Author Topic: Through the eyes of the disenchanted.  (Read 2185 times)

Ayumi Ta em

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Through the eyes of the disenchanted.
« on: June 18, 2014, 10:47:20 AM »
The way station was a black hole, or it might as well have been considering the fact it was off the beaten track, and electronics that were not directly wired to the infrastructure wouldn?t work. There was no hope of signaling a passing ship unless you paid outrageous fees to the stations protectors, and no hope of earning enough credits to buy that fee.

It was going on a week since she had been dropped here by her commanding officer. Their ship had sustained critical damage and he had to put in here. There had been forty other survivors from the battle, all had been taken on the only transport available at the time. The capacity was supposed to be thirty but they had fit them all, all but Ayumi.

She was a half-breed, and Salgarians were not known for their tolerance for those of mixed blood. The fact her father was a powerful noble only seemed to make their hatred and prejudices keener. Ayumi was tall for a Salgarian, at 5?11? tall she was usually five or six inches taller than anyone in the units on which she served. So many cycles served for the greater good of the Salgarian Empire, highly decorated, expertly trained and yet she did not receive the respect her people extended to the lowliest of strangers.

The seventh day was when her one contact on the station contacted her via one of the vid chat consoles scattered throughout the station. ?Ta?em, Takka has special for you tonight. New ship come in, sure it will go back out soon, perhaps with you aboard? Flush human, shuttle not so bad, could find worse you could, Ta?em.? The terminal she stood at showed Takka in his office, and then a feed of Mark disembarking from his shuttle. ?That?s over by hanger four?? She asked. ?Good eye, yes, should I send him your way?? Ayumi thought about it and gave a short nod. ?Through the hollows?? Takka looked at a screen that she couldn?t see before responding. ?Yeah, Ta?em, can be done. Good luck.?

When the screen went dark she checked on her pack, no one would mess with it here they knew her by now and headed to one of the upper observation cubby holes that were used by security. The spot she chose would be on route to the lounge she had been in and a logical path for Mark to follow in search of whatever he needed as the lounge connected the hangers to the main body of the complex. The walkway was long enough that she should be able to observe him without him sensing her location or being affected by her peculiar gifts.

He came into sight a few minutes later, his posture told her that he was military, cautious but curious. A hand rose, a finger sliding along the release for her glasses, the seal fell away so that they could be removed. Her eyes were the thing that screamed she was not a full blooded Salgarian, the color of them mimicked an active volcano with fiery red, orange and golden swirls. Around the iris there were symbols and those symbols let off a soft glow as she focused her attention on him. At this distance she wouldn?t get any thoughts, that wasn?t what she was after, she wanted to see if she could get anything of his aura.

The results were so immediate that it shocked Ayumi, usually it took longer at such a distance. The initial thing she noticed was what she associated with the Baron-Lords she had met, a flat white light warmed by hints of yellow that she had come to identify as a commanding confident personality. The primary colors that were overlaid on that base were ones she rarely saw and as she tried to discern the subtle shifts she found herself leaning forward, one hand pressed against the glass as she watched him.

There was something there that tugged at neglected instincts, something that said she should...that she needed to get closer. It was something that was not quantifiable, not external beauty, but something deep down, something absolute. Fascinating like a thunderstorm, the need to both experience it and find shelter warring for control, and just as primal as the action of a flower turning its petals toward the sun, she felt the draw of him.

He turned a corner and the spell was broken. Ayumi knew she should not put herself in his path, as surely as she should not step into the flow of lava as it wound it way down a volcano?s slope toward the helpless landscape below. Yet when he entered the lounge Ayumi was was there, there to be soaked by the thunderstorm and to wait for the sun to rise.

Markaal

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The Road Less Traveled
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2014, 02:41:36 PM »
Dust flew as the shuttle made its final approach. The hand on the throttle felt no challenge, not in the landing anyway. Getting permission had been more of an issue, Mark was certain he was delayed on purpose. He had little choice, at least since he?d lifted off the Tempus Volat.  It was a Mobius class vessel with temporal applications. It was a Legion ship with roughly two hundred fifty loyal Legion members of mixed origins. It was also running low on power. The warp engines were still functional, so travel wasn?t the issue. It was some of the other more critical systems that wouldn?t function without a supply of Deuterium.

Mark knew that he shouldn?t have come, but it had been his decision to enter this space and push so far beyond legion controlled territory. Long range sensors had found this place, there had been warp signatures of ships coming and going. Mark had over ridden the protests of his first officer, the man needed to understand that this had been Mark?s fault, and he would fix it. There was still plenty of work that needed doing on the ship, that wasn?t why Mark had come alone. He needed to get away from the faces looking to him for a way out. There?d been no complaints, they were too disciplined for that, but he could see it in their eyes. Unless of course he was simply seeing what he wanted?

The dampening field had become more apparent the closer he got to the planet. It shed some light on why the ship couldn?t get more than rudimentary information from its attempts to scan for Deuterium. The field was immense, It quite literally covered nearly the entire settlement below. There were a few breaches in the field, landing sites it seemed. Mark?s scans of the breaches revealed that there were currently no other ships present. Mark keyed open a channel to the communication towers he?d spotted.  ?Shuttle Craft Hora requesting permission to land.?

The voice that came back to him held a slight hiss to it, there was no video for him to get a look at the person speaking. ?Shuttle Hora, ascend to thirty seven thousand feet and drop your shields for scanning.? Mark let out a frustrated growl but complied. He didn?t blame them, were it him he would likely have done the same. Protocol being what it was, they always scanned vessels encountered. It was just hard being on the receiving end when he had a mission to accomplish.

The tower initiated communications again. ?Shuttle Hora, do not arm your weapons, and state the nature of your visit to Shin Kyoto.? Mark put the weapons on lockdown, they hadn?t said he couldn?t raise shields though, so as a precaution they went back up. He may not be able to retaliate but he could at least be defense capable.

?Business, I?m hoping to do some trading.? The radio went silent, leaving Mark wondering what was taking so long. There was another long pause then one of the landing sites lit up. According to Mark?s scans though there were many which were closer to the settlement. He opened that channel once again. ?Is it possible to land someplace closer??

That hissing voice sounded once again. ?Shuttle Hora will land near at hanger bay four, or it will return from where it came.?

Mark complied, he seemed to have little choice. He dipped his head as he stepped from the shuttle, so few things had been made for someone his height. There were some who could claim more than his six foot six inch frame on his crew. None of them were human though. His black uniform hid a lean body of one hundred kilos, at least until you looked at the white trim across the shoulders and chest. Slightly unkempt dark hair, and brown eyes gave him what he?d been told was a boy next door look. Especially when that crooked smile came out and set his eyes to sparkling.

When he hit the tarmac with his boots, Mark took what he was sure would be his last reliable reading with the tricorder. The area wasn?t completely empty but the life signs were scattered and moving? most of them were moving, there was one that seemed to be staying in one place. Mark started moving in that direction. He?d never felt quite this alone before, buildings rose around him in states of disrepair. The entire place seemed empty, hollow. He carried a phaser, but knew it wouldn?t function. He hadn?t tried but the tricorder had died the moment he breached the edge of the dampening field. His comms had gone down too, so there was no way of getting a hold of the shuttle or a way to beam out should he need it quickly. It made him feel like he was being watched, which unintentionally had his head on a swivel.

The seemingly abandoned buildings didn?t help any either. They rose like monuments to the dead, and littered the horizon no matter what direction he looked. Not that he could see much from those blind alleyways he kept finding himself in. He?d have sworn there were more alleys than actual roads, not that this mattered either since there was no vehicle traffic on street or in alley. That was when he saw her, or thought he saw her. He wasn?t sure what the building was, or had been, all he knew for sure was that someone was there and it was the first person he?d seen since landing. Mark took a breath to steady himself and stepped into the lobby. He fixed Ayumi with a crooked smile despite the way she hid her eyes behind a pair of reflective glasses. ?Dampening field got you stuck too??

Ayumi Ta em

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Re: Through the eyes of the disenchanted.
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2014, 11:42:34 PM »
Her people would call it the weaving of fate, two strands that otherwise would never cross laid against one another to form something new and wonderful. They needed intelligence on the sector, she needed somewhere to go to be freed from the life that was not a real life in the Salgarian Empire. Her father would often say she was stubborn enough that she believed she could make anything go through sheer force of will alone. Perhaps she was just better at seizing an opportunity when it arose than others. Had to be better because her options were so narrow that it was getting difficult to navigate the tightrope and still be the kind of person she saw herself being.

Captain Mark Chessari of the Legion Starship Tempus Volat. That was how he introduced himself. After seeing the aura of the man she felt, in an instinctive manner that had nothing to do with facts, that he was her opportunity to seize the reins of her life and make it one worth living.

His ship needed deuterium, and she knew the most likely seller. Fate, weaving the threads tight when the tapestry was just starting, they had to have a solid foundation or the picture would unwind before it could be discerned on the whole. The two of them chatted as she lead him to Takka, not much but enough to learn that they were also in need of skilled crewmembers. Her military term was ending within weeks, she was sure she could get an early release so that she could integrate with his crew seamlessly. He would get the deuterium, she would get a ride off the station to a ship that could, potentially, grow into something more permanent.

There was concern, on her part, about how the crewmembers aboard would receive her presence. More so she worried over what would happen if her glasses were broken, or removed forcibly -- as had happened in her youth before others learned to fear Ayumi without her glasses. What would happen to a human? Nothing? Would that ship hold a species that was immune to all of her alien abilities? Would there be someone on board that shared those abilities and lead a life that wasn?t full of fear and loathing?

"The real problem I suppose will be your physiology. Without a history of your species medically speaking, there could be issues with treating you." The words he spoke were ones that were what she feared would disqualify her from joining his crew. Her physiology was at the heart of the majority of issues she had in life. Being Salgarian, that would have been fine. Being Salgarian plus whatever species her mother had been? That was not as fine. Her father had not chosen a being that would blend without notice, but considering the man that was her father that wasn?t so surprising. Her father was in a category all his own, staunch, commanding, respected and aloof, Ayumi could think of no woman that could be his match.

She had promised him medical records and that seemed to satisfy him. It was not fair of her not to mention more at that time but... fate was weaving a path and she was bound to follow.

Markaal

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Re: Through the eyes of the disenchanted.
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2014, 11:38:40 PM »
There were always protocols involved, first contact with a species had rules of engagement. Mark was ignoring several of them right now, but in his defense they were a long way from home through hostile space. Salgarian space shared no border with Legion space, he wasn?t ready to say that to her yet. Neither was he ready to tell her that his being here was an accident. Somehow it never came up, she led him through ?The Hollows?, at least that was what she called it. He could see why the name had been given, so much had been abandoned. He wondered at the cause, but every time he was ready to broach the subject something steered him away.

Mark could tell she was military, the way she moved screamed it to him. The way her shoulders worked with her hips to maintain that center of gravity spoke of experience in ground warfare, yet she claimed to be a pilot. He wouldn?t say she wasn?t, he still claimed to be a pilot even though he?d been years in the captain?s chair. No, in his mind it was once a pilot always a pilot. There were those who chose to forget where they came from. That wasn?t really correct, the person he meant was forced to become something different. It came down to reflexes, nanoseconds mattered in the cockpit. He?d done his share of ground warfare too. It was impossible not to have if you were in fleet when the Federation came to blows with the Romulan Empire.

He?d survived where many of his friends hadn?t. It had changed him though, made him bitter in a way towards a system that allowed its enemies to go free after committing atrocities. He wasn?t the only one to have felt that way either. Oddly enough many of those cadets he graduated with were of a similar mind. Then again maybe it wasn?t so odd considering that those who started the legion had all been prisoners on Galven XII. All except for Mark that is, he?d been sent away on a ship, his mission to break through the Romulan blockade and bring help. He?d done his job, gotten through, the Romulans shattered the resistance hours after his departure. His friends were prisoners of war for weeks under a green lieutenant. They almost never talked about the things they endured to anyone but each other. Mark knew, one man had told him, that green lieutenant and probably his best friend.

It was easy to speak to Ayumi about the virtues of The Legion. They truly were a melting pot of species that all shared a common interest, keeping their sector of space from being subjugated to anyone. Mark began to feel like a recruiter as he prattled on, but so long as Ayumi had questions he would answer. He wasn?t sure what it was about her that had brought up the old memories. Perhaps it was the way she seemed to do everything as though she had a purpose. It could be that she reminded him somewhat of his best friend and the man he claimed he was searching for.

He hadn?t lied exactly, but there were enough people searching for him that Mark had decided to follow his fears. He knew in his bones the Romulans were hiding something. Part of him saw Ayumi as a source of information that would be invaluable in this sector. The rest he had to admit saw her and was intrigued. She had advised letting her do the talking when they reached her contact. It would be as good a test as he could think of for her.

Ayumi Ta em

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Re: Through the eyes of the disenchanted.
« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2014, 05:41:11 PM »
The planet was named Shin Kyōto, there hadn?t been a presence of anyone other than some beasts that were, perhaps, of slightly higher intelligence than the beasts back on Salgaria when they settled there. A small population of the outlying species and a core of Salgaria scientists, explorers, xenobiologists, workers, because every settlement required those, and some people that simply wanted a fresh start somewhere new.

The settlement was now a thriving town, verging on a city and one of the inhabitants was Dr. Osamu Shi. When Ayumi was young she spent time at military facilities. First as a test subject, her unique abilities of keen interest to the military, later it would be as a member of the military. Her father, being First-Baron, was the reason she was not still a test subject, or dead, for the doctors and scientists were far more interested in learning how her abilities worked than the wellbeing of the child that possessed them.

Dr. Shi had been the head of the department when she was going through those years. It had been just recently that he had contacted her to ask for forgiveness. A debt was owed, one Ayumi did not believe could be repaid. What could balance the scales when someone had stolen your childhood and replaced it with nightmares every time you closed your eyes? Fate. Always fate, found a material on Shin Kyōto that might work in place of dilithium, a resource that the Legion would run short of in this sector of the galaxy.

It had taken her days to work up the courage to inform Captain Chessari of the find and to suggest that they might profit by going to the settlement to test if the Kaersurite would be a viable replacement. He had surprised her by planning the trip immediately and with a landing party that consisted of just him and Ayumi.

The place they landed was a little over a kilometer from town, there were shields up around it that prevented any air traffic directly in and the sun was high in the sky over the mountainous region. The town itself was nestled along the mountainside itself, a valley opening up below was half full of forestry and lush lands that were used for crops. There were predators that made the higher positioning of the town advantageous, they did not come in groups up so high and the settlers had learned that it was best to not be a target. When night fell the town closed up, people staying behind shuttered windows and locked doors. The predators had eluded all attempts at capture or killing, a mystery that had yet to be unlocked even with the advanced technology the Salgarians possessed.

Ayumi knew of the predators, knew of the sunset curfew they forced and set a swift pace toward the town. They had gotten to the midway point when the user interface on her glasses alerted her to the presence of large, moving heat sources. They were fluttering in and out of the spectrum, a condition usually seen when someone was stealthed nearby. She stopped, held up a hand for Mark to follow suit and listened, one hand pointed toward where she suspected the shadows lingered. ?Stealthed. Four? Maybe five, I think. Unsure of the intentions. Perhaps just scouts for the town.? She had not yet mentioned to Mark the Salgarian ability to stealth. It wasn?t a deliberate omission it was more of an embarrassment. She could only manage to stealth when she was in great danger or if she was standing on friendly ground, ground where some earth spirit resided and was willing to communicate.

When no attack came she started toward the town again. ?We should hurry. The sun slips toward the horizon faster than I anticipated.? In the short time they had been moving it had shifted noticeably in the sky, she estimated they had perhaps an hour, or less at the rate it sped across the skies. Mark nodded his agreement and they were off again. They spoke quietly as they went, Mark speaking of experiences and Ayumi dancing around the topic of experiences, especially when it came to her relationship with Dr.Shi, and the reasons she felt certain he would be generous in his dealings with them.

When they reached town Mark got his first real look of a pure-blooded Salgarian.The men resembled the images of samurai warriors, in appearance, dress and attitude. The women were of smaller stature, willowy with almond eyes and long dark hair. There was a welcoming party on the way, three men in casual clothing were approaching with intent, so that Mark didn't get the wrong impression Ayumi indicated the men. "The one in front is Dr. Shi." Dr. Shi was short, stout, his dark hair was trimmed short and neat and he had a beard that framed his serious looking face.

When he got close enough he performed a short bow of ten degrees. "Baroness Ta'em, it is an honor to see you again, and this must be Mark?" She hadn't given Dr.Shi Marks surname, there was power in that sometimes, and her people were good at such things. "Please, Dr. Shi, just Ta'em." She performed a very shallow bow in return.

She had not told Mark of her fathers status yet, either. This trip would highlight more of her omissions than she had anticipated, still if the material worked it would be worth the trade. All she had to do was make it through the talks and get back to the ship with Mark unharmed and it would be counted a success. Mark opened in a reserved voice as he greeted Dr.Shi, and Ayumi thought she could feel his questioning gaze at the title Baroness but he did not question it, and that was good.

Get through the talks, get the materials, pray to the ancestors it worked and done.

Markaal

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Storm Front
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2014, 07:27:13 PM »
Shin Kyōto, despite its size was still just a small way spot in the sector. The planet was M class, with a breathable atmosphere and plenty of vegetation. The planet itself was larger than earth and would certainly have greater gravity. The fact that the settlement was so high in the mountains meant thinner air and fatigue would become greater. Mark made up for some of these difficulties by his size alone. Ayumi?s pace would have been much for some to keep up with, but the length of her stride was already something he was comfortable matching. He wasn?t out of shape either, making sure to spend time doing daily physical training. That wasn?t what had him lying awake though.

The night had come on more quickly than expected, a storm rose the droplets of water drummed at the roof like a million tiny hammers. Thunder rolled through the mountains, the echoes seeming to go on forever. This wasn?t the problem either, if it weren?t for the fact that he couldn?t sleep he?d have been lulled into it hours ago.  Incense filled the air, the aroma like heavy spiced wine that was not unpleasant in the least. He breathed it in and knew that it was another thing meant to be calming and aid in giving sleep. Sadly it was having the opposite effect on him.

Ayumi had shared enough of her story for Mark to understand that coming here had been as difficult a decision as he could imagine. She hadn?t given her rank though, Mark couldn?t think of it as anything else. Back on earth it would likely be a title, a traditional role that had long since gone out of practice and use. Here the government was run as an empire, the titles had meaning and a place within the structure. There were rules, and he?d inadvertently broken one of them. Dr. Shi had needed to step in and remind Takahashi that Mark was a guest in his home, and ignorant of Salgarian ways. It was such an easy slight to make, especially as he hadn?t been informed it existed. Her name, Ayumi, spoken with no honorifics no addition of rank and title. Takahashi had taken offense, he?d let only a few words go in English before reverting to Salgarian in what Mark could only assume was calling his parentage into question. It was strange, Ayumi had given him her name, but really he was the only one who used it. He?d heard others name her Ta?em, this was first seen with Takka the merchant whom they?d traded with for Deuterium.

This wasn?t what kept him awake though when he should have been asleep long ago. He?d eaten a little slower than everyone, kept his attention on how things were done and imitated them as well as he could. Dr. Shi had of course, he?d provided Mark with eating utensils he was accustomed to. The glares never stopped from Takahashi, but he was pretty sure that relationship was already set in concrete. They were forced to stay, the ship wasn?t far but in the dark the predators would come. He had no reason to doubt the words of Shi.

After the meal, they?d retired to their rooms. It was perhaps a loose interpretation of the word. A screen of silk was all that separated him from her. Even now he could hear her breaths in a tone just under the beating rain. He?d had folks closer in much harder situations. Warzones meant camps, and camps meant bunkmates and beds that were never ideal. He may not be used to it anymore, but in comparison, this was downright private. Yet he laid there, he?d long since stopped trying to force himself to sleep by keeping his eyes closed. He turned over as quietly as he was able, not overly difficult with the beds being on the floor. Their last conversation kept replaying in his head. He?d seen others look at her, some curious and others with an interest that went beyond casual. Hell he?d encouraged her to be open, she was a member of his crew now. There would be time for her to get close to someone. Someone more appropriate than him. Besides, there was no indication that she had any interest in him outside of as her captain.

So why was it so difficult to get the words out to her? To try and convince her to see people and form relationships? Why did the whole thing have him talking himself in circles and forgetting that she was with him as he started to get ready for bed? When the realization hit him that he was half dressed and she wasn?t yet out of the room he stopped talking. He did what he always did when needing to think. He started to workout, just calisthenics and really only push-ups. He used the physical exercise to loosen his tongue better. ?Men look at you, will want to pursue you. That should come as no surprise because you are quite attractive.?

He hadn?t noticed her move from the opening in that silk dividing screen but she was knelt in front of him before he was more than a few reps in. She held his gaze and spoke clearly to him. ?I want no other to pursue me.? It could have meant anything. It might have meant she wasn?t interested in any relationship.

Mark pulled his knees up, and sat on his heels. He searched for something to say, questions to clarify. Before he could give voice to any of them though his hand was on her face and he was kissing her. She didn?t expect it that was certain. One thing he had gathered from observing the Salgarians was that they were not a species that engaged in a lot of physical contact or displays of affection. He?d expected her to strike out at him, and end his advance in no uncertain terms. What he got was far more confusing. She hesitated a moment at the contact, then relaxed and returned the kiss. It went no further, not physically anyway. Mark couldn?t get it out of his mind though, taking it further down as many pathways as he could easily think of. She was a member of his crew, but? every time he started out with that thought it always held a but in it.

Mark rolled over again and huffed slightly. He listened to the sound of Ayumi?s breathing and wondered if she slept. Was she dreaming? Of what? Or was she as awake as he and thinking? He could simply say her name and find out. He could but? but he wouldn?t.

Ayumi Ta em

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Re: Through the eyes of the disenchanted.
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2014, 06:05:14 PM »
The next morning she began moving about before the sun rose, intent on checking out one of the caves that held the material they were here to gather. There had been no sleeping last night, she feared to wake Mark with her nightmares and it wasn?t as if she required sleep every night. Mark was a light sleeper and was up and looking to her as she completed her preparations.

He asked if she wanted company and as she could think of no good excuse to deny him a second pack was prepared and they set out. The planet?s gravity was more like that of Salgaria than Earth and she kept her pace modest so that he would not be forced to exert himself too much. From what Ayumi had seen, admittedly just that small bit when he took off his shirt to begin exercising, he was in good shape but altitude and increased gravity were not things to take lightly.

They were nearly at the caves when she sensed them. She had no idea who the ?them? was but the fact they were being watched, being stalked, was undeniable. Usually her glasses could pick up heat signatures, or anomalies along the ground to pinpoint people even if they were stealthed but there was nothing. She informed Mark, he dropped to a crouch to survey the land, there was nothing for him to see but he trusted her instincts in this.

"I say we keep going, but be prepared for anything. The fact that they are invisible to your glasses has me wondering if they already know of their capabilities. Would you be able to pick anything up if you removed them?? He asked. It was an innocent question, a reasonable one. Mark did not know precisely what her abilities were and in this he had asked a good question.

Would she? It was possible and she said so. ?If you are far back enough in the caves you should not be affected. We should go in and then I will attempt it.? She felt ill-at-ease with the situation but having stalkers that could elude them so thoroughly was not comfortable for her either and if she could do something to mitigate the danger to Mark, she would.

They moved to the cave and Mark had taken up a position further back, far enough that she felt he would be fine. A hand rose and released the seal on the glasses, allowing them to be removed from her face and looked out. The world was a different place without the glasses, not inherently worse or better but so different as to be alien. The world she saw now was flattened by the glasses as they processed the landscape and fed it to her in bytes of information, there could be beauty in that but when the glasses came off? Colors became vibrant, alive, and everything gave off a softly shimmering aura to the world to speak of what lay inside.

For things like plants it was simple, a white light that indicated life but no real intent. Animals became more complex, the differences between prey and predator were stark but still not devious, a predator was that way by nature, there was no malice in it. Humanoids? That's where the difficulty increased by magnitudes. For some of it she was guessing, she could see a pattern after awhile of knowing a person was angry and what it did to the shimmering colors to know what meant angry. That didn't mean she knew everything about a person, just things that were present and powerful.

There was nothing at first, and then she found them, creatures perhaps seven or eight feet tall and moving steadily toward their position. She was focusing on the auras they gave off when a sharp wave of pain struck her mind and the world went dark.

Ayumi Ta em

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Re: Through the eyes of the disenchanted.
« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2014, 02:03:58 PM »
Mark was waiting, he couldn?t hear anything, he was sure that Ayumi would signal if there was trouble. He took a position behind another rock formation, his rifle propped and trained on the opening. How long should he wait before he checked on her? He didn't necessarily feel any different, just the nagging worry over her being out there by herself. There was of course a wondering if he were far enough out of sight that she wouldn't look into his head and know everything that he had thought after she had left him to try and sleep. Time ticked by and there was still no sign of Ayumi.

Mark may seem calm but he wasn't exactly patient. He was headed back to the opening when he couldn't sit back anymore. The polyweave armor formed over his body, he activated a personal shield generator and turned on the overwatch dampening field. He hadn't heard energy weapons, or any weapons for that matter. It was what he had though and might give him just a little more resistance to whatever was waiting for him. He looked to the space that Ayumi had been in when he left her and saw her glasses, lying there on the ground with her no where in sight.

She had admitted she had just one pair of the glasses and he knew that she wouldn?t have just left them there if she had any choice. He picked the reflective glasses up, clipping them to his shirt as he peeked outside. The sound of a phase gun had him ducking down for cover but the glimpse out had told him Ayumi was in danger.

Ayumi was two feet off the ground and struggling against something invisible. Her body was twisted, she had a gun in her hand but her arm was being bent at what looked like a painful angle behind her back. There was something around her waist, noticeable from the indentation in her shirt, something was crushing her ribs, probably why she hadn't called out to him. She was about fifty feet from the cave's entrance and moving away quickly.

Mark picked up his rifle again. He adjusted the beam to it's lowest level knowing that a full on blast would hit both Ayumi, whatever had her and likely the vegetation three feet to either side. Running forward trying to get a better angle. She fired a second shot, it didn?t seem to do much but the thing shifted her body upward slightly and that gave him a shot. He took it, aiming low.

The impact hit the unseen enemy, taking it and Ayumi to the side. The grip around her midsection tightened and as bones and filaments cracked she finally got a sound out, a short cry of pain. Her eyes had been shut against whatever weapon they had used to stun her initially, and also the knowledge that Mark was somewhere near and she didn?t want any of her abilities to affect him. The burst of pain and she lost focus for a moment, her eyes opened and when her gaze swept the area she saw Mark nearby with the rifle. Of all the things that could go wrong the thought of harming Mark accidently was the worst she could think of and an involuntary shout escaped her. ?No!? Shutting her eyes tight once more. Her struggles redoubled, there was a way... it would mean more pain but it should get her free.

For a brief moment Mark saw Ayumi's eyes, in that moment it was as though every thought in his head was visible like the brush strokes in a painting. The worry at her predicament, the horror of seeing her being carried by something invisible, and the anger that anyone would try to separate them. If there was more than that he couldn't tell, his pace increased at her cry of 'no'. He couldn't feel anything of his efforts to chase them down, only the strongest desire to catch them.

As he watched, preparing another shot Ayumi twisted her body, planted a boot on an invisible body and used it to push and give her space. It meant that the arm that had been pinned behind her was pulled in a direction it was never meant to go and she felt the ligaments give way as the shoulder dislocated from its socket. Ignoring the pain she reached the dagger she kept at her waist and used the momentum she?d gained to stab down at the arm that pinned her to the creature.

Its howl echoed in her ear even as she was unceremoniously dropped to the earth, landing on the dislocated shoulder and gasping in pain. There was the sound of another weapon burst and a moment later Mark was there, next to her. ?How badly are you hurt?? He sounded worried to her, her eyes were shut tightly so she had just the timbre of his voice to judge.

?I am fine, but I lost my glasses and my dagger. I need them both.? The glasses were absolutely necessary but the dagger, that was of high importance to Ayumi. It was a family heirloom and she would not, could not bear the shame of losing it. ?Were you harmed?? The answer more important than she would let on.

Mark spotted the knife but made no move to retrieve it yet. He just looked down at her and knew that she wasn't really fine. "You aren't 'fine' Ayumi," He moved to help her rise taking her good arm in his hand beneath the shoulder and settling her hand on his leg to give her something to brace on. "I see your knife, we'll get it in a minute, first things first. I want to get that shoulder reset, and figure out what else might be wrong with you."

His fingers touched the glasses he was carrying, he was tempted not to give them to her, the exotic beauty he'd seen in that brief moment was something he wanted to experience again, despite the way his brain seemed to go on overload. "I'm the one that's fine, and worried about you." Mark gave in to guilt and pulled the glasses free, he put them against the hand on his leg. "You dropped these bright eyes." That's what he seemed to remember most about them, how vivid the coloring was.

Ayumi took the glasses with a soft, relieved sigh and slipped them on, her finger sliding along the edge to activate the seal. Once in place her body relaxed noticeably and she placed her good hand against his chest. "Trust me when I say I am well enough. I will need to tend to the injuries but I can function." Then because that wasn't completely true. "Mostly, if you can help me get my shoulder back in place that will make this easier. The knife is important, I can explain to you later why but I need to retrieve it."

She ignored the comment about her eyes for the moment, she couldn't address it yet. There had been impressions in the moment she looked at him and she didn't have time to sort out what she had seen. It felt like peering into a persons soul when she looked at them like that and that wasn't something to take lightly. "I would say we should go after them but I think it would be a wiser course of action to return to the town. "

The priority for Mark was getting her back to the relative safety of the village. He wished he had more time to enjoy that hand on his chest. He took a deep breath and grasped the dislocated arm. "I'm gonna count to three, then put it back into place." He let his gaze go to her face, to the glasses that hid her eyes from him. He licked his lips and began to count. "One..." He didn't say any other numbers, just pulled at the arm lifted and twisted it back into the shoulder joint. Perhaps it seemed cruel to lie about the moment but when three came he didn't want her to resist. Better to just do it when she was relaxed and not expecting it. She grunted softly as the shoulder was pulled back in place. "I'm sorry." It was all he could think of to say. He stood and stepped away from her bending to retrieve the knife that seemed to be more important to her than her own physical condition.

?We can sort this out when we get back to town, after we get the rest of your wounds tended.? Dr.Shi should be able to help, if Ayumi allowed it. He retrieved the knife and returned it to Ayumi, who put it back in the sheath at her waist without comment.

?Back to town then.? He said and she nodded.

Markaal

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Re: Through the eyes of the disenchanted.
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2014, 08:34:52 PM »
Mark would be guilty later, for forcing Ayumi to undergo an examination by Dr. Shi. Her hand squeezed his, in what he could only believe was all out fear. She?d spoken some about it, a little bit of the history between herself as a child and the Dr. Mark?s eyes were hard on the man, and Shi knew by the way Mark?s hand hovered so closely to his phaser that Ayumi had shared. He made certain to comment on it to Mark, to admit that he?d acted wrongly back then. It didn?t make it right, it didn?t alleviate Mark?s suspicions or Ayumi?s tension.

Dr. Shi moved slowly, asking permission before laying his hands on her body. Telling her what he was looking for as he worked. Mark wished he could have spared her, that he could have aborted going to town and straight to the shuttle, but if Ayumi was bleeding internally she might not make the trip back to the ship and Dr. Jones. He wasn?t willing to risk that, nor was he going to take Ayumi?s word that she was ?fine?. She was his responsibility, she was perhaps even more than that if last night were any indication. Mark wanted her around, and not every bit of that was a captain?s concern. More issues for another time, there were too many of those lately. He was beginning to lose track of all the things that would need to be addressed between them.

Right now he was being told that she?d have been fine if he had taken her back to the ship. Guilt times two, or was it three now? Broken ribs, shattered filaments, a construct that was unique to Ayumi and distinctly inhuman, and bruising these were the extent of her maladies. Dr. Shi provided bandages for Ayumi, she wouldn?t let him put them on her. Only now did he really begin to understand exactly how vulnerable she felt. Time was against them. Those short days would trap them one more night in Dr. Shi?s company. Neither of them would make it to dinner though. It would be provided outside the door. Mark wouldn?t leave her, couldn?t leave her. He sat awake once again, this time it was he would play guardian, using that guilt to keep him awake.

Ayumi Ta em

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Re: Through the eyes of the disenchanted.
« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2014, 06:18:30 PM »
She had only been back from the away mission for one day when a transmission came from Salgaria, the timing of it was suspect but there was nothing to do but accept it and confirm her fears.  It took only a moment from her asking to have the transmission put through to her quarters that the face of Tatsuo Ta?em appeared. He looked the same, in her life she could not remember him looking like anything other than the man she saw before her now. Immutable, implacable, and cold, those were the things she got from the First-Baron of the Salgarian Empire.

?Father. I did not expect to hear from you.? The words spoken in the calm, cool tones that were her trademark. She had fallen into a ready stance, as informal a position as she ever had with him. She would not kneel on the floor to speak to him in this manner, he would have to accept that was something she only did in person. It was not a sign of disrespect, she simply did not think it appropriate at this time, in this place.

?You are my daughter. Did you think I would not want updates on your well being while amongst strangers?? His words held no warmth, it was obvious where Ayumi learned the way of removing emotion from her words.

?Are we going to pretend that we have a normal relationship, Father? I would request that you give me advanced warning if that is what you are hoping. I have never been good at lying.? No anger or sorrow clung to the words. There had been a time when Ayumi would have come to blows with anyone that implied her father did not love her like other fathers loved their offspring. He was just reserved, or that was the excuse she told herself to explain his aloof behavior. She had too many experiences now, too many years to see how other people interacted to believe that lie anymore. She was an albatross around his neck, something to be suffered for past sins.

?We are not normal, Ayumi. Do not attempt to bandy words with me. I am your father and you will respect me, or I will come and remove you from that vessel.? It was not an idle threat, it was a promise. He knew that if he began the process of retrieving her that she would go home to prevent bringing problems to the ship... bringing problems, or was that more problems, to Mark.

?Forgive me, Father.? Infusing the words with as much obeisance as she was capable of producing. Falling silent until he gave her leave to speak again.

?Remember that you are a Ta?em. Even now, even where you are you must keep that in mind. Life is for one generation; a good name is forever.?

?When have I ever threatened the Ta?em name? During the cycles I fought? During the cycles I did nothing but serve with honor and integrity?? An edge, soft as a summer breeze gave the words a bite. ?I will not do anything to shame you Father. You can set your mind at ease and move on with your life.?

?Silence child. You know nothing. You will continue to know nothing if you insist on remaining in the dark.? His face seemed to soften, a moment and then gone, like an earthquake that briefly shakes off the top layer to reveal the one below. ?Some day you will understand, Ayumi.?

?You mean some day you will decide to tell me.? The words left her mouth before she could stop them and she dropped to her knees and bowed low. ?Forgive me, Father.?

?I expect a communication from your Captain. If he continues to court you without asking my permission I will become angered. Take care, daughter, I will speak with you soon.? And then the communication was cut and she was left alone in her quarters. She did not rise up, remaining on the floor. Far away and outside of the Salgarian influence her father still weighed heavy upon her life.  She had thought he would be happy to have her gone, to let her fly free at last and disappear.

?Court me?? The words seem to cut and wound something inside. ?No. Not that.? She would need to figure out how her father was getting information or ... or? Or she would have to try and keep away from Mark, that thought cutting deeper than the words.

Markaal

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Personal and Personnel
« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2014, 03:22:47 AM »
Marks fingers slid across the table marring the mahogany woods patina with streaky fingerprints. He was sitting in his favorite chair, as he had a thousand times. There was an almost silence, to the room. It wasn?t anything so mundane as his breathing or the sound of his heartbeat in his ears. It was the same hum that existed everywhere on the ship, audible if only things could be made quiet enough. She had just left him and the place had grown very quiet. It wasn?t that the woman had been overly noisy, she was inexorably the opposite of that much of the time. She drew his mind away from things like the vibrations in the bulkheads. She had left and Mark suddenly felt the loss of her presence.

The chair was his favorite, but he?d have traded for the space next to her on the couch. For the occasional touch of his arm on her as he leaned, or the way her hair fluttered invisibly against his hand when it was across the back of the couch. Something about her wanted him to make her laugh just so he could hear it, hear her lose control for just the space of a few moments. It wasn?t fair, why the hell was he feeling this now? He couldn?t stand the silence now, needed to do something to force it from the room.

?Captain?s personal log supplemental.?

I?ve been many things today. I think the biggest thing though is dishonest. Who do I trust with this mission? Maybe I am putting this in the wrong place, but it doesn?t feel wrong to me. This mission, my mission is not popular, most of the crew has no idea what the truth is. They think we seek our Admiral, and that isn?t exactly wrong. He is on the list of things to look for, but I do not believe he will be anywhere near this sector of space. I knew that when I chose to come here, knew it and came anyway. Dishonest, but I think Hunter knows what I do. Somewhere out here is a facility being used to create a bio-weapon. I?m as sure of it as I have ever been of anything, and some of the legion supports my hypothesis. It wasn?t enough.

We?re out here alone, the crew knows that much but I doubt they understand exactly how alone we are. It isn?t that I don?t believe there is a facility on New Romulus. I would say that I believe one hundred percent there is. I also believe that if they are making a weapon that will target DNA that isn?t Romulan, they would do that as far away from them as they could and still maintain control. They?d do it in a place they don?t think we would go. I shouldn?t be here, but I am. I felt I had to be. Hunter will understand when they find him. The Legion will understand when I find it.

The Legion, it?s hard to think that we were barely more than mercenaries when we began. Five ships, five captains and at the best of times when we had full crews a scant two thousand crew divided across those ships. We all pushed hard into a sector of space that seemed so hotly contested. It took so many years to build it to what it is today. Three hundred ships, embassies on many worlds, a centralized starbase that is capable of defending itself long enough for help to come from every part of the quadrant. Mining operations in several asteroid belts. There?s more, and more all the time. At some point though we stopped pushing our boundaries, not The Legion but its founders. How many battles have we been in together, skirmishes that introduced us to new species and what would eventually become a new ally? So why am I thinking of making this my last mission?

I finally see what it was that pushed Hunter out, it wasn?t the wrong move exactly but it hurt the legion when he did. They need us, the founders to stay cohesive. Maybe it is all the lies I?ve been telling lately. Who can I trust though? That?s what my problem is, I want to trust her but it is hard after the last time. She would have a better idea where I should be looking at least. This is her home, I am just a visitor and sometimes I am an unwelcome one. Does the crew see how much time I?ve been spending with her? Probably, but no one has called me on it yet. In my head I know it?s possible, but in my heart I don?t think they will. Not unless it somehow compromises my decisions. I know what that means, I need to send her on an away mission. I need to do it as much for me as for them, it would be so easy to try and shield her from everything. Easy but wrong. She?s more than capable, I don?t want to, but maybe it is time.

?Computer, end log entry.?