little choice. The life of her patient was at stake. "I'm sorry to interrupt."

"Healer," Elan promptly said welcoming the CMO with a deep bow of reverence. "How may I help you?"

"Sorry, Elan," Satella apologized. "I would like to speak with Amber if it is at all possible."

The woman bowed, showing just how imprinted the ways of the Oltharians had become in her. She might not have appeared like them, but she could most certainly sound and act as they did. "Of course, Doctor. How may I be of assistance? Is there something wrong with Bardef?"

"He is fine," the CMO quickly stated. "I may not have a working medical tricorder, but from what I can see, he is doing better than fine. You might just have saved his life."

"I did what was needed to save the leader of this world and a very close friend of mine. You would have done the same had you have access to your medical equipment."

Satella found little comfort in the woman's words. She saved a friend as well as the leader of the Oltharian people. As great as Xana was, professionally and personally, the Ambassador was neither one of those things to Amber. The fears and concerns of the Doctor quickly multiplied. If the woman's healing abilities were specifically tuned to Oltharian physiology, Xana's last hope would instantly vanish. The possibility of her being right almost kept Bruxa silent. The possibility that she could be wrong though made her speak up. "If you don't mind, I have a few questions about your healing powers."

"I suspected you would, as any good Healer would." Had Satella's eyes been closed, she might have sworn that she had been speaking to an Oltharian. The speech pattern, even the tonality was nearly identical.

These similarities, even if only superficial, made the CMO smile. This might prove to be easier than she suspected. "Has anyone else ever asked you about this?"

It was Amber's turn to smile, but not in the way the CMO might have expected. "No, you are the first and the reason for this is that I have never done this sort of thing before. Bardef was in pain, a pain that I felt as if it were my own. I had to go to him, I had to save him. I had no idea how I would do this but simply knew that I had to try. He was dying and I could not allow that to happen." 

Doctor Bruxa found herself fighting back tears. The fragile hopes she had created were reduced to dust by a few simple words. She had to ask, Satella would never have forgiven herself had she not. Now that she had, reality returned in full force. What else could she do to save Bonviva's life?

"Are you alright Healer?" Elan had picked up on the sudden change in the CMO's mood. Sadness and despair were now all that could be seen on the Doctor's face.

Satella glanced at Xana for a brief moment before looking up at the giant now standing in front of her. "I am fine Elan, thank you. Just have a lot on my mind. Don't worry about me, you have your uncle and your lady to think about."

"That is not his way," Amber said, looking up at Elan as only a woman in love could.

"No, I guess it is not. Unfortunately, not every story end up with a happy ending I'm afraid."

=-=
Rachel Jackie Johnson

Lieutenant JG Satella Bruxa [Access Character BIO for Satella Bruxa]
Chief Medical Officer
USS ANUBIS

[Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint. - Mark Twain]
M14-P045: USS ANUBIS: Bonviva: 34016.2010 ("I'm Not Done Yet")
"I’m Not Done Yet"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Healing Force" / (BAS) "Imperfect Perfection"]

=/\=
“I don’t want to go.”
-Doctor Who (Number 10)

=/\=
Setting: OLTHAR PRIME, Ancient Underground Ruins
Stardate: 34016.2010
 
“You did what?”

Satella looked unrepentant at Xana.  “It had to be explored,” the doctor stated unapologetically.

The azure woman opened up her mouth and then realizing she was standing there like a gawking idiot, shut it again. “I don’t know what to say,” she admitted.  Looking over she asked again, “You *asked* Amber about healing me?”

The doctor, who wanted to savor the moment when the fast talking Ambassador was clearly perplexed, sighed with dismay.  “I had to.”

Xana, leaning against the wall, nodded at that.  She wasn’t sure how she felt about that.  “I don’t know how I feel about that,” she admitted.

The silver-haired doctor looked around before leaning in.  “Xana... never mind, this isn’t the time or place,” she said quietly, before changing her mind.  

The Ambassador looked over at Satella.  The azure woman saw the exhaustion etched around the eyes that wasn’t just from the last few hours; she sensed the worry radiating the doctor.  Sighing, Xana leaned over and enveloped Satella in a quick hug.  “You did well,” she murmured.  Leaning back she said, “And the pretzel torture chamber is a good thing, right?”

Satella smiled back, even though that smile never reached her eyes as she leaned back.  “It has a name.”

The Ambassador waved that off.  “Pretzel torture chamber *is* its name,” she insisted.  Becoming serious she said, “You gave me more than doctors on 3 planets did, including those at SF Hospital.”  

“I’m not done yet,” Satella warned.

Xana nodded at that, but didn’t say a word; her throat was too full.  

Adriana came over to mention something that Shar’El wanted them to investigate regarding the energy levels, which Xana took as her cue to step back.  

There was just enough light in the ruins to see the dust that would kick up when someone walked by.  The air was heavy enough in the ruins so that dust drifted into the air.  Wandering around, the Ambassador stayed on the fringes of the action.  She watched the Amber with Bardef and Elan; Ya’Han with Jayson and Shar’El; Adriana and Satella who were going over to join the others.  Turning she looked at the mural again.  “Gods above and below,” she muttered, thinking about Amber’s story.  

“It’s nothing as big as one of your 9 gods,” Xana heard from behind her.  

The azure woman turned to see Amber standing behind her, her small delicate hands clasped in front of her.  “I couldn’t help but hear you,” she explained politely.

Xana nodded.  “Is there something I can do for you, Ms. Satori?” Pausing for a moment she paused, “And despite your stature, this entire situation is not small.”

Amber smiled slightly at that, as she inclined her head.  “Your friend came to me, asking me for aid on your behalf,” she explained.  Pausing she said seriously.  “I cannot help.”

Xana waived it off; she didn’t want pity now.  There was much she had learned during her illness, chief among that was that pity was among the more uncomfortable feelings.  “I understand,” she said.  Tilting her head to the side belatedly she asked.  “Shouldn’t you be with Bardef?”

Looking over Amber said, “He is being tended to by your Dr. Bruxa.”  Turning back, Amber reached out.  “No I want you to understand--”

“I get it,” Xana replied cutting off the woman.  This was an awkward conversation, under the best of circumstances.  Standing in an underground ruin, with a woman she didn’t know well, did not qualify as good circumstances.  Sighing at the faux pas she said, “Look, Dr. Bruxa was being a vigilant doctor in pursuing all options.  But I have been prepared for sometime now for my death.”

Amber blinked her wide eyes several times before asking quietly.  “How does one prepare for their death if they know it is coming?”

This was not an uncommon question; people had been asking her this for some time.  “I thought I had 10 years left.  Then it was 2 years.  Now it’s a few weeks, if I’m lucky.  I wrote up my euthenasia plans as well as my will.  I ensure my family knew of my plans, and made sure my children were taken care of.  I wanted to serve the Federation one more time--”

The woman from the stars gently cut off the Ambassador.  “If you’ll excuse me, you’ve mentioned how you’ve prepared everyone else.  But my question was...how do *you* prepare for death?”  She paused and said, “How do you know you are ready to die?”

Xana looked around, but felt the telltale stinging her eyes of tears on the edge.  This woman, who she wasn’t even sure she *liked*, had asked the most pointed and honest question of her terminal illness.  

How had she prepared for death?  She hadn’t.

Xana had ensured her 4 children were prepared.  Her eldest two were settled (as much as they could be) and her youngest two were off with her ex-husband.  Speaking of him, she had granted his wish to be free, and only after that did she tell him of her disease so he didn’t feel obligated to stay with her.  She took an unseemly number of drugs over the last two years, probably shortening her life span, all in the name of getting her family set and working to set up the Federation and its goals, all in the name of a legacy.  

The azure woman wrote an euthenasia plan, a will, and lots of documents, detailing what to do when she was dead.  Everything was planned for the death; much like she planned for life.

But she hadn't let herself think about saying goodbye.  The actual moment of closing her eyes forever.  It was an appalling oversight that would have been darkly funny if it wasn’t the end of her life.  “I didn’t prepare for it,” Xana finally said, her own voice very far away even to her.  “I haven’t, that is.”

Amber paused, realizing she wasn’t close enough to reach out or that more likely it wouldn’t be accepted.  

“How did you prepare for it?”  Xana wasn’t even fully aware the words as she spoke them but once they were out she couldn’t even take them back.  Looking at Amber’s face she saw the woman was momentarily shocked by the question before settling back into her serene self.  Looking back to the mural to the woman to the door then back to the woman she asked, “How did you prepare?”

Amber looked at her for a moment before saying, “Excuse me, I think I’m needed elsewhere.”  

Xana turned around and didn’t see Amber anywhere.  She did see Adriana come over though.  “You look upset,” the Junior Ambassador/Counselor mentioned.  

The Bolian/Human nodded.  “I came to the realization that I don’t want to die,” she murmured.  

“Satella will be thrilled,” Adriana admitted.  “As am I.”  Leaning in she asked, “But why is that upsetting you?”

“Well that’s not.  But I think there’s something wrong with Amber,” Xana admitted.  

=/\=
Sarah Albertini-Bond

USS ANUBIS NCC 18501
M14-P046: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: 34016.2010 ("A Prison Without Walls")
=-=
"A Prison Without Walls"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "I'm Not Done Yet" by Sarah / (BAS) "Imperfect Perfection" by Rachel]
=-=

Setting: OLTHAR PRIME, Ancient Underground Ruins, Temple
Stardate: 34016.2010

The structure appeared old, much older than anything else did in this ancient city, and Mordana knew that this was the place. The markings on the walls did not show any signs of the civilization that inhabited this world; this was where primitive beliefs were born out of fear of the unknown that stretched as far as they could see. To these people, day and night, good and evil, order and chaos, had all been mashed together into a single concept of duality.

Mordana scanned the large circular room with a lack of interest that was to be expected from a Shadow Operative such as herself. Any archeologist would have given up an arm or a leg, maybe even both to be here and see what the woman's black eyes could see. To an untrained eye, this room could have been used by one of a hundred now extinct civilizations, but with a little bit of effort, one could see the seed of the Oltharian ways firmly planted here.

"These people sure love their circles," the clone of Jayson Stark said, the shape of the room was the one thing he could not help but notice.

"For the longest time, this temple was looked upon as the center of my people's religious identity, at least for those who actually believed," the clone of the High Elder added.

"With all due respect, these are not *your* people," Jayson pointed out. "You are a clone, just as I am, a copy meant to take the place of the original. We have their memories, their knowledge, we can even tap into their feelings, but whatever we say, whatever we do, we are not now nor will ever be them."

The statement drew a glare from Mordana. The knowledge of their true origin was a part of the clone's programing, this to ensure their loyalty to the Lokustaar and their ideas. The last thing they needed was to have a clone suffering from an identity crisis as it tried to figure out if it was the genuine article or a mere copy. This knowledge also served to make them feel a sense of superiority as their genetically engineered strengths, speed and intellect far surpassed those of the individual they were meant to replace.  That said, clones were not in the habit of displaying such a wise definition of their own existence, but then again Jayson's clone had shown signs of not being as he should have been from the start.

"We must focus on our task," the Shadow Operative reminded the others. "This is where the energy barrier is at its strongest. This is where our brethren have been held captive. We suspected this for quite some time but could never confirm the legends, until we came across that... woman." Mordana paused on that one word as if it alone held the reason for the hatred of an entire race. "The legends were confirmed when we were able to clone that old fool, that is why you are here."

"I was able to open the gates and navigate the labyrinth that is the center of this city to bring us here, to this place," the Elder Oltharian said. "The knowledge of how to break the seal though was never mine. You believed that maybe some ancient knowledge would be made available once we arrived, that some indications of what was needed to do would be found, but as you can see, the walls are bare. The key is not here waiting for us to find it, the key was not in this form either."

"That leaves only one possibility," Jayson chimed in. "That woman is the key, but you already knew that. Why else have the member of the Council of Elders convinced Bardef to bring her unconscious body back here to OLTHAR PRIME? That is also why you gave them the means to get her out of that coma. You needed her here, and by here I mean in this temple."

"There was never any certainty about how this would work," Mordana admitted. "All we had to go on were vague legends and twisted folklore tales. We were not even sure that the woman we encountered earlier and placed in a coma was the one responsible for this. The energy signature did match what we knew but on a much weaker level. She was brought back to OLTHAR PRIME in case she might be needed or used as a pawn in the negotiations. It was never expected that she would actually be the one who had done this."  As she explained this, the Shadow Operative produced a small solid black sphere from beneath her dress and held it as if wanting to place it in the center of the room on some invisible shelf.

The two clones watched with interest as the woman in black seemed to act a little stranger than usual, but their interest quickly turned to surprised fascination as the sphere just hung there in mid-air as if supported by an invisible force.

"What is that?" Jayson asked. As a clone, his only responsibility was to obey without question, but this went beyond that.

"This will ensure that she comes to us," Mordana said, her hatred for the woman seeping into each and every word spoken.
=-=
Setting: OLTHAR PRIME, Ancient Underground Ruins
Stardate: 34016.2015

The ExO / ILO stood by the open gate looking at the rest of the group. This missing had not gone as planned, then again when did it ever. The unexpected was what they dealt with on a daily basis, so much so that it should have become expected that whatever plan had been devised would be a complete failure requiring the crew to not even bother with any other plan but rather to formulate something completely different from the start.

The new plan, at least as Amber had described it, was for them to catch up to Mordana and her clones, to confront them, and to once and for all rid the galaxy of this shadowy threat. Shar'El sighed at that though; if only it were that easy.

"Commander," Amber said while rapidly approaching the raven-haired woman. "We need to go."

"What is wrong?" Shar'El asked, clearly seeing the distress in the woman's eyes.

"I am not sure, and to be completely honest, I don't think I could explain it. What I can tell you is that something is happening. Mordana is at the Temple of Light and somehow she has managed to weaken the energy field that is there, the energy field that is part of me." As soon as the woman had completed her explanation she took hold of her abdomen as if in excruciating pain.

The sight of Amber Satori in pain was more than enough to summon the Oltharian giant as well as several other members of the group.

"Amber, are you alright? What is wrong?" Elan was the first there and the first to inquire as to what was happening.

"Are you in pain?" Doctor Bruxa asked next, the CMO wanting to make sure that they were dealing with a medical emergency and not something that fell more along with the expertise of their Chief Science Officer.

"Is someone doing this to you?" Ya'Han followed with, the Chief of Security always at the ready to deal with any sort of attack, no matter the type or reason.

"They have reached the Temple of Light," Amber managed to say as if that alone should be enough to answer everyone's questions.

"The Temple of Light is a myth," the Oltharian gasped with assurance but quickly remembering the story told by the woman in pain, he recanted his statement. "I mean, we were all told that it was a myth, that the Temple never actually existed."

"Made for keeping what happened that much easier," Adriana theorized. "It would be hard to try to prove a story knowing that the building where the event took place never existed."

"The Temple of Light is real and Mordana is there," Elan said clearly ready to jump into action. "This is causing her pain, so we need to get there, now."

"We can't just leave like that," Satella said pointing the to sleeping Elder. "We can't just leave him like that in the middle of the street.

"He will be safe," Amber reassured through clenched teeth.  "We have to reach the temple before it is too late."

"Too late for what?" Jayson asked, wanting to know exactly what it was they were dealing with.

"Too late is too late, no matter for what," Ya'Han replied.

"Very well," the ExO / ILO agreed. It was the time for action, but first, there were a couple of things that needed to be dealt with. "Elan, take the Elder into that building over there. Doctor Bruxa, go with them and make sure that the Elder is made as comfortable as possible. Amber and I will take the lead, Ya'Han and Jayson, stay close to us, we have no idea if Mordana set some traps of her own along the way.  Everyone else, catch up as soon as you can. Let's move out!"

Without having a great many options at their disposal, everyone agreed to act as instructed while hoping that they would be able to reach this Temple of Light in time to stop whatever it was that was happening.

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET
M14-P047: USS ANUBIS: Bonviva: 34016.2130 ("Broken Melody")
=/\=
"Broken Melody"
<cont'd from "A Prison Without Walls" (ANUBIS) and "From Captain To Administrator" (BASTET)>
=/\=

Setting: OLTHAR PRIME, Ancient Underground Ruins
Stardate: 34016.2130

The Elder moaned before settling down to sleep.  Dr. Satella Bruxa knelt down next to the Elder, again scanning her patient. “He seems to be okay,” she admitted.  “Something seems to be pulling him out of it but he’s settled down.”

Elan was waiting; on the precipice between action and worry.  Instead of voicing anything, the Oltharian waited, not wanting to interrupt the Healer.  

The Ambassador, leaned against a wall.  “Satella, do you want me to stay?”  When the doctor looked up she said, “If you are that concerned and feel someone should stay behind, I can manage a tricorder at the least and let you know if things are bad.”

Satella examined the Elder one more time.  “I appreciate the offer but he should be fine,” she said firmly.  Looking up she said “And we need to go catch up with the others.”

Xana nodded and followed Satella.  She kept to herself, hanging towards the back of the group.  Dear gods, she just finally figured out that life was worth living for... now she was throwing herself into a life vs. death battle.  “Aye, aye, Doctor,” she replied.

Satella gave Xana a look as they began to move.  “Did you want to stay?”

“There is the argument that as the next sickest person I should stay,” Xana replied.  “However, as I’ll probably die soon, not because of you but that’s just life, well then there is the argument of living life to the fullest.  Staring down death and all that.  There is nothing like going into a battle for the fate of the Federation, if not life itself, to put my own mortal coil into perspective.”

Satella gave the Ambassador a look.  “I like it better when you drink and make pithy comments,” she replied.

“If we survive, I’ll happily do that,” Xana promised.

=/\=
Setting: OLTHAR PRIME, Ancient Underground Ruins, Temple
Stardate: 34016.2216

Shar’El, Ya’Han, Jayson, Amber reached the temple first with Elan, Dr. Bruxa, Adriana, and Xana close behind.  However, as they reached the outer temple doors, Amber with a force unknown to her, or to the others, moved ahead and grabbed the doors to open slightly and indicated that she should go first.

Amber peeked inside.  The outer temple was open to all.  Here the stars shone through the heavily cracked stained-glass windows, casting an eerie glow onto the dusty alter. Thick cobwebs hung on every surface. A bluish light was beaming through the pillared circle, which made an eerie contrast with the white halo beaming from the brass sculpture on the central altar. The fragrance of incense was lingered in the air, clinging to remnants to mysteries of the past; and the sound of chimes could be heard in the distance, invoking a broken melody.

Amber stood there and saw the temple through the cracked door as she used all her might to open the door.  Before the crew of the USS ANUBIS could ask her to further open the door, Amber with a force then viciously shut the doors.  Behind the doors, the broken melody lingered on and the last remnants of incense came through.

Before they could say anything, Amber collapsed on the stone ground floor.  Elan ran to her first, cradling her in his large hands, his eyes full of curious wonder and questions.  

“My... sweet Elan,” Amber whispered as she looked up to him.  Blinking back tears she said, “I could not... let them hurt you too.”  Then she closed her eyes with a deep exhausted sigh as she collapsed in the gentle Oltharian’s arms.

=/\=
Sarah Albertini-Bond 

USS ANUBIS NCC 18501
M14-P048: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: 34016.2220 ("Darkness Eternal")
=-=
"Darkness Eternal"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Broken Melody" by Sarah / (BAS) "Living Planet" by Dawn]
=-=

Setting: OLTHAR PRIME, Ancient Underground Ruins, Temple
Stardate: 34016.2220

The moment Amber Satori had closed the imposing temple doors behind her, the ExO / ILO knew that this would not end well. Whatever reason the woman had for doing this would likely lead them all into more trouble than they were already expecting to face once they caught up to Mordana and her two clone lackeys.  

The moment she emerged back out and collapsed into Elan's arms, those fears were turned into reality in the most atrocious and saddening way.  Shar'El watched as the massive giant held onto the fallen woman and although the Commander did not see any signs of injuries, it was clear that she was hurt, badly. Whatever had taken place before today between the two lovers, whatever events had come to stand between them, there was no denying it; he loved her just as much as she loved him. If the scene had not been so tragic, it might have touched the ExO / ILO to the point of making her smile.

"Can you help her?" Elan's tearful plea to Doctor Bruxa was more than most of them could handle triggering quiet reactions that everyone was trying to hide from the others. They all hoped for the same answer the Oltharian did, but they also all knew including the CMO herself, that this would not be the case.

"I am sorry, Elan," Satella said looking down at the woman who seemed to vanish into the giant's arms. "I wouldn't even know where to start. Without a working tricorder I am nothing more than a field medic who has absolutely no knowledge of how to treat a being like her or even understand what happened. There is no blood, no visible injuries, I can't even feel a pulse.  I am truly sorry."

"It's alright, Doctor," Amber's voice was weak and left little to the imagination as to the woman's critical condition. Her final moments were here, and it was only a matter of time now, time that was by the sound of things in very short supply. If she had something important to say, it would have to be now. "I did what I did because I could not bare to see Elan hurt."

"You said that you could not do it alone," Elan contested, the imposing man clearly in the first phase of mourning despite the fact that Miss Satori was still with them, for now. "You said that you did not have the strength and power you once did, that we had to do this *together*."

"Together, you might have been injured, or worse, lost one of your friends, I could not allow that to happen," she explained reaching up to caress the man's cheek with her trembling hand. "I did not think myself strong enough until I considered what it would mean to see you hurt. That gave me the strength I needed to seal Mordana in with the evil that was already here. Now, you are safe, you all are."

"Doctor," Shar'El jumped in. "Do you believe that you might be able to help her if we returned to the ANUBIS?"

"I have no idea, but I would certainly be in a better position to help as i am unable to do anything here," Doctor Bruxa replied.

"Then, let us go back. The more we stay here and talk, the less our chances are to be able to save her. Elan, can you carry her?" The giant did not even bother giving an answer as he effortlessly lifted the woman.  "Good, our first stop is to get Elder Emzaw as he is now the only one capable of opening the gates that have certain closed behind us."

"It's alright, Elan," Amber said, gently turning the man's face so that he would look upon her and no one else. "I knew what I was doing back then when I used part of my life force to seal the evil here in this temple, and I again knew what I was doing when I gave up what I had left for you today. My place is here so that you and your friends will be protected."

"NO!" The Oltharian moved from the first stage of grief to the second in a matter of seconds as he displayed anger that was unexpected and completely out of place for the gentle giant, and yet no one could find it in their hearts to fault him for this.  He understood what she meant, they all did, but that did not mean they were ready to accept it, even if they did not have a say in the matter. Amber Satori had made her decision and they would all have to live with the consequences of it.

"Remember," she said, her voice even weaker than before. "I... love... you..."  Those were her last words as her body went limp while in the muscular arms of the man she had sacrificed herself to save.

Shar'El closed her eyes and clenched her fists. With all of their technology, with all of their knowledge, they were as powerless as could be.  When the ExO / ILO reopened her eyes, she saw Doctor Bruxa close the woman's eyes and confirm, to the best of her abilities, that whatever life force had been present in the woman was now gone.  Counselor Lopez quickly moved to stand next to the giant Oltharian, ready to offer whatever help and support Adriana knew Elan would need following this heartbreaking event.  Scanning the rest of the team, the Commander saw the ANUBIS' Chief of Operations and Chief of Security holding each other, not as two Starfleet Officers, but as a couple who found themselves understanding all too well where the woman's reasoning had originated from. She sacrificed herself to save the one she loved.

"Commander," Maya said in a whispered voice that was barely audible even if the Chief Science Officer stood right next to the First Officer. "With your permission, I would like to investigate the inside of the temple. I understand that this is the worst possible time, but it is unlikely that we will ever be permitted to return, and who knows, i might be able to understand what actually happened here today which could help us all to come to terms with our own feelings."

The ExO / ILO was ready to scold the scientist for being so cold, but after a few seconds of careful consideration, Shar'El agreed with a nod of her head. Right now their emotions were too high to be able to properly evaluate their own situation, so the calmness and focus of Maya came as a welcomed anchor.

Not ready to put down the body of the lifeless woman currently in his arms, Elan promptly followed Maya into the temple once she managed to open the massive, heavy doors with the help of several other members of the away team.  Once inside, the Oltharian did a quick scan and immediately identified what he needed to do next. There was only one fitting final resting place for the woman he loved; atop the altar that was meant to celebrate light and life.

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET
M14-P049: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han: 34016.2230 ("Saying Sorry is Not Enough")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Saying Sorry is Not Enough"
[previous post were (ANU) "Darkness Eternal" / (BAS) "Living Planet"]
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]

Setting: OLTHAR PRIME, Underground Ruins, Temple of Light
Stardate: 34016.2230

As the ANUBIS' Sec/Tac, her primary duty was to ensure the safety of those onboard or of the members of the away team she accompanied and in order to do this Ya'Han would have normally scanned the whole of this structure to make sure that no hidden dangers were present.  That is, under normal circumstances and this was anything but those.

Ya'Han could not take her eyes off the motionless woman as she laid on top of the altar with the Oltharian standing next to her, his head held as low as his imposing physique allowed. The scene had touched a nerve for her, making her realize just how alike Amber and her were, both willing to sacrifice themselves in order to ensure the safety of the one they loved.  The Sec/Tac found herself holding onto Jayson with increasingly more strength as the finality of what had just played out settled into her mind. Maybe there could have been another way, one that would have spared them all being unwilling witnesses to this.  Amber had made a decision, just as she had back on the ANUBIS when she accepted to follow Jayson's clone. Yes, there were other options, other possibilities, but at the time that decision was the best one available to ensure the safety of everyone she cared about. So Ya'Han understood perfectly what Amber had done and why.

"I love you too," Jayson whispered before giving Ya'Han's arm a gentle yet firm squeeze which the Sec/Tac immediately understood the meaning of causing her to release her hold on him.  "Thanks, I was starting to lose feeling in my hand," he added with a loving smile before leaning in and kissing her.

"I'm sorry," Ya'Han whispered back.

"There seems to be a lot of that going around lately," Jayson said, glancing at the lifeless woman on the altar. Maybe those words were meant as a joke or simply as an observation, in either case, the reaction from the Sec/Tac would have been the same as she slapped the man's shoulder hard enough for him to wince in pain as the sound of the hit quickly echoed on the walls of the temple.

"Really?" The Ship's Counselor had not actually said anything aloud, but the movement of her lips combined with the expression on her face made her point as clear as could be to the couple. Jayson dealt with his emotions through ill-timed humor while Ya'Han simply lashed out at the nearest person for any reason she deemed valid enough.

This was no way to show respect to the woman who sacrificed herself for them, and the Sec/Tac knew this, but all she could do was to repeat the same words she had just spoken, this time following Adriana's lead by not speaking aloud. "Sorry."

Thinking it best for them to avoid upsetting anyone else, Ya'Han and Jayson quietly made their way out of the temple.  Once they were outside, the Chief of Operations glanced back through the open doorway at the scene they had just left behind. "I have to say this, you have to admire the length someone will go through to protect the person they love," as soon as he was finished saying this the man turned to look at the woman standing next to him.  "I most certainly do not want to take away from what she did, but I want to make sure that you know that I would do the same for you. The moment I learned about your plan to infiltrate Mordana's group, all I could think of was to find you and get you back to the ANUBIS safe and sound, no matter what it would cost me."

"I know," Ya'Han said, smiling back at the man. For as long as she had known him, Jayson was never one to openly state his feelings, but this was as close as he had ever gotten to admitting the full extent of his emotions to her.  As misplaced and clumsy as the effort was though, the Nylaan could not help but find the whole things sweet and endearing, a sentiment that was reflected in the now purple color of her hair.  "I'm sorry that I did what I did. There was no time to think the plan through as much as we should have. The opportunity presented itself and I thought that it was the best way for me to make sure that you and the rest of the ANUBIS' crew remained safe."

"You don't have to say sorry to me for that," Jayson said. "I fully understand why you did what you did. Unfortunately, I am not so sure that saying 'sorry' is going to be enough for some, namely Sonja."

Ya'Han sighed. "I suspect as much," the Sec/Tac said. No one could know what the Nylaan was doing and to make her changing sides as believable as possible, action needed to be taken, drastic actions that lead to one woman firing on a very dear friend.

"Don't worry," Jayson said taking Ya'Han into his arms and holding her tight. "This may end up costing me my life, but I will make sure that Sonja doesn't hurt you for what you did. I am sure that together we will be able to make her understand the reasons why you did what you did."

"We can hope," Ya'Han said while doing her best not to think about what would happen once they returned to the ANUBIS. Right now, enjoying the moment the two of them were having was far more important.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
Hanali Han

Lieutenant JG Ya'Han [Access Character BIO for Ya'Han]
Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M14-P050: USS ANUBIS: Fairborn: 34016.2240 ("Not The Last Sunset")
##########
"Not The Last Sunset"
Previous posts (ANU) "Saying Sorry is Not Enough" / (BAS) "Living Planet"
##########

"There is no greater metaphor for life and death than day and night. We are born each day as the sun rises, and we die every night when night rolls in. In most cases, we are born in the same form that we left behind the day before. When that form is no longer able to sustain our spirit, it moves on to another place. This does not herald the end, it is only a promise that something new will begin with the following sunrise."
- A belief shared by both the Oltharian Religious and Scientific Circles.

=====
Setting:  OLTHAR PRIME, Underground Ruins, Temple of Light
Stardate: 34016.2240

"Elan, I think it is time for us to go." The Commander understood the man's need to mourn the loss of the woman he loved, but thanks to her own words she needed to stay here unlike them who needed to return to the ANUBIS and report back to explain what had transpired.  Judging by the expression on the Oltharian's face he understood this, but that understanding did not make what he needed to do any easier. This would be the last time he would get to see her, the last time he would be with her. This would be her final sunset no matter how hard he wished otherwise.

"Just a few more minutes," the towering giant said never taking his eyes from the woman whom he was still holding the hand of. "Please?"

"Fine, you have a couple of minutes," the Commander confirmed. Truth be told he could have asked for an hour and she would have likely given it to him. No one could be expected to simply let go of someone they loved. This was a difficult moment for everyone, not just him, but sooner or later they would have to accept her sacrifice and embrace the life her actions had allowed them to live. They just did not need to do this at this exact moment.

=====
Setting:  OLTHAR PRIME, Underground Ruins, Outise the Temple of Light 
Stardate: 34016.2240

The couple who had stepped out was happily lost in their stolen moment. The pain felt by those inside the temple was also theirs, which only strengthened their hold of one another. Love could be a powerful thing, but it also could lead someone to feel pain and emptiness like nothing else.

Ya'Han suddenly heard a muffled thud quickly followed by Jayson falling limp into her arms. As the Nylaan Chief of Security wondered what was happening, her hair instantly turned red as she saw two people she had not expected to ever see again.  Jayson Stark and the aged Oltharian stood behind the unconscious man in her arms, the Elder having some strange device wrapped around his right hand.

"You cannot be here," Ya'Han gasped. "Amber sacrificed herself to have you and your mistress sealed for eternity."

"It should have worked, but obviously it did not," the Elder said in a most pompous way. "The best I can make of what happened is that your friend's powers were limited in affecting pure evil. The ancient Lokustaar were most certainly that, as was Mordana, but not us. We are nothing more than perfect copies of the original, and as such, we were not affected in the same way. Instead of being trapped, we found ourselves in another room, one filled with old writings and descriptions. The most interesting one was what this device is meant to do."

With the unconscious Jayson in her arms, there was no way that Ya'Han would be able to fight them, and even if she did manage to strike at them, there were no guarantees that she would be able to win before the clone of the Elder used the device he held to do whatever it was that it could do.  Following the wordless instructions of the Oltharian, the Chief of Security ever so gently lowered the man she was holding down before heading back into the temple closely followed by the man's own clone.

"I will say this," Jayson said, "You actually had Mordana fooled, as you did me."

"Mordana was never fooled," Ya'Han corrected. "As for you, I never meant to fool you into believing anything.  You forced me to make a decision; to live a life of light and love or one of darkness and war."

"You might not believe me when I say this, but I do understand why you made the decision you did," the clone added before pushing the now redhead woman ahead. "If you love him as much as you claim to, do as we ask or he dies."

Had Jayson been anyone else, she could have easily overpowered him but the clones were created to be better, stronger and faster than the originals, something that the Nylaan had found out the hard way during her time under the close scrutiny of Mordana. Right now, the best course of action was to comply and figure out what it was that they were planning, not to mention discover what the device held by the Elder was meant to do.

=====
Setting:  OLTHAR PRIME, Underground Ruins, Temple of Light 
Stardate: 34016.2245 

Ya'Han walked back into the temple followed by Jayson, a sight that surprised no one.

"Welcome back," Commander Shar'El said before turning back to look at Elan. This would be the excuse she would use to end their stay here. It might not have been a truly valid reason, but it was one that the First Officer needed to take full advantage of if she was to get everyone back to the ANUBIS anytime soon.  "It is time for us to go."

A general sigh of sadness filled the temple as everyone came to accept, although reluctantly, what they needed to do next. As they turned toward the entranceway they were surprised to see someone else standing behind the Human/Nylaan couple.

"Elder Emzaw, we are glad to see you here, although I will admit that I am a little puzzled. I was not expecting you to wake for quite some time," Doctor Bruxa stated. Since the clones, as far as she was concerned, had been disposed of, there was no reason for her not to accept the aged Oltharian for the person he appeared to be.

"I am fine," the Oltharian said, easily closing the doors to the temple behind him with a single hand. "Before you all leave though, there is something that we need to take care of."

With the real Jayson now safe on the other side of the closed doors, Ya'Han decided to act. At least now they outnumbered the clones, and hopefully, that would be enough to put an end to this before it went any further. "Commander, these are the clones!"

"The clones?" Shar'El gasped but before anything more could be said or done, the Oltharian Elder raised his hand displaying the odd device strapped against his palm and fired a beam of energy hitting the Nylaan square in the back.  Ya'Han managed to raise her arms up before being frozen in place, an expression of utter agony engraved on her face.

"What are you doing here?" Elan demanded, the giant ready to rush the two clones whom he had believed vanquished by the woman who had sacrificed herself for them.

"What am I doing here?" The Elder repeated with a grin. "My dear nephew, I am doing what I was meant to do. Your little girlfriend only postponed the inevitable by doing what she did, now I am here to correct the mistake she did, both today and so many centuries ago.  Would you believe that instead of banishing us to wherever she sent Mordana, she ended up sending us to some secret room where we were able to find a great many things? One was an explanation as to what she did back then, the other was the means to undo it. This little device was meant to draw out the life energy of a person in order to redirect it elsewhere.  Apparently, it was used as some sort of capital punishment by the ancient Olthairans, but she used the idea employed by this device to seal the ancient Lokustaar by transferring half of her own life force to create the barrier that stands today.  Now, with this, I can undo what she did and let the ancient Lokustaar free to claim this planet and the entire galaxy as their own. Before that though, I will take care of you all."

Using the energy he had drained from the Nylaan during his monologue, the clone of the Oltharian Elder created some sort of force field that pushed everyone back against whatever stood behind them. No matter how strong they were, or how hard they fought against this field, they could do nothing but wait to see what would happen next.

Weakened to the point of not being a threat in any way, Ya'Han crumbled onto the floor and despite being barely able to move, she managed to lift her head enough to look back at the clone of Jayson. She was too weak to say anything but her pleading eyes were all the copy of Lieutenant Stark needed to understand what the now black-haired woman wanted from him.  Quickly looking around to find something that he would be able to use to help, he noticed that the other members of the away team were moving, more than they should have given the circumstances.

"Her life energy is weakening and will not be enough to hold all these people where they stand," Jayson said to the Elder who scanned those he was pinning to the circular walls and pillars of this temple to see that the claim was accurate. Understanding that he needed a more powerful source of energy, the Oltharian switched his target from the Nylaan to the very floor they were standing on. Within seconds, a tremendous wave of energy exploded from the Oltharian Elder and pushed everyone completely back against whatever was behind them. The force of the wave was such that even the limp body of Amber Satori was shoved off the altar to land against Elan who had been standing right next to her.

The gentle giant fought back tears as the lifeless body of his beloved pressed against him while he was powerless to do anything else but watch as a dark shadow began to take form in the center of the temple.  The process took several minutes, but it soon became perfectly clear as to whom this dark figure was. In spite of Amber's greatest effort and sacrifice, the Shadow Operative known as Mordana was back.

As soon as she regained full physical form, the lady in black dropped onto her knees, clearly exhausted by the ordeal she had just suffered through.  Seeing this, and recalling what the device in his hand had been designed to do, the clone of Bardef Emzaw once again shifted the target of the energy-draining beam onto the incapacitated Nylaan woman. Ya'Han immediately let out a scream of agony as the remainder of her energy force was being taken away in order to be given to the Shadow Operative to restore her strength.  The Chief of Security closed her eyes, trying as best she could to make peace with the fact that this would be her final moment. It was not the end she had envisioned, and certainly not the way she had hoped to face death, but there was nothing she could do about it now. That was when the pain suddenly stopped allowing her to, with great difficulty, turn her head to see what had happened.  Standing between the Oltharian Elder and herself was Jayson's clone who had stepped into the path of the beam.

"What are you doing?" The Elder demanded.

"I cannot allow you to kill her," the clone stated with assurance and determination. "You are a coward and undeserving of being a creation of the Lokustaar."

"Is that so?" The Oltharian said laughing. "You are a sentimental fool, making you even less worthy to be a creation of our masters. So I will feel no remorse whatsoever in giving you the end that you so rightfully deserve," after having said this the Elder pushed the device to its highest power setting, draining every ounce of life force from the other clone.

"I may be a fool," Jayson said through clenched teeth as he fought back the pain that was coursing through his body, "but I am a fool who has actually experienced love. That alone makes me better than you or anyone like you will ever be, and that makes me happy."

"Then die a happy man my friend and embrace the knowledge that through your death, Mordana will be stronger than ever."

It took a couple of minutes before the clone of Jayson Stark finally collapsed onto the ground right next to Ya'Han, every cell in his body having been drained of the life energy they contained.  Possessing the clone's energy, Mordana rose back to her feet appearing stronger and more dangerous than ever before.  "What a fool," she said looking at the shriveled, lifeless form laying on the ground. "He actually loved you, and look where that brought him.  Love is not a strength, it is a weakness, and you do not have to look any further than right here for proof of that.  Now, kill her and let them witness the true futility of love and their stupid hopes."

The clone of the Oltharian Elder did as ordered and aimed the beam back at Ya'Han who once again let out a scream of pure agony.  The sight was too much for poor Elan to manage, so he turned his attention back onto the woman being pressed against him thinking that as far as he was concerned, love was not a weakness but something better and stronger than anyone could ever understand. That was when he noticed Amber opening her eyes.

"You are alive!" He gasped in complete astonishment, his overflowing joy enough to allow him to momentarily fight against the force pushing him back in order to wrap his arms around her.

"I was never dead," she explained sounding very weak. "I just used the last of my own life energy to trap Mordana, that same energy that is now being used to hold you and the others.  I am able to reabsorb some of that energy but not enough to be able to fight or help your friend."

"What can I do?" Elan asked, still trying to make sense of what he was seeing, hearing and feeling.

"Just hold me," Amber said feeling the strength of his arms grow as he held her tighter.

Back at the center of the temple, Mordana was enjoying the sight of Ya'Han being drained of her life energy. This was the best possible death the traitor deserved and the only regret the Shadow Operative had was that she was not the one causing her the pain she was currently experiencing. At least, the energy being drained from this foolish woman would serve a greater purpose through its new vessel.

"STOP!" The booming voice filled the temple so much so that it shook the entire structure. It took no time for the Oltharian Elder and Mordana to locate the source of this command which neither one of them could believe.

"Today seems to be a day of surprises," Mordana said as she looked upon a very much alive Amber Satori, the woman still being held by Elan although she had turned around to face the other way.  "I will admit that I am at a loss to understand what happened though. I felt you die, or was that only some sort of trickery on your part?"

"It was no trick," Amber clarified. "I died, in that this physical form ceased to be able to function when I used the last of my life force to trap you as I did the evil so many years ago. Your friend is currently using that same energy to keep everyone from interfering. Although by itself it was not enough for me to do anything, I am using some of Elan's own life energy to give this form the strength it needs to stop you."

"No matter, I will be more than happy to kill you myself. Using your lover's life energy to fight me will be your final mistake," Mordana announced as she called up dark shadowy energy from beneath the temple, directly from the ancient Lokustaar trapped there using one hand and redirecting it towards the woman with the other.

"I only made one mistake," Amber conceded as a shield of light appeared before her, deflecting the dark energy summoned by the Shadow Operative. "Instead of trapping the evil that came to this planet, I should have destroyed it as I will do now to you.  I find it interesting that I have learned more in the last lifetime than I had over countless centuries before, and one thing that I did learn is that trapping evil only allows it to resurface at a later time. The only true way to defeat darkness is to vanquish it." As she said this, Amber stepped out of Elan's embrace and around the altar where she had been laid as her final resting place not that long ago.  "I need your help," Satori said to everyone else. "Please, allow me to use some of your life force so that I can finish this once and for all."

Everyone quickly agreed, not that Amber had suspected that things would go any differently. Now having access to the life force of the others, the one things she had hoped to avoid doing in order to not endanger their lives, the being of light could call upon powers that she had not used since the times when these walls were the heart of the Oltharian culture.  The shield of light that was protecting her quickly grew to envelop her entire body, making her shine like a blinding sun.  "Love will always defeat hate," she announced as the light grew even brighter. "Light will always defeat darkness, and as long as I am here, there will be light in this universe to fight and push back the darkness that you represent."

The purest of white light filled the temple before everyone found themselves free of the force that was pushing them back against the walls. As eyes readjusted to the normal illumination, the members of the away team noticed that Mordana was gone and that the clone of the Oltharian Elder was now on his hands and knees, reeling in pain.  Fearing that he might try something, Counselor Lopez, who was one of the closest, quickly rushed in and took the device away making sure that he could not use it again.

"Is everyone all right?" Shar'El asked of the others, the Commander feeling weaker than she ever had before.  Several quick acknowledgements were received, everyone sounding as weak as she felt.  "See, it works better when we all work together," the First Officer said to the woman who appeared the weakest of them all.

After doing a rapid check of the others, Doctor Bruxa made her way to Amber to make sure that she too was all right, that was when she felt something unexpected - a heartbeat.  "Are you all right?" Satella asked, not entirely sure what to make of this.

"I am as you all are," Amber cryptically replied. "Trapping evil once required half of my life force. Destroying it has completely stripped me of what I was. It was only thanks to all of the energy you provided me with that I am still here, although it is clear that I am not what I once was."

"We need to get back to the ANUBIS," the Doctor said. "I need to run some tests and figure out what happened."

"Agreed," Shar'El added. "There are a lot of questions that need answers, and I suspect that we will not be able to do this here.  At least now we only have to worry about one prisoner, right?" The Commander asked, looking at the last remaining clone.

"Mordana is quite dead, as are all of the ancient Lokustaar who were trapped beneath this temple," Amber said. "I can assure you that they will not be coming back."

--==(/\)==--
Francois Charette

Commanding Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501

AND

Lt. Commander Elan Fairborn [Access Character BIO for Elan Fairborn]
Robotics Engineering Officer
NEW ALEXANDRIA
M14-P051: USS ANUBIS: Bruxa: 34018.1000 ("Weaker, Wiser")
=-=
"Weaker, Wiser"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Not The Last Sunset" / (BAS) "Living Planet"]
=-=

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Sickbay
Stardate: 34018.1000

To say that their journey to OLTHAR PRIME had been eventful was a huge understatement. Even a couple of days later, the physician was still trying to make sense of everything that had happened. The majority of the away team had been released from Sickbay to recuperate in the comfort of their own quarters. The effects of the life energy drain they suffered would take time to undo, if ever. Seeing how it affected them, Satella understood why Amber had been reluctant to use it. At least now Mordana was dead and they could all rest peacefully. Not that they had a lot of choice being too weak to do pretty much anything else.

The Captain walked into Sickbay and headed straight for the CMO. He gave the room and its occupants a thorough scan before speaking. "Good morning Doctor, how are your patients?"

Satella looked down at her PADD, not that she needed to. The results of the morning's rounds were exactly as expected. Even the one strange oddity seemed to be what it should be given everything that had taken place. "Everyone is going well and recuperating. Most should be ready to return to active duty today. Some have already chosen to take part in an 'active healing' method. In other words, they are all workaholics."

"You were part of the away team as well, Doctor. Should you not be in your quarters resting as well?" There was no way the captain was going to let that one go unchallenged. Here was the CMO complaining of others working while they needed to rest while she was doing the exact same thing.

Satella was visibly annoyed by the man's statement. "With all due respect Captain, don't start. Adriana has been on my case pretty much since our return to the ANUBIS. I may be weak, but I can manage a few scans and reading the results. I might have to be sitting for most of that though, but I can manage."

"Glad to hear it." The Captain paused as his wandering gaze locked onto one particular person. "How is she doing?"

"She is weak," Satella said. "I ran the tests several times and confirmed the results. She is as normal as you or I. By normal I mean mortal in every way. She initially sacrificed herself to lock Mordana away. When that didn't work, and she was given a second chance, she sacrificed her immortality instead. According to her, the only reason why she is here is because of the life energy she took from the rest of us. I am not entirely sure we will ever fully understand what happened. All I know is that we are here in no small part thanks to what she did. In return, she is here because of what we did. If I were a poet, I would think this was perfect symmetry of life."

"You do not need to be a poet to appreciate life, Doctor. I would even say that you may be the one best qualified to understand it." He looked at the woman for a brief moment. This whole thing would most certainly leave its mark on them all. "What about Elan?" The question was meant to break to awkward silence that stood between them. It also made sense since the Oltharian was clearly visible standing right next to Amber's bed.

"Even in his weakened state, that giant is stronger than all of us combined. Physically, I have no worries for him. Emotionally though, I do have certain reservations. Adriana has not been able to get a word out of him. All he does is stand there by her side. It almost seems that he is protecting her from something."

The Captain offered a faint, barely distinguishable smile. "He's protecting her from everything. He lost her once and is not ready to allow anything to take her from him again."  The explanation might have been overly simple but Satella agreed. If it was good enough for their Captain, it would be good enough for her.  "Have you had the chance to look at our guest in the Brig?"

"I did. Like the others who were on the planet, he is physically weak. His stronger constitution might have helped in some ways though. My guess is that Oltharian physique might have something to do with that. Despite feeling better than most, he is just sitting there as if his own life had become meaningless. Luckily for me, Adriana is also on his case. That means she is not up here harassing me every chance she gets."

"It would seem that our Counselor is going to be busy for quite some time. How is Ya'Han doing?"

The scene at the other bed where the Nylaan was resting was nearly identical to the previous. A woman was resting on the bed while their significant other stood guard near them. "Of all those who were on the planet, she was the one most affected. The repeated attacks left her near dead. It will take several weeks for her to get back to a semblance of where she was before. I suspect that Jayson will find whatever excuses he can to stay by her side instead of returning to duty."

"I better get back to the bridge," the captain said. "With the greater majority of my senior officers out, someone needs to be up there." As he turned to leave, he noticed one more person resting on one of the far corner beds. It was the Bolian/Human Ambassador.

Anticipating what the Captain would ask, Satella moved in closer. There was no need to broadcast what she was about to say to everyone. "She's dying and there is nothing we can do about it. When Amber drained the life force from us, she did not take enough to kill anyone. The problem is that Xana was already very weak to start. What happened took whatever strength she had left out. I am keeping her here to monitor and make things as comfortable for her as possible."

"Maybe I should go and speak with her." The Captain was able to take but a single step before the CMO grabbed him by the arm.

"I would not. She is not in the most talkative mood. In fact, so far the only person she has allowed near her without any issues if Adriana. I guess her being the Junior Ambassador has given her some extra privileges."

Satella could see the debate ranging within him. He wanted to go and speak to her, but what would he say. Could he bear having her final moments filled with anger even if it was not truly directed at him? "Keep me informed of her condition." With that he turned and left, visibly not happy about this particular turn of event.

The CMO just stood there, looking at the three beds and their occupants. It was not fair that two of them had protectors by their side and not the third. This injustice was made even worse when considering that Xana was likely the one who needed protection the most. Not from any outside threat but rather from her own thoughts and feelings. Hopefully Adriana would return soon from her rounds to psychologically evaluate the other members of the away team.

=-=
Rachel Jackie Johnson

Lieutenant JG Satella Bruxa [Access Character BIO for Satella Bruxa]
Chief Medical Officer
USS ANUBIS

[Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint. - Mark Twain]
M14-P052: USS ANUBIS: Paquette: 34018.1010 ("Mildly Annoyed")
"Mildly Annoyed"
previous posts were (ANU) "Weaker, Wiser" / (BAS) "Living Planet"

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Main Engineering
Stardate: 34018.1010

It was Maya who brought the device to her, looking to get some help in understanding the way it worked. The next hours or so were spent looking at the small item while the Shillian went on an extensive narrative of what had taken place in the underground ruins of OLTHAR PRIME. That by itself might not have been so bad, but the Chief Science Officer had elected to start her account from the moment the away team had materialized on the surface.  Needless to say that Sonja had not been able to focus on the task given to her until the woman finally left feeling too tired to stay.

Was it because of this life energy drain Maya had stated this device was responsible for or had she left simply because the woman had gone on too long talking and explaining things that truly had nothing to do with why the scientist had come here? Either way, the redhead CEO was just happy that the rambling had stopped allowing her to actually get to work. That was yesterday, over twenty-four hours ago.

"Were you able to figure it out?"

Sonja let out a sigh of exasperation. Maya was back which meant that the peace and tranquility the Engineer had been enjoying would be no more, and this for much longer than she cared for.  "Of course I did," the CEO sarcastically replied.

"You did? How?"

She had kept the Shillian to three words, three simple words. That had to be a record somewhere.  "Simple," Sonja said rolling her eyes. "All I had to do was to read the manual that came with it, flip the switch and follow the instructions. I really do not understand why you asked me to do this."

"You found a manual and you were able to read ancient Oltharian?"

Sonja almost slapped her forehead. Maya had proven herself to be a great scientist time and time again, but when it came to picking up on intra-personal cues, the woman left a lot to be desired.  "Of course I don't read Oltharian, you shape-shifting twat. Nor is there any sort of manual, not attached to the device or anywhere down on the planet. I replied the way I did because I thought your question was completely pointless. You would figure that if I had found something, I would have told you and I would not still be here trying to figure out how the blasted thing works."

Maya almost appeared relieved that the mystery surrounding the device was still intact, although that feeling quickly dissipated.  "Maybe we could ask Elan for some help. As the only Oltharian on board, he might be able to provide us with something that we overlooked."

"What about his uncle?" Sonja said waving a hand in the air unable to recall the man's name. Being the ruler of the planet they were in orbit of did not mean that the CEO had to commit the name to memory. Dealing with people like that was their Captain's responsibility, not hers.

"Elder Emzaw remained on OLTHAR PRIME to rest. Although he was not present during the life energy drain we all experienced, the journey to the underground ruins was not an easy one for him. He also stated that he needed to take care of certain things, so he remained behind while the rest of us beamed back up.  My guess is that he did not want to get in the way of Elan and Amber, his presence on board would have certainly made things more complicated for them and us in the process."

"If Elan is up there in Sickbay tending to Amber, it is not my place to barge in and ask him about this thing, whatever it is," the Chief Engineer noted.

"Ya'Han is also in Sickbay," Maya pointed out. "You could use that as an excuse to go up there and visit. I am sure that she would be happy to see you, you two are friends after all, no?" Maya was trying to find a way to get Sonja to go to Sickbay, never realizing that her chosen method could not have been a worse possible one.

"Her being there is even more a reason for me to stay down here. As for us being friends, last time I checked, friends don't fire phasers at one another or keep secrets the way she did," Sonja paused and turned to face the Shillian Lieutenant Commander before continuing. "If you are so bent on getting Elan's take on this contraption, you can go to Sickbay yourself, Sir," the CEO added leaving no doubts in anyone's mind that she would not now, nor ever, go to Sickbay or anywhere else for that matter, to see the Nylaan Chief of Security.

Clearly getting the hint that she was not in the mood to talk or go anywhere, Maya decided to do as suggested and made her way to the nearest exit under the narrow-eyed glare of the redhead Engineer. Just as the scientist left, the Counsellor walked in causing Sonja to let out another long sigh.

"Of all the departments on board the ANUBIS and in Starfleet, she walks into mine."

"Casablanca, 1942," Adriana said smiling. She understood that the paraphrased line was meant to take a stab at her being here, but as the Ship's Counsellor, Lt. Lopez had heard worse.  "I am guessing that things are not going well on your end."

"What could have possibly given you that idea?" Sonja sarcastically snapped, slamming the device onto the work station she had been working at, leaving the unexplainable item behind as she walked away. "Let me save you the time. Yes, I am tired, no, I have not been able to figure out how that thing drains the life out of one person and into another. I checked with the planetary archives and the only mention of something remotely similar is in ancient legends. As far as the Oltharians are concerned, that thing is not even supposed to exist. It would be like us finding Excalibur back on EARTH. There might be legends and stories written about it, but don't expect a 'how-to' manual to be found."

"I would not have expected you to find something like that," Adriana admitted.

"That puts you several lengths ahead of our Chief Science Officer," the Engineer lamented as she walked away. "Tell you what; you have a look at it. Maybe you will be luckier than I and find the switch that turns the bloody thing on. In the meantime, I'm heading to the Black Hole lounge to get some supper."

"You want to get some supper? It's just past 1000 hours!"

"Fine," the redhead said casting her arms in the air, not willing to admit that she had completely lost track of time. "I'll get a late breakfast or an early lunch, whichever will get you off my back," and with that Sonja stormed out of the room leaving Adriana behind and alone to contemplate the device in question.

=====
Lorraine Paquette

Chief Engineering Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501
M14-P053: USS ANUBIS: Bonviva: 34018.1025 ("Bucket List")
"Bucket List"
previous posts were (ANU) "Mildly Annoyed" / (BAS) "Living Planet"
=/\=

“Death never comes at the right time, despite what mortals believe. Death always comes like a thief.”
--Christopher Pike

=/\=
Location: USS ANUBIS - Black Hole Lounge
Stardate: 34018.1025

“I’m telling you, she’s here,” Louise Morningstar whispered from behind the bar into her commbadge.  “I’m doing my best to keep her distracted but I’d think someone else should come here.”  

=/\= The Ambassador should be resting, =/\= came back the firm voice of Dr. Satella Bruxa.  =/\= Preferably back in the holodeck. =/\=

The linguist sighed at that as she looked around the bar.  “Yes, she got the message.  *Trust* me on that.  And the day Xana Bonviva learns to walk a straight line will be a great one,” she muttered.  “Just send someone, unless Bolian firewater really is the medicinal to end all that she keeps claiming it is.”  Straightening up she went back to the other end of the bar to where Xana was downing a rainbow drink that had small flames spouting out the top of deep well glass that was sitting on bar.  

“You can come closer,” Xana said as she lolled her head from side to side.  “The flames are nothin’.  It’s just the ox-ox-oxidation of the chemical--”

Louise Morningstar rolled her eyes, slapped together a plate of cheese and crackers, and slid that across the bar.  “Don’t hurt yourself with by belching out the chemical properties of your Bolian drink.  You’ve had 5 already.  It’s pretty, it doesn’t hurt anyone with the flames, but will help you forget.  I got it.  Try something to bind to the food.”

The Bolian/Human sniffed at the cheese, then pulled back her head wrinkling her nose in an exaggerated fashion.  Belching she said, “No.  That won’t do. *At all*.”

Before Louise could say another word, or question why camembert and crackers would not do at all, the ship’s avatar appeared next to the Ambassador.  ANI very pleasantly stated, “Ambassador Bonviva, I have been tasked with reminding you that you are overdue to return to your chambers.”  After a pause, she said, “Should the circumstances require it, I am equipped to provide directional assistance to you.”

Quite obviously drunk, the azure woman did an exaggerated turn around and looked over at ANI.  “Are you propositioning me, ANI?” she smiled.  Raising (or at least trying to) her white eyebrow the Bolian/Human woman said, “You remind me of my 4th former spouse.”

ANI took all of a nano-second to confirm a fact before stating the obvious.  “Ambassador, files indicate you’ve only been married, or co-habitated, 3 times.”

“I know...want to be the 4th,” she grinned.  

“Are ya propositioning my AVATAR?” Sonja yelled.  

Xana gave a long sigh.  “Shhhh...this is the part I’m good at,” she said to the Engineer.  Looking over at ANI she smiled as she leaned in.  “You’re single.  I’m single.  Coincidence?  I think not.”

ANI paused for a moment as she considered that.  “The chance of no event occurring is 61%; the chance of one of us being cohabitated is 39%--”

“I canna believe this,” Sonja grumbled.  “I would have expected better from you!”

“Me?” Xana asked innocently before downing the rest of her Bolian firewater.

“NO!  ANI,” Sonja clarified.

ANI looked over at the CEO.  “The Ambassador brings up a good point.  The chances of two un-cohabited people at the same time, who would be inclined towards the same outcome, then it becomes less of a coincidence, which was the Ambassador’s point I believe.”

Saluting the Avatar with an empty glass Xana nodded.  Leaning in she said, “Precisely.”  Slamming down the glass she said, “You know I got so damn excited about feeling my *toes*.  Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve felt--”

“Her knees,” Sonja clarified with a glare to the interested onlookers before they scuttled away.  

ANI, oblivious to the surroundings, merely said, “But knees do not have very many nerve endings, either for Humans or Bolians.”

Instead Xana threw her head on the bar and announced.  “Fine.  I miss my knees.  Damn it, Louise can I have another drink now?”

“Dinner,” Sonja interjected.  “We need food.”  Even though she knew perfectly well (or at least strongly suspected why) the Ambassador was getting steadily drunk she said, “It won’t killya to eat.”

Suddenly the Bolian/Human woman looked serious.  “Mapa bread.  I’d like some mapa bread,” she said quietly.  “I haven’t had that in years.  My first husband used to eat that when he got drunk, which wasn’t often.  He used to say it was great for sopping up the liquor in the belly.  Don’t know what made me think of it.”  Giving a hoarse laugh she said, “I guess because I’ll be dead like him soon enough.  Funny how the mind works.”  

Louise walked over to the replicator and moments later steaming plates of Bajoran mapa bread came over.  Ripping off a hunks of the mapa bread, the women dunked it into some melted cheese that Louise procured.  

“Firewater?” Sonja asked.  “I thought you liked wine.”

“I’m not a picky drinker,” Xana admitted.  Nibbling warm bread she said, “Sometimes you drink to be friendly, sometimes to relax, sometimes to forget.”  When Sonja gave a look, Bonviva smiled, “I take it you disagree.”

“Just drink, don’t assign a damn philosophy to it,” the Engineer pointed out.  “I take it this is the “drink to forget”.  And don’t tell me ya moping to forget.”

Xana laughed at that.  “Well if you’d just move and let me earn ANI--”

“Please I have to scour out my eyes after that,” Sonja shuddered.

The Ambassador inhaled and slowly exhaled.  The mapa bread tasted good, it was a simple bread but it was filling.  “I’m dying.”

This was an emotional morass that she wasn’t equipped to deal with.  So she plunged in with honesty.  “Yeah, we’ve known this,” Sonja nodded.

“That damn pretzel chamber isn’t working as well as we thought.”  Xana said quietly.  Dropping the mapa bread on a napkin, she said, “I know Satella asked Amber to try...whatever it is that Amber could do to help but Amber couldn’t do it.  And...that’s it.  I am really out of options.”  There was a pause before she said, “I hadn’t realized before I went to OLTHAR PRIME that I never really thought about what *I* thought my dying.  I was too busy getting everyone else ready.”  Shaking her head she spun around in her chair to look around.  Swallowing the lump in her throat, she said, “I forgot what it was like to be on a ship.  I had been planet-side -- or planet hopping -- for so long.  I forgot what it was like to be level with the stars.  There’s so much I’ve missed.  And now….”

Sonja, she of little patience even for the dying, shook her head, “And now what?”

Xana turned back around to the bar.  She knew the Engineer was not going to listen to her cry, and honestly she wasn’t sure she was ready to cry.  It was in her, just not ready yet.  “I had a bucket list, I just didn’t know it.  Thanks.”

“So glad the ANUBIS could be of service,” Sonja muttered.

“That was to ANI actually,” Xana grinned cheekily.  “I haven’t given up on her, she has to last longer than marriages than 1 through 3.”

=/\=
Sarah Albertini-Bond

USS ANUBIS NCC 18501
M14-P054: USS ANUBIS: Lopez: 34018.1025 ("Trying To Help")
-=-=-
"Trying To Help"
[Previous post: (ANU) "Bucket List" & (BAS) "Living Planet"]
-=-=-

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Sickbay
Stardate: 34018.1025

"That woman is going to be the death of me," Satella said while looking at the empty bed where the Ambassador had been and where she should most certainly still be.

"She is the one dying," Adriana pointed out, not to be mean but more as a point of reality. With her time growing shorter with every passing moment, it made sense for the Bolian/Human not to want to be stuck in a bed, no matter how comfortable everything was being made to be for her.

"I am just not used to having my patients get up and leave like that," the Doctor sighed. "I guess that means she's your problem more than mine now."

Adriana nodded gently. She would not have put it quite that way, but there was no arguing the fact that Xana was well past the point of relying on any sort of medical intervention to help her. "I will do what I can."

"If there is anything I can do to help, let me know, but I strongly doubt that anything you try to do will help."

"Maybe, but I have to try," Adriana said not sounding overly confident in her own ability to do anything more than had already been done.

-=-=-
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Black Hole Lounge
Stardate: 34018.1030

It did not take long for the Counselor to locate the Ambassador as the stories of a drunk Bolian/Human travelled through the ship faster than could have been expected.  Adriana actually smiled as she recalled something Commander Shar'El had once told her, secrets are the hardest to keep, especially on board an Intel vessel.

The smile brought on by that thought did not last long as Adriana gazed upon Xana from the upper level. The woman was in pain, so much so that she could almost feel it. Her wanting to drink to excess in order to forget what was happening to her was more than understandable, as was her latching on to ANI. The azure-skinned woman needed to feel alive one last time and she would do anything to achieve that goal.

"Not the best way for an Ambassador of her caliber to end her career," the hallucination of the sister said as she joined her twin and leaned over the banister.

Adriana did a quick scan of her surroundings to make sure she was indeed alone before replying. "Are you talking about her dying or her being past drunk?"

"Both," Amanda laughed. "Come on, that woman has lived a life that most would envy. She was married multiple times, visited countless worlds, enjoyed their culture, and she even dealt with some of the more colorful aspects of those cultures based on the shady acquaintances we knew she recently contacted. No life is perfect, and hers certainly was not, but life is meant to be lived and she did that. No one can blame her for lashing out this way."

"I don't think any of us is blaming her," the Counselor said. "Actually, I think we are all blaming ourselves in one way or another for not having been able to find a way to help her more than we did."

"So why are you all standing around watching her make a spectacle of herself?" The twin was now looking straight at her sister. "You all claim that you wan to help, to do anything possible, yet none of you are actually doing something. Louise is serving her drinks and trying to get her to eat actually food, Sonja is harping at her because that is what she does best, and ANI is nothing more than an android that is responding to a woman's words, not her feelings or emotions. Satella is just angry that her patient left without saying anything because she can no longer control the situation, one that we all know how it ends. So, I ask you again, why are you all standing around and not actually helping her?"

The Counselor thought about the implications of the question before even venturing an answer. "Scared," she finally said. "We are all scared. We know there is nothing we can do and we find excuses to emotionally detach ourselves from her so as to soften the emotional blow that will hit everyone when she actually passes.  You are right, that is not the way we should be behaving. Xana deserves better than that, a lot better." Having said this, Adriana headed for the nearest exit at a hurried pace.

-=-=-
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Captain's Ready Room
Stardate: 34018.1040

"You said that it was urgent?" The Captain asked the moment the doors shut close behind the Counselor.

"I would like your permission to beam back down to OLTHAR PRIME."

"Doctor Bruxa has not cleared you, or any of the other members of the away team to return to active duty, and certainly not to go down to the planet. As much as i would like to have a complete senior staff, I agree with Satella, you all need to rest after what you have gone through."

Adriana wasted no time and tapped her communicator. "Lopez to Bruxa."

=/\= Last names only? Sounds important and official, what can I do for you? =/\=

"I am with captain Morningstar and he needs your medical authorization to allow me to beam down to the planet surface."

=/\= Why would you want to do that? =/\=

"I am trying to help Xana, and in order to do that I need to speak to Elder Emzaw. My being face-to-face will add weight to what I need to speak to him about, not as this ship's Counselor but as the Ambassador's junior assistant," Adriana explained in a nutshell.

"All I did was mention that you have not yet cleared any members of the away team for active service," the Captain said trying to explain the situation a little more.

=/\= Adriana, are you sure that thsi is what you want to do? Xana may not take too kindly to you jumping into the Ambassadorial role like this. =/\=

"She is a woman, one who understands better than most the need to do what is required, when it is required, even if it appears to be completely useless or pointless. Right now she needs something to do something for her and I am the best person to do it. You said that I could ask of you anything if it would help her, all I am asking is for you to return me to active status."

=/\= It would seem that you have learned a great deal from Xana, namely how to be stubborn when you have an idea in mind. Captain, I see no reason to delay having Counselor Lopez restored to full active status immediately. I am making a note in her medical records as we speak. =/\=

"Very well," the Captain said looking a little taken by how quickly all of this had happened. "You are authorized to beam back to the planet surface. Just be careful down there, as a Ship's Counselor you might have had a little more leeway than as a Junior Ambassador, especially with the Elder."

"I am not trying to renegotiate any diplomatic liaisons, I am simply going down to see if I can find a way to help Xana," Adriana said. "Thank you Captain, I should not be more than a couple of hours."

-=-=-
Setting: OLTHAR PRIME, Council greeting chamber  
Stardate: 34018.1100

Getting an audience with the head of OLTHAR PRIME proved to be a lot easier than she had expected, but Adriana was not trying to fool herself, the discussion that would follow would not be an easy one.

"Junior Ambassador Lopez, I am most pleased to see you here. How can I help you? You mentioned that you required my assistance in regards to Ambassador Bonviva."

"That is why I am here," Adriana confirmed. "May we speak in a more private setting?" The Oltharian Elder seemed puzzled by the request but did not appear overly concerned, so he invited the woman to follow him.  Once they arrived in what appeared to be a small isolated prayer room, the Junior Ambassador went straight to the point of her visit. "As I am sure you are aware, the Ambassador is dying and there is nothing we can do about it. All options have been explored but I have a proposition for you, one that I believe could prove beneficial to everyone."

The Elder looked at the woman stading before her. Her words and confidence seemed to be that of someone else, someone with many more years that those displayed by her.  Whoever the Ambassador was to her, she was far more than a suprior diplomatic officer, she was a cherished friend and if for no other reason that proved enough for the Oltharian to listen to this proposition.  "Go ahead, you have my complete attention."

-=-=-
Marissa Montonera-Lombardi

Lieutenant JG Adriana Lopez [Access Character BIO for Adriana Lopez]
Ship's Counselor & Junior Ambassador
USS ANUBIS
M14-P055: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han: 34018.1045 ("The Cost")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"The Cost"
[previous post were (ANU) "Trying to Help" / (BAS) "Living Planet"]
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Sickbay
Stardate: 34018.1045

Ya'Han lay on the bed, her eyes closed, as she tried to rest as best she could. The memory of his death was engraved into her mind but the Sec/Tac could not even try to push it away, he had given up is life for hers and such a sacrifice had to be remembered. The clones were created to be a perfect copy of the originals with one major difference; their allegiance to the Lokustaar was meant to be absolute. In Jayson's case though something different had happened making him more than they intended him to be. His feelings for the Nylaan were genuine and powerful enough to make him stand up against his own, even at the cost of his own life.

The clone's last moments, at least those that she was able to see of them, played over and over again in her mind. Every breath Ya'Han took, every beat of her heart were thanks to him, to his sacrifice. When she opened her she saw him there, standing right next to her, a concerned and loving expression on his face. She knew that it was not him, but the pain the Nylaan felt was too much for reason and logic to assert themselves.

"Jayson?" She wanted to say so much, to explain everything to him, to reveal the extent of her feelings for him, but his name was the only word she could speak to the man standing right there next to her.

"I'm right here," Jayson said, giving the hand he had been holding onto since their return to the ANUBIS a gentle, enamored squeeze.

Ya'Han closed her eyes and turned away, trying her best to hide the tears she could not hold back. How was she supposed to make sense of her feelings? She understood that it was the clone who had sacrificed himself for her, and that he was a perfect copy of the man by her side. She knew that the same man would have done the exact same thing had he been there instead, so why was it so difficult for her to look at him and only see the other? Who were her feelings for? The man she knew and grow to love or the clone who showed her the full extent of his feelings back?

"How are you doing?" Doctor Bruxa asked. Her whispered voice was loud enough for Ya'han to hear but soft enough for the Nylaan to understand that the question had not been meant for her.

"I'm alright," Jayson said. Ya'Han could feel his hold on her hand ever so slightly diminish as he spoke those words. "She's crying... again."

"Give her time. Of all those who were in the temple, she was the only one who felt the full force of that device, and that nearly killed her," the Doctor explained, trying as best she could to justify the woman's reactions and current emotional state.

"She was not the only one to feel the full power of that device," Jayson said, the strength of the hold on her hand suddenly increasing. "He did."

Ya'Han forced her eyes closed as tightly as she could, trying to hold back the tears but instead it only caused her to cry even more. Jayson had been spared the battle inside the temple, and because of that the Nylaan had hoped that maybe he did not know what happened. It was a foolish hope, but one that she had held onto until now. Somehow he learned about what happened, how could he not since everyone else was there and it would have been impossible to expect all of them to not say something about the heroism of the clone... of his clone.

"What we went through was a very traumatic experience," Satella said. "It is going to take time for us to make sense of what we saw and what we were forced to deal with. You don't go toe-to-toe against an evil the likes of Mordana and the Lokustaar without getting a few bruises. Ya'Han is strong, we both know that, just give her time and be patient. She knows that you love her, she knows that you would have done the exact same thing had you been there instead, you just need to be there to remind her that you are here for her, no matter what."

"It might be easier if Counselor Lopez was here and talked to her," Jayson said. There were no doubts that he was ready to stay for as long as it would be needed, but that did not stop him from seeking out whatever assistance he could get to make things easier, if not for him at least for Ya'Han who he could see was in pain.

"Adriana is on the planet surface speaking with Elder Emzaw," Satella explained. "She is trying to find a way to help Xana."

"I appreciate what the Counselor is doing for her," Jayson said as a hint of anger was heard in his voice, "but with all due respect to her and you, we all know that the Ambassador is *dying* and there is nothing that can be done about it. Should it not be more important for Counselor Lopez to help those who are going to live?"

"Jayson, that was cold, even for you," the Doctor said. "Ya'Han is in good hands and we are all taking care of her as best we can. Adriana being here right now would not change a thing. What she needs," Satella said pointing at the Nylaan, "is for you to be here by her side and make her feel loved and needed."

"I'm sorry Doctor," Jayson said as his body physically sank, a sensation that Ya'Han easily felt through his holding of her hand. "This has been hard for us all in a lot of different ways."

"I know," Satella added before walking away. "Just be strong, for her."

Ya'Han could feel his hand holding on tight on hers, she could feel the love and need the tightness of his grasp, and yet she could not bring herself to dry her tears of look his way. If she did, would she seem him or the other? if she did, it would hurt him even more than she had already done for no other reason that he was the original of the clone who died for her.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
Hanali Han

Lieutenant JG Ya'Han [Access Character BIO for Ya'Han]
Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M14-P056: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: 34018.1045 ("Searching Into Nothingness")
=-=
"Searching Into Nothingness"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "The Cost" by Hanali / (BAS) "Living Planet" by Dawn]
=-=

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Deck 19, Brig
Stardate: 34018.1045

While Adriana, in her capacity as Junior Ambassador, was having a discussion with the Elder on OLTHAR PRIME, the ExO / ILO was trying to do the same with the other Elder, this one held captive behind the force field of the Ship's brig. The last time Shar'El was here, in this location, she was looking at another clone, one who was far more talkative and lively than this one. It was a challenge to speak to the other Jayson Stark, his confidence and gall made him come across as being more than he appeared.  At least that she understood.

The clone sitting on the other side of the force field was a complete opposite to that first one, so much so that at first glance, one might believe him to not actually be real but some sort of statue or lifeless automaton. The clone was the last remaining member of his team, their plan to unleash an ancient evil across the galaxy had miserably failed, and yet he just sat there, motionless and silent. There was no anger, no signs of any type of emotion; he just sat there, perfectly motionless. That, the ExO / ILO did not understand.

Looking into the clone's memories, Shar'El saw nothing other than the most recent events that took place in the underground ruins. The Ullian could not find anything that might identify the man sitting so quietly as a copy of the original or as an operative of the Lokustaar.  All the ExO / ILO could see was a man reliving the most recent events as if they held some sort of hidden meaning to him. Was it some sort of lingering regret or was this how the copy of the Oltharian was building up his rage?

"You are wasting your time," the Oltharian said without looking up, the tone of his voice sounding as dark and ominous as the darkness that his presence in this galaxy represented. "You will find nothing of interest in my mind."

Shar'El seized the opportunity in an effort to understand why the clone was so focused on those particular thoughts and memories. "I am not wasting my time thanks to you. That little stunt you pulled on the planet forced our Chief Medical Officer to take everyone off active duty while we recuperate, but then again I guess we are the lucky ones in that regards. Your two friends were not so lucky." Maybe her words would trigger some sort of anger-fueled reaction, or maybe just have him remember something that might give her a clue as to what his plans were. Either way, some progress would be made.

"They were not my friends," the clone sighed while shaking his head ever so slightly. "You saying that just goes to show how little you understand who and what we are."

"According to your own words, as said to Jayson's clone before you killed him, you are the creation of the Lokustaar," Shar'El jumped in glad to see that her earlier words had triggered a response, now all she needed to do was to maneuver the clone into revealing his plans. "I understand that you and your 'counterpart', for a lack of a better term, were designed to replace the originals in order to secure assets and control certain resources and people. Mordana on the other hand was not a copy of someone, at least not of anyone we ever encountered before. So, even if I do accept her as being nothing more than a creation of your 'masters', she was nothing more than a higher level pawn in this game of yours."

The Elder finally looked up and to the silent delight of the ExO / ILO the man actually smiled at her. "Standard Ullian tactic. You know that you cannot breach my thoughts to access those memories you are so desperate to see, so you try to have me think about them, or something near them in order to show you the way.  The only reason you were able to defeat Mordana was because of that creature, if it had not been for her, you would still not have a clue as to what we truly are or what we are capable of." The Oltharian stopped, rose to his feet and stared at the woman on the other side of the force field for several long seconds before continuing. "As I said before, you are wasting your time with me. Even here, inside this cell, I am more in control of the situation than you will ever be. Whatever advantage you had is gone, that thing that saved you back on the planet is mortal now, and she will suffer just as much as the rest of you when the darkness comes to claim this ship."

As an Intel Operative, Shar'El was not one to easily give into fear, her experiences out there amongst the stars had shown her things that would freeze the blood in most living creature, but somehow, looking at him and the way he was looking back at her, she felt fear. It was not the type of emotion that would send her running, or even cause her to tremble, but it was more than she had felt in a very long time, and certainly more than she cared to experience at this moment.  In a last-ditch effort, the Ullian drilled into the clone's memories, hoping to find something, anything, but instead all she found was darkness, a cold empty void that sent a chill down her spine.

"Go," the Elder snarled, finally displaying the anger Shar'El had been expecting to find since the beginning. "Report back to your Captain, tell him of my words have made you feel. Tell him of your failure to see into my mind. Be sure not to forget to tell him that the darkness is coming for him, for his sister, for every member of his crew. What that thing did back on the planet was far from the final blow, it was a minor setback, and soon enough you will all be made to feel the power that the darkness holds."

The ExO / ILO looked at the man as he sat back down, returning to his silent motionless state. These were not the first threats to be uttered in her presence, and she suspected that they would not be the last, but somehow Shar'El could not dismiss them as idle. There was something about the way he spoke that made her believe everything he said, something that made her actually fear what he could bring about.  It made no sense, but she could not ignore how she felt. Even while inside their Brig, the clone of the Oltharian Elder was a threat, a serious threat that could not be simply dismissed.

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET
M14-P057: USS ANUBIS: Lopez: 34018.1150 ("Trying To Help, Part 2")
-=-=-
"Trying To Help, Part 2"
[Previous post: (ANU) "Searching Into Nothingness" & (BAS) "Living Planet"]
-=-=-

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Sickbay
Stardate: 34018.1150

"Welcome back," Satella said to Adriana as she walked into Sickbay. The Counselor appeared the same as she always did, but for some reason the Doctor could not help but feel like there was something different about her, a confidence that had not been there before. "How was your discussion with the Elder?"

"He is a very pleasant, understanding and compassionate man," Adriana said. "He has agreed to help me."

"Help you do what?" Satella demanded. "What exactly are you trying to do? There is nothing we can do for Xana."

"You once told me to never give up," the sister with the missing twin said. "That as long as there is life, there is hope, and as long as there is hope, there are possibilities. Granted, you were referring to my one day finding my sister, and Xana's condition is a completely different story, but that doesn't mean I have to just sit and let it happen. Xana has lived a long and productive life, and she deserves better than to die on some secret, unknown vessel while drunk out of her mind."

"You heard about that did you?" Doctor Bruxa said chuckling as she did so.

"It is not a secret, and she is making sure to make it as public as she can because deep down she knows that this is not the way she wanted to end her life," Lopez said. "I am simply trying to help her as best I can, both as this ship's Counselor and her Junior Ambassador. We owe her more than we are giving her for everything she did to help us get here and see Mordana taken out once and for all."

"Alright, you have made your point," Satella said. "I will say this, her influence on you has clearly paid of. I doubt that the Adriana I met back on the BASTET would have been so bold in her actions or so driven in her convictions, it suits you well."

"Thank you," Adriana said smiling. "If there is anything I have learned, it is that life is precious and that things can change without warning, so it is best to embrace each moment and make the best of them.  What I need from you is simple, Xana needs to be ready to beam down to the planet surface, which means that she will need to be medically cleared by you. Don't worry, all she will need to do once down there is to allow things to happen around her, so she will not need to exert herself in anyway."

"I can do that," Bruxa said. "Might have to throw in a few detoxification injections in there for good measure, but I will make sure she is cleared and ready to beam down when all of your plans are set."

"Good, now back to my role as the ANUBIS' Counselor. I should speak to Ya'Han, could you find a way to get Jayson to leave her side for a few minutes?"

"That might be a little more difficult than you think, but I am sure I can find a way. I am sure that Ya'Han will appreciate having you there to talk to, this thing about the other Jayson being killed right in front of her has not been easy on her," Satella explained.

"That is why I am here," Adriana said looking at the Nylaan woman. "I think I have something that will help her, but like any good Counselor/patient interaction, she will need to want to help herself first."

"Adriana, I might not have believed you to be capable of doing something like that before today, but after what you have so far achieved for Xana, whatever it may actually be, I suspect that you can do whatever you have set your mind to.  Let me take care of Jayson so that Ya'Han can be all yours."

"Thank you," Lopez said as she watched her friend make her way to the bed where the Nylaan patient was.

"She is right you know," Amanda said, the hallucination of the missing twin having reappeared. "You have changed. Never would have expected someone like Xana to have such an impact on you. That woman really turned you around."

"I know," the sister whispered as she smiled. "Some of the best lessons in life come from the most unexpected places.  I just hope that I can get it all to work."

"Don't start doubting yourself, not now. Come on, you took charge and convinced the captain to let you go down to the planet to speak to the Elder. You then convinced the Elder to go along with your plan. The rest is going to be easy."

"There is nothing easy about what I have to do with Ya'Han," the Counselor noted to herself. "She is in pain, anyone can see that, and it is not the kind of pain that is easily addressed or dismissed. Like Xana though, I have to try."

"I believe Sonja would say something along the lines of 'there is no try, do or do not,' the illusion of the twin sister said. You have come too far, invested too much to let anything get in your way."

Adriana smiled and nodded before approaching the bed where the Nylaan was now alone. "Good morning Ya'Han, mind if we talk? I know that you are in pain and I am not here to make you feel guilty for it. You were put in a position that no one should ever be in; seeing your feelings torn between two men who, for all intents and purposes, were at their inner most core the very same person. I am here to help, or at the very least offer you a way to help yourself deal with this unpleasant situation. If you are willing, I would be happy to explain what I have in mind to you."

Ya'Han looked back at Adriana, her face stained by the tears she had been unable to hold back. To see someone as strong as their Chief of Security appear so beaten was heartbreaking, but it served to push the Counselor even more to see her plan become reality.

"What am I going to do?" Ya'Han said, begging without actually doing so, the pain she felt threatening to destroy the person she had become.

"You are not alone, so it is not what *you* are going to do but rather what *we* can do," Adriana said as she sat on the bed next to the Nylaan.

-=-=-
Marissa Montonera-Lombardi

Lieutenant JG Adriana Lopez [Access Character BIO for Adriana Lopez]
Ship's Counselor & Junior Ambassador
USS ANUBIS
M14-P058: USS ANUBIS: Bruxa: 34018.1215 ("Professional Distraction")
=-=
"Professional Distraction"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Trying To Help, Part 2" / (BAS) "Another Day"]
=-=

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Sickbay
Stardate: 34018.1215

Satella could see Adriana and Ya'Han talking from her office. Although she couldn't hear what they were saying, the discussion appeared to be going well. The CNS was sitting on the bed next to her patient who was looking straight at back. Nothing was distracting them or getting in their way. Hopefully, this meant that something good would come out of it. All the CMO could do in the meantime was to try and read their body language to get a feel of their progress.

At one point Doctor Bruxa thought she saw a hint of a smile from the Nylaan. Not bad for someone who was in tears not so long ago, and for good reasons. Satella did not envy Ya'Han's situation. How could anyone be expected to move on after what she went through? The CMO's inquisitive gaze drifted over to the CNS. Not everyone would be looking upon their last mission with a sense of loss. Something happened to Adriana, something that changed her at the core. 

Whatever did take place, Satella was happy about for her friend. This new confidence and drive would benefit her in the long-run. In turn, the ANUBIS and its crew would also benefit from it. All one had to do was to look at their Chief of Security. After only a few minutes, the tears had been replaced by a smile. A small, barely noticeable and short-lived smile, but a smile nonetheless. Now, if only the Doctor knew what her friend was planning next.

"Doctor Bruxa, have you completed your scans and evaluation?" Jayson was sitting in front of her. He was hooked to a medical scanner but that was only an excuse. She could have obtained the information without even letting him know. Adriana asked for him to be kept away from Ya'Han, and this was the quickest way the CMO could manage to do it.

"I am almost done. I need a couple more readings. Please, think back to the events that took place on the planet. I need you to trigger the strongest possible emotion you can." There was no denying it, Satella was not overly good at improvising.

"Doctor, what are you trying to do?" Jayson was not having any more of this. "You have me hooked up to a simple medical scanner. The sensor array in Sickbay could give you all the info you need and more. Remember, I am the Chief of Operations, not a low-ranking crewman. I know how every piece of equipment onboard the ANUBIS works. Therefore, I know very well that you do not need me to be here." The man's patience had run out and with it, any hope the CMO had of keeping him in her office.

Satella had to come up with something else, something better, and quick. "I am conducting a stress test, and right now you are epically failing it. I cannot perform this kind of test while you swoon over Ya'Han. I need to see how volatile your emotions are and if you are fit to return to active duty."

"Why would I not be?" Jayson was frustrated and confused. "I was not in the temple when Amber did whatever it was she did. Of all the members of the away team, I am the one most fit."

Satella was running out of options. Coming up with a plan out of the blue like this was not easy. She needed to fine-tune her latest effort and make it stick, no matter how. "Yes, physically you are fine. The scans have already shown me this. What I am concerned about though is other aspects of your well-being. Your mental and emotional states are an entirely different matter."

"Last time I checked you were not this ship's CNS." Jayson had gone from puzzled to full out annoyed. If she did not get control back, he would storm out and risk undoing what Adriana had accomplished.

"I am the ANUBIS' CMO!" Satella's voice was stern enough to cause the man to look back with wide-opened eyes.  "Your emotional state is affecting you physically, and that falls well within my jurisdiction. Your inability to control your anger is a perfect example of what I am trying to explain to you."

"I'll bite. What do you think my emotional state is? Professionally speaking of course." Jayson was calling her bluff.

Satella had only one angle left to play and it was a gamble. A quick and subtle glance at the bed where Ya'Han and Adriana were showed that they needed more time. So, she continued and hoped for the best. "You want my professional take on your emotional state? I believe that you are frustrated and angry at Ya'Han. The problem is that you don't want to be, so you are now lashing out at anyone, everyone, and that includes me. Your dopamine levels are elevated. Your production of adrenaline is well above normal. I needed to know if you would be able to control yourself when you are not next to her, say like on the bridge. I wanted to make sure that you would be able to react *professionally* should another crisis befall us. From what I have seen, I strongly suspect that you could not.. You might be able to fool Ya'Han, you might even be able to fool yourself. You cannot fool me or my instruments. The rest of the away team is physically weak and emotionally drained. You, on the other hand, are physically fine and emotionally surcharged. This makes you worse than any of them. I have the medical scans to prove it. So, unless you want to be removed from duty for the foreseeable future, you will sit and let me do my job."

The gamble worked. Jayson was sitting, his jaw slightly opened and appearing as stunned as could be. This was not the best way to get this done and Satella knew this, but it worked. The next sets of tests should give Adriana and Ya'Han more than enough time to get their private discussion done and over with. If not, the CMO would have to resort to even more drastic measures to keep the man in her office. Something she truly hoped she would not have to do.

=-=
Rachel Jackie Johnson

Lieutenant JG Satella Bruxa [Access Character BIO for Satella Bruxa]
Chief Medical Officer
USS ANUBIS

[Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint. - Mark Twain]
M14-P059: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: 34018.1215 ("Not a Laughing Matter")
=-=
"Not a Laughing Matter"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Professional Distraction" by Rachel / (BAS) "Much Ado About Nothing" by Moi]
=-=

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Deck 16, Black Hole Lounge
Stardate: 34018.1215

After the less than pleasant interrogation of the clone, the ExO / ILO decided to tackle something different and hopefully a little more relaxing. That was as soon as she managed to get the odd feelings that coursed through her body and mind under control. The clone had done nothing but talk, but yet it was enough to make the raven-haired woman feel like something was wrong, not with her, not with the ship or its crew, but with the universe as a whole. The sensation was illogical and completely baseless, but that did not stop her from experiencing it.  Luckily, a call from Doctor Bruxa requesting her assistance in the Black Hole Lounge was just what she needed to focus onto something else.

"She is doing a little better," Louise informed the approaching ExO / ILO. "We have managed to get some food in her."

"Better being a relative term," the Avatar added as she sat at the bar on the other side of the inebriated woman.

"Oh goody, someone else to share a drink with me," Xana cheered. "Come, have a seat," the overly happy woman said adding some over the top gestures. "The Bolian firewater is great."

"Would love to drink with you," Shar'El admitted. "Trust me, after what I dealt with, a good drink would not go to waste, but that is not the reason why I am here." The ExO / ILO sat on the empty stool next to the Ambassador before continuing. "Doctor Bruxa asked me to come and check in on you."

"That was almost two hours ago," the linguistics expert noted in a less than pleasant manner.

"Things have been busy," the Commander shot back. "We also thought that giving you a little bit of time to self-indulge would not be such a bad thing," Shar'El added looking straight at Xana.

"Of course not," the Bolian/Human hybrid huffed. "What's the harm in allowing a dying woman the right to get drunk?"

"That is not what I meant," the ExO / ILO said in her defense as she mentally tried to make her way through the jumble of memories that were being sent out by the Bolian/Human hybrid. It was expected that in her state she would have a lessened ability to control her thoughts, but this was an extreme. Memories of passing acquaintances, close friends, family members, cherished loves, and intimate companions were flashing by so fast that there was no way for the Ullian to be 100% certain as to who was which.  "I thought that you would benefit from spending some time as you wished before being dragged back into reality," Shar'El added as she pressed a hypospray against the Ambassador's neck.

"Be careful there," Xana warned. "In some cultures, touching a woman's neck in the manner you just did mine is an overture for procreation, then again, I know of one culture where it is a declaration of war."

"Depending on which culture we are talking about, the two might be one and the same," Louise added trying not to laugh. "How are you feeling?"

"Not as drunk as I was, or need to be," Xana replied with a heavy sigh. "Modern medicine be damned for taking only a few seconds to undo hours of dedicated work."

"I will make sure to pass on your objection to Doctor Bruxa," Shar'El said. "Now, if you are feeling better, I believe that our Chief Medical Officer would like for you to return to Sickbay."

"I am feeling better," the Ambassador confirmed. "That is exactly why I will not be returning to Sickbay. With all due respect Commander, that is the last place I want to spend my last moments in, no disrespect meant to the good Doctor. She is a fine officer and a striking woman, but I would rather be elsewhere."

"Striking woman?" ANI repeated as if the admission had somehow injured her. After all, she had just been proposed by the Bolian/Human not that long ago.

"See what you made me do," Xana grinned. "Not only have you taken away my buzz, but you have made me hurt poor ANI's emotions."

"She is the ship's avatar, a physical extension of the ANUBIS and as great as she is, emotions are not something that she was designed to have."

"Maybe this latest version was designed with emotions," Sonja said jumping into the verbal fray. "You can't laugh at jokes if you do not have any emotions, and I was getting tired of her not laughing at my jokes."

Shar'El rolled her eyes. Was this not supposed to be easier than dealing with the clone of the Oltharian Elder?  "Ambassador, please, you need to come back to Sickbay so that the Doctor can declare you fit for travel."

"Fit for travel?" Xana gasped. "Listen, I don't know how you think Bolians die and move on to the afterlife, but I can assure you that there is no medical test required anywhere along the way. In fact, you get an express VIP, all expenses paid ticket straight to the end of the line, no stops, no detours. Do not pass 'go' do not collect 200 credits."

"Adriana, or more accurately for this instance, Junior Ambassador Lopez, has been planning something for you back on OLTHAR PRIME. I cannot give you any details as none have been made available, but she has gone through a great deal of work to make whatever this is happening, and in order for you to be there, you must first be medically cleared by Doctor Bruxa."

"Relax Commander," Xana said as she stood from her seat. "There is no need to be so brutal and rough about any of this, it is not like I am drunk, not anymore, or on the verge of death, well at least not right at this instant."  With that said, the Ambassador made her way out of the Black Hole Lounge.

"I guess the wedding is off?" Sonja joked looking at ANI who failed to react in any way. "Come on, that was funny!"

The ExO / ILO rolled her eyes once again and quickly went after the Ambassador, just to make sure she made her way to Sickbay without any other unscheduled detour.

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET
M14-P060: USS ANUBIS: Lopez: 34018.1245 ("Trying To Help, Finale")
-=-=-
"Trying To Help, Finale"
[Previous post: (ANU) "Not a Laughing Matter" & (BAS) "Much Ado About Nothing"]
-=-=-

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Sickbay
Stardate: 34018.1245

The Counselor walked back into Sickbay to find Ambassador Bonviva sitting on the main examination bed while Doctor Bruxa reviewed the results of her latest scans.  By the expression on Satella's face, things were not good.  "Glad you are here," the CMO said as the approaching CNS. "I need you to tell me exactly what you have planned for her down on OLTHAR PRIME."

"It would not be much of a surprise if I did, especially with the woman in question sitting right there," Adriana said smiling at the Ambassador.

"Don't mind me," Xana said. "The good Doctor is in no way liking the fact that I am no longer feeling my toes, or pretty much my entire left leg for that matter."

"Fine, I'm trying to be nice but obviously professional decorum is not going to work here," Satella huffed. The Chief Medical officer was not pleased, not one bit. "The Ambassador's condition has deteriorated quite drastically. As it stands right now, there is no way that I can declare her fit to leave the ship. I can't even allow her to leave Sickbay. I understand that you are trying to do something nice, that all you want to do is help, but I have a medical responsibility to everyone on this ship to do everything required to make sure they do not end up falling dead the moment they set foot on another planet."

"Doctor, I will not stay here and let myself die on any of these beds," Xana argued.

"Satella," Adriana said drawing her friend's attention away from the Ambassador and onto her instead. "Nothing you can do will change what is to come. All that the Captain and I are asking is for you to allow Xana to take part in something that I hope will make things easier for everyone. As the Chief Medical Officer your decision is final and not even the Captain can go against it, but let me ask you this; do you truly believe it is best for the special envoy of the Federation who is here under the direct orders of Admiral Koniki to be confined to Sickbay during her last moments? Do you truly want the official records to show her as an unwilling patient or an Ambassador who performed to the best of her abilities to the very end?"

"I think I liked you better when you weren't so driven," Satella sighed.

"There comes a time in all of our lives when we have to do something that goes against our training, goes against our better judgment. We still do it because we have to in order to help someone else. Putting the needs of others ahead of our own is what makes us different from say the Romulans, the Ferengi and most certainly the Lokustaar. We do what we have to do because it is what someone else needs us to do for them."

"Are you talking as this Ship's Counselor or as her Junior Ambassador?" Doctor Bruxa asked, trying very hard not to smile as she did so.

"Does it matter?"

"No, I guess not. Fine, you win," Satella sighed before turning to look at Xana. "Ambassador Bonviva, you are cleared to beam down to the planet surface. I recommend that you try to stay off your feet as much as possible."

"Thank you, Doctor," the Bolian/Human woman said as she slid off the examination bed and landed on a pair of very shaky legs.  With a motion of her hand, Adriana summoned Ya'Han to help, the Chief of Security had also been returned to active duty as per the Counselor's request in order to assist with the preparations.  "Looks like you really did think of everything," Xana said with a smile accepting the help offered by both women only as much as she needed to steady herself and not fall flat on her face.

"I did what I could Ambassador, and in the end, I hope that it will be enough."

"If I judge you only on what I have seen and heard so far, you have nothing to worry about. I am very proud of you. Now, let us go before my legs truly can't support me anymore.

"Here," Satella said as she took over from where Ya'Han was, "let me help you, at least that way I can keep an eye on you all the way to the transporter room."

Adriana and Ya'Han stayed behind and watched as the Ambassador and Doctor exited Sickbay, waiting for them to exit the room before looking at each other. "Were you able to do as we discussed?" The Counselor asked in a whispered voice to which the Chief of Security simply smiled and nodded her head.  "Good, now I have one last thing to do before beaming down to the planet surface," Computer, locate Lieutenant Commander Maya."

=/\= Lieutenant Commander Maya is in the General-use Science Lab on Deck 11. =/\=

"Follow the Ambassador and the Doctor to the transporter room than escort Xana to the Council of Elders, Elder Emzaw should already be waiting for us. I will join you very shortly." Ya'Han nodded her head as a show of understanding and left Sickbay leaving the Counselor alone.

"Are you certain that you want to go through with this?" Amanda asked. Oddly enough, Adriana expected the hallucination of her missing twin sister to appear at this time. "Once you set foot on that planet there will be no turning back."

"I am doing this, not because I want to, but because I have to. I am doing this not for me but for her, and for you. As far as I am concerned, it is already far too late for me to turn back. All that is left for me is to hope that it all works out as planned."

"Good luck," the mental projection of the sister said as the Counselor walked out of Sickbay leaving Amanda and everything else she knew behind.

-=-=-
Setting: USS ANUBIS, the brig
Stardate: 34019.1400 

It was amazing what could happen in 24 hours. The lives of some would forever be changed, some for the better, some not so much. It was not difficult to see that Adriana stood on the latter side of that statement as she now looked upon the universe from inside a cell.

The former Counselor did not appear sad but rather accepting of her fate. Events unfolded exactly as planned, or at least for the most part as some of the details still needed to be finalized, but the last she knew, everything that was meant to happen did.

Adriana's eyes rose when she heard the sound of the main doors to the brig open. She knew someone would be coming to see her, to speak to her and ask for explanations, everyone with different questions they needed answered to make sense of why the Counselor had done this.

"What did you do?" Commander Shar'El asked after standing in front of the force field for several eternal and silent seconds. The First officer was visibly troubled and was finding all of this extremely difficult to understand or even believe.

"I did what I did because I had to because someone had to. Life often presents us with obstacles that we all too often chose to ignore even when we have the tools and resources to deal with them as we should. I did what was needed and if given the same option I would do it all over again."
 
-=-=-
Marissa Montonera-Lombardi

Lieutenant JG Adriana Lopez [Access Character BIO for Adriana Lopez]
Ship's Counselor & Junior Ambassador
USS ANUBIS
M14-P061: USS ANUBIS: Morningstar: 34019.1400 ("Do Or Do Not, There Is No Try")
##########
"Do Or Do Not, There Is No Try"
Previous posts (ANU) "Trying To Help, Finale" / (BAS) "Living Planet"
##########

"Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

=====
Setting:  USS ANUBIS, Captain's Ready Room 
Stardate: 34019.1400

[/\] I really could not care less about what you think, *Captain*. I want answers! I want to know how you managed to lose an artifact with untold potential. I want to know how you allowed a Lokustaar clone who was in your custody just walk out of your brig and beam back to the planet. Most importantly, I want to know whose head is going to be sitting on my desk when you return to base? Let me make myself perfectly clear, someone's head *is* going to be there, and right now I don't care if it is yours or someone else's. Koniki out! [/\]

"Well, that could have gone better," the ship's Avatar said, ANI being the only other person present in the Captain's Ready Room. "What are your orders, Captain?"

The Native American just leaned back into his chair and let out a long breath. The Admiral was pissed, more so then he had ever seen him, but given the chain of events of the last 24 hours, Erik could not blame him. Maybe if he was not so completely shocked by what happened, he might be feeling the same, but right now he could not afford to lose his calm. What he needed was to get to the bottom of this craziness that ended with his Ship's Counsellor land in the brig.

"Access all available sensor data, on and off the ship, for the past 48 hours," Captain Morningstar ordered. "We need to retrace Counsellor Lopez's every move, see who she spoke to and what she was talking about. I want to know everything she did for every second of the last 48 hours. I don't care how or what resources you have to use, just get me everything you can."

"Aye, aye, Captain. Would you rather a chronological report or a holodeck recreation?" The Avatar asked. Knowing the abilities of the ANUBIS, which were her own, it was relatively simple for ANI to recreate the scenes allowing the Captain to get a more complete picture of what happened.

"Holodeck recreation would be fine," Erik stated. "Set it up in the Holographic Simulation Chamber 1, that will be the best place for it. Oh, by the way, ANI, no one else gets to see or access any of that until I am done. As of right now, this investigation is Captain's eyes only, no exceptions."

"Does that include Commander Shar'El? As your First Officer, she is entitled to review the findings of any and all investigations taking place onboard the ANUBIS."

"As much as I hate to say this, I cannot trust *anyone* right now, so yes, that includes her. This is my investigation and I am not letting anyone off the proverbial hook until I have all of the answers."

"Understood Captain. I will inform you as soon as the recreation is complete," the Avatar said watching the man as he rose from his chair and quickly made his way around the desk. "May I inquire as to where you are going? I just need to know so to be in a better position to contact you when I am done."

"I'm going to Sickbay," Morningstar said through clenched teeth. "There is someone I need to see."

=====
Setting:  USS ANUBIS, Sickbay 
Stardate: 34019.1415

A pair of security officers stood guard outside in the corridor and two more kept an eye on the room and its only two occupants. The native American was not in the mood to play games and he was certainly even less in the mood for any more surprises.

"Doctor, how is your patient?" Erik asked while looking over the woman's shoulder to see the individual in question."

"Alive, although I have to admit that I am not certain as to how. I was not down on the planet and was drawn into this only after the fact. Right now, all I can confirm is that they are alive."

"Keep me informed of any changes," the Captain said as he spun around on his heels.

"Where are you going?" Doctor Bruxa wondered aloud, concerned that maybe she would be getting one or more new patients soon judging by the mood of their Commanding Officer.

"To get some answers," was all that Erik said as he walked out.

=====
Setting:  USS ANUBIS, Deck 19, Corridor outside the Brig
Stardate: 34019.1425

Captain Morningstar arrived just as Commander Shar'El was exiting the brig. "Well?" Erik demanded, as much as he did not want to come down hard on those under his command, the Admiral had left him little choice.

"She arranged it all," Shar'El sadly reported. "She is not even trying to hide the memories but I would need to perform a more in-depth scan to get all of the details. If you wish me to, I can do it."

"No," the Native American stated without any hesitation. "She is still a member of my crew and as long as she is that, I will not authorize you or anyone else to go digging into her memories. That said, I might need your help later on, but right now let me do what I can to get as many answers as I can."

"Very well Captain," the Commander acknowledged. Shar'El wanted to ask as to what Erik believed had taken place and the reasons why, but before she could do so the voice of the ship's Avatar came over the man's comm badge.

=/\= ANI to Captain Morningstar, the holographic recreations are ready. =/\=

"Holographic recreations?" Shar'El repeated sounding curious and impressed all at the same time.

"That was quick," Erik noted dismissing his First Officer's query.

=/\= This form is nothing but a physical extension of the ship. I am the ANUBIS. =/\=

"My apologies ANI, I will be right there."

"Captain, do you need me to go with you?" Shar'El asked.

"No," Morningstar replied almost before the question had been fully spoken. "This is my investigation. I will let you know if I need you."

=====
Setting:  USS ANUBIS, Array Section, Deck A-5, Holographic Simulation Chamber 1
Stardate: 34019.1440

The Native American walked in and found the Avatar standing in the middle of the large inactive holodeck. "All right, let's get started."

"As you wish. As per your request, I compiled all available data on Counsellor Lopez's whereabouts over the last 48 hours, since her return from OLTHAR PRIME, Lieutenant Lopez spent the greater majority of her time in her quarters but I did manage to isolate certain specific times that I believe will provide you with the answers you seek. That is unless you wish to review all of her activities since her return to the ANUBIS."

"Let's start with the highlights," Erik stated. "I would rather get this done and over with quicker."

"As you wish," ANI said as she closed her eyes and activated the holodeck. "Time index 34018.1102. Counsellor Lopez, as per your authorization had beamed down to OLTHAR PRIME and met with Elder Emzaw. The discussion up to this point was of no real consequence but what follows does provide some possible answers.

Erik and ANI found themselves in the middle of the Council Greeting Chamber on OLTHAR PRIME which Counsellor Lopez and Elder Emzaw standing one in front of the other.

"Pause program," the captain ordered before the recreation even began. "How were you able to get this level of details?"

"The IGC sensors automatically, and for as long as it is possible, lock on any member of the crew when they are on a planet. The audio was gathered by the communications' array of the Oltharians. The signal was weak but thanks to them being alone, it was not all that complicated to clean up and enhance what was picked up. The synch does have a 0.021-second variant though."

"I think that will be more than acceptable, proceed." With that said, the Avatar resumed the holographic recreation. It was the Elder who spoke first.

"Go ahead, you have my complete attention."

That was all that the Junior Ambassador needed to hear. "Since our return to the ANUBIS, I have been doing some historical and cultural research on your people. There were a couple of things that troubled me about what was said and done while we were in the underground ruins, namely that the device used by the clone made in your image was used as an instrument for capital punishment. As a mere Ship's Counsellor, I might not have looked into this claim further but as a new member of the Ambassadorial corp, I felt the need to learn as much as I could about your people and their ways, both past and present. I quickly learned just how precious Oltharians believe all life to be, so it struck me as odd that such a device would even be considered. Then it dawned onto me, the device drains the life energy from one person in order to transfer it onto another, therefore there was no actual 'killing', but only the moving of life into another body. That view might not be shared by other races or cultures, but I could see that this was a way for your people to bridge necessity with beliefs."

"I guess it would be pointless for me to try and deny this, although I doubt that you managed to find any proof to support your claim," the Elder said, both impressed by the woman's skills in deduction and confident that she would never be able to prove this to anyone else.

"I am not here to openly exposed your past, Elder," Adriana confirmed. "As for my having found proof to support this claim, you are correct, you have done a remarkable job at hiding the truth about this, which forced me to try and understand this entire thing a little more. Like, why would Mordana clone you? Part of that answer was provided to us by the need to open the gates that protected the underground ruins, gates that could only be opened by the head of the Religious Circle, but that got me thinking. The clone was also the only one to use the device, and so far all of our efforts to even try to understand how it works have failed. The added fact that you did not immediately demand the return of this ancient artifact leads me to believe that the knowledge on how to operate the device, like the knowledge of how to open the gates, is solely in the hands of one specific Oltharian."

"Is there a point to any of this?" Emzaw asked rather bluntly. Either he was getting bored by Adriana's lengthy exposition or she was hitting the mark far too close for his comfort. Judging by the Oltharian's posture, the Counsellor/Junior Ambassador believed the latter was right.

"There is," the Adriana said not letting the highest-ranking official of the Oltharian people intimidate her. "Ambassador Bonviva is dying and I believe that this device would be able to heal her. I do not know exactly how this works, but from everything I have learned about your people, this makes the most sense. Since life is so precious, you would do everything possible to preserve its loss, and this device allowed you to dispense the ultimate justice while holding true to your highest belief. Since it also made no sense to transfer a life force into someone who did not need it, logic dictates that it was used to heal those most in need. So, am I right?"

"Even if you were right, which I am not saying you are, the practice of capital punishment is not something that we support, and it would be against our highest belief to take a life to save another even if it were freely given, as I suspect that is what you are offering. I can see that you care very much for Ambassador Bonviva, why else come here and tell me everything that you have so far, not that any of it is true."

"The thought of offering my life to save hers did cross my mind for a brief moment," Adriana pointed out. "A far better option, and one that suits both of our immediate needs came to me not long after. We currently have in custody your clone, a perfect copy of not only your physical attributes but also of your memories including the knowledge of how to open the gates of the underground ruins, how to operate the device and possibly countless other secrets you would rather never saw the light of day. My offer is simple, his life for that of the Ambassador. I will even make sure that the device is safely returned to you, that way your secrets will remain a mystery to everyone."

Bardef took a moment to consider the woman's offer, then a few more moments to truly weight her words and their implications. Officially he had to state that she was wrong, that everything she said up until now was nothing more than the exaggerated imaginings of an off-worlder who was using ancient myths to create a story that suited her twisted views of his people. On the other hand, having such a precious cultural artifact returned to its people would be preferable in countless ways, and seeing the disappearance of his own clone would certainly not hurt things. "Say, for the sake of argument, that I agreed with you, how do you suggest we proceed? Both the device and clone are on board your ship, and knowing what I do of Starfleet thanks to Elan and my position as Elder, I know that each is under heavy protection."

"Leave that to me," the Junior Ambassador said. "All I require from you is your promise that when the time comes, you will do as I have asked."

The holographic scene came to an end and returned to the standard yellow lines against a solid black background.

"After this, Counsellor Lopez returned to the ANUBIS. Sensor records show nothing of interest until she spoke with Lieutenant Ya'Han while in Sickbay 52 minutes later," ANI reported.

"Show me," the Native American ordered.

"Time index 34018.1155. Counsellor Lopez has just finished speaking to Ya'Han about her feelings of anger regarding the death of Jayson's clone," the Avatar explained as the holodeck returned to life, this time displaying the ANUBIS' own Sickbay where the Counsellor was sitting on the bed where the Chief of Security was.

"You are not alone, so it is not what *you* are going to do but rather what *we* can do," Adriana said as she sat on the bed next to the Nylaan. "You are angry at yourself for feeling the way you do, angry at Jayson for reminding you of the fleeings you had for his clone, and you are angry at the clone for sacrificing himself for you."

"Is that all?" Ya'Han asked not liking what she was hearing but knowing that Adriana was right.

"No," the Counsellor continued. "There is one other you are angry at, the other clone, the one of Elder Emzaw, the one who is ultimately responsible for the death of the other Jayson."

"At least he's in our brig and won't be hurting anyone else," the Chief of Security said as if trying to convince herself that this was compensation enough for what she endured and the pain she felt.

"That is not enough," Adriana said taking Ya'Han's hand into her own. "You and I both know that as long as he lives the feelings of injustice will remain and haunt our every thought."

"What can we do about it?" Ya'Han asked her anger now having been given a single target to be focussed upon. "He is a prisoner of war under the protection of Starfleet, not that this will save him from Admiral Koniki who is going to pull some strange rule to make sure he never gets to see the inside of a Federation prison. He was created by the Lokustaar and is too valuable to be simply locked away for his crimes."

"You are right, but the situation is actually a little more complicated than that," the Counsellor pointed out. "He's a perfect copy of the leader of OLTHAR PRIME, possessing the man's complete knowledge, that alone would make him a gold-mine of knowledge for someone like the Admiral to tap into, it is also our key to resolving this issue ourselves."

"How so?"

"OLTHAR PRIME is not a Federation member but only a protectorate, therefore not all diplomatic avenues are clearly established. The clone committed his crimes *on* OLTHAR PRIME making it the jurisdiction of the local government, and therefore his punishment is *their* responsibility. I have already spoken to Elder Emzaw, the real one, and he has agreed to make an official request to have the prisoner transferred to them."

"There is no way the Admiral is going to allow that, and even if you did manage to convince the Captain to do as you suggest, that would put his career at risk. The Admiral could delay the proceedings, find a replacement for Morningstar and just have the ANUBIS return to base leaving the diplomatic fallouts to be dealt by someone else, and by then it will already be too late." Adriana smiled. Ya'Han's tactical skills were spot on, understand how things would normally unfold, but this was not a normal situation, far from it.

"That is why I need your help. As the Junior Ambassador, I have arranged for Ambassador Bonviva to go to the planet surface and meet with the Oltharian Elder. With your help, the clone could be released from the brig and brought down to the planet surface at the same time. Once there, Xana could explain that this was as per the request of the planet's leader, which it will be, and was agreed upon as a show of good faith between the Federation and OLTHAR PRIME. Once there, I have Bardef's assurance that justice will be served."

"Bardef? You two are on a first-name basis now?"

"Being the Junior Ambassador does have certain advantages over being a simple Ship's Counsellor," Lopez said. "So, will you help?"

"You are walking a very thin grey line," Ya'Han pointed out. "Even if the Ambassador and the Elder cover for what you are planning on doing, the Captain may not like it and could find it hard to trust us ever again."

"I need you to trust me on that part," Adriana said as she held both of the Nylaan's hands in her own. "I have that part covered as well. There is nothing anyone will be able to hold against you as you will be following the orders of the diplomatic envoy sent to OLTHAR PRIME. I checked the regulations and orders, Admiral Koniki gave Xana 'carte-blanche' on this mission, she can do whatever she deems necessary to secure the successful completion of our mission, which is to stop the Lokustaar and ensure the safety of not only OLTHAR PRIME but all Federation allied worlds."

"You really gave this a lot of thought," Ya'Han said adding a faint grin after. "Alright, I will help, but right now I am unable to do so. As long as I am not officially declared as being back to active duty, my codes and clearance access will not allow me to even get close to the prisoner."

"As you said, I have thought about this a great deal," Adriana said as she slid off the medical bed. "Satella is going to be declaring everyone, including you, fit to return to active duty. All I need is for you to wait until everything else is ready."

"All right," Ya'Han said nodding her head. "I will be ready. Just let me know when. I just want to be there when justice is served to that murderous clone."

"You will be there, I promise."

The holodeck recreation ended at that point returning both the Captain and ship's Avatar to the yellow grid. "That explains how our prisoner escaped the brig and found his way to the planet surface. That still does not explain what happened to the Ambassador.

"I believe that the next part may shed some light on that," ANI stated. "Time index 34018.1255, General-use Science Lab. Counselor Lopez went there to see Lieutenant Commander Maya."

The native American sighed deeply. "That is when the Oltharian Artifact was taken."

"Correct," the Avatar confirmed as the holographic scene appeared.

"Maya, how is your research on the artifact progressing?" The Counsellor asked as soon as she stepped into the room.

"Absolutely nowhere," Maya reluctantly admitted. "Scanners are unable to detect any type of internal component or electronics, and I have yet to figure out how to even turn it on. If the reports from the away team did not clearly state that they saw the device function, as I also did, I would be inclined to believe that it never actually happened. Could we all have imagined it or misinterpreted what we saw happen? Could it all have been some sort of holographic trickery?"

"Anything is possible," Adriana said. "We had no instruments to confirm or challenge what we saw from the moment we arrived in those ancient ruins. For all we know we could have been exposed to some hallucinogenic gas that made us see what the Lokustaar wanted us to see to trigger a more fearful response. Whatever happened, the one things I know for sure is that Elder Emzaw has made an official request to have the item returned to him. He claims that it is a historical artifact that belongs to his people and needs to be returned to the ruins where it was taken. Since there appears to be no way to prove that the item is what we believe it to be, I see no reason why we should not comply with his request. Do you?"

"We saw so many incredible things down there," Maya argued back. "It could be very possible that we have just not figured out how to properly scan this item."

"Alright, keep working on it. I will inform Ambassador Bonviva that she will not be able to comply with the Elder's request when she goes down to see him. I just hope she can spin things in order to avoid triggering a diplomatic nightmare, one that could end up forcing Elan to chose between the Federation and his people. I can't imagine how it would feel like to be completely cut off from your own race."

"I can," Maya said with a quivering lower lip. "Here," the Chief Science Officer promptly added while tossing the device over to the Counsellor. "No item is worth seeing anyone separated from their people. Please, make sure that the Ambassador has it with her before she beams down to meet with the Elder."

"I will, thank you, and I am sure that Elan would also thank you if he knew."

The simulation ended returning the Captain and Avatar to the emptiness of the Holographic Simulation Chamber. "These are the most relevant scenes I was able to identify. The actual ceremony down on the planet was held in a location that our sensors could not reach, therefore I can only theorize that it was in the Ancient Ruins. The only ones who know for sure what happened down on the planet are Ambassador Bonviva, Counselor Lopez and Lieutenant Ya'Han."

"Thank you, ANI," Erik acknowledged. "Job well done, now I need to figure out what I am going to do with Lopez." The Captain wanted answers and that was exactly what he received.

"At least the Ambassador is alive and well," the Avatar reported. "According to the latest medical report from Doctor Bruxa, Xana Bonviva is in perfect physical health and is showing no signs of any illnesses whatsoever. It would seem that the device worked as intended by the Oltharians."

"To be honest, I am not sure that makes this situation any easier, for anyone," the Native American noted before making his way out of the inactive Holographic Simulation Chamber.

--==(/\)==--
Francois Charette

Commanding Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501

AND

Lt. Commander Elan Fairborn [Access Character BIO for Elan Fairborn]
Robotics Engineering Officer
NEW ALEXANDRIA
M14-P062: USS ANUBIS: Bonviva: 34019.1500 ("Simplified Version of the Truth")
“Simplified Version of the Truth”
Previous posts (ANU) "Do Or Do Not, There Is No Try" / (BAS) "Living Planet"

=/\=
"There's no problem so awful, that you can't add some guilt to it and make it even worse.
-"Calvin" from "The Complete Calvin & Hobbes"

=/\=
Setting:  USS ANUBIS, Sickbay 
Stardate: 34019.1500

“I think I’m going to throw up.”

Satella Bruxa, after scanning her patient *again*, simply tucked the scanner into her pocket and handed over a receptacle to the newly healed Bolian/Human woman.  “You are as healthy as you’ve ever been.  Healthier actually.  There is nothing of substance in your stomach though, so if you do throw up it’s going to be bile induced anxiety and stress.  Still I don’t want it on the floor so aim for this please.”

Heaving great breaths, Xana stared at the empty bucket for the space of several minutes, not saying a word.  Satella just stared at her during that; finally determining that Xana was fine she went off to complete her work.  

“Satella?”

The silver-haired doctor poked her head around.  At least her name had come by itself and not with the moan of vomit.  This was a good sign, in the doctor’s estimation.  “Yes?”  Waiting for a beat, she asked, “Can I take the bucket back?”

Xana shook her head “no” while appearing to search the bucket for something.  “How am I going to explain this?”  she asked softly.  Looking up she said, “I can lie to the universe.  I will say...damn it all to 99 hells I’ll come up with something good, I promise.  But I have 4 children.  I made my goodbyes to them before I came onto the ANUBIS, ensuring it was going to be taken care of.  How do I go back to them and say “You know that whole ‘do unto others...well I only meant it when it was convenient but that wasn’t today’.”  

Dr. Satella Bruxa looked up at the ceiling, muttered something, before looking back at the Ambassador.  “Did you *ask* Adriana to do this?”

“No--”

“And did you want the clone to live?”

There was a very long pause, longer than Satella was frankly comfortable with.  “I have killed people,” Xana said in a quiet, low voice.  “I’m not going to deny that.  I’ve made questionable decisions in the name of the Federation.  It is the price to be paid for being prosperous, free, and alive all at the same time.“  Leaning back against the biobed she said, “There is a mercenary aspect to saying “my life is worth more than yours” that I’m just not comfortable with; and I don’t think I should be either.  I don’t know that his life was worth mine.”

The doctor gave a look and put her hands on the opposite side of the bucket that Xana was cradling.  “I’m not a philosopher or a Counselor.  But maybe it’s good you’re not comfortable with the decision.  Just a thought.”  Taking back the bucket she said, “And you’re not heaving so I’ll take this back.”

There was the usual beeps around Sickbay, but otherwise there was no talking for quite some time.  “How much longer do I need to be here?”

Satella shrugged.  This was as much anyone’s question, given the Security Officers outside the doors.  “You planning on proposing to ANI again?” she asked.

Xana smiled at that.  “I’d like to point out that ANI never said ‘no’,” she said.  “But no, I was planning on sending a message to my children.” Holding up her hands she said, “I’ll record it and send it to the Captain and Commander Shar’El if that works.”

Satella walked over and got a PADD.  “The ones with your ex?” she asked.

“It’s to all 4 of them,” Xana said.  “My eldest 2 are on EARTH; they’re adults now.  My youngest two that you’re thinking of are with my ex-husband on the PHOENIX.”  Looking up she said, “I’ll tell them....a simplified version of the truth.”

“That might be for the best,” Satella nodded.  

=/\=
Location: USS ANUBIS, Captain's Ready Room
Stardate: 34019.1500

“Ambassador Bonviva has queued up 3 messages to send,” ANI announced to Captain Morningstar.

On one hand, Erik Morningstar did *not* like this.  He did not like having to monitor messages; this smacked of everything that the Federation was not.  Of everything that the ANUBIS was not.  However, if the Native American did not get control of his ship, he had a sinking feeling…

No.  This had to be it.  “Who are the messages that Ambassador Bonviva has ready being sent to?”

The Avatar wasted no time in responding.  “Gavirosh Bonviva, EARTH; Erika Wangel-Byrne, EARTH; Dahlia Bonviva-McInnis and Benito Bonviva-Crichton, USS PHOENIX.”

Given 3 of the 4 names had “Bonviva” in them and a cursory glance of Ambassador’s profile confirmed Morningstar’s confirmation of his suspicion that indeed all messages were being sent to her children.

Morningstar began asking, “Ani, are there--”  Just as the Avatar stated, “Captain, there is a 4th message from the Ambassador.”  Pausing for a moment the Avatar added, “This 4th message is for you.  Would you like to receive it on your terminal?”

“Yes,” Erik gritted out.

=/\=
FROM: Ambassador Xana Bonviva, Ambassador-At-Large
TO: Captain Erik Morningstar, Commanding Officer of USS ANUBIS
SUBJECT: Messages/Next steps

Captain Morningstar - 

As you may have noticed, I queued up 3 messages to send to my children.  Given the recent events of late, I understand that these probably need to be read by yourself, Commander Shar’El, ANI, or whomever, before being sent out.  I only ask that after inspection that they do be sent out as they do not contain any sensitive information and I would like to share the good news with my children.  I’ll be honest, I don’t know how to explain what has happened to me in a deep and meaningful way.  

Five Bolian firewaters in the other day I was getting used to (more or less) dying and quickly completing my bucket list.  Everything from Commander Shar’El putting a hypo to my neck on was a complete surprise.  I did not ask, suggest, cajole, or in anyway persuade Adriana to do what she did.  As it is I’m rather overwhelmed and feeling guilty by the situation.  I think I need Counseling but there’s somewhat of a conflict there.  I will sort that out.

When I was brought on board, it was for this mission to end Mordanna and the Lokustaar.  That has been completed.  Now I know I am not everyone’s first choice for an Ambassador (I know my record notes well enough) but I think I work well here and having an Ambassador provides some cover for the crew.  Certainly provides cover in some situations…

Satella and I agree that we would make terrible roommates and as such I cannot live in Sickbay.  Also, I do not think I’m in need of the pretzel chamber any longer.  Would it be too much to ask for normal quarters?  I’ll keep the extra fluffy pillows that Sonja gave me though; those were nice.

I await your reply.

XB

=/\=
Sarah Albertini-Bond

USS ANUBIS NCC 18501
M14-P063: USS ANUBIS: Paquette: 34019.1600 ("Clean up in Holodeck 3")
"Clean up in Holodeck 3"
previous posts were (ANU) "Simplified Version of the Truth" / (BAS) "Much Ado About Nothing"

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Holodeck 3
Stardate: 34019.1600

"Since the dawn of time, it has been the curse of man to be able to destroy in seconds what took years to build," Sonja said to no one in particular as she looked at the machine created for Ambassador Bonviva. Following the news of Xana's miraculous recovery, the Chief Engineer had been instructed to clear the holodeck that had been specifically accommodated for the needs of the then terminally ill woman.
 
"This is a holographic creation," the ship's Avatar pointed out, ANI having accompanied Sonja into the holodeck as per the Engineer's request. "It is nothing more than a computer-generated structure that will not be 'destroyed' but simply recycled into the ANUBIS' matter-conversion system."
 
"Sometimes you are too cold for your own good," Sonja sighed. "What about all of the hours of thinking about this machine? What about all of the sleepless nights Maya and I went through when things did not work the way they were supposed to? None of that time, none of those hours can be *recycled*. This machine, be it a holographic creation or not, is more than the sum of its computer-generated parts. It is a masterpiece of modern science and engineering, a literal 'tour-de-force' brought into this world thanks to the work and dedication of some to help extend the life of a single individual. We accomplished, I might add, what was considered to be impossible by everyone else. Even if we did not manage to reach the final goal, this machine achieved the unthinkable by giving that woman the time she required for the universe to find another way to cure her. There is a part of me in there, a part that cannot be returned to its original form or reintegrated into any other system."
 
"I believe that you are being a little overdramatic about all of this," ANI pointed out. "All of the points you have made are valid, but never before have you felt the need to state in such passion your feelings."

"That just goes to show you how little you know me," Sonja fired back. "This machine is as much my creation as you are. It is a labour of love, an expert joining of mechanical parts into a wonder of modern engineering that creates a final product that proved everyone wrong. Many said that the ANUBIS did not *need* an Avatar, that it would only distract the crew and hinder our completing our mission objectives. You proved them wrong then and continue to do so now. This machine, or as Xana likes to refer to it, the pretzel machine, is the same thing. No one believed that it could accomplish what it was designed for and yet it is because of that the Ambassador walked, nay danced out of this room on more than one occasion. Recycling this machine is, therefore, akin to recycling you, something that I cannot just do."
 
"I am sorry," ANI offered while quickly blinking several times as she accessed all of the personnel files on the crew of the ANUBIS. How could she have missed something so important about the character of the Chief Engineer? Of all the officers on board the ship, Lt. Paquette was easily the one whom she should know the most, the two of them spending more time together than with anyone else. The redhead was one of her co-creator and as such the android expected that her knowledge about that particular person would be as complete as could be. Obviously, that was not the case. "I am not certain why but there seems to be a lack in my collected personal data in your regards. I should report back to the Robotics Lab and perform a complete self-diagnosis to ensure that this is not a sign of a greater data storage problem."
 
"Good," Sonja said placing her hand on the Avatar's shoulder in a show of support. "I would not like for you to be less than what you are supposed to be. Now, before we go, I do have one thing to do here," the Chief Engineer said before jogging her way to the machine she and lt. Cmdr. Maya created to return with the pillow the redhead had given to the Bolian/Human woman. "Xana asked if she could keep the pillow. Now we can go."
 
As they made their way to the doors to the holodeck, ANI was already reviewing her programming, links to the ship's data banks and her own back-up data storage systems, and to her dismay she found nothing wrong indicating that the problem uncovered by the discussion with the Chief Engineer was much more complex.
 
When they reached the large double doors causing them to spread open, Sonja stopped and held ANI back. "I almost forget," the Chief Engineer said as she turned to look at the machine in the center of the room. "Computer, end program." in a matter of seconds the whole creation that Lt. Paquette had been going on about shimmered into nothingness returning the holodeck to its basic layout. "Now we can go."
 
The Avatar actually and visibly twitched as she processed all that had been said compared to what had just happened. Had the android missed something?
 
"ANI!" Sonja said in a rather joyous tone as she continued to walk away. "Are you coming or are you just going to stand there waiting to be recycled? We have a pillow to deliver."

=====
Lorraine Paquette

Chief Engineering Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501
M14-P064: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han: 34019.1630 ("The Aftermath")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"The Aftermath"
[previous post were (ANU) "Clean Up In Holodeck 3" / (BAS) "Much Ado About Nothing"]
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Gymnasium
Stardate: 34019.1630

It was taking a lot longer than she would have liked, but her strength was returning. She could still feel a tingling sensation in her muscles but Doctor Bruxa reassured the Sec/Tac that this was perfectly normal after what she had gone through, and Ya'Han knew exactly what Satella meant.

Every time the Nylaan closed her eyes she could see the tortured expression of Jayson's clone as every last drop of life was drained from him. She could also easily recall the same expression on the clone of the Oltharian Elder as the same was done to him, the only difference was that in his case his life force was used to cure the Bolian/Human Ambassador.  The first time she saw that expression, her heart broke in ways she never believed possible, but looking upon the second made her smile and feel a sense of joy the likes of which she could never have imagined.

She hated the Oltharian clone for what he did to her, for what he did to Jayson and she could not have been happier to see him suffer as he did when his life energy was drained from him.  What scared the Sec/Tac was just how much she enjoyed seeing the agonizing pain he felt. From the first day Ya'Han had met the clone of Jayson Stark, he had hinted to the darkness he saw in her, a darkness that gave her the strength she called her own.  She did not want to believe him then, but now there was no choice but to agree to the accuracy of his words. How else could she explain how she felt when looking upon the fake Elder as he was slowly, painfully dying?

"Are you up for a little sparring?" Ya'Han's heart skipped a beat as a flood of memories came rushing in at the sound of that voice and for a split second she forgot that Jayson, the original one, was still very much alive and well on board the ANUBIS.

"My strength has not quite fully returned," Ya'Han said, trying to find a polite way to avoid having to fight him.

Jayson smiled and lunged at her. "That means I might actually have a fraction of a chance this time. Come on, I see how red your hair is, your mind is more than ready to get back into action, so why wait?"

He launched a volley of blows that she easily avoided or blocked, but the Sec/Tac could not bring herself to strike back. The fight played in her mind with each new strike against her and each time she could see how easily it would be for her to flip him on his back as she had done countless times before. The smile on his face warmed her heart as he found himself still standing after several seconds, but Ya'Han could not find any joy in seeing the expression on his face. All she could see was the last few seconds of his clone as he died next to her.

"Come on Ya'Han," Jayson laughed playfully. "I know that you can do better than that. Don't hold back on my account. Show me that you are back; show me that the woman I love is back from the hell she went through."

The Sec/Tac agreed to push herself a little more, to focus on the fight as she would have before what happened on OLTHAR PRIME, but the moment she tried she heard the voice of the other Jayson speaking about the darkness that he knew was in her, a darkness that had been fostered by the Lokustaar from the day she was born.  That was when she lowered her guard and completely stopped fighting allowing for her sparring partner to land a not so weak shut square on her abdomen sending her down to the ground.

"YA'HAN! Are you alright?" Jayson was in a panic. Never had he land a blow, and certainly not with as much strength or accuracy as he had just done. Maybe if she had not just gone through what she had he would not have felt as guilty for landing that hit, maybe he would have rejoiced and celebrated, but instead all he could feel was fear and she could see that in his face.

The clone would have laughed and called her weak and distracted, pushing her to be better than she was, and while she had a knee down on the training mat the Nylaan was not sure which of the two she wanted to be here right now.  "Leave me," Ya'Han said, batting away the man's hands.

"I just want to help," he said, ignoring her efforts to keep him away. That was when her hair changed to the purple and red mix she displayed while being with Mordana. With a single powerful punch she sent Jayson back causing him to crash down on the training mat. The emotions were just too much for her to manage and she left the gymnasium without even offering him an apology or checking to make sure that she had not injured him.  All the Sec/Tac could do was to run out while trying to understand how she felt.  She was angry at the death of Jayson's clone, delighted at the death of the Elder's clone and confused at the feelings she experienced while being near the original Jayson.

Justice might have indeed been served back on OLTHAR PRIME, but there was still a great deal of figuring out the Nylaan needed to do if she was every going to be able to move on in a way she believed best for her and those around her.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
Hanali Han

Lieutenant JG Ya'Han [Access Character BIO for Ya'Han]
Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M14-P065: USS ANUBIS: Bruxa: 34019.1630 ("House Call")
=-=
"House Call"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "The Aftermath" / (BAS) "Much Ado About Nothing"]
=-=

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Brig
Stardate: 34019.1630

It was not easy to see Adriana sitting behind the force field, if fact, it was rather painful. The two of them had become close coworkers through necessity. As the CMO and CNS, they often shared patients or were called in at the same time to deal with various matters. It took no time for them to become friends. It was part of the reason why they came together to the ANUBIS from the BASTET. They understood each other on more than just a professional level. They were a team even though neither one had officially acknowledged this. That was why it was so difficult for Satella to see Adriana like this, locked away in the brig.

That she agreed with it or not, Doctor Bruxa understood why her friend did what she did. The opportunity to help the Ambassador was a once in a lifetime turn of events that could not be ignored. The CMO was certain that all of this could have happened some other way, but it was too late now. The moment the decision to act was made Lopez had sacrificed her career to save Bonviva. It was scary to see how a single decision could change someone's life so completely.

Realizing that she was no longer alone Adriana looked up and smiled before speaking.  "Hi, Satella. How is the Ambassador?" Even with her career in shambles and her freedom taken away, the CNS thought of others before herself.

"She was released to her quarters. The woman is healthier than she has ever been, all thanks to you." Satella felt a tightness in her throat. The news of Xana's recovery was a good one, yet she could not find any joy in it.

The CNS' smile grew even brighter. "I am glad to hear that. I have to admit that I was not entirely certain it would work. It was not like there was any technical manual available to indicate what would or would not work. Everything was based on assumptions formulated on vague myths and legends. Everything seemed to indicate that it should work, but there were never any guarantees."

Satella forced a smile to appear on her lips. "You did it. Against all odds, and beyond anyone's expectations, you did it. You saved her. My only question to you is this: why? Why sacrifice your career for her?"

"You know why." That was the only answer Adriana gave as if it accounted for everything, and in some way, it did. Satella knew her friend well enough to understand the driving force behind her actions.

The CMO wanted to be angry with her friend. She wanted to scream or even throw something at her, but all she could manage was to feel sadness. "Why didn't you tell me what you were planning? Why keep me in the dark?"

"You know why." Adriana seemed pleased with her reply. Using the exact same words to answer two back-to-back questions was amusing.

With the CNS in the brig, the CMO could not deny her this passing levity. "Alright, I might have tried to stop you. I might also have tried to help and come up with a way to save Xana without ending your career."

"Satella, stop beating yourself over this. The decision why mine and mine alone. Even if I had told you and you tried to talk me out of doing this, the odds were that I still would have done it. To me, doing this was just too important. It was the best way to save Xana, ensure that the Oltharians remained allies and increase the odds of one day finding my sister."

Satella clenched her fists in frustration but released soon after. Adriana had acted according to her beliefs and in so doing saved a life. How could anyone truly find fault in her actions?  "Is there anything I can get for you? I can only imagine how lonely it is here."

"Being here has given me the opportunity to think and reflect on my life. Something that I rarely had the chance to do. So, again, do not worry about me. I am fine and in some ways, I might be better now than I was before. My only regret is that my actions have hurt you and those nearest to me. In the end, all I could do was to hope that you would understand."

"I can't speak for everyone else, especially not the Captain. What I can tell you is that I do understand. Wished you had found another way, but I do understand. If there is anything I can do to help, let me know."

Adriana smiled once again. How the CNS was managing to remain in such good spirit was remarkable. Whatever anyone thought of Lopez and her decision, they had to agree upon one thing. Be it good or bad, she was not the meek woman who came on board the ANUBIS.

The two friends shared one final smile before the CMO left the detention area and returned to Sickbay. Maybe she could find a way to convince the Captain to go easy on Adriana. At the very least, there was no harm in trying.

=-=
Rachel Jackie Johnson

Lieutenant JG Satella Bruxa [Access Character BIO for Satella Bruxa]
Chief Medical Officer
USS ANUBIS

[Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint. - Mark Twain]
M14-P066: USS ANUBIS: Fairborn: 34019.1630 ("Where The Heart Leads")
##########
"Where The Heart Leads"
Previous posts (ANU) "House Call" / (BAS) "Much Ado About Nothing"
##########

"Many have claimed that light is the weapon that will one day see the darkness forever eradicated from this world. I say they are wrong. Light may force the shadows to retreat but does not stop them from reappearing elsewhere. Love, on the other hand, ensures that wherever the darkness may be found, it can never take hold and fill someone heart with doubts."
- Growen Starsong, Oltharian scholar, and priest who warned the Council of Elders of the presence of the Shadows on their planet some hundreds of years prior to them being discovered.

=====
Setting:  USS ANUBIS, Fairborn's Quarters 
Stardate: 34019.1630  

Amber sat on the couch, her feet resting on an assortment of pillows with all kinds of food and beverages within arm's reach. Since her release from Sickbay, the Oltharian had not allowed the now mortal woman to lift a single finger, attending to her every need even before she voiced them. Amber was actually surprised that the gentle giant allowed her to walk to his quarters instead of carrying her.
 
"Can I get you something?" Elan asked, this being the third time this hour alone he uttered those exact same words.
 
"I have always known you to be as sweet as you are gentle, Elan," Amber replied, "but this is excessive, even for you. What is on your mind? Something is bothering you, and do not try to deny it. I know you far too well."
 
Elan came closer and sat on the floor next to Amber. Even in this position, the Oltharian effortlessly towered over her. After all, at 7 feet 6 inches, it was hard for him NOT to look down on others no matter what he did. While able to look into the woman's eyes with greater ease, the gentle giant smiled in a way that hinted to a tidal wave of emotions building within him. After several minutes of quiet contemplation, he finally spoke. "I have missed you so very much," he admitted, his voice almost breaking as his emotions threatened to overwhelm him. "After the accident that caused you to fall into a coma, I did not know what to do with myself. I tried to keep busy, tried searching for a way to help, I even went back to the northern temple in search of answers. Maybe I should have asked my uncle to grant me access to the ancient ruins instead, but that's another story. When I heard about you and Bardef though, everything changed, I ..." The giant's words trailed into a silence of uncertainty as a new set of emotions surfaced these far more difficult to hold back.
 
"You felt hurt, betrayed," Amber said as she reached for his cheek with her hand, filling in the blanks using both her knowledge of the giant and easily the expression on his face. "That was part of the reason why he and I agreed not to tell you. When I left OLTHAR PRIME it was because I had to, allowing for time to pass without my presence drawing too many questions. As much as I could change my appearance, people could still recognize me or at the very least believe that my previous appearance was somehow related to my newer one. I was certainly not in a habit to befriend and get emotionally close to family members, but you were different. As the first of your race to venture amongst the stars, I was instantly drawn to you. The rest is history, our history."
 
"Does that mean that we are over?" Although impossible, both Amber and Elan heard the Oltharian's heart shattering into pieces as the words were spoken aloud.
 
"No, of course not," Amber reassured. "I have always needed you, always loved you and now more than ever. I could not ask for anyone kinder or sweeter to spend the rest of my life with. I saw the birth of countless solar systems, the dawn of civilizations that no one ever heard of, and yet being with you I discovered something new, something that I had never expected to find. My sweet Elan, I changed more than I could have ever imagined the day I met you, and trust me when I say that I am happy to be here, with you, for as long as this body will allow me to be."
 
The Oltharian simply gazed into the woman's emerald green eyes and smiled, his eyes swelling with tears that he was not sure if he wanted to hold back or allow to freely flow. After a few moments, Elan suddenly stood and hurried into his room without saying a word.
 
"Elan? Are you all right?" She could hear him but could not discern what exactly he was doing, that was until he returned holding a small ornate wooden box which instantly made Amber smile. She recognized the container, how could she not, especially after having been one of the very few to have been permitted to enjoy what was inside. The Oltharian, with the greatest care possible, deposited the box on the living room table before ever so gently opening it to reveal a small silver flute sitting in a perfectly shaped indent in the blue velvet fabric that lined the inside of the box. The musical instrument nearly completely vanished into the giant's hands as he delicately retrieved it to present it to the woman resting on the couch. "Do you still consider me worthy to hear you play?"
 
Elan said nothing and simply brought the instrument to his lips and began to play, filling his quarters with a piece of unparalleled music that brought Amber to tears. Even though she had been in a coma, she could recall him playing his flute as if trying to show her the way home. It might not have happened as he had wanted, and certainly not as quickly as he would have wanted, but in the end, everything had come to pass as it needed to. She was here with him, listening to the music that only a select few had been privileged to hear.
 
For the next several hours, Amber just sat there, watching and listening as he played the flute, the music echoing feelings without limits, without conditions, feelings that she equally felt for him. When the music stopped, she reached out and caressed his hands with hers. "Thank you, that was beautiful."
 
"What do we do next?" The Oltharian's questions might have been vague but Amber knew exactly what his words, along with his heart, meant.
 
"I don't care," she replied. "I just want to be with you, and that until the heart within this form beats for the last time."
 
"Will you come with me?" Elan asked, almost sounding unsure.
 
"Of course I will," Amber promptly replied. "I am sure that Captain Morningstar will be kind enough to give me something to do onboard the ANUBIS. Maybe I could work with Doctor Bruxa in Sickbay or help Maya in her scientific work."
 
"The ANUBIS is a remarkable vessel," the Oltharian stated as he carefully placed the flute back into the wooden box. "The wonders I have seen never cease but I do not want you here."
 
"Elan?"
 
"The ANUBIS is designed to confront the worst of the darkness that is out there. The crew faces unspeakable dangers every day, and I could not work knowing that you were risking your life by simply being here with me. I have already spoken to my uncle and he has offered us one of the retreats on the Talsera peninsula. We can live there for as long as we want, away from everything and everyone."
 
"The Talsera peninsula?" Amber asked while grinning. "The waves crashing on the rocks below, the sun rising over the distant watery horizon, and we would get to see the annual migration of the Talsuun?"
 
"That's the place," Elan confirmed with a huge smile. "Will you come with me? It will be just you and I. No shadows, not Starfleet, no Elders, nothing but you and I."
 
"I want to say yes but I want you to promise me one thing though," Amber said surprising the giant. "You will bring something with you, something that I want to be there with us."
 
Elan was not sure what she was referring to but trusting her as he did, the Oltharian quickly agreed without even knowing what this 'something' was.
 
"Your flute," she said beaming a smile at him. "Aside from you being there, that is the only condition I have, and even that is not enough to make me say no."
 
"Of course," the gentle giant confirmed. "I will let Captain Morningstar know of our decision and arrange for us to beam down to the surface as soon as possible."

--==(/\)==--
Francois Charette

Commanding Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501

AND

Lt. Commander Elan Fairborn [Access Character BIO for Elan Fairborn]
Robotics Engineering Officer
NEW ALEXANDRIA
M14-P067: USS ANUBIS: Bonviva: 34019.1700 ("Diplomatic Immunity")
=/\=
"Diplomatic Immunity"
Previous posts (ANU) "Where The Heart Leads" / (BAS) "Much Ado About Nothing"

=/\=
“Speak softly and carry a big stick, and you will go far.”
-Teddy Roosevelt

=/\=
Location: Black Hole Lounge
Stardate: 34019.1700

Since being released from Sickbay, word had gotten around that The Ambassador was holding Office Hours on the top level of the Black Hole Lounge in the back corner.  Sitting in the back booth, the Bolian/Human woman was pouring over PADDs, sorting into a variety of stacks that made sense to her and from time to time making notes on a separate PADD.  If the mood struck her, she would pause to eat some of the popcorn that was sitting in a large silver bowl on the table or drink the water; but mostly she worked.  

As she ascended to the 2nd level, Dr. Satella Bruxa noted that no one would believe that she had been terminally ill; the doctor couldn’t help but note the flush on the woman’s cheeks and bright eyes.  “Xana?” 

The Bolian/Human woman looked up and smiled. “Hi Satella,” she said.  Gesturing to a seat across from her, the Ambassador said, “This won’t take long.”  Once the doctor sat, she explained, “I just need you to attend a briefing with me and answer all the questions truthfully.”

The silver-haired doctor thought about that for a minute.  “Of course I’d answer truthfully,” she said.  “Who is the briefing with?  Captain Morningstar?” 

“No.  Although I’ve asked Commander Shar’El to attend,” Xana said.  Before Satella could ask more, Xana stood up, took out her Ambassadorial robes which had been on the seat next to her and put that on over her tunic and leggings, scooped up her PADDs and said, “Let’s go.”

“What am I briefing on?  And you still haven’t said who am briefing,” Satella said.

“You just have to answer questions on what you’ve seen me do,” Xana replied.  “As for the *who* I don’t want to get you worried; but it’s the biggest name--.”

“Koniki?”

Xana snorted as she made her way out of the Black Hole Lounge.  “He wishes he was the biggest name in the Federation,” she said.  

=/\=
Location: IGC
Stardate: 34019.1730

“I don’t think this was necessary,” Commander Shar’El stated as she admitted entry to the Ambassador and the Doctor.  The IGC techs were too well trained to look up at the entrants, and Dr. Bruxa in her capacity did not stare openly at the techs or the gadgets.

Xana had never been that subtle and certainly was not going to start being so today.  Looking all around at the high tech gadgetry that she didn't know existed or didn’t understand how it worked, the Ambassador was in awe.

“What are you staring at?” Satella whispered.

The azure woman was staring at the ceiling for a moment.  “I’m waiting for the canons to come out of the ceiling to take aim at me, indicating that I’m trespassing,” she admitted.  

Shar’El wanting to move things along brushed off that concern.  “Oh we don’t do that.”  When the Ambassador snapped her head down and raised an eyebrow in disbelief she amended.  “On Tuesdays.”

“I feel *so* much better,” Xana admitted.  Nodding to Shar’El she said, “I sent you the info to make the connection.”  

Shar’El nodded and pulled up a large monitor.  At first the standard Starfleet symbol pulled up but then it morphed into the Federation government symbol.  The symbol changed into the face of an older Andorian gentleman with white hair; he appeared to be wearing a black tunic and was sitting behind a desk and in front of a window where the sun was setting behind him.  [/\] Ambassador Bonviva, I’m glad to see you and receive your report. [/\]

“President Kevak I’m glad to be reporting to you as well,” Xana smiled.  Pointing to the two women next to her, the azure woman said, “I’m reporting to you here from my assignment with Commander Shar’El and Dr. Satella Bruxa.”  Pausing for a moment, she said, “I did, however, want to make an official addendum to my last Ambassadorial report that I submitted; as it is not my addendum alone to make that is why I have asked Dr. Bruxa and Commander Shar’El to join me.”

Kevak looked at Xana from across the galaxy, [/\] An addendum that is not being authored by you?  This is unusual.  Still you got me on a good day.[/\]

Xana smiled at that.  “The Federation Council must be out on leave then.”  Becoming serious she said, “I have deputized a Junior Ambassador, Counselor Adriana Lopez, and wish for this to be recorded and recognized by you.  This deputizing was witnessed by Dr. Bruxa here.”

The Andorian nodded at that.  [/\] This was a complex assignment.  I understand that you may have felt the need for additional assistance; if you wish to have this codified then we can go through that.[/\]  Looking over at the doctor he asked, [/\]Doctor, did Counselor Adriana Lopez, to the best of your knowledge, go through the process of becoming Junior Ambassador of her own accord and free will?[/\]

“Yes,” Satella nodded.

Xana stood by quietly as Satella answered the rest of the questions as the President decided to be particularly effusive today.  Then he turned to Shar’El and asked her a series of questions about Adriana’s duties and character.

[/\] I have no issues with your Junior Ambassador, I’m sending along my approval,[/\] President Kevak stated.  [/\] I look forward to sending you to your next mission.[/\]

There was a pause in the room after the President said that.  “About that,” Xana said quietly.  “If you’re amenable--”

[/\] Last time you started a sentence like that I found myself running for office,[/\]

“That worked out well,” Xana smiled.  Becoming serious she said, “I thought I’d stay here where I am.”  When Kevak didn’t say anything she continued on, “I believe I can be of use here.”  There was a pause and she continued on, “And, of course, to continue with the guidance of Junior Ambassador Lopez.”

Kevak sat back in his chair, contemplating this for a long time.  [/\] That’s two Ambassadorial assets on one ship.  That’s a lot.[/\]  For the space of several moments, the Andorian said nothing but his antennae twirled in thought.  [/\] What was that phrase you told me?  The one from EARTH?[/\]

The Ambassador did not wince but she wanted to; she saw where this was going.  Instead she stared at the screen and answered honestly.  “To whom much is given, much is expected,” Xana replied.  

[/\] That’s my answer. [/\]  Kevak sat back up and said, [/\] Continue on with this assignment and next time I expect Junior Ambassador Lopez with you.  President Kevak out. [/\]

The screen went black.  

“Can I exhale now?” Satella asked.  

Shar’El went into action.  “Now you can,” the XO said as she leaned over at a monitor.  “The President just sent in the formal approval of Adriana as the Junior Ambassador.”  Looking over at the Ambassador she said, “So when you did the swearing in of Adriana--”

“Ambassadors can deputize people in times of crisis, and honestly for most things it would have held up.  But for the next part I want this so sealed up and that no one could challenge it,” Xana said.  “How am I on time?”

Shar’El looked at the chrono.  “It already started,” she said.

=/\=
Location: Captain’s Ready Room
Stardate: 34019.1803

[/\] Captain Morningstar, I told you I wanted answers! Why am I being made to wait for them? [/\]

Captain Erik Morningstar did not want to hang out his Counselor to dry.  He knew that there was something going on to avoid placing the blame on Adriana, but that as Captain he *shouldn’t* know about it.  Still Adriana did what she did, and she was rather forthright about it.  “There is a perfectly logical explanation for this,” Morningstar began.

The door trilled announcing a visitor but Morningstar ignored it.

[/\]What could be logical about letting the artifact go,[/\] Koniki snapped.

Before Morningstar could answer, ANI interrupted the gentlemen.  “Captain, Ambassador Bonviva states that she must be admitted entrance.  Her reason for entry is that she has critical information.”

[/\] Yes, let’s hear what the Ambassador’s thoughts are on this.  I’m sure she cannot be thrilled that we let an unknown artifact out of our hands,[/\] Koniki said smugly.  

“Come in,” the Native American Commanding Officer announced, thoroughly boxed in.  

The Ambassador swept in, carrying a PADD in her hands.  Passing the PADD over to the CO, she sat down opposite him, and said, “Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to join in.  I realized that I had not had the opportunity to update both of you on the official Ambassadorial update on this mission.”

Morningstar wondered where this was going; Bonviva’s updates were really pro forma at this point.  

“I wanted to pass along to both of you the official documentation that Counselor Lopez has been certified as Junior Ambassador.  Of course I swore her in during this mission, and this was recognized just recently by President Kevak.  Captain Morningstar I’ve just given you your copies for your records and Admiral I’ve sent your copy to your terminal.  In her dual capacity, Adriana Lopez will have clear duties to both the Ambassadorial Corp and to Starfleet.  When she acts for Starfleet, those directions will come from Captain Morningstar and that Chain of Command; and for the Ambassadorial Corp we have the freedom, or carte blanche --”

[/\] Yes, yes, we all know how this works,[/\] Koniki snapped as he cut off the long-winded Ambassador.  Waving his hands to change the subject he said, [/\] Now back to the artifact.  You’re caught up on this?[/\]

“Yes,” Xana nodded.  “There was an artifact.  It had not been properly catalogued prior to coming into contact with the ANUBIS; therefore, we could not determine its value intrinsically or what its impact would be.”

[/\] That’s it.  What happened to it? [/\]

Xana gave him a look as if to say it was obvious.  “Adriana Lopez discharged of the artifact in her capacity as Junior Ambassador.”  

[/\] That’s not an acceptable answer, Xana.[/\]  Koniki glared at the Ambassador across the screen until the heat of his anger was palpable.  [/\] You don’t get to just wave the flag of ‘diplomatic immunity’ whenever you want.[/\]

“This is the only answer you’ll get from me and from this ship,” she said confidently, silently hoping the Captain wasn’t about to jump in.  The Ambassador never moved in her chair.  “You went looking for answers...no one ever said you’d get the answers you’d want.  You knew how this worked,” Xana reminded him softly.  “I am the full Ambassador for the ANUBIS and Adriana Lopez is now the Junior Ambassador.  That is our report on this matter.”

=/\=
Sarah Albertini-Bond

USS ANUBIS NCC 18501
M14-P068: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: 34019.1820 ("Not in a Good Place")
=-=
"Not in a Good Place"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Diplomatic Immunity" by Sarah / (BAS) "Going Home" by Karen]
=-=

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Captain's Ready Room
Stardate: 34019.1820

It was difficult for the ExO / ILO not to laugh. The Ambassador had put Admiral Koniki in his place with one swift line and there was nothing he could do about it. Knowing the head of SFI and CO of the NEW ALEXANDRIA complex as she did, it was refreshing to see someone finally get the upper hand against him, but Shar'El also knew that such a victory would come at a price.

"Ambassador," the ExO / ILO began, "just to set the record straight, was you mentioning that you are the *full* Ambassador for the ANUBIS a reminder of what your assignment *was* or what it will continue to be?"  Shar'El already knew the answer, not because she'd scan the woman's memories but because she was there when Xana spoke directly with President Kevak. What the question was meant to do was to make sure Erik was aware of what transpired.

"Yes, sorry," Xana said turning to look at the still sitting Captain. "As per the authority of President Kevak, I have been permanently assigned to the ANUBIS as Ambassador. Part of my duties will be to educate my Junior Ambassador in the proper ways to perform her ambassadorial duties."

"Don't I have a say in this?" Erik gasped.

"Apparently not," Shar'El whispered while leaning in closer. "You might be wishing she was back in sickbay with her days counting down," the ExO / ILO added.

"Listen Captain," Xana began leaning over the man's desk. "We both know that you need me on this ship. I have read the reports of your behind the scenes missions, and you could have used someone like me more than once. Just having an Ambassador on board will give the ANUBIS a wider range of access while offering you the kind of diplomatic protection that you would not be otherwise able to have."

"Like for what you just did for Adriana?" The Captain was not going to make this easy for the newest member of his official staff.

"Don't play the wounded soldier Captain; it does not suit you well. You are as happy as I am that Adriana has been spared Koniki's wrath."

"She might have been spared his wrath, but I strongly doubt that we, as in the ANUBIS as a whole, will be spared," the ExO / ILO interjected. "I foresee us carrying cargo for a while following what happened today."

"We will be lucky if what we end up doing is just moving cargo," Erik amended before taking a short mental break to put his thoughts in order. "As for officially, and permanently, having you onboard the ANUBIS, you are right Ambassador, your presence could prove to be a useful asset in certain instances, but I would like to make something perfectly clear. I am the Captain of this ship, not some Admiral sitting in some distant base. When things go wrong, we have to deal with them right there and then, and if we do not, people die. Therefore, my orders are final and must be followed immediately and without questions. I will not tolerate having neither you nor Junior Ambassador Lopez pull a 'diplomatic ace' that you believe *might* work without it being first authorized by Commander Shar'El or me. If you decide to disregard this, trust me when I say that you will both find yourselves floating towards the nearest sun with a rather large footprint embedded into your rear-ends. Am I making myself perfectly clear, Ambassador?"

Shar'El was grinning like a Cheshire cat while frantically nodding her head to show that Erik was being genuinely honest in his words.

"Sounds fair," Xana mumbled.

"Good," Erik smiled as she stood and extended a welcoming hand to the Ambassador. "Welcome aboard. I am looking forward to us working together on a more permanent basis, of course, that is as soon as we are done paying for what happened today."

"Another advantage of having an Ambassador on board," the Bolian/Human woman grinned. "All I have to do is slap a diplomatic cargo sticker on whatever we are carrying and having someone else take care of the actual transport. Now, if you will excuse me, I have a Junior Ambassador to escort out of your brig."

Erik and Shar'El just watched as Xana made her way out of the captain's Ready Room, the ExO / ILO turning to face the Captain as soon as the door closed behind her. "She is right, having her on the ANUBIS is going to make things a lot easier, especially when we have to go outside of Federation controlled space."

"I am sure that she will make things easier in many regards," the captain agreed. "I am just as certain that she is going to make things a lot more complicated on certain instances. The woman has a long history of dealing with less than reputable individuals that may decide to take the news of her being alive and well as an invitation to challenge that status."

"If that is the case, can you think of a better place for her to be than here on the ANUBIS?" Shar'El stated. "This ship has dealt with the worst of the worst out there and we are still here ready for the next fight. This may not be a good place for her to be, but we both have to agree that this ship is the *best* place for her and us to deal with whatever comes our way.

"True enough," Erik agreed. "Now, if our business on OLTHAR PRIME is done, I would like for us to leave as quickly as possible, that is of course once certain details have been taken care of."

Shar'El smiled and nodded her head knowing exactly what the captain was referring to. "I will take care of things. Everything should be ready by, say 2100 hours."

"Perfect, that will give me the chance to get what i need ready. You are dismissed, Commander."

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET
M14-P069: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han: 34019.1830 ("Deeply Confused and Troubled")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Deeply Confused and Troubled"
[previous post were (ANU) "Not in a Good Place" / (BAS) "Going Home"]
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Corridor
Stardate: 34019.1830

Two hours ago, the Sec/Tac stormed out of the gymnasium after knocking Jayson to the ground. The color of her hair showed to anyone looking the state of her thoughts, the mix of purple and red being the same as when the Nylaan was working with Mordana and the other Jayson. The further she went from the gymnasium, the darker her hair became until it was solid black, reflecting how she now felt; common, unimportant, unworthy. Ya'Han was worried that she might have injured her shipmate and lover, but she could not bring herself to go back and check on him. Every time she looked at him, all that she saw was the other Jayson, the one who gave up his life to protect her.

She was relatively certain that he was uninjured and that he would come after her, that is as soon as he regained his breath. That is why the Sec/Tac had stopped by her quarters and left her communicator behind, sealing the door as she left. That way he would believe her to be there, ignoring his efforts to talk. It might have been cruel to do this to him, but Ya'Han suspected that speaking to him and revealing, even in only a small way, how she felt and why would be even worse for him. For the time being it was best if the two of them stayed apart until such time as she figured out her feelings.

From her quarters, the Sec/Tac travelled the ANUBIS' decks, inspecting the ventral cargo hold and the crafts held there as well as the VIPERs which were housed in their launch bay located in the array section of the ship. There was no rhyme or reason for what she was doing other than her need to not stand still. As long as she kept herself busy, her mind was less likely to ponder the life that was sacrificed on her behalf and the way that action would forever change her own life.  Had it not been for the clone, Ya'Han would never have agreed to set the copy of the Oltharian Elder free only to see him put to death by the Oltharian leader.

The one thing that bothered the Nylaan the most was the way seeing the clone being drained of every least drop of life energy had made her feel. She clearly experienced joy and satisfaction, two of countless other emotions that reminded the self-exiled daughter of the High Sovereign of her family, her past and how apparently the Lokustaar had manipulated everyone she knew back then including her.

The more she thought, the angrier she found herself to be, and the more confused she ended up being. Was the clone right when he said that every aspects of her life had been planned? Was her father's cruelty towards her his own doing or was it brought upon by the influence of the Lokustaar or one of their agents? Knowing that the Shadows were on NYLAN IV did explain a few things though, namely the way that her father's aide Ze'Kon had suddenly decided to turn against the ruler to help see her eldest brother Ya'Kun ascend to the Imperial throne. Those realizations though did little to help her understand who she was and what her role in all of this was meant to be.

Thinking that she needed to speak to someone, Ya'Han suddenly remembered that Adriana Lopez, the Ship's Counselor and the one who had orchestrated the latest sets of events, was now in the brig. As bad as she believed her life to be, the Sec/Tac had to accept that the CNS was facing a much darker and uncertain future. Even if Ya'Han was reprimanded for her actions, that of freeing the clone of the Oltharian Elder and escorting him to the planet surface, it would be Adriana who would face the full consequences of this as the order had come from her. There was no way to know how much of a pull her acting under the jurisdiction of Junior Ambassador would grant her, but it was evident that out of the two of them the Counselor was in far more trouble.

That is when the Sec/Tac found a destination for her wandering.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
Setting: USS ANUBIS, brig
Stardate: 34019.1845

"Ya'Han," Adriana said upon seeing the Sec/Tac. "How are you doing?"

"Should I not be the one asking you that? You are the one on the wrong side of that force field."

"I'm alright," Adriana said with a shrug. "I guess no news is good news."

Ya'Han was just about to point out that in this particular case, any delays was not good as it likely indicated a more thorough analysis of the events which would led to a ore severe punishment. Instead of doing so, the Sec/Tac sighed and moved as close as the energy barrier would permit.  "I need to ask you something. When you said that seeing what I did would make me feel better about Jayson's death, were you being honest or were you just using me to get the Elder down to OLTHAR PRIME?"

"I was not using you," Adriana emotionally replied. "I could see the pain you were in and it was the best way I could think of at that time to help you.  As long as that clone lived, you would have felt a guilt that you would never have been able to resolve. Now, all you have left to do is to reconcile your feelings for the two Jayson."

"Is it that obvious?" The Sec/Tac asked.

"Obvious only to those who know what to look for and interpret the signs, like your black hair. You display that color only when you are feeling down or unsure about yourself, so I can only guess that this uncertainty is from you seeing our Jayson and thinking of the other leaving you to not being sure as to what or how to feel," Adriana said wishing that she could reach out and give the Nylaan the hug she so desperately needed right now.

"You know me too well," Ya'Han said while forcing a smile on her lips. "I truly hope that the Captain will not come down on you too hard for what you did."

"I am more worried about Ambassador Bonviva to be honest," Adriana admitted. "I used her authority to make everything happen."

"If there is anything I can do to help, please let me know," the Sec/Tac offered.

"Thank you," the Counselor said. "I don't know what you would be able to do, but if something does come up, I will most certainly let you know."

"Please do," Ya'Han looking as if she was about to cry. "I have already lost someone who was very special dear to me and I do not know how I would manage if I lost someone else just as special and dear to me."

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
Hanali Han

Lieutenant JG Ya'Han [Access Character BIO for Ya'Han]
Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M14-P070: USS ANUBIS: Stark: 34019.1850 ("A One-Way Discussion")
"A One-Way Discussion"
[previous (ANU) "Deeply Confused and Troubled" / (BAS) "Going Home"]

[/\]
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Corridor, outside Ya'Han's quarters
Stardate: 34019.1850

It was not like Ya'Han to lock herself in her quarters, then again it was also not like her to act the way she did back in the gymnasium. Something was bothering her, and it didn't take much for the OPS officer to figure out what that something was. Jayson wanted to help even though he was not entirely certain as to how to do this, but one thing was certain, he needed to get inside and talk to her. He pressed on the small control panel next to the door and knocked on the door, trying his best to get her attention. Either she would get tired of this and open the door, or she would get angry enough to slam him onto the other side of the corridor. In both cases, the goal of getting her to open the door would be achieved.

After several repeated attempts without any results, Jayson was forced to admit that her wanting to be left alone was stronger than his patience. "Come on Ya'Han, I can't help if you don't talk to me!"  He yelled at the door getting a few strange looks from the few members of the crew who were just passing by at that moment. Thinking that maybe she had found a way to get out without his knowledge, the OPS officer decided to make sure that he was not wasting his time. "Computer, please confirm that Lt. Ya'Han is in her quarters."

=/\= Internal sensors show Lt. Ya'Han as being in her quarters, =/\= the computer said.

"Fine, let's try something else," he said as he released some of his frustration on the communicator on his chest. "Stark to Ya'Han, please reply."  He waited a few seconds and when he received nothing but more silence, he tried again. "Come on Ya'Han, I know you are in there. Just let me in, all I want to do is talk and help you as best as I can. Don't shut me out like this."  Again, he waited and received nothing for his efforts. "Computer, is my signal being received on the other end?"

=/\= Communications shows active on both ends, =/\= the computer confirmed.

"Alright, you don't want to talk, that is fine with me, but you will listen to what I have to say. I would have preferred doing this more privately but I'll do this your way," Jayson said leaning his head against the sealed door to her quarters. For a few seconds he hoped that this would have been enough to change her mind, but it soon became evident that she was not budging, so he continued. "I know that you are hurting. I know that seeing my clone die the way it did was not easy and to be perfectly honest I cannot imagine how you are feeling deep down inside. All I know is that I am here for you as I always have been and always will be. I understand what you had to do in order to get close to Mordana and convince her that you had switched sides. I also understand that there might have been some things you did not have a choice to do in order to keep up the act. What I need you to understand is that I do not hold anything that you might have said or done against you. You did what you had to in order to complete your mission, and I respect that. Actually, I admire that because I am not sure I would have been able to do what you did had the roles been reversed. From the first day we met, I knew that you were far stronger than I was, not just physically but emotionally. There is not one day that goes by where the person you are does not amaze me. You have helped me in so many ways with my own issues that now I want to return the favor, even if it is only in a small way, so please, let me in." Again, nothing but complete silence was what he received for his efforts causing him to release his frustration by hitting the sealed door with his hand.

"Lt. Stark, are you alright?" Doctor Bruxa asked as she quietly came to stand behind him.

"I am fine Doctor. I am just trying to get through to Ya'Han. She's locked me out and won't talk to me despite my knowing that she needs to," he said. "I know that she is in pain and even know the reasons why, and all I want to do is to help her."

"That is very admirable of you," the Doctor said but before she could add anything else, the OPS officer continued.

"I know it would probably be better if she spoke to Counselor Lopez, or maybe even yourself, but I think I have a unique perspective into her issue, one that I believe can be very useful in helping her."

"Speaking of the CNS," the CMO said. "I was checking up on her recently, using the internal sensors, and noticed that Ya'Han was there speaking with Adriana, and last I knew she was still there."

"The computer confirmed that Ya'Han was in her quarters," Jayson said flabbergasted.

"Computer, using bio-medical identification, please locate Lt. Ya'Han, authorization Doctor Satella Bruxa, Alpha-1-7-Blue," the CMO requested.

=/\= Bio-medical identification shows Lt. Ya'Han to be on deck 19 in the brig. =/\=

The Doctor grinned. "She left her communicator behind, likely to make sure that she would not be contacted and sidetracked by something or someone."

"So I have been doing all of this for nothing?!?"

"I would not say that it was all for nothing," the Doctor said. "See it as a dry run, a rehearsal for when you actually get to speak to her. At least now you know not to say anything until you see her standing there right in front of you."

"Thank you, Doctor," Jayson said before making a hasty retreat to his quarters trying to not to think of how ridiculous he must have appeared to be to anyone who walked down the corridor as he spoke to nothing more than the door to Ya'Han's quarters.

[/\]
Jayson Sousa

Lieutenant JG Jayson Stark [Access Character BIO for Jayson Stark]
Chief of Operations
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M14-P071: USS ANUBIS: Bonviva: 34019.1900 ("Defend First, Explanations Later")
"Defend First, Explanations Later"
[previous (ANU) "A One-Way Discussion" / (BAS) "We Lost Paradise But Found Something Better"]

=/\=

Here we stand or here we fall
History won't care at all
Make the bed, light the light
Lady Mercy won't be home tonight
--From Queen’s “Hammer to Fall”

=/\=
Location: USS ANUBIS, Corridor-> The Brig -> Corridor
Stardate: 34019.1900

Xana Bonviva walked towards the brig, her stomach was in knots.  She had approached this entire situation like she always did, the way she had been trained by Starfleet as a pilot over 20 years ago:

“Look to your left; look to your right.  Look behind you; look in front of you.  Those faces won’t be here in four years.  And if they are; then you won’t be.  This is who all that stands between you and them. Defend first, explanations later.”  

Defend first, explanations later.

She walked into the brig and saw Ya’Han talking to Adriana who was sitting calmly as if doing some kind of exercise in meditation, the Ambassador wondered if she picked the wrong approach.  She had defended Adriana, given her in fact the strongest of defenses to the Starfleet of Chain of Command, by ensuring she was untouchable.  

The thing was that Xana didn’t know why; why had Adriana made the deal with the Elders of OTHLAR PRIME?  What was Adriana thinking in turning over the artifact to so that she could live?  Gods above and below, someone had *died* so that Xana could be standing here and the azure woman didn’t even know why.  The acid was churning up in Bolian/Human woman’s, making it difficult to open up her mouth without swallowing a few times. Xana stood outside the Brig and said quietly, “Sorry to interrupt.”

Adriana looked up from her meditation spot and smiled.  “No, need for apologies, Xana.  Here for a visit?”

“I’m here to let you out,” the Ambassador said.  Pulling a slim PADD out of her pocket she handed it over to Ya’Han.  “Here is the official release notification; it should be noted in Adriana’s record as well.”  

Ya’Han read it over quickly before looking over at the Ambassador sharply.  “Diplomatic immunity?” she questioned.

“Adriana is the Junior Ambassador, her actions are protected during official assignments,” Xana replied.  

“Does the Captain know about this?” Ya’Han said, her hair shading red.

Xana nodded.  “He knows, Admiral Konicki knows, the President of the Federation knows.  This is the most official I could make this,” she replied quietly.  

The Chief of Security looked at the PADD and over at the Brig; clearly torn on not wanting to a “loophole” to be the reason why something happened, and selfishly wanting Adriana released.  Adherence to the rule of law won out and Ya’Han opened up the brig.  “You’re free to go,” she told Adriana softly.

“Thank you,” Adriana said.  Looking over she said seriously to Xana, “Do I need to submit a report to Captain Morningstar or Admiral Konicki?”

The Ambassador shook her head.  “It’s done,” she replied with a simplicity that belied how she felt.  Nodding to Adriana and Ya’Han she turned and walked out.

Adriana went running after Xana.  “Wait,” she said as she ran after her.  “I think we need to talk.”

Xana paused for a moment before turning around.  “Yes, we do,” she exhaled.  Sticking her hands in her pockets the azure woman said, “We have so much to talk about; but not here.”


=/\=
Location: Counselor’s Office
Stardate: 34019.1925

“Why?” 

Xana had barely walked into the Counselor’s office, was in fact in the process of taking off her Ambassador’s robes and placing that onto a nearby chair so she was only in her red tunic and black leggings, when she got that question of her past the acid churning in her stomach.  

Adriana, who had made herself comfortable on a sofa, looked over.  “I did it to save your life,” she pointed out.  “I thought that would be obvious.”  Gesturing to the clearly agitated woman she said, “Look at yourself.  You couldn’t do that a week ago!  How long has it been since you could do any of this?”

Shoving her hands in shock white hair, the Ambassador began to pace and muttering under her breath.  “My ability to have a stomach, curse, and pace notwithstanding... Adriana... a *man* died for *me*.”

“He was a clone,” Adriana pointed out.  “And you are a Federation Ambassador.”

“So what if he was a clone?  What does that matter?  Everyone is capable of minute by minute changes; choices that can either undo them or make them better than anyone ever believed them of being.  We can never judge a person’s heart because we have not lived their past nor know their future choices,” Xana pointed out.  

Adriana gave Xana a look.  “I know that,” she chastised the Ambassador.  “I know that people every day can turn their lives around.  If I’m lucky I can help them for a moment, take a breath and do just that.”

Exhaling at that, relief pouring into her muscles, Xana collapsed into a nearby chair.  “Then why trade my life for someone else’s?”

“Because I needed you,” Adriana said quietly.  “I realized that if I was ever going to solve the biggest challenge that I have... I *need* you.”

The Bolian/Human woman sat there truly perplexed.  “I’m not sure I’m following you,” she admitted.

Adriana leaned in.  “I need you to do me a favor.  It’s a personal favor.  It would mean a lot to me--”

Anger boiled up in Xana, anger she didn’t even know she had.  “WAIT.  You *saved* my life, killed a man--”

“Clone,” Adriana pointed out.

“--a *man*,” Xana pointed out, “had me put *my* reputation on the line by saying what you did was for the good of the Federation all for… *a personal favor*?”

The Counselor/Junior Ambassador became angry.  “You *don’t* know what it’s like to lose the most important person in your life!  To go for so long without them.  To feel as if you’d go crazy without them.”

There was a long silence that filled up the room, filled with ghosts of the past; it was deafening to each of the women, although only they could hear their own ghosts.  “Someday, Adriana, I’ll tell you about all those I’ve buried starting when I was a child,” Xana said softly.  Rubbing her head she said, “And you don’t know that I would or wouldn’t have done... whatever it is you want.  I probably could have, would have.”

Adriana looked at her for a long time.  “I needed you *alive* to do any favors.”

Xana rubbed her face, briefly thinking that it was good that Shar’El *wasn’t* there.  Her emotions and thoughts ricocheted all over the place from wars she started because someone she loved died to badlands she entered to shady political deals she made.  “All an Ambassador has is her word; our words are now compromised.”

“How so,” Adriana questioned.  “That would require someone else to know--”

“People will figure out that I was dying and *poof* I’m not,” Xana said.  “And Satella is not taking credit for my miraculous recovery.  Neither is anyone from OLTHAR PRIME.”  Rubbing her face she leaned in, “All an Ambassador has is her word and this is undiplomatic to say the least.”

“Your life for a personal favor?  How is that undiplomatic?” Adriana asked.

“The key is to make sure you give just enough to make them agree to your terms while they give you what you want in return,” Xana sighed.  “Thank gods I’m now assigned here.  Clearly you need more training.”

“Your logic is dizzying,” Adriana pointed out.  

The azure woman waved that off.  “It pushes off the guilt,” she sighed.  “So what is your big favor?”

Adriana leaned in.  “I want you to help me find my sister.”

=/\=
Sarah Albertini-Bond

USS ANUBIS NCC 18501
M14-P072: USS ANUBIS: Lopez: 34019.2100 ("Loose Ends")
-=-=-
"Loose Ends"
[Previous post: (ANU) "Defend First, Explanations Later" & (BAS) "We Lost Paradise"]
-=-=-

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Counselor's Office
Stardate: 34019.2100

The meeting with Xana was long and emotionally draining. How could it not be? Adriana went into painful details on how she lost her twin sister at the age of 6, how her parents reluctantly informed her of the kidnapping 11 years later and how this led the woman of Hispanic descent to join Starfleet with the hopes of finding her sister.  During the recounting of the heartbreaking story, the Counselor almost revealed one more detail but did not for fear that it might make the Ambassador regret all that she had done, more than she already was.

Xana left Adriana's office saying that she would think about everything that had been said, leaving the Counselor to do the same.

"You know, she is right," Amanda said, the hallucination of the twin sister sitting where the Ambassador had been only a few minutes prior. "You messed up."

"Should you not be on *my* side," Adriana said sounding discouraged. "I did all of this for you," she added knowing very well that the sister she was speaking to was not actually there. "Stop being the voice of my counter arguments. Right now, i would appreciate you actually being on my side."

"Sis," Amanda began as she stretch back on the couch, "I have always been on your side. My job as the projection of your guilt ridden thoughts is to make you face your doubts in order for you to overcome them. I am the image in the mirror that reminds you why you are here and what gives you someone that you can talk to when no one else is there."

"That sounds more like the description of someone who is certifiably insane," Adriana huffed.

"Well, no one is perfect," Amanda laughed. "Now, back to Xana. She is right; you saving her life is going to create a lot of questions. The 'Diplomatic Immunity' is going to save you from dealing with the artifact your gave back to the Elder and shield you from the consequences of returning the clone to OLTHAR PRIME, but from that point on no title or position is going to protect you, Xana or the ANUBIS from being heavily investigated as they search for an explanation as to what happened to the Ambassador. She was dying, and there are pages upon pages of proof to that matter. Now she is in perfect health and there is no way to easily explain it. In short, you messed up."

"Fine," Adriana said casting her hands in the air in frustration. "I will explain everything to anyone who asks."

"Really?" Amanda questioned, tilting her head to one side. "That's your way to resolve this problem? Xana is going to be dragged into some secret science lab to be examined until she does die in order to understand what it is that happened to her. When she does die, they will just claim that her 'miraculous recovery' was an error, a passing condition likely brought upon by her body trying to hold on to life. They will have the perfect alibi, one that you provided them with. There is also the issue of the artifact. Do you believe that they will allow it to remain in the hands of the Oltharians? Teams after teams will be sent to infiltrate and steal the item until they do, and depending on how badly they want it, more lives may be lost."

"In order words, however bad I think this situation is, you are telling me that it is worse?"

"I am not telling you anything," the illusion of the sister said. "You are telling yourself that. I am just a convenient way for you to see how badly planned this was."

Adriana dropped her head into her hands, and as much as she wanted to cry she could not bring herself to do so. Her belief that she had figured out the perfect way to achieve her goal was now in shambles, apparently causing more trouble than it might have ever solved. "I need to find a way to fix this," the sister said as she lifted her head.

"Yes you do, but I doubt that a mere Ship's Counselor is going to be able to fix this mess."

"You are right," Adriana said. "A Ship's Counselor might not be able to, but a Junior Ambassador might. What did Xana say? 'Make sure you give just enough to make them agree to your terms while they give you what you want in return'. I think I have a way to solve our problems."

-=-=-
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Black Hole Lounge
Stardate: 34020.0700

"Good morning Satella," Adriana said as her friend approached the table where a wide selection of breakfast dishes was already waiting.

"You are in a good mood this morning," the Doctor said joining the Counselor at the table. "Is that why you invited me for breakfast, to celebrate your freedom?"

"Yes and no," Adriana replied keeping an eye on the entrance to the Black Hole Lounge.

"Are we expecting someone else?" Satella asked just as the Bolian/Human Ambassador appeared in the entrance way to be waved in by the Counselor.

"I'm sorry, I was under the impression that this was going to be a formal meeting," Xana said. "You did ask me here for breakfast in your capacity as Junior Ambassador."

"This may not be as formal as some of the high function dinners you have attended in the past, but I assure you that this is an official matter," Adriana said inviting Xana to join them.  "Here, I have something for you two," the Junior Ambassador said handing over two PADDs, one to each of her guests.

"What is this?" Xana asked having read the first few lines.

"How did you get the Head of the Oltharian Scientific Circle to write this?" Satella demanded, her eyes opened as wide as they physically could.

"I had a very good teacher," Adriana said casting a glance in Xana's direction. "I contacted Elder Emzaw last night and detailed certain aspects of the situation that I unfortunately failed to anticipate. He agreed to help as it was in both our best interests to do so. What you have in your hands is the official report from the Scientific Circle of OLTHAR PRIME detailing the means through which Xana's medical condition was addressed and resolved, unfortunately, the experimental procedure caused the destruction of several pieces of equipment including a specific artifact that had been recently discovered. This explains why the Ambassador was brought to this planet since her condition was terminal; making her the perfect candidate for this never before attempted rapid neurological reconstruction and regeneration process. Alas, due to the loss of the equipment during the procedure, the results can never be replicated."

"Koniki is never going to believe this?" Xana pointed out.

"I don't need him to believe it, I just need the medical community at large to accept that Xana's recovery was a one-time deal and for the rest of the galaxy to be saddened by the artifact being nothing more than dust on the floor of an Oltharian medical facility. There might be some curious individuals still lurking out there, but their numbers will be greatly reduced thanks to this report which details every step of the procedure."

"Steps that never actually happened," Xana pointed out.

"That will be our little secret," Adriana said adding a playful wink before looking over the Ambassador's shoulder to see her sister standing there, smiling while slowly applauding. "Speaking of secrets, I have something that i want to share," the Counselor added.

Recognizing that look on her face, Satella quickly reached out and touched her friend's hand. "Are you sure?"

"Yes, I am," Adriana confirmed before turning to look at Xana straight on. "It's about my sister."

"The one involved in your personal favor from me?" The Ambassador said.

"Yes," Adriana smiled glancing over to her sister once again before explaining to Xana everything she could about the audio and visual hallucinations that she experienced on a nearly daily basis.

-=-=-
Marissa Montonera-Lombardi

Lieutenant JG Adriana Lopez [Access Character BIO for Adriana Lopez]
Ship's Counselor & Junior Ambassador
USS ANUBIS
M14-P073: USS ANUBIS: Morningstar: 34020.0930 ("Time To Move On")
##########
"Time To Move On"
Previous posts (ANU) "Loose Ends" / (BAS) "We Lost Paradise But Found Something Better"
##########

"No matter how much we want things to stay the same, life is all about change. Sometimes change is for the better, and sometimes it’s not."
- Unknown

=====
Setting:  USS ANUBIS, Bridge 
Stardate: 34020.0930

The Native American sat in his chair, pensively looking at the image of the planet displayed on the main view screen. Life was returning to normal, well as normal as it got on board an Intel vessel the likes of the ANUBIS. Dealing with the unspeakable horrors of the universe, facing dark and shapeless evils, not to mention finding strange and unique ways to solve any given situation was the norm for this crew, but it was still nice to take a moment to enjoy the lull between the waves of madness that washed over them regularly.

"Penny for your thoughts, Captain?" Shar'El asked, the Ullian looking at the Commanding Officer with a rather devious expression.

"Two things," Erik said as he rose that many fingers to make his point. "One, you could just as easily scan my memories to give you an idea of what it is I am thinking about, and two, that expression is highly antiquated as there has not been any 'pennies' or money for that matter for several centuries."

"The ANUBIS does have access to funds in the case we need to interact with a culture that still uses some kind of currency," Shar'El pointed out. "The Ferengi come to mind. As for your first point, I am not authorized, as per your direct and specific orders, to scan any member of the crew without their express permission, this no matter the circumstances."

The Native American just shook his head. Things were officially back to normal. "I was just enjoying a few moment's peace before the Senior Officers' meeting at 1000. There are going to be a few announcements that are sure to get a reaction, some good, and some maybe."

"Welcome to life in Starfleet," the First Officer said nodding her head in agreement. "Things never remain the same, that is the way of this universe, and it is what makes our lives interesting. Of course, we have to survive these changes, but so far I think we have been doing pretty well in that regards."

"I think we have been doing a little more than 'pretty well', just look at Ambassador Bonviva," the Captain stated, her recovery from death being the best and most recent example of what he was trying to say. "Most of the time we play by the rules and manage to win the game, but there are times when we flat out rewrite the rule book to make sure we come up on top."

"Everyone else does it," Shar'El pointed out. "We just manage to do it better when we manage to do it at all. By the way, have you seen the report from Junior Ambassador Lopez?"

"I did," the Native American said with a sigh of disbelief. "Another perfect example of us rewriting the rulebook I say."

"Another example of us winning I would say," the First officer added. "At least we won on that front having lost on another."

Erik nodded his head as he returned his gaze onto the view screen and the peaceful world of OLTHAR PRIME that was being displayed there.

=====
Setting:  USS ANUBIS, Fairborn's Quarters
Stardate: 34020.0940

Elan stepped out of the bedroom to find several suitcases lined up in the main living quarters with Amber sorting through a stack of PADDs.

"Packing is all done," she announced. "I am just going through some of your technical manuals to see which ones we need to bring along."

"Technical manuals?" the Oltharian Robotics Engineer repeated in disbelief. "We are heading to the Talsera peninsula, why would I need to have any technical manuals? We are going there for you to rest and for us to be as far away from the chaos of this universe."

"My sweet Elan," Amber said as she approached the gentle giant and reached up to caress his cheek with her hand. "After all of these years, after you facing everything that you have, even after confronting the darkness of the Lokustaar, you are still as innocent and naive as the first day I saw you at Starfleet Academy. I love you," she said just before pulling him down so that she could bridge the half a meter that separated them so that she could kiss him. "As peaceful and charming at the Talsera peninsula is, the rest of the universe will not stop for our sake. Sooner or later something will happen to change what we have. If there is anything I have learned as of late is that nothing is immune to change. We have to embrace the moment and do our best to prepare for what may come."

"I guess you are right," the towering Oltharian reluctantly conceded. "That does not mean that I have to like it. I truly am hoping that we will be able to live there in peace for the rest of our lives."

"It is always a good idea to strive for your dreams, and I will say this, your dream is one that I share. So no more talking, we need to finish packing and get ourselves ready. Captain Morningstar made it very clear that he wants both you and me at this meeting. That was one of his condition in order to allow us to leave the ANUBIS."

"I already know what he is going to say," Elan sighed. "Maybe that is why I would rather not be there. I have said goodbye to too many people over the years and it never seems to last."

"Is it not a good thing?" Amber playfully asked. "You said goodbye to me when I was in a coma before they forced you back into active duty. That goodbye did not last, and I am sure that this one will not be their final farewell to you either. You are too much a part of this ship for them to forget about you. Trust me, one way or another, you will see them again. Now get ready, I am sure that Captain Morningstar would not appreciate us being late."

=====
Setting:  USS ANUBIS, Observation Lounge
Stardate: 34020.0950

The Native American stood at the head of the large table, the Captain liking to run through such meetings in his head beforehand. There was a lot of things to say, a lot of people to acknowledge and he could not afford to miss anyone. Erik looked down at the three small blue velvet boxes neatly laid out in front of him, going through his speech for each. To be honest, this was the part he hated the most as certain things needed to be said, but he much preferred to be off-script for moments like this. It just made things feel more personal as it should be.

=/\= Captain, people are starting to gather on the bridge,=/\= Shar'El announced making the man look up at the time display which indicated 0955.

"Let them in," Erik acknowledged. It was time to get this show on the road. As the officers walked in one by one, the Native American greeted them with a smile and a subtle nod of his head. This needed to be a joyous moment, no matter what some might believe. Once everyone was seated, except for the ship's Avatar who elected to remain standing at the back of the room, and he confirmed that the time was now 1000, the Captain proceeded. "Thank you all for coming, I will do my best to make this brief. By now I am sure you are all aware that Lieutenant Commander Fairborn will be leaving us. He and his fiancée have decided to remain on OLTHAR PRIME, a decision that I am sure none of us can begrudge him."

"I didn't know!" Sonja exclaimed.

"Of course not," Shar'El laughed. "It was not a secret, so not everyone on board the ANUBIS immediately knew about it."

"What about ANI? There are still a lot of updates that need to be made to her systems?" Sonja demanded.

"I am certain that you will be able to handle those without me," Elan said, knowing, or at least hoping that the Chief Engineer was only kidding about the reason for not wanting him to leave. As he looked at Sonja, Elan saw her playfully sticking out her tongue at him before smiling.

"I looked into this Talsera peninsula that you are heading to," Maya said indicating that not only did she know about his leaving but that she also was aware of where he was going. "It is quite a remarkable place, one that I suspect many would claim to be better than RISA or OCEANIA. I wish you all the best to you both." Following this, the entire room exploded in applauds.

"Another piece of news that I would like to share with you all deals without Ship's Counsellor. Lieutenant JG Adriana Lopez has officially been granted the position of Junior Ambassador. Thanks to some fancy diplomatic footwork, this means that not only will she not be held in any way responsible for what happened on OLTHAR PRIME but that she will be performing double duties while on board the ANUBIS. Ambassador Bonviva will also be remaining here to oversee the Junior Ambassador's continued training." Another round of applauds, this one more of a mixture of relief and joy than pure celebration filled the Observation Lounge.

"You did it," Satella whispered to her friend. "I guess I will be seeing a lot less of you now as I suspect Xana is going to be monopolizing your time when you are not acting as our Ship's Counsellor."

"Now onto something a little more serious," the Native American said glancing down at the three small blue velvet boxes in front of him. Lieutenant Junior Grade Jayson Stark, please step forward." The Captain paused as the man stood from his chair and made his way to the head of the table where the standing Commanding Officer was waiting for him. It did not take a genius to know what was going to happen next, the small blue velvet boxes being all the clue anyone needed. "In recognition of your continued exemplary work on board the ANUBIS, and to acknowledge the injuries you suffered during our last mission, it is with great pleasure that I promote you to the rank of full Lieutenant, with all of the rights, privileges, and responsibilities associated with it. Congratulations."

"Great," Sonja mumbled to herself. "Now I can't even play the 'superior officer' card with him. I'm just going to have to find another way to put him in his place." While the Chief Engineer was doing this, the Captain was busy placing the new pip on the man's collar making the promotion official.

As soon as Jayson was dismissed back to his seat, Erik turned his attention to his next victim noticing for the first time that the Chief of Operations and Chief of Security were uncharacteristically sitting apart, one on each side of the table instead of one right next to the other. Obviously, something was amiss but now was not the time to investigate.  "Lieutenant Junior Grade Ya'Han, if you would be so kind as to come up."

"YooHoo!" Sonja cheered, at least that promotion was something she could be happy for. "You go Rainbow Girl!"

"Lieutenant Ya'Han," the Native American said as he reached for the content of the second blue velvet box. "In recognition of your continued exemplary work and the hardships you faced during our last mission while undercover, I hereby promote you to the rank of full Lieutenant with all of the rights, privileges, and responsibilities associated with it. Congratulations." Again the room exploded in cheers and applauds, everyone agreed, at least for the most part, that both promotions were more than well deserved. The Native American waited for the excitement in the room to subside before continuing. "Lieutenant Paquette, please stand and join me."

For once the red-haired Engineer remained quiet, not sure if this was real or just a way for the Captain to get even for all of the things she had said and done to him over time. "Am I being fired?" Sonja quietly asked as she stood right in front of the Captain, the CEO had easily noticed that Erik had not reached or even looked at the last small blue velvet box sitting on the table.

"Lieutenant," the Native American said in a sterner tone compared to how he had addressed the others. "In recognition for your continued work on board the ANUBIS, and following the recommendation of Lieutenant Commander Fairborn based on your work on ANI, and Lt. Commander Maya for your work on the device meant to extend Ambassador Bonviva's life, I hereby promote you to Lieutenant Commander with all of the rights, privileges, and responsibilities associated with that rank. Congratulations."

Sonja was grinning from ear-to-ear and wasted no time to shoot a glare in Jayson's direction to point out without saying anything that she still outranked him. As soon as the pip was secured on the woman's collar, the Chief Engineer returned to her seat allowing for the Captain to continue with the meeting.

"We have received our new orders," Erik said. "We are to head to the Tellun Star System and head for the home planet of the Elasian where civil war is threatening to consume the planet. Intel reports indicate a very high probability that this internal hostility was triggered by the influence of a Lokustaar operative on that planet. Our mission is two folds, to restore peace and extract the Lokustaar operative. It looks like we might just require the presence of two diplomatic envoys to resolve this matter."

"Well, at least we are not being made to transport cargo," Shar'El chuckled.

"Time is of the essence," Erik pointed out. "I hate to do this to you two," he said looking at Elan and Amber, "but we need to be on our way by no later than 1400."

"We fully understand Captain," the Olthairan said. "Amber has already made sure that we are all packed and ready to go."

The Native American nodded with understanding. There was no need to extend this any longer than was required. "All right, everyone to your stations. The Lokustaar may have been dealt a crushing blow, but there is a lot of work to be done if we are to offset the chaos they and their allies have managed to spread through our galaxy."

--==(/\)==--
Francois Charette

Commanding Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501

AND

Lt. Commander Elan Fairborn [Access Character BIO for Elan Fairborn]
Robotics Engineering Officer
NEW ALEXANDRIA
M14-P074: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han: 34020.1020 ("Focus On The Mission")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Focus On The Mission"
[previous post were (ANU) "Time to Move On" / (BAS) "Packing and Unpacking"]
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 34020.1020

Ya'Han found herself playing with the new set of pips now affixed to the collar of her uniform as she exited the Observation Lounge. It seemed like yesterday that the self-exiled daughter of the High Sovereign was on NYLA IV, fearing her father's wrath and running away from an arrange to a Ferengi troll she wanted nothing to do with. How her life had changed, or had it?

According to Jayson's clone, her father, her brothers and her entire upbringing had been influenced by the Lokustaar in some attempt to create a grand plan. According to him, even her escaping from NYLA IV was part of that plan, so how could she be certain of anything? Was her making full Lieutenant her own achievement or was it because it had been someone else's plan for her?

"Ya'Han," the newly promoted Chief of Operations said as he caught up to the Sec/Tac. "What if you and I go to the Black Hole Lounge tonight after our shifts are over? I think we both have something great to celebrate and even be more thankful for. We are here, together."

Jayson was right, they had a lot to be thankful for, but Ya'Han did not feel like celebrating. "Not today," the Sec/Tac said shooting down the man's hopes. "I need to review the tactical situation on the Elasian home planet as well as the Tellun Star System. I also need to coordinate with Commander Shar'El to identify the most prominent threats to our Ambassadorial team. Those are things that we cannot afford to wait until the last minute to do. I am sure that following her miraculous recovery, Ambassador Bonviva will not want to risk her life for nothing, and it is my duty to make sure that both she and Junior Ambassador Lopez are as safe as can be."

"The Junior Ambassador and Ambassador are each very grateful for your efforts to keep us safe, Lieutenant," Adriana said. "By the way, congratulations to you both on your promotions."

"Thank you," Jayson said. "Maybe you could convince Ya'Han to ease up a little  and take a moment to celebrate?"

"Actually," Xana said adding herself into the debate. "I would be more inclined to side with our Chief of Security on this matter. The situation of the Elasian home world could be very volatile. I have not read the latest reports, but knowing what I do of that world and its people, the risk of danger for any outsider going there is quite high. It would be in everyone's best interest to be as prepared as possible."

"Well, looks like I am severely outnumbered on this one, like always," Jayson sighed. "Fine, we can talk later."

The three women watched as the Chief of Operations walked away and went straight for his station doing his best not to look back at them.  With a gentle tap on the shoulder of the Sec/Tac, the Ambassador drew Ya'Han's attention to her. "You mentioned that you wanted to make sure that our security was assured while on this mission, I know that the Junior Ambassador and I have a few items that we would like to talk to you about."

Seeing this as the perfect opportunity to get one thing crossed from her list, Ya'Han quickly agreed. "Where would you like for us to talk?"

Adriana answered right away. "How about my office? It's private and there is little chance that we will be interrupted as I can confirm that the Counselor's schedule is completely empty."

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]  
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Counselor Lopez' office
Stardate: 34020.1035

Although the Counselor was the one to open the door, it was the Ambassador who walked in first followed by the Sec/Tac. As soon as Adriana stepped and and closed the door behind her, she zeroed in on Ya'Han. "Alright, out with it!"

"Out with what?" The Sec/Tac asked, confused by the unexpected abruptness of the words.

"Yes, I am the ANUBIS' new and official Junior Ambassador, but I am also the Ship's Counselor, not to mention your friend and it does not take a diplomatic expert to see that there is something not right between you and Jayson," Adriana said looking straight at Ya'Han.

The Sec/Tac quickly looked over the Counselor's shoulder at the grinning Ambassador as if asking for some clarification or maybe even some help, but Xana just shook her head. "I have nothing to do with this," she said while taking a step back. "Right now she's the Counselor and not my protégé, so I am just here for to see if my skills as a diplomate might be needed in these negotiations. Right now though, it is too early for me to get involved in any way, so don't worry about me."

"Ya'Han," Adriana continued. "Back while I was in the brig you came to me and said that if there was anything you could do to help, all I had to do was ask. Well, I am asking you to help me help you. I understand the confusion and pain that you are still feeling because of what happened to Jayson's clone, but the real man is there for you, wanting to help you in every way he can, but the only way he can do that is if you let him. It won't be easy at first, but you have to give him a chance. Locking him out the way you just did is not going to make things easier for either one of you."

"If you wait too long, he might no longer be receptive to listening to what you have to say," Xana said jumping in. "Sorry, I am not supposed to get involved, please continue," the Bolian/Human hybrid added waving the other two women to carry on.

"I am trying, but every time I look at him all I see is the face of the man who died to protect me," Ya'Han admitted. "Every time I hear his voice, all I can remember is what the other Jayson said to me. I do want to make it all better, for the two of us to have what we had before, but right now I can't. I feel like I am not even certain as to who I am right now and for all of our sakes i need to figure that out first before anything else. The best and only way I can do that is for me to focus on our new mission, to be the best Sec/Tac that I can be. Once I am confident that I know who I am, I will reach out to him, promise."

"Don't wait too long," Adriana warned. "He loves you, that is beyond evident, and as much as that love will allow him to understand some of what you are going through, his patience will not be eternal. Talk to him, make him understand how you feel. Right now he needs to be part of the solution even if as far as you are concerned he is part of the problem.  As far as he is concerned he did nothing wrong. All he sees is you treating him like you would rather him not being there at all. That may be protecting your feelings, but what about his feelings?"

Ya'Han lowered her head in defeat, another visual clue to demonstrate just how deeply this entire affair was affecting her. "Alright, I will talk to him."

"Good," Adriana said with a reassuring smile. "I am sure that Ambassador Bonviva will not be opposed to my making sure that I have some time for the two of you should you need someone to talk."

"A little time," Xana jokingly said as she held two fingers barely apart from one another.

"I will let you know how it went," the Sec/Tac said before looking over to the Ambassador. "In the meantime, I would appreciate you giving me a list of your concerns for this mission so that i can make sure they are properly addressed. Also, if you know of any possible threat, I would like to be made aware of them. With Commander Shar'El's help, we might be able to neutralize these potential problems even before they get an idea to do something they should not."

Xana agreed by nodding her head leaving the Sec/Tac confident that she could leave having taken care of both her immediate professional and personal matters in one quick meeting.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
Hanali Han

Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M14-P075: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: 34020.1040 ("A Few Concerns")
=-=
"A Few Concerns"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Focus On The Mission" by Hanali / (BAS) "Personal Reflections" by Rachel]
=-=

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Captain's Ready Room
Stardate: 34020.1040

"Captain, do you have a moment?" The Raven-haired Commander looked troubled, a fact that the Captain immediately noticed. "I would like to speak to you about a few concerns that I have."

 "Is it about our new mission?" Erik asked not used to seeing his First Officer in such a state.

 The ExO / ILO stepped inside the Captain's Ready Room and allowed the door to close behind her before continuing. "That is one of my concerns," Shar'El said, answering Erik's question. "It is not like Koniki to be so accommodating. Not only does it appear that he accepts the appointment of Lt. Lopez as Junior Ambassador, but he also agreed to have Ambassador Bonviva remain on board the ANUBIS."

"I guess that President Kevak did not give him much of a choice," Morningstar theorized. "I think you are looking at the Admiral's hand being forced as willing acceptance, which I am certain it is not."

"I am certain that Admiral Koniki was not in the least bit happy about this turn of event, and that the President forced his hand one way or another, but when was the last time you saw the Admiral just give in on something?" The ExO / ILO waited for a reply she knew would not come. "That is my point and concern. Koniki is up to something."

"Koniki is *always* up to something," Captain Morningstar said with a heavy sigh. "That is why he is the head of Starfleet Intelligence and the NEW ALEXANDRIA Complex. The man's life is nothing but hidden plans within plans. In some ways, he reminds me of the Lokustaar, which is rather disconcerting come to think of it."

"Our next mission is just too convenient," the ExO / ILO said. "What are the odds that immediately after us getting *two* Ambassadors we get sent to a world where two of them are needed to work out a peaceful agreement?"

"The mission profile does not require *two* peace negotiators," the Captain pointed out. "One alone could do it, but having two should make things a little easier as each can talk to one side of this conflict without having to worry too much about what the other side is doing. That said, I do see your point. With only one negotiator there, it would make harder for us to locate and extract the Lokustaar operative without risking the wrath of one of the two sides who might believe we are siding with the other. We will just have to be extra careful."

"Is that not always the case?" Shar'El asked.

"Maybe so, now, what about the other concerns you mentioned?" The Captain asked, taking the opportunity to move things along.

"Ya'Han and Jayson," the ExO / ILO bluntly replied.
 
"I guess you are not referring to their recent promotion, which you already signed off on," Erik said suspecting what Shar'El would say next.

"They sat on opposite sides of the table," Shar'El said. "That by itself was strange enough but could have been explained away by there being too many people present. The problem is that they never, not once, looked at one another and their exchange after the meeting was as cold as ice. Something is wrong between them."

"According to your report on what happened in the Ancient Ruins on OLTHAR PRIME, Ya'Han went through a lot during the last mission," the Captain said leaning back into his chair. "She saw a man who was a perfect copy of Jayson die so that she could live. I think given the circumstances, she is handling the situation rather well. I am sure that with some time and some help from our Counselor/Junior Ambassador, Ya'Han will do just fine."

"Agreed, but I am still concerned, if not as this ship's ExO / ILO for our Chief of Security, then allow me to be concerned as a friend," Shar'El said making it clear that this situation was more than mere professional concern towards the Nylaan woman.

"You and I both have stated at various times that we thought their relationship might create some issues," Erik said. "Now that they are drawing apart, you are concerned that this will also be an issue. We can't have it both ways."

"The issues would be very different, and I am just stating my concerns about them being the way they are now could potentially prove to be more problematic for us in the long run. We both know that in the kind of situations we face, there is no room for distractions. They both need to be focussed on their respective tasks and not each other."

"Your point is well taken," Morningstar said. "I guess Ya'Han hunting down a Lokustaar operative might just be what she needs to get her head back where it needs to be. Jayson will be too busy coordinating with the two Ambassadors to have the time to think about anything or anyone else. Maybe this whole matter will end up resolving itself by the end of this mission, but that does not mean we should not keep an eye on them. I trust you to do what you believe to be necessary should you see something that you believe might be problematic or place any aspects of our missing in jeopardy."

"I will keep an eye on them," the ExO / ILO said.

"Is that all?" The Captain asked, half hoping that the ExO / ILO did not have any other concerns that she needed to voice.

"That is all I have for the time being. I need to review the Intel on the Elasian and the two factions that are threatening to plunge the planet into a civil war. The more information we can get, the better our odds will be to find a common point to use as a foundation for the peace talks."

"Good luck," Morningstar said as he looked at the time. "We will be leaving orbit in 3 hours, make sure that everything is ready."

"Aye, aye, Captain."

Feeling a little better following her discussion with Captain Morningstar, the ExO / ILO exited the Captain's Ready Room and headed for the IGC to start looking into the brewing conflict they were going to be heading straight in the middle of, that they liked it or not.

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET
M14-P076: USS ANUBIS: Lopez: 34020.1100 ("So Much to Remember")
-=-=-
"So Much to Remember"
[Previous post: (ANU) "A Few Concerns" & (BAS) "Personal Reflections"]
-=-=-

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Counselor Lopez' office  
Stardate: 34020.1100

Following Ya'Han's departure from her office, Adriana and Xana jumped right away into creating a list of possible problems they would face while on the Elasian homeworld as per the request of their Chief of Security.  Oddly enough, the discussion quickly turned away from the security aspects of their mission to the cultural side of things. From what the Ambassador recalled about that particular race, the Elasians considered themselves to be a race of warriors priding themselves on how cruel they could be in times of conflict.

"As different as each race claims to be from others, they are all relatively the same, especially when they start looking at themselves as being 'warriors'. Civil war seems to be nothing more than a natural process for people like that as they need to assert their dominance over their closest neighbors, no matter if they are of the same race or not. The Klingons did it, the Kazons did it, the Romulans did it and I certainly cannot forget the fact that the Terrans did it as well," Adriana said. "I am surprised that the Elasians did not try to kill each other earlier than now."

"They were too busy trying to exterminate the Troyians," Xana pointed out looking at Adriana in a very attentive way. "As long as a race can focus their rage on another, they will spare themselves the trouble of trying to kill one of there own, but the seed was always there and I suspect that it was not all that difficult for the Lokustaar operative to 'stir things up' as they say."

"The cultural report on the Elasian is a little old but there does not appear to be any reason for us to doubt that it is not still as accurate now as it was then," Adriana added as she perused the report she was quickly reading through not at all noticing the way the Ambassador was examining her. "The Federation delegation who went to the planet in early 2400 to better observed the inhabitants confirmed the earlier reports of the science team who described Elasian males as 'vicious and arrogant'. The females, while equally savage, were stated to be 'something very special' having 'a kind of subtle, mystical power that drives men wild'. Although not politically kind, the race as a whole was described as being 'uncivilized savages' amongst other rather colorful descriptives."

"This means that we will have to be on our toes while dealing with them," Xana said, quickly looking down to avoid Adriana seeing her staring back. "They value strength, so our negotiations will need to be firm. They will need to be made to not only agree to certain terms but to make it seems as if those terms were their idea and not ours. If we come across as trying to impose anything on them, they will lash out at the first person in range, and that would be us."

"I am not sure I can do this," Adriana said. "I have taken all of the Counseling classes on anger management and conflict resolution, but that was more targetted to individuals or very small groups. I was never trained to deal with an entire faction who has been negatively influenced by an outside force wanting nothing more than to spread chaos and misery everywhere."

"There are no classes or training for things like that," the Ambassador said as if referring to something else rather than what the two of them were currently talking about. "The best we can do is to take in all of the information we have, observe the way people act and react and see what our best course of action is in order to find the best possible solution. Sometimes, you have to accept that the *best* solution might not be the one that you personally wanted."  Xana paused and looked at Adriana for a brief moment, considering her words, their meaning as well as her next course of action. "Tell you what, I think you have done enough for the time being as the Junior Ambassador. Go to the Black Hole Lounge, think about what we have said. I need to get a few things ready, we can continue this later. It will also be better if everything is fresh in our minds when we arrive at the Elasian homeworld."

"Alright," Adriana agreed although not fully understanding why Xana believed that this was a good time to take a break

-=-=-
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Black Hole Lounge, upper level 
Stardate: 34020.1230

Adriana sat in one of the corners of the upper level where she was able to work in relative peace. A cup of Risian honey tea sat on the table surrounded by stacks of PADDs that the Counselor was looking through in no particular order.

"Are you alright? You seem to be a little frazzled."

The Counselor/Junior Ambassador was so caught up in her research that she had not heard anyone approach. When she looked up, Adriana immediately recognized the woman who just had spoken to her. "Miss Morningstar? Yes, I'm alright, just trying to wrap my head around all of these diplomatic 'how to'. Might have been easier had some not been in full contradiction of others."

"Diplomacy is not an easy field," the Captain's sister said as she joined the Counselor. "I have always admired Xana for the way she makes it look easy. I know that I would much rather learn to speak a new language instead of having to deal with some of the diplomats and government officials that she had to talk to over the years. What exactly are you trying to figure out?"

"Be careful," Amanda chimed in, the hallucination of the missing sister having appeared behind the linguistic expert. "Something does not feel right about this. She may be a friend of Xana, but why this sudden interest in what you are doing?"

"Just trying to get a better understanding on what it means to be a peace negotiator," Adriana said while looking straight at Louise in order to not have her eyes drift onto someone who was not really there. "There are so many nuances and little things that you have to keep in mind, not to mention all of the tricks that are said to be learned over time. I have never done anything like this before, so my experience in that particular aspect is non-existent."

"I am sure that you will pick it up quickly enough," Louise said. "Everyone is different, so a lot of the gathered experience can, unfortunately, be misleading at times. You can deal with someone who appears completely nervous to the point where they are barely able to speak, and yet they are as truthful and honest as can be. On the other side of things, you can be speaking to a very confident and eloquent person who comes across as certain and honest as can be and he will be the one lying with every breath he takes. The only way to know the difference is by dealing with them over a period of time, to engage them in a conversation that allows you to test what you know to be true or false in order to see how they react.

"You make it sound so easy," Adriana sighed.

"Relax and take a deep breath," Louise suggested. "Like anything else, you have to start somewhere and work your way to the rest."

"Thank you," the Counselor said, glad that the Linguistic Expert had come over to give her a pep talk.

"Don't mention it," Louise said before standing and leaving the Junior Ambassador to her work.

"I know what you are thinking," Amanda said while glaring at the Captain's sister. "Well, of course I know what you are thinking, I am after all a figment of your mind, but that is beside the point. She was being all sweet and nice but why? Why did she come up here to talk to you? Also, keep in mind that she knows how to read people, or more specifically she knows how to listen to people. The way they speak, the way they answer a question, the choice of their words over others. I strongly doubt that her being a friend to Xana and her coming up here was not a coincidence. Maybe it is just the way the Ambassador is trying to make sure you don't crash these negotiations, or maybe it is her way to see if you are even able to do what is expected from you."

As much as Adriana wanted to just dismiss her sister's words as being nothing more than self-induced paranoia, the Counselor knew that as weird as all of this was, it was her way of analyzing the world around her and make her see the things that she all too often did not want to accept. Could Louise's visit have been more than it seemed?

-=-=-
Marissa Montonera-Lombardi

Lieutenant JG Adriana Lopez [Access Character BIO for Adriana Lopez]
Ship's Counselor & Junior Ambassador
USS ANUBIS
M14-P077: USS ANUBIS: Stark: 34020.1300 ("Life Is Not Fair")
"Life Is Not Fair"
[previous (ANU) "So Much to Remember" / (BAS) "Personal Reflection"]

[/\]
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 34020.1300

They were about an hour away from leaving orbit and closing the book on this chapter that in many ways he wish he could forget ever happened. To no longer have to be concerned about Mordan was a great accomplishment, but Jayson wondered if it had all been worth it in the end, at least as far as he was concerned. The Oltharian was back home along with the woman he loved, a woman who sacrificed herself for him, and more importantly, came back to life for him. Amber Satori was a being beyond their ability to explain but he understood her motivations quite well. The only difference was that she was able to act when the time required it unlike him. Thanks to the severity of his injuries, the OPS Officer was sidelined and unable to help Ya'Han when she needed it. While in the ruins located below ground, he was also unable to help the woman he loved due to having been taken out of commission. How could he help and protect Ya'Han if the universe always found a way to keep him out of the fights and situation he needed to be involved in so that he could be there to help or even protect her?
 
So, instead of the 'happy ending' Elan was handed and enjoying, Jayson was facing a much darker conclusion to their mission where the woman he loved could barely look in his direction. He had done nothing to deserve this, but then again maybe that was the problem; he had done nothing. It was his clone who stood by her side while she was undercover trying to convince Mordana and later it was the again the clone who came to her defense and saved her life by sacrificing himself. How was he supposed to fight and win against that?
 
His heart skipped a beat when he saw her looking in his direction for more than a quick passing glance. This was not her simply looking away from whatever she was working on, it was her genuinely looking directly at him. Did this mean that the nightmare was over? Had he just been overthinking it all? Jayson's worries vanished on for a few brief moments before they returned in full force as Ya'Han looked back down at her console, the weak and uncertain smile she gave him speaking more than she could ever have. He could tell that she was making an effort, trying to be nice, trying to show some level of understanding or even support for what she knew he was being subjected to by her actions, or lack thereof. The problem was that her trying was not what he wanted, not what he needed.
 
In a distant parallel universe, the two of them were on the shores of a piece of land that resembled the Talsera peninsula. There, Ya'Han and Jayson would be living a trouble-free life away from all of the chaos and headaches they dealt all too regularly dealt with. There, in this world of perfect existence, they would be together, looking into each other's eyes and find the only thing they truly needed to make them happy. Unfortunately, the reality they lived in was not so kind, far from it.
 
He looked in her direction again before fully turning his attention onto his console where he could see the small piece of land the sensors were focussed on and the two life signs that were there, alone without a care in the world.
 
"Lieutenant Stark," Captain Morningstar called out sounding rather pleased. As far as he was concerned, their last mission was a success. The enemy was vanquished, the Ship's Counselor was off the proverbial hook, three of his officers were promoted in recognition of their work and their next mission would not be moving cargo as Commander Shar'El had feared it might be. "How are the preparations for our departure?"
 
"All systems are showing ready," the OPS Officer replied. "Lt. Cmdr. Paquette is running a few last-minute tests on the warp engines but these should be completed well before 1400."
 
"Perfect, Lieutenant Ya'Han," the Captain continued turning his gaze onto the Chief of Security which made Jayson do the same. "What is the state of our tactical systems?"
 
"We are at full combat readiness," she replied not sounding as confident as she usually did. Maybe no one else noticed that subtle hesitation in her voice, but Jayson knew her well enough to see that something was bothering her. "We will be more than ready should the Elasians decide to give us any trouble."
 
"I strongly doubt that it will come to that," the Captain said. "We are heading to the Tellun Star System to help restore peace, not to force the Elasians to do as we wish them to, but I do appreciate our being ready, just in case. Let's face it, things rarely end the way we had hoped or expected, yet we always manage to find a way through." That statement made Ya'Han smile, a sight that made Jayson's heart flutter. He loved her more than anything, and in the end, all he wanted was for her to be happy. He hoped that this meant she would allow him back in her life at some point, sooner being better than later.  The Captain was right, they always seemed to find a way to make it through no matter what came to stand in their way, so why would this be any different? If life were fair, it would not make any of what they did important as it would be the universe doing what needed to be done. Therefore, the OPS Officer just needed to be patient and accept what was for the time being. If something or someone was worth it, they would find a way to make it through. Believing this was all he could do right now if he was to not completely lose his mind.

[/\]
Jayson Sousa

Lieutenant Jayson Stark [Access Character BIO for Jayson Stark]
Chief of Operations
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M14-P078: USS ANUBIS: Bonviva: 34020.1330 ("My Non-Existent Holonovel")
"My Non-Existent Holonovel"
[previous (ANU) "Life Is Not Fair" / (BAS) "Personal Reflection"]

=/\=
The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not 'get over' the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same, nor should you want to."  
— Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

=/\=
Location: USS ANUBIS, Sickbay
Stardate: 34020.1330

“The tears of Elasian women can be mass produced and weaponized.”

The Ambassador looked over at Ya’Han.  Xana had come in here to talk to Satella, and had inadvertently walked into Ya’Han’s discussion with the CMO; but now that she was here, she couldn’t help but offer her opinion.  “This sounds like a bad holonovel,” Xana offered up.

“Are you saying this in your official capacity as Ambassador?” Satella retorted, knowing that most likely Xana was *not* saying this in her official capacity.

“That it sounds like a bad holonovel?  While I’ve had my fair share of careers, I’ve yet to be offered a holonovel deal,” Xana said.  Pausing for a moment she felt the need to clarify, “However, if I was I assure you it would not be a *bad* holonovel.”

Satella playfully rolled her eyes.  “I’ll keep that in mind.”  Pointing to the Sec/Tac she said, “But that means Yan’Han’s opinion on potential threats stands and it’s then my job on figuring out how I can help.”

The Nylaan looked back and forth before saying, “It’s not been confirmed but I was concerned enough when I read the reports that I wanted to come here and discuss it.  Elasian tears have been known to have an effect on Humanoid men.  There have been unconfirmed reports that Elasian tears have now become a biological weapon.”  

Xana looked up to the ceiling and muttered all kinds of things under her breath.  “I liked this better when it was about my non-existent holonovel.”

“Me too,” Satella agreed.  Going over to a screen she started typing away at something.  “So ideally what we’d want is something to prepare for such an attack and then the emergency response.”

The Nylaan nodded at that.  “That was my thought,” the Sec/Tac nodded.  “Keeping in mind it’s all unconfirmed but we have to prepare as if it’s a possibility.”

Ya’Han and Satella talked for several minutes on how to prepare the crew for a biological weapon, while Xana thought through how a tear-based biological weapon would be used and when that would come into play (if ever) during the negotiations.  After some discussion, the Chief of Sec/Tac made her way out, presumably to gather more info on the mission and crew concerns.

Satella looked at Xana as she did her research.  “I figured after being freed from Sickbay you’d never come back willingly,” she offered.  

“I do not hate Sickbay,” Xana protested.  When Satella gave a skeptical look the Ambassador amended, “I like and appreciate you.”

“You just loathe my place of work,” Satella said drolly.  “How reassuring.”

Leaning against a biobed, the Bolian/Human woman said, “I came looking for your opinion.”  Inhaling she looked around to ensure they were alone before asking, “You’ve known about this longer than I have...what are your thoughts on Adriana and her visions that she has of her sister?”

The doctor paused for a moment.  “I’m going to answer as her friend,” she said carefully, stepping away from the terminal.

“That’s what I was looking for, I’m not looking for any kind of breach of medical protocols,” Xana said holding up her hands.  

Satella walked over to Xana.  “There has never been any impact to Adriana’s work, either in 1 on 1 counseling, or larger groups, or even on Away Teams because of the hallucinations.”  Giving a look the doctor said, “Can’t imagine that we lead stressful lives and we need a way to release the energy.  Or a way to create our own support systems out of nothing.”

“There is a difference between daily audio/visual hallucinations and being too inebriated once,” Xana pointed out.  “I’m not a medical professional but even in my untrained opinion there’s a difference.”

“She’s grieving,” Satella pointed out.  Sighing the doctor also leaned against the biobed.  “Grief is not a linear process.”

“No, it’s not,” Xana agreed quietly.  “And you’re right; grief ebbs and flows.  It was crash over you and take you out when you least expect it.”  The azure woman said, “You don’t get over it, you just learn to learn to live with the scab of grief.”

“Some relationships, I think, would hit you harder, would cause you to relieve the pain more,” Satella prompted.  Looking over she said, “But then again I think you would know that.”  When Xana said nothing, the doctor asked, “Have you told her?  Told her about your loss?”

“No,” the Ambassador admitted quietly. 

Satella, who knew more than she let on because of her position, sighed and shrugged.  “That’s up to you.”  There was a moment of silence before the doctor said, “She doesn’t tell this to everyone.  She told you.  You may not agree with it but that Adriana trusted you with it and I don’t want to see her hurt.”

Xana smiled wanly at that.  “I’m not going to do anything.  It’s because I do like Adriana, and because I do have my own grief that I carry with me everywhere I go... I am just so worried for her.”

=/\=
Sarah Albertini-Bond

USS ANUBIS NCC 18501

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