Sojourners of Time
Location: Chargh'vor-chal Station, 13 Years Ago; Azure Nebula
Timeline: Mission Day 8 at 2000
[Chargh'vor-chal Station in the Azure Nebula]
[Thirteen Years Ago]
The Nausicaan's face had sunken greatly, much more than Timmoz's memory had burned into itself. It was frail and feeble, almost insectoid. Timmoz had been too distracted to take in the details.... but then again he'd been more excited by the fact that Vaosh had made sure he got to carry a disruptor this time. Timmoz's mouth formed a line. It was a pity he'd had to use it. He didn't remember pity at the time... just rage.
The rage came back easily as Timmoz studied the frail remains. "They died here alone, wounded and gasping..." Timmoz remarked ethereally, dark musing. The remains of three Nausicaans slumped against a vacuum-frozen and desiccated tree. He smiled into a cheek and looked back at their new Talbeethian guide, "Lets hope we don't meet the same fate."
"Since we're equivalent to ethereal beings in this plain, we will not meet the same fate," Ti assured him.
Timmoz rose from his squat and popped his neck with great satisfaction. A pair of Orions from the past milled aimlessly and spoke of Tatharoc and a new holographic program related to Vulcan Love Slave 5: Kolinahr Freed: Rayce and Taaz. They were close associates of his older brother and "middle management" in the Sirrudi Bilat Syndic. Timmoz frowned. Neither of them would make it off this Mo'Kai Klingon tomb alive. Timmoz remembered feeling nascent, adolescent lust for Taaz. He enjoyed peeking in on him in the baths. His muscles had been lovely and his Erratic-gene gray eyes exotic. Taaz had no time for the likes of a boy like Timmoz- he had eyes for Kisur-Nari, a Kolari girl of the Jeycidari Qaj. One of his Tahedrin's contacts on Kolar. It was an open secret Taaz was bedding her on Jasso's trade missions there.
A pang of discomfiting dissonance swept over Timmoz. He did not like dwelling on the past and for a moment he wondered if allowing the Talbeethians to use his memories in their panopticon had been wise. Timmoz looked up through the frozen-dried once-foliage that made the Menagerie a place for Klingons to camp and hunt for creatures. Or whatever else they deemed fit to throw in to this arena.
"Anticans." He said aloud. His eyes turned to Margarar. "I've never met one before you." He shrugged, "I'm not even sure where your world is. Tell me about your species." He glanced to Ti and Debbie.
Debbie, for her part, continued walking but folded her arms. "Yes, tell us all about your people. Would be good to know the basics," she nodded, her tone quite neutral. As they continued walking, her eyes roved the dead foliage and she frowned. "What was this place?" Debbie asked, her mind trying to work the angles.
"I asked Nimruc the same thing," Timmoz said with a sidled glance at Debbie, like he was about to tell an amusing ghost story. "He reminded me Klingons like to hunt for their food." He shrugged with an accepting sigh, "Klingons come to Botchok to hunt all the time. We stay away." The Orion caught a glimpse of something strange on the deckplate. "Sometimes they drop convicted felons in our jungles and hunt them for sport." He grinned dryly, "I presume they don't eat them too. But that might be me avoid having nightmares." Timmoz squatted down and looked at some discarded pieces of scattered metal, one of which looked to be a bent and burnt Klingon sigil. He recognized its jagged triangle shape, almost like an eye. A D'Ghor, "Klingon psychology isn't for the faint-hearted. Neither is their food."
Timmoz gestured with a long and tapering narrow knife he carried after he swiped at the sigil to turn it over and it passed airily through, "Go on Margarar, we are listening."
Margarar had been following silently, making certain that she was only a step or two behind Timmoz and to his right side as he walked. Hearing that he was interested in Anticans made Margarar's eyes light up. Being on duty, not answering the question was an impossibility. "Klingon food is often very good. Gagh is delicious, especially when presented properly while the worms are alive." She smiled, showing a wider array of her teeth.
"As to Anticans, we come from the planet Antica in the Beta Renner system. It is a colder world. The fittest survive, as it should be. Compared to many in the Federation, our lives our short. However, medicine was not a priority on our world. Nor were we a united planet until the last hundred years or so." She wrinkled her nose and said, "Had it not been for the Selay, we may never have reached for the stars. Our people are simple. If it is not practical, we have no need for it. Had I elected to stay home, I probably would have had many litters of pups by now." Margarar's voice changed to something different, perhaps wishful or reminiscent when speaking about pups. However, whatever she was feeling was quickly shoved back into herself. "But I am here, wherever that may be right now."
"Beta Renner." Timmoz repeated, nod slow. Brows rose. The name must have come from the V'Draysh catalog. Timmoz was still unfamiliar- apart from 'Beda' in Ureon was "blue," and "Renar" was, loosely translated in Kolari, "to climb." He regrouped. So, a cold world: Timmoz looked about them. How cold, he wondered? Andorian cold? He'd hated Andoria. He hadn't even liked Switzerland when it came to the cold. Still. It explained the fur. "Less than a hundred years and your kind chose to join the galactic community." Timmoz blinked. "Two questions. Why did your kind want to go to space, and...." He tilted his head. "What is The Selay?"
"The Selay," Margarar started with disgust, "are what you would call a reptilian species. I am told that they taste like Terran chicken, though I have never had the pleasure of dining on one of them. They are from the same system. Competitors. They came to our planet. We had to eject them. They had ships. We did not. We learned fast and repelled them. We both applied for the Federation at the same time. Neither of us were admitted. Apparently we must put our differences aside. It is...difficult."
"Ancient Ur'eon was similar... so they say," Timmoz mused. He shrugged, "But that was a very long time ago. Long enough nobody's really sure what happened. And we're not nostalgic or curious enough to bother. At this point, it feels the same as a Human wondering which of the many caves on their planet they decided to abandon because it was filled to capacity with their own booksa." Timmoz rolled up his sleeves, "At some point some civilization who we've long lost a face for came. The myths claim they were hunting an ancient evil. Or were ancient evil themselves. Or were a lost Qaju of Orion coming home changed. Take your pick."
The Orion chuckled. His eyes went to Debbie, "And of course we know the Human story of First Contact." He grinned with play at her. "Right, Kaheedi? You got Vulcans."
Debbie had looked rather aghast at the idea of eating another sentient being but, soon enough, the conversation had moved forward, disallowing an opportunity to comment. That was probably for the best as the woman would probably have gotten herself into trouble had she opened her mouth. At Timmoz's reference to humanity's First Contact, Debbie nodded vigorously. "We kind of lucked out there, I'd say. I can only imagine what would have happened to humanity if the Klingons or some other aggressive, conquest-driven species had visited us first. My guess," she trailed off, carefully picking her way along the path as they walked, "is that we would have probably been wiped out. That, or enslaved. Happy thoughts, right?"
Margarar gave a small grunt of disdain. Part of her felt that the weak should be wiped out. Then again, other peaceful races like Betazoids had not been wiped out and must have some use. Indeed, it was hard to deny that the Betazoids empathic abilities had purpose. Though, why they would be so weak, Margarar was uncertain. Nonetheless, she took on an oath and was required to defend them, so she would. They were pack now. "We got stronger. That is a happy thought," she replied with a grin, her canines showing. "And it is fortunate for Terrans that they met the Vulcans first, though I have seen many Terrans that are quite adept with arms. I am certain that they would have fared well against Klingons. Terrans are readily adaptable and helped form the Federation. It shows character."
Timmoz smiled into a cheek. "Mm, happy thoughts." He mused, "It's harder to wipe out an entire species than most people realize," he raised his hands, "Not that my planet has tried. The Kolari have, but I'm not Kolari." Timmoz waved that off. "Seems like most civilizations that go extinct do before they can leave their planet of origin. Once they start to colonize other worlds..." Timmoz pursed his lips and shook his head, "Space is a very big place." He looked back at the dead Nausicaans and then to the milling Orions. "Enslavement isn't the end either." He eyed Margarar and again, considering his company, tightrope walked. "The V'draysh are... certainly clever. But they are," he looked at Debbie with a nod, "And I mean no offense, Kaheedi, as good at making powerful enemies as they are friends."
"Oh, you'll get no argument from me," Debbie clucked, hands going to her hips. "We've made a lot of mistakes during our trek through the stars. Like you say, space is so big but somehow, we keep on making enemies wherever we go. The only saving grace, I suppose," she said, a thoughtful look on her face, "is that we generally do a good job of learning from those past mistakes. We try to do better. It's not always successful, mind you," she shook her head, "but we do try." At Margarar's compliment of humans, Debbie offered a slight smile. "I admire your people, too. Steel recognizes steel," she winked, softening a bit towards the woman before looking to Timmoz. "Real chat because, well, the three of us can be real. How...dark is this little trip going to be? Especially for a civilian like Andrew?" Debbie couldn't help but wonder how uncomfortable or afraid other members of the team might be.
"The others are real, as well," Margarar continued. "I'd still like to solve the mystery of how we seem to be bound by certain rules of physics and not other. Perhaps we should run a scan on ourselves and see if any of our chemical makeup has been altered."
"If you have the equipment," Timmoz assented to being scanned with a nod. His attention shifted back to the ship's Matron. Though he smiled there was a strain to it. "I didn't choose well...." Timmo lamented with a shrug coupled to his usual laissez-faire. "But I didn't know you'd all be taken with me." The Orion smiled, "If we end up having to stay here more than a few hours we'll need to stay away from some areas. I remembered this in a dream... not much after Nico had gone to Pathfinder. Remembering things."
He filled his slender chest with a breath and pushed it out, "When the Talbeethians had wanted to examine our pasts I thought it would be fine. I volunteered. But when the time came to choose a time..." Timmoz lamented a smile again, "I came up short on scenes you all needed to see." He shrugged, "I thought about Qualor... the days working in the Derelicts Fields. Romulan warlords liked to raid them to try and get parts for their desires." His brow rose at that, wryly, "Academy was... Mmm." he folded his arms. "I wanted to choose Botchok but I wasn't sure I could see it again." He smiled quickly. "So I chose this. At least here I'd have a chance to learn about a man..." He grinned again, "And in good Orion tradition, craft some revenge."
He blinked and leaned some toward Kaheedi, his arms folding, "The First Officer of the Thunderchild is named Swaynn. And he's a war criminal."
"A war criminal?" the woman asked, eyes blinking. "What did this Swaynn person do?" To the Antican, Debbie shrugged lightly. "This is my first time being phased. I wonder what our equipment can pick up?" Her eyes searched the other woman for signs of a tricorder but didn't immediately see one. "Do you have a scanner with you? My tricorder-carrying days are long past, I'm afraid. Used to be I carried around a full engineering kit everywhere I went. Nowadays? It's all about lemon bars and stray bits of lint," she chuckled.
"Shooting prisoners," Timmoz alluded to with darkness to him, like a touch of bitter bile teased his speech. "He was a known among the Syndicate Caju. The Federation sent people like him to break the Syndicate. Supposedly his child died in a bomb of the Arcanis embassy. The V'draysh pointed the finger at the Syndicate." Timmoz turned attention to Margarar, "I have my commbadge. No tricorder here."
Ti, heavily invested in trying to repair his control band, with the limited tools he has stored on his person, took a moment to interject, "Scanning devices would not work if you had them. We are phased and it would not register any information of use. The physics of being phased is not something I've had to explain before, but it boils down to, if you really want to go through a wall, you can."
"I did not come prepared for an away mission," Margarar groused. "I came to observe this process. Had I thought otherwise, I would have brought a tricorder. So, unfortunately, I am left with my own observations, and nothing more. If only we could grab one from here, but...." She put her hand into a wall to demonstrate the problem of her hand going through it.
"Yeah, not exactly doable given our current situation," Debbie nodded to Margarar. It was to Timmoz, though, that the lion's share of the woman's attentions turned. "I can't believe the Federation would send someone who'd resort to those kind of tactics. The very idea shakes me to my core. And yet," she said, looking around, "your experiences are your reality. And if we see these things play out, they'll become our reality, too."
Timmoz nocked an eyebrow up. "To overcome what you consider evil, sometimes you become evil. Especially when you see yourself as a victim. Or a savior. It wouldn't be the first time ends justify the means pragmatism shaped the situation on the ground." Timmoz sighed, "We deceive not because we want to, but because we feel like we need to. And its easier to apologize with a handful of successes than ask permission with none." He lamented with a shrug, "I certainly have."
Isan's lifeless and grafted face, sagging and bruised on that Viddian's face, crossed his memory in a flash. Oh yes. That one felt very justified.
"I don't know, baby," Debbie shook her head slowly. "Sometimes the ends do justify the means but, for me at least, there are just some lines you don't cross." There wasn't any judgment in her tone; the woman said it more as self-reflection than anything else. With a rustling of the plastic wrapper, Deb had withdrawn the lemon bar from her pocket and partially unwrapped it, taking a small nibble from one corner. The sharp scent of lemon curd filled the air as she looked around, chewing before speaking again, this time to Ti. "Want some?" she asked, holding out the lemon bar. Clearly her default stress response was to mother.
Ti waved a hand, gesturing a pass on the offer. "I never eat while phased, but thank you."
Timmoz side hugged the rotund one and kissed her head. "I will protect your ideals, Kaheedi." he smiled wolfishly, "But as I once said to Lenek. And Kodak. I will be your villain, when need be." He eyed the unfolding and bright sunny bar of sweets. He waited, sidling gaze to the Antican and then their alien companion.
"Evil and good are just things beings make up to justify their behavior. There only are two things that make up life: things that help you survive and others that do not. Anything else is just a fantasy," Margarar grunted.
"If I based every decision in my life around my own survival, there'd be a lot of dead junior engineers on my conscience," Debbie replied back to Margarar as she side-hugged Timmoz back. "Might do well to remember that, being an assistant Chief and all..." she said, trailing off as the Verdant One seemed about to speak.
"Alright," Timmoz announced. "Let us find our companions in the siege disruptors. My curiosity is winning out over my better judgment." He eyed the languishing Syndicate members. "They won't be much more exciting than this. And the Thunderchild will take some time."
Margarar's facial expression changed to one of much more interest. "Ah, that will be much more interesting than looking upon all of this." She extended a hand outwards towards the death and quiet.
"Sounds good," Debbie nodded, falling -- again -- into line-and-step with the group as they made way to rejoin the others.
For the briefest of moments, Ti managed to reconnect, or so he thought and his heart jumped for joy. But his band wouldn't actually confirm the connection to home. He followed along with the group, watching the surroundings, baffled by why his companion would choose such a location to return to and silently wished the man had chosen one of the other mentioned suggestions. He felt there was very little he was learning from this group; however, he was also preoccupied with the broken technology.
A Post By:
Acting Chief of Engineering
Matron and Bartender
Ti (as played by Ghani)