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Nijil tr'Korjata

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About Nijil tr'Korjata

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  1. Meal and Memories with Jylliene and Nijl Taking a break for lunch, the Korjatas settled down at the table at Madame Chang's. Jylliene looked over the menu, then at Nijil. “What are you hungry for?” Nijil looked up at her. "This is a place from Earth, correct? Asian? I am relatively unfamiliar with these dishes." He looked up and down the menu. "There are many soups. One with an egg dropped." “There are. I think I’m going to try the fish bowl, though.” she replied. The weary engineer laughed. "I am trying to wean myself off of fish and other things of the sea. I've had enough of that for a while." A crisis of choice lay before him, but he just needed to pick something. "I know, this miso soup, those tiny dumplings, and green tea." He quickly closed up the menu and slapped it on the table. "Your turn." “I’ll have the whitefish bowl,” she said, stacking her menu on Nijil’s. As the server took the menus away, Jylliene looked back to her companion. “How are you feeling?” Nijil grinned. "Where to start...uhm. Time is twisted." He gestured with his hands as if stretching dough between them. "I've been through so much in such a short about of time. Well, I mean you were pregnant, so I'm not saying I am sucking all the weirdness from the room." The tea arrived and he took it greedily. "This better have caffeine" “It has some, but not that much,” she replied. “It’s still strange to me to hear the length of time you experienced over just a few days passing here. I keep reminding myself that it will take you time to adjust.” "The doctor had some ideas, kept on asking me about what I did, about you, Annisha. She made sure to keep my mind on it and not go native. It took weeks just to get used to her body. I am surprised you did not take jabs at me being...she. It's a shame they are not around now, and that's a bit of a mystery." The rest of the food arrived. Nijil nodded. "Speaking of mysteries." He gestured to the outside of the station. Jylliene looked at him, wide-eyed. “Space will always hold mysteries. Perhaps focus on where your Yith friends might have been before their disappearance. Maybe you’ll find some trace. A temporal signature or something,” she said, quickly pointing their discussion back to their very recent topic so as not to hint at anything going on that was mentioned in the conference, but giving him a very pointed look. Nijil nearly giggled with a hiss. "Yess yess. It's like the Tal Shiar is all around us." He held up his hands, palms out. "I know. Bah, why say anything. There is a human expression...ignorance is bliss," he said nodding. "I could use a dose of that about now. Oh, though I am not going to bother the captain with my latest finding, I know who perpetrated the broadcast across the station, or enabled it." “You do?” she said, perking up. This was a welcome distraction - neither Yith nor the secretive revelations. Nijil's grin was extremely wide. If he had been human it would have hurt. "Me. I should have seen the signatures in the broadcast, but I enabled them in the future to bypass our communication security settings and send it all over." He finally got to the soup. "Mmm, this is very good." “The Yith were the ones in the broadcast??” she asked incredulously. "How I did not create a paradox with the timing I don't know. It makes sense though." “Who’s to say you didn’t create a paradox, and we just haven’t seen it revealed fully yet?” she replied with a shrug. "I figure our bonding was a paradox in itself," he quipped with a smirk. "Maybe it started then. If anything it gives me a new purpose to search the broadcast. Something to pass the time when I don't have a good piece of fiction." He glanced down at her food and asked, "How is your food?" “Oh, very good,” Jylliene answered. “You had me a bit distracted from my meal there for a bit.” She refocused on her lunch. "Oh, I could distract you for months. Do you want my thought on fashion or clubbing? I think that's what she called it." He speared a dumpling, twirling it around, then staring at it. "I know too much about dresses now." “Sure,” she said, gesturing to Nijil. “Fashion, go ahead.” "Well, since they, the Yith, are pretty tall, so most dresses are long and if you are on the short side they try to make you look taller. I think I was average, at least from what Muuhi told me. Now that I think of it their fashion was much like here. I liked the outfits that were loose-fitting, easier to move around in, and not fall over. Color coordination is very important, almost to an extreme. Greens, oranges...lots of warm colors. Tops that, err, accentuated certain attributes." He stopped to take a bite. "At the very least outfit shopping should hold my interest." She nodded. “And this clubbing you mentioned?” she asked, continuing her food, happy to keep Nijil talking, as he seemed both upbeat and, thankfully, turned fully away from any more dangerous topics. "Dancing. Drinking. They are heavy into a kind of fast electronic style of music. Probably related to reflexes and how they see. Think tall skinny cats. Motion is very noticeable...throw in some flashing lights and it does things to you. There were these two males that made pas-" Nijil stopped suddenly mid-word, feeling his PADD vibrate in his pocket. "Already?" “End of lunch?” Jylliene asked, as she checked the time. “That is what it looks like.” She took the last few bites of her meal. “You’ll need to tell me about the club at dinner.”
  2. Homecoming Jylliene and Nijil Time is a capricious thread weaving events, emotions, and memories together into our lives. Without it, life is non-existent, a needed dimension among many. Most lifeforms are born, live for a time, then perish all within a single life. You are, well...you for it all. No second life. Not so for Nijil Korjata. Through no fault of his own, his life switched with another over forty times. Each of those transformations left him with a murky, but vivid dream each time he woke from his journey. All except the last time. It was not enough to keep him sedated to suppress the truth from him. Technology broke down, leaving him stranded in space and time. The repairs were beyond the scope of the other person pulling the strings from so far away. Eventually, it was technology restoring his mind to his body, but not without a cost. While only days past on Aegis as many departments tackled the problem nearly seventeen months passed with the Yith. To survive Nijil needed to assume another life, or more pointedly, align his mind with his new body. The walk to the door to his home on Aegis went silently as every step from sickbay had to be measured. His companion on the other side, Muuhi, told him as much, but he knew from his arrival months ago walking as someone else was a learned skill. Nijil stopped short of colliding with the door before placing his hand on the threshold. He pressed his finger on the panel to release the lock. The door slid open with the familiar hiss, but its absence from his experience over the months startled him. He took a deep breath and let out a sigh as he entered his abode for the first time in so long. "It feels larger, are au sure these are the same quarters?" Nijil queried while he stood in the center of the main room. Moments later he realized they could not have moved everything in the span of a few days and place it back like it was before. "Wait, it's just me." Before him was the couch. He spent many a night relaxing upon it and it was the one object he missed while away. As be sat he thought it funny he moved from one comfort of a biobed to another of this couch. "Jylliene." Nijil spoke, neither a question nor a statement. “Nijil. Good to have you back home,” she responded with a smile. The Rihan let out a long sigh. "I have so much to tell you." He looked up at her with a look of a puppy having done something bad. "So much as happened." She gestured toward the couch. “Then we’d best start catching up.” Nijil nodded, then dropped to the couch. It felt very familiar, the cushions feeling worn just like he remembered. He glided his fingers against the stitching, letting the sensation jog his memory of the mundane. Moments of silence passed, then Nijil laughed softly. "Almost seventeen months and only days here. She warned me of a miscalculation. The time differential was over fourteen hundred years and the Federation did not have a temporal discriminator sensitive enough to get the number just right. Muuhi and I eventually figured out what happened to the generator, but it was taking us a very long time to repair it." He stopped. "Do we have any serline water?" “If that’s one of their drinks, it’s possible Prani programmed it into our replicator,” Jyl replied, and inquired at the machine, which chirped and produced a glass of … some kind of water, anyhow. She took it to Nijil. He took it with a bit of gusto and drank half of it right away. His eyes closed in response to the bubbles in the drink and the sweet tingle at the end warmed his smile. "I drank this every day after she introduced it to me, after a particularly long repair analysis session." “What was it like there?” she asked, sitting beside him. Nijil stared at the table where he rested his glass. "It is a remote lab a couple of light-years from the Yith homeworld. It was a bit cold and dark. Just like my dreams, though they really were memories. They like the color red, the remote lab painted in it from floor to ceiling. The work there was potentially dangerous, so they were the only two there. Most of all though, it was quiet." He smiled warmly. "It was creepy, at first, but I had a good friend during my stay. So, how was Prani?" “She was fine - apologetic, pleasant. She seemed to enjoy having a daughter around. But of course, she was only here for a few days. Annisha played music for her. Their music.” Jylliene wasn’t sure what else to say. She shrugged and added, “She seemed nice.” Something finally registered with her, and she asked, “Those dreams of yours, where you felt like you were seeing through someone else’s eyes - those were all times she switched with you?” "Yes, they tried their best to adjust to my schedule and they were spot on most of the time. Muuhi kept me relaxed on the bed before the generator's capacitor powered up to full. Kept me company for long hours talking about themselves. I guess they did not want to alter my life much while they were hunting for information about their people. That did not work out." “No, no it didn’t.” Nijil reached out and held her hand. "Don't get me wrong. I could not have been better treated, even if it was with her friend nearly all of the time. I think I went through all the stages of grief in a matter of a few months. Not a day went by I did not think of you and Annisha, but...the days did get easier." He teared up a bit. "There were many nights I thought I should just let everything go. Aegis, Annisha, and my e'lev. I am sorry." “You were trying to get by - you had to consider the chance that you wouldn’t make it back.” She smiled and squeezed his hand. "Yes, I even investigated acquiring a cryogenic pod, stealing a ship, then racing here to await and awakening. How does one do that over the centuries? Besides, I'd be in Prani's body. A tall, lean cat-like woman living in this room with such short ceilings?" “Well, we could move quarters. I’m glad the switch worked instead, though.” She grinned at him. "Yes, but I could leap into the air. Even I was agile, once I learned to not fall over. The Yith walk on their toes with very powerful legs." His eyes widened as he remembered something. "Wait...let me get a PADD." Nijil leap from the couch to grab a device off the table. He then sat back down, nearly bouncing his mate off the cushions. "Watch this," he said, starting to sketch out something on the larger PADD screen. After a minute of silence and a lot of strokes, he presented his work. A rather detailed cross-hatch of herself, white lines on a black background, appeared on the PADD. "What do you think?" “That’s incredible, Nijil,” she replied, examining the likeness. “You learned this while you were there, too?” "No, not at all, but I think I know what happened. Given the ability to switch minds I bet she could implant a memory or two." He smiled. "She wanted to give me something for my birthday, even though it would not happen for generations." He then chuckled. "I think this is the best way for me to remember my experiences." He paused, saving the image on the PADD. "So, no jokes about me being a woman? Can't wait to get a ribbing from my staff." “Not right now. Rather glad just to know you’re back.” She leaned against him and sighed contentedly.
  3. Prani Nijil tr'Korjata Th'Prani'Liloo. Her friends just called her Prani. Now, centuries later, she had no friends. The people on Sky Harbor Aegis were overwhelmingly friendly, but until a short time ago no one knew she was here. Her closest friend of the last few years died long ago. The research outpost may still be around, but it only needed to be functional in the distant past. She could not affect the past, so she had to look at her future. Their future. Occupying Nijil's body at first was extremely disorienting. Organs and structure were basically the same. The gender was unexpectedly male. The odds always remained 50/50, but she had hoped another woman would be on the other end of the experiment. Another fellow engineer made up for it. meaning he had access to similar equipment and technology. The paths her people and this Federation took bore some similarities as well as differences. Scientists here had no method to generate a wormhole, precise or not. The mind transference technology, while similar to the matter transportation devices, medical science only just walked that path. The switch went wrong. Prani walking around as Nijil succeded just as it had forty-six times before, but there was no return trip on the forty-seventh. "I'm an engineer, not an actor, no matter how good a show I put on," Prani thought. Thoughts of the experiment going too far crossed and double-crossed her mind. What was it? The cooking? Wait, the braids? He'd not likely know how to do that for his daughter, at least not typically. In the end the pressure of lying to these people just got to her. It was not in her nature and keeping something as big as "hey, I'm not your bondmate," proved to be a burden too heavy to carry. Why was she not in a cell yet? Not as if she could take a shuttle home. Home is here, more or less, just the wrong time. A time so distant that the stars were the same, but those orbiting around them were new. One thing nagging in the back of her mind brought her a chuckle each time she watched the station's occupants: her people towered over most everyone here. Annisha. Getting to know the shortest person in this future made her smile. Prani had no children of her own, but would take the spry Rihan girl in an instant. The child could not undergo the transference since her mind was still developing. Prani’s associate back in her time mentioned unforeseen consequences at such a trial. Prani peered into the distance to see a cluster of armed security making their way to her, but no one came. She looked down at her chest. It was the communication device tracking her movements. The scan of the translator embedded in this Rihan's skull showed it lacked tracking capabilities. No matter, it has been very fast at learning her language, no doubt helped by the computer processing the broadcast from her people. The technology was so pervasive the surely different accent did not tip anyone off. Some minutes had passed and she grew increasingly hungry, no doubt his mate and daughter would not wait much longer either. The less stressful path may have been just pretending to be their engineer until it became second nature. Would that have meant she was no longer Prani? How deep does the body and mind connection go before you are someone else? Prani Meets Chirakis Nijil tr’Korjata and Chirakis Kirel “Hello, Commander,” said a voice behind her, drawing Prani’s attention. Lost in her thoughts, she did not immediately respond. The translator took a moment to make the proper word in her native language. "Oh, Captain Chirakis," she said in response, shaking herself away and eyes up. "I am afraid I am easy to sneak up on and did not hear you approach." Prani stood up. "I thought you'd watch from the command deck." “Oh, I often take a break. Please sit Commander,” she said with a slight hand wave. “Or would you rather be addressed as Prani?” She fretted a moment. "Either is fine, but I am not part of my military or yours. I'd like to think our two groups could have worked together if only the timing was right." She dropped back to her chair. “I agree,” she said as she settled next to Prani. “Sitting and waiting can be more of an ordeal than actually working to produce an answer or technique. Do you mind if I join you?” she asked congenially. "By all means, Captain. If the work here was not so essential, at least to Nijil and myself, the science here may be a bit lengthy and dry. It's not science the Federation has had much experience with from the records I have surveyed. That's even with the only known stable wormhole in the Bajoran system. I wish I had time to see it." She looked down playfully. "Mine are so small," she said, pinching her fingers together closely. Kirel gave a slight chuckle. “And that, Commander, is why I am not an engineer. Their language, their techniques….” She sighed minimally. “Working as an engineer is beyond my imagination.” "As I have read, engineers work on the shoulders of giants before us." “Indeed they do. As for Bajor,” Kirel continued, pointing in the direction of the distant Bajoran system. “You just might have a chance to see the wormhole in their system. One never knows what one might experience in a lifetime.” Prani looked in the direction Chirakis pointed. "You think I have the time to see it? Getting readings may help them form one here at this station.." She smiled. "I go back and tell my people of the wormhole before it is rediscovered? Sounds like an interesting temporal paradox." Prani folded her arms in front of her. After studying Prani for a moment, Kirel’s expression changed from casual to serious. “Commander,” she began thoughtfully. “Prani… may I suggest that you focus only on this moment. You must get home. After that is accomplished, consider coming back to investigate the Bajoran wormhole. O course, going back and forth in time is an interesting concept, but at the moment, we must get you home, and Commander Korjata should return. We do not have the technology of your species. We need your assistance to retrieve our engineer.” "I would never reveal things I have found out here. One price of the isolated nature of our lab is lack of contact with people on my world that would make much difference." Prani frowned. "I've been in several moments, no more so than now. There's only one thing moving forward and back in time gives you...headaches. The death of my people though seems to indicate we had no lasting effect in this part of the galaxy. It's a shame and fills me with dread the more I contemplate it." She wanted to jump off the subject of her people. "So, you know Nijil. How do you think he is handling being me? I hope he is open to new experiences." “Nijil. Yes, I know Commander Korjata, and know him well. He has dealt with many situations, some extremely dangerous. However, would he be open to a new experience such as this? Considering that he has never experienced what you have—moving back and forth through your wormhole and getting used to it—I cannot imagine that it would be easy.” "Doubt he's been female before either, nor so tall and walking on his toes." She laughed. "Muuhi will have acclimated him as best she could. As long as he did not freak out he should be fine. As for understanding my work...that's another matter. There's something to not contacting them too soon in their timeframe. It could be months relative to this last trip trapping me here and him there." “Agreed, Prani. Your experiences are quite overwhelming to species in our side of the wormhole.” A chime alerted Kirel to CnC, forcing her to stand. “If you will excuse me, Prani, I have something to attend to.” She offered her hand for a handshake. “As Terrans like to say, good hunting.”
  4. Family Matters Jylliene, Annisha, and Prani No matter if you were a Rihan or a Yith from a long time ago, keeping a space station running takes a lot of effort. Thousands of people depend on a smoothly operating set of systems to protect them from without and from within. Prani knew these responsibilities, but until she had to practice them for a few days she did not understand the scope. Keeping the station going was more about putting the right people in the right places than about the technology. Even this comes to a temporary end, at least until the next shift. The day in engineering came to a close and Prani made her way home. Nijil's home. Prani stood at the door, but was it the right door? Aegis must have thousands of doors, all looking exactly alike. The computer helped her get there, but until she tried to get in she just did not know. She scrunched her forehead as she read the alien script, the level, and room number. Sighing, she rang the chime. Nothing happened. No one came. The door hissed open. "Father?" Prani looked down. "Oh, hello there," she said with a grin. A short Rihan girl stood at the threshold, her hands on her hips. "I thought the father just walked in. Au okay?" Annisha asked, her eyes piercing through her father's confusion. She moved aside to let him in. "I, err, it's been a long day and I just did not want to walk in on the wrong family." "Making house calls father?" She joked, skipping back to her desk. Papers were scattered all over its surface. Pencils and pens standing in a tall cup. Annisha sat back down and continued her sketches. Prani walked over to see what mess she made on the pages but was pleasantly surprised. Annisha looked up. "What do au think?" A drawing of a tall feline-like creature stood over what looked like herself. "Those people from the loud music all over the station, remember?" "Yes, it's a Yith." Prani said, turning her head to see the skewed picture. For some reason, everyone was leaning to the right. "Yith? They never said who they were. How do au know?" "I, well, new research, people listening...clues." Prani stumbled over her answer." Annisha gave her father a 'what au talking about' look. "Yith it is. Au know what that means in Rihan?" Prani shook her head. Annisha stood up and her father bend down to her. The girl whispered into her father's ear. Prani's mouth was agape, and she understood and why the girl did not say it out loud. Before Prani could think more about what her people's name means in the Rihan language, a sound came from another room. “Finally home?” Jylliene asked as she approached Prani. "Yes, they kept me busy today, meetings..arguments," Prani answered. She walked towards Jylliene to give her an embrace, not knowing if the couple did this sort of thing. Though it did feel somewhat strange, Jyll willingly hugged Prani, then turned to Annisha. “In the mood for anything specific for dinner?” "Oh," she exclaimed with mild forgetfulness. "I forgot to gather the ingredients to make a fresh dinner. At the outpost, err, I mean here I try to fix as much non-processed as I can." She looked Jylliene over. She likely had a long day as she did. Prani sat down at the kitchen table, trying to conjure up just the right meal. “We have the replicator for a reason. There’s no harm in using it for dinner now and then,” Jyll reassured. Annisha piped up. "Not like your cooking was bad. Say, how did au get so good all of the sudden father?" Prani turned to her. "Well, lots of lessons and classes at the holosuites...and my mother." “What are we in the mood for?” Jyll asked, cutting off the discussion in hopes of helping refocus attention away from Prani and the differences Annisha had noticed. "I read in the station's database," Prani said with a loud clap, "about a round flat dinner called pizza." “Sounds worthwhile.” Searching the term in the replicator’s menu, Jylliene related to the others the potential choices, with different sauces, meats, and vegetables. Prani went to the replicator and read the choices. "So many toppings. What are anchovies?" “Small strongly-flavored fish." Prani's mouth watered at the prospect of fish. She whispered into Jyll's ear. "Does Nijil like fish?" Jylliene nodded to Prani. “Anchovies it is. Let’s see...cheese, capers, and olives are all recommended with them.” She entered the order. *** Prani and Jylliene sat at the dinner table, a mostly eaten pizza lay in the middle. Annisha went to bed an hour ago after protests and yawns. Prani swirled the yellow liquid around in the clear glass in her hand. The bottle the liquid came from was almost empty. "Say, what is that stuff in the bottle again? It's making me feel funn, funnier." “Wine. Typically I would have had a bit more, but with the baby, I didn’t want to have more than a half glass or so.” Prani looked shocked. "Oh no, I've poisoned this body. I am so sorry. Will it recover?" She asked with an unsteady grin. Jyll chuckled. “He’ll be fine. Do the Yith not have any intoxicants they ingest?” "Oh we do, but alcohol really works us over." She held up the bottle. "This would have put me out for many hours, hic, and still might." “Well, you have Nijil’s physiology right now, not your own, and you can see he doesn’t react that dissimilarly. You’ll sleep pretty solidly.” "Oh oh oh, I, uhm...that reminds me. Annisha, and what a doll she is. She asked me if I was sleeping on the couch again and thought I was in trouble last night." Prani contemplated how to ask her next question. "She's a smart girl and I don't want to give her a reason to suspect anything, but perhaps I could sleep on the floor in your room, or on a bunch of pillows?" “Prani, you’re fine. I want you as well-rested as possible. For your sake and Nijil’s. Unless you’d prefer the floor.” "Oh, that's good news. I would love my own bed. It's a big round affair that would not fit through the door." She gestured with her hands just how round it was. "Oh, these arms are too small. You know you are all short...to me." She shrugged. “I imagine that’s why your bed is larger, then. I can see about getting something set up in here, but the more permanent changes we make, the more Annisha will suspect.” "Tell her it's for the baby. What baby does not have a bed two meters in diameter?" “It’s more customary for an infant to have one that’s perhaps one meter long by a half-meter or so in width, though it does vary. There can be even smaller ones, but the baby would outgrow it much faster.” Prani looked a mixture of happy and sad. "Oh, the baby. How far along are you? I don't know the gestation period for you." “About seven weeks now. Gestation is between 35 and 45 weeks; it’s a bit tricky to know for certain with a mixed-species pregnancy. Probably close to 38, though.” Prani started to tear up. "I will promise to get Nijl back well before then. He should not miss the first child's birth. You being supportive, and me being in his body, helps a lot." She took a final drink from her glass. "I had expected to be put in some kind of holding after revealing what happened." She looked at the glass. "Aww. no more drinky." “Come on. Sleepy time,” Jylliene said with a chuckle. “We could both use a good night’s sleep.” Prani nodded intently and started to get up out of her chair. "Oh my," and fell with a thud to the floor.
  5. Et Vero Ferreus by Jylliene Kital and Nijil tr'Korjata Sky Harbour Aegis is a large space station. As expansive as it is though, there are times the walls can feel as if they are closing in. This happens to everyone from time to time, but no more intensely as it was to Nijil right now. To mitigate the effect he chose a spot in the park level of the station. With the natural grass, running water, and holographic depictions of depth, it was the best place to feel like you were somewhere else. Nijil, as far as anyone could see, could not be in a more 'else' place. He spread his fingers out and rubbed the grass back and forth between them. It had been some time that something not of a polymer or metal graced his fingertips. Behind him laid a checkered blanket. Atop that was a basket with the brunch he prepared for his e'lev. The powers that be allowed him to take her lunch farther from command than she would typically venture. They knew the reason. So did Nijil. He really did not know what she would like to eat, pregnancy or not. The combinations he enjoyed involved a fair amount of fish, but those choices were not as plentiful for the people on the station. The chronograph showed a bit past the hour. Perhaps something came up at the command center. No matter, the water presented a calming effect as the waves gently played against the edges of the pond. Perhaps Jylliene got wind of the revelation, spooked, and was in hiding. She did not seem the type, but until recently Nijil had tried to keep a bit of distance. Ha...distance. What an apropos thought now. Nijil got up to look for her entering from one of the four entrances. The pond was roughly in the center of the complex, so strangely the doors were a bit far away. Plus these eyes were either worn from use or just not adept as distance or movement. "Where was she? Wait, was I early," Nijil asked out loud. Jylliene entered the park. She recalled picnics she and Nijil had enjoyed there as well as their wedding. She wasn’t sure what had been up with him recently; he had talked about dreaming that he was someone else. That he had been increasingly off had her wondering if the dreams were just dreams, or if there was something else going on. There he is, she thought, as she caught sight of him. Nijil waved her over, not knowing if she saw or if someone else would come over not knowing. "Over here!" Probably not necessary, but the sight of her was making him nervous. Maybe this is how he felt around her all of the time. She seemed a fine example of her species, the only example of her species on this station. He gestured to the ground where the blanket and basket were. He waved more vigorously. He was definitely acting...well, not himself and himself at the same time. Jylliene smiled and had a seat at the blanket. “How was your shift?” "It was very rough. So many repair orders and people to send out and fix. Then there's the followups, the important and less important issues. I am not cut out for this, but it was fine. He sat out tiny food items from the basket onto their plates, meticulously crafted tiny sandwiches of varying types. Sweets, meats, jellies, and veggies. He also poured a container of hot brown liquid into two small cups. "Don't worry, yours only has a smattering of caffeine." Steam drifted off the liquid even in the warmth of the park. "How was your shift?" “It was good, thank you. The usual tasks. It's a nice change of pace from crisis after crisis,” she replied with a grin. Nijl simply nodded. "Good good. I was not sure what kind of sandwiches you like, so I gave you one of each." His nerves were in a knot, but tried to keep the conversation light. He ate one of his own sandwiches. He was nervous. Jylliene recognized it all from back when he had proposed. Picking up a sandwich, she began to eat, realizing now that she was indeed hungry. “This was a wonderful idea.” "Really? Oh, I am so relieved. I don't do many picnics...or tiny sandwiches." “Not anymore, no. We used to do them more often. I suppose we’ve gotten busy.” "Yes, and really busy now. Station business." Nijil took an abnormally large drink, finishing off his coffee in one swig. "I wish this was something stronger, fermented maybe." He looked into her eyes, those damned eyes. “What’s wrong, Nijil?” He chuckled. "I messed up something big. I mean not cosmically big, unless he, well, he probably won't cause a ripple effect." He shook it off. “...probably won’t? I imagine this has something to do with everyone going to the captain’s office today?” she asked. "Oh yes, and while they took the news well, there were not the people I worried about." He looked up at her. "Let me guess. I'm not acting like myself, am I?" “You haven’t quite for a little while now. What’s wrong?” "More so recently, in the last day or so, but off and on over a few months." Nijl closed his eyes, then sighed. "Do you remember that broadcast that swept through the station a few months ago, the one the could not shut off for a time?" “Very well,” she replied, nodding. "The race that created that blast of information, infiltrating the systems here are called the Yith. It was the last call from a dying civilization, but the source of its demise was not discovered." “...the Yith...I don’t recall finding out what the name of the race was, only the names of the countries.” "I knew the name right away, but let me back up. About four years prior they had an outpost on a few remote asteroids. Two scientists working on different experiments combined their discoveries. One was working with the creation of artificial wormholes," he laughed, pressing his fingers really close together. "Tiny baby ones, but, they could last for sometimes over a minute. Anyway, the other scientist worked in neurobiology and a technology similar to transporters. Sorry, I am going on and on." “And the only way you could know all of this…” she prompted, figuring the answer already. "If I was one of the scientists. Right." He let out a long sigh. "There are two of us: Z'Muuhi'Diniea, and...me. My name is Th'Prani'Liloo. I am the engineer behind the micro-wormhole generator. Before I answer your questions let me extend my sincere apology for all this...mess and confusion." Prani did not want to look at her expression, but had to. “Why - why do this? And why Nijil?” Her mind was reeling, though in a way, she felt oddly a bit more settled knowing. "Well, once the wormhole allowed one of us to do a complete mind transfer, with no ill effects mind you, I stumbled upon the broadcast. It was from my people and it matches some of the current events we were hearing about at the outpost. We had to find out what happened. Maybe prevent it." Prani poured more coffee, then drank. "As for why Nijil, the computer at our outpost mistook it for one of my species. I got, curious after discovering the broadcast in the database. I just could not leave it alone." She fretted a bit. "If I know Muuhi like I do she has woken your mate up from his sedation and he's fully aware of what is going on. He's in my body as I am in his. He is taller, stronger...walks on his toes like a cat. And he's a she, I suppose. Is he a good engineer, a good problem solver when encountering something he's not seen before?" How to respond…”He thinks on his feet well. He’ll dive into the problem. So… the first time was accidental; but this isn’t the first time. Has he met your partner before?” "Muuhi? Yes. The one from his dreams." If he had met Muuhi, then he must have allowed them to continue switching. If he hadn’t - well, this wasn’t the time to argue. They needed to stay on good terms to try to work on anything from this end that could bring Nijil back. “So something has gone wrong - you haven’t been him for this long before.” "Right, each trip was only ten hours. The time it takes for the generator to spin up. The fault likely lies there." She held onto Jylliene's hand for a moment. "Believe me, Nijil is perfectly fine. I am very healthy for my species, and as long as he does not leap about in my body he will begin to work on the problem." Now was also probably not the time to tell her about his coordination. “So...Th'Prani'Liloo...you’ve not been inhabiting Nijil when we’ve…” “Oh no no no. That I can assure you. I mean for a Trill you are on the top of the list and Nijil should count himself very lucky. I was careful not to engage in anything. I worked mostly, long nights, that kind of thing." Prani thought for a moment, realizing the silence was extra awkward. "Can I make a request?" Jylliene nodded. "I have a lot of work with science, medical, and engineering coming up. If I am to replicate the wormhole generation I will need your help to monitor it." “You will have it, Th'Prani'Liloo,” Jylliene replied. “Is that what I should call you?” "Prani is fine, unless I am in trouble." “Prani, then. Now we just figure out how and what to tell Annisha.”
  6. What Vivid Dreams Are Made Of Dr. Amanda Davis and SubCommander Nijil tr'Korgata Nijil dismissed what he told Doctor Sandero earlier that day until he saw an appointment reminder light up his PADD hours later. Perhaps she peered into his mind to realize the vivid dreams stymied his sleep. The other engineers could handle the aftermath of the replicator issue, so speaking to Doctor Davis would not hamper operations. He never believed his being there or not amounted tilted the balance of a smooth-running station to the danger zone, though for the next hour he would be excused from this burden. Even the walk to her office was a respite from the workload. Civilians and personnel alike paid him no mind. Her door stood before him. He pressed the chime. "It's the chief, oh, of engineering. Korjata. Nijil Korjata..yes." “Enter.” The door hissed open and he walked through. It had been some while since his last visit to her office. He could not remember if the furniture layout had changed. What that a new plant? Amanda looked up from her desk and moved to the door immediately. “Nijil! Please… do come in. It’s been a long time since we’ve had a good visit.” Nijil gave the doctor a quick nod, then took a seat across from her, a table between them. "So, I guess Doctor Sandero scheduled me without notifying me...until I got my notification. It's fine though. Getting away from work is its own reward." “Well, I’m glad she did,” Amanda continued in her Welsh lilt. “May I get you some tea? Coffee? Scones?” In her excitement, she urged him toward a Victorian-style cushioned chair. Her inclination of sweet treats for her patient's sessions had not changed. A plate of flaky pastries sat before him. He picked one eagerly. Lunch hours ago consisted of a small juice and an energy bar. "I've been having these dreams for some time now actually. Nearly the same dream or elements are the same. Same room, same woman, and even the same me, but not me. I'm not sure why it's bugging me more lately. It's more vivid now, well, perhaps a month ago. Ever have a dream you can almost taste? It's, it's like a holodeck, but taken to the next level. Like, um, the AI just knows a lot more than a written program." He smooshed a pastry in his mouth. "Mmhm, well, I'm no holo-matrix writer, but I know enough to realize it...just feels...real." At that she slowed down and sat in the chair opposite. “I see,” she said thoughtfully. “Dreams. They come from the most interesting areas of the mind, and are usually not something one would be concerned about, but apparently you are. When did these dreams begin?” she asked, pouring a cup of tea and offering some to Nijil. "Well," and he had to think on this one, "before the bonding, but after we got Annisha, or was it the official adoption? I believe it was a mix of not remembering dreams at all and this particular one with others. It beat the ones where I'm dreaming about work. So yes, around that time I recall." “How much sleep have you had recently, Nijil?” He looked at her wide-eyed. "Really recently, perhaps 6 hours at best, but sometimes less. This replicator issue took a lot out of me. It's still doing so. The dream still happened even with little sleep." Speaking of sleep he yawned. "Oh great. Obviously not enough sleep." “Six hours of sleep in how many days?” "Oh, that was last night. I would say around four hours most nights for the past two weeks." Amanda put aside her tea and relaxed in her chair to think a moment before continuing with, “And what has happened in the last two weeks, Nijil. What has happened in regards to your family… to Jylliene and Annisha?” "They are fine...as far as I can tell. Ann's happy she can use the replicator again as her cooking needs work, but she's got time to learn. I think Jylliene's work up top is about the same." “But what happened before that? About two weeks ago?” "Oh-oh, the Nei'rrh rescue out by that star? I had forgotten about that. I know there are no temporal anomalies around here, but it sure feels like it when there's work do to." He smiled as he took another bite of the scone. "That incident sure skewed my sleep schedule, but all the sleep in the universe if the rescue had failed." He took another bite. "Other than sleep I'm not sure if my shuttle experience relates to this repeating vivid dream." “Nijil,” she began slowly and softly, “I want you to put aside everything you just said. Forget that you are an engineer. Forget that you pilot Nei’rrh. Forget that you are a commander. Take all that and throw it out the door, then tell me what is left. Do that for me and close your eyes.” The Rihan twitched his head and closed his eyes. "Nijil. Simple Nijil. Growing into a family very quickly. Living where I work, working where I live." He paused. “And this simple Nijil, the one without work, the one with a growing family. What does he value the most?” "Protecting Annisha. It's what I worry about most. Sorry Jylliene." “And why must you protect Annisha?” "I want to give her what my adoptive parents gave me, but it takes a lot out of me." Nijil kept his eyes closed but still managed to get a bite of the scone in. “And what did your adoptive parents give you? Besides food and a place to live, that is. What do you value the most when you think of them?” "My life, from then until now. I would not be here without either of them. They did not have to take me in, but they did, but they are not a part of these dreams. It's something else." “And what would that be?” Nijil frowned. "I don't know. The woman, the place, it's all unfamiliar, nothing like where I am now. The smells...the smells are vivid too. It's taking me out of my comfort zone perhaps. I don't know. Maybe I'm just drifting away from what I value. Annisha and Jylliene, and.." He inhaled deeply as keeping his eyes closed was causing him to sleep into a relaxed state. Amanda watched him for a minute or two. He seemed relaxed for the first time since he came in, which was a good sign. “Nijil, I want you to stay relaxed, with your eyes closed, and concentrate on Annisha and Jylliene. They are your two most precious possessions, so you might dream about them. But you also dream that you are a woman whom you know. What in either the near or distant past had to do with a woman?” "My mother and sister? Maybe not knowing my real mother." He shook his head. "This dream the woman I see is not of any species on record. I can only see myself from my own eyes in this dream, so I don't know what I look like. I'm guessing the obvious looking down that I am not myself, but I don't get more than that. It feels familiar though." He shook his head side to side slowly. "I feel no fear in this dream." “Is there anything connected to this dream? Clothing, perhaps some smell, or a sound, like music?” "A kind of work suit, nothing I've not seen on other women that visit the station. I mean not that I'm looking. Well, I look. Yeah. Did you say music?" “I did.” "Annisha. She plays a song I hear in the dream. It's off in the background, some small speaker out of my sight." Nijil starts singing the tune, but the translator could not translate. “A speaker? Like an old fashioned…?” "Maybe, just low-quality I think." He started singing again, then stopped. "I don't know what I'm saying, though I know this. Is that strange to know a song in a language not your own?" “Not necessarily. But I do recall a speaker some time ago, an old speaker… something that used to be called a radio. It was coming over subspace.” "Yes, over several bands as I recall. The protocols they used made shutting it off from our end difficult." “Yes. Yes, it did.”
  7. Lost Years Nijil tr’Korjata as Kushana Chirakis Kirel Brubaker stroked his beard as he watched Whippet frolic with the children. “Ten years,” he murmured with a tinge of regret as well as the thrill of awakening. In the past ten years he had learned much about this planet and its environs, but he had also lost ten years of the life he once knew. Those he left behind had searched, but in the vastness of space they found nothing— not even a clue. His mind wandered, wondering what his burial was like… or if there was one. Is there a tombstone? Any kind of memorial? Did the academy mourn his passing? If he returned to civilization now, how would his family react? How would everyone else react? Would anyone even know him? Would they remember him? Would they want the immense amount of data he had culled from this area of space, or would it be useless and outdated? Should he leave on the Argos II or stay here, in the place he had come to love? And what if Argos II never made it off this planet? What would they do? He sighed into a fatherly smile as he watched Whippet play with the children. Soon he, too, was sitting cross legged on the floor, enjoying the moment and glad that his constant companion had helped them move past their pain. “Dr Brubaker?” Jeremiah spluttered and picked a few dog hairs off his tongue, then leaned back to answer in a slight Scottish lilt, “I am Dr Brubaker.” "I came down once I learned someone was knocking on the side of my vessel." A youthful, but haggerered Rihan woman approached the doctor. "My name is Kushana and I command the Argos II, or what is left of her." She looked down and stopped short of walking over an animal, a touch annoyed. "As au may imagine, I have a few questions for au." Brubaker stood as she spoke and picked at the few dog hairs that still clung to his disheveled clothes. “Of course, Erei'Riov—or should I say ‘Captain’? Or merely Kushana?” "The translator handles it all, but I am not one for formalities, so Kushana is fine." She squatted down after being on her feet for days. She looked the doctor in the eyes. "H-How did au find yourself on this planet? Our sensors are inoperable and we were not even sure of the air quality." A twinge of regret that they had crashed barely showed in his expression, but he nodded into a congenial smile. “Then Kushana it is. I am Jeremiah, though most call me Jeremy. And I must apologize for tapping your ship’s exterior. It was the only way I could get attention. “As for your question, this very small planet is quite habitable. Not far from your vessel— just over the hills that you can see from this viewport.” He pointed casually toward it. “I made my crashed shuttle into quite a cozy home with running water and a small garden. Unfortunately, you landed in one of the few desert areas. They have plenty of salt, but not much more than that. I landed here ten years ago, Kushana, and it has been my home ever since.” “How did I get here? My shuttle was drawn into a crash landing. I lost power, but why?” He shrugged. “I have no idea.” Kushana gruffed. "This has to be a red or brown dwarf star, but it pulled us out of warp. Ten years? Surely not in this arid region. The temperatures alone." She stroked her chin. "I would share information on what happened, but if the sensors collected anything we can't find it." She considered him for a moment. "Are au the only one, other than your friend here?" The Erei'Riov put out her hand to the dog, seemingly friendly to everyone. “As far as I know. I’ve not seen anyone else, and ten years is a long time to go without seeing anyone else on this planet. But… now that my wee brain is remembering a few things from our crash, I remember a push, like a heavy gust of wind, that drew us into the atmosphere. I do not recall much after that since I was trying to land. But,” he chuckled a bit, “it didn’t work. We still crashed.” She was getting more questions than answers. "We had only moments to even land to consider a 'wind' variable. I will have to ask my navigator in greater detail. We have been trying to undue the fail safes from our engine core. Our design does not allow us to simply turn off our main source of power. Given the situation perhaps it is better to leave the singularity as it is." She looked him up and down, then sniffed. "We have a method for au to, err, refresh yourself if that is something au wish." She wished it, but was an uncommonly polite Rihan to say so. “Oh,” he said, sniffing. “My goodness, I am sorry. After ten years of living alone, I don’t even notice. I would appreciate a ‘refresher’, as you call it, and I am sure you and your crew would appreciate it as well.” Brubaker forced a broad smile in his embarrassment. She stood up. "Au claimed to be a doctor, may I ask what discipline?" “I am primarily a geologist. And a paleontologist when the time warrants it and I find something interesting. And there is quite a bit of everything to explore here.” Kashnana nodded. "I purpose an exchange of information so we may all leave this place. That being said, many of the crew need to take a break from what may be a futile effort in repairing the ship." “Ah… a break,” Brubaker said, his Scottish lilt now in full swing. “Perhaps you should all come to my home— the shuttle, that is— and refresh yourselves. The yard and garden are refreshing, and there is a fairly deep pond—no deadly creatures, mind you. I’m not sure of the milage, but it took me just under an hour. And I will gladly share any information I have. I do keep extensive records.”
  8. Green Log of Jylliene and Nijil The long game of Galactic Risk ended days ago in a stalemate. The Nei'rrh warped along at a leisurely pace through the heart of the Federation. Their flight plan was well known and oddly, Starfleet wanted them to be cloaked the entire time. The only reason to do so was to put listening posts through tests. Now the test for them was at an end. "Jy," Nijil called out from the pilot's chair. She had went to nap a while back, the sound of the shuttle interior rather soothing once one gets relaxed. "We have arrived." He waited. "Jy?" He activated a soft chime. Jylliene stretched as she woke, hearing the sound. “Hm? Wh- oh, we’re here?” Rising, she made her way toward the front of the shuttle. He continued to shout. "Yes, I just dropped us to impulse." Resting her hand on the top of his chair, she looked out at the view as they approached the planet Orellius “I’ve needed this. We both have.” He nodded. "Shall I arm disruptors and torpedoes? That sounds more familiar." He smiled as he continued to tap controls to place them in orbit. "Pretty sure Starfleet would be here shortly. Care to take us down?" “You go ahead,” she replied as she took a seat at the console next to him. The weapons console had gone thankfully unused during this trip. It was, as Nijil had indicated, a change of pace for them. A peaceful vacation would be welcome indeed. "Alright, taking us down to our cabin." He pitched the nose down and the planet filled the entire forward view. "Shields to full, brace for atmospheric entry." Nijil patted her arm with his free hand. "Best to secure ourselves, even though the skies are clear where we are going." The blast shield covered the view ahead of them as the craft descended towards Orellius. He continued talking. "I supposed we could have beamed down, but I never like the idea of having the ship just hang up there while we are down there." He laughed. "I mean we can't land the Aegean, but anything that land should land." The interior of the Nei'rrh rumbled as it careened into intense heat of reentry. Nijil turned to Jylliene. "So are you ready to be without replicators?" “I believe so. It will be worth it.” The blast shield retracted, revealing the lush green of the planet. Although Orellius no longer kept itself isolated, the communities there preferred to stay more or less as they had been. Their cabin would be remote enough from the inhabitants that neither would be disturbed by the other. “We will have room to land nearby, right?” "Ie, oddly a platform is there for ships like this to land. I suspect we are not the first ones to seek this isolated getaway. That said, this may be a tight fit." A forest took up the entire view out of the forward view. Somewhere in the middle was their destination. "Ah see it, just over those tall trees dead ahead." "Au see that?" She asked. "Very well. Take us in SubCommander." "Aye Lieutenant Commander." Both of them smiled as they descended to their honeymoon destination.
  9. Bonds and Bands [Joint log, Nijil/Jylliene/Ramson - takes place immediately before the sim of 9/8/2017] Arboretum, Aegis Though there were a number of venues they could have used, including replicating myriad others via holosuite, once the idea of the arboretum came up, there was no further deliberation. The arboretum itself was an oasis of calm in the midst of the station’s bustle, of greenery within the metal and glass. What better venue for a celebration of two creating that same respite for each other? Ramson stood before a flowering cherry tree, awaiting the couple’s arrival. Behind the seated guests, the Vulcan quartet Annisha had hired played quietly. Small white silk banners highlighted representations of the elements set upon pedestals around the area. A pair of stones - one from ch’Rihan, one from Trill - stood upon one; a forcefield generated within another suspended an orb of water above it from the nearby creek. The music itself accented the air bearing it, while a lit censor beside Ramson (“somewhere neither Annisha or I will knock it over,” Nijil had recommended) finalized the honoring of the elements. At Annisha’s cue, the musicians stopped. Nijil and Jylliene approached Ramson on pathways from either side of the waiting captain. Jylliene smiled warmly at him, nervousness largely swept away now that they could focus on each other. Nijil was nervous as ever, but did his best to not show it as he did around the station. He looked deep into Jylliene's eyes to see if she felt the same, or if, not, to draw strength from her. His smile was more like a wide boyish grin. Before her he never imagined bonding with anyone, but now...now he couldn't imagine otherwise, or with anyone else. Lucky for him, he found a warmth in her eyes. (“But what about Trill traditions?” Nijil had asked as Jylliene pieced together the ceremony. “Well, on Trill, the couple enters in unison, in silence. Focus is on them.” “Not one at a time?” “No. The idea is that the guests try to watch both, and recognize that it is more difficult to look back and forth at the individuals, and how much easier and more natural it is once they’re together in front of the prie- well, officiant, in our case.” “Do we need to get a priest from Trill?” Nijil asked. “Elements, no,” came the woman’s immediate reply. “They’d drone on and on about history and symbionts being like a bonded couple and don’t even get me started on the ritual blessings. Just… no.” “No Trill priest. Got it.”) Now in front of Ramson, the couple joined hands. “Throughout all the varied and different peoples we have made contact with in the universe, a desire exists to find someone else to share one's experiences with. Committing ourselves to a bond with another so that we do not have to face the universe alone is one of the most common ceremonies found. Today we have two who wish to do exactly that. And they come forward now to make that known to their families, their friends, and their comrades.” Ramson nodded to the couple, signaling them to state their vows. “I, Nijil, take you, Jylliene, as my ailhun. I promise to lead you through the darkness to the light. I promise to carry you when you falter. I promise to protect you from threat. I promise to provide for your needs, in body and spirit. I promise to give to you all that I am, reserving nothing aside. I will stand by you from this day to the end of our lives; In witness thereof, I give you this ring, as a visible symbol of my vows to you.” “I, Jylliene, take you, Nijil, as my deyhhan. I promise to accompany you through the darkness to the light. I promise to support you when you falter. I promise to stand by you when you are under threat. I promise to provide for your needs, in body and spirit. I promise to give to you all that I am, reserving nothing aside. I will stand by you from this day to the end of our lives; In witness thereof, I give you this ring, as a visible symbol of my vows to you.” Accepting the bands from Ramson, the couple slid them upon each other’s fingers, then clasped hands. Ramson nodded toward Niilan, Nijil's father, who approached with a register. Opening it upon the pedestal, he presented Nijil with a pen. “In keeping with tradition, inscribe your bondmate’s name in our register,” Niilan spoke. Nijil wrote her name beside his own, exhaling quietly in relief as he put the pen down. Niilan looked up at Jylliene and intoned, “We accept you into our house. May it increase in honor, strength, and number.” “With the authority granted me as Commander of Aegis and in accord with the wishes of Nijil Keihv tr’Korjata and Jylliene Kital, I declare them husband and wife.” With visible expressions of both joy and relief, the couple retreated together from the arboretum toward the reception hall, the guests following. Jylliene had not seen the plans for the reception, leaving those to Nijil and (with some trepidation) Annisha. She was unsure what to expect, but was pleased and surprised to see the area highlighted in bright colors and dancing sparkles of light from a reflective orb suspended from the ceiling. Brilliant jewel tones outlined a dance floor, the band Annisha had hired stationed nearby. Tables of desserts, including numerous cakes of different flavors, awaited the hungry arrivals (At Jylliene’s suggestion, there were also gourmet doughnuts). An Andorian stood at the ready behind a counter, gleaming glass decanters and bottles ready for those desiring something a bit stronger than what was partaken of on duty; a silver urn and coffee cups were also available for caffeine needs. For Annisha and her friends, as well as for other guests so inclined, bottles of sweetened non-alcoholic beverages nestled temptingly within bins of ice. A holo-recorder was tucked away in one corner for guests to leave messages for the couple, a drape available to muffle some of the sounds from the celebration.
  10. SubCommander Nijil tr'Korjata Flight Deck Engineer Personal Log Stardate 2388.097 I must have passed through a fluctuating time dilation field lately. I have not felt myself. I don't know if it's day or night anymore. I mean, this is a space station with no real day or night, but I'm feeling the pinch of artificial time. There's no sun to tell me when to wake up, no Remus to tell me when to sleep. I hope after the bonding I can reset my damaged clock with some star, out there. It can't be ch'Rihan at least for a long while. Annisha won't feel the warmth of the Rihan sun either. She did last before me if what she told me was true. For that matter she will not find comfort in the warm embrace of her real mother. I know her adoption has been the best thing for her, for us, since so much was lost to the GRB hitting home. She is so inquisitive, intelligent, and most importantly, a naughty girl. For an entire week I could not order anything that was not a contraband Blubby drink. I had to resort to others getting me a hot coffee because she programmed all of my identification methods linked to her...hack. She'd make a fine spy I would think. Perhaps the Tal Shiar will come in the dead of night in my quarters for recruitment. Tricky devils they are. Enough of that. Annisha told me she has the music and if I protest she will never forgive me, and that she has a present for me involving that. Probably some loud clapping machine to laugh at my bad jokes. Oh, perhaps she's planning to alter my vows. Through all of this Jylliene has been the most patient person I know. I would think she was a Vulcan except she arrives back at our quarters in the same shape as me: exhausted physically and spent mentally. We need the, humans call it...oh, honeymoon more than the bonding itself. Would anyone miss us if we just flew off on the Nei'rrh? <End Log>
  11. Time Between Things Jylliene looked across the table at Nijil. She could see he was just as exhausted as she. At least her duties required far less footwork than a traveling engineer. Lately, their time together was squeezed between eating, shower, and sleep. Tonight: dinner. She brought out one of the many simulated Rihan proteins topped with an assortment of vegetables. It was one of the rather zesty dishes his homeworld offered. He began to stare at his plate while he chewed. “Those cores made for a stressful few shifts. I was glad to see them go,” she remarked, with a sympathetic smile towards him. Of course, what the cores might do now was another concern, but at least they were off-station. "The cores are essential in providing power to the station. It's always a point of stress for the engineering team."Nijil replied, still staring into his meal, perhaps hoping something would pop out just like the seven or so spices did to the flavor. "Cores?" “Droid cores. The diplomatic representatives,” she clarified. He blinked and looked her in the eyes. "Sorry, um, tired.” He yawned. “What a strange name for them. Perhaps the translation was off. I did not get to meet any of them. Were they agreeable?" “They were as polite as you could expect. Just a bit unsettling, since they decided to adopt our crew’s appearances as their own, albeit at about half or two-thirds scale. Given the ease with which they had replicated the captain’s appearance, I think we were all still on edge.” She paused, then added, “I’m not sure what they call themselves.” "Well," he thought, then supposed, "We call ourselvesRihan and au call us Romulans, so they are bound to have a name of their own...unless they were a recent creation. Beyond their programming?" “Entirely possible. I imagine they must have SOME way to refer to themselves, even if only in their own programming, to distinguish themselves from others.” Jylliene shrugged. Nijil cut into another portion of his meal. The taste was a blessing compared to what he ate over the last few days. "Regardless, I am thinking more about us than those robots. Did Annisha tell au she is handling something from our bonding?" “No…” she replied, with some slight trepidation. “Did she say what?” "No on that as well, and she's enlisted her band of friends to keep me from finding out. Maybe it's just a token of celebration. She was quite adamant about me not digging to find out. If I did not know better her feline friend almost hissed at me." She chuckled. “Well, I suppose we’ll just need to hope for the best? Has she asked anything about wedding traditions or the like?” He shook his head, taking a drink of his tea. "Na, but she could merely ask the computer. I don't think she'd sabotage anything, right?" “Not deliberately, no. It's the unintentional that I’d worry about. I imagine she’s done some research, though. She really doesn’t do anything halfway.” Whether that eased or concerned her, Jylliene wasn’t entirely sure. "She will be commanding this station in a year," he laughed. "I did want to ask au something. There's a lot of Rihan tradition in our bonding. Is there anything from Trill you wish to include?" She was so very tempted. “I’m not sure; how far do you think you can crawl on hot coals?” Jylliene kept a straight face for a beat, then grinned. “No, not that. There are a few rituals, but I’ll need to review them myself first. It’s been ages since I’ve been at a Trill wedding, and I kept meaning to look up the ones I recall, but droid cores and yellow alerts and…” she smiled sheepishly. “I’ll have them within the next day.” He laughed again. "Hold tight Commander,na an order. I mean I can't order au not to do research." He looked at her. "There are rituals of the elements that were performed long ago, but I did not include them. Reminded me of something Klingons would choose to do, just fewer pain sticks." He placed his hand over hers. "We could run up to Chirakis' office now and get it out of the way." “My parents would have a fit. Moreover, Annisha would have a fit. No, we go ahead as planned,” she replied. "Very well," he smiled. "Besides, the best part is the, what do humans call it? Oh yes, reception. Before our departure to the resort, I did reserve a holosuite. We need to relax before our long trip on the Nei'rrh. I hope that was not presumptuous." “Not at all. That sounds perfect.” She turned her hand over to clasp his. "Good, I would hope my hours studying holo systems programming is not wasted." He stopped and had a dreadful thought. "Um, what if that's what Annisha was doing?" “Then I imagine we’ll be playing in a park or something similar. I’m sure we can find ways to make that suitably enjoyable,” she reassured with a grin and a wink.
  12. Violet Shroud - 100 Words Nijil awoke on the floor of his quarters, a stuffed animal under his head and a children's violet shroud covering his torso. He felt groggy. His right side throbbed. So exhausted he collapsed only a few meters from the entrance. He got up on his feet, stumbled a little, then threw the blanket and animal upon the couch. "I need sleep, but where's Annisha?" The room was silent. Suddenly his sister's face appeared on the big room screen. "Jolan tru brother. Found au comatose and Annisha wanted to show me the park. Such a sweet daughter au have. Back soon."
  13. The Devil Is in Our Stars The voyage to the nebula would take a good part of two days, even at high warp. The Nei'rrh was built for fast travel, but only in rather short durations. Just try to do that in a Federation runabout. Then again, just watch the man-hours of maintenance of the two and you understand sacrifices are always made. The three were in the final stretch of the trip. Engines performed without issue, as did the modified cloak. Good thing as one did not want to abort a mission even before it really begun. Hours passed and everyone needed to be relaxed for the job ahead. They all read, showered or took shifts on the bridge. Impromptu lessons on Rihan shuttle operations were done every few hours. Lieutenant Tarisa took refuge near the hum of the engines. Nijil did not know if her species purred like other felines, but he could see the attraction. Lawliet, being long lived, had plenty to chat about regarding galactic politics and the like. Engineer or not, Nijil had differing opinions on past decisions and future directions. The both agreed however that the likely outcomes would be a mix of the two. No one faction in the alpha and beta quadrants would get exactly what they want. Eventually the crew settled off on their own as they got closer to their destination. Especially the Rihan. Annisha, his adopted daughter, insisted her father take up playing a musical instrument. She found a shop on the commerce level that had all manners of wind, strummed, and keyboard note makers. She laughed at an Earth instrument called the 'ukulele' and picked two up, one for her and a larger one for her rather. They had be etched with caricatures of each of them, his with pointy-ears and ouchy marks on his face. Her's had an angry girl paired with a targ and a boomerang. He made a genuine effort to play and even try to incorporate the instrument into his English to RIhan song translations. The ukulele did not really fit into his culture's instruments of choice, and it occupied a unique place in Earth's lineup as well. The high-pitch plucks seemed ill-fitted to drones about slicing the throat of one's enemies by any means necessary. Not all songs in the Rihan catalog were about deviousness of course. It contained some of the most emotional and longing romantic passages of any of the alliance music. Hearts were precious elements of the universe and all that. Nijil, after seeing the massive number of songs to translate, began to search randomly among the choices. He landed in the early 21st Earth century, a group called The Jayhawks. A group named after a bird, seemed apt. He had the computer display the chords along with the song, and the rough translation, to be tuned later. The computer picked The Devil Is in Her Eyes. He started to play before he really got into the lyrics, so he could get the song's feeling down. It was not too trying to play, but the headline words caused him to think of his little devil Annisha. Jylliene too if he thought of it, but as he reached chorus the words "the devil is in her eyes" really stuck out. He made it to the first chorus no issue, but at the second he struggled to not think of his little girl. Nijil knew she was not a demonic entity the word alluded to, but her curiosity wrapped up in mischievousness pierced through the words. As the chord progression became easier the merely sung the words as written centuries ago. There she was again, her eyes right in front of him just as the day she plucked out a Klingon knife from his back with no regard for how it might hurt or help him. As the months passed the same eyes greeted him when he got off his shift or when they all went to Blubby's on the commerce level. Those same damned eyes looking right at him with the same affection as the first day they met. It reminded him of when he met Jylliene in the mess of the Aegean. What a chance meeting when he thought of it. Had he just thrown that chance away on this mission fraught with unknown danger? He stopped playing as all of the pent up emotion of leaving those he loved behind broke free. Tears dropped upon the ukulele frets and clung to the strings. He placed the instrument on the table. He wiped the tears away with his sleeve. He walked up to a port window to watch the starlight passing at warp. Now, at mission inception, was not the time to get all emotional. It was after all likely whatever happened to the Byron could happen to Aegis. Countless others he cared for or had never met counting on their discovery of the ship's fate. The galaxy would always be a dangerous place and the Aegis sector was no exception. It was duty after all to protect it, no matter the cost. If the crew of the Nei'rrh did meet their fate in the nebula Annisha would be provided for by Jylliene or if not her his parents. She'd have a good life on that planet, though leaving her friend Alexis may not work out. Duty. Yes, he thought, time to press on, anticipate for the expected and adapt for the unexpected. Jylliene would do and expect no less of him. If Nijil failed to return the preparations he made would ensure both their safety and his daughter would grow into the frightful woman she's destined to become. Frightful in her intelligence and curiosity as it dwarfs his own. The universe should be wary of Annisha t'Korjata.
  14. The Nijil (Log of Shadow and Nijil) "We could have easily conquered your people if not for the Praxis incident," the burly Klingon hologram boasted to his corporeal Rihan programmer. "Oh really, that was how many years ago? The fact you did not see us galavanting across the quadrants does not mean we were weak. I also doubt the Federation would have let that occur, you know how they were then, and now." "Ha!" The Klingon exclaimed. "Romulans never fight with honor and that would have been their undoing." Nijl sighed. "Honor does not win battle, cunning tactics sprinkled with a touch of treachery would win the day. We are not dealing with pistols at twenty paces." "What is that?" "Something from ancient Earth history, a duel where you stand back to back, walk twenty paces forward, then turn and shoot." "Hmm, backs to each other? Sounds like a Rihan would go five paces then turn." "You may be right," Nijil said with a terse smile. "Now to matters at hand. Will you help teach this entity about the Klingon people?" "You have my word, but," he raised his finger, "only if the others do not badmouth other worlds. The teachings, even from the Rihans, must be true and honorable." "Agreed, lying would get us nowhere. Besides, I can have a fact-checking routine added to avoid that." "Whoa, wait a minute, a good story is nothing with a touch of embellishment." "Grr, fine," Nijil nodded to the Klingon hologram. "Computer, save then end program." The computer chirped then shut down the program, the Klingon flickering into nothingness. The lights of his quarters came up. The sudden brightness gave him a headache, or was it from the conversation. He walked over to the replicator on the far wall then ordered a water. He turned to see something not normally in his room. "Technology," Nijil muttered under his breath. "Computer, turn OFF the hologram system in this room." "The hologram system in this room is currently not running," quipped the computer. "What?" Nijil stood his ground as he squinted at the figure clearly in the room with him. He backed up a bit as he realized who this could be. "You look better than last we spoke." “This one learn. This one Seeker. Must learn,” replied the figure, flatly, as it stared in the direction of the inactive hologram. “The Nijil speaks to nothing. Why?” "Speaking to nothing?" The engineer thought for a moment. "Oh, you mean the hologram, that Klingon? It is really just an advanced manifestation of the artificial intelligence programs built into our computer systems to simulate familiar species. An interactive interface really. Used for all kinds of entertainment, information, and training. If that makes any sense to you. Could you not see him?" “The Klingon non biological. Deck 7 Klingon biological. Why speak non-biological when can biological?” "The non-biological one can be told, commanded to do particular tasks, plus he does not tire or question my orders, well, this one does, but I programmed that in too. I guess this one may not have a bias if I program carefully enough." The entity stared intensely, as though the image would return, then turned to Nijil. “Waste energy. This play?” "Waste energy? We have a lot here, but this was developed for you to answer questions about us you may have in a timeframe the computer can handle, but we may not." Nijil thought for a moment. "You mean play as can the program continue or you mean play as in have fun?" “Fun. Waste energy.” "Well, there are a fair amount of programs for fun, but I think most species, at least of higher intelligences, need activities they enjoy rather than duties they have to perform. I often just recreate far away places that I can't visit or that...don't exist any longer." Nijil frowned a bit at the notion of his visits to Old ch'Rihan, specifically his childhood farm. The form took on an expression of curiosity, then the face mirrored Nijil’s frown. “Sad. The Nijil place ceased to exist?” "ch'Rihan was wiped of life on its surface by what we call a gamma ray burst, a highly energetic burst of devastating gamma radiation normally from distant supernova explosion. This particular event propagated through upper subspace levels to reach our homeworld at faster than light speeds." He paused. "I was not on the homeworld at this time. Some escaped, many did not." “The gamma energy powerful. Many biologicals cease to exist?” "Yes, in the billions, but do you mean in general? I would guess nearly all biologicals cease to exist." It regarded Nijil for some time, then a ghastly groan echoed through the room. “The Nijil sad. This one sad. The gamma energy destroy much. The Nijil not cease to exist good. This one protect the Nijil. The Nijil not cease to exist.” "What? I don't think you can protect me from everything, namely myself. If you can stop a gamma ray burst on myself then you posses a truly unknown protection. More importantly, why me? Was it that touch the other day? It was an accident." “Accident.” It seemed to ponder that a while. “Accident. Not on purpose. Unintended.” "That's right." “This one much energy. Biologicals weak. This one learn. Now not so much energy. Less energy? Lower energy? Biological level energy this one now. This one form easier also.” "Listen, you can't go...tasering people around me that may or not hurt me. No matter how careful or intelligent you are I don't believe you are all knowing and immune to the heisenberg uncertainty principle." He shook his head. "Again, why me? I'm one biological among trillions or more in this galaxy alone." Another sigh, softer than the last, came from the form. “This one injure the Nijil. Sad. Must protect.” "Must protect? Oh." Nijil wondered if his new friend could sense the inflection of concern in his verbal response, or worse, in his electromagnetic signature. It faded where it stood. “Must. Protect. The Nijil.”
  15. First Non-Contact (Charikis, Coleridge, Tarisa and loveable Nijil) Nijil had kept his distance from the fog entity, or at least what he believed to be a step back. A mist that could appear and disappear at will was not so easy to track. In fact, the dispersal of mist could be so thin that Tarisa, Coleridge, and Nijil could be breathing it in right now. The Rihan coughed at this possibility. "Are au there?" Nijil called out towards the far end of the reactor room. "There's na need to be shy, or apprehensive. I am not planning to leave this room, so if au wish to talk." He turned to the others. "I'm an engineer, not a first contact specialist. I can't even get a name out of...it." Within seconds, the entity appeared as a formless mist and slowly pulled together to form almost a mirror image of Nijil, but what would have been his feet did not touch the deck, and its transparency showed everything behind it: the bulkhead, the consoles, other engineers who were wandering through and had not noticed anything different. It floated there for several minutes, regarding him with a curious expression before speaking its first phrase. “Secondary positive. What is talk?” "A method of communication we are using now by means of different sounds to form words, in turn forming ideas, requests, and passing information." “Sound,” it repeated, then paused several seconds. “Sound. Compressed. Energy. Vibrates. Waves. Sound. Words.” "Right, right," Nijil agreed. "It's not particularly fast, or efficient. The expressions of one's body play a large role in it as well." He moved a bit closer to the entity. "Remarkable likeness, how do au know how to take the form of others so well?" The entity backed away to its original distance. It seemed puzzled. “Words. Why words. Use energy.” A tendril pointed to Nijil’s head. “Waves. There.” "Energy? I don't have the ability to manipulation energy in that manner, unless...au mean electrical impulses in the brain." He pointed at his own head. "I'm not telepathic, but I could get someone that is." The entity stared for a minute. “Use energy. Energy.” It paused a while and seemed to fade. “Easy. Words no.” The engineer stood silently for a moment pondering what the entity meant. His people, the Romulans, use whatever force is necessary to gather this kind of information. If it is energy it seeks, others of his species would oblige. Turning to Coleridge. "I don't know exactly what energy communication it wishes to use, but I think it's worth a try." Coleridge seemed to be as lost as the rest of them and simply shrugged. "It's your funeral, but Jylliene would kill you...then she'd come after me." Nijil sighed. "Au are right, but how important is communication with," he pointed at the entity, "him." As the entity faded, its sounds became hollow and the tone terrified. “Kill. Negative. Kill. No. No. Kill.” And it was gone. "Aww," clearly disappointed, "I forgot to teach it sarcasm." He spoke louder. "Entity, what he said was not what would actually happen. It's a...figure of speech understood not to be true. Come back please." Tarisa had quietly been watching the exchange between the engineers and entity. She finally spoke up as the being faded. “It is alright,” she called out. “No one is literally going to be killed. Sometimes I get confused by their speech as well,” she pouted. Nijil spoke as he took to a chair along the wall opposite the reactor. "I have paperwork to catch up on," he said reluctantly, waving his worn PADD in the air. "Tarisa...Coleridge, if au like I'll wait here for the entities return, no need for all of us to wait around. Any information on the particularities of the energy generation would be helpful. Perhaps a source apart from the station exists if we can accommodate our guest. The two nodded in agreement and said their goodbyes, "let us know if anything...," and "don't do anything unwise" comments for Nijil. Less than an hour later Nijil had succumbed to the long hours of his shift, the hum of the reactor definitely assisting in creating a pleasant sound in th- Zzzzzzz.