Author Topic: Welcome to the Jungle (Jada & Solluk)  (Read 330 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Jada

  • Second Officers
  • Competent Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 479
  • Awarded to any player who stuck with the site during the June 2017 Site Move Awarded to players who have been with the fleet for six months. Awarded to any player who writes the Post of the Month. Awarded to players who successfully complete the EPC or OTC.
    • View Profile
    • Awards
Welcome to the Jungle (Jada & Solluk)
« on: June 29, 2017, 08:11:03 AM »
Holodeck

After leaving the Mess, Jada had trekked through the Tempest's corridors, lost in thought about the debate with Servoc. Not his proposal, no, she'd almost forgotten that already. But the talk itself, although confusing and interminable, had kind of distracted her from her fears of the Outer Dark. Like any good fight, it had invigorated her, but without the exhaustion and bruises that usually accompanied sparring. So now she needed something to do.

In fact, Jada realised with a clearer head, fearing going deep into the Outer Dark was more about fearing going too far from home. Orions had always been tribal and family-oriented, linked to their planets, stars, and space-routes with bonds they no longer had beliefs to explain but were no less unbreakable. Bonds of blood and time that crossed any distance in space. Jada was a part of her land, and it was a part of her. She wanted to see her home again, with a yearning that thrummed deep in her blood. But the gisjacheh war had robbed her of that chance, robbed her clan of their ancestral land of 18,000 years. Repossession and hostile takeover were pretty words for conquest and theft. One day, she would return, she'd sworn. Her clan were safe on Holcomb's World, but it was not home yet, not yet. But today, on the far side of galactic black hole, Thirat and the Nozama ancestral lands seemed further away than ever before.

She went to a holodeck, finding it open and free. She stopped in the arch, where she questioned the computer. 'Computer. Has program Jada Nozama slash Personal slash Thirat slash Nozama'kar finished rendering yet?'

'Program rendering is 92% completed.'

'Is that enough to interpolate and run?'

'Affirmative.'

'I'll take it.'

'Please restate request.'

'Run it. And put me somewhere at random.'

The doors slid open, revealing dense green jungle, with sturdy high-gravity-adapted trees whose thick branches drooped back down toward the ground, dangling overhead or even rejoining the soil. The forest floor was a bed of old leaves and twigs over a damp mulch where weird insects scuttled and snakes slithered. But between these points was the undergrowth, bushes, flowering plants, creeping vines, and fly-catchers, all a violent riot of colours.

Jada stepped through the arch and into a wall of humidity, sweltering heat, and high gravity 70% stronger than Earth's. These conditions were not just oppressive but utterly crushing to all dared live under them. After so long in the light, cool, and dry world of Starfleet, it came as a shock, but a welcome one. Her body rose to the challenge of just existing here.

And absolutely everything here could kill her.

'Safeties are on, right?' Jada asked, beginning to strip off her uniform, because there was no way it could be beared in these conditions.

'Affirmative.'

'I don't know why they aren't hardwired.' she muttered.
EPC Instructor  (Tempest Personnel File)

Offline Solluk

  • Competent Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 475
  • Life is not endurable without a sense of humor.
  • Awarded to any player who stuck with the site during the June 2017 Site Move Awarded to players who have been with the fleet for six months. Awarded to any player who donates money to help keep SF running Awarded to players who successfully complete the EPC or OTC.
    • View Profile
    • Email
    • Awards
Re: Welcome to the Jungle (Jada & Solluk)
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2017, 10:08:42 AM »
[Holodeck]

When Solluk's shift was finally concluded, he made a computer inquiry about Jada's current location. Ironically enough, she was exactly where it was most convenient for his purposes: In one of the Holodecks.

Making his way there, he paused outside of the room, wondering if it would be impolitic to enter uninvited. He had found that their growing friendship allowed a certain level of protocol breaches and informality, but was never sure exactly how far that went. He could use the intercom, of course, or the traditional com network, but that might serve to breach the immersion of whatever program she was enjoying. In the end, he decided that if the holodeck was unlocked, then she wasn't doing anything that might be embarrassing.

Opening the Holodeck door, he stepped into a hot, humid, heavy wilderness. It took him a moment to get used to his new weight. The gravity here was heavier than on the rest of the ship, but not unlike the gravity on his own homeworld of Vulcan. He took five minutes to grow accustomed to the environment. The heat was not a problem in and of itself. Vulcan was a hot desert world. But the incredible humidity here was oppressive to his senses. He felt himself perspiring already, and he wasn't even doing anything, yet.

The plants here were very lush and colorful. Greens, yellows, reds, purples. Tropical plants were everywhere, growing so thickly that progress through this jungle would be difficult without a machete or similar instrument. Suddenly, Jada's ever-present machete sword made a lot more sense. He found himself wishing for a similar implement.

He could summon one, of course. But he decided to see how he could progress without one. He did not want to create any kind of commotion that would ruin Jada's current adventure or simulation.

Squeezing between the vegetation, he proceeded deeper into the program.

Offline Jada

  • Second Officers
  • Competent Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 479
  • Awarded to any player who stuck with the site during the June 2017 Site Move Awarded to players who have been with the fleet for six months. Awarded to any player who writes the Post of the Month. Awarded to players who successfully complete the EPC or OTC.
    • View Profile
    • Awards
Re: Welcome to the Jungle (Jada & Solluk)
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2017, 10:14:54 AM »
Holodeck

Jada found she fit back into this harsh environment with surprising ease – not that anything was ever easy on Thirat, this was the world she’d been born to. Not merely raised on; no, Thirat was in her blood and in her bones. The Thiratin Orions might be an introduced species, but they had evolved subtly here, had adapted to the jungle, had fitted themselves into its ecology rather than demolishing nature to suit their own ends, as happened on so many other Orion worlds. Thirat had offered one lesson to Orion culture: adapt or die.

Jada herself was a predator, a lone hunter who padded along the narrow trails and through the undergrowth with barely a sound on the soft forest floor, her every sense alert for prey or threat. She could climb a tree’s bowing branches to get a better look ahead, she could slip easily through damp leaves without getting snagged, and she could creep after her prey in silence and with deadly intent.

Hearing the door open and the subsequent clumsy-footed blundering, she’d circled around the deck to see who had entered, sensing with animal instincts who it was before laying eyes on him. Rather than introduce herself right off, she’d been hunting Solluk for some time, watching how the Vulcan negotiated all the mundane hazards of Thirat’s jungles. From the intense heat, sweltering humidity, and oppressive gravity, to the low branches that snagged at clothes, vines that tangled and knotted, snakes chasing rodents across his path (spiny rodents that fought savagely back), mobile plants that got in on the action, flycatcher plants (which snapped at him with thorny mouths), huge weird insects that scuttled over every surface or flew into his face. Even the soft, damp soil, which gave way to mud and swamp, slipped alarmingly beneath his boots. If one weren’t logical, if one were given to paranoia, one might feel the very planet itself was trying to hold them back. But this was on an easy setting, of course: safeties were on, environmental controls had their limits, and the real planet fought back.

At last, she took pity on Solluk. ‘Hey.’ Jada’s voice called out, from somewhere in the dense jungle. Solluk couldn’t see her at first, not until she shifted and emerged from the wall of green. With her green skin mottled by curling black tattoos, the Orion had a natural camouflage in this environment. Her curves and thews glistened with perspiration and moisture, but she was hardly worn out. She was wearing only a simple loincloth and the necklace of cat-fangs she’d showed him when they’d shared stories of their scars. Jada fit so easily into this environment she could be one of the female forest spirits found in the mythologies of a hundred worlds. Those spirits were always beautiful, lusty, powerful, and dangerous. And often green.

‘I suggest you step back.’ she gestured to Solluk’s feet with an amused smile. The leaves were shifting under Solluk’s boot and long claws were emerging and slowly folding around him like a natural bear-trap…
EPC Instructor  (Tempest Personnel File)

Offline Solluk

  • Competent Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 475
  • Life is not endurable without a sense of humor.
  • Awarded to any player who stuck with the site during the June 2017 Site Move Awarded to players who have been with the fleet for six months. Awarded to any player who donates money to help keep SF running Awarded to players who successfully complete the EPC or OTC.
    • View Profile
    • Email
    • Awards
Re: Welcome to the Jungle (Jada & Solluk)
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2017, 10:29:03 AM »
[Holodeck]

Solluk looked up as Jada spoke, and then slowly revealed herself by sensually oozing through the trees.  She was topless, again.  She often was, when not bound by the constraints of public courtesy.  She was also wearing a scrap of a garment that did little to hide her other assets.

Perhaps due to his Vulcan physiology, Solluk had never been deeply affected by her Orion musk.  The women of her species exuded pheremones that tended to entrance and mesmerize both men and women, sparking primitive and powerful mating passions.  The situation was not unlike that of the Deltans who served in Starfleet.  Celibacy oaths had once been a short-lived solution to the problem, until rights activists had reformed the situation.  Officers and crew could learn to deal with their urges, given time and exposure- and the onus was on them to do so.  Some medications could help with the transition.

But there was more to a beautiful Orion woman than mere pheremones.  She was still a woman, and Solluk was still a man.  A man who could no longer fully retreat into an emotionless mental palace.  So, he took a moment to appreciate her.  She was beautiful and strong in addition to being intelligent.  A combination of evolution and physical training had shaped her into the vision of sexual desire.  There were no wood nymphs in Vulcan culture, but he knew what they were and could see why they were alluring.

It was a challenge in their relationship, sometimes.  He often found himself desiring her.  But he recognized that she might need something more than one of the easy, casual liaisons that could come from any of a thousand faceless men. 

And he realized that for him, lovemaking was no casual thing.  Perhaps she would be open to him, if he ever approached her in that way.  But he knew in advance the illogical jealousies that would plague him when she inevitably accepted other lovers, both male and female, to satisfy the needs of Orion physiology and culture. 

So he had judged it better for both of them to be friends without the proverbial benefits, however much he might occasionally long to experiment with the latter.  He did sometimes concern himself over Pon Farr, but that was a challenge for another day.

"‘I suggest you step back.’" She said to him.

Solluk dropped his gaze to his feet, noticing that the jungle was- once again- trying to snare him.  He moved back as she suggested.

"I have begun to get the impression that this entire world is a predator anxious to consume me," he remarked. 

Vines, trees, animals, and even mossy things had seemed to pursue his progress.  Every step through this simulation had been a challenge.  His ability to overpower the plants that continuously tried to grapple with him had been essential to his advancement, though he suspected that his brute-force approach of moving through the jungle had attracted even more attention.  It was taking more and more effort to move forward.  At some point, he presumed, he would succumb to exhaustion and then be consumed by the foliage and other creatures.

He was already absolutely drenched in sweat.  His breathing was heavy.  According to his mental calculations, he would expire before the end of the day if he was actually on the world this simulation was based upon.

"I did not want to disturb your recreation," he told her, "but I did want to visit with you.  I hope you don't mind."

He smiled, "It is the anniversary of our time in the Tigris.  I made you a gift to commemorate the event.  A holoprogram."  Gift-giving had not made much sense to him in his youth, as most people were able to acquire the things they wanted, and were better able to identify them than anyone else.  Since the accident, he had come to better appreciate the emotional satisfaction of giving something to a friend.

He glanced around, "Of course, it can wait until you have finished enjoying this jungle survival program."  The word 'enjoying' was delivered, contrary to his conscious intention, in a slightly sarcastic tone.

(tag)

Offline Jada

  • Second Officers
  • Competent Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 479
  • Awarded to any player who stuck with the site during the June 2017 Site Move Awarded to players who have been with the fleet for six months. Awarded to any player who writes the Post of the Month. Awarded to players who successfully complete the EPC or OTC.
    • View Profile
    • Awards
Re: Welcome to the Jungle (Jada & Solluk)
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2017, 10:34:57 AM »
Holodeck

Jada poked a stick into the spot recently vacated by Solluk's foot. The claws suddenly snapped closed around it, but, finding no prey, they retracted back into the leafy, mulch-covered earth, the beast below accepting it would get no meal here. If it felt it had been cheated of its prey, it would crawl out of its hole after it. 'Back to sleep, d'kaoc-santa.' she cooed. Although it was only a simulation, and a safe one, she felt it vital to keep up old habits. Habits that would keep her alive if, no when, she returned home.

Quote
"I have begun to get the impression that this entire world is a predator anxious to consume me," he remarked.

'Not all of it.' Jada corrected, gently removing the stick and backing off. 'Some of it just wants us out of the way.'

Indicating she didn't mind, Jada was surprised and intrigued by Solluk's offer of a gift, a holoprogram, curious as to what it could be. But why? Did he want to celebrate winning the battle, or just their fighting together? Or was it for something more? 'Isn't it a bit early for an anniversary.' she said, covering for her confusion, adding with a wry teasing grin 'You make it sound like it was a date.' That was meant to be a joke, but it suggested much more of the truth.

'Anyway,' she swerved from the topic, glancing back to the hidden d'kaoc-santa to hide any blushing or discomfort on her face (an expression not exactly at home on one confidently wearing nothing but a loincloth), 'This isn't a survival program, at least, it's not meant to be. I call it home.' she explained fondly. 'This is a rendition of Nozama'kar, our lands on Thirat. My brother, cousin, and I have been compiling it from clan records: holos, maps, satellite imagery, our memories, even some of my drawings. I did the landscaping. It's the family photo album. Until we can reclaim the real thing, this is Nozama'kar.'

Jada gazed around the dense jungle. She was curious to see what Solluk had made, but was just as curious about this too. And it was already open. 'I was just exploring the current draft… Do you want to see it with me? Home's best visited with friends.'
EPC Instructor  (Tempest Personnel File)

Offline Solluk

  • Competent Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 475
  • Life is not endurable without a sense of humor.
  • Awarded to any player who stuck with the site during the June 2017 Site Move Awarded to players who have been with the fleet for six months. Awarded to any player who donates money to help keep SF running Awarded to players who successfully complete the EPC or OTC.
    • View Profile
    • Email
    • Awards
Re: Welcome to the Jungle (Jada & Solluk)
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2017, 11:07:49 AM »
[Holodeck]

"You make it sound like it was a date."

Solluk pondered on that, oblivious to any blushing she might have exhibited.  Their time on the runabout had been a moment of crisis and growth for him.  There had indeed been some exhileration in the victory.  But... there was something more.  He realized that the experience had carried a certain intimacy unlike anything he had felt with his other associates on the ship.  It seemed to him that every encounter with Jada was something unique.  Each of their 'adventures' seemed like a doorway that opened him up to experiences he had once shunned within himself. 

But why her, then?  What was different about her? 

Could it be, he wondered, that his enduring attraction to her caused-

'Anyway,' she said, 'This isn't a survival program, at least, it's not meant to be. I call it home.' she explained fondly. 'This is a rendition of Nozama'kar, our lands on Thirat. My brother, cousin, and I have been compiling it from clan records: holos, maps, satellite imagery, our memories, even some of my drawings. I did the landscaping. It's the family photo album. Until we can reclaim the real thing, this is Nozama'kar.'

Solluk blinked once, and then looked around him.  The idea of using a three-dimensional representation of a childhood environment as a memento was not unheard of, but the way that she described it, it was no simple reproduction.  It was a work of art and love crafted by exiles who longed for a land that was no longer theirs.  A place that threatened to disappear due to the flawed nature of humanoid memories.  A memorial and a sentinel against losing the past.

' 'I was just exploring the current draft… Do you want to see it with me? Home's best visited with friends.'

"I would be honored," Solluk intoned solemnly, "to tour your home and experience the legacy of your people."

Of course, that meant he'd need a proper jungle blade.   Vulcan had few such tools, as jungles were not a thing to be found there, and weeding through thick bush was not a common challenge for the inhabitants.  He quickly made a mental review of various appropriate implements he had seen in his life.  As a consequence of his training and time on Mars, much of his knowledge of aliens centered on human cultures.  Jungles and thick growth were far from foreign on Earth, and there were a plethora of designs to choose from on that world alone.

"Computer, manifest for me one Nepalese Kukri, Sirupate bladeform, twenty inch blade, with sheath kit and accompanying leather belt suited to my waist dimensions." he ordered.

The belt and oddly shaped Nepalese knife materialized in front of him, complete with its traditional scabbard that housed a pair of small utility implements used for sharpening the blade, striking sparks for fires, and cutting meals.  He seized the accoutremon from the air where it hovered, and quickly belted it on.   Unsheathing the blade, he examined it.   

All Kukris were dual-angle blades, proceeding straight from the grip for several inches before departing at an angle.  Different patterns of the tool had different degrees of departure.  The Sirupate pattern he held was a gentler one than some others, departing at ten degrees after the first five inches, and extending the remainder of its length along that plane.  The back of the blade had a thick, third-inch spine.  The cutting edge was on the inside of the blade, with a very slight belly to enhance the optimal point of impact.  Purportedly renowned for its cutting and chopping ability, this pattern of Kukri was a better thruster and more nimble than others of its kind, and was often favored by martial artists for that reason.   In fact, his primary experience with the weapon had been through encountering it during martial-arts practice with human colleagues on Mars.

Satisfied with the blade, he lowered it, but kept it at the ready.  This holo-simulation tended to  spring forth new threats on a regular basis. 

"I will follow your lead, and also your instruction about what should and should not be cut," he told her.

His right eyebrow lifted slightly, "Jada, I have never entirely understood your relation to your home.  Can you tell me more about it, how you came to leave it, and details of the situation that prevents you from returning to it?"

She had shared portions of the tale with him from time to time, usually in glimpses of horrific events, but he never felt a firm grasp on the whole story.  It felt to him like a book with every third page missing.  Though, based on the painful events she had shared, he wondered if the missing pages were a secret blessing.

(tag)

Offline Jada

  • Second Officers
  • Competent Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 479
  • Awarded to any player who stuck with the site during the June 2017 Site Move Awarded to players who have been with the fleet for six months. Awarded to any player who writes the Post of the Month. Awarded to players who successfully complete the EPC or OTC.
    • View Profile
    • Awards
Re: Welcome to the Jungle (Jada & Solluk)
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2017, 11:13:13 AM »
Holodeck

Quote
"I would be honored," Solluk intoned solemnly, "to tour your home and experience the legacy of your people."

‘Great.’ Jada accepted gladly. ‘I’ll show you mine, then you can show me yours.’ Okay, that came out a bit suggestive. She’d already shown him hers.

Quote
"Computer, manifest for me one Nepalese Kukri, Sirupate bladeform, twenty inch blade, with sheath kit and accompanying leather belt suited to my waist dimensions." he ordered.

"I will follow your lead, and also your instruction about what should and should not be cut," he told her.

‘Nice.’ Jada said admiringly of the weapon, as well as the body it was belted around. ‘I wasn’t planning this as a combat sim. It could be good as one, but I think it’d be murder on the security crewmen I took through here.’

Quote
His right eyebrow lifted slightly, "Jada, I have never entirely understood your relation to your home. Can you tell me more about it, how you came to leave it, and details of the situation that prevents you from returning to it?"

‘Wow, that’s a lot.’ Jada drawled, trying to think where to begin. At the beginning, really. ‘First, let me be a good host – we have some firm customs on hospitality, the host–hostage relationship is very important… Computer, reduce relative humidity to 60%... That’s what we call dry weather.’ she explained with a wry smile. It was the minimum for Thirat, and should be just about bearable for a Vulcan. Otherwise, both of them could bear the heat and gravity. The air conditioners kicked in briefly, sucking some moisture out, though it was still definitely sultry. So was Jada, for that matter.

Realising the humidity wasn’t the only thing making Solluk uncomfortable, Jada reached out to the arch (she didn’t need to see the invisible wall, it seemed) and opened the storage compartment. From it, she retrieved a loose tanktop, which she pulled on over her head. It was a deference she hadn’t shown in their first meeting. ‘You can undress a bit if you like.’ she suggested, gesturing to Solluk’s uniform jacket, though she’d have to admit her suggestion was as mercenary as it was considerate. ‘In these conditions, we got over the need for clothing – you can feel the weight of clothes in this gravity. Then there’s the chafing.’ Jada snorted at an old local joke. ‘Many Thiratin women fought for liberation under the rallying cry “Free the Nipple”.’ It explained her dress sense, as well as the Thiratin habit of tattooing themselves for adornment.

Leaving the d'kaoc-santa behind, Jada led Solluk on down the trail. Shorter, undressed, and with innate habit, she negotiated the snagging branches rather better than Solluk had. ‘I suggest you stay close and on the trails – things happen to people who wander off...’ she said warningly, giving meaning to her talk of a host–hostage relationship. Jada pointed out various animals, insects, plants, and trees, briefly naming and describing them, while privately noting the accuracy of the simulation and making some notes. Every single one bore some kind of danger – disease, poison, injury – but also a protection against something else and a vital use – materials, medicines, drugs, foods – all known to the canny huntress. Once she’d described her job as flower-picker, and it was becoming clear how much of a skilled and vital trade that actually was. After a bit, she plucked two blue, wide-petalled flowers, tucked one behind her ear, and directed Solluk do the same. ‘J’snio flowers. Their fragrance repels skew flies.’ Not that the holodeck had conjured any, but the whine of insects could be heard in various bushes, while birds chattered in the canopy, and beasts growled and screamed far off. The cacophony was endless and maddening.

They came past a swamp, a bubbling dark lake choked with water weeds and dangerous-looking things lurking beneath the surface. Nearby, Jada yanked Solluk away from a bog that would have dragged him down to his doom – to make matters worse, a grasping tentacle reached to pull him back in.

‘So, welcome to Thirat, second planet of Yuhso in Orion home-space. I don’t know if it has a Federationen name… I told you that in our mythology space is Heaven, with veils and harems? Well, Thirat is one of the Nine Hells. You’ve probably heard me curse at them. In ancient times, the Old Masters sent Orion slaves here, made us terraform it to their wishes, again and again. All their efforts failed, countless slaves died, and Thirat was feared through the colonies as the cruellest of fates for slaves. But some survived, adapted, evolved, even thrived. We colonised Hell.’ she said, her voice mingling sadness at ancient atrocities with pride in her people for having survived them.


OOC:http://memory-beta.wikia.com/wiki/Thirat
EPC Instructor  (Tempest Personnel File)

Offline Solluk

  • Competent Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 475
  • Life is not endurable without a sense of humor.
  • Awarded to any player who stuck with the site during the June 2017 Site Move Awarded to players who have been with the fleet for six months. Awarded to any player who donates money to help keep SF running Awarded to players who successfully complete the EPC or OTC.
    • View Profile
    • Email
    • Awards
Re: Welcome to the Jungle (Jada & Solluk)
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2017, 12:03:40 PM »
Holodeck

"You can undress a bit if you like."

The lower humidity level was a relief, but the jungle was still decidedly uncomfortable.  Perhaps there was some practicality to all the nudity Jada enjoyed in her culture. 

Solluk removed his uniform jacket, carefully folding it and laying it on the ground.  He paused briefly in consideration, and then followed with his undershirt.  In the end, they had exchanged toplessness.  Solluk's slightly green-tinged skin glistened with perspiration.  He would never be as powerfully muscled as an Orion man, but his regular exercise, healthy diet, and martial- arts training had given him a lean, well-defined physique. 

As he undressed, he smirked at her description of Orion freedom fighters.  He could easily imagine a thousand Orion warrior women racing through the wilderness with weapons held high and assets on full display.

"It is something of a relief to remove my torso coverings," he admitted.  His clothes had become a sopping-wet burden in this climate.

Listening to Jada as she described the properties of local vegetation, he followed her lead and tucked one of the indicated flowers over one ear.  He suspected that the described insects were absent from this simulation for the sake of comfort.  His imagination was unfortunately vivid enough for him to imagine what they might do to his uncovered body had they been present.  Irrationally, he was glad of the flower even though it was protecting him from a nonexistent threat.

She talked as they walked, and he followed close behind her.  At one point, near a bubbling bog, she pulled him away from danger.  Not only from the geo-hydrological forces present, but also from the grasping tentacle of some hungry bog-beast.  He found himself briefly tempted to hack at it, but worried that the rest of the creature might respond by shambling up from the deep.

Freed from danger, he looked down at her as she held his arm.  He briefly felt the most peculiar impulse.  An impulse unworthy of friendship.   As she went on describing the world and her past, he tried to force the desire from his mind with limited success.

"We colonised Hell," she concluded.  He could not disagree.  While visually pleasing, there was very little else to love about this planet.  But it was her home, and he mentally resigned himself to visiting it again.  Most likely many times.  One did not shun the home of a friend.

"I am trying to decide," he mused aloud, "what species of mythological demon that makes you."  His smile grew teeth as it broadened.  Vulcans had once been decried by some humans as pointy-eared demons.   It could even be said they had also colonised hell, given the harsh desert conditions that prevailed on much of his homeworld.  But at least they had been born to it.  Evolutionary adaptation had worked in their favor.  Consequently, he much preferred his brand of dry heat to her lush, wet, smothering sauna of endless dangers.

Probably a succubus, he mused to himself, then immediately admonished the thought as a drift into improper territory.

"What would be required for you to be able to return here," he asked her, "That is, in the flesh?"  His gaze strolled lazily over her curves as he said the final word, and he realized that he was being rude.  Blinking himself back to proper attention, he looked into her eyes.

It turned out that wasn't any better.

(tag)

Offline Jada

  • Second Officers
  • Competent Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 479
  • Awarded to any player who stuck with the site during the June 2017 Site Move Awarded to players who have been with the fleet for six months. Awarded to any player who writes the Post of the Month. Awarded to players who successfully complete the EPC or OTC.
    • View Profile
    • Awards
Re: Welcome to the Jungle (Jada & Solluk)
« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2017, 05:56:59 AM »
Holodeck

"It is something of a relief to remove my torso coverings," he admitted.

'Oh, definitely.' Jada had agreed with a secret smirk, stealing appreciative glances at his bared torso. Having practical need and little nudity taboo (though underpants stayed on, as a rule, unless you were far from prying eyes) didn't exactly remove physical attraction. If anything, it only made them randier.

Quote from: Solluk
"I am trying to decide," he mused aloud, "what species of mythological demon that makes you."

'We're Orions, of course.' Jada answered with grin. 'Or maybe orcs. I think our old explorers might've popped up in some legends here and there. Earth has Orion the Hunter, stories of green people. There could be a link.' But those stories were centuries, even millennia old. She glanced away into the jungle, remembering something. 'I found a lost city once, buried by the jungle away to the west, and explored inside. There are real demons...' she recalled, but wouldn't be drawn further on that.

But, for all this talk of Hell and demons, Jada's fond descriptions of the flora and fauna, no matter how potentially vicious, betrayed her deep love and connection to this landscape. She could see how it all lived and interacted, how the ecology worked, and she and her people were as much a part of this environment now. Understanding all that, she couldn't help but see it as beautiful.

She led him up another trail, and the dense jungle suddenly fell away, revealing a wide valley swathed in lush green jungle. At one end, a waterfall rushed heavily over a cliff, and alien creatures winged and wheeled lazily through an intense azure sky, before swooping down into the jungle after prey. (They seemed to be giant winged slugs, like that tattooed on Jada's back.) Definitely beautiful.

Quote from: Solluk
"What would be required for you to be able to return here," he asked her, "That is, in the flesh?"

Jada either didn't notice Solluk's roving eye or she didn't give any reaction, instead lost in thought and memory as she looked out over the valley and into the past. Leaving had been hard, and coming back to this, a mere virtual image, brought back the pain of separation all over again. They'd been walking through holos and memories; just this trail only had reminded her of running down as a child, chasing her cousins; of going off on hunts for Boss Ngachi and bringing back her prizes; and of battling the enemy in defence of her clan.

Briefly, she wondered whether to tell Solluk, and how much. Codes of cluros meant hiding her weaknesses and pains, even maintaining airs of mystery and deceit. She could lie about all this. But Solluk was friend enough now to know the truth. More, she wanted to tell her story.

'Good fortunes.' she answered succinctly, and sadly. 'My clan – the Nozama – paid fealty to the ruling Teish family, and local businesses like Ngachi's Forestry Services, which I was slave to, were subsidiaries of their corporation. But they'd long been rivals of the Nomab family... We used to brawl with their goons in the bars in the city. But we got along, we did business... Then Murt the Boastful became Big Taddy of the Nomab, with Syndicate or Klingon backing. A fat orange fool, he surrounded himself with slave girls and couldn't even be competently corrupt like a good Orion. He blamed the Teish for his failures, and refused to answer for his insults in a duel...' she told, unable to hide her disgust and anger for the tyrant.

'A few years ago, he launched a hostile takeover of these lands and companies. They wanted our profitable sap mines and forestry businesses, to take us as slaves with renegotiated contracts. The Teish resisted, full corporate warfare broke out, and while the lawyers and executives did their thing, we were dealing with industrial espionage, sabotage, attempts to seize our assets: lands, equipment, people.' Her words were those of big business, but under them she was describing something else: full jungle warfare in defence of tribe and land, as bloody and brutal as that could be. Such was the nature of traditional Orion business. She gestured down the trail, noting darkly 'I fought corporate headhunters up and down this trail.' There were some things she'd done she wouldn't speak of, for fear he'd think less of her.

'I was upgraded from hunter-gatherer to private security. I even made assistant chief.' she said with hollow pride, before her tone turned bitter and pained, 'Goddess help me, I was only seventeen.'
« Last Edit: July 02, 2017, 09:06:55 AM by Jada »
EPC Instructor  (Tempest Personnel File)

Offline Solluk

  • Competent Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 475
  • Life is not endurable without a sense of humor.
  • Awarded to any player who stuck with the site during the June 2017 Site Move Awarded to players who have been with the fleet for six months. Awarded to any player who donates money to help keep SF running Awarded to players who successfully complete the EPC or OTC.
    • View Profile
    • Email
    • Awards
Re: Welcome to the Jungle (Jada & Solluk)
« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2017, 01:24:32 PM »
[Holodeck]

It was hard to fully conceptualize everything Jada was telling him.  It was like some dystopian fiction where Ferengi had become more militarized corporatists, engaged in open warfare and military campaigns as they gave the term 'hostile takeover' a harsh new meaning.   

In fact, there had been a brief time when the Ferengi could have possibly gone in such a direction.  The popular 'Marauder Mo' action figure sold on Ferenginar and beyond celebrated a brief period of mercenary action and even piracy that had blossomed and reached its peak just before the Federation made official First Contact with the Ferengi.   Picard, of the USS Enterprise, had tangled with the Ferengi both at the height of this violent period and later as it was winding down.  Modern Ferengi now considered such overt use of force a foolhardy and misguided experiment, though clearly the action figure meant they enjoyed reminiscing about a brief period when they were seen as dangerous.

The Ferengi had nothing on the Orions, however, who seemed to smoothly mix expansionist military doctrines with regressive sentient-rights policies and an utterly non-empathetic drive for business.

He tried to imagine Jada in a place like this.  Fighting guerrilla combat against oppressive enemy corporatists and running patrols.  Being the most dangerous predator in a place practically defined by its dangerous predators.  Perhaps most remarkable of all was that she wanted to return to a place where the soil was fertilized by so much bloodshed.  Where every rock and tree might bring a memory of desperate murder.

He supposed that no matter how inhospitable others might find a place, if it was home, then it was home.   And no matter how harsh one might find a childhood, it was still the formative foundation of self.  Jada was at least honest enough to face the times that had forged her, to accept them.  Solluk spent too much time lamenting the tiny hardships of his youth, angsting over trivial matters, and wishing they could be different.  It was no small thing to see her recount the pain of the past and to acknowledge its cruel nature without whining about it.  There was some kind of strength there.  A strength he'd never had, himself.

"It may be," he said, "that you will someday have the opportunity to reclaim what you have lost.  To gather friends and allies in some bold crusade of reconquest, so that you may once again call this place a 'home' in-fact, and not merely in memory.  When that day comes, I hope you will count me among the friends you can call upon to stand beside you in your mission."

It was a bold offer, and one utterly absent of logic.  But Solluk had no closer friend in the world.  His own home would never be home again.  Not because it had been taken from him, but rather because he had been taken from it.

But if she could still have her home, then he wanted it for her.

(tag)

Offline Jada

  • Second Officers
  • Competent Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 479
  • Awarded to any player who stuck with the site during the June 2017 Site Move Awarded to players who have been with the fleet for six months. Awarded to any player who writes the Post of the Month. Awarded to players who successfully complete the EPC or OTC.
    • View Profile
    • Awards
Re: Welcome to the Jungle (Jada & Solluk)
« Reply #10 on: July 03, 2017, 09:01:24 AM »
Holodeck

Jada looked around at Solluk, surprised by his offer, and touched by it too, her bitter look fading to a glad smile. She hadn't expected anyone in the Federation to understand their conflict and need, let alone want to help. Help. The offer was a very meaningful one for Orions, perhaps more than Solluk understood. After all, the famous novelist from Zeta Orionis who'd recommended "Let me help" over even "I love you" had been Bonner the Stochastic, an Orion. Jada hadn't read him, but the need to help one another was key to their culture nonetheless. She quirked a smile, saying 'Be careful making verbal agreements with an Orion. She might hold you to them.' deflecting her strong feelings with a sly joke. But she went on, more sincerely and warmly, 'But I already do – friend.' She slapped his arm, teasing again 'And if you carry on like that, you'll become one of the Nozama caju whether you like it or not.' After all, a clan wasn't formed only by family bonds, but by alliance, friendship, and love.

'But as for going back and reclaiming,' Jada continued, shaking her head at Solluk's expected reconquest. 'We don't want another war. It's... too high a cost. And too much has been paid already. Life isn't cheap... No, we need to earn enough credits and goodwill from the Federation for money and a transport. That's part of why my cousin and I decided to join Starfleet. I want to take my clan on pilgrimage to Kammzdast – the Museum of Orion Civilisation and the Great Hall of Family Records. We deserve the trip, anyway. I hope to find proof of our ancient ownership of Nozama'kar, something the Nomab can't deny or destroy. If not, well, we'll buy the land back or do it the hard way if we have to. Maybe we can resolve it with a duel...' she mused, still hopeful of a peaceful resolution, or at least one with minimum cost in life. But Jada was ready and willing for that fight, and to pay that cost.

'This land's been ours for over ten thousand years. We've left during war, plague, famine, and asteroid strike. And each time we've came back and rebuilt. In the overall accounting, this is just a temporary setback, I suppose. We can afford to wait a few years, or generations, or centuries. The land will always call us back home.' she said with feeling, gazing out over the valley.

Turning away, she concluded 'Enough soppy stuff, I'll show you what we're fighting for.' and led them on again. The trail was widening as they approached the village, but it remained frustratingly out of sight in the ever-dense jungle. The trail was also deepening and clearing, obviously marked by generations of Orion feet. Ten thousand years worth, it seemed.
EPC Instructor  (Tempest Personnel File)

Offline Solluk

  • Competent Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 475
  • Life is not endurable without a sense of humor.
  • Awarded to any player who stuck with the site during the June 2017 Site Move Awarded to players who have been with the fleet for six months. Awarded to any player who donates money to help keep SF running Awarded to players who successfully complete the EPC or OTC.
    • View Profile
    • Email
    • Awards
Re: Welcome to the Jungle (Jada & Solluk)
« Reply #11 on: July 03, 2017, 11:05:53 AM »
[Holodeck]


When Jada said that she didn't want another war, Solluk was immediately embarrassed with himself.  He'd suggested helping her to fight in a burst of feeling for her plight, and in respect to their growing friendship.   

But he was a Vulcan.  He should not want to fight a war.

It was anathema to everything his people believed in.

And yet he'd suggested it.  Immediately upon hearing of her situation, he'd suggested marching off to engage in bloodshed.  What had happened to him?  Were all the oddities of his personality really traceable to a few cubic millimeters of damaged brain tissue?

"Yes," He nodded to her suggestion, "Of course, nonviolent solutions are ideal."

"The land will always call us back home," she said, expressing a willingness to wait lifetimes if necessary to reclaim her due. 

Solluk's mind turned briefly to Vulcan.  To its vast plains of sand.  The Vulcan Forge where children practiced survival rites.  The sacred mountains where they went to marry, and to briefly embraced their ancient passions.

He thought of T'Lan.  He remembered first meeting her when he was fourteen.  They'd touched their fingers, initiating the bond that would carry with them their entire lives.

Except it didn't.  She'd unbonded from him.  Sought better prospects.

Unbonded.  But still Vulcan?

Was he really a Vulcan anymore?

'Enough soppy stuff, I'll show you what we're fighting for," Jada said.

She led him further into the jungle, and now even his untrained eyes could see the path they were on.  He followed along, waiting to see where it might lead.

Offline Jada

  • Second Officers
  • Competent Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 479
  • Awarded to any player who stuck with the site during the June 2017 Site Move Awarded to players who have been with the fleet for six months. Awarded to any player who writes the Post of the Month. Awarded to players who successfully complete the EPC or OTC.
    • View Profile
    • Awards
Re: Welcome to the Jungle (Jada & Solluk)
« Reply #12 on: July 03, 2017, 11:38:15 AM »
Holodeck

Going on, they passed an old tree with a gnarled trunk. Most gruesomely, bones protruded from the bark, looking like the body had been eaten by the tree. That didn't seem too unlikely, given some of the flora around here. A skull and twisted jaw stared out at them, seemingly giving warning or an ancient curse. But Jada smiled in recognition. 'Huh. s'Metra found an image of old Great-Great-Something-Great Grand-Tahedri Horoxik the Vigilant. We buried him here and the tree grew up under him. We say he's watching the trails still.' She had that habit of saying "we", as though she'd been there and done it herself, and spoke as fondly as if she had. Never mind that it must have happened centuries and generations before she'd been born. Of course, she was speaking for the clan as a whole, on a collective, cultural memory.

At last the jungle cleared – not by much, but enough to see a great mound rise up out of the forest floor. It was ringed by a wooden stockade, defensive and sturdy, but porous enough to let small wildlife in and out. It looked ancient, but the shield emitters were subtly hidden, worked discreetly into the wood itself. The trail ran around the hill and stockade, taking them under watchtowers and security sensors, included as a matter of course rather than any grim defensiveness. Closer to, they could see large designs carved into the wood: Orion script, figures of proud men and women, ancient heroes fighting, taming, or riding terrifying beasts.

Coming to an open gate, Jada bowed, inviting Solluk in with a hospitable smile, her words too rehearsed to be natural, but also not entirely seriously. 'Welcome to Nozama'kar – Home of the Nozama. Your home is now our home. You may enjoy our hospitality. Please surrender your weapons and go nowhere without an escort.' There was that host–hostage relationship again... Jada didn't take Solluk's kukri though.

Inside was a large idyllic village, of squat, time-worn wooden houses and halls raised on posts (probably to keep wildlife from getting inside easily) with high, steep-sided roofs to catch rain, all ornately and intricately carved. The designs were maze-like, even fractal, and never quite ordered or consistent, and brought to mind natural scenes. Coloured pennants hung from lines, amidst mundane laundry, adding vibrant colour against the green and brown. Grass grew underfoot and trees amongst the buildings, marginally more pruned than those in the jungle outside, so it was more like walking through a park. They offered fruit and flowers, and held hives for insects that would provide honey, and pipes for sap. Some trees grew into, over, through, or out of the houses, until there was no clear division between them. Rather than fight and try to hold back the jungle, they'd just let in, sharing the space on balanced terms.

It all looked ancient and pre-industrial, but there were signs of advanced technology to be found everywhere: water condensers, air-conditioners and dehumidifiers, fusion generators, communications arrays, small workshops and factories, a landing pad for aircars. Much of it was made of wood, even things not normally made of wood. After all, why put an air-conditioner in a metal or plastic box, if a well-designed wooden box would do? It could be any Federation colony, but it was better worked into the environment, and more of the environment, than most others. Catching Solluk's look, Jada noted 'It might not look it, but Thirat is as advanced as any Orion world and fully developed. We have a population of almost two billion and hundreds of cities, much bigger than this.'

Still, the streets were quiet, still, and empty, with no people or animals to liven it up. Jada was disturbed to see it like this. 'It's not right, seeing it without people. It's like a ghost town... Computer, generate civilians.' Assorted green Orions appeared, in traditional colourful dress, or undress, chattering and laughing in a loud hubbub. But Jada looked more cold and uncomfortable. 'No. Remove civilians... It's not the same. I don't know these people.' The holo-people vanished. It was as it was before, but it felt serene now.

Nevertheless, in her mind's eye, Jada could see her people walking through these grassy lanes, children playing among the trees. Jada pointed to one tree with wide, low branches; 'I climbed that old labimaja as a girl on a dare, fell out and broke my leg. Easier to do in this gravity. I was unable to walk for weeks. Afterward, I never wanted to stop moving.'

'And that's where I went. The training hall.'
She pointed out a combined gym and martial arts hall, looking like a traditional temple to martial practice such as would be found in China on Earth, or on Vulcan. But it crossed with an arena or theatre; evidently combat training and their matches were also a spectator sport. There were at two of these in small village. 'Here's where I learned to kick your arse so well.' Jada peered through a window, but found only a void. 'No interiors yet.' She gestured to a tree outside. 'We punched and kicked that tree to harden our knuckles and bones. I pounded that poor tree until we both bled.'


OOC: I wrote a lot more than I planned to off-line, now I'm posting chunks to go easier on you. :)
EPC Instructor  (Tempest Personnel File)

Offline Solluk

  • Competent Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 475
  • Life is not endurable without a sense of humor.
  • Awarded to any player who stuck with the site during the June 2017 Site Move Awarded to players who have been with the fleet for six months. Awarded to any player who donates money to help keep SF running Awarded to players who successfully complete the EPC or OTC.
    • View Profile
    • Email
    • Awards
Re: Welcome to the Jungle (Jada & Solluk)
« Reply #13 on: July 03, 2017, 12:55:32 PM »
[Holodeck]

The path brought them past a large tree, a skeleton embedded within its hardy trunk.  At first, Solluk thought this might be some new horror of the world.  Plants that merely absorbed you like a hungry changeling, digesting you within.  But she explained that this was really some honored ancestor, whose calcified remains had simply been caught in the tree's normal growth.

Fascinating.

They went on, and finally they came to a city. 

A city that worked very hard not to look like a city.  Every piece of technology was disguised, or embedded within organic constructs.  Trees and plants were incorporated into the design.  They'd been encouraged to grow in useful ways, making them less of a hinderance.  With such guided growth, the natural elements worked in ways that benefitted the residents.  It made the city seem as alive as the jungles surrounding it. 

'Welcome to Nozama'kar – Home of the Nozama. Your home is now our home. You may enjoy our hospitality. Please surrender your weapons and go nowhere without an escort.'

Jada delivered the lines as a rote, standard greeting.  Certain aspects of it jumped out at him.  'Your home is now our home'?  With hospitality rites like that, Solluk could well imagine how people could lose their planets.

When Jada asked him to surrender his weapons, he felt a twinge of illogical anxiety.  He did not feel safe in this place.  Though it was a simulation, it was so real and detailed as to invoke in him a genuine survival response, complete with adrenal boosts at the sight of dangerous flora and fauna.  The knife had been an emotional crutch as much as a tool.

He began to unstrap the weapon despite his illogical twinge, until he realized she was not seriously asking him to disarm.  Re-buckling his belt, he thought about what this aspect of her culture must mean.  Anyone from one territory staying in the territory of another person was placing themselves into a condition of extreme vulnerability.  A seemingly foolish thing to do.   But he could see there were more dimensions to it.

It was an incredible gesture of trust, so he could imagine that being a guest actually said something very positive about the host.  He could also imagine that it said something about the bravery of the guest.  About their confidence in themselves. 

He realized that her culture was much more involved than it appeared from holonovels and common hearsay.  Her description of the territorial battles she'd fought hadn't prepared him for the nuance of it all.  Merely entering a territory involved a complex social dance, with intertwining and interlocking statements about trust, self-reliance, honor, and bravery.  He wondered how much more complicated it got once one was inside.

After another moment of thought, he unbuckled his belt again, and laid it gently upon the ground where he could collect it later.  "I trust you, Jada," he thought to himself as he did so.

Jada mentioned how large the population of the planet was, and Solluk's brows shot up in surprise.  Two billion?  That was quite a bit more than he'd imagined.  It was hard to conceive of so many people successfully living in harmony with so hostile a biosphere.

At one point, she paused to generate a population for the city.   But just as quickly, she dismissed them.  When they were gone again, the afterimage of their presence lingered in Solluk's mind.  Like ghosts.

She showed him a tree she'd climbed as a child.  A tree she'd fallen from, breaking her leg.  Although Solluk had suffered a brain injury, he'd never broken so major a bone.  He hoped he never would.  The way she described the confinement of recovery, it sounded maddening.

Of course, modern medine could mend a bone much more quickly than she described.  He supposed that such medicine was either not common in her youth, or that she had not been deemed worthy of receiving it.

Given the way she described the treatment of her people, he guessed it might be the latter.

They finally came to the training hall she'd used in her younger days.  Solluk joined her in peering inside.  It was empty.  So much of this simulation was intricately detailed that when he found an unfinished piece, it felt strange and haunting. 

'Here's where I learned to kick your arse so well.' Jada said as they looked into the structure.

Solluk bristled slightly, but only in jest.  "I do believe I have forcefully impacted your own 'arse' on an occasion or two."   After he spoke, he reviewed his phraseology and found it less than desirable.

Next she showed him a tree where she'd built up knuckle callouses and a tolerance for pain. 

"I hope someday I can see this place through your eyes," he said.  Then his own eyes widened.  He had just casually proposed an intimacy more intense than putting his tongue on her privates and humming the Federation anthem.

She probably had no idea what he'd been saying. Or at least, he hoped not. 

He quickly covered, "I mean, I hope that through exposure to this simulation, I'll gain the same appreciation for this world that you have."



Offline Jada

  • Second Officers
  • Competent Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 479
  • Awarded to any player who stuck with the site during the June 2017 Site Move Awarded to players who have been with the fleet for six months. Awarded to any player who writes the Post of the Month. Awarded to players who successfully complete the EPC or OTC.
    • View Profile
    • Awards
Re: Welcome to the Jungle (Jada & Solluk)
« Reply #14 on: July 03, 2017, 09:16:27 PM »
Nozama'kar, Holodeck

Bemused, Jada decided to ignore Solluk's oddly suggestive Vulcan vocabulary. After all, she'd been speaking with Servoc this morning. Servoc had seemed to be very much of the mold when it came to Vulcans: neat, logical, dispassionate. Solluk certainly tried, but couldn't even maintain one of those bowl haircuts, especially in this sticky climate. It was cute, really. Through all this talk, the passion and illogic seemed to be straining to get out, which she realised was the effect of his injury. Yet she knew how she preferred him. She wondered if teaching him Orion ways of wielding emotion would help him.

Jada heard only what his words said; mind melds were not something she naturally thought of. She was touched by his hope. 'Thank you. Not many people have tried to appreciate this world, even some city Thiratin. She's hard to love, but she's worth it... I'll be glad to teach you. Hopefully one day, if fortunes are good, I'll show you the real thing.'

Indicating the training hall, she explained 'Every Thiratin learns martial arts, armed and unarmed, almost since we can walk. It builds strength against the gravity, mental discipline and emotional control, the ability to protect oneself from beasts, and to fight duels and battles. Anyone may challenge anyone to a duel, even to the death, for any insult or crime.' she explained ruefully. The purpose of the arena became brutally clear: it was about justice and honour as well. 'Hot weather leads to hot tempers. Its worse in the cities, among the gold classes, where people have money riding on their reputations. Down here, we can let more stuff slide for the sake of getting along. A simple unarmed brawl is enough, no one has to get killed. Even a simple poetry battle.' Jada explained, hoping to lessen any shock Solluk might feel for their harsher traditions.

Walking on, she went on 'So, there's a lot of protocol and codes of behaviour and etiquette. It keeps us getting along, without laws and rules. We don't give orders here, not even to slaves, only to animals and machines. It comes from our history as a slave race – no Orion tells another what to do, at least in language. We make suggestions, say what we'd like to happen, or hold someone to a contract. We have the most well-mannered criminals.'

'Even in Starfleet, you might have noticed I can't use the, um, imperative mood, I don't really give orders to subordinates. I think I did it once to you, on the Tigris in the heat of battle. Federation Standard doesn't have nearly the same etiquette cases as Kolari. I was very stiff and formal when I first started here. Now I feel I've become very lazy and rude, and things I say might not come out just right.'
she admitted, somewhat embarrassed. She stopped and bowed apologetically to Solluk 'Please feel free to forgive me if my atrocious manners have caused offence.' but with a smile that gently mocked her own culture's customs. Despite her slave-class attitude and casual demeanour, she knew she was more well-mannered than many.

'These things you might find in other Orion communities, just maybe not to the same degree. Each Orion Colony expresses different aspects of our shared culture to different levels, and adds their own ways... We're seen as Thiratin more than Orion. We’re stronger, hardier. Some would say cleverer. Others would say less pretty. We're more connected to nature. We're connected to Thirat more than to the Homeworld. It’s said a Thiratin refuses to die when any sensible Orion would.'

They came through a market place, rows of stalls and tents where produce, clothes, skins, discs, tools, and tech were sold in equal measure. More established shops stood inside buildings. It was quite a well-developed commercial district for a small village. The slave-trading platform was less familiar, of course, but there were no chains or cages such as the Syndicate slavers might use. 'I was sold to Boss Ngachi up there, for the Forestry Services. He paid such a high price, and my parents were so proud. I was so excited, it was my first job.' she said in happy remembrance.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2017, 10:17:55 PM by Jada »
EPC Instructor  (Tempest Personnel File)

Offline Solluk

  • Competent Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 475
  • Life is not endurable without a sense of humor.
  • Awarded to any player who stuck with the site during the June 2017 Site Move Awarded to players who have been with the fleet for six months. Awarded to any player who donates money to help keep SF running Awarded to players who successfully complete the EPC or OTC.
    • View Profile
    • Email
    • Awards
Re: Welcome to the Jungle (Jada & Solluk)
« Reply #15 on: July 07, 2017, 11:01:57 AM »
[Holodeck]

Solluk waved away any concerns Jada might have had.  "On Vulcan, succinct and direct language is often favored over politeness.  It can even occasionally be the case that politeness is a cause of personal insult.  It's an interesting duality.  One kind of politeness can indicate fondness, but politeness of a different kind is something often reserved for outsiders."

Outsiders.  As he had himself become.  His face hardened for a moment when he remembered his fiance' carefully couching her language when she suggested breaking off their arrangement. 

Well, that pain had been part of what brought him here.  Perhaps he should be grateful.

"In any event, you need not concern yourself over giving orders.  Not to me, and not to anyone in Starfleet.  It's just efficiency.  I don't think anyone is likely to take it personally.  Though... I well understand the difficulty in shedding the taboos of one's culture.  I still often feel shame when I smile.  On Vulcan, a small smile is akin to laughing maniacally in a crowded room."

As she explained how her culture differed from place to place, tribe to tribe, world to world, he nodded in appreciation.  "We ousted oddities, on Vulcan.  Anyone who didn't conform was invited to leave.  I think we are poorer for it.  Sometimes I think of the Romulan Empire, and I think, 'This exists only because my people couldn't stomach differences.'  I suppose we've matured a bit, since joining the Federation.  There was a time when IDIC was a sentiment barely expressed, despite it being a founding principle of our philosophy.  Though I suppose many people fall short of their ideals."

'I was sold to Boss Ngachi up there, for the Forestry Services. He paid such a high price, and my parents were so proud. I was so excited, it was my first job.'

Solluk blinked at this news, delivered not just matter-of-factly, but even happily.  Though he considered Jada a friend, he could not help but also think of her as a deeply damaged being.  Her brain had not been cooked by an energy discharge, but it had surely been injured by psychological traumas the likes of which he could barely imagine.

He resisted the urge to fix her, however.  Such feelings would be the death of any truth or respect that could exist between them.  A true friend helped you when you needed it, but loved you for who you were.  Friendship should not come with a maintenance plan or a refurbishment schedule.

He followed her lead, down through this jungle of revelation and horror.

Offline Jada

  • Second Officers
  • Competent Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 479
  • Awarded to any player who stuck with the site during the June 2017 Site Move Awarded to players who have been with the fleet for six months. Awarded to any player who writes the Post of the Month. Awarded to players who successfully complete the EPC or OTC.
    • View Profile
    • Awards
Re: Welcome to the Jungle (Jada & Solluk)
« Reply #16 on: July 08, 2017, 03:31:15 AM »
Nozama'kar, Holodeck

"I still often feel shame when I smile. On Vulcan, a small smile is akin to laughing maniacally in a crowded room."

'You shouldn't,' Jada remarked, 'You have a nice smile.' with a small one of her own. But privately, she was disturbed by what Solluk described of Vulcan culture. When she'd first heard of Vulcans, filtered through Orion gossip and misinformation to far-off, reclusive and xenophobic Thirat, to a child's ears, she'd pictured beings lobotomised to avoid all feeling and emotion, cold arrogant psychopaths who cared nothing for the feelings of others. The reality on coming to the Federation was very different, meeting people who seemed just impassive and repressed, and generally kind of boring and dorky. Solluk stood in counterpoint to that, balanced, open-minded, and charming, yet still the exception that proved the rule. But what he described now, with subtle flaws only an insider would realise, revived some of her old ideas of Vulcans. She couldn't imagine a people so similar and yet so very different to her own.

She led Solluk on through her village, or rather, this virtual reconstruction of it, steadily climbing the hill as they circled around it. The effort of climbing in this high gravity was wearying, and soon explained Jada's strong legs. On the way, she pointed out more sights, some mundane like a grand hall that was a community centre for meetings and events – 'Of course, this is the new one. The old one was destroyed in a fire three centuries back. It was really beautiful.' she described, as though she'd seen it with her own eyes and not through her parent's stories, as though three centuries old was still new. But then she had talked about being here ten thousand years.

Other sights were more unusual or shocking to Federation ears. 'That's the home of the lodubyaln – what you Federationen call Orion slave-girls.' The house was one of the largest and more beautiful, even palatial for this village, adorned with flowers and colourful pennants. These included some laundry, scarlet knickers included. Yet once again there was more beneath the surface. 'We only have one and her apprentice. D'lila is our chief entertainer – music, singing, poetry, dance, you name it, she can do it. She's a brilliant storyteller, knows all our tales and history and customs, especially when we forget. She organises celebrations and processions and helps negotiations go smoothly, keeps us getting along.' Jada spoke fondly of her; she sounded less like a resident prostitute or more like a keeper of culture and peace, even a much-loved leader. This was the traditional lodubyal of classic Orion culture, not the tawdry imitation rented to outsiders. 'Good with her tongue too... I mean, she always knows the right thing to say.' she corrected hurriedly.

'She's owned by Chief Zorba, patriarch of the clan, and Momma Vada, matriarch. My great great grand uncle and aunt, I think.' She pointed to another house, far away from the slave-girl's and not nearly as remarkable, nor seemingly that interesting.

Yet there were some things Jada didn't explain, mention, or even look at, like the sealed hatch that led underground.

Walking through this holographic representation had stirred up so many memories for Jada, of happy times and sad times, too many to tell them all. She'd only been gone a few years, but after being in the strange alien environments of Federation worlds and Starfleet ships, everything seemed unusual or different, not quite familiar but not strange. Just... off. She couldn't trust that this was an accurate simulation or not. Were the windows too big? Were the trees too short? Was the grass the right shade of green? Like how things seemed bigger when you were a child, memories of home seemed more idyllic than the harsh used world lived in every day. And this was before the war, before the damage and the doubtless occupation and repossession by the Nomab. The holodeck presented virtuals and ideals, not the reality. This wasn't Nozama'kar, only holographs and memories. But that’s all home ever really was in the end.

Jada went on with her earlier story, her voice tight and bitter in sad remembrance of their defeat. For a proud warrior, defeat was hard to accept. 'In the end, we were lost in the boardrooms and courtrooms, and in the fields. We had no chance… But we evacuated rather than let the Nomab take us and split up the Nozama. We destroyed our slavery contracts so they had no claim on us, withdrew our money before they seized our accounts, and spent our savings on a berth on a dingy transport off world. We were refugees. But the other Colonies didn't want us Thiratin... Thirat hasn't been willing to take refugees in the past, thinking that because it's so hard for others to live here, no one else should live here. They forget we had to adapt to this world as much as new people would… And we Thiratin kinda scare other Orions.'

Then we remembered d'Jada Nozama – I'm named for her. She served in the Orion Space Navy, and was an exchange officer in the Earth Starfleet over two centuries ago, fighting in the Romulan War. She brought back stories of Earth. So we went to the Federation, hoping this connection would be remembered. It wasn't, Starfleet apprehended us as illegal immigrants, but they gave us aid. I think the Federation feared us Orions too. We petitioned Holcomb's Planet, since they'd accepted Orions in the past. We settled their tropical region for them, exploring and finding pharmaceuticals, and keeping ourselves out of trouble.'
It was just as well, Jada thought. She didn't want to see the Nozama corrupted by so-called civilised life like so many other Orions were, falling into crime. It was important to hold onto the roots they'd planted deep in the earth.

'My cousin and I joined Starfleet, to repay the Federation, to be hostages to our clan's good behaviour, according to our custom. s'Metra's a cadet, but I couldn't wait and enlisted in Security. Lots of Thiratin going offworld become mercenaries, we're good at fighting, so I guess it's equivalent... No, we're of the Federation now, and I still need to protect my clan, so this feels like the best way. And maybe I just couldn't shake the military life.' she admitted, musing on her various reasons for joining Starfleet. Far from sounding uncertain, she felt more confident in her choice. She didn't have to have only one motive for doing anything, while multiple reasons only strengthened her resolve.

Reaching the top of the mound, they came to a pleasant clearing that surveyed the whole village and even saw open sky through a gap in the jungle canopy. It was the only large flat area around, and could be used for sports or large gatherings. Jada stomped the ground. 'This mound is built up from the old bones of Nozama'kar: our buildings, plumbing, rubbish, even our bodies. Every part of Nozama'kar has been destroyed and rebuilt, again and again. But Nozama'kar remains and rises ever higher. The trails here were worn by our feet, making grooves in the land. We've shaped this landscape like water on a boulder. We've been here ten thousand years, long enough to evolve an immunity to the local s'm'kax spider. The ground all around here is soaked with our blood, sweat, tears, and, hells, other bodily fluids. They say if you sample the ground you'll find Nozama DNA. This will always be our land.' she declared, voice full of pride and determination, in full understanding of her connection to the land, one that went beyond legal claims, buildings, or custom, but to genetics and the soul. It was a promise, not just to herself but to her clan that one day they would return, no matter how long it took.

At last, Jada sat on the grass, stretching her legs out, feeling the blades tickle her bare skin, green on green, and gestured Solluk to follow for a break. The perspiration and effort of getting here took a lot out of one, and Jada had done a lot of talking and hard remembering. 'Computer, flasks of water and jellied wing-slugs.' Two flasks and a bowl of slimy dead slugs with membranous wings appeared before her. Playing a good host, she offered a flask and the bowl to Solluk. 'Please forgive me, I've been monopolising the conversation. Would you like a jelly slug?' They would be sweet but chewy.


OOC: Way too much probably, but I'll wrap up the tour and story and let you take the lead. :)
EPC Instructor  (Tempest Personnel File)

 

Top RP Sites Top RP Sites RPG-D Top 100 Original SciFi Sites Maelstrom: You create the galaxy TO INFINITY AND BEYOND