Personal Log - Te'ellis

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151121.1828

.........

She sits in silence, arms folded, and strumming her fingers.

.........
.........

"Is this it? Is this all you do?" She asks no one.

.........

She gives the screen a suspicious look.

....................................
..............
...

"And this is supposed to persuade me to talk?" She chuckles in amusement. "Starfleet..." She taps at a few controls and deletes the entry.
“Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli "The Prince"
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151124.0415

((The following was recorded on 151118, the day before "No one expects the Tal Shiar"))
Security Surveillance Log -
Cargo Bay Monitor #2
Timestamp 151118.0211.36

The security surveillance monitor shows a typical shot of the cargo bay on any given day at two o'clock in the morning. Several cargo containers, stacked on each other and placed into rows, sit in their respective places, doing nothing whatsoever. Cargo containers do not typically do much activity, after all. The rows continue to the other side of the wall, creating a network of paths, crisscrossing one another like a miniature metropolis of supplies.
Around 0211 hours, something scurries into view down the center path of the room. It is not very large, no bigger than a typical lap dog. However, this is no dog. Its movement resembles a badger, though its appearance is more of an overly-sized rat. The "rat" waddles it's way around a corner, and out of sight of the camera.

Less than a minute later, a figure descends from the upper left. It jumps down from seemingly the ceiling, and lands deftly, and amazingly softly, on one knee. It is Te'ellis, brandishing a spiked meat tenderizer. She does not move immediately, remaining still and cocking her head as though listening for something. Moving with great caution, she rises, and starts walking along the tops of the cargo containers, slowly turning her head from one side to the the other. After another few moments, she suddenly jumps down into one of the cargo paths along the left side, a few rows short of where the rat went, disappearing from view during timestamps 1511180215.08 - 151118.0216.17.

Suddenly several cargo containers shake, presumably bumped. The rat returns into view, running away from the bumped containers, and racing to the other side. Te'ellis' head pops up, almost as a meerkat would, looking in the exact direction of where the rat fled. She moves slightly faster than she has been, still with deliberate steps, weaving her way over to the other side, only one row away from the rat's last known location. She then climbs up a nearby cargo path with cat-like swiftness. This alarms the rat apparently, as it scurries to the other side, yet again. Te'ellis, looking alarmingly casual, strolls her way along the top of the cargo containers, hops across the middle divide, and comes to a stop for the smallest of seconds.

Then without warning, Te'ellis jumps down into the rat's row. She is no longer in view. Her hand however, holding the tenderizer, can be seen briefly as she swings it five times in rapid succession, and a sixth time after a brief pause. A moment later, she emerges from the row, still holding the metal implement. In her other hand, by the tail, is the now limp body of the rat. She carries it with no more care than one would hold a purse. She moves an errant hair back into place, and casually walks down the center path and out of frame.

The cargo bay becomes empty again, and does not seem affected by the incident.

Timestamp 151118.0222.32

Extract and save.
((OOC note - No this is NOT dinner. Well... maybe Sandi's dinner... But this is not what goes into your food. She's keeping the pests away from your food. Though we may want to ask science how the rat got so big...))
“Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli "The Prince"
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151210.0410

Stardate: 151203.1745

....

Te'ellis is once again staring at the log computer screen. At least, it can be assumed that she is staring. She is wearing an EVA Suit, having just returned from a shift in engineering. She is still wearing the helmet, hence the difficulty in knowing whether she is staring. Still, it seems as though she is staring.

....

She barely moves, but remains seated with her arms and legs crossed. The lack of motion is occasionally interrupted as she tilts her helmeted head slightly, or switches which leg is crossed.

...

She resembles a "character" on an Earth television show that aired around the turn of the 21st century. It was about automobiles, or something equally as foolish. Some say that the only thing she eats is bacon, and that even if she had knowledge of BBC programmes from 400 years ago, she still would not care. ((google "Stig" if you are unfamiliar))

...

She leans forward in her chair, and hits the button for the visor. She was indeed staring, quite intently. After a few more moments of the relentless gaze, she opens her mouth to say something. However, the buzzer for the door to her room interrupts the unsaid sentence.

Whoever it is at the door, they cannot be fully heard. Te'ellis' responses however are quite clearly picked up.

"What do you want?"

....

"Because I like the suit. That's why. What business is it of yours?"

.... ....

"Again? Very well, inform them I will report there immediately." She rather abruptly closes the door in the person's face, and walks back toward the log computer. She narrows her eyes at it screen, and before ending the log says,

"Until we meet again."
“Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli "The Prince"
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151221.1100

Stardate 151221.0359

Te'ellis is leaning forward, her elbows resting on her knees, as she gazes at her hands for no particular reason. She is not so much inspecting her hands as she is fiddling about with them. Perhaps she was summoning the strength to speak the words she was about to utter. Perhaps she was feeling humbled by the events that have been happening on the ship as of late. Regardless of the reason, she appears hesitant, a most unusual look for her.

"I suppose that if I am going to be serving alongside this crew, it is about time I bring some things out in the open... some things about who I really am, and who I really was. Perhaps it's time stop with the secrecy and lies, and finally allow the truth to breath the clean air of honesty. I think it is time I confess as to who I was before I arrived here...

"Let's see..." And with a sigh of resignation, she gazes at the screen, looking as though she is about to embark on a very difficult tale.

"My earliest memory is growing up in a beautiful house in the woods of Romulus, the Wiz'konz'hin with my parents and my older sister, Ma'hree. My father, my di'ranov, was an excellent farmer, and we barely had any needs that weren't met. My mother kept home a home, warm and inviting. I remember great trees, and we would make a sort of desert topping out of the liquid that came out of the trees. It was so sweet to eat, but a lot of hard work. I think I was three years old, but I might have been five. I know I was at least three, because my younger sister, Kerree, had been born, and had passed the initial inspection. Anyway, my family worked so hard to gather enough of the liquid that we had enough for the whole year. We even threw a party to celebrate it. I shall never forget that party...

"Unfortunately, not all things can last forever." Te'ellis' eyes fall dark, remembering some more unpleasant experiences. "We had to move. Likely, it was a relocation program or a settlement attempt. I do not recall why. Of course, one does not usually consult a five year old about such matters. Nevertheless, we got on a ghastly shuttle, and made our way toward Remus. The ride was bumpy with turbulence, and longer than it should have been. I assume that shuttles were simply not made the same back then. I also recall that we stopped at a service station where my di'ranov bought two small transport pods. Ma'hree and I called them Pet and Patty because of the funny noise they made when you turned them on. Eventually, we arrived in Ken'zis region, and settled in subregion of Daemnh. When we arrived, di'ranov hurried himself to build our house. With the generous help of a neighbor, we accomplished just that.

"I wish I could say things went well for us. Unfortunately they did not. The Native Remans were not at all what we were expecting. My mother still had many prejudices and preconceptions that could no be farther from the truth. She saw them as savage and primitive. While my ri'nanov, that is "my mother", had a narrow minded view, my di'ranov felt that all people were equal, and deserved equal treatment. This was a common dichotomy that existed within our home, and we were never quite sure whom to believe.

"And then there was the land. Ken'zis was a harsh region with almost no growing capabilities. My di'ranov struggled daily to keep the farm going, and it was a losing battle. The topsoil was marginal, at best. The rains were unpredictable and often utterly disappointing. And the food... well... when it did sprout, it brought us a lot of joy, but at great cost.

"I still remember the sickness..." Te'ellis said with a shudder, almost as though a chill from the past had returned from the mention of it. With hollow eyes, she continues her unflinching gaze. "The fever... the chills... it's a miracle that we all survived. I know now that it was some illness called 'malaria,' but at the time, all I knew was that it was awful. And it was not the only illness... " and at those words, she looked more saddened than ever.

"Thao'mneani... it ravaged the whole family, but Ma'hree most of all. We all recovered fairly well, but not her. It took her sight. Had she been under five, that would have been a death sentence. Thankfully, she was old enough where, while it is indeed a great defect, we do not routinely execute blind children once they are past their fifth year. She was a teenager by this point, with myself not far behind." Her eyes welled up, glistening with the prelude to tears as she fought them. "But it fell upon me to take over the role as 'the oldest' and the responsibilities that entails, along with helping to be her eyes..."

Te'ellis has a far away look, which then slowly gives way to confusion, as she rumples her pointed brows in contemplation. After a few silent blinks, she tilts her head, and says questioningly, "Wait... I didn't have a blind sister..."
After a few more moments of thought, she continues, "I didn't have a sister named Ma'hree at all. I was the oldest... and there's no such place as Ken'zis. I have heard of a Kansas, heh but that certainly is not on Remus... So what am I talking about?"

She looks at the screen, as though begging it to find the answer, still appearing confused, although no longer sounding confused. "That was not me.... oh... That was Laura Ingalls Wilder."

And with that, the corners of her mouth contort into an almost evil grin, thoroughly amused at herself. "Oh dear, I must have lied about the whole thing." And she leans back, folding her arms, crossing a leg, and continuing that sardonic smile. "Are you satisfied yet, interrogation computer screen, or was this not at all what you wanted to extract from me? Your attempts are feeble, at best. You may end this log now, and save it, and archive it, and do whatever else it is you do with the personal thoughts that you mine out of the caves of people's minds with no real finess...

... That means end the log...
“Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli "The Prince"
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151229.0428

Stardate 151225.2314

As has become her usual routine, Te'ellis once again stares down the log computer. At least, this would be routine apart from a glaring difference.

The difference is not the sound of holiday music echoing around the halls. It is not the feeling of laughter and good cheer, somehow carried through the air as though transmitted to every room.

One would be hard pressed not to notice the great, festive hat that was begrudgingly placed there.
Imageon Flickr
Te'ellis does not look amused... at all. At casual glance, she often does not appear amused, but a closer look usually reveals a slight glint in the eye which belies something deeper. On this occasion, she is void of this glint. In fact, she looks quite the opposite of amused. She looks infuriated, but it is a quiet and seething indignity, as opposed to apoplectic rage. However, the vexed expression on her face is quite easy to miss, as the source of her madness perched atop her head extraordinarily dominates everything else.

With an unsteady voice, so different from her usual deep and controlled speech, she grumbles, "I just want it on record that I was forced to wear this monstrosity. I attempted to object, but an officer placed it on my head before my protests could be uttered." After a pause, she adds, "I shall remember this."

((Happy Chanukah, Merry Christmas, and have a great whatever the heck it is that you personally do. Have a good New Year... et cetera et cetera et cetera... I think that covers it! Hi! Bye!))
“Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli "The Prince"
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160224.1216

:shuttle:

Te'ellis stared off into space, quite literally, as the transport shuttle service continued its slow but steady course to Pinastri. One would think that finding a ride while on an uninhabited asteroid would be a challenge, but it was not the case. A quick hail sent from a nonpartisan communicator can get quite a few responses.

She knew that only the most unsavory of people would answer a hail from a Romulan, especially in this region of space. Because of this, she had posed as a Vulcan, which is something she hadn't done in quite some time. Still, old habits can return much more quickly than can be changed back.

So Te'ellis caught a break, and received a response from a passing shuttle service. Now she found herself slowly making her way back to Pinastri, after a very tiring week. Barine, the shuttle pilot, did not seem at all concerned as to how Te'ellis found herself alone on an asteroid so far from common trade routes and so close to former Borg space. Furthermore, she didn't even ask.

Te'ellis returned the small talk, but was not really listening. Eventually the small talk died down, and Te'ellis continued her stare into the passing space. But after a while of quiet, and not entirely sure why she was asking, Te'ellis broke the silence. “Have you ever tried to do something that is against what you have always believed to be correct, attempting to change the way you had done things previously, only to discover that neither way can exist anymore?“

Barine gave an odd sort of grin as she glanced to her side and said, “Do you mean trying to be a Vulcan, when you clearly are otherwise? Or did you mean something completely different?”

Te’ellis was taken aback, as she had never been called out for “faking” in her life, especially within such a short period of time. “If you knew, why did you not say anything?”

Barine simply shrugged. “You seemed determined to put up a facade. I didn't see any reason to force you to stop.”

Smirking, Te'ellis continued, “I should have known better than to try and fool an El Aurian.”

Barine smirked back. "I suppose this means that we have finally been properly introduced. So let's try this again. I'm Barine. What is your name?"

"Te'ellis."

"That's not your real name either, is it?"

Almost amused, Te'ellis shook her head. "No, it's not."

Barine did not seem insulted. She quite expected that response, as she leaned back casually in her chair and folded her arms on her knee. “To answer your question, no. I haven't. But it sounds like you have.”

Te'ellis sighs as she gazes mindlessly out the window. She let the thoughts drift through her mind without much heed. In fact, she was mostly trying to ignore them. “I do not think I can do this.”

"Do what?"

"Start over? Forge my own path? Really, be myself. I have spent my entire life being told who to be, each time only lasting a short while. And I liked it that way. It was easy. Now with all the freedom one could imagine... I have nothing to fall back on... maybe I don't have a self."

Barine said nothing, only listening.

"... I don't believe in regret. Regret is for people who did not think about what they were doing the first time. I do not regret the life I've led that no one knows about. But... I may have done something that would anger everyone around me if they were to ever find out."

"And you care now."

Te'ellis looked insulted. "Of course I do not care! What aliens think of me is entirely irrelevant."

Barine grinned, but did not argue this statement.

Eventually, Te'ellis rolled her eyes. "Well, maybe a little."

"So if you knew whatever it is that you did would make everyone angry, why did you do it?"

This was not an easy question to answer. Te'ellis tried to come up with reasons that she wanted to be the truth, but none of them were. Finally, the truth hit her in the face, and she slumped in her chair, breaking the rigid stance she had maintained since she came onboard. "There was a time I would have done anything for the Romulan Empire. In fact, I gave more than any reasonable person ought to have to sacrifice for the pride of a nation. I thought what was happening was for the greater good, and to keep everyone safe. I did the dirty work so that others would never have to suffer. But that empire is gone, and it's become a glorified band of thugs, chasing a dead dream...
"My loyalty is to my ship now. Yes, they are a bunch of strange aliens who don't really know what they are doing. They smell, they grunt when they chew their food, and they laugh entirely too often to be healthy. But they are all I have. And I would do anything for them... and I did... but this feels different."

"It's not the same at all, is it?" asked Barine.

"No... it's not. But I do not know how to be different."

Barine simply smiled. "Then don't be. There is a self in there. Everyone has one. I think you lost it because you put it away on purpose. Now you have to get it out."

It was a strange statement to make, but somehow Te'ellis knew exactly what she meant. It made sense. It would not be at all easy, but it made a strange sort of sense. As the silence made its way into the conversation again, she had a moment's fear, and said to Barine, "If you repeat a word of this to anyone, I swear by the gates of Erebus I will kill you."

She responded to this threat with an unmoving smile. "No you won't. Besides, even if I wanted to, who would I tell? I do not even know your real name, remember?"

"Good point..."

This was probably the most openly honest Te'ellis had ever been with anyone. She can be a pathological liar when she wants to be, and can even block out several species of empaths and telepaths. Normal circumstances would have her clammed up harder than a brick wall. The El Aurians do have a way about them, and she didn't even fight it. "You're good. You people are as good as the reputation suggests. Some people in this world would be envious."

Te'ellis was envious.

The rest of her journey "home" would consist of the same light-hearted small talk that had preceeded the introspection. Specifically what they talked about is not noteworthy or significant. Still, this shuttle ride had left Te'ellis feeling as though a Romulus-sized weight had been removed. Perhaps in a strange way that is exactly what the weight was.

Unfortunately at this rate, it is quite possible that she was going to be late.
“Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli "The Prince"
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160522.0303

If someone were to enter the mess hall, go past the serving counter and access the back pantry, they would find quite a sight. The access panel to the communication speakers was lying on the floor. Te'ellis was precariously balanced on a chair, fiddling with optic cables that she probably oughtn't be fiddling. She also had her combadge opened, and was connecting the fiddled cables to the exposed badge. Had this been a purchased item, surely it would have voided the warrantee. After a few sparking protests from the optics, Te'ellis pressed the combadge. Instead of the usual chirp that should have sounded, a tympanic membrane tearing screech from the feedback flooded every com speaker aboard the USS Maxwell. She depressed it after uttering a few choice words in Romulan that some would consider unprintable. Thankfully it did not take long for her to discover what her mistake was, and after a brief correction she pressed the badge again. This time the chirp sounded, albeit with a terminal tonal declination.

She took a deep breath, and the all too familiar, sarcastic drone of Te'ellis' deep voice filled the ship.

=^= My apologies for that earlier noise. Engineering should consider installing a more current system from this century... or even last century would be an improvement... ahem...=^= What followed was much softer, and dare say sympathetic version of her usual drone. =^= Nevertheless, my people have a tradition of giving last rites to fallen warriors. Perhaps the inhabitants of Pinastri are not "warriors" in the traditional sense, but anyone who has made a sacrifice in battle could be called such. I beg your indulgences for a short time so that I may say a few words on their behalf.

This is not a time for division or distinction. Death does not choose one over the other. All of us die, be it by our hand, by another's, or time's hand itself. It is inevitable, and eventually comes for us all. In a strange way, death unites us with our enemies in a way that life never could.

Reah had her day again. May she come to all families of those fallen to ease their losses. And may we remember why we are here, and why we now die.

The ultimate finality, it would not be sacrifice without. Today, these dead warriors gave the final service, so that the living may reach the stars.=^=

She then began to speak the Romulan death rite prayer, followed by the Federation Standard English translation. The universal translator could have done so, but for some reason she did not trust that the Starfleet technology would have done it justice.

=^= Hrrau laehval nnea aen
iobh aekhhu-kheo'dhohh
u'stev hrrau terrh
iurret aeh'dhohh
draeorh stev nrai'eri
saeihr stev irrhyy'eri
Mnean thei'docgae-uhke sein, mrht aei mayri'dhohh
Shad elet flaihhu eir mnean thiichir

In the shadow of the wings
the rain will not descend
and now in the dark
the quiet will hide (lit. cloak)
life now extinguished (lit. closed)
the star now collapsed
we know not when, but it will come
today, remember why we live. =^=

And with those words, she closed her communication and began disconnecting her combadge from the shipwide system, returning things to the way they were.
“Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli "The Prince"
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160724.0859

Te'ellis sat in front of the console screen in her quarters looking even more out of humor than usual. If her unblinking stare was capable of producing heat it might well have melted the circuitry. She swung her crossed leg with impatience. Upon glancing down and realizing her lack of patience was showing, she immediately uncrossed her leg, and leaned back in her chair. However, the expression on her face worsened.

The monitor's response remained unchanged, as it was simply a piece of machinery and unable to react regardless of the ferocity of her gaze. The only response was the red, blinking illumination signalling that her log was being recorded.

Earlier that week, she found herself and XO April trapped out of phase with the rest of the ship. Instead of putting her feelings aside to escape the situation, she had allowed her own emotions and frustration to compound the situation. What had started out as simple ribbing had devolved into blows. It devolved further into Te'ellis saying what was going on in her head, which is something that few people in the quadrant would have been able to do. She had let her guard down, and might well pay for that lapse someday.

So now she resumed recording a personal log. To some, this would be an outlet to sort out feelings or to show when a problem might be arising. To her, it was a personal challenge. This symbol of the human need for companionship and catharsis would not get the better of her. She was determined to retain who she really is... whoever that may be.

Yet April's words echoed in her head. All of her training and resistance was broken by one simple word... "bully." Was she a bully? Had she really started to become the sort of person that she used to denounce? Or even worse, had she been fooling herself for half a century and falsely believed that she was not a bully, when that was exactly who she was? She refused to think such a thing. But still the epithet rang in her mind like the sound of glass being shattered.

The monitor continued unfazed by her glare, and happily continued its recording. Clearly, the monitor was unconvinced of her inward protests. Of course, monitors are incapable of being persuaded one way or the other. Nevertheless, Te'ellis continued her assault of the eyes.

Just when her face could not have darkened any further, she reaches next to her grabbing some gaudy knickknack from the desk, and threw it at the monitor, thereby ending the recording and any "convincing" that may have followed. She had started the recording in hopes that she would become more settled in her resolve to control herself. "Failure" would fall woefully short.

She decided she would report the damage to her monitor after a trip to the holodeck. Perhaps a program there would be adequate to resolve the situation. After all, she had requested Jayce to create a simulation of Ki-Baratan for her. Unfortunately she had never taken the time to find out the result of Jayce's hard work. This would be as good of a time as any.
“Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli "The Prince"
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160729.0536

"Computer, begin holo program Te'ellis #3 -Home."

The computer acknowledged the request. "Please choose venue. Module A - Ki Baratan - City Proper. Module B - Ki-Baratan - Apnex Seacoast. Module C - Brel'kar - Kae'raktar Mountains' Valley of Chula"

"Venue? Shi must have put more work into this than I realized..." she thought. "A."

"Initializing... program initiated."

The geometric walls of the holodeck suddenly burst into shapes, images, and landscapes of the Romulan capital city. Circular city walls grew around her as the star-like streets forged paths between them. From the loading position, she found herself in front of the imperial palace could easily be seen, looming over the city, its centuries old spires reaching upwards and casting shadows on the buildings below. It sat in the middle of a large, circular courtyard at the center of the metropolitan area. Next to the palace sat the Senate building, with its modern architecture equally looming, but somehow less mystical. She knew that behind them laid the Citadel Var'Theldun, a building with which she was more than familiar. She couldn't help but smirk at the superstition that touching even the shadow of the citadel would cause you to disappear and become forever imprisoned. In truth, it was a simple scanning and transporter system that affected more than the shadow but a general radius, and a wanted person coming within proximity of the citadel was transported to a holding cell. Sometimes the myth is a better option than actuality. However, from this vantage point, the citadel was eclipsed by the two government buildings, which were must more aesthetically pleasing. Looking to the west she could make out the top of the Victory Square and the square of heroes, the statues of which reached just above a separating wall. One could almost still hear the cries and cheers of rallied citizens gathered at victory square, or perhaps that really was a crowd of people that Jayce had programmed.

Beyond the outer walls laid green land just outside of the city to the west, and the Apnex Sea to the south. The sound of the waves crashing against the shore echoed ever so faintly through the streets. One could almost smell the sea air moving between the buildings, had the program been able to produce scent. Te'ellis supposed that the sea would be a boundary of the program, and that anything lying beyond the outer walls of her hometown were a facade to round out the view. Still, that knowledge did not diminish the impact of her surroundings.


Looking upward, a faint white cloud glided across the sky. One of the two moons, Pirek, stood guard with it's clear crescent smiling down at the city. In the winter months, Remus was visible in the sky, its cold and barren aura standing in contrast to the abundance of Romulus. This time of year it was only visible at night and would cast a faint blue hue to the streets. As this was a summer depicted program, it was nowhere to be seen. What was to be seen was a small group of Mogai flying in their complex circular patterns. Their screech echoed against the cold stone buildings as they called to one another. Te'ellis thought the mogai were a nice touch.

There were several other landmarks that one could view if they cared to squint hard enough. However, Te'ellis did not care about any of them. The tourist attractions and government buildings held a mysticism about them that is all but sucked into a singularity drive once one learns the inner workings of them. They lose their magical appeal and become all that they truly are - piles of stone and metal put together by mortal men to stop rain and wind, nothing more. She knew that the real city lied in the ordinary buildings, the shops and houses that everyday Romulans passed through on a daily basis with little to no thought as to what happened in the rest of the galaxy. Despite police and senators and military personnel, most people lived their lives under the shadow of the senate building and imperial palace with little care as to what happens inside. They traded, bought and sold, ate, and raised their families. Some cultures might be surprised at the contrast between Romulan reputation versus reality. Although that was one thing missing from the scene, the hoards of people crowding the more busy streets. In fact, there were no citizens visible at all. This was most likely due to the detail put into the city and the storage allotments of the program, and perhaps even the memory needed to render them all.

It was just as well, as Te'ellis would have preferred to be alone anyway. Not wishing to view the general hubs of activity, she made her way northeast along a common roadway, turning onto a smaller street, and an even smaller street after. About half way down the street she stopped at a moderately large, yet humble looking building with a sort of gargoyle on the steps leading inside. She presumed that the interiors of the buildings would either be nonexistent or a simple interior template copied for each entryway. However, simply seeing the building seemed to bring a calm to it. It was the sort of calm that comes from the familiar escape from the outside world and a return to the most basic of concepts... home.

The street was just as she had remembered, for the most part. A small cobbler shop sat down the street. This was the same shop that her sister would have worked at as an apprentice before she had opened her own. In the opposite direction of the street sat a death memorial with its open gates and inviting vines that always seemed to grow back no matter how many times one removed them. She made her way to the death memorial that she and her sister used to play a version of hide and seek inside.

Again, Jayce's accuracy gave her pause. The long stone slabs, each belonging to a different family house lined the pathways through the memorial. No one was buried here, as that was not the Romulan custom. However, their names, their true and personal names, were etched into the stone with the same techniques of a chisel that their ancestors of thousands of years passed used. They could easily have used an energy tool to carve the names, but some traditions do not fade into obscurity. The stone slabs did not bear any names, but there would have been no way to have known which belonged to whom with the information available. Still, Te'ellis could superimpose them in her mind, as she remembered reading them as a little girl, and wondering who each of them were. She did not have them memorized, as that would have taken far too long. However, she remembers running her hands along the writing as she walked, as though the stones could tell her who was written on them, and what they did with their lives. Absentmindedly, she ran her fingers along the rendered stone, just as she had as a child. Occasionally there would be a name that was etched out, removed from the marker. This was usually a sign that the person died in disgrace, usually as a result of treason to the empire. If the person had disappeared in life, they were removed in death. This did not happen as often as people believed. The belief was necessary to maintain order. Vulcans found peace and union in logic and the purging of emotions, the Romulans found their own union in paranoia and purging of dissidence.

Occasionally one stone would be larger and more grand than the others. These were usually reserved for families with vast generations of military service, and occasionally political as well. They were a sort of status symbol to let others know that this family gave much to the good of the empire, and thereby the good of the many. The more a family gave, the more their family's honor shown through the grandeur of the memorial. Even the poorest and lowest tier of families could increase their legacy through government service. It was every citizen's duty, and was duly rewarded.

She stopped at one particular stone, which visually was not all that different from the others. It was not among the smallest, but it didn't tower over the others either. It was moderately large, with a few engravings. This would have been the stone that her family along her mother's side would have stood. This stone, unlike the others, was easily available from her memory. Starting from twelve centuries back in the upper left corner, each line of her heritage was etched into the black masonry, each line trailing down until her great-grand parents, who had only passed away just before the hobus disaster, about two thirds of the way down the final column on the right. The after their names would be one more name, had it been known to anyone to etch it on...

She removed her hand from the rock as though it was burning. No one bringing disgrace to a family would have their names etched on. If it was known of the disgrace before their death, they were not crossed out. Instead they were never added, and proof of their existence was never there. She was foolish to allow herself to start to think otherwise.

She had been foolish about a number of things... and selfish... but mostly foolish. Even if any of these stones had names on them, the inescapable reality is that they no longer existed. The Hobus explosion had wiped them all out of existence. Thousands of years of ancestry was gone in an instant, and with it more names than the stones could hold. When she looked around, imagining the size that the stones would have to be to bear the names of every Romulan that lost their lives when the explosion hit, looking up and imagining the sheer height that they would tower, she realized just how small and meaningless pettiness really was. While some Romulans died heroes, these people did not die in a battle or die to protect the empire. They died trapped on their home world that a government failed to protect them from. The shadow of the tier that the imperial building sat on towered over them all, but in the end did little to shelter them from a threat that they failed to notice. All fo the political scheming and infiltrating into enemy territory, all of the subterfuge and espionage, all of the warning beacons, animosity and isolation, all of it in the end accomplished nothing, as the biggest threat to Romulus turned out to be their refusal to be wary of nature itself. It wasn't a fleet of Starships, but a single star. It was not even their own star, but it certainly did what no other race of people had ever done, destroyed the Romulan Empire.

That explosion did more than destroy a planet that day. It destroyed an idea to which some firmly gripped. To others, it changed their priorities and opened up the way for the Romulan Republic, which was a face of the Romulan people that hadn't been seen in aers accepted that they a long time... if ever. For Te'ellis, it meant that the driving force of what was "the right thing" would be forever changed. What she thought she stood for was now meaningless, and what she thought she was protecting was gone. The disillusionment with the old way of things faded, and slowly, she realized she was in the wrong business. But where does one go after being who she was? It is an impossible question. Failure to adapt leads to the extinction of a species. It is one of the most simple and basic laws of the universe... that and never dilute good ale.

She finally remembered who she was, and who she is. Too long had she taken identities assigned to her. She had given more for her beliefs than most people would ever have the horror of doing. She was not a truly evil person, but she certainly may have done some things that touch the line of it. Strangely, it was all done for a good cause. But what now?

It would seem that Jayce's program did more than what it was designed. No doctor on any planet could have done what some simple light projections had. It was a refreshment beyond compare. Te'ellis will definitely return again, and perhaps even explore some of the other modules. This human need for a holodeck... it finally made sense.
“Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli "The Prince"
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160729.1518

((I apologize for the typos in the last entry. I wrote it in a hurry before i had to leave for work, and didn't have time to proofread it, or even reread it. If only I could edit it :( ))
“Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.”
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180112.1637

=^= Attention Maxwell crew. The captain has approved to allow a crew member to assist in food preparation. Take a moment to welcome Lieutenant Jane Ferguson to the kitchen staff. Congratulations Lt. Ferguson... or my deepest condolences... Whichever applies. As she is new, I would encourage all to be patient with her as she learns the art of nutrition. Until then, feel free to forward all complaints to her data padd.... Or to congratulate her... or say good-bye before it's too late. Whatever. =^=

Jane sighs. "Did you really have to do that?"

Te'ellis looks quite pleased with herself as she replies. "Of course not. But it will be amusing."

Jane gives a pained sigh as her data padd starts to beep. Te'ellis chuckles. "Don't worry about them right now. You have stirring to do."

After about five minutes of beeps from Jane's padd, Te'ellis joined her in sighing. "Fine..." she moans, as she taps her commbadge.

=^= Attention Maxwell crew... again. Since I am a civilian, you were under no obligation to obey my orders in regards to the Lieutenant's padd. However I am flattered by your swift response and the high esteem in which you hold my wishes. I shall make a note to use this power for good in future. Do continue. Te'ellis out. =^=

She then takes a sip from her glass of blue liquid, hops up on the counter, crossing her legs. "and... 3... 2... 1..."

=^= Te'ellis, get off of the coms! =^= Te'ellis, for some reason, gives a triumphant grin. "Right on cue. I'm getting good at this."

Jane sighs again... she's likely to do a lot of sighing in the next few months. "You really shouldn't do that. It's an abuse of the shipwide system. What if there was an emergency?"

Te'ellis rolls her eyes. "There's not. Besides, have you ever heard me make a frivolous announcement during red alert? Yellow even?"

Jane screws up her brow as she thinks. "Actually... no?"

"Precisely. I'm not a fool. I know where to draw the line. I just like to step on it and dance." She takes another sip from her glass.

"I'm pretty sure you cross the line sometimes."

"... well... occasionally. However, when you lot are truly in danger, I do believe I have shown that that is where I stop messing about. After all, the alpha shift bridge crew would still be in prison if it wasn't for me... if not dead."

"You know... I've been meaning to ask you, Te'ellis... how... how did you get that Privari shuttle? Why weren't you arrested with the rest?"

Te'ellis chuckles. "You haven't heard the story of how I brutally murdered an entire nunnery and stole their craft?"

Jane looks pointedly at her. "No. I heard that one. But the captain would never have allowed it. You'd be in the brig if you had."

"I wouldn't be so sure. i can be quite convincing."

"You're not that convincing."

"... how many people have bothered you since my second announcement?"

Jane paused, looks at her silent padd, and then back up at Te'ellis' smug smirk.

"Mmhm... exactly... And how many of them would have even bothered, had I not made an announcement in the first place." She paused to let the thought sink in, which indeed it was."That's right..." Then after a moment, she rolls her eyes and hops down from the counter-top. "Fine. Since I don't wish you to bother me for the next few weeks with this, I'll tell you. But I cannot tell a story and work at the same time."

Jane sighs again. "I'll keep working on dinner."

Te'ellis grins, and refills her glass. "Really? Thank you so much!" While she may have sounded genuine, Jane didn't believe it for an instant. "Right. Well... it all started with lettuce..."

((this is part 1. Parts 2 and 3 to follow))
“Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli "The Prince"
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180114.1250

((This is Part 2 of a 3 part entry.))


"The Maxwell's bridge crew were beamed to the palace to meet with the Archon. Te'ellis on the other hand, went in a different direction. The Marketplace was sure to have food stuffs, or at least lettuce. So she set about in a different direction to peruse the alien thoroughfare of Kirlep.

As soon as she had stepped outdoors, the blare of the Privari War Song, a political sort of anthem, assaulted her ears. Nevertheless, there was lettuce to obtain. This was assuming, of course, that the Privari even ate lettuce. She had walked the market for hours with little success. The relentless, repeating loop of the War Song was only interrupted by the occasional pro-Privari political message, which offered very little relief at all. Most of the shops were either run by males, or by timid looking females, with some imposing, over-sized man looming over the transactions. Judging by the filthy looks Te'ellis was receiving, it was clear that, as a female, she wasn't going to get a price without prejudi-"

Jane interrupted. "Are you going to be talking in the third person like that through the whole thing?"


Te'ellis stopped her narration, and the exaggerated gestures that accompanied it, looking severely annoyed. With a scathing look, she snipped, "Do you want to hear my story or not!?"

Jane sighed and shrugged a gesture of surrender.

Te'ellis cleared her throat. "Where was I... oh yes.


"Suddenly, Te'ellis saw something that caught her eye. A vendor consisting entirely of women, in matching robes, sat along the far side of the market. They were not hiding their gaze, but instead were looking the patrons in the eye. The did not even shy away from any men that came along, nor did the men seem terribly disturbed by this. She decided that she needed to find out more about these people... and they had lettuce!

"As it turned out, the women were part of an order called 'The Sisters of the Golden Barons' which, for lack of a better term, was a nunnery of sorts. It served as many nunneries do, a haven for women who were either disenfranchised, or simply did not fit in to the societal expectations of how they ought to exist. Some sought refuge out of faith, while for others, they had nowhere else to go. Their vows and devotion afforded them a freedom of intellectual exploration and opinion that most others were not given. Perhaps she lingered at their barrow than she should have, but she found these women a refreshing change from the oppressive, patriarchal folly of the rest of the Privari population. The conversations with them were actually... enjoyable! She could respect these women... and Te'ellis does not respect many. She paid for a head of lettuce, adding an extra amount as a donation, and continued to shop their wares.

"As Te'ellis compared what were either parsnips or pineapples, or at least something in between, everyone's attention was drawn away by the sudden silence. She too noticed the abrupt hush, and followed the gaze of those around her. A large projection screen loomed over the market, which had mostly been broadcasting propaganda. But now, the War Song had stopped playing, and a government official appeared on the screen.

=+= Good citizens of Privar.
It is to be known, that the alien visitors known as Starfleet, and their abomination leader Captain, have been arrested for violations of espionage, abetting Dulani radicals, archonial deception, attempting to withhold technology for the war effort, And high treason for their deceptive efforts in assisting, and accepting assistance from, the scourge of the Privari people, the Dulani! =+=

"Murmuring, even excited whispering, washed over the streets. Clearly, the mention of their mortal enemy united the Privari throngs. Te'ellis could not help but be reminded at the solidarity that the Imperial Star Empire used to inspire among Romulus. However, it did not remind her of the better points of her people, but the worse. A few cheers even broke out as a recording was shown of the USS Maxwell crew being boarded onto a prison transport vehicle, cuffed and disheveled... except Candi who, somehow, was still fully sheveled. She even attempted to wave to the camera, despite the hand restraints. The others, however, looked as though they were in for an ordeal.

=+= However, one among their number remains unaccounted for... while she is simply a menial kitchen laborer, citizens are still encouraged not to approach her, but to alert a guard member immediately. We anticipate an easy capture of this fugitive of justice, due to her natural inferiority as well as lack of training. Glory to Privar! Of course, in service to your Archon, any information will be handsomely rewarded as well.=+=

"To her horror, a rather unflattering image of her face, clearly enlarged from a smaller resolution, appeared on the massive marketplace projection screen. She was sure that this is the sort of message that a culture such as this would broadcast on all frequencies. While the crowd looked at the picture, she glanced around the thoroughfare. Already, imperial guards were streaming into the exits and scanning the citizens. She cursed the foolish, naive Maxwell crew under her breath while her thoughts raced for an escape plan. She paid little mind to the remainder of the announcement. As much as she wanted to take insult at the insinuation that she would be an easy capture... in the current circumstance she had to agree.

=+=therefore a mandatory curfew for all citizens is to take place immediately. In an orderly fashion, you are hereby ordered to return to your homes, cease all public travel without permit, and await for the order to... =+= and so it continued along a similar vein.

'Her desperation for a plan was interrupted by a cloth being thrown around her head, the sensation of small hands on her shoulders pulling her backward, and a female whisper, hissing near her ear.

'Don't panic. We can help. Just do exactly what we say, don't say a word, and maybe you won't be killed alongside your friends.'

"Normally, Te'ellis' would have broken the woman's arm off. However, she could see little alternative but to cooperate. She was either going to be picked out of the crowd as being the only one running for an exit while everyone else continues to watch the screen, or she was going to have to leave with the crowd, and risk being nabbed at the exits. It was unlikely that this sister was risking apprehending her by herself. She could easily have called for help, as there were ample guard members surrounding the market, and their numbers were growing. So, she submitted to the instructions of the Sister.

"As the crowd commenced their curfew protocol exits, she was lead to a land vehicle, which looked as though it would barely have room for everyone. Te'ellis was told to sit toward the back of the seating area, keep her head down, and try to appear... reverent was the word the Sister used. She wasn't entirely sure what that meant, but she just kept her head down as the other nuns finished loading the vegetables and then squeezed themselves into the seats. No sooner had they turned on the ignition, when a guard appeared alongside with his arm raised.

'Wait right there you!' bellowed a guard whose hair was very windswept... or perhaps had not been brushed in weeks.

Sister Andine leaned over the door, sticking her head out of the window. 'Oh thank you, Darcun! You were always such a helpful boy... when you were't terrifying Mr. Hatche's cattle... Did something fall out of the back?'

The guard paused, "Oh... oh it's you, Sister Andine. I didn't realize..." He elbowed the guard next to him when the larger guard began to snicker. "No no, your goods are fine. But there's a curfew, you know.'

'Oh of course, I know! That's precisely why we need to get underway. I certainly do not want to run across some alien criminal, given our vow of non-resistance!'

'I understand, Sister. But I need to inspect the vehicle for-'

Sister Andine cut him off. 'Surely you can make an exception. It's imperative that we get back to the nunnery immediately.'

Darcun made a head gesture that signified 'no.' 'Unfortunately Sister, I cannot do that. I need to keep everyone safe.' And he motioned for her, and the rest of them, to exit the vehicle.

Sister Andine looked as though she was about to cry, but there was a sparkle in her eye that could not quite be placed. She made a hand gesture, which can only be assumed to mean that the rest stay put, and she exited the vehicle. 'Join me, sisters, and call for protection in our time of need. Oh merciful guardian of the Archon, giver of the sacred barons... forgiver of livestock harassment... do please protect us in our fateful journey, due to the ignorance and uncharitable attitude of our young Darcun. Do not allow us to become easy targets for an alien criminal, causing our horrific deaths. Please protect us due to our delay... us... a group of weak, lowly women... vulnerable... all alone... with only our faith to protect us, and do not let us be brutally murdered on the road to our humble house of dieties...'

'Come on... maybe we should just let them get going,' said the heavier guard. 'They're nuns, not a crime ring.'

'We can't,' said Darcun. 'We're supposed to check everybody. That includes the sisters here. What if one of them was her?'

Sister Andine immediately ceased her prayer, looking incredibly insulted. 'What did you just say, young man?' she demanded.

Darcun stuttered, 'I... I didn't mean to... well...'

The middle aged sister rose up straight, pointing a very angry looking finger. 'How dare you accuse... no... no I will not rise in anger. I will forgive you, Darcun, despite my crushing disappointment in you. Perhaps you've gone astray from the goodness I thought was once in your heart. Such a blasphemous thing to think. Come sisters, let us pray for the new enemy, Darcun.'

'Now wait just a minute!'

'Oh guardians, do please forgive the unfaithful words of our lost lamb. Do not treat him with the same disregard that he has shown us, and may you not pay in kind for his doubt of your greatness...' though it was unlikely that the wind that started to blow was the sister's doing, at this point, Te'ellis may have been convinced of it. She was starting to wonder exactly what sort of nuns these were.

'No no Sister. Stop that.' Darcun gave the heavier guard a panicked look, as though expecting the other guard to come to his rescue. The hefty fellow simply shrugged, as though to tell him that he's on his own. "no no... I'm sorry Sister. I'm sorry. I meant no disrespect. Here, let me help you get back in the Vraken (which was the vehicle, apparently).' The heavier guard clapped a hand over his mouth, to hide his laughter, as he held the door open for the sister.

Sister Andine's demeanor softened after she got back into the driver's seat. 'Thank you Darcun. I pray we have not lost too much time during this exchange. May the guardian of the Archon grant you kindness.' She did not even allow Darcun to finish his reply as she sped off."



"... are you sure they were nuns? I mean... it wouldn't be the first time you had totally lied about an entire event... or lifetime... or what color a sock is... I find this a little hard to believe that it was nuns," stated Jane, interrupting the story again.

Te'ellis fiddled with a charm around her neck, and gave Jane a look of disbelief. "Why would I make this up? Nuns? Doesn't that sound a tad stupid to you? Why would I lie and say I was saved by nuns, when Ninja Augmented Warriors is a thing!?" Te'ellis tapped her foot impatiently at Jane. "If you're going to interrupt me at irregular intervals, I might as well give you more work to stop your boredom."

Jane truely looked apologetic. "I'm sorry, Te'ellis. I really did want to know."

Te'ellis sighed, and continued her verbose narration... still speaking in the third person for some inexplicable reason.


"Te'ellis had only just met the women of "The Sisters the Golden Barons Nunnery" near Kirlep two days ago, but already they had done their best to not make her feel like an outsider. They had given her a room to herself, kept her well fed, and kept their invasive questions to a minimum. Te'ellis especially appreciated the lack of personal questions.

"She sat at a large table, eating dinner with the sisters. Privari cuisine was not as terrible as some. She had eaten, as well as made, better, but this was more than adequate. As the ladies discussed their current efforts, monastery affairs, and various other things of little consequence to anyone not a nun, Te'ellis continued to be trapped in her own thoughts. The loud speakers playing the Privari war song could still be heard, even miles away from the capital city. Despite the monastery was tucked neatly behind rolling, green hills, the staccato tones still pierced through the sylvan setting. Te'ellis had grown weary of its patriotic blasting almost immediately upon arrival. Perhaps it was easier for the Privari with their inferior, round eared hearing? She wondered if there was a corner of the planet where she would be rid of the horrid background noise. It was doubtful.

"The sisters made it clear that she was to remain there as long as she wished, and assured her that there was no timeline for her to leave. It seemed they were not only willing to harbor a fugitive, but keep her hidden for the rest of her life. Of course, the nuns here did not know that the rest of Te'ellis' life could easily mean another 120 years, if not more. Nonetheless, they had welcomed her into their halls.

"Sister Andine had turned to Te'ellis, and was now babbling, almost excitedly, about the various things that can be done on the grounds for her to choose from. However, Te'ellis was not listening. Instead, she absently picked at her lettuce in the gleaming metal bowl. There was something about the way the lamplight glistened and stretched along the parabolic lines. She was not very interested about the lettuce insomuch as watching the curvature of the bowl bend the light along its interior.

"Then she stopped, dumped the lettuce onto the table, and held the bowl over her head. The other sisters' chatter died down, as they watched her curiously. Te'ellis' other hand unconsciously moved to the area of her arm the tracking chips were embedded into each of the crew, at the insistence of Captain Gerhadsen, before going to Privar. After a few seconds of silence, she spoke. Despite her speaking softly, her deep voice echoed against the high hall walls.

'I think I know what to do. But I will need some supplies. Can you help me?' "


((To be concluded in part 3))
“Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli "The Prince"
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180123.0720

((part 2 1/2 of 3... it's longer than I expected lol))

"Four days later, Starfleet's most renown Romulan chef, albeit the only Romulan chef, was hunched over a table, fiddling with a small part of a larger contraption. The salad bowl, now pierced with a metal mixing stick, was sitting atop centerpiece made of metal, with rotating cylinders of copper and iron, and a few magnets attached to the side. The entire device stood about half a meter tall.

'Get IN there you Privari bastard!' Te'ellis snapped, speaking to an uncooperative bit of wire. The wire gave some more attitude before finally submitting to her request and sliding into a tight opening.

Moments later, there was a knock at her door. Sister Andine had rapped softly against the wood, hoping not to startle her guest. Andine likely had noticed that she was never startled... seemingly ever. Sometimes Te'ellis would even ask her what she wanted before she made her presence known at all. Still, she knew that what was being built was delicate work, and did not want to cause an accident. Te'ellis called for her to enter.

After a pause and entering the room, she asked her pointed-ear sister, 'How is the low-frequency radio going?'

Te'ellis set the piece that had her attention back onto the table. 'The receiver is nearly complete, I just need those few more parts. The transmitter is the real task here... I think I finally have the modulator working. I had my doubts that amplitude or frequency modulators will work, so I went with the frequency-shift keying style. It's taking longer because of it, but I'm sure that the carrier wave, if I get the variance correct, should be able to reach the viridian chips...' She held up the modulator. 'It is not terribly impressive, but It has to be rather primitive to avoid causing interference with the consul's own communication systems.'

Sister Andine nodded, but out of understanding, not politeness. 'We are trying to find the other things you have requested. Some of them are difficult for women to acquire, even being a woman of faith. But do not worry. There is a man, Jax fak-nadu, sympathetic to our cause that I have asked to assist us. He is a bit of a rogue, but he's trustworthy in the end.'

Te'ellis raised an eyebrow. 'A nun-loving rogue? So long as I don't have to eliminate him at the end of this, your friends are my friends,' she laughed.

Andine laughed in return, though she was not entirely sure whether Te'ellis was making a joke or not. She continued, 'I was thinking... using a Archon Terres filter would make the transitions smoother.'

Te'ellis nodded back in agreement. 'I know, but I need them to be more distinct. Not to mention, the filter would increase interference, which I absolutely must keep to a minimum. The humans have a different word for that though ... no not Nausicaan filter... was it Gaussican? It doesn't matter. They have strange names for things.' She looked at her transmitter, then back at Andine with a wide grin. 'Care to help me with a primary test run?'

Andine's face lit up with excitement. 'If I may, yes!' She scurried into a chair next to Te'ellis.

Te'ellis put the modulator into its place, and powered on the transmitter. She tapped a toggle switch on a spring a few times, and frowned. She reached her left arm in, turned a small dial on the modulator, then hit the switch again. She repeated this a few more times until a look of satisfaction appeared on her face. 'There it is. Here, feel,' she said. She held out her right arm, inviting the sister to feel the vibrations in her deltoid.

'You did it! I can feel that!' Andine asked. 'So it's working?'

Te'ellis nodded. 'Almost... I need to test one more thing. I just need to see how much the signal weakens when traveling over distance. If you will help me, hit this switch.' She gestures to the switch she had been tapping. 'Tap that, and I'll go down the hallway for a moment.'

She agreed, making a head movement unique to Privari women. Te'ellis smiled in gratitude, and left the room. Andine waited a few moments before tapping the switch as instructed. When Te'ellis returned, she was frowning at her arm.

Upon seeing her expression, Andine asked with slight worry, 'Did I do something wrong?'

Te'ellis shook her head. 'No, you didn't. But tap it again.'

Andine did as she was told while Te'ellis moved incrementally closer to the transmitter. She stepped closer every few seconds until her arm was within centimeters of the dish on top.

"Just as I suspected. It weakens over distance. I'll have to amplify the signal quite a bit in order to reach them. But the good news, this means that when I finish the receiver, that I will be able to tell when they move. Their movements should increase or decrease the receiving signal. But now I know your crystals work with this design. It should only take me a few days to complete everything,' Te'ellis was pleased with the results of the test. Rubbing her arm, she turned around and sat next to the sister.

When Aundine caught sight of Te'ellis' arm, she gasped. It was beginning to swell, and green bruise... green?... was already starting to form. 'You are hurt! Is... that a bruise? It looks so...strange.'

Te'ellis waved dismissively. 'Don't worry, I'm fine. It's from holding it right against the transmitter.' She took out a page of notes, and scribbled in a language that Andine did not recognize.

Andine reached out to touch the bruise, but stopped short of doing so. 'Does it hurt?'

'A fair amount, yes,' she responded, neither looking up from her notes nor looking concerned about it. 'I imagine it will be worse after I amplify the signal. My proximity to it will certainly make the effects stronger.'

Andine looked saddened. She wondered, if Te'ellis' arm was already reacting to the transmitter, what was going to happen with a much stronger signal? She forced a smile to hide her concern, but she was not effective at doing so. 'What about... a Arcon Voradial mesh?'

Te'ellis blinks, finally glancing up from her notes. 'A who what?'

'Sorry. I keep forgetting that you use different words for things. it's...' she pauses as she attempts to explain it, 'it's a sort of mesh material that encircles an object or person that you want shielded from various signals and waves. You run an electrical current through the mesh, and-'

'And the resulting current disapates the electrons, resulting in a reduced signal...'

Sister Andine beams. 'Yes! Exactly! I've never attempted to build one. I've only read about them. So your people have something similar?'

Te'ellis nods. 'A Storvok shield... or a Friday cage. I've no idea why they call them Friday cages..."


Jane interjected, "Faraday."

Te'ellis stops her story. "What?"

"It's called a Faraday cage. It's named after the Earth scientist that invented it."

"Ohhh... that makes a lot more sense! We call them a Storvok shield for a similar reason. Anyway," clearing her throat, she narrates again.


"After a thought, Te'ellis grinned, 'That actually is a good idea.'

Andine continued, 'It would not be perfect. After all, it would likely have to wrap around your arm, and that means that there's still plenty of space for the signal to leak through. But maybe it would reduce the signal enough to make it less painful.'

Te'ellis nodded again. 'Yes... I suppose it would be better than nothing. And it seems a better idea than simply waiting for my chip to overload and burn out.' She takes her pen and jots down a few more notes, again in her strange language.

'So Jax should be arriving sometime today or tomorrow. I think you'll like him. He's a bit... amorous, but respectful. Jax has helped us before many times when we've needed things for our work. He is not like most other Privari men in that regard.'

'He sounds great!' Keeping up the enthusiasm was begining to make Te'ellis' face cramp.

Andine excitedly added, 'He used to serve in the Privari military, but I think the war slowly changed his mind on the Dulani. It really is a pointless conflict and it goes against everything our guardians would have wanted... Anyway, he says he may even be able to provide you with a shuttle. I daresay, it won't be as grand as the ship our Archon is trying to acquire from your captain, but it should do the job.'

'That's fantastic!' Te'ellis joyfully exclaims. All of this smiling was begining to take its toll on her muscles.

'I'm sorry, but I have to go attend to the garden. But I wanted to stop and see how the progress was coming, and give you an update on your supplies.' She gave a thought, and added encouragingly, 'You'll be home soon enough!' Andine smiled, hoping that the promise was encouraging.

Te'ellis returned her attempt with a large smile of her own, and said pleasantly, 'Thank you! I appreciate it! But I understand, go and do your duties, sister.'

Andine laid a hand on Te'ellis' shoulder. 'I'm sure that they are missing you right at this moment, wishing you were there.'

Te'ellis highly doubted that, or at the very least, the reasons as to why they would have wanted her there in prison. However, she did not want to destroy the sister's attempt at consolation, and instead smiled intensely. 'I just want my friends to be safe.'

Andine gave the head movement of the Privari again. 'They are lucky to have you as a friend, as are we.'

Again, Te'ellis masked her doubt with the broadest smile she could muster. She continued beaming her smile until Andine had risen from her chair and gone through the door. She kept her expression pasted on as Andine passed through at least 3/4 of the length of the hallway. Only then did Te'ellis let her smile drop and return her countenance to its normal, slightly mortiferous glare. She growled, 'I have got to get off of this planet...' "
“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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180202.1738

"Mortiferous?" Jane asked.

Te'ellis paused. "Yes, fatal."

Jane snorted.

"I didn't realize you found death amusing."

Jane shook her head with a chuckle. "No, I think it's funny that you're admitting that your usual expression is super mean."

"Well..." she shrugged. "There's no point in lying about it. You've met me."

"Was he cute?"

Te'ellis was about to reembark on her tale, but Jane's question interrupted her thought. "I... what?"

"Jax. Was he cute?"

"By actual standards, or what humans tend to settle for?" Te'ellis asked. When she did not get a response from Jane, she resigned herself to this tangent. "The sisters had described him as a calculating maverick smuggler, with a sarcastic wit, and a sense of compassion, deeply masked in a facade of reckless indifference. I got the impression that he would have a compassion that even he wasn't aware. In actuality, what I got was a slightly malodorous eccentric, of questionable morality and sobriety. Most of the time, he did not appear to know what he was doing. He lacked planning, foresight, or a sense of personal space. What I needed was a shrewd planner... clarity... discretion. Instead, I was provided a man who fell into his plans, possibly by accident, and usually escaped them by sheer luck."

Jane giggled. "You were promised Han Solo, and instead got Jack Sparrow!"

Te'ellis gave a very confused expression. "... I don't know what any of that means."

"The.... from that pirates movie? ... Star Wars? ... Earth films?"

Te'ellis' only response was a blank expression.

"Darth Vader? 'I am your father? zhew zhew" Jane attempted to imitate a light saber battle. "No? Well maybe the pirates series? We had a showing of that last week." She then acted out the distinct movements of Jack Sparrow, complete with facial expressions, and distinct gait.

"... are you drunk?"

Jane sighed. "Never mind. Just keep going. I'd like to hear the end of it."

"As you wish. Well...


"After meeting with the man whom she wished to punch in the face, and eventually would, Te'ellis gave her plans a last look. The transmitter and receiver were both complete. She would have a shuttle. She had a map, and the shuttle would have a navigation system. Hopefully, the vessel functioned better than its owner. It seemed that everything was coming to fruition. She was unaware that other plans were taking place.

'Te'ellis, can I speak with you a moment in the garden?" Sister Andine asked.

She rolled up her list. 'I'm finished in here. What do you need?'

'In the garden, please. I'll be waiting.'

Despite the cryptic tone, Te'ellis had not found reason to doubt whether to trust Sister Andine. While she never fully trusts anyone, some individuals earn more esteem than others. For the first time, Te'ellis sensed that Andine was withholding something.

As she got closer to the garden, she realized that the other nuns were also waiting with Andine. Everyone was gathered together in a circular clearing. She anticipated the worst, both reasonable and unreasonable, as to why everyone would be wanting to speak with her... outside... in the open. However, as she approached the circle, she saw that everyone was smiling. If they were about to turn her in, or to reconsider the help they had given her, smiles would certainly not be the expression to be met. Now with slight confusion, Te'ellis crossed the circle of stones, and entered their midst.

'Ah, good. Come closer,' Andine beckoned. 'There's something we wanted to say to you.'

More relieved, but more confused, Te'ellis stepped forward. 'What... what is going on?'

Andine chuckled. 'In the short time you've spent with us, you have helped Sister Falan fix our heater, repair the door to the aumbry, and repaired one of the windows of the clerestory... which I must admit was a constant distraction.' The other sisters nodded in agreement. 'I don't think I have ever seen someone climb the triforium before.' There were scattered chuckles. 'But we do not just notice the physical. While I daresay we have not gotten to fully "know" you, we certainly have seen your spirit, which hums the same frequency as our own. You have been encouraging, kind, humble despite your great knowledge and conviction, and a welcome presence. You even got Sister Almat talking during our meetings, which I have tried for six years to do.' Sister Almat blushed to the color of Privari Apple wine. 'So we have discussed what we are to do with you... and we are in agreement.'

Te'ellis blinked at the notion of meetings being held about her... especially without her knowledge. 'You have?'

Andine nodded. 'It is with pride... along with the humility the guardians teach of course, that we welcome you among us.' Andine then holds up a necklace, with a small gold pendant of a bird in flight. It matched what all the other women of the golden barons wore. The way she let it fall from her hands suggested she wanted Te'ellis to put it on. 'Welcome, sister...' she paused. 'Most of us change our name upon becoming joined. I can understand if-'

Te'ellis was no stranger to new names. She knew all to well the long-held Romulan tradition of taking on a new name at important junctures of life. Among other reasons, she had no trouble with this request. 'Voal'anna'

Andine smiled. 'The raptor that shielded Durath from the rain... interesting choice. Very well! Welcome SIster Voal'anna.'

Te'ellis lowered her head as Andine put the necklace around her neck. After a ceremonious pause, and Andine gave a nod that implied the ritual was complete, the other sisters all gathered around, giving Te'ellis a sort of group hug."


"Wait... they actually made you a nun? I thought that was a joke."

Te'ellis grinned. "Well you were wrong. I officially am."

"Do... do they... I mean can you... um..."

"Can I what?"

"Well nuns usually... don't... uh..."

Te'ellis looked insulted. "I hardly think that is any of your business!" After Jane's blush turned into guilt, Te'ellis smirked. "But I think the answer is 'only on Privar.' And since I don't plan on going back any time soon, I can do as I like."

Jane's guilt faded, but she was still blushing. "Sorry... I guess that makes sense."

"As though I would let something like rules stop me anyway... ahem... So... I was official...


"It was official. Te'ellis, now Sister Voal'anna, was an ordained member of the nunnery. There was still a couple of days until she would have access to the shuttle. In the interim, she decided to assist the sisters in a few of the duties.

"One such duty she agreed to, was to assist a young widower with his children. The former navy captain had seven children to care for, but little time to do so. He often employed sisters from the convent to offer education and supervision. Although no longer serving as Captain, he still ran his household with a military precision. Most of the children's activities concerned education and training. There was little devoted to creative arts, and almost no time for recreation. The children did not even have a change of clothes which to get dirty in play. Te'ell- uh - Sister Voal'anna decided to put a stop to this restriction. First, she would need some fabric with which to-"


"Whoa whoa WHOA!" Jane held up her hand. "Hold it right there... seven children? A widower?"

Te'ellis turned to finish rearranging the spices. "Do you have something against widowers?"

Jane crossed her arms, looking upset. "Let me guess... you didn't have any fabric, so you used the curtains to make clothes for them."

Te'ellis smiled, although Jane could not see it. "Why... yes! How did you know?"

Jane slammed a spoon down, angrily. "I cannot believe you! I almost fell for it!"

"Fell for what?"

"That was Maria VonTrapp! The Sound of Music! I can't believe I actually thought you'd tell me the truth... I'm so stupid."

Te'ellis chuckled. She took the golden bird necklace she was wearing, and tucked it into her shirt. Sighing heavily, she turned around. "You got me... I should have known better than to try and pull that one past you."

"You're horrible! I should have realized said 'kind and encouraging' that you were full of crap." She shook head, than at Te'ellis. "Your soup is just about done. Can I be excused or... or whatever I need to do to end my shift?"

Te'ellis nodded, looking solemn. "You may go. And Jane... Peace be with you, child."

Jane growled in exasperation, and stormed out of the kitchen, nearly running into someone along the way. She then started to spoon the soup into bowls. Laughing, Te'ellis pulled her necklace back out and hummed "How Do You Solve a Problem like Maria?"
“Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli "The Prince"
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180501.1714

Once again, Te'ellis attempted to outstare the computer recorder. No matter how long her piercing gaze, she could not see what mechanism was employed to illicit confession. The light was not of a pattern variable of hypnosis, nor did it emit any sounds outside the range of conscious hearing. However, recent events have left thoughts circling in her mind that she could not let out. Ever since the Romulan, Jo'-

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{{getentry [Te'ellis.180429.2215]}}

personal log entry Te'ellis.180429.2215 file is corrupted

{{embed Borg&B_55.ax7}}

Eight of Eight lies unconscious in a hospital biobed, alive, but still in a month's long coma that was convenient to the plot. Monitors showing waves of brain activity flicker with a glow emanating throughout the room. A rhythmic beep indicates Eight's vitals. One of Eight sits by his side, a look of worry filling her face... or at least it would have had it not been loaded with a paralytic agent to mask the signs of aging. She did have tissue in her hand; that is a sign that she was distressed. She opened her mouth to speak. Alas, when her eyes met the beefy security drone who was patrolling the door, she remained silent.

She dabbed an untearful eye with her tissue, and asked the drone, "There is an urgent matter of which I need to speak with him. Will you leave me alone with him for approximately 4.67 minutes?"

The drone shook his head. "I will not comply. Eight of Eight was shot at point blank range with a phaser set to kill. Had he not adapted as well as he had, he would be dead, instead of a coma. Until the shooter is apprehended, I must remain here."

One probably looked disappointed, had her face not been frozen more than Borg faces already are. She continued her vigil by Eight's side.

[Omit commercial break error -yy87*8u^uhjikjOOiolk*76THiu9op0-KGBU5yu98 87875 ThIO(*(*^76$ &7Y HUUJ(*n 987TY^vc$C9MJIO(>I0_{[9)_*90GBUYE$#$%3]

Meanwhile, Three and Five are still fighting in their large alcove.

"How could you perform such an action, Five?" Three demanded.

Five folded her arms with effort. "I do not know what you are talking about."

"You thought I would not find out about this genetic manipulation? How could you think I would not recognize the residual genetic markers from an attempted chromosomal compromise? We shared the same knowledge, Five."

Five looked down at the small borg-modified baby, which was entirely too large to be a newborn. It resembled a human baby of two or three months, certainly not two weeks old. Nonetheless, this was the newborn. By next season, the child will most likely be five years old. None of this was relevant. Five simply looked down at her massive newborn. "The genetic markers are irrelevant, Three. The child is yours. I do not care what anyone says. it does not belong to Six. It is yours."

"I trusted you. I trusted six as well. However, I cannot continue to do so. I... am leaving you. I have found another collective group. I will become Eleven of Eleven, in Cube 186."

Five begins to cry, and she falls to the ground next to the natal-regeneration unit.

[Omit commercial break error - y7uV$657vc$5b9n8U()*KJ908NYiuKB^ht$F%#S@$87iBN^*&b98 *&b6Y%R$Vy5u]

Back in the medical unit, One continues to sit at the bedside, when suddenly, the rhythm of Eight's brainwaves stutter. There was a distinct blip, and his one non-implant eye twitches. One looks up.

"Quickly, get a medical drone!" One commanded the security drone.

As security left the room, Eight stirred. Slowly, he opened his eye.

"You have regained consciousness." One said. Eight opened his mouth to speak, but One shook her head. "You should not attempt to speak."

Eight shook his head slowly. "No... I recall... pain..."

One sat up straighter. "You need to conserve your strength. You should cease from communicating. You will comply."

"No... I will not comply. I recall hearing a phaser. I recall attempting to adapt. I was fired upon by someone... from behind. I recall...'

Suddenly, One stood up, her eye-implant piece beaming intensely, and reached for a mass of cords keeping Eight alive. Was she attempting to rip them out? Eight reached out his hand, grabbing her arm and stopping her.

"I also recall who shot me... it was YOU, One of Eight!"

An organ played a sharp chord, as the camera zoomed in on Eight's face. Then the scene faded to black.

{{End playback Borg&B_55.ax7}}

For the briefest of moments, less than a second, Te'ellis can be seen furiously trying to turn off the recording computer. The whites of her eyes were greenish, as though she had been crying? It could have simply been a trick of the lighting in the room. It passed too quickly to tell.
“Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli "The Prince"
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