Personal Log - Te'ellis

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xxFadeIntoMistxx Schism
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180509.1948

With a heavy sigh, Te'ellis discarded the last remnants of the tentacle squid beast, which never made it to dinner, from Captain April Coswell's quarters. She was supposed to be taking a break from the radiation levels in engineering by taking an actual rest, but she could not rest. She assured Jak and Sandi that she was taking a moment to regain her energy, but she had no intention of doing so. She needed to finish what she had started, and right at least one wrong that happened by her mistake. Right now, the only wrong she could control was the mess in her XO's quarters.

Even if she wanted to rest, there was none to be had. She had grown close to Jane Ferguson when she would come down to assist Te'ellis in the kitchen. While she was not the most spectacular human Te'ellis had met, there was something almost charming about Jane's optimism, albeit forced optimism while in her presence. So many thought swirled in Te'ellis' mind, which she continuously chose to ignore. She should not grow attached to these Maxwell crew members. They are fragile, and growing close to others always ends in...

She should have been on that shuttle. She chose to ignore the call for evacuation, and now someone was dead in a shuttle, other than Jane, that should not have been. She should have been with Jane in those last moments. A member of the crew was dead, and Te'ellis was not. When Romulus was destroyed, she was many stars away, attending to mundane matters that in the end did not matter at all. Now, once again, she had been tending to petty, unimportant matters when she should have been elsewhere. She cannot take it back. Jane was dead, and some crew member occupied a seat that should have been her. Everyone she convinces to trust her either ends up stabbed in the back or....

Irrelevant. This ship, herself, other people, they are irrelevant. All she had to do was remain detached and distant, just keep that wall up, and perhaps no one else had to get hurt. She was growing too close once again. It was time to regain her perspective and shut these people out. Connections are necessary. Caring on the other hand...

"Enough," she thought. "Just do what needs to be done. Don't forget who you are, and why you cannot be anyone's friend. That time is long past."

The room was almost perfect. She had readjusted every picture, every trinket, to almost the precise position it was before the squid's assault. The smell was gone, and there was no sign of what had transpired. Everything she had touched was now returned to its original place. She did not return it to where it should be, but to where April's non-Romulan aesthetic clearly thought it went.

When Te'ellis was finally satisfied with the state of the objects, she picked up a round bowl, with a lid. Inside the container was six cookies. They were chocolate chip, and in her opinion, some of the best cookies she had ever tasted. Perhaps this would make up for her failings. Jo'leeth, Jane... the trail of Te'ellis' shortcomings were beginning to mount up. Perhaps this would undo some of the hurt she had caused. She placed the cookies on April's desk, and left a note. She had discarded three other versions of the note, as they were far too sentimental, and she could not bring herself to commit such things to writing. Things such as "She often spoke highly of you" was not tempered enough with the sarcastic addition of "though the gods could only know why." In the end, it was a harder note than it should have been.

The note was handwritten, in a scrawl of federation english that had a strange curve to it, giving the impression of Romulan in it's stylized curls.

"April,
I could not decide what to do with this last batch, but I believe Jane would have wanted you to have them.
"

She left it unsigned. It was obvious who it was from in the first place. Again, signing it would have required adding a sentiment, which Te'ellis could not do. She turned off the lights, and left April's quarters to return to engineering. In the back of her mind, she did wonder how long she could get away with working down there before someone would force her to stop. Perhaps she could pass unnoticed until she had exhausted all of the thoughts and sentiments that had no place in her heart.

Irrelevant... everything is irrelevant.
“Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli "The Prince"
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180712.2029

Te'ellis paced in front of the recording computer, hands folded behind her back. In a different time, she may have resembled Sherlock Holmes. Instead, she looked like a Romulan, in an apron, interrogating a non-sentient computer screen. Needless to say, it was not as fearsome as the scene could have been. Smirking in her usual smugness, she addressed the mindless computer.

"I have figured it out! I know how you get your power. You don't do anything... ANYTHING! It's all rather clever, isn't it?" She continued her pacing, with very dramatically timed about-facing. "You simply wait, and let their own psychology do it for you. That need that so many people have, the urge to pour out your soul to someone, or no one... that is all you do. You're a resource for that need. Frankly, I'm embarrassed that it took me this long to figure it out.

"Fine. There's something on my mind. But I'm not going to tell you. No, I'm going to show you exactly what's passing through my mind at this very moment. Let's see... I just need to embed the file... and... hold on."

She disappeared from view, and a few clunking sounds can be heard before-

//String
{{01001001 00100000 01100011 01100001 01101110 01101110 01101111 01110100 00100000 01100010 01100101 01101100 01101001 01100101 01110110 01100101 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 00100000 01100001 01100011 01110100 01110101 01100001 01101100 01101100 01111001 00100000 01110111 01100101 01101110 01110100 00100000 01110100 01101000 01110010 01101111 01110101 01100111 01101000 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100101 00100000 01110100 01110010 01101111 01110101 01100010 01101100 01100101 00100000 01101111 01100110 00100000 01110100 01110010 01100001 01101110 01110011 01101100 01100001 01110100 01101001 01101110 01100111 00100000 01110100 01101000 01101001 01110011 00100001 }}

{{getentry [Te'ellis.180707.0013]}}

personal log entry Te'ellis.180707.0013 file is corrupted

{{embed Borg&B_61.ax7}}

Highly sad sounding music opens the scene. Five of Eight is packing her bags, well bag. A few baby bottles, a spare borg hand, and several clothes of which Borg never wear. She wipes a tear away as she looks at an obviously staged photo of her and Three. The photograph has been used in almost every episode, and is probably the only of of them together. Five is sitting on a log in the forest, with Three standing behind her, his arms draped over her shoulders. They are laughing at something happening in the direction of the photographer, apparently. They look happy, and horribly out of place in a forest setting.

"Oh Three... I remember the first day we were joined. We were content in our distinctiveness. And now... you are transferring. And what of young three and a half?"

The camera cuts to a natal regeneration unit, where the giant newborn was beginning to look like a toddler. The actor would have to be replaced soon. He kicks his feet in his borg-patterned onsie, making random cooing sounds.

"I was foolish to think the genetic manipulation would be successful. Such a deception was a failure from the start. I must do something... I must... oh... that is it! I must get Three back! He must not remain Eleven of Eleven. I will convince him to comply, and re assimilate himself into our family. I must immediately transfer to Borg Cube 186."

She hastily closes her utterly unnecessary suitcase, a shirt sleeve still sticking out of it. She scoops the "newborn" with her free arm, and makes her way to stage right, where it fades to black.


[Omit commercial break error - 01000100 01110101 01100100 01100101 00101100 00100000 01110011 01101000 01100101 00100111 01110011 00100000 01101010 01110101 01110011 01110100 00100000 01100001 00100000 01100011 01101111 01101111 01101011 00100001]

Eight of Eight gloats from behind his eyepiece as Six of Eight puts the restraints on One of Eight. Six recited One's rights, which were quite short.

"You have the right to remain silent, but your testimony has already been assimilated. You will comply."

"You will regret this, Eight!" One exclaims, as her frozen face attempted a look of anger. She wiggles her torso in a feeble attempt at escape, which worked about as well as one would expect.

Eight steps forward, shaking his head in disappointment. "You lost, One. You did not comply. And now, the entire cube knows what you have done. Soon, the whole collective will be assimilating the knowledge of your actions, and your subsequent ejection from Borg Cube 118. You will become the-"

But before he could finish what it was that One would become, presumably something along the lines of dead, the door to the hospital room opened. Another drone appears in the doorway, panting as though she had run a great distance. It was One... another One.

"Stop! She is a falacy! I am the real One of Eight!"

The drones look at each other in bewilderment. One One is cuffed, right in front of them. Yet the other One was standing in the doorway, also in front of them. This did not compute. The only drone that does not look at all surprised is the cuffed One of Eight. She glares as best as her frozen face can manage, a most murderous look, at the One of Eight in the doorway.

A dramatic chord is played by an electric organ, as the camera zooms in on everyone's face, one at a time, ending on the cuffed One of Eight.

[Omit commercial break error - 01010011 01100101 01100011 01110010 01100101 01110100 00100000 01010100 01100001 01101100 00100000 01010011 01101000 01101001 01100001 01110010 00100000 01101101 01100101 01110011 01110011 01100001 01100111 01100101 00101110 00100000 01010011 01101001 01101011 01100101 00100001 00100000 01001001 01110100 00100111 01110011 00100000 01101010 01110101 01110011 01110100 00100000 01101110 01101111 01101110 01110011 01100101 01101110 01110011 01100101 00101110]

A lone piano plays a soft, mournful tune in the background.

Three of eight is travelling in a shuttle, alone. The stars move past the windows much faster than is actually possible. His steel expression, and metal implants, hide the sadness brewing inside. He was determined to become Eleven of Eleven. There was too much sadness, betrayal, and all around nastiness on the cube he called home.

"Computer, end music program 9258."

The piano music stops very abruptly.

"Play music program 1157"

Hit the Road, Jack! blasts over the internal communication system.

Three checks his current course, and leans back, closing his eyes. He has had a long week, and a long day. He doesn't fall asleep, but ignores a hail from Borg Cube 186. Indeed, he has ignored many, as the readout screen shows. There are a total of 18 unanswered hails from his home cube. He reasonably assumes they are calls from Five of Three, and he has no desire to answer them. Eighteen of the previous hails were, in fact, from her.

He should have answered number nineteen. It was a warning message from the collective of the impending ion storm that Three was heading straight toward...

It happened quickly. Out of seemingly nowhere, the first wave hits the shuttle, causing it to shake violently. Three is thrown against the console, and lands lifelessly on the floor. The small shuttle rumbles and lurches as the storm pulls the shuttle in every direction. Another wave hits, and the inertial dampeners go out. Three begins to float like a ragdoll in a swimming pool. And then, the power goes out.

Everything is silent.

Well... until the dramatic organ blasts through the quiet.

{{End playback Borg&B_61.ax7}}

The screen struggles for a moment to bring Te'ellis' quarters back into focus. As it does, she is chuckling... almost giggling. She orders the confession computer to stop recording, and it complies- UH! not complies... it... oh well...
“Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli "The Prince"
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181124.1904

As the USS JD Jackson shuttle, from the Maxwell of course, returns from a supply run, Te'ellis put her feet up casually on the console. In the seat beside her sits a cage with a small, gray songbird. The next song, "California Girls" by the Beach Boys started playing, and she didn't look as though she was enjoying it. The bird on the other hand does not seem to mind.

Rubbing her temple, Te'ellis said, "Good grief. Does Candi listen to NOTHING else? Computer, are there ANY music selections other than Candi's personal song mix?"

"There are two other audio collections. 'Coswell's Best Klingon Glory Metal' and 'Kin'Li Traditional Folk.'"

Te'ellis sighed with recognition. "Well that only leaves one choice if I do not want to be assaulted with boredom of the most basic of tempos and chord choices by a ridiculously primitive people... I have higher standards than THAT. Very well, play 'Kin'Li Traditional Folk.'"

The sound of a wooden flute and a drum similar to a bodhran began to play. It was cheerful and spirited, as though intended to be danced in a circle with bouncing and laughter. The bird flapped its wings, seemingly in approval.

"Well at least one of us is enjoying the trip... I'm sorry about the cage. I promise when you're allowed in my quarters that you shall not have to be caged."

The bird tilted its head and blinked at her. Since birds do not speak Romulan, but bird, it could hardly be expected to do much else.

Te'ellis rolled her eyes. "The Maxwell... right. Well bird, from what I've observed about most of the races on the ship, they'll require a name for you. So we might as well get that out of the way." She took her feet off of the console and turned her body to the bird, leaning in. "So bird. I am not about to tell you who you are. It's silly to name you anyway, so we might as well be silly in choosing it. What shall I call you?"

The bird ruffled it's feathers, and stared back for several moments. Eventually, the bird chirped. "twylyp"

"Twylp..." Te'ellis imitated. "Twee lip... Very well. I shall call you 'Tweelep. That should satisfy them."

[Twylyp] Chirped the bird.

With that dilemma out of the way, Te'ellis turned back to the controls, checking their current course. Satisfied, she leaned back in the chair again, and watched the control lights blink.

"They're not so bad I suppose... if you like aliens, of course. Then again, I'm an alien to you as well, so I suppose it wouldn't matter..."

"And just to assure you, I'm not the monster they'll make me out to be. This is simply the impression they've been given, which I have spent years making sure they harbor. But it is a necessary illusion. Every location requires you maintain a certain persona. Just because this is of my choosing does not change that fact."

The bird continued to observe it's new owner.

"Of course, you would not know what I am speaking about. That is alright. You're a bird. But your species is known for being good judges of character. I suppose you would have to, they way you've been hunted... and well, I couldn't just leave you at that shop. I don't trust that Andret merchant as far as he could throw me."

In the silence between thoughts, the Kin'Li music gleefully kept playing.

'It's not that I hate them. I do not. I have met beings in this galaxy far worse than any of them... I've even worked with a few... I'm not even sure I can exclude myself from that list... but these are good, genuine people. Perhaps that's to their own detriment, but honestly, those are the people I need to deal with now. But I don't know why I'm telling you this. First, you already should have a gift for sussing that out yourself. Second, I don't think you've spent enough time around me to know what I'm saying. But don't worry. We will work out a few commands. And I'll probably feed you better than I do myself... Gods know I feed the crew better than I do myself. I have to. I cannot stow away the best food for myself knowing that I've given them less. If I have to skip meals to feed just one of them, it's worth it... just as long as they don't find out. Then they might think I actually care about them. That would be a tragedy."

Te'ellis grew silent again, pondering the many mental battles constantly ongoing in her own mind.

Her musing, as well as the music, was interrupted by a communication alert. With a tap of a button, she muted the internal audio playback.

=^= Federation Shuttle. This is Lieutenant Brak of the Revak IV customs authority. You have been selected for a routine cargo inspection. Please disable your engine, power down your shields, and prepare to be boarded.=^=

Te'ellis threw her head back, looking up at the ceiling, and letting out a growl of frustration. "You have GOT to be kidding me..." and replied. =^= Lieutenant Brak, this is the USS JD Jackson. This is the fourth 'random' inspection that I have been subjected to upon leaving your orbiting station. Can you elaborate upon the reason why I've been selected for yet another inspection, when the others had no cause for flagging me? =^=

There was a moment of silence. In that silence, she still complied with shutting down the engine and shields. Turning to her bird, she said, "Let's see what reason they can invent this time."

=^= USS JD Jackson. This is not a random inspection. This is due to the change of flight plan that you filed with the spacenaughtics division. I am not authorized to discuss the reasons for inspections that I was not involved with. I can file your complaint with my supervisor upon inspection completion, if you wish. =^=

Without bothering to mute the comms, she mumbled, "Yes, and I'm sure being Romulan had nothing to do with it." before closing the channel. By now, she was more than familiar the drill of this particular law enforcement, and proceeded to stand in an open area, awaiting the Lieutenant's party.

When he arrived, he gave her constant looks of suspicion between making notes on his data padd. His subordinates proceeded to the cargo hold at the nod of his head.

She held out her arms in a grandiose gesture. "Welcome aboard."

He gave yet another suspicious look, and made a note. "Is this your shuttle?"

"No. This is a federation shuttle on the ship I serve."

He stopped writing, and looked up again, almost incredulous. "You're an officer with Starfleet?"

She laughed. "Gods no! I'm a civilian. No, I'm just their cook. It's a long story..."

"Hmph... and if we contact this Maxwell, they'll corroborate what you said?"

"Of course."

"It says here that you requested a delay in your flight plan of a time period of four hours."

She rolled her eyes. "Yes. Are we through?"

He ignored her response. "You did not state a reason for the delay."

"Is that required?" she replied.

"Not as such. But it's often considered a courtesy."

She smirked. "Well my people are not known for being very courteous."

"Just answer the question."

"I did."

He paused. "... Well what was the reason for your delay?"

"Currently? Four superfluous 'random' inspections."

It was the Lieutenant's turn to roll his eyes. "I mean the original delay!"

She thought for a moment, and decided the best choice was the truth. "I had a date."

He looked unconvinced. "A... date?"

She smiled. 'Yes. It's something that attractive people sometimes do with someone their interested in coupling with. Have you heard of it?" Te'ellis knew she was pushing her luck, but at this point, she had run out of patience for playing the polite game. The reason she was being inspected so often was no mystery. She no longer wished to humor them. She also could not help but laugh internally at the irony. For once, she was not transporting anything illegal.

His face grew red with anger. "Look lady. We can do this the easy way, or the hard way. It's up to you."

"We shouldn't HAVE to do this at all." she sighed. "I came across a lovely girl at the marketplace. I think her name was Lila? Lyllat? Well if you had seen her, you probably would understand why I filed for a delay. She was THAT pretty. But... she had goals, full of hope, very much a believer in the good spirit of living beings... a chirpy optimism... not at all my type, so..."

The Lieutenant became smug. "It didn't go well, I take it?"

Te'ellis returned his smug look twice as hard. With a grin, she said, "Would I have had to delay it four hours if it didn't go well?"

She hit pay dirt, as this statement finally made him break his attempt at having the advantage. He threw up his hands, and went to talk with his mates in the back.

She took a moment to enjoy the view of his backside as he stomped away. With a chuckle, she turned to Tweelep. "Well that was fun..."
“Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli "The Prince"
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190424.1305

Tweelep did not know what "Computer personal log" meant, but it seemed that this meant that it was time for Te'ellis to sit at a desk and look at a square monitor. Sometimes Te'ellis would speak to it, and other times she would mess about with the controls. This time, like most, she simply glared at it.

Tweelep was quite curious as to what this square monitor did, and why Te'ellis felt such animosity toward it. She had seen them before, usually on the giant moving birds in which people traveled. The dark shop where she met Te'ellis had one, but it looked very different...

When Tweelep had first been brought to that shop in the tiny cage, it was not a happy day. It was dark, she was not fed very often, and her wings would get cramps from being stuck in a small space. She would try to hop around to stretch out her wings, but then the short mean creature would take a stick and bang on her cage. The noise was loud, and Tweelep did not like it. She did not like the shop either. She did not like the short, mean creature even more.

But then the tall, pointy-eared, creature with the pretty designs on her skin, whom Tweelep now knew was called "Te'ellis", came and took her cage out of the dark shop. Tweelep had met several strange creatures, some that looked a little like her. But none of them had saved Tweelep. Tweelep liked this new creature. She was nice to Tweelep, fed Tweelep, and rarely made Tweelep go into a cage. If Tweelep was put in a cage, it meant that they were going on a trip. Tweelep liked trips, so this was okay. She had many happy days with this new creature. She stretched out her wings gratefully, remembering all the space she now has.

Te'ellis stopped talking to the square monitor, got up and walked over to a ventilation screen. She tore it off, and started rummaging around inside. Tweelep did not know why Te'ellis was suddenly feeling sad, but she decided to watch from her perch. If Te'ellis needed her, she was ready. Eventually Te'ellis pulled out a box from the ventilation shaft, sad cross-legged on the floor, and placed the box in her lap. She pressed several buttons. Tweelep counted the number of beeps. There was 23 beeps. There was always 23 beeps. Tweelep liked the rhythm that the beeps made, and gave a cheerful chirp.

Te'ellis pulled a small screen, like the big screens, out from the box and frowned at it. Tweelep decided she does not like the little box. The little box made Te'ellis sad. She did not want Te'ellis to be sad. Tweelep chirped in surprise when Te'ellis' voice came from the small square. Te'ellis' voice should come from Te'ellis, not a square from a box. This was unsettling, and Tweelep did not like the little box. Everything in the little box was sad. The screen was speaking in the language that Te'ellis spoke when she was alone, and not when the other creatures in uniforms were around. The screen sounded sad, too.

"Divona. Please, don't turn this off! Just... hear me out. This message is triggered to transmit if I don't update it every three months. So if you got this, then I'm dead, and probably have been for some time. So there's no point in trying to hurt each other anymore. I just wanted to say... I'm sorry. This isn't a trick this time, I swear... not that you have any reason to believe me. But... I left that life behind, and I'm not the sister you knew. But again, for Da'un, for the search, for betraying you... I'm sorry! I thought I had no choice. But the past several years have taught me that I did..."

Tweelep did not understand all the words that came out of the screen... most of them actually. She was intrigued by "I'm sorry" as those words sounded very earnest and regretful, but she had never heard Te'ellis speak them. She wondered what they meant.

Abruptly, the talking screen was silenced as Te'ellis tapped at it for a few seconds. Eventually the screen beeped. Te'ellis forcefully put the little square back into the box and kicked the box away from her, where it settled at the the other side of the room. Tweelep jumped as the box skidded past her.

When Tweelep looked at Te'ellis' face, she had water coming out of one of her eyes. She was very sad, and a little angry and... something else. Tweelep felt sad at seeing Te'ellis, and decided to take action! She flew down from her perch and landed on Te'ellis' knee. When Te'ellis looked at her, Tweelep chirped twice, and tilted her head.

When Te'ellis' eyes fell upon Tweelep, Te'ellis gave a large smile, and quickly wiped the leaking water off of her face.

"Hey you! Do you want to help me clean up?"

Tweelep chirped happily. It worked. She made the Te'ellis creature happier. She hopped onto the finger that Te'ellis offered, then decided to hop onto her shoulder. Te'ellis laughed, tilted her head onto Tweelep and said, "Who's the best bird in the galaxy?"

Tweelep ruffled her feathers in approval as she accompanied Te'ellis around the quarters. Te'ellis picked up a few things, put the box back into its hiding place, and started singing as she dusted. Tweelep was happy because she made Te'ellis not be sad.

Tweelep was happy. This was a happy place.
“Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli "The Prince"
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190701.1131

Te'ellis rubbed her bloodshot eyes that have been holding back tears for quite some time. Tweelep sits on her shoulder, nibbling on her hair.

$%^*

How do I undo this without triggering a host of alarms... Hmm...

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She turns off the terminal and smiles wearily at Tweelep.

"That'll have to do for now. This has been a very long week, Tweelep. Let's hope the idiot didn't completely ruin my kitchen. Come on, you're coming with me."

Tweelep stopped eating her head, and chirped in approval.

"It's times like this that I'm glad you're not a talking bird. After all these years, I still can't tell them... I don't think I ever will be able to... even if they already do."
“Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli "The Prince"
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190812.1219

Congratulations Miss Moore on your appointment to cook aboard the USS Maxwell.

You should find that everything in the kitchen is in order exactly to the specifications that Starfleet had left them to me upon my arrival. The exception is that you have a fully stocked kitchen. When I arrived, there was almost nothing except a few random items, and a metric tonne of twinkies that had been there since the ship was decommissioned 70 years prior. However, the chief engineer made short work of them. I think there's still a twinkie propping the door open. Do keep it there, as the door tends to lock on its own... randomly.

The crew often take their dinners in shifts, so that should help you budget your time. You will likely be expected to maintain the same duty shifts that I undertook.
I work 21 hour shifts, with a seven hour rest period. However, if there are any additional times to fit in a small break, it's encouraged. Things can change at a moment's notice, so you will need to be flexible with your planning (after all, an enemy boarding party is not the best time to be serving dinner).

I was not given meal plans upon my arrival, and I do not know your cooking abilities. However, I have left my recipe folders and meal plans in this padd to assist you. I do not have time to translate them, but if you know anything about the universal translator programme and mild decryption, you should be fine. It should prove as helpful as Starfleet's instructions were to me.

There are crew members with special dietary needs, and each individual race has their own needs as well. You will have to portion out to accommodate each need. I cannot tell you what the individual needs are due to medical privacy requirements. You will have to get that information from medical once you've gotten permission for such clearance. You should already have a basic knowledge of racial dietary protocols. If not then... look them up? There are over seven different races among the bridge crew alone. In total you'll be looking at 18 different races, so be prepared to make up to 18 different variations within each meal.

Do not allow the crew to snack. They will deplete certain food stuffs more than others, and this will throw off your inventory numbers. I mostly keep the inventory in my head instead of documenting it, as it changes too fast to constantly maintain updates. You'll have to conduct your own, as I've been given little time to do everything needed upon my departure. Plan some snacks in advance, and place them in strategic places to encourage them to eat what YOU want them to eat.

In conclusion, the crew is fairly amicable when they're well fed. When they're hungry, they're cranky, especially the Klingons. But I'm sure you know that.
Good luck, Miss Moore. And remember, everything I've given you is more than what Starfleet gave to me. There's no reason why this shouldn't be doable.

Regards,
Te'ellis

P.S. I almost forgot. Fleet Captain Pendleton's special coffee blend is on the third shelf to the right. This has been hand-picked with her in mind.
“Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli "The Prince"
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191024.2052

The following events take place approximately 48 hours before the Romulan conquest of Pinastri...


Te'ellis was elbow deep in Romulan optic cables, half hidden behind a console screen. Bits of the console of the Romulan shuttle laid scattered around her legs. Suddenly, the shuttle lurched with a crunch, and a few alarms sounded at the helm station. She extricated herself, untangling her hair from a disobedient cable, and ran to see what had happened.

"Ohhh no. Don't you start that again! STOP WARPING!" She scolded it with some colorful language, pressing a few controls until the alarms stopped blaring. "That's what I get for taking the shuttle that was grounded for repairs... still, it's the only one they weren't watching." She managed to lock the engine offline, decidedly staying put.

The activities of the previous weeks were starting to wear on her. She had been putting all of her efforts into maintaining a neutral face ever since she found out about the impending attack on Pinastri. It was difficult, looking her brethren in the eyes and feigning allegiance to an ideal that she no longer supported. It was hard to cheer with the rest of them as the USS Altair disappeared from existence. Worst of all, dealing with the nagging knowledge that the home of the people, whom she had come to know as family, was about to be obliterated by the very people she used to call family. She had no back up, no recourse, and no one knew where she actually was. She was completely and utterly alone.

However, right now she had less philosophical battles brewing. She had just stolen a shuttle from a Valdore ship, and it was only a matter of time before they found her. Hopefully, a Starfleet vessel would find her first. If not, the news of the impending Romulan attack would die with her.

She disappeared back into the bowels of the console. After a few more minutes of thumping, swearing, and disconcerting plasma sounds, the console flickered to life. Te'ellis crawled out from under the console, saw the screen was glowing softly, and cheered in triumph. It's operating quality left a lot to be desired, but she did not care. This was perfect. Te'ellis took a small orange square out of her pocket and jerry-rigged it to loose optics connecting to the image projection. It wasn't very pretty, and even less safe, but it seemed to be holding a mild current.

Satisfied that her attempt to attach a federation data square to a Romulan set up was functional, she walked up to the replicator, probably the only thing that worked reliably other than the cloaking device. For what might be the last time, she ordered a plate of Romulan mussels, and sat down in a chair that was half-detached from the floor. For a moment, she caught a glimpse of her reflection. She frowned as she shuffled the hair on top of her head. She didn't like it. It was much longer than she's used to and it sported the typical Romulan V-shaped bangs that she never quite liked.

"Urgh... they're right. When you can't see my ridge-less forehead, I am the spitting image of my mother..." she said with a grimace.

Te'ellis placed her feet up on the now dismantled console, one leg over the other. Reaching into her coat, she pulled out a bottle of vintage Atax Aran 2379 ale. The ornate cut of the bottle glistened with the green reflections of the shuttle lights, contrasting with the blue of the liquid awaiting inside. Unstopping it, she grinned and said, "Why thank you Commander Lora. Don't mind if I do. 2379... the year we lost our planet. This whole situation has me feeling so-" She fell silent as cheesy organ music fills the air, and an image appeared on the screen.


"The Borg and the Beautiful" Episode 12

Five of Eight is in the security section of the cube. She is holding the hand of a two year old, which is clearly the child that in the previous episode was a baby. Three and a half of Eight, the child, looks around off screen, sucking his finger and generally looking adorable.

"What has happened to Three?" Five asks, looking to be on the very brink of tears even though any reasonable person would not be crying yet.

Security drone, and her lover, Six of Eight looks up at her darkly, except this Six looks nothing like the previous one. No one is mentioning that he suddenly has a new face. You will not like the new Six of Eight until a few more episodes. You'll adjust. So no one is acknowledging it in the hopes that it won't distract you, which is even MORE distracting. Anyway, the new Six responds, "Unknown. He has not responded to any communications. The collective cannot detect him, as I am sure you know. He is... missing."

Five of eight gasps in horror, and clutches her chest. "I desired to decouple from him. I did not think that he would go to such an extreme length as retalliation! WHERE is he??"

Six of Eight blinks. "He is missing."

"But WHERE!"

"... MISSING!!"

"Oh you must find him. This is entirely my culpability, and it must be amended. But how shall we begin?"

Six of Eight points to his console. "I have put out a missing drone report."

"A missing drone report?"

Six of Eight nods. "Yes. Because he is missing."

"Missing... oh nooooo."

Six of Eight just watches Five lament until he is interrupted by a call. Apparently he is the only security drone on the entire cube, as he is the only one who ever makes it on screen. "My apologies, I need to take this."

Five of eight just goes through six or seven looks of worry and distraught, each one more exaggerated than the last. Three and a half could not care less. He just shuffles uncomfortably and looks around. The scene fades to black.

~~~~~ Wanna get away? Need a beautiful beach destination that's only a short warp away from your favorite planets? Come visit BEAUTIFUL Risa... home of the- <<skip>>

**cheesy organ music blares much more jarring than need be.**

One of Eight paces in her cell, wearing an orange jumpsuit over her clearly Borg features. On the other side of the force field stands the OTHER One of Eight. Her overly-botoxed face would have had a look of undying fury... if it could move anymore.

"How could you think you could get away with this?" said Good-One. "You shot Eight of Eight! You nearly caused him to cease operability. You impersonated me! I do not know how you hid this from our distinctive collective, but we will find out. I must know just one thing."

Evil-One stops pacing. "And what would that be?"

Good-One pauses dramatically, too long. "..... ..... ..... why?"

Evil-One yells in answer. "Because I have the capability to do so! You were given everything! You with your operable cube and perfect collective group! I was cast aside to the other end of the quadrant. Forgotten and left alone... abandoned by the collective and forced to fend for myself. I swore that day that I would find out the true nature of my origins, and have revenge for all that was taken from me. And then I found out about YOU!!"

Good-One tries to lift her eyebrows in surprise, but they are already as far up as they go, and do not move anyway. "Me? What about me?"

Evil-One laughs. "Hahaha. Do you mean to tell me that you are not aware of our origins? That within all the knowledge of the collective, your true nature was never revealed?"

"... No. What is this nature of which you speak?"

The camera zooms in on Evil-One's face. It would probably be more effective if her paralyzed muscles were allowed the freedom of movement. Instead, it simply makes the static expression fill up more of the screen.

**Horribly loud organ music abruptly cuts the silence.**


~~~~~ If you're into Dabo, there's only ONE place in the whole galaxy that's worth losing your latinum. Get utterly broke while having a BLAST at Vark's Dabo tables in downtow- <<skip>>

Three of Eight is lying on a beach covered in sand and random dents. The local star is bearing down on him, and his face is darker, presumably due to prolonged solar exposure. Pieces of shuttle litter the beach as more is pushed by the beautiful, blue waves. A few seagulls can be heard in the distance. Of course, there's no reason why this planet would actually have seagulls, but this one does, and they're noisy. Conveniently, they stop making noise as soon as the camera zooms in on Three's face. He slowly regains consciousness, sits up, and blinks as he looks around.

Grasping his head, he asks no one, "What happened.... where am I? WHO am I? I... I don't remember anything."

**BEEP BEEP BEEP Proximity warning!**


Te'ellis practically flew out of the chair, and ran to the front console. "Oh Gods oh Gods... please don't be Romulan..." She smacked the console to get the image to stop flickering. The USS Goddard appeared on her sensor screen. She started to laugh with joy. "Hahaha yes! YES! They got my message! It WORKED! Phew. Maybe I won't die in this glorified garbage bin after all!"

She ran back to where she had been sitting, and grabbed the bottle of ale and her federation data square. After retrieving them, she scrambled, dodging hanging optic clusters, to get back to the front console. "Alrighty. Deeeeecloak!" Te'ellis tapped the console, as the exterior of the shuttle becomes visible. While it did not have a visual effect from the inside, Te'ellis always liked the sound of a ship decloaking. She smiled about it. Barely a breath's moment later, the security console made an alert sound.

"Targetting me?! Nooo nonono" Her hand hovered over the control to raise shields, but she did not press it. "No.... no if I keep my shields down, they'll know I'm not a threat. Their curiosity has always trumped their fear.... They won't kill me. I'm going to be alright. I'm rescued... there's still time to save them... I hope."
“Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli "The Prince"
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191028.1818

Tweelep ruffled his grey feathers in anticipation. He could hear the sound of Te'ellis' footsteps approaching. However, something was not correct. They were off rhythm, as though she had forgotten how to walk properly. Still, Tweelep was certain with all his bird assuredness that those were her feet. He would know the sound anywhere. Sure enough, the doors parted, and his owner staggered into the room holding two empty bottles. Whatever was in those bottles, the smell reminded Tweelep of Ranica berries when they wither in the sun and were ready to fall. Te'ellis smelled like the berries too.

In fact, there was more than her footsteps that were off. She was off balance. Her speech was unclear, despite the fact that he recognized that it was Romulan, the language she usually spoke when she was alone. In front of others, she spoke a different one. But it wasn't just that. Her eyes were shinier than usual. And the look on her face... he had never seen her so angry in his little bird life. Of course, he had only known her for a few months now. Perhaps this was normal. Tweelep did not mind how she was behaving... until she threw the bottles against the wall in a sudden show of rage.

The bottles hit the wall and shattered. Of course, they were nowhere near Tweelep, but it was still frightening. He flapped his wings and squawked in alarm. Te'ellis didn't notice. She immediately went to a drawer and pulled out another bottle, uncorking it and drinking from it quickly. When she reached for a nearby vase and threw that as well, Tweelep decided it was time to find a better spot to be. He flew to the floor and hopped under the bed.

He watched her unsteady feet from his vantage point under his shelter. While said feet were not aiding in her balance, they were certainly being successful at kicking every object they came near.

"How could I have been so STUPID!" she screamed, turning over the table. Tweelep knew it was the table because he saw the corner hit the floor. "Moronic veruul. Your real name? Shtupid... shtupid fool and just... Vof course shhhhhhe put in in a perort... report. Ish her job.... but now... now like... it's all... out there. I helped deshtroy that ship for nothing!"

He could not help but chirp in surprise as a chair lifted out of his line of sight. He heard it land on the other side of the room. She growled as she stumbled toward the chair. Tweelep was not sure, but he thought she might have been hitting the chair using another part of the chair. This was bizarre.

He watched her feet leave the room, heading toward the bathroom. He hopped to the edge of the bed's shadow, still concealed underneath it. He was able to see her just in time for her to stare at the mirror.

"It's all YOUR fault!" she yelled, as she used the arm of the chair that was in her hand and swung at the mirror. Glittering pieces of reflective glass flew in every direction. It would have been pretty if it was not so violent.

Tweelep hopped back under the bed when she came back into the room. He trusted her implicitly, but it seems she was prone to throwing things at the moment, things that were much heavier than he. No sooner had he made this decision than she threw the chair part that was in her hand. He could hear it land somewhere opposite of where she was standing.

After a few more outbursts in words that he recognizes as highly emotional ones, she slumped in the corner of the room and started sobbing. All of her rage and anger had dissipated into depression.

"I should have died on thrat planet..."

Tweelep could not remain under the bed any longer. Te'ellis was clearly in distress. He emerged from his shelter and scanned the room. There was broken glass and pieces of furniture littering the floor. Deciding that it was safe enough, he flew to Te'ellis, stopping half a meter away... just in case.

Her bleary eyes fell upon the small, grey bird. "Oh. Tweelep... I'm ssho sorry. I'm not mad at you, dear." She tapped her knee, inviting him to perch on it. Tweelep happily obliged. Once he got closer, her breath very much smelled like Ranica berries. The bottle that was still in her hand was half empty. Perhaps the blue juice was what was producing the smell.

"It's all my fault, Kweelep. My name's on a perort and I can't get rid of it. Condomore Mistsmellow is dead and he was the only one who could redact it so..." She takes another gulp of the liquid, then pauses.

".... wait. no. NO! Tweelep! You're a genius! I've got to talk to Nora! Go perch... go on. Find your perch."

Tweelep did as she commanded. He was pleased that he was able to help her feel better... although all he did was stand on her knee. He thought that he must be getting good at this!

Te'ellis went to get up, and fell back over. When she finally managed to get on her feet, she made her way out the door. Tweelep was left in utter, avian bewilderment. He made a mental note to stay away from whatever was in the bottle.
“Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli "The Prince"
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191124.2147

Te'ellis thought that a battle between between New Romulus and Starfleet would be the most stressful thing she would have to go through this month. She thought that once the battle was over, she could give herself a day or so to breathe, then go back to life like it was before all of this mess. None of these thoughts were unreasonable. One would think that war would be a rather hard thing to face, and Te'ellis would agree with that one. She couldn't have been more wrong if she tried.

Donning her long ingrained Ch'Vashrek stance, she faced her materialized opponent in the holodeck. She had to pull some favors to get this holodeck time, and by Bettatan'ru or virtue, she was going to make it count. Unfortunately, she was not doing so well. She had missed several blocks, and her body was already starting to bruise as a result. It was her own fault. She was allowing everything to cloud her concentration. Her mind kept drifting to the problems outside of what was in front of her. The entire reason for this simulation was to pull all of her thoughts into what she could see with her eyes. If only her mind would cooperate.

Out of all the people Nora could have run into on that prison Island, it had to be Sulau. Out of the millions, even billions, of Romulans in every quadrant, why did it have to be her? Te'ellis was beginning to think that maybe curses were not such a ridiculous concept after all. Every Romulan worth mentioning that had stepped foot onto the Maxwell seemed to know Te'ellis in some way. She was beginning to wonder if she had stayed in the beta quadrant if that would not have given her over a decade before running into someone she knew...

A swift punch to the jaw quickly stopped that wonder from proceeding. Te'ellis was too distracted and a level 4 Ch'Vashrek simulation was easily getting the upper hand.

"Computer, pause!"

The generic looking Romulan froze in mid-leap, his contorted face still very much angry and his fist pulled back, ready to strike. Te'ellis stood up straight from her crouch, and pulled her hair back into a knot. "By the elements, you are ugly.... right."

Te'ellis closed her eyes and exhaled. If she could just focus, she could channel this anxiety into rage. Then she could disperse that rage in combat. If she could do this, then she could get to a good place, mentally, and perhaps not appear to be a raving B*** to everyone around her... at least no more than usual.

Coming to the conclusion that she needed concentration music, she ordered the computer. "Computer, play battle mix 6."

The beginning of "Dancing Queen" played through the holodeck speakers. She kept her eyes closed, taking in the intro music. After a few moments, she opened her eyes with a renewed determination. After going back to her stance she said, "Computer, resume program."

The ugly Romulan's descent resumed. Now much more relaxed, her body was able to respond without as much thought needed. She spun on the spot, deflecting the incoming blow, and using the opponent's inertia pushed him into the wall with a hard palm to the shoulder blades. After he recovered from colliding with the holodeck wall, he got back up and came running back. Definitely feeling more relaxed, if not a bit cocky, Te'ellis takes a few steps back, tauntingly motioning for her opponent to continue his attempt. Of course, his programming would have compelled him to do so without the taunt. With the harmonies of ABBA playing in the background, she deflected a kick and answered with a left jab. As he staggered, she gave two more punches to the ribs for good measure, before rearing back and giving a swift blow to the larynx, pulling off a textbook Deeth Mok.

As she waited for the next opponent to load, she started singing along, albeit her own lyrics. When the holodeck produced her next rival, she dispatched them with a similar level of ease as the previous. Once she was on her third opponent and the song changed to the next on the track, she realized her settings were too simple.

Looking up to the general room, she said, "Computer, increase difficulty to level 8, and change battle style to Kormerek... It's time to get serious here."

As Earth, Wind and Fire sang about September, her next opponent appeared. This battle was going to prove much more difficult, and not just because the new opponent was a full head and shoulders larger than there others. She knew if she was going to be using Kormerek that she could not deflect or block... though at least dodging was still an option.

She changed her stance to a much more aggressive and less elegant looking one, and prepared to fight. It did not take long for the first punch to be thrown. Te'ellis dodged his right cross and gave him a sharp uppercut to the nose. He then swung his with his left in an effort to backhand her face. It made contact and spun her around 90 degrees drawing blood. Eager to not turn her back to him, she right faced, and brought her left leg around to kick him in the chest, hoping to break a rib. She missed, he grabbed her leg and threw her into the opposite wall. As she struggled to pull herself back up, she heard a code being entered, signalling someone was entering the holodeck. She had a sneaking suspicion she knew who it was, but decided to ignore it. She had only given one person her access codes, and she was pretty sure no one else on the ship would be brave enough to dare walk in on her in the holodeck.

As the brute charged toward her, she remained on the ground, feigning injury. Once he got close enough, she swiped her leg at his ankles, knocking him to the floor. She jumped to her feet, kicked him three times in the neck. Switching to a fresh leg, she raised her right foot and stomped his face with a rather nasty breaking sound. His face collapsed under her foot as she wiped the blood from her lip.
"imirrhlhhse, I'm glad that won't stay on my shoe. " She said, looking down at the crushed face before her.

A "tsk" sound could be heard from the corner of the room by the door. "I thought I taught my daughter better speech than that. Alas, I was mistaken."

"Computer" she said, once she took a breath. "Pause program."

Te'ellis, still trying to get her lip to stop bleeding, turned around to look up at Sulau who was patiently standing in the corner of the room. "Did you need something ri'nanov?"

Sulau shrugged. "My apologies, Temei'vie. They told me I should not disturb you. Were they correct?"

Te'ellis sighed. "Look mother, I know it took you 60 years to remember that name, but it's Te'ellis now. Please try to remember. You can just do Te if it's too much to keep track of. And... you're not disturbing me. They probably just assume I'm doing some sort of leather sex thing in here or something."

Sulau smirked in an expression not all that different from Te'ellis'. "Yes, I can see how they might think that."

Te'ellis checks the time on the wall, looking slightly annoyed and almost bothering to hiding it. "Did you need something? I can't stay in here forever."

"No Tem... Te'ellis. I just grew tired of walking the same hallways for four hours." Sulau replied. "If I am disturbing you, I can go back to the mess hall and stare at the same picture I have looked at before. There are 331 stars in the background from what I remember, though I could always recount them." Sulau made a most depressing face at her plight.

Te'ellis sighed, not just because of the manipulative nature of the face that Sulau was making, but more because it was working. "Alright. You're bored. I get it. Hold on... I think I have a program in here that even YOU'LL appreciate. Yes it was programmed by Jayce, who had never been there, but I think you'll still be impressed."

Sulau looked satisfied with success, but raised her eyebrows. "Which one of the aliens is Jayce again?"

Te'ellis sighed... again. "Never mind... just watch. Computer, end program and begin program Te'ellis #3 -Home, Module A - Ki Baratan - City Proper."

The two Romulan women stood in the holodeck as their old home came into existance around them. Judging by the look on Sulau's face, Te'ellis was more than correct.
“Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli "The Prince"
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200430.1832

The security log recorder passively observed the kitchen of the USS Maxwell. Normally it would only be recording the side of a strategically-placed, large pot. Today, Te'ellis needed to cook something in it. Hence the log recorded unobstructed, for a change.

She wore her apron around her shoulders, resembling a robe. Then she grabbed a ladle, wielding it like a scepter. Taking in her nutritional domain, she grinned. The spices stood loyally at rapt attention, aligned in perfect order. Her knife blocks were full, ready to defend against any would-be invaders. They were the armed fortresses, prepped and waiting. Then a glint, hitting the edge of her view, drew her attention. A copper pot was hanging askew. It was an abhorrent rebel amongst her gastronomic kingdom. With a furious scowl, she decedent on the metallic dissenter, giving it a swift blow with her soup serving scepter. It shuddered, creating a klang that filled the room, a warning to the other pots, surely. Then, it swung to the left and fell in line with its fellows. Revolution had been avoided, and order restored. Satisfied, she held her arms out to her culinary empire, basking in its glory.

Until Ensign Sarah Boynton walked in, unannounced. Thanks to the inbibitor that several of the crew had been taking, she hadn't noticed Sarah's approach. Te'ellis spun around, and in one fluid motion, flung her sce- ladle straight at Sarah's face, full force. It was a reflex. As Sarah put her hands over her face as the ladle fell to the floor. Te'ellis ripped the apron from her shoulders and began yelling, in Romulan, in an accusing tone... but only for a moment. Te'ellis then ran over to Sarah, apologizing as she guided the injured Ensign out the door. Soon they would be arriving in sickbay.

The kitchen stood empty, awaiting its leader's return.
“Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli "The Prince"
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200830.1218

Te'ellis watched the shapes of her Elaran sambuca dance about in the glass. They were not terribly fascinating on their own, but it at least gave her something to look at while averting anyone else's gaze. The questionable patrons of this seemingly seedy cantina certainly were not an issue. Rather, months on end of interacting with so many different species aboard the Maxwell would, on occasion, wear thin. Holodeck times are not unlimited, and there's only so much time one can spend in their quarters alone before an intervention is risked. Humans and their insistence upon socialization... if she were Vulcan, surely they would not be so concerned about one sequestering themselves. At least this was her theory. While this cantina was certainly not renowned for its drink selection or class of clientele, it did afford the one thing she was looking for, solitude. Combadge turned off, and clearance for a full two weeks of shore leave, she was certain not to be disturbed. The noises of the other patrons faded into the background, leaving her in her own bubble of silence and peace.

That is, until a group of five people entered the bar. Their giggling shattered the bubble in her mind, leaving her quite annoyed. "What could possibly be so funny about a doorway?" she thought with bitterness. "And so loudly. Can you not see how quiet the rest of us are being? Surely you..." and she observed them from under her hood as the group came closer to her location. "Oh no... no don't you dare! Don't sit over... immhersse!" And to her predicable horror, she watched the group migrate to her alcove, and sit right along beside her. It likely was not a conscious effort on their part. They might not have even seen her. But Te'ellis' strategy of choosing the area with the least amount of people meant that she also chose the area with the most seating, which in turn meant that it would be the best target for a group to choose for their own.

It took them a moment to settle into their seats, what with all of the humor that they found in mere existence, apparently. For of them were human, most likely colonists on a vacation of their own. The other appeared to be human, but something about them was off. Betazoid? No it couldn't be Betazoid, as the thoughts of this particular bar would not have been conducive to their telepathy, and Te'ellis would have noticed it. Well whatever they were, it clearly was not human, but one of the many, many races of individuals that appear human. It did not seem to be one she was familiar. When they had finally quieted to a dull roar instead of a raucous fit of laughter, the bartender came over to collect drink orders. She took this opportunity of distraction to quietly gather her things, hoping to slip out to somewhere less... giggly.

"Are ye gonna finish that one, or are ye gonna go with summthin else?"

Te'ellis froze. The question has now drawn everyone's attention to her presence. She also realized that her actions gave off the appearance of trying to sneak out without paying. That was not her intention. Given her surroundings however, that would be a reasonable assumption. It was now confirmed that the group had not even noticed her. They suddenly grew silent, as though realizing for the first time how intrusive their exuberance has been. She had a choice... should she express her displeasure at the new patrons and leave in a dramatic exit, move to another place in the bar, or quietly take her leave and try to find a new temporary haunt. It took her some time to decide on this locale, and even more time to find it tucked away in the back alley behind an abandoned ship factory. She did not wish to undergo the search again. She decided to simply switch seats. But how to gracefully do so... old habits, they come back like a first language, fluent and unconscious. Te'ellis straightened her posture, stiffened her movements, and deadened her countenance.

"My apologies, I did not intend to intrude. I will chose a more agreeable location." Sometimes she surprised herself how well she remembered Vulcan. Yes, of course everyone likely had some sort of translator on, but pretending to be Vulcan always works better if you immerse yourself in the language. She was banking on the idea of having a Vulcan around dampening the festivities. It was a risk, however. All it takes is one member of a group to...

"No! You don't have to go anywhere. Please, sit. Join us!" It was the non-human alien on whom she did not get a clear read.

"Immhrsse," She thought. But the thought only existed in her head. What came out of her mouth was another story. "I am... not accustomed to celebrations, especially as most would see them. I am sure I would be an imposition."

The non-human doubled down. "Not at all! I love meeting new people. And we're not celebrating anything. So sit. I insist! I'll even buy you a refill... well once you've finished that one, of course."

Te'ellis resigns herself to her fate. She gambled, and they called her bluff. Now she will have to see this through. What was that human expression... in for a penny in for a pound? Well, she was not sure what a penny was, but a pound was an outdated unit of weight. It was something else too... but she could not remember. The sentiment of the expression is clear, nonetheless. If she was going to attempt a little lie, she might as well commit to the entirety. It looks as though she is going to be a Vulcan until she can ditch these ditzy losers and find a way out. She had paused amply as she accepted the situation of her own making. She calmly sat down, and looked at her beverage. "A 'refill' is not necessary. I seldom consume alcohol. I will maintain the one I have at present." She looked up, internally hoping that they were not going to bring up the five she had already drunk.

The bartender shrugs, looking as though he could not have cared less if he tried. "Whateveh." He heads his way back to the bar, presumably to fulfill the orders.

As could be predicted, the humans firstly introduced themselves. Humans do love to give away their names before even knowing the parties to whom they are speaking. Te'ellis could never quite understand why humans, and in turn Starfleet, did this. She had a few theories, but did not care enough to find out if they were correct. The whys do not really matter, only the fact that this is how humans start. She nodded politely to Therese, Gideon, Carlotta, Sara "without an H. Don't put an H in. Even if you're saying it, I can totally tell if you're putting an H there. Sara, no H. S-A-R-A just Sara," and Dell (the only one not human). She introduced herself as T'Rell, it being a name she had not heard often, but not so rare that it would be memorable. A nice, middle-ground, ordinary choice. The name was also convenient for various reasons.

Round two of traditional human greetings, the small talk. This usually consisted of people saying where they are from, what they do, sometimes how many are in their families. If she asked first, she could buy time to think as they answer. Apparently they were a group of philosophy students, attending different academies, that managed to arrange a "meet up." She decided to go with repair of solar wind power back up supplies for maintenance stations... solar windmills. Repair work rarely needed explanation, and what could be more mundane and uninteresting than windmill repair as described by a perceived Vulcan? After the awkward pause of the humans realizing that they had no interest in her new-found line of work, the introductory phase of discussion passed, leading to era where Te'ellis… T'Rell rather, could sit back and let the others talk while she listened. Or so she thought.

"What is a solar-wind mill maintenance worker doing out here?" Dell asked. Clearly Dell was the wild-card in this group. "I didn't see any solar back ups on the way here." Dell had a point. Dell is also observant. She really needed to find out exactly what race Dell was. This was derailing her strategy. Or she could simply bail and leave. It would not be natural looking, perhaps even suspicious, but what importance was this random group of philosophy students? It was not as though Te'ellis was actually doing anything wrong, and these people are not exactly security chiefs. Still, she always did have a problem with admitting defeat.

"I am on leave," T'Rell explained. "That is also the purpose of the drink." She holds up the drink as though presentation of the glass would corroborate her statement. Clearly Dell seems to pick up on subtle clues and has a great deal of curiosity. Fine, if Dell is so intent upon dissecting every detail she gives, then perhaps she can use this tendency to her advantage. She needed to take back control of the conversation... or at least its general direction. "My coworker Zenna said that he always consumes Elaran Sambuca on leaves, especially his birthday, and that it 'always does the trick.' What this trick is, I do not know. However, I have not consumed it... so that may be why I do not see the purpose."

Dell paused while his companions discussed future birthday plans involving copious amounts of Sambuca. Carlotta wondered if it would be a good addition to a cream cocktail, while Gideon argued that it would be best cold, and nothing else. Sara-without-an-H Started making up a tune to the word "Sambuca." It was not in tune, nor terribly innovative a melody. No one else seemed to pay her "singing" any mind. Dell continued to look at Te'ellis, as though solving a puzzle. She raised her eyebrows in response, inviting a question.

Over the chatter, Dell asked, "It's your birthday?" Gideon, Therese, and Carlotta all stopped and turned, looking excited at the prospect of birthday festivities. Sara continued her ear-destroying song, clearly taking no notice.

'Don't chuckle,' she reminded herself. Keeping her face even, she replied, "No. It does not start for another... five hours, twenty minutes even." When they all stared at her blankly, with the exception of Sara of course, she elaborated. "According to the Terran clock, it will not be until the 29th. So as is customary, I have been waiting."

The three humans who were paying attention started cheering. Te'ellis responded with a quite believable defensive leaning back. Sara had moved on to adding a dance to her Sambuca song. At least her dancing was considerably better than her vocals. Dell on the other hand, interjected. "I'm sorry, but you can't be right."

Internally, Te'ellis was overjoyed. It had been a long time since she had been in a situation of precarious lying such as this. Yes she had done things for starfleet and... others... but that was all duty. When it is on your own time, it is far more exhilerating. Still, she had to struggle not to show it. She hesitated, then reached into her pocket, pulling out a small data padd. "I assure you that is the date. Allow me to bring up my identification."

Dell immediately shook his head. "No no. I mean you're wrong about the date. This is the 29th."

Te'ellis paused, still holding out her data padd which was not being checked, and blinked. "Is it not the 28th?"

Dell shook his head again, and spoke. "Nope. You forgot about planetary adjustment. This planet is about six hours behind earth standard. You can't use their clocks for time."

Te'ellis knew the time difference. She was starting to see how Dell worked now, and what sort of clues he would hone in on. She was hoping that the date mistake would serve as a distraction as he examined her ID... but he did not even give it a passing glance. She shook it slightly... invitingly. Tilting her head slightly to the left, she held it out as far as her arm could reach. "Are you sure of that? Perhaps you should look again."

Dell looked at the padd for precisely .46 seconds, just long enough to honestly say one looked at it, but not at all long enough to actually read any of it. "Afraid so T'Rell. Looks like we're your birthday crew for tonight."

The announcement was enough to even stop H-less-Sara from her song and dance number. "A birthday! Wohooooo. Who?"

As the others chastised Sara for not paying more attention to "the birthday guest," Te'ellis put her data padd away. She was rather annoyed. She had that false identification file for years and never got to use it. It was hard to make as well. No one even glanced at it. She could have shown them a Martha's Matzaball gift card and gained the same effect. Kids these days have no appreciation for craftsmanship anymore. By the time she looked back up, everyone was sitting around her again, explaining the various birthday rules. Therese took it upon herself to explain some of the finer points.

"You don't have to do anything that you don't want to. You get to tell each of us one thing to do, and we have to do it... well within reason of course. And you canNOT pay for anything."

Te'ellis paused, glancing at her drink. "What about this? I ordered it without the knowledge of the proper date." She holds up the Sambuca that still had not been touched.

Therese brought up her bill without even giving it a second look. "Nope. It counts. You're not paying for that, or whatever else is on here." Therese must have entered her information without reviewing the bill at all. Te'ellis started to wonder if she was getting old, thinking how irresponsible these young people were being. Then again they were not all that young at all. Perhaps she was getting old. Still, it certainly was not her job to warn them of the poor decisions they had made thus far. Therese finished paying, and looked back at Te'ellis. "Oh, and you definitely have to drink that."

Te'ellis shrugged and drank it immediately, resisting the urge to slam the glass down, instead setting it gently on the table. "Now what? Absolutely-no-H-Sara, what did you do for your previous anniversary of planetary orbital existence?"

Sara-just-a giggled and blushed as she answered. "Well... I just had a few drinks and spent a quiet evening by myself."

Everyone else started laughing, especially Gideon. "You got drunk on Felixy-cators, painted your face orange, and got kicked out of an Orion strip club! Quiet evening alone? Hahaha"

Sara shrugged him off. "I wasn't kicked out. I was firmly asked to leave, and agreed to... but I couldn't seem to walk through the doorway and they had to help because I kept missing it. So yeah no! Wrooooong."

Te'ellis let a smirk slip out, but luckily no one was looking at her for the brief second that it happened. She quickly recovered, but perhaps she was rustier than she thought. ".... Then we shall do that." When they gave her a blank stare of surprise at her choice, she added, "If it is a custom of course... perhaps without the facial pigmentation and forceful removal."

Dell looked a bit confused. "Are you sure, T'Rell? You don't look like the partying sort. These guys can get pretty rowdy."

Te'ellis nodded, fully confident that they had no idea with whom they were dealing. "Is that a problem?"

Sara-full-stop was the first to respond with action, and a large amount of whooping. She grabbed Te'ellis by the hand and pulled her out of the booth. "Wohoooo! I LOVE birthdays! Yesssss!"

Te'ellis did her best to look ever so slightly reluctant, but she doubted anyone was even bothering to check anymore.


.....Four bars, .28% bac levels, and two kilometers later....

Clearly, serving the already intoxicated was not a concern at several establishments in this portion of the city, and this one was no exception. Therese and Gideon were sharing highly-slurred stories of ex-partners, passing back and forth a pile of facial tissues. Carlotta was asleep, or possibly unconscious, laying sloppily on an entire side of a booth. No-H-Sara was amazingly conscious. But then again, she missed some of the drinking when she stopped to take a nap on a random Klingon mercenary at the previous pub. But now that she was a well-rested drunk, she was attempting to dance... on a pole. She was not having great success. If anyone else had been present and coherent, she might have been booed off the stage. As it was, she was free to fall on her face to her hearts content... and it contented a lot.

The only ones left in any state of sobriety was Te'ellis and Dell. Te'ellis was holding up pretty well. Her passibility as a Vulcan at this point was highly questionable, but everyone had passed the point of being able to tell anyway. Even Dell seemed to have lost the will to dissect every statement she made. His hand smushed his face as it held his head up. He was still coherent enough to carry on a conversation, much to the annoyance of Te'ellis who was struggling the urge to just drop the whole charade. As Dell talked about his childhood pet, a ring-eyed winglet, or maybe wing-eyed ringlet (he kept interchanging the two) her data padd started buzzing. She checked the time, and it still read Starfleet time of 1500. She now noticed she had several missed messages, none of them marked as urgent. The incoming message was from Kristoff Jameson.

"What the fluck does that crazy want?" she asked out loud.

Dell blinked, unsure if it was the alcohol or if he had heard her correctly. "Huh?"

Te'ellis waved him off, dismissively. "Shhh shut up. I'm trying to make sure they didn't all get eaten by some giant space targ and are now all dead... wouldn't surprise me, frankly."

Dell tried to ask again, but he was promptly shushed as Te'ellis tried to hear over the din of music and Sara's yelps of pain. The brief message from Kris played on her padd. Clearly he had been enjoying some potent potables of his own. "drew says your getting some kinda civilan employee of the year award" and the message cuts out.

Te'ellis looked at her screen, very confused. "He's had wayyy more than he should. What nonsense." She looks up in time to see Sara-not-Sarah's attempt at an aerial invert into a back hook spin, which resulted in her being tossed from the pole, and landing on a table. Where the employees of the building were to stop this was anyone's guess. "Sarah-Sara-whatever. Give it a rest. You suck."

Dell laughed. "Do Vulcans say suck?"

Te'ellis rolled her eyes. "They do when someone does as poorly as that. It's logical!'

"Like you could do better."

Te'ellis raised an eyebrow. "A bar of latinum says I can."

Dell held up his drink, which he had not managed to drink for 20 minutes, up in the air. "You're on, elf! Let's watch the first ever Vulcan stumble!"

Te'ellis downed another drink, slammed it on the table, smirking. She was about to become one bar of latinum richer.
“Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli "The Prince"
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xxFadeIntoMistxx Schism
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210501.2235

((Stardate 201111.0023... okay so it takes me a while! Sue me! I dare you!))

Although having recently been on shore leave, Te'ellis was on a rare second one. Although she strove to not find out the location of the colony in question, curiosity and concern could not escape her. Although she tried to deny it to everyone, mostly just herself, she cared. Although she hated that she cared, feelings do not alter fact simply because one wishes things to be different. She sat on the counter of the REDACTED colony home, tossing a piece of fruit from the fruit basket, and waiting for the resident to appear.

Eventually, footsteps echoed from the front door, shuffling about as the source of the steps tended to unknown things along the way. Eventually, Sulau made her way to the kitchen. Upon seeing an uninvited guest on her counter, she darted back into the doorway. After a moment's pause, she walked back in, looking very cross, looking remarkably like Te'ellis might in a few decades. The resemblance was uncanny, especially with the elder looking so angered.

"Temieve! Don't sneak up on me like that! I nearly called for an intruder."

"You should really consider locking your windows better," Te'ellis said as she took a bite from the fruit she had been tossing, then gesturing with the hand holding it. "One just needs to climb your drainpipe, and hop to the window sill of your second story lavatory, and that window shimmies right open. And for the last time, person who I've never met, it's Te'ellis. Like teelis only... well... not."

"Whom. And get off the counter, Te'ellis." She gave an extra emphasis to the name, either for mockery or for confirmation that she understood. "You're not a salt cellar. Did I find you wandering out of a forest?"

Humans might have asked if she had been raised in a barn, and it annoyed Te'ellis to no end that she even knew the human equivalent. She ignored the question but did hop off of the counter. "I did a sweep for bugs, but they could be shielded. Please try to be a bit more careful."

Sulau equally ignored Te'ellis back. "You still have your hair like that, do you?"

It was Te'ellis' turn to look cross, which had a bit more ferocity than her-not-mother-at-all. "I like it this way!"

Sulau shook her head, conceding to Te'ellis' stubbornness before even challenging it. "Yes... you would." And before Te'ellis could make a response, Sulau continued. "What brings you here? Surely you didn't come all this way to test my abode's structural integrity."

Te'ellis took a seat at the kitchen's table, swinging her feet onto the white placemat. She continued to eat her fruit, as she sighed. "I watched another planet get destroyed.... and then not destroyed. Someone traveled back in time to save it... or maybe it was saved in the first place and someone traveled to destroy it so they were actually un-destroying it. The point is..." Her voice trailed off. Even to this woman, she could not seem to find the air to voice what was going on inside her mind.

"Oh..."

Te'ellis coughed, somehow stopping any more of those pesky words from escaping.

Sulau studied Te'ellis for a moment and then smiled. "What would you like for lunch?"

Te'ellis continued to pout. "I'm not hungry. And I'm not going to be cooking on my shore leave."

Sulau turned around and started to take ingredients out of her cabinet. "Of course I wouldn't ask you to do that. What would you like?"

Te'ellis looked nonplussed. "You? Cook for me? Don't be silly... Sh** you only ever went into the kitchen for a drink when you first came home. You don't know how to cook!"

Sulau started chopping some vegetables, donning quite the smirk. "What did you think I did for five years on that island? Eat sand?"

Te'ellis genuinely felt stupid, and it showed. She had forgotten that this woman who considered taking a 4 seat shuttle "roughing it" had spent the past several years fighting for survival on a Romulan prison colony. She slumped in her chair, feeling a small twinge of guilt.

"And get your feet off my table! I swear you do this to annoy me."

Te'ellis rolled her eyes and sat in the chair properly.

"Now then... are you going to tell me the real reason why you're here, or am I going to have to guess?"

Te'ellis smiled, tossing the core of the fruit into the sink like a basketball, which made Sulau wince. "Well, you should be able to guess. You think I forgot it's your life anniversary?"

Sulau slowly stopped chopping, and turned around, looking both surprised and touched.

Te'ellis rolled her eyes.... yet again. "Just open the bag."

Sulau walked over to the counter, and curiously peeked through the top of the gift bag. With growing intrigue, she reached in and pulled out a very stylish boot. "You... you got me shoes..." She turned the boot over and looked at the sole. Upon seeing the designer's name scrawled along the bottom, she began to tear up.

"I hear she's opened her own shop on the New Romulus republican outpost thing. I was afraid that they weren't going to arrive in time, but they showed up at Ferris Station last week. That's why I asked Nora for some extra shore leave. I knew it would take me a bit to... well get here."

Sulau was barely listening. Instead, she looked at the work of her youngest daughter lying in her hand. "So you two have resolved whatever that silly tiff was between you? How long has it been? 30 years?"

"... 45. And no. She doesn't even know I ordered them. I know an Orion Dabo girl who orders them for me."

"I really wish the two of you would stop that silly feud."

Te'ellis furrows her brow in anger, distinctly trying to forget a door slamming in her face after being called a monster so many years ago. "No! I'm not going to talk to her, even if I wasn't risking my life, which I already am doing just being here!! Besides... she has every right to be mad... she was right." After pulling her thoughts back out of the past, and into the present, she nods her head toward the boot. "Well? Are you going to try them on, or just cradle them? I don't have all week."

Sulau looked slightly irritated but started putting them on. They fit remarkably well. She walked back and forth in the kitchen, hopping a few times to test their give. She clearly approved. "My! She does great work! I knew encouraging her artistic curiosity was for her benefit!" She paraded around the room a few more times, smiling at her own feet.

Te'ellis specifically forced herself not to remember being told to stop singing and finish her school work, and countless other occasions. Instead, she scoffed and went to a window. As she pulled the curtain back, she looked for anyone approaching. She saw no one. She stopped looking as she saw, or rather felt, her mother approaching her. Turning around, she demanded, "What?" To her surprise, her unrelated-complete stranger pulled her into a hug. Caught off guard, and not being the hugging type, she stood with her arms straight by her sides.

To Sulau, it felt as though she were hugging a stiff, wooden board. Her heart was so warmed by the gift, and filled with pride from the accomplishments of both her daughters. Yet, the one before her was as a statue. She frowned. "You could at least pretend to be happy."

Taking a deep breath, Te'ellis throws her arms around the woman, squeezing far too tightly. "Oh my element!" she exclaimed, a horrifyingly convincing look of unbridled excitement on her face. "I've always wanted to buy boots for a dead person!"

Sulau slapped Te'ellis' arms off. "Oh stop it... never mind. I preferred you depressed and full of loathing." She straightened her shirt back into place, making every effort to ignore the smug smirk of her daughter. Without realizing that she is almost dancing with her feet, she went back to the counter, continuing to cook. "So I suppose you will be leaving almost immediately."

Te'ellis checked the window again before sitting on the table. She gripped the side of it as she swung her dangling legs. Internally, the debate raged on as to whether she wanted to leave to avoid having to deal with this person or wanted to stay and enjoy her company and risk being found. "Well... they really need me back there. They cannot survive a few hours without eating, let alone several days. Then again... perhaps they need some time without me to remind them of why they tolerate my behavior. But you're the one at risk as long as I'm here so... I suppose it's up to you really."

Sulau reached up to grab a pot, putting water into it to boil. Her vegetables patiently waited on the counter. "You're telling me that you would actually stay if I asked?"

She sighed, as though it was the most inconvenient question ever posed in the history of Romulanity. "For the love of... if you insist That I must stay to ensure that your house is safe then... ugh... I suppose I can give you a few days."

Sulau smiled, adding the vegetables into the pot. "Well, then I must insist." She turned around, once again frowning at Te'ellis. "Don't sit on the table! What have they been teaching you on that ship?"

She gruffly threw herself off of the table, and into a chair, leaning back far enough to bring two of the legs off of the floor. "Fiiiiiiine. FINE! I'll stay. But only to check your points of entry. Then I'm leaving... What the hell are you cooking?"

She grimaced at the now tipping chair but decided to let that battle slide. Surely, Te'ellis was doing this on purpose and it was time she stopped succumbing to reaction. Sulau turned her attention back to the pot. "Just a little thing I made up on my own. Surely nothing as fancy as what you must feed your people of whom I shouldn't mention."

"Surely not..." Te'ellis' thoughts trailed off. This woman was so different from the one she remembered, and yet in so many ways unchanged. It was a familiar stranger, and it did not make any sense to her. Yet here she was, so much lighter spirit than the constantly stressed senator she remembered from her youth. The imposed retirement had softened some of the edges, and yet made her stronger. Te'ellis struggled to reconcile this contradiction, to no avail. So she resigned herself to simply accept it. She inhaled deeply through her nose to remove whatever thoughts were buzzing about in her head, as the smell of the cooking caught her by surprise. Her mothe-uh not-mother was cooking... and it smelled delicious.
“Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli "The Prince"
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