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Cdr Rian Kwai

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About Cdr Rian Kwai

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    Cdr Rian Kwai
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    USS Republic
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    Too numerous to count. :)
  1. Trying to Fit a Round Peg in a Square Hole Joint Log by Kania Kawalas-Ace & Rian Kwai Kania Kawalas-Ace sat down next to Rian Kwai as ordered. It was obvious that she had lost her fighting spirit with the idea she should not ever return home. "Aye sir," she spoke quietly in a low tone. "There's a human saying I've heard over and over lately," Rian sat with one leg tucked under the other, seemingly relaxed. She fiddled with a blade of grass as she continued. " 'You can't fit a round peg in a square hole.' What do you think that means?" Kania sat looking at the ground, thinking for a moment. "The obvious? You can't place a round peg in a square hole?" She glanced at the acting Captain. "I don't understand what that has to do with us not getting home and the fact that no one will listen to what I have to say." "You know what I've observed, Kania?" Rian plucked the blade of grass out of the ground. Choosing her words carefully, she continued. "You are a very determined woman. I've watched you, over and over again, try to get your point across. Trying to get everyone to listen." She sighed. "Very determined. Would you agree?" "I was. I'm giving up now. You heard Apollo. He said he will not change his way for anyone. But that's the only way to get off this planet and back to the Republic. So......" Kania trailed off with a heavy sigh. "There no sense be trying any more." "Aaaaannnnnd that's my other observation." She glanced at Kania. "Please, just hear me out. I'm not saying this as a judgement, but an observation, Kania. You use the same tact, the same message, trying to drill your ideas in to the crew members over and over and over again, even when it's clear that tact....that path isn't working. Then you get frustrated and quit." Kwai shook her head. "Instead of regrouping, revaluating and trying another path, you keep down the same road. You're trying to drive a round peg into a square hole." She sat there listening, understanding now what Kwai was saying. But the way she was presenting her message was the only way she knew. "Thing is this is all I have to go on. This is what I was told. This is *all* I was told. I can't make it anything else." Kania let out a soft sigh, becoming silent once more. "I understand that. There's no tactical plan here from the Prophets. We were dumped here with really no instructions, no rules, no goals to accomplish." Rian leaned back, crossing her legs at the ankle. "And maybe that's part of the point. Maybe we're supposed to try to figure how to accomplish this on our own." She shrugged. "So, if the way you're presenting message isn't working, what else can we try?" Kania repositioned herself to sit cross legged Indian style. "I am not sure what else to try. I just don't know." Kania then leaned back, placing her arms at an angle behind to hold her body up. "I don't see giving up a viable option, do you?" Kawalas-Ace looks over to Rian oddly. "A viable option? What other option would that be?" "Strategic retreat." Kwai wiggled ankles, watching her boots jiggle on her feet. "Regroup, try another direction. You know what worked best at camp?" She glanced up. "Not so much lecturing the kids on what to do, but showing them. The best lessons learned were not verbal ones, but the ones where the kids figured things out on their own just by watching others." "I have been trying to help out in every way I can. I have gotten through to Dave. He's even trying to help tell everyone else, but idea isn't getting anywhere. No one is getting the point. How else can we try to get the message across?" Rian made a face, "Um...Dave's not been the best mouthpiece for this message." She winced. "If he comes back alive from that mission down river, I'll be surprised." The acting Captain took a slow breath, regrouping for a moment, before attempting to get the conversation back on track. "Tell me...what have you understood from our conversation so far?" Kania looked away from Rian. She stared at her feet for a moment, then glanced to the sky as she formed her answer. "To back off and not push so much?" "Aye." She smiled a bit. "Let's...talk about something else that might help you figure out a new path." She bit her lip. "Um....tell me a bit about your daughter." Kania's face dropped to display a very depressed state. "She is or well. Or was doing well in school and loves being on the ship. She thinks the world of everyone here, well there. I can't imagine what she's going through now. She's normally okay when I leave her but she always knows that I'm on duty or on an away mission. This time she has no idea where I am." Rian listened for a moment, then started to ask questions that she hoped would lead to her next point. "Bet she's as stubborn as you are. Right?" Thinking before she answered, Kania shakes her head slightly no. "Actually Captain she has a more level head than I do. She takes more after her father in that area." "Thank the gods for small miracle," She chuckled teasingly. "But I'm sure there are times when she tests your patience." "I've been told most children do at some point. There's nothing odd about that." Kania sat back up again and leaned forward slightly over her crossed legs. "So what do you do when that happens?" Kania looks Rian directly in the eyes, not certain she knew where she was going with this conversation. "When she tries my patience, I give her something else to occupy her time. Something constructive." "So you redirect her attention, right?" Rian asked. "I guess you could say that." "Have you ever tried to make her do something she doesn't want to do?" "She's normally very compliant. So no not really." Kania shrugged. "But have you ever tried?" Rian pushed a little, looking for an opening to get her point across. "Maybe once. And that was her going to bed at one of the holiday parties. BluRox told her a second time and she went then without further question." "Why didn't it work when you told her?" "I'm not sure." Kania looked away. She'd felt as if she was not firm enough with her daughter, but didn't want to come right out and admit it. "You didn't want to make her. Did you?" Rian saw the opening, and started to pursue the next line of questioning. Kania started to become defensive, thinking that Kwai was attacking her parenting skills, "What makes you say that? Of course I wanted to make her but I also did not wish to make a scene." "Because making a scene would be bad. She'd be upset with you, right?" Rian ignored Kania's defensive tone, remaining calm as she continued with her point. "The allusion of control creates negativity, right? Negativity doesn't accomplish anything except resentment and rebellion. So can you really control what another being does?" Rian tilted her head. "I mean, you might be able to control their actions by ordering them around. But their attitude, their thoughts.......?" "I guess not. Everyone has their own thoughts, and ..." Kania stopped suddenly, realizing where Kwai was going with this conversation. "Everyone has their own thoughts and you can not make them change them or force them in another direction." "Aye," Rian nodded as Kania seemed to appear to understand her point. "You can only control your own thoughts and actions. You can't force individuals to do what you want. What you do, however can influence others. But you have to let them draw their own conclusions." Rian raised a brow, wondering if Kania really did understand just how she got the reluctant officer to follow Rian's own train of thought. Kania may have gotten Rian's point, but did Kania realize how she got there? "I think I see what your saying Captain. I just do not know how to tell them any other way than I already have." Kania stood up, "Sir. Permission to be alone for a few moments?" Rian stood and nodded her head. "Aye. As long as you promise not to give up on going home." Kania watched as the acting Captain stood up next to her. She seemed to still exhibit some signs of depression, "Aye sir. I'll try not to. But it also does not look like I should be the one pushing the issue either." She turned and headed up to a ledge overlooking the wilderness to reflect and regroup.
  2. Principles of Survival "Okay, let's rock and roll." Evie Morgan dropped a bowling ball into the back of the camp's utility vehicle, and then flopped down in the seat next to Rian Kwai. At least Rian thought it was a bowling ball. What else would be in her bag that would make that noise and cause the vehicle's back end to sag under its weight? It was either that or bricks. Rian couldn't tell, and it wasn't worth the whiplash to glance back to check it out. “I thought you said we weren't participating in this 'survival' training." Rian punched the ignition button, and then slowly backed the roaring 'gator' vehicle out of its parking space. After six weeks at summer camp as the Procurement Officer (Translation: Camp Gopher), Rian shouldn’t have been surprised at what creative lengths the camp staff or the campers would go to implement a program. Yet the bulging bag in the back of her utility vehicle had Rian both curious and afraid. Evie could go to such extremes when pursuing a ‘fun’ time. The last time Evie had one of her bright ideas it had landed Rian in the health lodge with a healthy case of poison ivy. So the appearance of the bad had Rian doubting the sanity of her decision to spend her last summer before the Academy under her best friend’s influence. “We’re not,” Evie reached around to search the bag while Rian engaged the drive mechanism and started down the dusty road towards Pioneer Mountain. It wasn’t really a mountain per say, more like a big hill. One you could easily hike up to the top of in twenty minutes, fifty minutes if you had a bunch of young campers tramping along behind you. But due to the elevation above sea level, it was considered a mountain in Terrain terms. “We’re going to play the victims. I was thinking shuttle crash? Or, maybe, tornado refugees.” “So what’s with the load of bricks in the back?” Rian dared to cast just a quick sideways glance at her friend before starting up the rocky terrain of the narrow mountain fire road. Evie was holding a long neck bottle of red liquid, staring at the label intently. “Victim supplies.” ‘What, huh?” “You know. Burn rags, face paint, fake blood,” She dangled the bottle near Rian’s ear. “Stuff to make it realistic. Gawd, I looooooove CIT survival training. I had such a blast during my CIT year.” She saw Rian’s skeptical look. “Oh come on now, don’t be such a stick in the mud. Think of it like practice for the Academy this fall.” “I don’t think the Academy survival training will be anything like this.” Rian stopped the vehicle suddenly on a rare flat switchback and grabbed the bottle. “Nor do I think they’ll be using catsup for make-up.” Evie grabbed the bottle back. “Hey, you do what you can with what you can. “ “I thought the first rule of camping is was to waste nothing, “ Rian twisted in her chair. “What happened to all your preaching about the Basic Principles of Leave No Trace. Isn’t this a bit… well… against the rules?” “You just don’t want to get dirty.” “Says the girl who was reading to the label to make sure it wouldn’t stain her clothing. Ha! Unlike you, I don’t mind getting dirty. I just don’t want to douse myself in a sticky sweet liquid. That’s like putting a sign on my body that says ‘Free Buffet Here’.” Evie made a face. Rian sighed, shifted the vehicle back in gear and started back up the mountain. “What happened to teaching these kids about the basics. Food. Water. Shelter. Fire. Basic Sanitation.” “This is more fun. Who cares about that other stuff right now. They’re here to have a good time. Have an adventure. These kids are playing a game. A camp version of ‘Worse Case Scenario’. The What If game. None of it is stuff they’ll need to be staff. It’s just one night, Rian. Not a life time. ” Evie stowed the bottle back into her bag. “But what if they *do* need to know?” Rian slowed down through a hairpin turn. “I mean, what if they found us splattered on the side of the mountain because the gator tipped over.” “Oh, I didn’t think of that. Think Coop can help us tip the gator over to make it look realistic?” “You are not tipping over my gator. The Director would kill me.” Rian scowled as Evie laughed. “Evie, I’m serious. What if—“ “If pigs fly.” Evie’s tone had Rian imagining her best friend rolling her eyes at Rian’s concerns. “Look, first, you’re too good of a navigator for that to happen. And second, these are kids. we’re trying to peak their interest, not scar them for life. Just relax. Enjoy the game. Quit taking this so seriously. Have fun.” “I can’t help it. It’s the way I am.” “Look, the secret to any survival scenario is simple. Just three things you need to know. “ Rian stopped the vehicle long enough to watch her friend tick off her three principles of survival with her fingers . “First – Stay Calm. Second – Act like you know what you’re doing. Third – “ She paused, flashing a toothy grin at her friend. “Don’t get voted off the Island.” Rian snarled, punching the ignition so the vehicle lurched forward, Evie laughing hysterically in the passenger seat. “Why am I friends with you?” ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ “Stay Calm. Act like you know what you’re doing.” Rian muttered to herself as she walked with Joy towards the tree so they could speak privately. Staying calm wasn’t going to be easy. She wanted to scratch her arms. She dug her fingers into the meaty part of her palms until her knuckles turned white to keep from scratching. She could do it though, if she concentrated. Acting like she knew what she was doing would be easier, considering her training both with the ‘Fleet and her one civilian summer at camp. Food. Shelter. Water. Fire. Sanitation. She knew what had to be done. She just needed to make sure she could clearly communicate it to the others so they could survive for however long it would take. “Don’t get voted off the Island.” Rian muttered, then glanced at the others assembled behind her. Prevent mutiny, maintain order and harmony. If only Evie realized what her third principle could have meant to Rian now. Evie would be pitching a fit right about now.
  3. Choice Admiral BluRox and Cdr Kwai Bringing up the files on her desk computer that she wanted to share with Rian, she senses the woman's unease from across the room. "Am I such a monster, that you can't relax around me Rian? It seems like half the ship is always on edge around me." Shaking her head and exhaling with frustration, she downloads the files onto a padd so Rian could look at them, while sitting on the more comfortable couch. Rian exhaled deeply, pressing her finger tips into the back of her scalp to massage her now aching head. Shame gave way to guilt for the Trill as she thought about Errrika’s comments as they’d entered the room. She’d never meant for anyone to feel responsible for her, let alone when she let her problems get the best of her. “It’s not that Admi—“ Rian stopped herself and took another deep breath. “I’m sorry, Blu, but when I came in here I expected to be reprimanded, not hugged. You just caught me off guard, that’s all.” Sighing, Errrika held the padd out to Rian to take, "I have to be honest with you. If I had to do this all over again, I not sure I'd have joined Starfleet, I'd have listened to Thom, and have settled down back on Cait and raised a family with him. Who knows, perhaps he'd still be alive if I had. He had never wanted to join the military, just stay at home, but after I left and enlisted in the planetary forces, and the rest is in those files. He was never the same after that incident with Torrar and the Orions, and when I left that second time, he shut himself away from me, and went out to help fight the heroic battle.” Dropping down on the other end of the couch, Blu looked out the window across the room and in a quiet voice, "and now he's dead, because I did not set aside my selfish wishes, and stayed with him." Hesitating, Rian had taken the padd from Blu, but had only pretended to scan it as she listened to her speak. It at least gave her something to do with her hands and eyes when her voice failed her for a few moments. “I’m so sorry for your loss, ma’am.” Turning back towards the woman on the other end of the couch, "Rian, I've told you before, that you could come talk to me about that anytime you needed too. I know, I know, locked in a box you could not. But that's long term scarring that the doctor reported. You've been scratching at your arms again.” “Honest, it’s not that bad.” The Trill protested. "Bull! No, no...don't deny it Rian" waggling a finger at her. "It's for the best that you get this out, and tell me what is bothering you so much. I feel responsible as it is, from what happened to you on that mission, and what it's done to you since. I should have seen that you had the proper counseling afterwards, and not let you just tell me you were ok. That you were able to tough your way though it.” “What is it you want me to tell you? We’ve talked about this before. And you’ve seen the reports. Nothing’s changed. What more do you want from me?” "Yes, we've spoken a little on it before, but I think you need to talk it out more. I hate to say it this, it's probably the first time I've wished I had a counselor on the ship since...” Errrika stopped and stared at the padd in Rian’s hands. “Well, we don’t have one. So what now?“ Kwai snapped with a little more venom and bitterness that she’d intended. Blu paused a moment, a little taken aback by Rian's tone, then continued, “Either we sit and talk, a bit each day. Or we do have one that has served as a counselor before,..however, I question the stability of that one as well. Holly once served as our counselor,” “Holly? Joined gods no.” “I'm not sure I want to subject you to her. I sort of remember her wrapping you up in flypaper one night. No. I think Holly would be a poor choice. So, that leaves you with me. Your choice. You talk with me, or you talk with Holly.” Rian sat there looking at Blu, a bit stunned herself. “Rian, I'll tell you what, I'll be fair with you, and let you take that padd with you, you're one of the very few I'd trust with that information, and hope that you'll delete it as soon as you've read it. But if I'm going to expect you to tell me what's bothering you, well......I feel I should be fair, share my dark secrets with you as well, cause.....honestly, there are days I wish I had someone to talk to as well. And for the record, Holly didn't help me with it either. Anyway, take a look, and we'll talk tomorrow. Ok?"
  4. Joined gods, how did I let it get this bad this time? The shame I feel right now runs deeper and is far more painful than these gashes on my arm. Another trip to sickbay. Another notation into my medical file. Another red flag to the next Counselor. Another potential threat to my commission and career. This is not good. Honest, I'm not unstable. I just had a panic attack. Okay, so it was the worse panic attack I've ever had. Spite, I was stuck in a small, hot, dark box with absolutely no idea how to get out. I'm more than a little claustrophobic when confined like that. I couldn't control myself. I was petrified. And when I'm nervous, frightened or upset, I can't stop myself - I scratch. Now I sit here watching Dr Weber tend to my wounds. My self inflicted wounds. Keeping my mouth shut. It's not that I won't answer questions about what happened, but I'm not exactly a fountain of information about it either. Dr Weber is no dummy. She's going to spot a lie from me in a New York minute. Especially if I start scratching my arms, the exact same nervous twitch that landed me in here in the first place. So I'll answer her questions with the minimum amount of information to keep me out of trouble and won't raise any further red flags on my medical history. Be truthful, but not elaborate. Let the doctor draw her own conclusions, hopefully the ones that won't dig me any further than my fingernails have all ready. Besides, I have another problem to worry about. Blu. I know she recognized the gashes. I saw her face. It's the only reason why I'm here first instead of on the bridge. I'm hoping Dr Weber hurries up. I need to get up on the bridge as soon as possible. I really don't want Blu to think I've gone off the deep end too. She doesn't need that kind of headache right now. Like I said. I'm not unstable. I just panicked. Now I'm embarrassed. Upset. And afraid this will affect the others. Or what they'll think. I don't want them to think I can't handle the pressure. Because, I can. Honest. I wouldn't have lasted this long on this tug if I took a dive every time we faced the bad guy, delusional governor, the Federation enemy, or the insane scientist. I just had one freak out moment. Everyone does, right? It's all over now. I'm back in control and I'm ready to hit the ground running again. I just hope I get the chance. Joined gods, how did I let it get this bad this time? “A woman is like a tea bag, you can't tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.”
  5. Truth, Lies and Speculation Daise Erei'Riov Morgana t'Ksa Morgana was having a difficult time determining what was truth and was her own speculation. She was positive she worked in the medical field. Her intense examination of the medical bay had confirmed that ‘truth’ to her. She somehow knew exactly what each piece of equipment did, each readout meant, understood most of the diagnosis, and could rattle off mundane medical terminology as if it was written on the back of her eyeballs. What specialty of medicine, she could not determine. But one thing was for sure, she *knew* medicine. The problem was, despite her extensive knowledge, she desperately needed access to the Galae Medical Database to determine exactly what had happen to the crew. Oh, she had her theories about what happened. Several of them. Any good maenaken would. And she knew she did na have the full picture of what had happened to them. Only Laehval, Destorie and the rest of the crew could help her fill in the gaps and refine her theories into facts. But without the medical data from the crews files or even Galae research to support her theories, that’s all they were. Theories. All she needed was access to the computer so she could solve at least io mystery in her life. Morgana felt that other mysteries were a bit harder to solve. Such as her bonding status with Destorie. Here she was left with only her speculations and theories. She speculated that perhaps their bonding was an arrangement between their families. Perhaps that would explain the lack of familiarity between the re of them. It was na unheard of on ch’Rihan. Prominent families jockeying for power and prestige by selling off their offspring like cattle to form stronger alliances. The political power mongers playing matchmaker. And perhaps this bonding was a recent engagement. There was na much in the N’Dak quarters to suggest that a woman lived there. Especially with the look of the second bedroom. Aside from a wardrobe filled with women’s clothing, Morgana saw no other sign that she belonged there. Na photos. Na personal mementos that she could discern. Na ‘girly’ things. This was something she would address with Destorie, since he seemed to have a better grasp on what was truth and fiction. It troubled Morgana that she could na recall her family or even much about herself. Who were they? Where were they? What did they do? How had she ended up here? Did she have any siblings or parents that worried about her? Or had they forgotten about her as soon as they had made their ally treaty with the N’Dak family? She had explored all of medical found na io trace of her personal existence there either. Nothing resembling a photo, picture, memo, or graffiti in the refresher. In fact, there as hardily any such things throughout medical to indicate who occupied which station. Just a well used set of g’Olf clubs in the Daise’Maenak’s office, and she was na sure who they belonged to. Without access to her own personal logs, like the rest of the crew milling about medical, she was again lost. So Morgana braced herself as she prepared to present her theories and speculations to Destorie and to stress to him the need for Engineering to put computer access top priority. She was, after all, bonded to the Daise’Erei’Riov and that should count for something. Ie? Morgana was nothing but persistent when it came to getting what she wanted. And she wanted her memories back. *** *** *** *** What Morgana did na know, what she did na was suspect, however, was that a good portion of the life she was leading at the moment was a lie. She did na belong in these quarters. Nor was she wearing her own clothing; these the Khre’Riov t’Rexan’s clothing that N’Dak had moved into his own quarters. Nor was she really bonded to a N’Dak after all. Morgana did na know about Laehval and Destorie’s little plot to keep t’Rexan from knowing the truth. And she did na know to what extent the re of them would go to protect their secret. Because of this, would pursuing the truth or her filling her quest to regain her memories get Morgana killed?
  6. Shoreleave Non-Excitement Cdr Rian Kwai Humdrum. Lackluster. Unexciting. Monotonous. Dry. The most uneventful shoreleave in Rian's career history. A shoreleave that could almost be considered dull. Almost. She'd hoped for less than her usual hair raising shoreleave activities. So far, she'd been almost drown, fought with a Narsician (not her fault, honest!), blamed for an interstellar terrorism incident (again, not her fault), brought a deadly virus back as souvenir (yeah, that one would be her fault), and put members of the crew in potential mortal danger by getting conned into playing a Wadi game. And these were the events Rian could pull out of her most recent memory. Enough personal adventure to last ten lifetimes, even for a Trill. After all that, an unexciting shoreleave was most welcome indeed. Unlike many of her crewmates, Rian left the ship to wander around the New Bajor docking station to prove to herself that she could have a 'normal' R&R trip. A normal, relaxing, boring shoreleave. She spent some time perusing the station's promenade staring at the windows at the newest fashions. Several shop keepers tried to entice her to come in, to examine their wares more closely. She shook her head no. Although fun to look at, Rian didn't see how practical it would be to purchase anything since she spent 75% of her time in a uniform, and the rest of the time sleeping. She enjoyed reading the latest data chip titles to educate or entertain humanoids. Rian saw titles such as: Furry Logic: Business Strategies for Dealing with Follicle Challenged Races, Practical Tribble-keeping, Kill It and Grill It Cookbook - A Human's Twist on Klingon Cuisine, and the Secret Lives of Androids. All were titles that brought a small smile to Rian's lips, but provoked no other interest in purchasing the manuscripts. The only thing she seemed in danger of was purchasing something from the Cinnabon booth in the food court. Sweet, sticky and smelling like cinnamon, it called out to her. No, that's not right. It dragged her halfway across the food court by her nostrils. She couldn't contain the dangerous craving that she recognized from her past. So Rian cave in and bought a cinnamon roll anyway. Returning to the docking port, munching on her sticky cinnamon roll, Rian marveled at just how quiet her shoreleave adventure had been. She practically skipped her way back to the ship. She took it as proof that, once in a while, the joined gods smiled down to her…….even though it wouldn't last long. Certainly not while she was in the 'Fleet. And certainly not as long as she remained onboard Republic.
  7. "I'll leave you this, little one. A quote from one of your own philosophers. 'You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than a year of conversation.' What conclusion you draw from this game is your own. I, my dear, have my own ideas." ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Rian Kwai was doing homework. Yes, that's right. Homework. Since returning from the Wadi station, she was acting a bit more neurotic than usual. Something Rian recognized almost immediately after her conversation with Apollo in Ten Forward. And now she was certain it was starting to show to the other crew, especially since her most obvious 'tell' was the itching. And the itching was back with a vengeance. Some might think that perhaps it was the stress of knowing the fate of her crewmates rested on the roll of her dice. Or maybe it was that detested slang name Apollo insisted on using, the one that irked her enough to be provoked into throwing something at him. Or they might think that she was worried about what Blu would do when she finally confronted her about her un-officer like behavior. Or perhaps it was a combination of that, and more. Recognition of her own issues and her anger that she wasn't doing such a hot job in handling it caused a cascade effect, exaggerating the problem. This of course, caused more frustration, more anger, and more itching. The homework - - trying to find out what philosopher Cero the Wadi game-master had quoted had become an obsessive attempt to divert her neurotic tendencies towards a more productive outcome. It hadn't yet stopped the itching. But it had started Rian thinking. It's Plato. He quoted Plato. An ancient toga wearing philosopher from Earth. Ha. Bet he never met a Wadi game-master. Rian leaned forward, reading more related quotes on 'play'. Some made her laugh. Others were perplexing for her. For a girl who had little time to 'play' as a child on a space freighter, she didn't always appreciate the ideas that some cultures had that 'play' was a form of work for a child. Play helped children develop socially, physically, mentally and emotionally, or so she was reading. Did she missed out because she didn't have the same carefree childhoods many of the cultures she read about had, or even what some of her fellow Trills had. But by joined gods, when she did get to play, she played hard. That had to count for something. Right? Did play have to end after childhood? Was the Wadi love of games healthier? They seemed happier. What constitute play for an adult anyway? Certainly those trapped in the Wadi 'game' probably wouldn't think of that as 'play'. What about sports? Holodeck creations? 3-D Chess? What? And what about the Wadi games anyway? 'All other species play to play. We're the only species that plays to win. Maybe that's why there are so many losers.' -- Lily Tomlin The itching had stopped, not that she'd yet noticed. Rian sighed softly, staring at the computer screen as she pondered these thoughts and more until she felt something warm, soft, fluffy and decidedly wet drop onto her bare foot. When she looked down, she saw a fluffy white canine wagging his tail, mouth agape as if smiling and trying to pounce on the small stuffed animal now resting on her toes. Rian kicked the toy away, watching Buddy bound after it. He soon dropped it at her feet again. "What? Were you reading over my shoulder?" The Trill picked up the slobbery toy, stood up and walked towards the door. She slipped on her shoes, then picked up the leash. "Alright off to the holodeck we go, Buddy. Let's go play." '…we play for the sake of the game, for play itself. In this manner, we participate in the essence of existence.' -- George Leonard
  8. Two Lives, One Choice Internal Thoughts of Rian "Kiwi" Kwai If I’m going to die in this mission, then let my death mean something. If I understand this time travel thing right, then that is exactly what will happen in a sense. This Rian, as well as those with me, will be sacrificing herself so that not just our past selves will live on but so that trillions upon trillions of Federation citizens don't live out the future we’ve just come from. A future that means certain annihilation by alien beings. The theory behind all this is unimportant to me, as it makes my eyes cross just thinking about it. But I know that after completing this course of action, I will cease to exist as I am and all others will continue on as fate had originally intended. Believe it or not, I have very mixed feelings about this. I remember the Rian of this time, shortly after the inquiry into her…rather my actions…prior to the incidents on earth and the space station. The suspicion. The fear. The lack of trust. The feelings of betrayal, anger, sorrow, and desperation. I had to have an escort by the Rear Admiral no less so that I could leave the ship at DS9 to perform necessary tasks before departure. This was because although I had been cleared of wrong doing there was the possibility that I could get into further trouble. That Rian felt very alone, afraid and angry. And I’m not sure I want to relive that era of my life again. It has taken this Rian, the Rian I am today, a long time to get over the events surrounding the explosions and formal ‘Fleet inquiry. To feel safe again amongst my own crew. I am no longer the angry woman I was then. No longer do I fear for my career or for my very life. And what about the trust I hoped I had built with crew members only to watch it crumble when I was blamed for something I didn’t do? Only when I volunteered to find us transportation from Risa to Sky Habor Aegis, and trusted to do so, did I hope to believe that my crew mates trusted me again. After all I’ve been through…after all I’ve learned….do I really want to go back to being that frightened and angry Trill again? Not really. But I will because that is what needs to be done. It’s not my life that needs the saving. There are too many other living creatures at stake here. My choice must be to sacrifice who I am today. Correction, I have no choice, just a duty to do what is right. I must move forward for them, even if in the end it means moving two steps back for my own self. My only wish is that I could tell that old Rian to hang in there. That lessons will be learned soon that will help her through this difficult time. She will be alright. My mother used to tell me “Live your life to the fullest, whether it be one life or a hundred and one.” I’m being given a gift here. As an unjoined Trill, I’m about to actually live two lives. I’m ending one now, and I hope my alternate life line will be just as full as the one I’m ending now.
  9. "We have to travel incognito, right?" Rian had asked the others only a few moments after they had materialized on Risa and had to start formulating a plan to get them to Aegis in the nick of time to stop Brock. They were in a desperate predicament. How in the world were they going to be able to travel from Risa to Aegis without causing more damage to the time stream. It was when Rian watched a small freighter streak off from the landing pads in the far distance of the Risan resorts that she got an idea. She and her father still had friends in the freight trade, perhaps they could catch a ride with one without raising suspicion. She only hoped someone friendly was traveling their way. Blu was wounded, and wouldn't be able to hobble around the tradesmen district for a long, and the injury might cause too much attention to themselves. So Rian told them all to meet her in one hour at small inn bordering the tourist district where they could rest and still not cause too much commotion. Rian would go alone and search for transportation. She hoped this would work, because she hated to see what they'd have to come up with for Plan B. Ten minutes in the spacedock master's office pouring over ship's posted itineraries and registries produced three promising possibilities. All three were owned or operated with humanoids who knew her father. Two would pass through the system near Aegis. But only one of them would ask the least amount of questions about her situation. Quentin Reed, owner of a small freighting outfit out of Tarus four, who would be leaving Risa in just a few short hours with a shipment of Risan perfume and a few other trade goods for the sectors near Aegis. He was Rian's best bet to catch a ride to Aegis. There was a bar not far from the landing pads that many of the crew of the freight ships frequented when they were on Risa. Before entering the establishment, Rian did her best to look inconspicuous as possible, stuffing her uniform jacket into her bag, adjusting the civilian shirt given to her before their 'jump', clipping her combadge to the inside pocket of her pants (she wouldn't lose it again!), splattering dust upon her 'Fleet uniform boots. She felt the curious and sometimes cold stares of the patrons when she entered. When she was quickly and warmly welcomed by the woman tending bar who recognized her as Jozep's daughter, most of that initial attention dissipated. She spotted Quentin in a back booth, one hand scrolling through a data recording device, the other hand clasping a meaty sandwich as beefy as he was. She took a deep breath before approaching him. "Hello Mr Reed. Remember me?" Rian Kwai smiled hesitantly, making her look shy instead of as nervous as she was. Would this work? He glanced up, then did a double take as he stood up to greet her. "Rian...Rian Kwai? Rian! My, how grown up you are!" He gave her a hug bear hug, lifting the Trill girl off her feet. "I haven't seen you since you were this big." He demonstrated with his hand a height of less than a few meters. "Sit, sit, sit...come talk to me. What have you been up to?" Rian slide into the seat opposite the large human. The two exchanged pleasantries, caught up on recent events, gossiped about families, talked about 'old times' for a while before Rian decided to steer the conversation into the direction she needed it to go. Luckily Quentin gave her an opening. "So what are you doing on Risa?" Rian sighed softly, shaking her head, "I was supposed to be on shoreleave. But I think I'm having a string of bad luck because Risa has brought me nothing but a headache. Joined gods, I don't even know what I'm going to do." "What's wrong?" Quentin asked in a fatherly voice. "You wouldn't believe it if I told you." Rian tried to build up that sympathy as well as her courage to tell the next part of this lie. "Try me." He leaned back in his chair, pushing the empty plate away. "Okay," Rian started to launch into her cover story. "We're on shoreleave...a bunch of friends of mine and I for two weeks. One of them got the bright idea to come out here for some R&R. Fun in the sun, you know? Yeah, well, some R&R this trip has been. I made the mistake of leaving them alone for one minute, and I don't know who's bright idea it was, but they decided to check out one of the casinos." "Get in over their heads, did they?" "Worse. They gambled away our return trip tickets." "You're kidding?" "No, I'm not." Rian continued to lie, trying to keep the story simple to make it believe able but also something that has been commonly known to have happened on Risa. "I have no idea what we're going to do now. I mean we're stuck. I don't have money for another ticket. Our ship isn't going to swing by and pick us up. And if we don't report to Sky Harbor Aegis in two days, we're going to be reported as AWOL. Joined gods, I don't know how many months I'm going to spend in the brig if I don't get back on duty on time. What if my dad finds out?" Rian buried her face in her hands. The desperation in her voice was real, even though the story was not. "Aegis, eh?" Quentin leaned back in his chair. "We're headed that way, we could give you a ride." "I thought you did the Risa to Ganymede run?" she asked, trying to sound as if she didn't already know where Quentin's ship was already headed. "Na, there wasn't enough money in it. The Bajorans will pay more for luxury goods now that their economy is picking up. And there's enough profit to risk running near the Cardassian territory. We could drop you off on our way to Deep Space Nine, Rian." "Really?" Rian sounded hopeful. "Oh sure, anything for Jozep's girl. But what do you want to do about your so called friends?" "I...I can't leave them, Quentin." "Why not? They got you into this mess, let them find their own way out of it?" He smirked, then relented when Rian protested that she couldn't possibly leave her friends behind, that the crew of her ship were like family members. "How many of them are there?" She held up four fingers, "Counting me," she answered. "I promise, they'll behave. Honest. Or we'll scrub the decks for you. Or whatever else needs to be done. We'll do it. This is a huge, huge favor. Please don't tell my dad, please?" "Don't worry about it. Just be at landing pad twenty-three in three hours or this ship too must sail without you." He stood up, gathered his things and ruffled Rian's hair. Rian jumped up and gave him his own bear hug. "You are saving my life here, Quentin. Thank you!" She hurried out to meet up with the rest of the displaced Republic crew to let them know what was happening, and so they could get their story straight before they joined Quentin and his crew on their way to Sky Harbor Aegis....just in case Quentin decided to lecture someone on gambling away their trip home.
  10. I'm a circus trapeze artists floating through air, performing the most difficult and breath taking stunts I can imagine. Acrobatically, I'm strong and confident I can do this. That is until I'm straining for the swinging bar in front of me, I realize my safety nets have been cut right out from under me. Oh spite! Sigh. In other words, I've recently come to the realization that I'm not taking this being 'misplaced' in space very well. Not this time, anyway. My closest friends, my safety nets, are no longer among the Republic crew. Not around to catch me as I fall or lend support or lean on each other as we would have done in the past. All three been reassigned or...well....I'd rather not dwell on the "or" right now. And I haven't had the time, yearning nor ambition to form new bonds with the new members of the crew. The newer members of the crew are good...I just don't know how to...talk to them sometimes. Or how to reform those bonds I'm longing to have. I'm working without a net here folks. To top it off, I have not idea how to tell anyone how lost I feel. I've made a few rather uncharacteristically callous or anxious remarks, all of which have been given the due attention they deserve...a stare and a dressing down of sorts. As well they should, because I usually recognize my mistakes about five seconds after those snide comments leave my mouth. I just wish I could find a better way to express my frustration. I wish.... I wish.... I wish we could go home. Is this what Evie calls 'homesickness'? This loneliness? This longing? This fear? This frustration? This ache? Or is there something else wrong with me? And is there a cure?
  11. Sleep was a very precious commodity for Rian Kwai. For several years now, she had been living in a state of insomnia. It had not always been this way, she knew, but she couldn’t honestly remember a time in the recent past when falling asleep had not been difficult for her. She had just accepted it as a sacrifice of serving in the ‘Fleet and never wondered if her fellow crew members had not the same problems. She just worked very hard, physically and mentally, to get the precious few hours of rest she was able to capture. But sleep and rest weren’t always the same thing. Tonight, however, sleep came effortlessly. And with it came unwelcome dreams filled with guilt, fear, anxiety and dread. Some of the same dreams that kept her restless during times when she was physically well now haunted her in her unwell state, unbidden into the realm of her sub consciousness, as she tossed and turned in desperation for healing respite. A state of sleep that merged the nightmares of the past with the nightmares of present. A state of sleep where she could not easily free herself. It was the high pitched chirp of computer panel that brought Rian abruptly out of her nightmares, drenched in sweat and tangled in the bed clothes. She laid on her back, staring at the ceiling and wishing that whoever it was calling would just go away, and take with them the nightmares she was just having. But the chirp wouldn’t stop, so Rian stumbled from her bed and flopped down in the desk chair to activate the comm. “Rian. You okay?” “Yeah, I’m fine,” Rian spoke automatically, rubbing the sleep from her eyes. The voice sounded familiar, but she still groggy from waking up to process who it was. She glanced at the clock and realized she had only been asleep for a couple of hours. When did she have to report back again? She just got out of one nightmare, why did she have to go into another? “Station security was just here. Asking me questions about where you were…” there was a slight pause as Ryliek Amhel took a good look at Rian. “You look like death…you getting any sleep? What’s going on?” Rian sighed, rubbing one eye, while the other stared at her friend. “Gee, thanks for the compliment.” She responded thickly as she tried to wake up fully. In a few moments of silence, while she left his other question unanswered, Rian’s mind was quickly thinking ahead. Reality was slamming back into position. The explosions, surgery, questions, review panel, the video feed, Section 31 and Brock…. “It’s just a bunch of …well…just a mess.” She shrugged. “It’ll work itself out, don’t worry about it.” “Don’t worry about it?” Ryliek raised a brow. “Station security said there’d been another explosion on your ship. Said you were injured too. Made it sound a bit dicey.” “Yeah, we had one the bridge,” Rian propped her elbow upon the table, then rested her chin on the palm of her hand. “I think most everything is fixed up now, including me.” She was trying to remain vague. She was still under investigation, which meant her calls were being monitored, and anything pertaining to the events was probably classified materials. And she didn’t want to make the mess any bigger than she already had. Nor did she have any desire to put her neck any further out on the chopping block. “Everything is fixed up now?” Ryliek looked angry. “What this about a review panel? What’s that all about? Why do I have a Fedhead grunt grilling me about your whereabouts and what you’ve been doing? Why has he been harassing my crew, shoving his nose into my business and trying to force feed regulations down my throat? What’s going on Rian?” “Don’t yell at me,” She answered in a measured tone. “Just…tell them the truth and they’ll leave you alone. That’s all you have to do. Tell them the truth and they’ll leave you alone.” “Rian…” “What?” She snapped at him. Her eyes narrowed at him angrily for a moment. Then she slouched back in her chair as she realized what she had mistaken for his anger was deep concern. She felt queasy. How much more complicated could her life be? “Are. You. Okay?” His voice was tense, the jaw muscles were clenched as he watched her critically. She nodded slowly at first. Then spoke quietly when she could find her voice. She chose her words carefully, so that if the call was indeed monitored, she would not give anything away. “I will be. Things are just messy right now. But…” she glanced down to the table for a moment, then looked back up. “…I have faith things will work themselves out. Eventually.” “Rian…” “Ryliek, don’t ask me. I can’t talk about it right now.” She shook her head tiredly. She realized at that moment she probably shouldn’t have answered the comm in the first place, but what’s another nail in her coffin anyway? She took a deep breath and leaned closer to the screen. “Look…just be careful…okay? Be. Careful.” She tried to fashion her facial expression express what her words could not – if this Brock guy was involved and had set her up…or even Republic in general, then who’s to say he wouldn’t bring more innocents into the fray? Joined gods, if Ryliek got into trouble over this, she would never forgive herself. Whether Ryliek understood or now, she couldn’t tell from his face or his voice. He had a peculiar look his face which faded moments before he responded. He just nodded, then spoke gruffly. “Get some sleep, kid. You look like hell. Try to stay out of trouble too. We’ll talk later.” “Aye, that was what I was trying to do before someone woke me up,” She stuck her tongue out at him, then smiled slightly. “We’ll talk later. Promise.” She waved, then disconnected before he could respond. “What is this calling me ‘kid’ business? I’m just as old as he is. Err…well as old as his host is.” Rian walked over and belly flopped on her bed. “Stay out of trouble? Who is he kidding anyway? I’m in Star Fleet…getting in and out of trouble is our job description.” And with that, Rian exhaustedly welcomed her nightmares again, past, present and future.
  12. During The Break... Joint Log by Commanders Kania Kawalas Ace and Rian Kwai Clang, clang, clang “Come with me, we need to talk,” Kania spoke quietly in Rian’s ear as she started to stand. The XO helped Rian up, then led her out of the conference room into the corridor. “Are you alright?” “Yeah, yeah,” Rian nodded slightly. “Dr Drake and Mr Maturin said I might get a bit dizzy from time to time until my platelet count returns to normal. But it’s no big deal.” Kania looked at her critically. “No big deal? You turned a funny shade of gray and I thought you were going to fall out of your chair.” “Honest. I’m fine,” Rian tried to smile reassuringly. “It’s just a bit of vertigo. My body chemistry should return to normal in a few days.” When the look on Kania’s face didn’t change, Rian added. “Call Drake if you need to. I have no problems reporting to medical if I need to. It’s the last place in the world I want to be…but I won’t run from it. Just tell me what you want me to do.” Although not totally convinced, Kania relented. “Okay then…if it happens again, we’re going to get someone from medical up here to take a look at you again. Agreed?” “Just don’t…” Rian started, then shrugged. “Yeah, alright.” “ ‘Just don’t’ what, Rian?” “Just don’t…errr…can we not make a big deal out of this if it does happen again? I don’t know….it’s just that I don’t think a case of vertigo is going to make me look good. They might think I’m trying to get out of something by playing sick.” “Rian, no one is going to think that.” “Yeah, well, I don’t do ‘Damsel in Distress’. And I don’t want them to think I’m faking it to get out of trouble. How about if I feel like I’m getting dizzy again, I nudge you under the table or something?” “Just don’t let it get too far that you pass out onto the floor,” Kania flashed an amused smile. “Aye Commander, no passing out.” Rian nodded as if Kania was giving her an order. Kania nudged Rian to follow her down the corridor. “Come with me. We’re going to go to my office. I want to take a look at that—“ “—video feed?” Rian completed her sentence. “I was going to ask you about it. Did you get a copy?” “Mr Robinson provided us with a copy as well as the review board. Let’s go see who else shows up on this tape.” Kania keyed in the access code to her office, then glanced behind her to make sure that Rian followed her to the desk terminal. She placed the data chip into the slot and watched the screen whirl to life. Both officers found chairs and sat watching the flickering images upon the holoscreen. The view screen was quartered, each camera angle showing a different perspective of the bridge. Because the ship was docked, a minimum number of officers from Republic were on duty. Some on normal shifts, and others relief officers, all in clear ‘Fleet uniforms. All seemed to be performing normal duty routines. Around the bridge crew, a work detail from the station was buzzing around performing routine system upgrades, maintenance and instillation. The work crew's uniforms were dull gray coveralls with combadges pinned to a pocket. Their equipment and supplies were confided to an upper section of the bridge near the turbolift. Most of the maintenance crew was working towards the back of the bridge, near the science, Tactical and sensor relays. Some would travel down onto the lower half of the bridge to perform some sort of upgrade, then move to the back again for more supplies. “Well, nothing unusual yet.” Rian sighed, watching daily bridge activities unfolding normally. In fact, because nothing seemed to be out of the ordinary, an already exhausted Trill started to zone out. Then, out of the corner of her eye, she saw something. “Whoah…Computer pause.” Rian barked. Kania, who initially jumped at Rian’s outburst, tensed further and leaned closer to the screen. “What? What do you see?” “Hold on a second. Computer, replay from time index 258.57. Slow the playback speed down to one quarter normal speed.” Rian too leaned closer to the screen. “Now watch…down here. Lower part of the screen by the OPS station…here he comes….now….Pause!” One maintenance crew member dressed in the same bland gray coveralls appeared on screen for just a few short seconds, examined the OPS station, then made his way back towards the rear of the bridge. His face was not visible to any of the camera angles for those brief moments; he appeared to be looking down at the floor. That was until he accidentally bumped into another crew member. At that point on camera picked up his profile, while another showed a front view of his face. It was this brief flicker of the man’s profile moments earlier that caught Rian’s attention. Well, to be more specific, the eyebrows. But if they had not slowed the action, then paused the playback, neither would have seen his face captured on the holofilm. “Does he look familiar to you?” “Prophets! That’s—“ “—that Brock guy, isn’t it? Or looks like him? The guy from—“ “—Section 31. The one involved with that viruses business. But what’s he doing--” “—here? Joined gods. I don’t know. But I bet anything, he had something do with—“ “—the explosion at OPS.” Neither the Bajorian nor the Trill had noticed that they were finishing each other sentences. They probably would have found it funny, if the situation wasn’t as serious as it was. “Or maybe not. He was only there for a moment. This proves he was there, but not that he did anything…yet.” “And messing with my station! He was only there for a moment, but that’s all it to plant something. Not to mention the expertise, being in Section 31 and all…that freak.” Rian roared as she stood. As soon as she did so, she immediately regretted it as the room seemed to tilt. She grabbed Kania’s desk to keep from falling over, then sat down as soon as the room stopped swirling enough. “Rian?” Kania moved quickly out her chair in time to catch Rian’s arm and help ease her back into the chair. “Rian, you okay?” Rian made a non-committal grunt until she could trust herself to speak again. “Just stood up too fast.” She sighed heavily. “IF this guy and Section 31 are involved in these incidents, and they’ve tried to pin one of them on me, then I’m in a lot of hot water. I mean these people are slicker than snot, let alone trying to prove to the high command that Section 31 even exists. I mean, I only know what I know from what you and the Admiral have told me, but I’ve never had any direct contact with them….I didn’t even know they existed until a few months ago. I don’t know I just…” she paused, pressing her palms of her hands to her eyes. The tone of her voice took a sudden downturn. “…I think I need to lay down for a bit.” “What’s wrong?” “I’m just real dizzy right now. I can’t think straight.” “Rian, just take it easy. I’ll have security escort you back to your quarters to get some rest. We’ll figure what’s going on. You just get some rest. Okay?” Kania looked at her in concern. “Don’t worry about it.” Rian removed her hands from her face and smiled tensely, “Easier said than done, Commander. Easier said than done.”
  13. What Were You Thinking? Part 2 Joint Log by Commanders Kania Kawalas Ace and Rian Kwai Kania's voice rose if only to get Rian's attention and bring her back to the line of questioning. "Then what were you thinking!" "What was I thinking? What was I thinking?!? I don't know maybe...oh...that I was thinking that anonymity would be nice. To be unnoticed instead of stuffy ol' Commander Kwai, I could be the fun Kiwi I remembered from my youth. Maybe I was thinking I could catch the latest gossip on the trade. Or thinking I could sweet talk my way onto a freighter so I could go out and see my lep're if they didn't know I was a 'Fleeter. Or maybe I was thinking I could talk to one of my closest friends without a reminder pinned to my chest that I was part of the bureaucracy that made his business life a living hell with red tape. Or maybe I was thinking I was on vacation!" Kania bore the brunt of the caustic, sarcastic tirade with a tired smile of her own. If was only when she refused to add fuel to Rian's rant, treating her with a strategic silence and a look of patience, did the Trill tiredly mutter, "...or maybe I wasn't thinking at all." "Can you think of any motive they might say you had?" "I was hoping you could tell me that. Because I can't think of a one." "Nothing?" Kania scribbled more notes. "No. Nothing." Rian sighed. "Look...the closest thing I have to holding a grudge is when my friends do stupid stunts. Like getting me into bar fights with Narsicans. Or borrowing my favorite music chip and then spilling nacho cheese on it. My best friend growing up was a human. Not to mention the human friends I've met here...this crew is mostly human. So I don't have anything against humans at all." She thought of Evie, Chioban, Sian and Devon in turn. "And I don't have anything against any other races either or I wouldn't be serving under a Caitian or a Bajorian. Nor would I have worked with a half of a dozen races my father's ship employed." Rian continued after a brief pause. "In fact, I thought you all had it out for me. Do you realize, that since I joined long ago, I'd be the sixth OPS officer who would have been sitting in that chair...had it not blown up? Joined gods, have I really been here that long?" Kania allowed herself a faint chuckle. "Yes, a very long time indeed." "Then why, if I've been here so long and you all supposedly know me, would you think I'm capable of doing this? I've never put so much as one toe out of line. Not since..." She scratched her arms absentmindedly. Now doubting herself, Rian looked down at her feet in confusion. What if this was some sort of latent programing J'rom put into her somehow. Maybe she did do it. No...that can't be possible. And then Kania said the words that Rian had be longing for someone, anyone, to say that day. "Look, Rian, I believe you. We just..." "You do?" Rian interrupted, almost popping off the sofa. "Yes," Kania looked at her surprised. Rian seemed to melt back into the sofa. The anxious lines in her face faded for a moment, and she looked far more exhausted at that moment then Kania had ever seen her. "Thank you." "For what?" "Just...thank you." Rian answered. "I was thinking no one believed me at all. I was starting to doubt myself." She let out a heavy sigh. "Check the station security tapes. I'll give you the routes I took. They should record me...shouldn't they? And Ryliek. He'll talk to you...and he'll be honest too. His symbiont is stubborn that way. What ever else you need...my background, my family, what the frell I was thinking. Just ask...I'll tell you. No holds barred." She winced at the prospect of the skeletons coming crashing out of her closet with more questioning, but was sincere in the promise. She would not shade the truth, too many lives were at stake...not only those on Republics, but if more attacks were made. They needed to know she wasn't the one, and quickly, so they could catch the right culprit. Kania stood up, closing off the PADD. "I'm going to look over what I have so far, and then I'll be back with more questions. And I may ask some questions that you're not going to like to hear, but you've got to answer them. This isn't going to be easy, Rian." "I know. If I wanted the easy way out, I would have married a merchant and lived happily on Trill." She smirked as she teased. "Instead I joined the 'Fleet and accepted the position on Republic. Nothing is ever easy on Republic. Now you tell me...what was I thinking?" "I'll get back to you on that one the next time we talk." Kania smiled briefly. "You look tired. Get some rest. I'll be back in a little while later and we'll talk some more."
  14. What Were You Thinking? Part 1 Joint Log by Commanders Kania Kawalas Ace and Rian Kwai Why couldn’t they have said ‘I believe you.’ That’s all I wanted to hear. But no…nothing. Just ‘Don’t worry, we’ll get you off.’ So what if you get me off…that does nothing to tell me you believe in me. How could you possibly think I’m capable of such atrocities? After so many years, don’t you people know me by now? For two hours, Rian angrily flicked a playing card into a basket on the floor with every other thought. Confined to quarters, the ailing Trill had nothing better to do than mope, rant and pout. She slowly stood up from the couch and walked to the door of her quarters. Upon opening the door, she sighed at the pair of security officers standing guard outside her door. When one of them turned to look at her, she shrugged. “Just checking…” then moved far enough back to allow the doors to slide shut again. “Welcome to Kamp Kwai, the only solitary confinement suite in the Federation,” she murmured as she stared at the doors. Rian jumped when she heard the chime to her quarters, then winced. “Joined gods, here comes the lecture.” She walked forward and pressed the control panel. Expecting a lecture for the security guards, but seeing Commander Kawalas there instead surprised her. She solemnly stepped aside to allow Kania entrance. “Rian, how are you doing?” “I’m still here.” Kania wasn’t surprised that Rian seemed upset and angry after being told about the accusations against her. Nonetheless, she was hoping that Rian would make it a bit easier to start the difficult conversation they must have. “I need to talk about what happened on the station Rian.” “I know. You want anything?” Rian hooked a thumb in the replicator’s direction. “No…I’m fine.” The Bajorian cautiously watched her OPS officer shrug, and shuffle to the replicator anyway. A glass of water with small cubes of ice materialized, and then Rian returned to her nest on the couch, chewing ice as she walked. Kania glanced over the living quarters before taking a seat opposite the couch. “Well, why don’t we get started then?” Kania activated the note PADD she carried with her and removed the writing stylus from its slot. “Where do you want me to start?” “At the beginning Rian. I need to know where you were, what you were doing and who you may have had contact with.” “Who, what, when, where and why.” Rian gave another heavy sigh, pressing the palms of her hands into her eyes. For a moment, Kania thought perhaps something was wrong, but Rian exhaled heavily again before she started talking, her hands still in front of her eyes. “I…left the ship shortly after I was dismissed for a shoreleave break, but only after I had changed into civilian clothing. I wasn’t planning on going anywhere that required me to be in uniform, in fact I thought I was going to get a chance to get away from here for a bit. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a ‘Fleet or civilian transport headed in any direction that I really wanted to go.” “Where was your combadge?” “I had it on at the time. In fact, I had it on most of the time I was on the station. It was only for the brief moment I took it off the front of my jacket and hooked it inside my jacket pocket that it wasn’t visible on my person.” “So how did you loose your combadge, Rian?” Kania scribbled notes on the PADD, pausing every now and then to watch Rian’s reactions to the questions. Rian lowered her hands from her face, folding them instead in her lap. “Actually, I lost my jacket…with my combadge stuck in the pocket.” It was a technicality that Rian seemed insistent that Kania understand. Kania impatiently asked her again, “Rian…how did you loose your combadge?” "I dropped my jacket." "Why did you put your combadge into your pocket and where did you loose your jacket?" Rian got up and started pacing slowly, "Well, that's going to take a bit to explain. You see...when I couldn't find a transport to anywhere interesting, I decided to go below and check out the freighters. I thought perhaps I might run into someone I knew." "Someone you knew?" "Yeah, my parents were in the trade. I used to know quite a few people who either worked on or owned a freighter. Just thought I'd go check up on gossip, and if I was lucky, get a ride out to see my lep're...my dad." Kania tapped her stylus against the PADD for a moment as she thought through her next line of questioning, "So what happened next?" "I was riding down the lift, and a group of civilians got on the lift dressed in coveralls...the kind you wear when you're working on a ship. I recognized one of them...one of my friends." A faint smile appeared on Rian's lips as she paced. "Ryliek Amhel. Another Trill like me. He's a freighter, owns three ships, captains one of them himself. It's called the Gemmi Crossing. It's still berthed at the station because of the explosion." Kania finished scribbling some notes, then glanced at Rian. "This Ryliek....how long have you known him?" "Practically all my life. His father and my parents were good friends, even though they competed for business. He's one of my closest friends outside of the Republic." "So what happened next?" "We walked to his ship's airlock. Just talked." Rian stopped pacing for a moment, turned to Kania. "I remember....the corridor and the lift....they were hot." "Hot?" Kania raised a brow. "Yeah...hot. Or at least for me it was hot. My hands got warm and I started sweating. My hands and feet are usually cold, so when they get warm it's...uncomfortable. Even Ryliek commented on it. I took my jacket off and draped it over my arm as we walked. And then we got to his ship's berth...." "Then were did you loose your jacket?" "At the airlock in front of Ryliek's ship. I dropped it." Rian sat down slowly. "We were standing there talking. He had just entered in his security codes, when the explosion happened. It knocked us off our feet, literally. We fell into the airlock, which immediately locked down. Meanwhile my jacket was on the other side. I could see it, as plain as the stars in the sky, but I couldn't get it because of the station lockdown." "Let me make sure I understand this. You got knocked off your feet by the explosion, and accidentally dropped your jacket, with your combadge in it, on the other side." Kania looked up from her notes on her PADD. "Yeah." Rian nodded repeatedly. "We immediately reported to the Gemmi's bridge, where I contacted Republic's OPS officer on duty where I was..." her voice trailed off for a moment. "Casper..." "Did anyone see you besides Ryliek?" "We didn't pass anyone in the corridor. But I did meet one Ryliek's crew members...a human. Hugo I think is his name? I don't know. He was talking so fast and I didn't have a combadge to translate until after he left the bridge..." She fiddled with a pillow nervously. "How much time passed between when you reported to Republic and when you returned to duty?" "About 20 minutes. I was told to standby and that I would be given further instructions in 20 minutes. When after 30 minutes had passed, and I hadn't heard anything, I contacted the Bridge again. That's when Mr Robinson had me transported directly from freighter to the bridge. I was on duty for.....2 hours, I think, when Blu told all of us still in civilian clothes to go and get changed into uniform. I did, and picked up my spare combadge in the process. After that...well....you saw what happened." Kania sighed heavily, scrolling through the large quantity of notes she had taken. "Rian, you're going to have to be ready to answer some serious questions here. We've only scratched the surface of what's going to be asked of you. Like, why were you trying to hide your combadge." "I wasn't trying to hide my combadge!" "But earlier in sickbay you said you were." Kania gave her a stern look. "And putting it in your pocket means you were trying to conceal it from view." Rian look flustered, "Well, not really. I mean....I didn't want too look as intimidating to the freighters. Do you have any idea what they think of 'Fleet officers? I was trying to blend in." "Why?" "Because...it's difficult to explain." "You better be *ready* for an explanation, Rian. And you better be able to explain it to me now." "No." Kania looked startled for a minute. "What do you mean no?" Rian buried her face in her hands again as she tried to gather her thoughts. When she looked up, Kania saw an expression of frustration mixed with exhaustion as the Trill spoke. "No...not until you answer a question of mine. How...how can anyone think I could possible be capable of something like this?" "Rian, I'm not saying you had anything to do this...but I need to know what was going through your mind if we're going to come up with a way to explain why *your* combadge was at the scene of one of the bombings." "I didn't do it!" Kania's voice rose if only to get Rian's attention and bring her back to the line of questioning. "Then what were you thinking!"
  15. “I told you…if you had had a symbiont, you’d have been dead by now. Think you could get yourself into any more trouble, Rian Kwai?” “You mean I’m not dead yet?” “Nah, just asleep, drugged to the spots, and I’m a figment of your imagination.” “Oh good…” “You sound relieved?” “I am. Who’d want to be stuck with you for eternity?” “Watch it, Spotty.” “Look who’s talking,” Republic’s Commander Rian Kwai smirked at the apparition sitting cross legged on a raised platform. “Finally nice to see the face behind the voice, oh great Wizard. Is this Oz? And how do I get back to Kan-sassy.” Rian started to fold her arms across her chest, but felt pain in the movement, so she settled for putting her hands on her hips. “It’s Kansas, you goof.” The ghost, appearing as an eighteen year old version of Rian Kwai, narrowed her dark brown eyes at her . “…and this is the image your imagination gave your subconscious voice. So if you have a problem with it, see the woman upstairs.” “Hey, I have no problem with it. But what I do have a problem with….there’s not place to sit around here.” Rian frowned slightly, stalling as she tried to figure out where she was and what she was doing here. “Oh please,” the ghost waved her hand and another platform seemed to drift into existence. “Better?” “How about a cold drink?” “Honestly! This is not some resort. I’m not here be at your bid and call.” “Well, I’m going to be here a while, I might as well make myself comfortable. It’s kind of dull in here, don’t you think?” “This isn’t a vacation, Rian.” “Then what is it?” “Well, it….err….well…” “It’s not a coma, is it?” “No! I said you were just unconscious. Blame it on the drugs….you’re going to be knocked out for a bit.” “Well, then, this is a dream,” Commander Kwai hopped up onto the platform and sat facing her subconscious ghost. “And you’re my Jiminy Cricket…sans the Cricket. At least you didn’t appear as Lunch or I’d have really freaked out.” Rian brushed invisible lint off her pants as she spoke of her former pet grasshopper Lunch. “I suppose you can put it that way.” The younger Trill smiled serenely. “Now then…let’s talk.” “What a minute, this isn’t one of those time where we’re going to sit back and analyze everything I’ve done wrong, or the path I should have taken, or whatever self analyzing fluff you can come up with?” “Self reflection and examination is a wonderful tool for personal growth. I think that….” “Nah huh…Nope. Not going to do it.” Rian looked at her smugly. The ghost looked taken back by her refusal. “Uh…what do you mean you’re not going to do it?” “I mean I’m not going to do the cliché ‘let’s examine our life for self-worth’ depressing pity party. If this really is a dream, my imagination and I’m stuck here for a while, then I’m going to do something…fun. We’ll save the pity party for when I can really relish the suffering….like when I’m awake.” Rian answered smugly. “What?!?” The ghostly figure jumped down from her platform and looked angrily at Rian. “Yep, right now…I think it’s time I start to enjoy my drug inducted hallucinations. Like…” she furrowed her brow as she thought. “…how about island beach, sunny skies, the perfect breeze, a fruity drink and a cute cabaña boy to wait on me hand and foot.” She snapped her fingers, and soon the nothingness of her subconscious melted away into a tropical setting. She smiled, leaning back on her platform turned beach chair and started to sun herself. A tall dark haired cabana boy set a fruity drink down next to her and bowed. “Now what just a minute!” “My dream. My imagination. My vacation. You can join me, or you can storm off into the dark reaches of my mind and bug me later. Your choice, Jiminy. Sun and fun or dark and dreary. Do the Limbo or be in Limbo.” “Well….” “Well what?” The ghost smiled, sliding back into her beach chair, “Well, I guess even Jiminy Cricket needs a vacation now and then,”