Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Out of Character Note

Conclusion: Now Posted
I've now come to a reasonable conclusion of the story.  I hope everyone that's reading this will enjoy how everything's tied together.  Ultimately, this story's been about the character's journey and about self-discovery, with an overall purpose.  While there's an overarching story about 'fixing the future' that affected my characters, I wanted to involve them in a way that didn't feel like throwing characters at the story.  While some of my interactions with other characters have been left out, I feel everyone introduced had a purpose.  I had fun creating and roleplaying with everyone involved.

At 18 chapters, I wanted to stretch it out a bit more, but it was put on the back burner after the people I roleplayed with were seldomly on, and I wasn't able to conclude the story through roleplaying online.  I stopped actively playing STO, but felt I owed it to myself (and anyone that reads the entire story) to come to a conclusion.  I've put the blog in ascending story order so as you scroll down you can read chapter after chapter.

Feel free to drop a comment if you find this entertaining, or want to comment on anything.
Anyway, thanks to everyone who's reading this.


Saturday, June 30, 2012

Apples on my family tree [part 1] - Arrival

Eva's Personal Log: Stardate 62612.8, Earthdate July 27, 2385.
After a few days of being here, I've finally caught up to them.  It's still amazing to me how easy information is to come across during this time.  A quick search in the Federation database (believe me: their encryption could be so much better), and a stowaway transport later, here I am at Starfleet Academy.  It took some doing to get the uniform right though.  As I say, information is a premium commodity back home.

Back home... Every time I think of it, anxiety and sadness creep in.  What he did for me... What he did for all of us...  I find myself frustratingly blocking those emotions, however, due to Kabrina.  She's so powerful; even in her younger years.  I wouldn't have thought of her like she is now: so young, vibrant, and full of life; yet possessing so much wisdom and self-control that others rarely have an opportunity to find out.

And then there's Devon... So much of a rambunctious youth, I'm surprised he ever made it through the academy.  He's constantly putting his foot in his mouth, and consistently looses controls of his gifts.  I'm surprised he hasn't been made yet... Yet his potential, even in his younger days is beyond even his imagination.  I tried to express this to him... I may have said too much.  I think he has a few suspicions.  But wow, is he ever cute.  I see what Kabrina sees in him, and find myself drawn to him in the same manner...

I have made a few mistakes, I'm afraid, like earlier when Kabrina asked me for my last name. I almost blurted it out, without even thinking.  I now have the nickname of "Apples" because of the blunder.  Not that it really matters.  No matter what happens from this point, the future will and has changed.  Let's just hope I can make it change for the better.  If Tryn were here, I'm sure he'd say something profound and revolutionary to end his log.  Me?  I'm just Eva Api-Lyron...

And I might just be the future's only hope.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Apples on my family tree [part 2] - Nightmare Be Gone

Eva's Personal Log: Stardate 62630.1, Earthdate August 02, 2385.
Great screams of horror echo throughout the ship, jarring me from my restless slumber.  I quickly look around, hoping it was a nightmare, when my eyes gaze upon the source of the disturbance.  Then I realize: they've found us.  As quickly as I can move, I rush toward the escape pods and prey I can move fast enough to beat them.  As I hurl myself into the pod and the door closes, I realize that I was only a moment too late: a fragment of a nanite bomb has grazed my arm...

I open my eyes and smile.  The satin sheets rub against my naked body.  I feel so comfortable here, despite the nightmares.  I'm used to sleeping on the floor in my clothes, usually wet with sweat and rancid body odor.  I can't believe all the luxuries they had: information at your fingertips, comfortable beds, and lovely delectable foods!  Replicators in every dorm, a club built for entertainment, and oh, the gardens!  The lovely, bountiful flowers and trees... I never dreamed such amazing things existed!  Oh, sure.  I've heard stories, but I would have never been able to imagine such beauty... especially when all I see is death when I close my eyes.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Apples on my family tree [part 3] - Future Passed

Eva's Personal Log: Stardate 62632.8, Earthdate August 03, 2385.
Tonight, I regrettably let the knowledge of what will happen get in the way and truly take me over... Devon made an off-comment about how life was like a pizza, "You can order it how you want, but in the end you pay for it."  A sound bit of advice, for someone so inexperienced.  But it touched a nerve, and I became resentful.  How easy it must have been for them both; for them all back then...  They didn't know what was coming.  How could they?

The observations I made of them being so full of life could only come from a life born in this time: their outlook on the future (while bright and uplifting) is also so naive.  If they grew up in a universe ruled by those... those monsters...  And so, I grew frustrated and upset; I almost blew my cover.  I walked away, took a breath, and then remembered something Tryn told me... before the end.

He looked at me with those glowing eyes of his, instilling such trust and friendship.  "If this works... there will be such difficulty for you ahead.  You will find yourself alone in a world so very different from our own.  And even though you will be doing your best to blend in, you will be very different from them all - for you have seen this life, in all it's horror and hardships, and they have not.  Their eyes are filled with hopeful ambitions, as they embark on their maiden voyages; riding the starlight of their dreams.  You, Eva... you must ensure that their dreams do not turn into nightmares."

It used to bother me how he talked.  Then as I got to know him I understood: he saw a world without this oppression, and objectively looked at the bleak reality in which we lived.  I couldn't fully believe such a place existed until I came here, and now that I've seen it... I understand what all is at stake.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Apples on my family tree [part 4] - Ripples On Risa

Eva's Personal Log: Stardate 62651.7, Earthdate August 10, 2385.
As the suns set on the horizon, the water rippled with excitement and for the first time I can remember, I'm overwhelmed by their brilliance, and I forget... if even for a moment, why I'm here and what my mission is.  To Kabrina and Devon, it was a joyride to a place that is beautiful (to be sure), but I don't think anyone can truly appreciate such beauty until they see a place without any.  I've never seen so much water in one place... I even accidentally said so.

The beauty of Risa not withstanding, Kabrina became overwhelmed and had to sit and rest.  I'm still trying to gauge just how much power she has at this point.  One thing's for certain: I haven't been uncovered yet, so I can assume she's nowhere near where she was in the past... or the future... whatever.  I remember my mother telling me a story of how she lost her pet tribble, Shrimper, when she was young.  Kabrina was able to find where she had misplaced the pet, just by the feelings she got from my mother's tears.  Something about latent location empathy?  I'm not even sure I understand it all. Tryn would explain it to me, if he were here.

That's something that bothers me: ever since I've come back, I can't help but talking like him.  I find myself doing it whenever a philosophical topic arises, or a metaphor can be used for a point that has to be made.  I just start talking, and it feels as though it's his words coming from my mouth.  Like on Risa.  I launched into a metaphor about how Devon is like a rough unpolished rock that makes ripples when tossed into a pool of water.  How brilliant the ripples were, and how after time, he can become the polished beautiful rock from the very water that he makes the ripples in.  Just thinking about the paradoxical metaphor now gives me a headache.  Did Tryn do something to me when he...
Or maybe I just miss him terribly.

Kabrina and I had a few moments, there in those brilliant twilight hours.  I asked her something I'd been needing to for some time: I asked if she would knowingly hold onto Devon of today (the unpolished rock), if it kept him from becoming the polished one in the future.  To her credit and to my amazement, she said, "No, I wouldn't."  And for the first time, a sparkle of hope reflects on the ripples of the future.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Apples on my family tree [part 5] - Intruder Alert!

Eva's Personal Log: Stardate 62665.8, Earthdate August 15, 2385.
What once started as a blissful luxury, has now turned into an uncomfortable annoyance.  I find myself tossing and turning, agitated by the softness and silky satin sheets.  So restless were my nights, that I've gone back to the familiarity of the stiff, unforgiving floor.

It was for this reason, that I was able to quickly roll under the bed, when a flash of transporter beam light awoke me from my light sleep.  I stealthy reached to my hip for a weapon, when I suddenly remembered: no weapons were allowed for cadets at Starfleet Academy.  I silently cursed the rule, and tried to get a better look at the intruder that had invaded my dorm.  However, the shadowy figure had walked closer to the bed by the time my eyes adjusted from the brilliance of the transport beam.  All I could make out were the shoes.

After a moment of scanning the area, an odd-sounding combadge was tapped.  "I have isolated the source of the chroniton trace to a cadet's bed.  To which cadet does this room belong?"

A voice returned the answer.  "It seems to be registered to an Eva Applestien, sir.  Looks somewhat strange though... The application process was bypassed, and Starfleet Academy records hardly shows any information in her personnel file."

"Very well: open a case file for a formal investigation on this... Eva.  It is quite obvious she is not who she appears to be."

Suddenly the room lit up with another transport beam and the intruder vanished.  I stayed under the bed for the rest of the night, my mind racing - more questions than answers.  If my identity had been compromised, so too had the future's fate...

Monday, June 25, 2012

Apples on my family tree [part 6] - The Last Night

Eva's Personal Log: Stardate 62670.1, Earthdate August 17, 2385.
With every passing official and cadet, I find myself anxious - ready to defend.  As the days continue past the 'incident' in my room, I find it difficult to concentrate... difficult to plan my next move.  My mind is constantly weighing the outcomes and consequences, with paradoxical logic I don't even understand.  It's apparent to me now that Tryn gave me something.  Somehow, he touched my mind when he sent me back.  I think with a clarity that becomes cloudy if I try to focus.  I give up as it slips through my fingers and I dishearteningly sigh.  But something tells me that if he did do something to me... If he did give me this 'gift,' he must have known I would need it.  He always knew...

"It shall be very treacherous.  There shall be those whose primary goals will be to interrupt what we are trying to do... What you will be trying to do."

His eyes gazed (as they often did) to something only he could see, as if he saw past the hull of the craft.  After a moment I realized what he meant: he wasn't coming with me.  I suddenly broke down, pleading with him, begging him to reconsider the plan.  I told him how lost I'd be without him, how I couldn't do this alone.  He simply smiled at me, lightly touched my scarred cheek, and told me everything I needed to hear.

We made love that night -in the gloomy, drab old half-working shuttle, silently nestled to the outer hull of our most feared enemy.  It was the first time I'd ever done so, the first time I realized I loved him, and the last night we shared together... before he gave his life to save everything.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Apples on my family tree [part 7] - Bookends and Circles

Eva's Personal Log: Stardate 62690.3, Earthdate August 24, 2385.

Where to begin?  I truly don't know; I suppose at the beginning...

One of the first things I can clearly remember after the decimation of our home world is my grandmother reading me a story from an old book she grabbed before the evacuation.  I was still young when it happened, and she decided to read me a story to calm my nerves.  I couldn't even remember the name of the tome, but I can remember it's binding well.  There were two signatures on the inside: my grandmother's and Mr. Scott's, along with the word "Apples."  I never understood it; only asked her about it once; it seemed so insignificant at the time.  "A friend of my youth," she had said...  Today, I signed the very book from all those years ago, and I can't help but feel a sense of closure, as if I've come full circle.

To that end, maybe this is the extent of my interactions.  Perhaps I was never meant to change things, after all.  At the very least, I know I no longer have enough time...

I came to the conclusion when I approached a frightened Kabrina, who explained that a Vice Admiral T'Area had called both Devon and herself into chambers.  She said there was a certain agency that wanted to question them both, and that the admiral was also looking for me.  Needless-to-say, I believe these to be the same intruders I witnessed in my room only a few nights prior... and I... panicked.  Paranoia in the group caused us to go off the grid, and I do believe Devon's intentions may have been to completely walk away from his career, fear of being discovered.  Little did he realize the inquisition was to be about me:  'Open a case file,' the intruder had said.  And the scrutiny this will bring upon me will effectively destroy my chances of completing my mission subtly... So, I decided to flee.

Before I left, I did try to pass along something to Kabrina: imagery and feelings I hope she is able to pick up on.  She was distraught though, and I don't believe I was able to convey what I needed to.  I suddenly and abruptly left them both, seeking refuge with a transport captain offering sanctuary... Devon wanted to come; I talked him down.  I could have been more collected... I should have been.  To Kabrina and Devon, I'm sure I came off as aloof, fragmented, desperate, and scared.  I was scared:  nothing could have prepared me for being discovered so quickly.

Why hadn't the temporal nanobots shielded me, as they have been?
Had the nanite infestation broken them down?
And if so, had assimilation begun?
I suppose, at this point, only time will tell...

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Search for Apples [part 8] - Interrogation

Agent Jones - Department of Temporal Investigations Personal Field Log: Stardate 62691.2, Earthdate August 25, 2385.
Why do we always get the tough ones?  After the last predestination paradox incident, I was hoping Agent Smith and I could do a bit of light duty.  After all, it's been 115 days, 22 hours, 9 minutes, 29 seconds since our last shore leave... But no.  We have the pleasure of pursuing the recent chroniton trace alert - one that seems to have not been a false-positive.

Agent Smith recommended we follow protocol 5892, and in this situation, I agree.  The particles we detected led us to Starfleet Academy, to a certain cadet's bed.  How this particular Eva Applestien came in contact with such radiation - and the resulting explanation would have been difficult enough to obtain, but was even more so, due to her contact with two particular cadets, which proved rather difficult to question.
Kabrina Lyron and Devon K Scott: an extremely frustrating couple, to be certain!  Each with characteristics that make them even more suspicious and skeptical of our true identities and intents.  Even after they were told about the inquisition, even after introductions, they continued to circumvent everything that was proposed to them and asked of them.  Mr. Scott: what a rebellious kwgot.  Pardon the curse, but it is rightly reserved: the most annoying pink-skin I've ever had the displeasure of working with.  He punched me, protective of his pale female mate, Kabrina.  I, in turn, threw him across the room and into a console.  Perhaps Agent Smith is right: maybe I did "loose control of my emotions," as he says.  But did it feel good!

The Department of Temporal Investigations is committed to ensuring the integrity of the timeline is not / has not / will not be altered.  So when that defiant little man, Mr. Scott decided he thought it would be funny to push me; threaten to sling-shot around the sun (as if he had the ability to, with our temporal inhibitors in place), I employed a bit of a reverse threat to get the job done...  I gave him an ultimatum: find and report the location of this Eva, or I ensure the careers of both himself, and his mate, are terminated.

Maybe you'll be useful yet... Agent Scott.

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Search for Apples [part 9] - Defiance

T'Kala's Personal Log: Stardate 62689.8, Earthdate August 24, 2385.

If there was a remote possibility of going back in time and changing my decision to follow in my mother's footsteps, I would take it.  As Vulcans, we used to believe that the ability to travel in time was impossible, and it was illogical to debate the point.  Now, however, we view time travel as improbable, yet not impossible.  And somehow what was once illogical is now very much a logical possibility.... This, in of itself, is the paradox of logic; and it is a logic that Vulcans hold in the highest regard.

It is this logic that makes arguing with my mother, Vice Admiral T'Area, impossible.  She will not listen to reason once her mind is made up.  The human side of me recognizes this as stubbornness, yet the Vulcan half actually recognizes the logic of her resolve - it is the constant internal conflict that always seems to get me into trouble, especially here at Starfleet Academy, among most that do not have such inward racial turmoil.

I knew to expect a visit from her after the last incident: I flew a toy shuttle craft, equipped with a practice stunning phaser, which shot the professor, via hidden remote control... It was quite funny!  My mother (of course) failed to understand the humor.  And to that end, has officially requested I be removed from the program, transferred to Vulcan, and made go through the Kulinar.  I know others that have gone through the process, and came out... different.  This is not an outcome I wish for myself.  Yet, as of log, I am still uncertain of what action I should take.

One meeting does seem to present a previously unexplored option, however... Yesterday, I had a very unusual visit with a certain cadet named Kabrina.  I had seen her speaking to my mother the previous day - to which I am certain was an undesirable outcome.  Thus I was intrigued when I ran into her, while submitting my transfer requisition.  We wound up having an afternoon impromptu drink, which was quite calming.  She seems very approachable, if not somewhat distracted.  Perhaps I should request an audience for a bit of advice, and in turn, assist her.  She does work at the reception desk at Starfleet Academy... perhaps my transfer request could be... delayed?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Search for Apples [part 10] - Resolute Familiarity

T'Kala's Personal Log: Stardate 62712.4, Earthdate September 1, 2385.

Upon completion of packing, I once again toured the grounds.  Objectivity tells me my emotional attachment to the facility is not based in logic, and that it is an inanimate object.  Yet, when I sit and observe the passers-by, I can't help but... feeling sad.  Many Vulcans would relish the change, welcoming the red motif of my homeworld.  Personally, I've preferred the vibrant blue sky of Earth.  Mother would fail to recognize the beauty.  She would see these gardens as a non-functional waste of space.  We see things so differently, it's so very frustrating.

Thus, it would be convenient to blame my human side asserting itself, resulting in a ill-advised decision from such rash emotions.  But what would be the logic that?  It was both my human anger and my Vulcan logic to make the decision; now I am to play it through...

It came from when my mother contacted me via subspace with the announcement of her delay.  She had been recalled for an incident; had to leave the academy in such short notice, she left behind her yacht.  She contacted me requesting I rendezvous with her (and bring her vessel back to her), before leaving for Vulcan.  I tried to again assert my declaration to stay at the academy.  The abominable admiral would not be swayed.

I returned to the bench, my decision to defy the woman, resolute.  It was do to this... passion... that I persuaded both Kabrina and Devon to accompany me, whom I had been speaking with prior to my mother's call.  There's something about the couple that seems so familiar.  Perhaps it was that I ran into them during a moment of emotion-filled discussion with my mother a while back.  Perhaps it was that I was able to open to Kabrina, who was also feeling vulnerable on that eventful day.  Then again, perhaps, I needed someone's support with the decision I made today.  To by surprise, they both agreed to accompany me, procuring my mother's yacht for our own agenda.

It was my intent simply to have company during my act of defiance; it shortly converted to a mission of sorts... Kabrina went on to explain their current predicament:  They were in need of finding their friend, which had left abruptly when the Department of Temporal Investigations requested an audience. Furthermore, she went on to explain they believe this person to be a distant relative come back from the future...

Granted, I find this highly improbable, to be certain, yet I cannot deny the possibility.  It is this objectivity, I wish to express to my mother by my insurrection.  Perhaps this ill-begot mission truly is fortuitous in the exactness of its own timing, and perhaps I will uncover this strange sense of (I believe, what humans call) deja vu.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Search for Apples [part 11] - Over The River...

T'Kala's Personal Log: Stardate 62783.8, Earthdate September 22, 2385.

Time: It's relative nature is often revealed when one chooses not to account for the days that have passed.  Such is the nature of this log entry: after entering the stardate on my PADD, I stared at it for a few moments before beginning; so many days have passed, how to summarize the events leading to this moment?  As my mother once told me, I must collect myself and begin at the most logical point of interest (as it pertains to the story being presented).  A monumental task, as I glance around the drab, rusted confines of the room we procured, made even more difficult when I look in the reflection, and see my own radiant blue complexion.
How did these choices play out the events that brought me here, and how can I convince myself that this was to make a point to my mother, when the point has now become lost in the quest....

Upon following the flight path of the vessel their friend used as transport, we stumbled upon a debris field, in which I scanned and determined was said vessel.  Kabrina and Devon were relieved after I ascertained there was no Betazoid DNA in said debris, however, their flight records indicated they dropped some cargo (and possibly Eva) at the nearby Deep Space K7 station.  We traveled onward and arrived at K7 sometime in the early morning discovering the station in a state of repair - having just been attacked.

As we had been flying jamming communication (so my mother wouldn't determine our whereabouts), we hadn't heard their distress calls, and arrived after the damage had been done.  Luckily, however, Kabrina offered assistance to those injured, and station operations was too chaotic to run our ship through the database against missing vessels.  I spoke with Commander Wildman only briefly, enough to hear something that truly surprised me: the responsible party was a Klingon raiding party.

Why had the Klingons openly attacked the station, and what were their motives?  It has been widely speculated that the Klingon Defense Force has been recruiting and building their armada - so much so - that my mother had been called away from leave to investigate the KDF, and their intent.  It was whispered throughout the academy that the KDF wanted war... Now, it seems, their first step was not only to attack K7, but to take on prisoners, as well... A strange set of events for Klingons, specifically.  Unless they were trying to gather prisoners, for a dowry exchange with another race - perhaps Orions.  It would allow what's left of the Orion Syndicate to rebuild, while strengthening the KDF.  On this, however, we only had speculation, which was later confirmed... through methods I do not wish to catalog.

Drozana station met our requirements to find transport to within the KDF borders.  It was not difficult... but was quite dangerous.  The Gorn we eventually contracted negotiated with Devon and myself over the price of said transport.  He seemed to enjoy the game quite more than the outcome, and further harassed Devon for what appeared to be amusement.

This notwithstanding, Kabrina calmly and collectively dealt with the Gorn and was very... Vulcan-like.  (She would be upset, I think, if she heard such a comment - but it is meant in a strict compliment.)  This, however, was short-lived, when the woman found herself learning the true nature of a targ upon the Gorn's shuttle; Kabrina mistakenly assumed the animal was a pet.  Devon consoled her...  I found myself looking at the couple with a feeling of... intrigue.  It disturbs me greatly.  While this trip is to show my mother what human intuition can accomplish and the benefit of acknowledging my emotional side, I find myself leaning heavily on her Vulcan teachings and meditating to not give in to any desires.  And such is what vexes me so completely: I have such a strange serendipitous feeling toward the couple, I can not help but think I am experiencing an echo of what may have been.  If this Eva has come from the future and changed things already, was this inadvertent pairing truly fortuitous, or destined?  Kabrina had a premonition when she touched Eva, prior to our meeting.  She explained something to me she hadn't mentioned before, an urgency that shouldn't be overlooked: among the images, she saw a future - a future entirely of Borg.

We spoke on the subject only after arriving on Qo'nos and obtaining lodging.  Our disguises and physical alterations were almost unnoticed: the Gorn's assistant had some experience in the art.  My remodeling was almost completely a success, until an antennae fell off.  And for some reason I do not understand, I burst into  laughter at the insanity of our predicament and my blue antennae on the floor.  We may look strange, sleep in a strange room, and make strange deals with strange people, but in the end, I would be denying my emotions if I did not conclude that this adventure has thus far been... enjoyable.  (Despite the grave, lingering doom.)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Search for Apples [part 12] - Standstill

T'Kala's Personal Log: Stardate 62959.5, Earthdate December 01, 2385.

While I have often heard humans use the expression, "Time flies," I never thought it accurate.  Perhaps now that I have been on Qonos for approximately a full Vulcan season and experienced the inverse of the expression, can I truly appreciate it.  This appreciation is also felt for the composure and seriousness expressed back at Starfleet Academy: here within First City, Klingon singing, drinking, and otherwise lack of reserve seems to weigh heavily on the human emotion of annoyance.  But within the social order of this erratic faction, I see structure: and it comes to them in times of war... a war that may be upon the horizon.  These portents and whispers are currently just that, however: whispers... and they do not further our objective.

What we all want is to find Eva.  My compatriots and I both seem to be loosing hope for finding her here on Qo'nos.  Attending more Orion slave-trade meets than Devon and I have ever cared to attend, none have yielded results.  I am perplexed by this: if Eva did become a commodity of the attacking Klingons and given as a dowry, we should have some lead to help our investigation.  But in all this time, there has been nothing to further our goal.  Kabrina seems to be taking the standstill particularly emotionally.  To this, I find myself trying to comfort her, but not knowing how to relate to such matters.  I grown closer to her... to them both, and I do believe if our quest ends tragically, I will share in their disappointing sadness.

Time will tell, I suppose; time that seems to be moving very slowly on this foreign planet.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Search for Apples [part 13] - Snatched

T'Kala's Personal Log: Stardate 63026.0, Earthdate December 25, 2385.

Many humans celebrate this day - as to why, I am quite unsure.  I remember it had something to do with a being able to transverse time and space, delivering crafts to homes within a single earth lunar cycle.  I never understood their fascination with the obvious myth; I took great pains to disassociate myself from my fellow cadets, their cheering and jolliness bordering on the edge of obnoxiousness and annoyance... However, I do find myself thinking of how much optimism and good-will it brought to their lives (if only for this one particular day).  Anxiousness not withstanding, I find myself wishing to tap into that optimistic human outlook: for this mission's outcome is bleak, at best.

It all started as it had for the past few mornings: I awoke to find Devon and Kabrina already up.  (Oversleeping had become somewhat of a recent trend for me on Qo'nos.  Perhaps my Vulcan physiology was not as tolerant there?)  Kabrina greeted me in her normal manner, and with a wink, made a comment about how I slept, her voice perfectly smooth and alluring.  At which point, Devon used the opportunity to make a rather perverted comment.  Kabrina chuckled, I tried to understand the humor, then we all sat around the terminal planning our routine for the day.  Kabrina and I were to tread through the market place: her as my property, if we were confronted.  Devon was to investigate a lead from a Feringi contact he had met the previous night.  In essence, it would be business as usual in our quest to find Eva.

If I would have known then the outcome of the day, I would have spent a bit more time to savor our last moments together...

In retrospect, it is easy to second-guess one's actions.  My Vulcan half tells me it is illogical to dwell on such things that can not be changed, and while my human side knows this is true, I can't seem to make my thoughts stray from the question, "What if?"
What if I had noticed the blue antennae making their way through the crowd behind us?  Would I have been able to slink away with Kabrina, go back to the cabin and leave before he ever caught up to us?  Or would the outcome have been the same?

Stealthly through the crowd he stalked, catching up to us, and in one motion, pushed Kabrina to the ground, grabbed me by the arm and immediately transported me, leaving her back in that crowded marketplace, dressed as an Orion slave-girl, without an owner.  I can only image what fate befell her... Or in that moment, what fate befell me.

My capture was calculated.  He already had the force-field in place before I realized my surroundings had changed.  And with a quick order to the shuttle's other occupant, we were at warp.  After a moment, the Andorian turned to face me.  His thin upper-lip curled as he spoke the distasteful scenario, "You are Vulcan, fabricated as one of my kind, aren't you?"

Reluctance impeded my speech; neither of us said a word.  It was obvious the tall, suited  man had a purpose in mind, and until I received information as to my predicament, would I divulge any information of my own.  After a long time of conversing with his comrade, he turned and approached my cell again.  "You may refer to me as Agent Jones, Vulcan.  I am with the Department of Temporal Investigations, and as of now, you work for me."

Perhaps it is not humanity's holiday-induced optimism I need; but rather, humanity's hope which I should strive to invoke.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Search for Apples [part 14] - Recruitment

Agent Jones - Department of Temporal Investigations Personal Field Log: Stardate 63026.0, Earthdate December 25, 2385.

Why must we go through such long explanations?  I mean, seriously, I wish those we interact with would just respect our authority; these stubborn academy recruits try my patience.  I suppose I should be taking note from Agent Smith, that emotionless, hard-headed Vulcan!  He sat flying the shuttle during the entire briefing!  Granted, we were in enemy territory, using a holo-emitter and falsifying our transponder to match a Toron shuttle... but still!  He could have at least acknowledged the little pointy-eared runt.  Then again, maybe that is precisely the reason why he ignored us: she was all dressed up to look like a fellow Andorian (even though I could tell the difference right away!).  Maybe Agent Smith simply didn't want to see one of his own posing as a blue goddess... But I digress.

I'll say this for her: she's a tough one, this T'Kala.  Maybe not the fortitude and strength of an Andorian female, but for a pointed-eared Vulcan, she definitely has spark!  A few times, I almost forgot she belonged to my partner's race. Maybe if the circumstances were right, I could test just how much her Vulcan pain (and pleasure) thresholds could endure...  But again, I digress.

The abduction went without fail.  She was traveling with Kabrina - that female Mr. Scott was so protective of - and I don't believe she was able to identify me, since I pushed her to the side.  *laughs* That female fell at the slightest touch!  But it was a perfect diversion to grab T'Kala by the arm and do a quick recall back to the shuttle.

I'll be the first to admit, however, that my anger got the best of me.  (It's been doing that quite a bit, lately.)  Mr. Smith has yet to teach me that Vulcan breathing trick he does, but as always, after speaking with my old partner, I was able to collect myself a bit and talk to the blue-skinned, green-blooded contradiction.

I described our predicament (albeit, a condensed need-to-know version), and tried my best to get her to understand the threat looming on the horizon.  She seemed unimpressed, until I brought to light the ultimatum I previously used on Devon Scott: If she were to help the TDI, I would make sure their - all of their - insubordinate acts remain... undisclosed.  Very unusual reaction, for a Vulcan: a sense of concern washed over her face, followed by a quick resolve to help.  Maybe this little Vulcan actually had feelings for those pink-skins.  I swear, understanding the nature of Vulcans is harder than understanding the nature of temporal anomalies!

Whatever the reason, she agreed to help us...  A decision she may soon regret, I'm sure, for it's not every day you are sent to infiltrate a Borg sphere.  I hope the little racial-confused girl is up for it... To think: our very universe may rest on her perfectly radiant, heaving, ample bosom... but, admittedly, I digress.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Search for Apples [part 15] - Mission Impossible

T'Kala's Personal Log: Stardate 63043.9, Earthdate January 1, 2386.

It was as the TDI had predicted - they're apparently somewhat good at that: predicting outcomes based on time probability - and just as the portents proclaimed, the ship had crashed on the barren world below I am now in orbit of.  A beacon has been repeating on all subspace frequencies advising wayward vessels caution, for this 'demon planet' is (as are all class Y planetoids) inhospitable.  As if walking on such a planet wasn't deadly enough, the fallen vessel I am to infiltrate is remnants of a crashed Borg sphere.

Devon would say something like, "You're lucky: at least it's 'dead in the water'!"  And he would partially be right, in his own unsophisticated explanation.  The vessel below did show signs of life, from what scans could actually be made to the demon planet's surface.  Refracted they may be, Borg life-signs almost always exhibit strange behaviors, being a combination of organic and cybernetic material... I doubt I would be able to ascertain if my target was aboard, even if the ship was in-tact.

My target: a girl claiming to be from the future; a future dominated by the Borg.  It may be a farce.  But it is certainly enough for the Temporal Department of Investigation to get involved; furthermore, for the organization to enlist my help in retrieving the woman, in whatever state she's in.  "Expendable," this Agent Jones had called me.  "Not affiliated with any organization," he had said.  He was right: at the risk of his department getting further involved, he is willing to equip me with the tools necessary for the extraction.  This risk was high, but his gamble was not: I will be replaced, shall I not return.  How many cadets would jump at the chance to do such a mission?  It's where opportunistic academy cadets favor their Klingon warrior counterparts: glory of a completed successful mission will allow them to shine in the eyes of their fellows.  Looking at the debris field below and the unknown dangers therein, however, I know what the veterans and captains mean when they explain that this career is more than you can be prepared for in the academy.

And, in full circle, my thoughts drift to my mother: that stone-cold admiral who's seen so many battles. So many missions with unparalleled danger.  Perhaps a new-found respect may help better our relations... shall I return.

Kabrina would cry right now.  She would try not to give in, stubborn as she is, fighting the urge would only lead to that eventuality.  So she would cry; perhaps even try to stop me from going it alone.  I wonder if I would do the same in that scenario?  The first relationship I've been in, Kabrina and Devon, I hold in special regard.  I care about them... about their future.  Whatever the outcome, the TDI has it within their power to expunge their records as well as mine.  While I have effectively ended my tenure at StarFleet with this ill-begotten mission, I intend to restore such to my loved ones.  Perhaps even the sacrifice I make may yet prove my point to my mother.  It is in this regard, that I send my personal logs in their entirety on encrypted transmission to her, in the event I do not return...

I expect once more to give a situation report upon my arrival on the surface of the planet, to rescue what the TDI refers to as the unstuck temporal-anomaly... namely: one called Eva.

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Search for Apples [part 16] - Demons & Shadows

T'Kala's Field Log: Stardate 63044.2, Earthdate January 1, 2386.

What would generally be viewed by most Vulcans as a welcomed expected situation creates unease and unsettled anxiety in me.  I, in turn, attribute this to my human half (which, in turn, is most likely an excuse).  However, such naivety may just be how I survive such a perilous mission.

Landing on the demon planet was an absolute: scanners could barely reach the surface, so transport was simply not possible.  The environmental suit the TDI equipped me with would hold up better than a standard E.V. suit, yet due to the harshness of the demon planet, would last only with moderate outdoor use.  To this extent, I was fairly relieved when I found a derelict structure in-tact after some time searching the debris.  Would this seemingly borg-infested fragment be my salvation or my undoing?  The E.V. suit interrupted my brief contemplation, urging me to seek the shelter and make a decision.  It seems even on this abandoned world, destiny (as I've heard Kabrina say) intervenes.

No sooner than I solidified my decision, something struck me from behind; sent me hurling toward the ground.  Elements in the sediment acted as expected and within seconds my suit showed signs of corrosion.  I quickly regained my footing, looking around the stone structures for signs of my assailant.  When none could be found, I immediately checked my E.V. readout; which prompted an immediate evacuation from the outdoor elements: I had but minutes left.

Leaking oxygen, temperature climbing, environmental containment failing, I ran as fast as I could toward the dilapidated hutch.  The human emotion fear: would there be breathable air inside?  Would it be lined with Borg?  Was I racing toward my very assimilation?

Another jarring blow from behind combined with my own speed sent me flying toward what appeared to be an in-tact, working door at the foot of the structure.  I landed with a thud, tried to catch my breath, and quickly rolled around to see a silhouette standing before me.  Another beep from my environmental suit made the bright light of the demon planet turn black as the world faded away.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Search for Apples [part 17] - Confusion and Integration

T'Kala's Personal Log

It is with great reluctance and procrastination that I chronicle the details of my mission, and it is only with the intent of deleting it that I am able to do so: for it is only after the many debriefing and counseling sessions that I am able to fully disclose what happened... but only for myself.  Vulcans do not lie.  How fortunate, then, that I am only half Vulcan.  It is also my belief that my somewhat less than stellar record at Starfleet provided additional credibility to my story, and the "upper brass" seems content to believe a few cadets and I took a "joy-ride" and became tangled in a web of events beyond our control.  While for the most part this is true, the true nature of our departure as well as the subsequent mission given by the TDI was omitted.
"Joy-ride... Upper-brass..." As these words leave my mouth, I am still unsure who said them. They remind me of Devon: his fondness for such colloquialisms and metaphors.  However the words I use now are largely in part to my mission's objective: Eva Api-Lyron... But, I get ahead of myself...

Through the darkness, I remember calling out to Kabrina: visions of her flashing during my turbulent slumber.  These thoughts were intermixed with intense feelings - more than I knew myself capable of.  This flood of emotions: anger at being put in the position, anger at my mother, love for my mother and for my friends... Everything pouring into my being and lingering within the dream.  I saw Devon: cried for him, was annoyed by him, yelled at him, held him.  Then again, Kabrina: her lips pressed to mine, her warmth, her belief that Eva held the key for our future...

After slipping in and out of consciousness far beyond the capability of my enhanced TDI E.V. suit should allow, I finally awoke and tried to make sense of my surroundings.  The inside of the shack was covered in Borg technology - as if it were actually in an extension of a Borg ship, and I felt the human emotion of panic-stricken fear when I discovered the technology connected to my body!  My first reaction was to remove the invaders, but nothing would adhere to the commands given; I was completely paralyzed!  The flood of emotions subsided as I cleared my mind; relying on Vulcan purging techniques and upon closer inspection, I realized the technology was keeping me alive.

A darker corner of the room, lit only from the light of a green electric circle revealed a silhouetted figure inspecting my ordeal.  I attempted to speak to the being, but found only an electronic garbled voice resonated from what should my voice.  I found the subject of my speech project itself through thought and flow at the silhouette, as though thought, itself, lingered in the air.

Both my pursuer and my rescuer, the being revealed itself to me slowly stepping out of the shadows.  It was Eva, then slowly... it wasn't.  First appearing to me (perhaps utilizing my cortical implant) the image of the way Eva appeared as she saw herself mesmerized my thoughts.  However, the illusion quickly faded (perhaps due to Vulcan logic?) and a withered being appeared in her place.

Her clothes, ripped and torn, revealed skin devoid of color save the web of veins visible from underneath.  Several tubular puncture wounds were visible, and Borg ocular implant surrounded a darkened eye.  Her movement seemed erratic, slow and strenuous as she approached me.  I felt no fear, but something different: pity, perhaps? empathy? for her condition.  I felt such a need to help her, the thought hadn't occurred to me then that she existed this way due to her saving my life... I try not to think about that now.  I must rely on logic to see that she understood I was her best hope of fulfilling her mission, even though it would mean forfeiting mine...

My mission: to save her.  Her mission: to save us all.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Search for Apples [part 18] - Mission Complete

T'Kala's Final Personal Log

Perhaps most unnerving was the realization that my mind was no longer just mine; it was part of a larger collective.  Yet, the most settling of this deprivation of individuality is that one is surrounded by other minds that have already gone through such an experience.  Thus, after accepting it, I felt comfort in knowing I now shared a consciousness with others.  In the academy, I felt torn in two directions: my human side wanting to rebel, my Vulcan side craving order and discipline.  There, within the minds of those stranded on the surface of this demon planet, I felt at ease... perhaps for the first time.  There was order and chaos, a union of biology and machine.  If this was to be my fate, I decided it was one that had been exaggerated, perhaps by human fear of loosing one's self.

Individual thought and emotion converted itself to data, flowing into the collective conscious I was now apart of; and yet, it didn't.  Somehow within the collective, there was a sanctuary, a "safe" area, isolated and bordered off from the rest of the consciousnesses of the drones.  I followed the binary wave to this place - to the safe harbor of this small shack.  Eva guided me here - she had saved me both from the physical limitations of my biology on this Demon planet, as well as saving my conscious from the allure of the collective.

Our link provided all I could convey and all she was sent here to do.  Within nano-seconds, I understood her mission and its importance to all of our futures, and I realized my part in the scheme of fate.  At once, we were one being... a melding of minds.  I felt the emotions she felt for Devon and Kabrina and knew she felt my feelings for them as well.  I felt such strong emotions for Tryn - a being I have never met, and a deep love I've never allowed myself to feel.  What I saw in Eva changed me forever.  I stared into her ocular implants as she came closer to my face and felt relief when she smiled at me.

I knew what she needed me to do but felt such sorrow in my heart for what she had to do for us all; and for the first time I can remember, tears streamed down my face.  Eva slowly wiped them away as the tubules extended from her other hand and inserted themselves into my neck.  Instantly, I felt the rush of the advanced Borg nanites flow into my being and start transmitting out past Eva's firewall.  Their instruction set would set the Borg drones into a self-repair status, eventually allowing them to leave this planet and join the greater Borg collective.  There, the advanced nanite instructions would set the Borg back in their quest for perfection and stop them from destroying everything in the attempt to do so.

Eva was sent back to deliver this crippling blow to the enemy that had assimilated the future, and it was a journey only one from her lineage - a lineage of genetic manipulation traced back to the Eugenics Wars - could make.  Tryn had known this about her, whether Eva realized it herself or not.  After salvaging enough parts from the Borg to create a trans-dimensional warp conduit, then collapsing it to create the rift in space-time, only he was able to successfully navigate to the correct point in time - and only she was able to make the trip.  How he found her and how he was able to navigate the time continuum was a mystery to Eva, but their love... that was genuine.  He gave her something she needed for this journey: a piece of his powerful mind and what's more... He gave her hope; and that's all she'd ever had on this mission: hope.  And now, I feel (actually feel) hope for our own future.  This gift, among many others, Eva Api-Lyron bestowed upon me.

The nanite rush began to subside, from a roar to a trickle.  Mission complete, Eva's organic components began to degenerate, as mine did the opposite.  My mobility back, I sat up and came to catch Eva's failing body.  She looked up at me and smiled a quiet smile, before I could no longer hear her voice.  The silence in the cabin was deafening.  I could no longer hear the collectiveness, no matter how hard I tried to reconnect.  This, was Eva's last and final act: she disabled my cortical transceiver and gave my soul back to me.

Only after many counseling sessions have I come to an acceptance with my individuality.  I still retain some mannerisms and colloquialisms I gained from my time in the collective, and they do resurface from time to time (my mother hates them!)...  My mother...  Through this ordeal she has been by my side, reminding me of the Vulcan teachings and mental exercises.  In some ways, I feel this entire complexly interwoven adventure has been for the sole purpose of bringing my mother and I closer.  In any case, my mother has welcomed her half-Vulcan, half-human, half-Borg daughter back into her life and I've discovered adhering to my Vulcan upbringing beneficial to my recovery.

Half-Borg: Something (that while initially terrifying) has yielded opportunities I never believed would have happened.  I've become quite a commodity in the scientific community as a 'liberated drone' (their term, not my own).  And I have even been working at the Daystrom Institute with Seven of Nine - one of the first liberated Borg.  With Star Fleet now understanding more about how the Borg assimilate drones due to the techniques Eva used on me, they are now been able to revive and liberate more captured individuals.

Despite my attempts to ascertain information on the Temperal Department of Investigation, no more relevant has been forthcoming.  I believe their involvement in this matter has been concluded, although, sometimes I feel as though my actions are being watched.  And so, Eva's gift to the galaxy remains largely unknown.  I do believe she would have wanted it that way.  Cautiousness of the timeline not withstanding, Eva Api-Lyron set out what she meant to do, whether anyone knows it or not:

She saved us all from a horrible fate, and gave us hope for the future...