Welcome to Star Trek Simulation Forum

Register now to gain access to all of our features. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to contribute to this site by submitting your own content or replying to existing content. You'll be able to customize your profile, receive reputation points as a reward for submitting content, while also communicating with other members via your own private inbox, plus much more! This message will be removed once you have signed in.

Mark Garrison

  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Community Reputation

0 Neutral

About Mark Garrison

  • Rank
    Audentes fortuna iuvat

Contact Methods

  • ICQ

Profile Information

  • Gender
  1. Played STO for a couple months, gave it up as I couldn't justify paying for both it and WoW every month. The Starship customization was one of the most interesting things. You get a new ship every ten levels, and your default ship is based on one of the three classes (Tank, DPS, Heals) though you can buy any type of ship so your not stuck with a "DPS" ship if your character is DPS. Anyways, I digress. The cool thing is that each level class comes in three or four classes of ship and you can swap out parts in any of four sections on the ship. For example my highest level ship I had I could swap out sections of Akira, Zephyr (an original class), and Oslo (an updated Norway class). You can make some crazy looking ship combinations, though I had to geek out and make a straight Akira named the Excalibur-C :P The class pictured above is the default starting ship, has three different types of ships which are all Miranda variants, so you can just as easily take a Centaur saucer section, and slap on the iconic Miranda roll cage and nacelles.
  2. Updated for the first time in forever.
  3. Mario learns that just because he is driving the car, doesn't mean it can enter pipes like him.
  4. "Face it. I'm better then you."
  5. "Assessing the Situation" It was nearly 2400 hours. Mark knew he should be in bed right now at least attempting sleep, because soon Excalibur would be returning to Camelot and this Pandora's Box would be ripping open even further, but he couldn't bring himself to do it. Sleep seemed harder to reach each night that passed. With everything that had happened, he'd managed to push it to the back of his mind, focus on the here and now and what needed to be done. However, with the prisoners firmly secured with no escape attempts and the Scorpiad acting more diplomatic then every previous encounter he'd had with them combined, well there wasn't much for him to do at the moment. In fact, things were relatively normal. Normal of course being a very perverted and distorted word on this ship. Victria. The Al-Ucard and Eratian rebellion, Scorpiad genocide, Federation policy all plagued his mind at this late out. Plagued it enough that the final distraction, a fine bottle of whiskey procured and carried all the way to his quarters, had yet to be opened. Victria, ironically was the easiest of his woes. In fact, he'd already decided what to do on that front. Still, every time he thought back to the holodeck, her...feeding...on him, it produced a rage that could send the bottle flying into the wall. The beginning of a destructive spree that would ruin his quarters and finally force him into an exhaustive sleep. He could always reserve that notion if it got too late. Focusing on her was the easy thing to do because it was a small, petty thing in the grand scheme of the cosmos. Easier to focus on his personal problems then have to change his thinking on a growing crisis that affected billions, if not trillions of lives and that was on the verge of throwing the quadrant into chaos. When he'd come on board, he'd been an assistant security officer. A man who had decided to give one more tour one more try. His responsibilities were limited and he could defer to Segami's rank and Victria's personal experiences here in the Gamma Quadrant. Now, he had more pips, and more responsibility then he sometimes cared to have. Still, the past two years had done much for him, and he didn't think there was much else he could have done and been as satisfied with the way things had turned out. Back then, opinions had been easy. The Al-Ucard were the oppressed, righteously striving for their freedoms. The Scorpiads were their evil overlords, who had created them to serve, by hunting and destroying their enemies, and the Dominion was mostly yesterdays news. Turns out they weren't such old news as he spent the next year on board Excalibur as the crew worked towards procuring some mythical communication device that would allow the Vorta (who had been running the Dominion in the absent Founders stead), to communicate with their gods following their seclusion after the war. Much to Mark's (who had fought in the war) amusement, Odo had basically told the Vorta that the Founders would be ready to return when they were ready and they'd have make due until then. Thus began the final stage of the Dominion's slow decay. The Vorta were bred to be servants to the Founders, as the Jem’Hadar were bred to be servants to the Vorta. When you cut off the head of a snake, the body tends to wither and die. Every day, more and more planets under Dominion rule are beginning to flex their muscles, see how far they can assert autonomy. So far, the Dominion has managed to deny, stall or otherwise divert most of this. The talks on Granar Minor, where Excalibur was before this most recent mess might be the beginning of the end though. The Dominion is now forced with letting more planets then they care slip through their grasp, or try to violently hold onto them all, using a disillusioned military and a listless leadership. Regardless of the choice, God help everyone involved when the bough finally breaks. Mark supposed, looking in retrospect that the year spent hunting the Holy Grail of the Vorta had now proven to be worse then better in a personal way. The first year working with Victria had been...difficult but it had left him with some views that were now basically moot. There's no denying that the Al-Ucard have a different lifestyle and society then the Federation, but watching Victria he had believed there was a chance. Wearing that uniform, conforming to Starfleet rules and standards had been difficult for her, but she managed...mostly. He had believed that if she could do that, live on a Starfleet ship and live that life, that there could be hope for some sort of a diplomatic relationship between the Federation and the Al-Ucard people...if they ever achieved their freedom. The last few days however had shattered that dream. Victria hadn't come quite as far as he'd believed, it was clear her own people viewed her as and outcast, and it was obvious they have little want for anything from the Federation. So now the Al-Ucard weren't quite the righteous revolutionaries that deserved the Federations aid and caring, at least to Mark. Did they deserve freedom? He wanted to say yes, but after this affair he was left with doubts, especially after his conversation with Morill in the brig. “You’ll never know us as anything but prey.” He was left with the growing belief that freeing the Al-Ucard and Eratians would only create two more enemies for the Federation, in this already extremely unfriendly quadrant. What were the Scorpiad though? Friend, foe, or something in-between? He had to admit to himself that he came to the party late. He wasn't around for Starfleet's first contact with the Scorpiad. Nor was he around when they'd blocked off the wormhole, leaving every Alpha Quadrant native stranded thousands of light years away from their homes. He didn't see them collar and try to harness the wormhole as an energy source to construct their terrifyingly powerful warships. In fact, most of what he knew about the Scorpiad came from Victria, who obviously biased. Was he going to turn around so far as to say that he supported them over the rebels/terrorists/whatever? Absolutely not. Right now, it felt more like trying to choose the lesser of two evils, picking your poison, the devil you know and a hand full of other cliches. In the end all this mulling around did nothing more then leave him with a headache and a pit in his stomach, which finally prompted him to open the bottle, and defile it's vintage by drinking straight from it. For a long time now, each day seemed more bleak then the last, and though he wanted more then ever to be selfish and look to his own, and the Federations problems he couldn't. It was clear that it was the countless denizens of the Gamma Quadrant who would be the real winners, or losers in whatever was to come. Right now, in the dead of night there wasn’t anything he could do about those things. Turning back in on himself however, there was something he’d put off for too long now. Without another drink, he capped the bottle and shelved it. He’d square away his own personal problems first, before taking the galaxy on.
  6. "Opening A Dialogue" With special guest writer Victria It was a short stroll from Main Security over to the brigs, which didn't give Mark much time to really figure out what he was going to say to the prisoners, or was it guests? The Fed Council and Starfleet seemed to be flip flopping on that a lot. Still, Captain says jump, and you say how high... Things were at least moving along smoothly. Fae had already picked out the quarters, and Charlotte was giving orders to evacuated said deck the rooms were on. That left him once again trusting Victria to set up the details of security. Have to look over those as well he figured. Entering the brig, it was far more packed then he'd liked. Medical was there dispensing food to the Al-Ucard, as well as a host of other people who had no better reason then to be classified as gawkers. With a sour look on his face, Mark ordered them all out into the hall, so he could speak to the prisoners/guests privately. After a few minutes, the brig was empty, besides the brig officer running the force fields, the Al-Ucard and Eritian prisoners, and Garrison himself. Walking up to the middle group, he cleared his throat to gain the attention of anyone who hadn't notice him empty the room. "I'm Lieutenant-Commander Mark Garrison, Chief of Security. I need to talk to whom ever holds authority to speak for your...group." After a brief moment of discussion, a single Al-Ucard male emerged from the others and paced up to the edge of the forcefield. He stood at around six and a half feet, was slender of build, but toned as were all of his brethren. With his uncanny blue eyes, pale skin, dark hair and sharp features, he could have easily been Victria's brother. In fact, all of the Al-Ucard seemed to resemble on another to some degree, though there were subtle differences in facial characteristics and body types. The Al-Ucard continued to stare, unblinking. "I am Morill of House Ardal. I do not speak for them," he gestured dismissively to the Eratian's in the cell next to theirs, "but I am the First for this group." He glanced to the Eratian's for a moment before returning his attention of Morill. "That's fine. I'm here to tell you that the Captain has decided that you're all to be given quarters. Operations is in the process of setting up arrangements for you, and you'll be moved shortly." "We are being set free?" His nostrils flared slightly and his gaze narrowed as though he didn't believe. Tilting his head, he seemed to read Mark's expression. "No, we are still prisoners. We are simply being coddled by the Federation so that they may feel better about themselves." "The quarters are an upgrade from being crammed together in these cells. If you'd like, you could stay here. I don't care much, personally," His recent encounter with Victria didn't leave him much love for the Al-Ucard or their plight. Still, he was supposed to try and be diplomatic. He sighed deeply. "We're trying to work on an outcome that doesn't result in us turning you over to the Scorpiads. I wont lie and say that it's a for sure thing. I'm also sure that you know full well that they wont just let you go. So, you could try to be a little more appreciative, rather then insult the only thing standing between you and what ever example the Scorpiad intend to make of you all." Morill smiled. It was the slow, calculating smile of a predator assessing his prey. One finger rose to press against the forcefield, his claw-like fingernails dragging across the surface as though the resulting energy surge was no bother. "Your Federation will not do anything to jeopardize the fragile peace they believe they have built. It is a facade and is dangerously close to crumbling at your feet. While you cling to your fragile existence, the Scorpiad are rebuilding their forces to crush you. And they will, make no mistake. They will not stop until they have obliterated every trace of your people from this quadrant of the galaxy. They may not even stop there." He bared his fangs and hissed. "We, the repressed, are the only thing that stands between you and utter destruction, so stop congratulating yourself on pretending to treat us with respect," he snarled. "If you do not intend to release us, you are no better than the false Gods that have controlled us for so long." He scowled, his frustration growing. They were all so high and God damned mighty. "This was obviously a mistake. Not only are your people unable to ask for help, they're incapable of receiving it. Look, the only reason I came down here is to make sure you won't cause any trouble while we move you to your quarters. I've spent some time with your kind, so I know you all have some kind of code of honor. All I need to know if you'll cooperate and move peacefully, while we try to work on some way of releasing you." "You mean you have spent time with heeerrrrrrrrrr," he hissed. "Her stench is still on you. I can smell it even through the field." The forcefield sizzled as he struck it briefly. "She is not one of us. Not for some time now. You have tainted her. She stinks of this place and has forgotten who she is and what she was born to do. She is dulled, muted, half. You have no knowledge of us. You could never know us except as prey." He snapped his fangs in frustration and moved back from the field, turning sharply on one heel and rejoining his kin in what was, quite obviously, a dismissal of the human security officer and an end to the conversation. "You should say that to her some time. See what she does." He looked them for a moment longer, before letting out a disgusted snort, and walking out of the brig.
  7. ((OOC Note: This log takes place prior to our receiving the Scorpiad distress call that kicked off this current plot. It's been lost in translation, editing, and other traps of having a RL :) Regardless, here it finally is. Enjoy :lol: )) "A Romulan Connection?" The armory flashed green for a moment, as the characteristic hue of Romulan disruptor fire went off. On one of the walls hung a square slap of tritanium, now scorched black and slightly smoking. In a straight line from that stood Mark Garrison, shouldering one of the smuggled disruptor rifles, looking at the damage he'd inflicted with a satisfied smile. He and Charlotte had been running tests on these damned weapons for hours...maybe days. The passage of time had begun to blur for him. So far, nothing conclusive. Either these were bonafide Romulan made weapons, or extremely well put together forgeries. Scanning them, and disassembling them hadn't yielded anything, so test firing was the next step. Not to mention their only hope of staving off "death by boredom". "This is a lot more fun then waving over these things with a tricorder..." Garrison smirked, putting the weapon back on the pedestal with the others from their sample group, before walking over to the tritanium slab, and beginning to run scans on it. Charlotte chuckled softly, stepping into the place her division officer had vacated, drawing a rifle to her shoulder. She replicated his shot, right down to the scorched, smoking sheet of tritanium. She then lowered her rifle and looked it over. "If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck..." she said, pursing her lips, "it should be a duck." Sighing, she shook her head. "But surely even the Romulans couldn't be this ambitious." "It stands to reason that even if we, the beacon of freedom across the galaxies, aren't inclined to get involved, the xenophobic Romulan Empire isn't going to lift a finger, either." "Yeah. I can't see what the Romulan's would stand to gain out of trying to help stage an open rebellion. However, it wouldn't hurt them to see the Federation embroiled in a scandal with the Dominion over delivering smuggled weapons to one of its client words. Though, then they'd have to be knock offs, so they could claim deniability. So...ugh. I hate politics...." He trailed off, as his tricorder waved over the smoldering metal. After a few moments, a deep sigh emanated from him. "Nothing. No odd radiation signatures, energy discharges, anything to tell us if these things are the real deal or not. We're going to end up living in this damned armory, since the Captain isn't going to take an 'I don't know' for an answer." The junior officer grimaced. "No, he won't. And he'd be wearing his 'We are not amused,' expression, as well." She pinched the bridge of her nose. "Do you think he'd mind if we took a break? I've been digging through boxes and firing counterfeit-not-counterfeit weapons for almost a week now. If I don't get out and get moving a bit, I'm going to go stir crazy." "What he doesn't know can't hurt him. Well...unless they're Romulan distruptors. Nasty burns, and what not. But yes, I think I shall wield my authority as Chief of Security, and call it a night." He tossed his tricorder into the plastic tote next to the weapon, causing a secondary bounce and a thud. "A few kilometers will help stuff these last few hours in the past proper. And what does the young Lieuteant plan to do with her newly liberated time?" "Like I said... Get moving. I'll probably take a spin around the ship. The holodecks are fine, but sometimes you need the uniformity and monotony of spaceship corridors." A wry grin twiched at her lips. "That, and it terrorizes some of the crew. 'Scuse me! Pardon me! Coming through!" "Yes, nothing gets a sci department member flustered like something running into the path of them and their precious pads." He paused, pondering something for a moment. "And it’s doubly effective when you have two people side by side charging them down. You should join me." The grin that had threatened her features blossomed fully. "I think you're on to something. Meet you back here in fifteen?" "Yes. This," he gestured over his uniform, "won’t do at all." Fifteen minutes later, Charlotte entered security once again, clad in a pair of moisture-wicking running pants, shirt, and appropriate shoes. Her long, dark hair had been braided and tucked; her communicator in a hidden pocket at her waist. She received a few strange glances from those on shift, but pointedly ignored them. She folded her arms across her chest and leant against the watchdesk, waiting for Garrison to make his entrance. Mark entered not long after, clad in similar clothing. Starfleet work out attire had about as much flair for individuality as the uniforms. Still, it showed off more then the drab grey uniform did, and a few people were already whispering as he approached her. More toned then bulky and muscular, Garrison preferred flexibility and agility to brute strength. Biceps the size of your thighs meant nothing when you couldn't land a punch, and, as he took a glance at Charlotte, he had to admit that this was much better then running the decks by himself. "Well, you ready?" "Lay on, MacDuff." Charlotte gestured to the doors leading into the corridor. He flashed her a smirk, leading them out into the hall and breaking into a light jog to get warmed up. By now, Gamma Shift was in full swing, so the corridors were mostly empty. Still, he was confident they could find at least one crewman would have to sidestep in a fluster to make way for the blazing security officers. Charlotte fell into step next to him, matching his pace. She was disappointed the corridors were so vacant; she supposed she really had lost track of time while cataloguing and test-firing weapons. As the rounded the first turn, she could feel the blood beginning to flow through her extremities, warming to her efforts. There was a freedom in the movement that had been sorely lacking in the tedium of the past few days. She said as much, in between breaths. "I couldn't agree more," He said as they broke into a proper run. "I suppose, there is an upside to ordeal. I was dreading the idea, of being security muscle for some diplomatic convoy." "Leave it to our esteemed captain," she began, matching his pace, "to find trouble." They ran a few paces and she added. "Or rather... for trouble to find him." "He does have that quality." He chuckled. "A few more missions on Excalibur, and I'll have probably seen more action, then my seven years on the Mercutio." "That's saying something, I take it?" Charlotte was familiar with the mission profile of the Mercutio, but had not read much on her exploits. It had been on her "night table" since departing Camelot, but other issues -- including the smuggled weapons -- kept getting in the way of her background reading. "Saw action of course. We were deployed to border patrol after the war. Dealt mostly with pirates, smugglers, syndicate. This kind of thing actually." He let out his next exhale as a frustrated sigh. "Seems I've gotten rusty." Matsumura gave a snort of sarcastic laughter as her own exhale. "If this continues," she said, "you'll be back into shape in no time." He chuckled, and picked up the pace. "I hope they haven't been lax, on the physical training at the Academy, Lieutenant." "Hardly," Charlotte replied. She cast a sidelong glance in his direction. "I'm merely keeping pace with you. If we're doing this right, I shouldn't be able to sing..." "One of these days, I'm going to have to put you in your place…" They rounded another corner, to finding themselves coming up on a medical crewman from behind, glancing down at his padd. Perfect. Mark nearly broke into a sprint as he shouted, “Coming through!” The poor crewman barely had time to glance back and jump out of the way before he and Charlotte ran by. He stood there for a second, looking bewildered in the direction they ran, clutching that dear padd to his chest. Charlotte broke her stride to catch up with the CSEC, grinning madly as she saluted the medic in passing. "I was more thinking... 'Joy to the World' -- the one with Jeremiah, the Bullfrog. But you can rarely go wrong," she said, "with Classic Queen." She puffed a bit, finding her rhythm again as they fell into step. "I hate that song," He glanced over to her, flashing his trademark smirk, before breaking into a full sprint, sharply turning at the next corner. "Try to keep up!" Matsumura sprinted, attempting to catch up with him, but by the second corner, he was gone. It wasn't until she resorted to searching by his heart signature that she was able to locate him -- hiding in a Jeffries tube near his apparition point. Keying the security entry, Charlotte waited as the hatch slipped open. She regarded the chief of security with her arms folded across her chest, a brow arched. "That," she said, pausing for emphasis, "was very dirty." Mark was sitting half in the in the Jeffries tube, holding a bottle of amber colored liquor, two glasses sitting next to him, courtesy of the nearby workstation replicator. "Had to do something to keep you from singing," He chuckled. "And it just so happened that we passed my hide away on the ship." A devilish grin formed, as he swished the bottle in front of her. Charlotte allowed her own smirk, easing gracefully into the Jeffries tube. "Not as good for you as water, but infinitely better tasting." "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." He grinned ruefully and poured the glasses, handing her one. "I've got to admit Matsumura, I'm a bit surprised. I don't think I've seen anything from you but duty, duty, duty since you came on board. Drinking with your chief in the Jeffries tubes...now that's something for the scuttlebutt." "I won't tell, if you won't. After all, what's there to be said about a department head corrupting the junior officers under his command?" Her eyes twinkled with mischief as she waved the glass under her nose, then swirled it gently. "Mmm. And dare I ask where this has been hiding? Grandfather Blair would have killed for a vintage like this." "Oh, it's been here all along. One of the advantages to growing up on starships, is that you're a curve ahead of most of the green ensigns when it comes to the finer nuances of ship life. Lord knows how many keep it all locked under their beds, or hidden in the cargo bay farthest from their quarters. Myself, I've got bottles floating all over the ship, and I know every engineer on a first name basis." He chuckled, then took a sip. Taking her own sip, Charlotte then looked on the glass with approval. The smoky flavor was still perfectly in tact, the alcohol tracing a warm path as she swallowed. "Bribery will get you every where, then, it seems... including into the sacred snack chamber." "The engineers run this ship. I heard one made off with one of the Captain's own bottles not too long ago. A lesson for you, incase you haven't learned it yet." Garrison paused, taking a moment to watch the amber liquid as he swirled it in the glass, before taking another sip. "So how has your first assignment been? Lived up to your expectations?" The junior officer allowed the ambrosia to roll across her tongue a bit, furrowing her brow as she considered his question. "I'm not certain I came into this position *with* expectations, really," she answered. She realized as she said it that it seemed to describe her approach to both her "regular" duties and her "additional" duties -- those that Garrison knew nothing about. "I will say that service aboard Excal has been very... eye opening...about the nature of deep space politics." "Yes, there is that," He furrowed his brow for a moment. "I'll admit, my first year here, I didn't think I'd make it. I had been on extended leave for a year. I was rusty, and honestly, this has to be one of the most demanding jobs in Starfleet. After I was promoted to chief, I told myself to give it a second chance, third chance, I suppose because that's what I said when I decided to transfer to the Excalibur. I'm glad I did. My stint as a chief on the Mercutio had been short and disastrous, and I felt I owed it to myself to improve on that. Now, I don't think I could do anything else. I thrive on the stress and strain. Because it makes moments, and drinks like this taste all the sweeter." "We've certainly been under a lot of strain... even as boring and tedious as the testing and reporting cycle has been." She paused, pursing her lips. "Do you think... Rather, is it possible, that those weapons -- their presence on the ship -- is the result of an inside job?" "It's certainly possible," He sighed, finishing the last two sips in the glass with a large gulp. "As much as this ship calls to the best of us...the worst can certainly see the advantages as well. As much confidence as I have in my department, there are enough people with the knowledge and ability on this ship to make it an undeniable possibility." "An undeniable, but unpleasant possibility," she echoed. Matsumura downed the last of her own drink, filing the note away for later contemplation...and reporting. She did question the timing: Corizon's return to the ship coincided with the illegal shipment. But would it really be that obvious? She inwardly shook her head. The captain may have been many things but careless was not one of them. Shoving the thought aside, she looked back up at Garrison. "So...we've had our run, and a bit of a drink. Now what?" "One of the disadvantages of starship life..." He trailed off, leaning into the Jeffries tubes to replace the bottle, then moving over the replicator and recycling the glasses. "...Is that when interacting with the fairer sex, I'm at a bit of a loss." He let out an amused huff, before turning to face her. "So what would you like to do?" "It seems rather pointless to continue firing test patterns; we've gleaned about as much information from the fake-not-fake weapons as I believe we're going to." "Seven years on the boarders...these are the best duplications I've ever seen. If they even are duplications...and it's too pleasant an evening to discuss the ramifications of them being the real deal." He shook his head, letting his gaze land back at the Jefferies Tube where he had sat. Suddenly another drink sounded pretty good. "I doubt the Romulans would reach that far out of their comfort zone... even if it meant gleefully stabbing the Federation in the back....which still leaves the question as to whether they're copies or fabulous fakes." Charlotte sighed, leaning back against the wall of the tube. "I wonder if this is what chasing your tail feels like." "Pretty much. I wouldn't get too stressed over it though. More often then not, things tend to sort themselves out." "Yes, but in this case, I'd really rather not be caught unawares." Brushing an escaped lock of hair from her eyes, she waved her hand, dismissing the heavy discussion. "I have a suggestion." He watched her movement, and couldn't deny she looked very good in this lighting. From that, his distracted brain could only produce an, "Oh?" "Return to our respective quarters, clean up, and then reconvene to finish those bloody reports for the captain. There might or might not be a working dinner involved." Her stomach growled, as though to emphasize the point. She blushed. He glance down to her middle, chuckling at the sound. The workout had certainly built up an appetite in himself as well. "Best plan I've heard all day. Thirty minutes enough time for you?" "More than." Charlotte shifted slightly, edging feet-first out of the tube. She pushed herself to her feet, looking at the CSEC over her shoulder. "See you in thirty." "It's a date. Work date. Yeah."
  8. Turns out they all lived happily ever after as I was writing that.
  9. The red print of auto destruct! People are confused, angry. Thus comes the black box of doom! The crew of Excalibur hang by a thread! Will they live? Find out in up to ten minutes.
  10. Could I get... Audentes fortuna iuvat Please and thanks.
  11. Mark let out a long, relieved sigh as he relaxed into his bed. He propped himself up onto the pillows, taking a moment to appreciate silken sheets he'd picked up at some random shop on Camelot during their last leave… the one before all the zombies and mayhem. He'd spent the leave after that filling positions and helping helpless ensigns do... God... everything. He glanced over to the Al-Ucard lying next to him, seemingly reading his thoughts. She certainly knew how to relieve stress. Still, his stress was her stress and vice versa, so relieving it could be as much a productive activity as a recreational one. Maybe that's how they ended up here this time? "I don't think I realized how much I needed that." He finally spoke, glancing over to her. She smirked as she rolled onto her side to stare at him. Her fingers trailed down his chest and down to his muscled abdomen. "I did. Glad you enjoyed yourself. It certainly took you long enough to get here. I have been broadcasting subtle hints for the past hour." "Yeah, well I've always been bad at picking up hits, much less those sent subconsciously through our bond. Perhaps I was just waiting for you to come and drag me off the bridge." He chuckled a bit, rolling to face her, propping his head up with his left hand. "You know how I am though. Work before play. I'd hate to have a guilty feeling about neglecting something in security after a night like this." "Yes, you take your duty seriously, but so do most of the people on this ship. And you are no less deserving than they. However, you are responsible for your own department now and I doubt the new Captain..." she paused, not liking the sound of that, "would not hesitate to berate you for failure." "No, I imagine not. I haven't interacted with him much, but I tell you wouldn't want to run into him with your boots unpolished. Just another joy of being the Chief. I get the flak for you all. Sometimes I think I should have told Corizon to give you the job..." He sighed, taking a brief moment to look her over. She'd been less then... pleased to learn they'd be receiving new CO. He knew she and Corzon were close and often suspected they had a similar arrangement to himself and Victria, though he tried not to dwell on it. Jealousy was an ugly emotion. "Do you miss him? Corizon?" Her smile dropped slightly and she gazed steadily at him, contemplating his question. "In a way, yes. Though I am not certain it is something I can explain fully." She paused, searching for the words. "I consider him part of my clan. He is a Hunter. We understand one another. Does that bother you?" "No, not really. Ever since we started this you made it clear we weren't exclusive. It isn't what I expected when I admitted my feelings to you back then, but I suppose it's better than being rejected outright. Besides, I get what I need from you," He paused, realizing how that sounded. "It's not just the sex. Loyalty, friendship, trust. It's as much as any decent human relationship, so I decided not to hung up worrying if you're in someone else's quarters any given night." She laughed lightly. "You will soon find that the Al-Ucard do not mind being used in the same manner as humans. You do yourself credit in learning to think differently from the rest of your kind." Blue eyes drifted over his face to his neck, resting on the rhythmic pulsing of blood there. After a moment, she broke free of the urge and slipped out of bed. Silken sheets whispered against her skin as she slid from beneath them. Naked, she strode to the replicator. "Would you like something?" "Water is fine, thanks." It was a simple answer, which gave him more time to admire the view. As the drinks replicated she returned, handing him the glass. "I thought you should know, I've been thinking on the subject on the bond as well and decided, for now, that I want to keep it." She took a sip of red from her glass and licked her lips, studying him as she reclined on the pillows. "What swayed you in that direction?" "I've managed to cope with the unforeseen effects of it so far, and you're right, it does have tactical advantages as well. That and... it uh... brings a certain closeness between us I've sort of... uh... grown accustomed to..." He took a nervous sip of the water. She gazed steadily at him once again. "As you wish. Only remember that this was your choice. If you ever change your mind, the offer to dissolve this still stands. One does not shackle a Clansman, a Bondmate, or a Lover." Mark nodded thoughtfully. "I understand. It's sort of unknown territory where this bond will go... There's an old human expression, 'We'll cross that bridge when we get to it'. For now I'll try not to get stabbed again by any green space pirates, and you can try to stay well fed," He smirked. "It's a good thing Dr. Dubois isn't exactly thorough with the yearly physicals. I'd figured we would've had to explain this to...someone by now." "There is little to explain unless we openly reveal it ourselves. Emotional surges and sympathy pains can be explained away." She took another long drink, obviously needing the replenishment. "I do not know what would happen if the bond were discovered. They would surely make us dissolve it." "Probably. I have to admit I'm a little curious to see what my blood work would show though; if there'd be any Al-Ucard DNA floating around in there. Only logical way to explain the telepathy... empathy... whatever. Then again, you are supposed to be your people's ambassador to the Federation. Perhaps there might be a diplomatic string to pull. Either way, I hate physicals, so I don't plan to visit sickbay anytime soon." He set the water on the nightstand next to him, admiring what the near dark of spacelight did to her features. Her attention shifted to the window as she contemplated the revelations of their latest mission. She disliked the thought of carrying Scorpiad genetics around inside of her and disliked the thought of passing those on to someone else even less. Mark was resolved to continue. Perhaps she should make the decision to sever their connection… for his welfare. Then she turned back and found him staring at her, not as a Hunter might gaze at prey, but as a man might look at a woman. With Corizon gone, Mark was the one person on the ship that didn't think her a freak or a monster. "Thank you," she said simply, not fully knowing how to convey her appreciation. He nodded, not as much of an acknowledgement, but because he didn't really know what else to do. There was the moment of not knowing what she meant. Then the bond filled the gaps of what she couldn't explain. That was another reason he wanted to keep it. It brought with it an understanding that couldn't be conveyed in words. He had to marvel at how often they'd spoken an entire conversation with a simple look. It made things much easier for him, considering he wasn't much of one for words. Here it had prevailed again. "I remember when you said I was attracted to you like one might be attracted to danger. Too bad you turned out to be pretty harmless." He smirked, trying to lighten the mood. "I do not react well to insults," she replied to his teasing. One corner of her mouth quirked upward as she set her glass aside. The icy hue of her eyes seemed to intensify. "I consider them challenges." "Well you should do something about that." A sly little grin formed on his lips as he looked her body over. "With pleasure," she said, grinning evilly, and then attacked him with enough ferocity to make him fully aware of the consequences of such a challenge.
  12. Mark managed to wait until the lift doors closed, sealing him and Victria off from the bridge before letting out a loud sigh. The debriefing, what it was, was finally over. The walk from sickbay where they'd transported to, to the bridge told enough of the tale. Now he had to return to Security and see who was still alive. Oh, and he had Scorpiad DNA floating around in his body. To say his nerves were frayed was an understatement. Victria stared across the lift at him silently. Even without the bond they shared, she could easily read his mood from his body language. He was exhausted. They all were. But there was something else bothering him. She could guess what his concerns were, for she had them as well. To suddenly discover that the Scorpiad, her now most hated enemy, had used their own genetic material to create her race was repugnant. Finally, she offered, "What we have can be severed if you are inclined." He turned and stared her down for a few moments, before speaking. "I'm thinking about it, to be honest. Though, the Scorpiad DNA isn't my biggest concern in the recent string of unexpected events. I'm more concerned about back at the lake. You didn't bother to mention that there would be physical sensation... eventually." He turned away, and stared back at the door, torn between confusion and a genuine fear at where this was all heading. He let out another small sigh upon realizing the turbolift was still sitting at the bridge. "Deck fourteen..." "Honestly, I could not know for certain what we would share. I have never attempted anything remotely similar with a human. I told you as much, but you were just a curious as I. The longer this bond is shared, the closer we will become in mind and body. If that frightens you, I will speak to the doctor this very day about aiding us in removing the burden." "So I have some frame of reference, just exactly how far does this bond go between two Al-Ucard?" The lift opened, depositing them on deck 14. This deck was even worse, as he suspected. Main Security lay on this deck, and they wouldn't have given it up without a fight. "We are able to share thoughts and feelings through the bond. It has always aided us in the Hunt. What one experiences, the other feels. It is difficult to describe the sensation." Her face tightened slightly as they stepped out into the wreckage, memories bothering more than the destruction of the ship. "We consider it an advantage." "Not exactly... an advantage... when one breaks a few ribs." He paused each time to step over random debris, then paused his walking he realized what she said. "You said thoughts and feelings? You're saying there's a possibility we'll be able to communicate telepathically? Not just... what we have now?" Once again curiosity was getting the better of him as he did contemplate the potential advantages of it. "To some degree, perhaps. The Al-Ucard have always had the ability within the clans, but the bond drew us even closer with our chosen siblings. I do not know of what your human brain might be capable." She shifted a displaced wall panel to one side and continued, glancing back at him only briefly. "I heal quickly. You do not. It is more of a disadvantage to me when all things are considered." "Perhaps I'm not the only one with reservations then. Besides, my Human brain seems to have handled things well so far. I'm just worried how far this will go. I guess I never took the time to think about it but the Scop- your DNA is rewriting mine in some small way, to make the emotional and physical transfer possible. I'm not afraid of the bond... I just don't want to lose myself to it." As they neared main security he pulled her down different corridor, stopping after a few feet. "Do you want to continue?" "I really think that should be you decision," she said, facing him squarely. "The bond is not the totality of our relationship. We would still remain friends and nothing else would need to change. You could simply file it away as an experience to be mulled over later in life." Though her expression remained neutral, internally she was torn. Mark was her closest friend and had been since she arrived. She wanted none of that to change, nor did she wish for it to affect the more intimate relationship they sometimes shared. "Well..." He glanced around at all the destruction. "I suppose I'll have time to think about it. No doubt I'll be busy until we return to Camelot." Mark sighed, and looked past her. "I'm not exactly eager to walk into Security right now." "You do not have to report to duty right at this very minute. Considering the circumstances, everyone is due a rest." She touched his chin lightly and turned his face back to her. "Give it serious thought. It is your decision," she said softly. "Whatever you decide, it does not have to be a permanent situation. I am retiring, even if you are not. I need to feed." She paused, waiting to see if he would offer. He had yet to issue the invitation and she would not ask. When he merely nodded, she continued. "I cannot say what might happen if I am pestered by an over-eager Ensign." "You're right about the rest, though I won't take it. Wouldn't feel right, but you should. You deserve it, and that overeager Ensign doesn't." He let his hands slide down her sides and rest on her hips, staring into her eyes for a moment. Their lips met and his previous doubts wavered, for he sometimes wanted nothing more than to share everything he had with her. Outside of battle, the indecision of Mark Garrison was infamous. As he drew back, he could only crack a smile, the first one in what felt like a long time. "Well, I'll see you later." "Yes," she promised, gazing at him, forcing her attention to remain on his face and not the pulsing artery in his neck. Her fingers brushed his lips, tracing his smile. "We will discuss this more when you have the inclination. I will be in my quarters… if they still exist." She broke away gently, hesitantly, and picked her way through the battered corridor without glancing back.
  13. Mark paced through the corridors of Excalibur, his mind preoccupied. The transfer of supplies and... animals to the surface was going about as well as could be expected, so he saw no need to stay up on the bridge to monitor things. Instead he intended to head to his office to take care of the stack of paperwork that had piled up over the week. He'd managed to avoid most of it under the guise of monitoring the animals in the bay...a case of picking his own poison. It also provided a good excuse to avoid Victria. He'd admit to the point that he had been an ass... but being knocked out didn't do much for his pride, of which he was very proud. Still, an apology was in order, and he spent the walk from the turbolift preparing his very best. Pausing at the door to take a deep breath, he entered Main Security and began to look around for her, already knowing she was somewhere in the busy area. She glanced up as he entered, but said nothing, concentrating on her computer terminal in stony silence. The transport was none of her concern as she only served to frighten the animals to the point of stampede, so she was staying well away until cleanup was needed. Despite the taunts from Laarell, she had no qualms about doing such a disgusting, dirty job. She could, after all, hold her breath for extended periods at a time. He moved over to her, standing behind and observing her work. Her lack of a reaction to him wasn't exactly pleasing, but he couldn't sense hostility at the moment, which was the least he could ask for. He cleared his throat to get her attention, though he doubted it was needed. "Could I see you in my office for a moment?" "Of course," she replied evenly. "I have a dozen or so more data padds that need your attention." She stacked them up, unsmilingly, and rose from her seat, eyeing him as she passed. The padds clattered atop his desk once she'd entered, adding to the chaos already there. He silently followed her into the office and locked the door behind them. It was fortunate that his office was a good deal larger than the one on the Union, because the dozen or so padds that Victria hefted in with her were a small fraction compared to the rest that were strewn across the floor. Once his desk had been covered, they'd started a pile on the floor. "You've got to be kidding me..." She snorted. "It's what happens when you disappear to avoid certain duties. You could delegate." Taking a seat, she crossed her legs and leaned back, watching him. Moving a stack of padds from his chair, he also sat, forced to cross his arms as there was nowhere on his desk to lean. "I hated when my chief on the Mercutio delegated this kind of stuff to me. If I can't do this on my own then I don't deserve to be the chief now. Though with Commander JoNs gone the additional tasks and paperwork the Captain has saddled me with have become... tedious." She shrugged one shoulder. "You can only help yourself, then. But you know that Ah-Windu will ask you why you did not delegate if and when your reports cease to be filed timely." "They'll be filed soon. None of these are priority forms; mostly quarter assignment bickering, and status quo status reports. I came down here to lock myself in this office until they're done... and to talk to you. I... want to apologize for my actions during the party. It was...uncalled for, and I fear I've made a fool of myself." Mark looked rather uncomfortable. The apology was sincere, but he was also crushing his usual instincts regarding such an event. Admitting he was wrong was never his strong suit. She smirked. "You did. A fantastic fool, but perhaps I should not have been so quick to shut you up, as much as you deserved it. I do not take well to being goaded... challenged. I am surprised you remember it at all." "I don't actually. Well, most of it anyway. Travis was kind enough to inform me why I had woken up in his store room. I must admit, I don't take well to goading either, though I imagine I goaded myself, more then you did. I... I just... I'm sorry." He sighed, and leaned back in the chair, almost looking ashamed. Over the last several months, he'd learned to control the bond they shared to the point where he could pretty selectively decide what he allowed Victria to feel from him, but at this very moment all his walls were down. "As am I, though I must confess that I took great pleasure cracking your jaw." She smiled, perfectly willing to let him off of the hook now that he admitted he was wrong. "I had a very long conversation with your bartender friend. He seems... interesting." "Yes...Travis is a piece of work. He has to be about the only civilian I've ever seen wear the uniform, and I mean it when I say that. I don't think he ever once considered his service to the fleet a duty. Just a job. Though, he's rather popular for a man who thinks almost solely of himself." Mark smiled slightly. Travis had always been a contradiction to him, but still considered him a true friend. A decade of history could do that however. "So I gathered. Still, I look forward to knowing him more. He was not very forthcoming about your past together, though I am certain I could work on that given enough time." She tongued one of her fangs thoughtfully, wondering if he would make good on his promise for a drink. "A few strips of latinum should be all you need for him to play the role of story teller, though there are several events on which I've sworn him to silence, and ask that you not pry into those.... or myself for that matter," He paused, looking uncomfortable over the memories this line of discussion produced. "Perhaps someday, but not now, as we are." She leaned forward, predatory instincts undeniable as she scented something just out of reach. "As we are? You do not trust me. After everything?" "No, it's not that," He scowled at his poor choice of words. "It's that I can't afford to trust you, or anyone else for that matter. Sad as it is, Travis Kroells might be my best friend. We've lived... and died together. There is a bond that goes beyond simple friendship, compatibility of personality, or anything else. We have a unique bond, not unlike ours." "And yet you still keep yourself apart." Her head tilted slightly. "You should not be ashamed of your past or of the things you have done. If I had time to spare, I could easily recount to you each and every one of my gloriously horrific deeds. My decisions led me to this path, but do not define who I am. What are you frightened of revealing?" He stared her down for a good minute, a great debate raging within him. "This secret could jeopardize my career within the fleet. I can't and won't say more. Not now, not in this... professional setting," He trailed off, and then gave her a small smile. "You're too good at getting to me, you know." She quirked a brow as she leaned back. "You know I care nothing for the uniform you wear. I am here for other reasons. There is no secret you could possibly hide that would make me trust or respect you less. But as you wish," she said dismissively. "I will not ask again. You will tell me... eventually." She seemed extremely certain of that. Mark nodded, as if to confirm that claim. "Thank you, I appreciate it. It is a complicated affair, one that dominated my decisions the last few years, and one that may have complicated our relationship..." He sighed and looked down for a moment, debating continuing, but coming to the same conclusion he did before. That he must. "I'm going to be blunt, because I don't know any other way. I think you're aware of my feelings for you. You've tolerated my indecisiveness and at times my absurdity, which I must thank you, but I feel I must bring it into the open, if only to save another embarrassing incident like the party. I need to get it off my chest in a manner of speaking... and to see if you feel the same way." He leaned back into the chair, allowing her to absorb what he'd just said. She stared at him from across the desk, extremely surprised. "What is it that you think you feel, Mark? Is it love? Or merely an animalistic lust for a kindred being? I have felt many things from you that I do not understand or can even begin to interpret. What is it that you feel?" she whispered. "I... I don't know. I wish I could be clearer. Those feelings you say you've felt I can't interpret or comprehend much better then you. I'll be honest in what I know: There is love, and desire... and shame. Part of my indecisiveness was the fear that having feelings for you was betraying the memory of another. I came out to the Gamma Quadrant to put my past behind me and to try and be an officer one more time. You remind me of that previous life, but at the same time you're different. It's a confliction I can't put into words, but I've decided that I can't live debating hypothetical situations anymore. I need to follow my feelings, and they tell me to be with you." "Mark," she said slowly, rising and skirting the avalanche of data padds on the floor. "Listen to me carefully and understand the full extent of my meaning." She crouched in front of him. "I am not human. I do not share many of your human emotions. I do not have the capacity for love or sentiment or relationships. I have desires, yes, but they are ruled by my instincts to hunt and dominate. I lust for things. I crave things. I do not love. I cannot be what you want or what you are accustomed to. I can be your lover, but I will never be completely yours. My nature is fickle and roaming." Placing both hands on the arms of his chair, she stared into his eyes. "Would you be happy with only a small portion of what you need? Would your jealousy overcome you if you knew I spent time with another... fed from another? You know what I am and of what I am capable, but you have never fully embraced my nature. Rather, you have attempted to be my human conscience. This would only increase if we were together. You would live in frustration for not being able to change who I am, and I would hate you for trying." He didn't pull away, but finally looked down, considering her words. "I... have thought about that. Part of my attempt to "humanize" you came from the belief that the Al-Ucard could choose a different path than violence and feeding. I'm probably wrong, and it's probably arrogant presumption on my part. You've shown me time and again who and what you are, and I'm forced to submit to that. Those attempts will stop, regardless of what happens here and now. What I am attracted to... what I desire… is you, here, as you are now. If you're incapable of a normal human relationship, I accept that as well. I'm not so in love with you as to try to possess or change you. Nor am I so afraid of losing something that I'm not willing to try for it. Maybe it'll work out, maybe it won't... but I feel this is something worth pursuing... and perhaps you do too." "You will soon find that your emotions lead you down a dangerous path, but not one that I am averse to traveling for a short while." Her blue eyes locked with his as she placed her fingers under his jaw and tilted his head up. "No good will come of it," she said softly, then smiled wickedly. "I warn you in advance so that you might see the folly in it and turn to someone with your own level of feeling. I feel no remorse, I will never pander to your ego, and my appetite is insatiable." "Perhaps this will be my worst mistake yet," a smile grew on Mark's face, almost as wicked as her own. "But you'll find I rarely change my path after deciding on one." Though Victria knew that their attempted union would end badly, she could not deny herself the chance to sample what he had to offer. "Starfleet frowns on fraternization," she murmured as another warning. Grabbing the collar of his uniform, she pulled him forward the few empty inches until their lips met for the first time. He would have mentioned that this wasn't the first time he'd made that mistake either, but as their lips met, all his thoughts melted away. She was probably right, it would probably end badly... but right here, right now... it felt all too right.
  14. “New Arrivals” History tended to repeat itself, Mark noticed. First day as department head usually was. Instead of throwing giving paper work you were receiving it. And endless stream of people either giving him things to sign off on, or complaining about something. Or in Commander Teykier's case...no, he wasn't even going to think about that. The sheer ridiculousness of it. He groaned and checked the time. Not even 0900. He might be able to still swim to Camelot... But then who would read all these padds? He leaned back into his chair, the day already wearing into him. When was the last time he shot something? Charlotte Matsumura entered the makeshift security department, finding it a hive of activity. Officers and non-comms swarmed in and out, loaded with PADDs and crates and various other items as the department was still being set up. Furrowing her brow, she smoothed her hand over the pips at her collar, drew herself to her full height, and glanced around. Her review of the personnel jackets revealed that her division officer would be Mark Garrison. And, while she had a basic idea of what the man would look like, there were times when personnel looked nothing like their profile images. The sheer chaos around her didn't seem to help. She wove her way through the room, finally spotting a small alcove that strongly resembled a broom closet. When a fellow junior officer bolted out of the room as though scalded, she thought she might have found the right place. She was sure when she peered around the corner and recognized the man seated behind a desk, piled with PADDs. She cleared her throat. "Sir?" "Enter!" Mark groaned and tried to compose himself, again. They weren't even giving him a break anymore. Which would it be this time, a complaint about the shift, or a complaint about the bunk mate? As the ensign entered Mark noted he hadn't seen her before, meaning she must be a new transfer in. Ah to be young again he considered with a tiny smirk. For now, since he didn't know if she was annoying or not, he'd give her the benefit of the doubt. Slipping into the cubbyhole office, the ensign drew herself to her full height, standing at a modified attention before Garrison's desk. "Ensign Charlotte Matsumura, reporting for duty, Lieutenant. I believe Commander JoNs forwarded a copy of my orders." "Mmm...Matsumura." He glanced her over for a second before shoving a few padds aside on his desk. Pulling up her file on his center console, he looked it over for a minute before looking back up to her. "You appear to be very qualified Ensign." "Thank you. That was the general consensus, sir," Charlotte replied with a slight grin. He returned the grin. "Confidence or cockiness I wonder..." He stared her down for just a moment, before returning his attention to her record. "You have advanced training in Explosive Ordinance, good. Statistically our EOD personnel are lacking in practical experience. Hopefully you can show them a thing or two. What sort of experience do you have, outside of the classroom?" "Outside of the classroom, I have obtained the rank of Ni Dan in a traditional Japanese martial arts style. Thus, while I may not yet have any operational experience, I believe my training has provided a solid foundation to build upon. I also have a strong affinity for making things go 'boom.' Loving your work seems to make it much more tolerable." "Yes, a love of your job certainly helps things along. The only reason I endure these clerical jobs actually." He sighed and leaned back into the chair. "Regardless, I'd say your the most qualified transferee I have. Whether that translates into actual ability, we'll see. But I'm holding out hope for you." In reality, Charlotte knew she was more qualified than she could let on at the moment; only when it became clear where loyalties lay would she ever be able to confide in anyone regarding her operative training. Without that knowledge, if she was considered the "most qualified transferee," that didn't say much for the calibre of personnel BUPERS felt the need to send. She wondered what kind of assignment she had been pigeon-holed into. "Then I look forward to surpassing your expectations, sir." Mark couldn't help but grin like the Cheshire Cat. "I believe the Gamma Quadrant will be quite capable of challenging you, Ensign." He chuckled while digging through a stack of padds. Finding it in the middle, he tried pulling out swiftly, but the rest of the pile collapsed all over his desk. Ever the consummate professional, Mark handed it to her without a second thought. "Here's your orders for the moment. We'll be running drills and simulations, standard shakedown stuff for the next few days to integrate the department. Shift people around as needed. Clerical Stuff." Stifling a laugh, Charlotte took the offered PADD and scrolled through the information. Security rounds, drill preparation, weapons inventories -- the typical, day-to-day activities she knew would be most of her existence from now on. Well, at least as much as the Gamma Quadrant would allow, she thought. Such work would make it easier for her to settle in to both her positions as quickly as possible. For that silver lining, she was grateful...it also helped soothe what little bit of nerves she had thus far been unable to smother. "Very well, sir. With your permission, I'll check in with the officer of the watch and get started." "Yes. No doubt there's a line of newly checked in ensigns waiting outside that door now." He held back a sigh and checked the time again. It was indeed going to be a long day. "Dismissed." With a nod, Matsumura turned and took a step toward the door. She peered out theatrically, then turned back to her division officer. "You'll be delighted to know that there's not a long line of ensigns waiting." She paused, twinkle in her eye. "I believe they're JGs." She bit back the grin that threatened. "Good day, sir."
  15. "Home" The days seemed to drag on longer, Mark noted. He stood by window in his quarters, watching the stars drag by at warp. They we're due to Camelot within the week, which was about the only Garrison noted was going to be a good thing that week. Meetings to discuss department transfers to and from the ship, continued training sessions which...after ten months had finally began to see some discipline amongst the ensigns. While this last third to Excalibur's near year long journey would be the least...eventful, it was detrimental to crew focus. Hell, they hadn't even shifted course in the last two weeks. After the daily routine of maintaining your station, there wasn't much to do but watch the stars fly-by. Realizing he was doing just that, Mark crossed his quarters to the bathroom, and began to shave. The mirror showed he was well tanned for someone who had been cramped in a ship for three months, though taking three days off to cross Vulcan's Forge in the holodeck would do that. Garrison had always prefered to save his holodeck time to use in a long endevour such as this, and while people questioned his motives for crossing a near uncrossable desert, the vast openess of the Forge was exactly what Mark needed to escape endless corridors and center opening doors. It was also part of his training regimen, which had occupied the majority of his free time for the journey home. He hated to admit it, but the leave of absence he'd taken on Earth the year prior to his joining Excalibur had left him rusty. Now however, with only a few days left he looked himself over with satisfaction. Prefering speed to sheer power, he had toned more then bulked up, but he filled out the uniform better none the less. Even more important however, was that his mind was clear. After what happened in the Black Marsh, it was obvious to him his mind was distracted. But there would be no epic battle today, only paper work. Moving crewmen from shift to shift, on and off ship. He wouldn't have the final list until last transfer requests were required, but 1800 hours. Which meant he'd be up till 0100 at least. He sighed, and rinsed off his face. These ensigns didn't appreciate anything anymore...then again neither did he back then. As he changed into his uniform he wondered about how much leave they'd get. Excalibur was decently torn up, and any decent amount of leave would have to last weeks to get people back and forth from the Quadrants. Before that though, he had to get through the three hour shift lead meeting about the transfers. Then more meetings with people he had somehow not managed to meet before this last stage in the journey. He looked his uniform over, and stepped out into the corridor, taking is usual path to security to start another day. He couldn't wait to get off the mooring to Camelot's promenade, to come full circle...but for now there were personel, and the future to shuffle about.