Star Trek: 31 Pickup

Epilogue: Penelope Rush
post campaign survey with Spencer

BOLD is GM questions
Regular font is Player answers

1. Have you had any previous experience roleplaying, if so, what kind and how did it compare to this style? What did you like about skype based roleplay, what was strange about it?

Yes! I’ve played in many tabletops, LARPs and journal RPs. The difference in doing an audio-only Skype RP (compared to tabletop) is always that you can only use your voice to enact your character — so instead of being able to act out body language, you have to describe it. That said, I don’t think it was a noticeable barrier.

2. Tell me about your initial character concepts, how did that change during gameplay? What did you get to explore about your character, and what would you like to have explored more?

The most basic concept for my character was the “hot-shot pilot.” That morphed into me essentially playing female Jim Kirk for awhile, when it came to personality. But as the story grew, and the DM prompted us to think of an important family memory, I wanted to tie that story element to my character’s dark secret (genetic manipulation), and it resulted in me having a much richer character. Plus, it was great to figure out how Penelope talked by simply doing things like arguing with Fierri, or flirting with a giant lizard on the dance floor. I loved exploring her brash and headstrong way of doing things, and I would love liked to explore more of her vulnerabilities. For example, a villain taking advantage of the fact that Penelope does like to run into situations without thinking, guns blazing. That could get her into serious trouble.

3. Where do you see this character going next?

I don’t know why, but I feel like Penelope might have a thing for the Colonel. I think she’s going to stick with him and the crew. :D

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Episode 6
Finale Part Two: Fools Latinum

[MISSION SIX]

“O fleeting joyes
Of Paradise, deare bought with lasting woes!
Did I request thee, Maker, from my Clay
To mould me Man, did I sollicite thee
From darkness to promote me, or here place
In this delicious Garden?”

Paradise Lost

Major Annella Winters screams, wracks of pain resounding off the inner walls at the top of the ivory tower. In her ears, the sound is as if in a tunnel yawning ever wider, growing detached and distant. For a moment, her own sense of self goes with it and she is assaulted by the regrets of countless people.

Her crewmembers look up, temporarily snapped away from whatever had concerned them before.

“Fucking drop it!” Yells Fierri. Penelope is already ahead, smacking the dark gem out of Annella’s hand. It cracks at the pilot’s touch and falls to the floor.

Colonel Nylor Morris makes a move towards the stone, only to be forced back again by his engineer and now would-be physician. He briefly explains that he needs the stone to regain his memories. While he knows what he’s done in the past, he’s forgotten why. Annella’s partial Betazoid traits have given her a much larger insight towards the greater picture regarding the gem. He makes another move towards the stone, but Annella gets it before he does.

This time, she is better prepared to try and interpret the information she’s given. She can feel Morris’ regrets among many other strands in the gem’s ‘memory’. Not only that, though: she also senses the familiar minds of Penelope, Ghatt, and the Nyx symbiont. The gem turns from black to gray, becoming inactive.

While the gathering tries to discuss the information and largely fails to get anything truly discernible from Morris, Penelope tries to take the stone – it fractures into two parts in her hands.

They are shortly after interrupting by a terrible quake, the likes of which none of them had ever felt before. The floor shudders and lurches beneath them as the tower collapses in on itself from the bottom up. All goes dark.

Fierri Nyx is the first to awaken, soon finding she is miraculously unharmed and able to stand. She searches for her teammates, finding Annella first – unharmed – then moving to find Penelope. She and Colonel Morris had been tossed together during the quake, and as she stirrs, she murmurs beneath him.

“If you wanted to get close to me, Colonel, you could have tried the old-fashioned way…” Her attempt to make light of things is cut short when she finds Nylor is not only passed out, but also bleeding. In his back, a small but painful looking shiv of stone been embedded.

Fierri immediately begins to perform medical aid with the use of the emergency kit while her team regains their bearings and examine their surroundings. Fierri is pleased to find that not all of Quorro Nyx’s prowess as a physician has left her, as she manages to stabilize her old CO’s condition. While he’ll live, though, they will not be able to carry him for risk of damaging him. He needs real medical attention soon. Fortunately, the team still has their transporter gun and they choose to shoot Morris back into the relative safety of the Rebel Priscilla.

They then concern themselves more with their surroundings. They are in a system of underground tunnels, it seems, made of the same material which built the tower, if thicker. They wouldn’t be able to see anything in the darkness… if not for the fact a small spotlight has generated itself from the feet of Penelope Rush. The light follows wherever she steps.

As far as explanation goes, Fierri offers that the pilot still has the shards of the stone and challenges her to give them to her. Catching one of the shards in hand, Fierri quickly has to eat her own words as a light fails to join her as well.

“Makes you a moving target anyway,” Grumps the engineer, after which the light does dim a bit around Penelope.

Setting the issue aside for now, the team chooses to take the larger Northern tunnel and soon find themselves in a dome-like room. It seems a very lab-like facility, a collection of alien equipment combined with more familiar. As Fierri explores the room, she finds the language scattered around the room moves from something foreign to something all-too familiar: Trill. It seems the newer residents were attempting to translate some of the alien writing and labeled their own equipment.

Annella begins to examine what looks like a computer console, though it is strange and crystalline. Her initial attempts to operate it end in an overload.

“They are simple machines,” Comes a male voice. Ghatt, the lizard-like humanoid they last saw on Jilhari’s planet, emerges from the darkness of another corridor. Suspicions arise and some begin to touch their phasers, but Ghatt seems disinterested in an altercation just yet.

“You must be more direct in questioning it,” He explains when Annella prompts him.

“What is this?” Penelope inquires. There is a brief processing whirr, and then a hologram projects what they all recognize as a strand of DNA. Penelope is done with questioning it.

They turn their attention back towards Ghatt, interrogating him about his reasons for being there.

“I am here because I knew you would be.” Disconcerting. After being prompted for what he wants, he explains he is there for Isik, the team’s now would-be mascot. They lie, saying the Isik is on the Ferengi ship now. Ghatt is emphatic about getting it back, explaining it is his only friend and that he wishes to keep it safe.

“Sounds like a personal problem,” Fierri offers, sagely.

Frustrated, Ghatt turns away and starts off down the hall. After a swift exchange, Annella confirms that he is telling the truth. Penelope takes off after Ghatt and Annella begins to follow, as the light is retreating. Fierri stays to question the computer.

Simultaneously, the team is gathering information, either from Ghatt or the computer – the former personal, the latter professional.

Fierri’s stubborn questions are answered as best they can be by the technology designed for use by an unknown species of long ago. It hums and chimes as it flits through holographic images of the experiments, Ghatt proving to be one of such recorded cases. The engineer also asks of the lab’s history, questioning the Trill involvement, and discovering a familiar face. Quorro’s once partner, another doctor and researcher of considerable talents.

Meanwhile, an interrogation of the lizardman took place just outside the laboratory exit. Penelope wanted to know what this place was about, but Ghatt declined to answer, hinting that she wouldn’t like for it to be aired for all to hear. Little was gotten out of him, except the Key of Life, or the Key of Miracles, as he called it. Another powerful crystal, a source of energy and a relic left behind by this lost alien race. He could feel it calling him closer. The Key wanted it’s ‘children’.

By now, Fierri’s suspicions were impossible to ignore. She’d seen the way that this place reacted to Penelope. And the Pilot’s hesitation to investigate certain paths of information. She wanted to be sure of her theory… asking the computer to project images of any human experiments, the command was overheard by the pilot outside the doorway.

Penelope called for the computer to stop, and it obeyed her. Leaving Fierri and Annella left to wonder at their young teammate. The moment was broken by Ghatt’s insistence that they press forward. He needed to reach the key, intent to destroy it or use it, even the red lizard did not know. Following a winding, white tunnel became difficult when they reached the area where Ferengi had been breaking the walls and mining for Latinum. Ghatt called the Ferengi ‘Fools’ for their greed. He explained that the Key of Life would give you that which you desired, but it was a false promise in most cases. For your will was bound to be subverted to the Key’s cause.

The team passed a room of individual tanks, lined up along the walls, they were the last evidence of the kind of scientific experimentation that had taken place here. “Of no consequence.” Ghatt grumbled, moving past the empty chambers quickly, and leaving the women to ponder what kind of horror this must have been.

The Key promised many things, cures for illness. Great advances for those who came to it. But what had happened to all the scientists here?

Penelope, Fierri, and Annella all felt that welcoming voice. Telling them things would be fine. There was nothing to worry about. The Major’s empathic abilities boosted suddenly. she could feel, not only emotions, but the very life force of all the members of her team. Even Quorro Nyx, who’s memories were buried under Fierri’s, was more present. He could speak with his sucessor host here. Offering idle scientific commentary as the team approched the room containing the Key.

Annella could feel the hearts of the Ferengi too, waking up from their cave in and also moving towards this room.

“Let me go.” The Major’s hand had stopped Penelope from running directly to the large white crystal. Unlike Ghatt, who stood before it now. Red hand placed on the energy source, there was a bright flash of light. Blinking away the painful brightness, the team saw Ghatt still alive and whole. Holding Isik with care.

“It is a farce, but that does not mean it is any less substantial.”

Penelope’s struggles increased, she wanted to approach the crystal. Able to hear it’s voice and promises. What wouldn’t this power do for it’s own child? Hadn’t it already stretched forth and given aid to her small broken body before.

The pilot shoved Annella away, turning to run, and turning into a face full of Fierri’s fist.

That was enough to shake off the Key’s influence. But more than that, some Ferengi stumbled into the room, eager to chase down dreams of greater fortune. One made it to the Key’s side, briefly decorated with gems and jewels and even as his expression of joy lasted, his form began to fade and desolve into the crystal. Becoming part of it.

Ghatt used this moment to run, taking Isik and bolting while the Key’s attention was fixed on collecting the easier prey of the Ferengi. For once, none of the team questioned this tactic. They all followed the red lizard out of the winding tunnels and back up to the surface of the planet. This thing had to go.

Luckily, the transporter gun was still at hand. Able to send each person back to the Rebel Priscilla in single bursts. Fierri first, who checked on the now conscious Nylor Morris. Updating him briefly on the mission. Then Major Annella, who still had questions for Morris, but agreed that the crystal had to be destroyed, even if it meant sacrificing what was left of the Ferengi company. A decision that did not sit well with the kindly Betazoid, but the safety of her crew and this sector of the galaxy took priority.

Left with just Ghatt, Penelope asked him how he could know so much of this place, and her. He told her the truth. He was brought here as nothing more than an animal. Like Isik, he’d also been genetically engineered and in his case, with the power of the Key, Ghatt had been forced to evolve into a fully sentient being. In his escape, he had accessed many of the records of other subjects, and had come across her files.

Feeling sympathy and a bond with Ghatt, the Pilot transported him up to the ship too.

Now they only had to destroy the planet.

Fortunately, Fierri’s fiddling with the Ferengi ship left them with the perfect device to do this. By hacking into the Accounts Payable navigation, they could direct it down at the place where the white tower once stood. The matter and antimatter mix resulted in a powerful explosion. Eating up the planet’s surface and proving a satisfying backdrop as the Rebel Priscilla warped away.

Their destination was the Federation Planet of New France.

Colonel Morris had offered to turn himself in, and set the record straight to clear the team’s name. Even with his missing memory and motivations, he could account for the actions of Amry and Tash, and their involvement with the Orion Syndicate. An offer that turned out to be unnecessary, for when the team arrived, they were greeted by Captain Lyn Chi Kim, who had been investigating this very case.

He informed Annella that Jilhari had provided a witness statement against Amry and his scheming. With enough proof to follow up on this charge, Captain Kim had uncovered a deeply rooted espionage mission. Amry had helped to frame the team. They were cleared of charges, and pending a pardon for the attempted escape, they would not be taken back into custody. Kim had better thing to do, honestly, as Amry had managed to evade capture and needed to be tracked.

That was the end of their state as fugitives.

Left with a ship full of misfits, and a few crates of ‘fools latinum’, what trouble could they possibly get into next?

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Episode 5
Finale Part One: Burgundy Sands

[MISSION FIVE]

The foul-mouthed Chief Engineer of the Rebel Priscilla had just about enough of the ship’s interfering AI. She was ready to wrest control back from their impromptu computer captor. With a quick nod to her cohort at the helm, fugitive Trill, Fierri Nyx popped the casing of one of the consol’s on the bridge and began her techno fiddling magic.

On route to Regulon, the crew had been given only a cryptic message from their former Colonel as explanation. “Neutralize the planet”

As an order from the presumably great beyond, the directive hadn’t sat well with the current command, one Major Annella Winters. The half Betazoid was in her own quarters at the time of the insurrection. Though she felt it’s effects clearly. Launched out of bed, the Major scrambled to the site of the commotion. Sure as her empathetic abilities would say, her crew was causing trouble out of frustration.

“Your supplies are waiting in the shuttle bay”

Rebel Priscilla’s newfound AI helpfully chimed out while Fierri cussed at the announcement. Not the first time it had been delivered in it’s light but flat voice. The derailment of autopilot had only succeeded in dropping them a stone’s throw away from orbit over planet Regulon. Far enough to take in the sight of it’s dark continents and Saturn like rings of debris.

“Your supplies are waiting in the shuttle bay.”

The planet wasn’t the only thing up on the view screen. Another ship, a Ferengi Merchant’s vessel floated among one of the planet’s rings of debris. Scans indicated that the ship was devoid of personnel and it’s name was the Accounts Payable. Not registered, but known to belong to Tash the Thrifty. The team’s recently spurned paetron. This just got better and better for the three woman fugitive crew.

“Your supplies are waiting in the shuttle bay.”

Young and rambunctious, pilot Penelope Rush was the next one to curse out the AI. Shoving away from her helm and stomping towards the shuttle bay, if only to shut up the computer’s prompts. Fierri was soon to follow, but the Major’s priorities required a brief detour. Underwear and t-shirts didn’t make for the best of mission wear. Usually.

Laid out by an unseen hand, there were three backpacks of survival gear and a large, arm length rifle. The weapon was unusual even to Nyx, who had seen more than her fair share of prototypes in design and out on the field. She picked up the gun curiously and made note of it’s controls, more akin to a transporter’s consol than anything else. Getting the idea of what this new toy might be used for, the engineer turned the gun’s barrel on her friend. “What do you think, Rush?”

“Don’t you dare.”

A challenge issued.

A shot rang out. But instead of blasting a pulse of energy, the beam that came from the gun was a spiral light, widening with length, and slow to move. The pilot dodged the beam, and then pitched herself closer, to clock Fierri with a righteous fist for the attempted experiment. The two teammates continued to circle and fight until Major Annella showed up and summarily snatched the transporter gun away from Fierri.

Teaching them both a lesson, or just joining in on the fun, Annella shot both of her crewmates with the beam, activating the transporting function of the device and shifting them across the shuttle bay to where the cargo transporter pad was located. “That might come in handy.”

But of course, there were more important things to worry about.

Like that empty Ferengi ship, and what potential security measures it might have. Another experiment, this time transporting a simple crate over to the Accounts Payable, and seeing if any alarms were triggered.

The team awaited Priscilla’s scans of the Ferengi vessel with impatience. When they were informed that signs of a new life form were now present, all three stopped to realize that their hard won prize, the time-stopping Ba’ku Ryal, called Isik; was nowhere to be found. As luck would certainly have it, they’d accidentally transported the Isik over to the Ferengi’s ship and now a retrieval operation was necessary.

Being outvoted, and asked to stay behind in case of problems, Lt. Rush would remain on board the Priscilla and monitor the Major and Lt Nyx from afar. The other women were swift to transport over, landing spot on the crate that they’d previously ported. The Ferengi Captain’s quarters was packed with bits and baubles and other things, it might take a little while to locate the tiny rodent.

“It’s like something out of Space Hoarders.”

While Fierri searched, the Major did a little digital snooping of her own. Securing a copy of Tash’s personal logs and sending them to Penelope for review. A quick trip around the ship would not be remiss. Once Nyx found the alien pet, they made way to the Engineering room. A little unnerved by the silence of the empty ship. A vessel capable of only low warp speeds, the Accounts Payable would still make a handy detonation device if it came to that. Or so, that was Fierri’s thinking. Her attempts to rig the ship fell slightly short however, and when the security alarms went off, both the Major and the Engineer hid themselves from the solitary Ferengi grunt sent to investigate. His report was cursory and quick, announcing a false alarm and transporting back down to the surface after a brief look around the ship.

That left Annella and Fierri free to explore at their leisure.

In the meantime, as Lt Rush investigated the Ferengi’s personal logs she came across some entries that implied a partnership between Amry the Orion, Nylor Morris, and Tash himself. With few details, Penelope still reported this new find. What had the Colonel gotten them into?

The Major and Nyx were finding a few interesting things too. Namely, bricks of gold covered Latinum. Enough to ransom a planet, and it was all just sitting here in this unguarded ship. Needless to say, they transported a good supply of those gold bricks back with them. For investigative purposes. Right.

With many more questions than answers, it was time to go down to the surface of Regulon and piece together this mystery. This time, they made sure that Isik was left behind in a secured container.

A desert planet, with deep reddish purple sand, and high, sheer faced mountains. There was only one building standing tall to mar the otherwise natural skyline. A large, white tower. Nearly aglow against the contrast of Regulon’s sand.

The team made their way towards the grand obelisk. Searching for signs of activity and finding only one old, recently abandoned campsite. A shallow cave, with phaser burns and strewn supplies. Some kind of struggle happened here, but the tracks weren’t clear enough to give the full story. Only that one of the party involved had a tail long enough to drag in the sand. This put them in mind of Penelope’s red reptile friend, Ghatt. Could he be here?

All tracks continued towards the tower.

Fifty stories high, the structure was made up of some kind of porous stone-like material. Holes decorated it’s outer walls, enough to see into building. It’s oddly angled floors and spiral stairway up left no clues to who had build this place. At least, no culture that the team knew. While common sense told them that the Ferengi were mining for this Lantinum, and it was likely to be found below the tower, there was a strange pull upward. At least, for Penelope Rush. When she mentioned this curiosity to the Major, the leading Betazoid used her empathetic abilities to scan for more life, and sure enough, Nylor Morris was somewhere up high.

The very top of the tower, as it turned out, and this floor was shrouded in some kind of inky gray light. Giving more an impression of independent shadows. In the center of the floor, Colonel Morris held a black crystal, looking pained and not surprised to find his former team busting in. His wounds were from phaser blasts and his grip on the crystal faltered.

There was not much time for explanations however, as Annella picked up the black gem, a scream tour from her lips.

TO BE CONTINUED

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Episode 4: Interlude
Encrypted Personal Log of Nylor Morris

I guess if you’re listening to this, it means things have gone wrong….

I’m sorry for what happened. You have to believe me when I say, it’s not for nothing. The charges laid against you were a part of a much larger operation underway. Our reputation was sacrificed for the Federation’s need. There is a bigger threat in this sector than the Cardassians, the Romulans, or the Klingons….

Your mission, eliminate the planet Regulon by any means necessary.

Good luck team.

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Episode 4
what breaks the looking glass

MISSION FOUR

“How puzzling all these changes are! I’m never sure what I’m going to be, from one minute to another.”
― Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

A sharp headache prompts the Pilot of the Rebel Priscilla to wake up from an unnatural sleep. Gone are the familiar consoles of the ship’s bridge. Instead, cold stone and darkness of the kind that can only be found deep underground are her companions. Her clothes too. Not a uniform, and not the assembled fashion of a fugitive, but instead, a springball outfit?

The confusion lasts even as the curses from the Chief Engineer are heard in the distance. At least Penelope isn’t alone in this strange abduction. Fierri is sporting a worker’s uniform, something that reflects their location all too accurately. A mining outfit crafted as if from memory. But they are still short one very important team member…

The Major is in a sundress.

Woken up closer to a set of underground train tracks, the winsome music of her music box accompanies her steps until Annella is reunited with her crew (with moments of blind groping). There are no explanations to be found in the darkness of the mining tunnels, but luckily at least one of them knows where to look for a lamp. It’s anyone’s guess as to which way they should go, that is, until a bouncing springball falls into their path and self propels down one end of the tunnel. The only clues of what lay ahead are given by a quick empathic check from the Major. What she feels shocks her, and she is unable to trust her senses. (Her father, Michael Winters, can’t possibly be down those tunnels, can he?)

Even though Major Annella is reluctant, curiosity got the better of the crew and they followed the enigmatic sign deeper in.

Another song soon fills the echoing air of the tunnel, a worker’s song. A trill woman, deep into some task, fiddling with tools, she sings as the team approaches. When Fierri’s voice joins the old, remembered tune, the other woman looks up. It is Asarri Pren. The person that Lt Nyx calls ‘sister’. This sweet reunion is more than a little suspect. When Asarri’s touch chills and saps energy, the phantom woman fades back into memory, but leaving a parting phrase to Fierri behind. “I can take care of myself, but who will look out for you?”

The answer to that question is obvious in the company of her team. But the encounter still leaves the Engineer visibly shaken. They continue on the path of the tracks until they come upon an empty box car, presumably for transporting workers from one location in the mines to another. The team initially walks by this carrier. Intent to travel by their own steam, but the magnetically run mantrip has other plans. It begins to travel after the team, chasing them down in the narrowness of the tunnel. Only Penelope’s quick thinking and quicker jumping into the trolley result in a safe ending. Bringing the box car to a temporary stop, the Major and Fierri can climb aboard.

The moment of safety doesn’t last long. The trolley switches into high speed when all of it’s passengers have settled in. Taking the team into a roller coaster ride, complete with sudden stop. Dumping them out onto the cold ground once more, but this time, they wake up in a grassy garden. Annella’s childhood memories assault her as she recognizes this place. While this is not readily apparent to her crew, they will puzzle out that this is a shared memory.

On the ground nearby lies an old, familiar tool of their trade – a torture device that agonizes but doesn’t kill the victim. As the only one not yet affected by their ordeal, Penelope begins yelling and demanding that the mysterious force show itself to them. Seeing a flash of white, she takes off into the garden. The farther she goes, the more it grows, rising up impossibly around her and making her feel like a lost child.

Her rash running ahead is rewarded with an opening in the garden’s maze. A white, stone patio where there is a young boy reciting equations and doing homework. The boy’s face is familiar to Penelope. Felix Rush. Her brother, but not as she would expect him to be. When Lt Rush demands to know who this imposter is, confronting him with the fact that her twin would also be 21 years old and not 12, as he appears now. The boy only confesses that he was never very good with math, and though he is confined to a wheelchair, his touch is just as cold and draining as the sister Trill’s was.

Fierri and Annella have some catching up to do, in order to find their errant pilot the Major must attempt to use her empathetic abilities once more. Again, at first her sensations are of a familiar mind, this time it is her mother, Liane Winters is in some kind of distress. But this must be another trick of the unknown abductor’s. Annella presses past that and locates Penelope’s mind somewhere among the maze. Following that, there is only a momentary pause when Fierri spots a blinking red light along the ground of one direction. A guide to the exit perhaps? They can’t take it until they find Penelope. So the Major and the Engineer press deeper into the maze, eventually coming upon the white patio and their Pilot.

The strange springball makes another appearance. Prompting them towards the center, while the blinking red light urges them to the outer most edges. The crew decides to follow the red this time, reaching the end of the maze and waking up back in their ship.

But the ordeal is not quite over, as the intruder alert rings through Rebel Priscilla’s decks.

An internal scan of the ship provides information on Trolic waves, an energy associated with space and time distortions. The Major’s odd collection of knowledge offers them a guess as to what species might be behind their dreamlike imprisonment. The Devidians are a race that exists out of sync with standard time. They also feed on neural energy of other sentient lifeforces. Amoral beings, without ties or care, the sport of inflicting fear into it’s victim is a perfect fit for what the crew has experienced so far.

They continue searching the ship until the alien intruder is found. Fierri is the first to spot the true form of the white energy humanoid. It is set on ripping through their cargo supplies, searching for something, but the Engineer doesn’t stop to ask what. She shoots at the Devidian, and as it turns it’s attention to her instead, the Major and Penelope show up as backup.

It takes a lot of phaser fire to defeat the Devidian. Banishing him by blasting him away.

But even after his final moments, the crew is uneasy and not sure if he is truly gone. They return to the main computer on the bridge to perform a second scan of the ship. This time, they meet the final unknown passenger they’ve been carrying all the while. The Rebel Priscilla AI. She informs her crew that there is no longer a threat from any intruders, however when Penelope attempts to lay in a new course, Priscilla relates that their next destination has already been programmed.

They will go to the planet Regulon. Under the orders of the presumably deceased Colonel Nylor Moris.

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Post Episode 3: Interlude
subspace message from Annella

Hello, Amry. I am sure you’re enjoying your stay on New France. We have retrieved the Isik after some minor delay and have no desire to turn it over to our Ferengi contact. Your wife says hello, my friend, and eagerly wishes to see you. As does your sickly son.

No amount of money is worth the situation you placed my crew in, Amry. I wonder if that wasn’t your intention the entire time. With us gone, you are freer than you have ever been and only have to worry about yourself. It is interesting to me that the USS Faraday found us in time for our departure from Draylon when there is only one being with the knowledge of who we are and where we were hiding and that person is you.

My condolences should you not leave planet before your poor choices catch up to you.

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Episode 3
let's raise the bar and our cups to the stars

Previously on Star Trek: 31 Pickup…

Team Rebel Priscilla accepted a mission to retrieve ‘Isik’ from the notorious space pirate, Jilhari. They landed on the planet Draylon, a rusty colored, but tropical place, with ground as tough as stone. The local city, Zenith, was carved out by some long passed away race, and now home to a mix of castoffs from various species. During the course of finding the Isik, which turned out to be the Ferengi’s pet Ba’ku Rhyl, the team also stopped a terrorist plot against the space pirates. Because of this brave action, Jilhari offered the crew of the Rebel Priscilla a trade: the Isik in exchange for Amry’s current location.

And now: ….one solar day later, the team is called back to Jilhari’s palace to give their answer.

Talloc Ral, the right hand Betazoid in the space pirate gang, was sent to escort team Rebel Priscilla to the palace. He seemed reluctant however, and took them on a circuitous route through the back alleys of the city. A maze like configuration of buildings that was easy to become lost in (or just as easily used to lose an unwanted shadow?).

When they arrived to give Jilhari her answer, Talloc seemed uncomfortable with the obsessive nature that the pirate Queen portrayed. The team agreed to give up Amry for the Isik. They wanted to know why he was so important to Jilhari though, and her answer was that Amry was her missing husband.

Yeah, that’s right. Husband.

Upon gaining the information of where Amry was going to be, she then attempted to hire the team as additional resources in her mission to reclaim him.

The Major turned down Jilhari’s job offer, but that only triggered the wrathful Orion into a rage. She pulled her phaser out at the Major and lashed out at Talloc when he attempted to telepathically subdue her. The Major was more successful with her empathetic influence, but even that wasn’t enough to quell Jilhari’s primal anger for long. The quick reactions of pilot Penelope Rush proved handy in shooting the pirate’s phaser from her hand. And the intervention of Dejar slowed Jilhari down long enough for the women to escape. Unfortunately, the angry Orion’s reach extended down into all of her gray skinned kin.

The minds of the gray Orion’s were overpowered by Jilhari’s influence and they became unthinking tools chasing team Rebel Priscilla through the winding back streets of Zenith. Even those that had been friendly before (Seb) were suddenly slaves to the whims of their presumed protector. With orders to go after Priscilla’s crew.

But the crew was not so easy to beat. They made it to their ship and blasted off without injury, and with their original prize, the Isik. (tossed to them by Dejar, back in the palace, and baring one brief misplacement in the streets)

Out of the atmosphere and into the fire… or the weapons fire of the USS Faraday.

Priscilla’s shields took a few hits as the large Federation starship attempted to knock them out and reel them in. Having tracked the team down (from the security footage of the USS Mikhail Kornienko), Captain Lyn Chi Kim faced his errant prisoners and commanded them to surrender. But the industrious engineer, Fierri Nyx, worked her technological magics and improved their own weapons enough to allow for a direct hit to the Faraday’s tractor beam. Which allowed them a window to warp!

Major Annella’s parting words to Captain Kim were polite but firm. They were innocent. They would never surrender. Of course.

Through some quick managing of the ship’s resources, Major Annella, Penelope, and Fierri warped their way past Draylon and away from the Faraday. Fast as she was, the Rebel Priscilla’s warp stability could only hold for so long however, the team emerged somewhere in the Argolis Cluster.

Finally they have a moment to recoup from the action.

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Post Episode 2: Interlude (part 2)
Fierri and Dejar

After filling up her own fuel tank, Fierri’s first concern is for the Rebel Priscilla. Armed with the phaser that Penelope tossed her, she makes her way through Zenith and out into the rocky terrain where they last left the ship lying. Considering the atmosphere, the journey may be slow-going even if the sun may have passed. For a brief time, she has the communicator to distract her.

Assuming no one gets in her way, she’ll be doing a security check to make sure no one is skulking around or has tried to break in since their departure. After that, she plans on leaving her newly acquired spare part in the ship and fetching a flashlight (or the future version thereof) to check out the damage on her ship once again, this time to try determining how long she’ll be up putting in the repairs. The Major gave them eight hours of ‘free’ time before they were to meet up inside – she’d kind of like to sneak some sleep in there if she can.

The nights on Draylon are as cold as the days are hot. Not really the preferred temperature for Cardassians in general, but at least the bright sunlight has long since passed and that leaves Dejar willing to wander. She is waiting for the crew to return. Not exactly skulking in the shadows, since her height and width are difficult to miss, but lingering more in the shadows than not.

The head of Jilhari’s security grunts a greeting and tosses a heavy bag at the short engineer. It’s full of weapons. Not exactly the phasers that were checked in at the gate earlier, but a comparable replacement, as a gesture.

Hard to sneak around when you’re a big bitch like that. When Fierri first sees her, a hand touches her phaser before first, she realizes what and who it is, and second, she decides Jilhari’s bouncer probably isn’t here to kill her. Not her style, Fierri thinks, not after seeing the space pirate run that Benarbastard through in front of everyone. She clearly doesn’t mind an audience – hell, maybe she enjoys putting on a show. In any case, she had both.

Makes her wonder.

The Trill’s hand snaps up from her phaser to catch the bundle instead. She doesn’t open it, but gets a feel for its contents in the dark. Ranged weapons usually end up having the same shape no matter who makes them. Fierri doesn’t say thanks, she says:

“I’ve never met a Cardassian before. The headgear kind of reminds me of Klingons.” I fucking hate Klingons. A slight tilt of her head. “I’ve heard they’re pretty clever, though. Good conversationalists.”

They must have broke the mold when they made you, big girl. Or did they?

The expression is mirrored at the mention of Klingons, the last war the Cardassian Union fought was against the infamously crainial ridged species. But it’s another long moment before Dejar acknowledges verbally. “You might have heard that we’re civilized too.” One of those rumors was more or less truthful. Most Cardassian’s did have a way with turning a phrase. They considered intelligence a primary priority in raising their young.

“That doesn’t count for much here.”

And Dejar didn’t seem to have a problem with that.

In spite of her generally stoic personality, there is a brief flash of curiosity when she glanced over to the hull of the Rebel Priscilla. Assessing the damage, and more than likely, trying to figure out if it was equipped with offensive measures. (yes, but not obviously so)

You checking out her girl, Cardassian?

“Pretty impressive spread for a bunch of barbarians.” And not a fighting pit in sight, unless you wanted to count some of the more frantic types of dancing. She didn’t. “As feudalism goes, you could probably do worse.”

Dejar doesn’t argue with that assessment of Jilhari at least. The loyalty is a forceful thing, probably the same could been seen between the relationships of the Major and her girls.

“She’s a good boss.” But not a perfect one, the Cardassian hesitates slightly as if thinking, and overthinking what should be said.

“Better than working for Tash.”

“Tash had a job for us to do,” Fierri reveals, honest and unconcerned. She doesn’t shrug, but it’s in her tone. Her crew? They’re mercenaries now, for better or worse. They go where the money lies, where that offer is sweetest. They’re in the market, perhaps, to be convinced.

“Listen, I need to start up some repairs, and I’m gonna crank her on for a bit. You wanna stick around and pick up some heat, you’re welcome to it.”

That said, Fierri heads up into the ship. Assuming she doesn’t have an uninvited follower, she’ll essentially be putting her ship in park, letting it somewhat quietly purr away until she comes out with her equipment. If Dejar’s still around, Fierri will indeed gesture for the Cardassian to join her. The Trill seems much more at ease with her equipment box, even if she’s now got a phaser strapped to her waist.

The idea seems to tempt Dejar inwardly, a silent hulking shadow that fills up quite a bit of the Rebel Priscilla’s limited space. No stranger to tinkering, it seems, Dejar offers an extra pair of hands to pass tools and hold equipment like a lost packmule. The silence seems comfortable for a while. Until the Cardassian once again breaks it.

“Do you know what Vulcans and Orions have in common?” It isn’t the start of a bad joke. Though it could be.

“They don’t run on iron blood.” Unlike the majority of humanoids.

After dropping this bit of general observation, Dejar stands and begins to head out of the ship. Leaving one last parting comment. “We’re going to find him.”

No matter what, was the implication.

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Post Episode 2: Interlude (part 1)
Team Chat

Fierri, after taking her fill of delicious spicy food and whatever jungle juice the party procured, decides her first priority is to return to the Rebel Priscilla and perform repairs on the ship with the spare part she conveniently found in Benaren’s shop.

Speaking of:

“Hey girls, I don’t know about you, but I think I’ll sleep better on my own damn ship. I mean sure, I bet Jilhari doesn’t have a thread count under 300 but…” A soft, deep chuckle, almost a cluck from the back of the throat, “I’m not used to comfortable.”

I don’t trust it, and I’m sure as hell not going to start now.

“Thinking about checking out B-fuckhim’s shuttle on my way out. Waste not want not, right?”


Penelope, after eating a low amount of spicy food (because she loves it, but boy are peppers too spicy even for her adventure-seeking mouth), will go off looking for servants, villagers, really any handsome young men she thinks might tell her more about their resident space pirate and buy her some food in exchange for her company.

Whether or not she returns to the ship for sleeping that night depends on whether or not she’s found a more … um … cuddly place to sleep instead. Yeah, let’s go with “cuddly.”

“Ladies, don’t wait up. I’ll be coming back … uh … late.”

Tomorrow morning counts as late tonight, right? Why wouldn’t it?


“Try not to get into more of a mess than I can fix, Rush, yeah?” Fierri is technically the field medic, but you’d be better off trusting her with engine patchwork. “Some fires can be put out. Some burning sensations are for life.”

You can hear the lazy curl of lip, the almost wolfish flash of teeth, in her tone.


Penelope laughs and you can hear her throwing her head back just a smudge, from the other end of the communicator.

“You know me Nyx. I only pick the planes with the highest thrust.” She lets the thhhhh sound drag between her tongue and her teeth, before ending the worst with a clean and crisp sst.


You’re gross, Penelope. Nyx grunts a laugh anyway.

“Yeah, alright, but evidently you’ve also got a landing skill liable to kill us all—”

“— killer landing skill —” Penelope interjects.

“You pull that shit again, you’d better kill us—” Fierri’s tone takes on a bit more teeth. It’s hard to tell whether or not she means it.

“Engineering makes a nice shock absorber for the bridge you know. Since it’s on the lower level.”

“And good luck to you when it comes around to getting off the ground again, bitch.” Cheerfully, though. “Major, are you just waiting for an invitation or…?”

Are we good to go here?

Moments like this? Make Annella regret every life choice she has ever made. Every single choice. Headache the size of the Milky Way, that’s what she’s got and a frustrating puzzle with no good answers.

“I want you both back on the ship in eight hours.” Alone, Rush. Don’t bring back the leftovers.

“Got it. Over and out.”

“Aye aye, Captain.”

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Episode 2
More often than not, it's hotter than hot.

MISSION TWO

After decoding the encrypted message from their Orion contact within the Federation, Amry, the Rebel Priscilla turns her sights on the planet Draylon, home of the notorious space pirate, Jilhari. The crew of now-mercenaries are tasked with retrieving Isik, a thing unknown to them due to data corruption within the mission file, for Ferengi merchant Tash the Thrifty.

From there, our mission begins with a bang…

The bang of Rebel Priscilla’s hull against the dense terrain of the planet. Perhaps it was a fault in the Harmony-class ship, something ‘special’ that its cock-sure pilot hadn’t quite gotten used to dealing with. Perhaps the aforementioned pilot was simply being cock-sure, despite the physical lack of the aforementioned appendage. In any case, no one stays seated. Fortunately, everyone seems to have survived.

A fact which Chief Engineer Nyx celebrates by surging out of the depths and slapping Helmsman Rush across the face. Not one to take a hit lying down, Penelope throws herself into a squabble with Fierri, leaving Major Annella Winters to do some quick damage control of her own. Using her considerable empathic powers granted to her by her Betazoid lineage, she is successfully able to quell the bickering women and focus them back on the task at hand. The door to the ship is opened after confirming the atmosphere suitable for breathing and Annella and Penelope peer out.

The environment is hot, humid, and rocky. Spires in the distance indicate civilization, carved from the natural rocks rather than built between. In the distance, an ivory tower acts as both beacon and sentinel. Zenith. Mixed cultures make their way through the streets – they seem strangely despondent.

There is one man who looks over the crowd, smiling widely. As they make their way through the oppressive heat, the group tries to avoid him, but he has already been attracted by the pilot and the engineer’s continued, if softer, contention one another. He approaches and introduces himself as Benaren. Annella attempts to discern his intentions with her empathy, but she has either been fatigued by the journey or he is of a race that can block her probing.

They talk and Benaren is a total skeeve, as silently (and maybe a bit verbally) agreed by all. Still, he does seem to be well-traveled and knowledgeable enough of their surroundings. As it happens, the team has landed on the eve of a celebration that Jilhari is throwing… well, perhaps not so surprising. She is an Orion. The women make some noise about wanting to join the party, and Benaren ushers them towards his ship, offering them goods and a change of clothes (what’s wrong with our clothes???) supposedly in order to secure himself a lovely entourage. Annella is surprised to find a relic from her colony, a music box. Fierri spies just the part she needs to make a fix to their ship. Penelope procures a springball, after dumping aside a nice sweater.

They change into desert robes, and no sooner than that, hear a gong in the distance – the festivities have begun. Fortunately, all have forgotten the initial idea involving green paint somewhere along the line.

Joining Benaren up to the ivory palace, the crew encounters a small opposition from a Cardassian guard. Annella gives her weapon freely, Fierri tries and fails to smuggle hers in, and Penelope succeeds in hiding hers in the midsts of that distraction. Once inside, the women observe a lavish affair: a buffet and a wide array of party-goers intermingling. Among them are grey Orions, which Annella informs the crew to be of a significantly lesser rank among their kind, especially those that are green. Strangely, that pariah status does not seem to be in effect in Jilhari’s palace. Among them, the Major also notices the presence of another Betazoid, one which seems to be directing the servants of the palace.

They totally need more info, so the group takes three different strategies to try and get it. Penelope hip-hop dances her way into someone’s good graces. Fierri drinks (great ‘strategy’, girl). Annella looks for the other Betazoid.

Hip-hop dancing leads to a strange encounter with Ghatt, a large reptilian dude who seems to walk on the wild side. Ghatt leads Penelope out to the courtyard (followed by Firerri) and ambushes two grey Orion guards- drawing Lt Rush and Lt Nyx into his covert agenda. Eventually, the Major meets up with her missing crew, and the group spys upon a young Orion boy also in the courtyard. When Ghatt tries to leap at the boy (attempting to steal the Isik) the child reacts fearfully and time stops.

The boy and the Ba’ku Rhyl (named Isik) run off back towards the Palace and the Major chases after them while Fierri and Penelope strong arm some answers out of Ghatt.

He explains that the mission to reclaim the Isik is important and time sensitive, because the palace is going to blow up! Working for Benaren, or with him, this is just a shade unclear, but one this is for certain; This disturbing news prompts the duo to reunite with their Major and they let Ghatt go.

Back in the Palace, Annella and the child, Artros, have reached a place of relative safety (and in the protection of the Cardassian Head Guard, Dejar) There is little risk to them. The same can’t be said of the crowd of party goers and the Space Pirate Jilhari herself. Who has begun to accept gifts.

While Fierri and Penelope make their way through the main hall, they spot Benaren among the line of gift givers and they debate whether the safety of ‘innocent’ people is worth risking their own life at Jilhari’s hands. Coming to the conclusion that they cannot just let these people die, Rush and Nyx intervene and call Benaren out as the terrorist he is. They also inform the Major that Artros’ mother is looking for him and she returns with the child.

The price for Benaren’s efforts is swift justice, in the form of Jilhari’s sword.

Curious, and a little suspicious about these strangers, the space pirate queen questions Major Winters. She knows that they are working for Tash based on their purpose for being in Zenith, she also suspects that they are more than they seem. (So how exactly does Jilhari know the team??) The Pirate poses an ultimatum to the crew. Give her information that will lead to capture of Amry and they can take Isik as trade.

They have one solar day to decide.

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