Thursday, October 4, 2012

Information and Death

Kate was not going quietly. She was struggling, while Lia lay limply in another officer's arms.

The Dantari had placed the group under arrest and transported them to their ship for questioning: Kate, Jon and Lia McFerren, and their strange, unexpected guest, who went by the nickname "Sweetie".

More questions arose afterward - not exactly questions the Dantari might have asked, given the circumstances. The lead Dantari officer scratched his long, pale snout, eyes hidden by a pair of goggles of some sort, going over the sensor scans of the group. Kate McFerren had had a dubious substance in her system, in dubious amounts, a too-obvious result of prolonged ingestion, when the Dantari Regional Authority intercepted their shuttle, beyond the edge of Federation space. Yet that didn't match the scans, now. Her system was clean: No trace of illegal substances. And the youngest of the human trio exhibited peculiar signs of stress, indicating a telepathic connection.

A raspy sigh escaped the Dantari patrol commander, as he was not sure what to charge them for, now, following their arrest. The short obese blond human was not human at all, according to the scans. She had been whisked off to the Dantari infirmary, with Lia, the former with signs of low blood sugar.

The Dantari officer faced Kate and Jon, and said, "Explain what happened, and why you are in this area."

"We are moving house." Jon, the male spoke. "We rented seats on an automated shuttle to Amethyst where we have property."

"This isn't the Federation. Amethyst is expensive," growled the Dantari officer. He slowly began to move the talkative Jon away from his wife.

"Our daughter makes a very good legitimate living in different types of holographics," Jon returned almost thoughtlessly.

"And the woman with you named "Sweetie"?" the officer asked with careful neutrality.

"Don't know where she blew in. She just turned up. I was hung over and rather busy pukin'. Didn't notice her until Lia was fixin' the toilet." Jon circled his left ear with an index finger.

"And if I asked your wife what would she say?"

"Not sure, but she didn't like her though. I know that much." Jon grimaced as his sour stomach turned.

"What made you think Kate disliked Sweetie?" The Dantari's nose twitched.

"Kate didn't like her all up in Lia's business. She even got near the toilet to back the weirdo off. Kate got all up in Sweetie's business, got any closer well... A cat fight might have started."

"What do you know about Lia's condition?" The officer suddenly switched gears.

"She needs to see her tutor. Her name's t'Ran."

++++++

t'Ran did not want to be married. Now she was not. Now she was free. She glanced at the dead body of her husband, bond to her in childhood, and a freezing smile slipped across her features. Her clothes were returned to their rightful place, on her body.

A burn phaser that she bought on the black market came into its one designated use now, destroying her husband's mortal remains. She then slid into that deep, deep corner of her mind that was so beautiful. Lia.

Lia was not conscious. Nor was she on the shuttlecraft. She was in a sickbay of some kind. She had withdrawn into deep trance, cradling secrets. Gently, t'Ran probed the mind.

(*)Up front, a proximity sensor had sounded an alarm. A male voice followed, on the com-system: "Shuttlecraft, name of Slagg. This is the Dantari Regional Authority. You are harboring a wanted fugitive. Cease your propulsion and prepare to be boarded."(*)

How the fire of the pit did Lia end up with a fugitive in a shuttle chased by the Dantari of all races? Her parents were stupid but she didn't give them that much...

(*)Lia took a furtive look and pulled a fast one. She sent a tiny gifgram to the other ship warning that she was under direct threat and was increasing speed to another warp, please assist - Lia McFerren.(*)

That was a neat trick, complemented tutor to tutee.

t'Ran created an electrical fire in one of the antique fans to burn any evidence she left behind. It was a slow starter. She calmly and evenly strode to her ship, taking off leisurely. As she left the system, she saw the little hotel explode and felt a surge of excitement.

She used the guidance system within her mind to send her where she needed to go.

&&&&&&&&&&&&

Family McFerren
&
Dantari police officers

-- "Crafty" (Sandy) (with partial intro by Todd)

Bio: Lia McFerren

Lia McFerren is a holographics specialist who worked in the civilian sector with a dark past.  She's famed for developing the gifgrapic and the gifgram to prevent sentients from being used wrongly.  Gifgraphics don't have sentience.

Her mother Kate McFerren is a NASTY piece of work who doesn't realize she's the reason for the development of the gifgraphic.  After seeing her mother abuse a public non-sentient hologram, eight-year-old Lia created the gifgraphic, and gifgram.

The gifgram was activated by a user.  It gave women tiny seeds that they could hide in pens, pendants, or other jewelery that would instantly activate their favored look.  Many women had over three hundred seeds.  It also creates great 3D 'wallpaper' to liven up less than glamorous quarters, or in a pinch, send a fast note if you know how.

Gifgraphics are more expensive as they are interactive like holograms.  They do not have the versatility or adaptability of sentient or even semi-sentient holograms.  If their maker is an artist, they can be stunningly beautiful.  Many are created as aquariums.

Lia, being raised in a drug den, surprisingly avoided a drug habit and a criminal record.  There have been other dark happenings that she had not been able to avoid, they came with the name T'Ran.

Kate McFerren is Lia McFerren's mother.  She is a recreational drug user and exploits her lucrative daughter for economic gain.

Jon McFerren is the husband of Kate McFerren and father to Lia.  He enjoys women, drugs, and drink.

T'Ran is Vulcan.  She is a Vulcan free of morals who shared minds with Lia sixteen years ago, melding with the girl up until she was sixteen.  Her Vulcan husband doesn't know about Lia because they do not speak
and had yet to meet for Pon Farr.

T'Ran is a Vulcan, Lia, Kate, and Jon are humans from the world Yalbo.  Yalbo is in the middle of nowhere.  A little mud colored world with a hidden druggy mess under the crust.

Bio: Kelen Estus

Kelen Estus
Cyberian Coordinator at Delta Base


Born as a Betazoid, he became a Cyberian at age 34.  He joined Delta Base about 4 years prior to the present and helped to develop the semi-sentient main computer systems used on the base itself and vessels constructed there. He has now been assigned as a coordinator in charge of investigating diplomatic ties with the now somewhat more stable Federation.

Background on Delta Base
During the Humanist conflict and the associated instability in the Federation many Cyberians left the Federation in hope of a more stable and forward thinking group to belong to. They procured the plans to many technological prototypes and constructed the self-sufficient Delta Base.

Delta Base is capable of building ships and has designed a simple vessel called the Delta-class inspired by Borg designs but with a greater aesthetic sense. This design takes the shape of an ellipsoid about 200m long and 60m in diameter.

The offensive systems are limited but include quantum and photon torpedoes as well as quantum phasers (treknology.org). Defensive systems use a cybernetic hull-skin that can regenerate through the use of nanites and biological processes. In addition the vessel has multiple redundant regenerative shield grids. This allows individual segments of the grid to be taken offline and retuned without compromising defensive abilities.

The sensors use the advanced cloak penetration sensors debuted on Quantum-class ships as well as the advanced astrometrics that first appeared on the Intrepid-class. Finally the Delta-class makes use of QFF sensors for improved sensor capability while at high-warp (treknology.org).

The QFF sensors are necessary since the Delta-class uses multi-field warp drive to achieve very fast warp speeds without access to quantum slipsteam technology.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Not So Magic Carpet Ride

Arcadia: "The Not So Magic Carpet Ride":

[Somewhere beyond the edge of Federation space...]

The shuttlecraft was a box that sat on two warp nacelles.  Inside the box was seating and stuffed in the back was a chemical toilet currently under assault by a man who had enjoyed himself far too much that evening.  The abuser went by the name of Jon McFerren.

Loudly complaining and slamming the thin wall of the toilet's cubicle was Jon McFerren's wife.  Kate McFerren ravaged her purse, banged the cubicle, screamed at both Jon for his drunkenness and sickness, and at her daughter Lia McFerren.  "Where is my CANDY!"

"If by candy you mean certain pharmaceuticals, they didn't make it here with us.  They are now molecules in space."  Lia McFerren looked up expressionless from her padd.  "I do not wish us to end up in a labor camp."

"The Soberalls?"  Kate gave her daughter the filthiest stink-eye she could muster.

"Soberalls are illegal on 4,546 planets outside the Federation.  We are moving outside the Federation.  Should we cross the territory of one of those planets we could be in danger of falling foul of the law.  So in the name of caution, Jon will have to deal with his hangover in twentieth century fashion."

"Um... 'scuse me..." A plump blond female appeared from an aft section. "You have candy? Would you... um... maybe... that is... Could you possibly share?" She paused. Getting no immediate response, she rambled on: "I have a... a real weakness for sweets. They even call me Sweetie, I love 'em so much. And I have SUCH a sugar craving. I would really like some." She hesitated, then repeated herself. "I would really... REALLY... like some." Her chin tilted downward; a strange look entered her eyes, though she appeared nonthreatening.

"I am sorry."  Lia had a Vulcan tone and no expression.  "There is no 'candy' if I am understanding you correctly, among us.  Nor do we have anything sweet that is edible, although I can assist you with the replicator if you wish it.  It is primitive and has few built-in recipes."

"Silly twit!"  Kate sniffed as Jon exited the bathroom cubicle.

"Give Lia five minutes and she'll make that replicator spitting out five stars.  Don't help us any."  Jon stared at the little blond newcomer rather longer than was polite.

Lia wanted to meditate as she had one hell of a headache, but this stranger seemed a little too Bo Peepish to her.

"Lia, you might want to fix the bathroom."  Jon grinned.

Lia blushed but got up.  She was a pretty fair shade tree mechanic as well as a wizard with holograms and her own invention, the gifgram.  She needed to be, as her parents left a lot of wrecked machinery through her childhood.

"But you said..." The blond gal sighed, deflated, turned away from Kate McFerren, then perked at Lia's suggestion. "Replicated." She wrinkled her nose with another sigh. She cocked her head, backing away from the bathroom, toward Lia. Abruptly she turned and stepped closer to the girl. "Are they are your parents?" she said in a low voice. "They smell funny."

"Yes I...”  Lia spoke as she pushed several buttons and waved a wand at the toilet.  It looked a bit like Starfleet issue had a baby with Klingon and Romulan issue with a touch of Borg.

"Why the hell you all nosy and all?"  Kate was suddenly touching the blond’s shoulder.  "Get away from her right now you..."  Kate was cut off by a happy chime from the toilet.  "Who are you?"  Kate snapped aggressively.

"Aggression is not an ideal approach to problems!"  Nina raised her voice a bit.  She looked worried, her first emotion.  "Sit down Kate!  Please!"

Kate moved closer, touching the other blond breast to breast, her heels giving her the height advantage.

Sweetie seemed unfazed, until, at Kate's proximity, the strange light re-entered her eyes. She put her head forward, sniffed Kate, then jerked back. "Ohhh... that candy." She reached up and touched the older woman's face with her fingertips, applying pressure. "She's right, you know."  Yanking her hand away and stepping back, she jerked her head in Lia's direction. "Dantari operate in these parts. They have a big problem with drugs. A big big problem. They..." She gave an apologetic smile and a head shake. "They don't treat you well, if they find out you got 'em. And my name, honey, is Spice. But my friends call me Sweetie. Can we be friends?" Noticing how Jon was looking at her, she smiled even wider at him.

"I'm open to friendship, although I'd take care with my parents.  They are not proper,"  Lia said.

The older couple looked at each other, then at Lia, then started laughing like hyenas.  The laughter was peppered with comments unfit for decorative ears and some just rancid.  "You birthed a Vulcan!" Jon gasped.

"She's a little moneymaker, or I would have dumpstered her years ago."  Kate chortled.  “Those gifgrams are worth trillions!"

"SHUT UP!  How the hell do you know there's not a cop on board?"  Past her tether, with a throbbing headache, Lia lost her temper.

"Cop on this sack of road apples?" Jon asked.  "You are not only Vulcan but you are paranoid."

"Being paranoid doesn't mean someone isn't out to get you," Lia shot back.  "And you two are as discreet as a Klingon opera."

"Klingons are disgusting,"  Kate snapped.

Turning to Sweetie, Lia said, "I'll be eighteen on Earth date April 4th.  Then I can 'play' on my own."

"Don't think about it," Kate snarled.

Their guest watched this go on back and forth, and from the look on her face, realized she had ended up on the wrong shuttle. While the two laughed, she patted Lia reassuringly. "Now now, sweetie. It's okay," she whispered, in an attempt to calm her. At Kate's burst, Sweetie raised her eyebrows. "Oh. Okay." So that's how it was. Over her shoulder she said to Lia, "Want me to... uh..." She stopped. "No... no... Sorry. Better not." Her fingers were twitching, flexing. To Kate, who obviously wore the pants, she said in a direct tone, "Now. Be nice."

Nina began a light trance.  It was a bit of a risk with her volatile parents there; they could get physical.

Kate glanced at her daughter, then at Jon, who made ear points with his fingers and crossed his eyes.  Kate rolled hers.  She then turned toward new prey.  "You look like you got two personalities in your head," Kate suddenly said perceptively.  "You mental?"

Noting Lia's shift in focus, the plump blond woman took a sudden, silent step to Kate, putting both hands on her face.... and Kate found herself unable to move or speak. She was staring into her own face... her own face, staring back at her. And she was immobilized. "Are YOU mental?" she heard herself asking again, in response to her question, in a voice that was hers yet not hers. "That sweet young thing is your child, sister. You should be ashamed." The new Kate eyed Jon. "How about you, sugar?"

Kate's hand clawed out at the other woman in basic instinct and Jon joined in the pounce.  Kate put in a solid upper-cut with a grab of the hair while Jon went for the kneecap.  Kate and Jon were good at mugging and dirty fighting, and this was going to be a beaut.

Up front, a proximity sensor had sounded an alarm. A male voice followed, on the com-system:

"Shuttlecraft, name of Slagg. This is the Dantari Regional Authority. You are harboring a wanted fugitive. Cease your propulsion and prepare to be boarded."

 In a panic, the one known as Sweetie busted loose. "Dantari!" she exclaimed and rushed to Lia, leaving Kate and Jon on the floor. "Lia! Wake up! Make this thing go faster!" She was still in the form of Kate, identical right down to the clothes. She essentially could have been Lia's mother to Lia's viewpoint, if Lia didn't hear the altercation through her trance.

Lia came out of her trance but still in pain.  She went to the pilot's section, and popped off the hatch below the controls where Sweetie couldn't see her easily.  "Found it, if this works..."

Lia took a furtive look at the communicating ship and noted they were legit, and pulled a fast one.  She sent a tiny gifgram to the other ship warning that she was under direct threat and was increasing speed to another warp, please assist -  Lia McFerren.  Sweetie felt the jump, as did the other passengers on the ship, and Lia's padd jumped.  Gifgrams were like holograms but much smaller and tighter.  They were all the rage in the civilian sector.  Lia hoped the cop knew what she did.

The second Kate McFerren moaned and climbed off the floor, rubbing her head, mumbling.  "I need a doughnut."

Lia looked at her with one eye dilated more than the other. "Twigaaa?"  She had cracked her head on the dash hard.

The second Kate/Sweetie looked from Lia to Kate and Jon behind her, back to Lia, and fretted. "Oh dear. Oh dear." Kate number two faded in a mirage into - for just an instant - a hideous, hairy creature with an O-shaped mouth, then the heavy-set blond woman as before. Kneading her forehead with both hands, she grumbled. "Hard to think… If only I had some candy..."

A uniformed body standing before her gave her pause. She blinked at a fearsome alien visage, barely humanoid in appearance: A Dantari enforcement officer.

Others had appeared throughout the shuttle interior. The one nearest Lia promptly ordered her to "Cut your engines. You're under arrest."

Lia did not move.  "Sorall!  No, T'Ran sector isn't."

"Stop your babbling and fix the freaking ship you twit!  You've been off your nut all week," Kate snapped.

"Rlllan.." Lia helpfully replied.

"I dunno Kate, maybe we should talk to T'Ran.  She's flipped her warp drive."  Jon worried.


&&&&&

Todd Smutz: “Sweetie”; Dantari enforcement officers

Sandy Frazier: Kate, Jon, and Lia McFerren