Obsidian Command

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Selected Quotes July '23

Posted on 04 Aug 2023 @ 9:23am by Commander Calliope Zahn


Data Gathering
To investigate the career of a person in public office is like falling into a rabbit hole. There is so much dirt to dig up. Mr Moreau, (first name Etienne, a word easy enough to write but he didn’t have a clue how to pronounce it) had done well in this area. He had creditors everywhere and the man seemed to live from promises to promises. An authentic walking and talking promissory note, that man was. Also, no less than five colonies had collapsed because of him. Yet, that hewmon had so far avoided full responsibility. Worse still, everywhere he showed his pretty face, people were inclined to trust him. This man was a mystery.

“My ‘ma used to say that when you allow technology to speak,” Glutik commented with blatant glee, “you are in deep trouble. Of course, she never used such polite terms. She always swore like a Klingon.”

Getting right off the starting blocks
There was a bot sweeper that twisted and motored to one side to accommodate them as they walked. Its little display screen formed a holographic happy face and it said 'excuse me please' in twelve different languages. David smirked when it said 'bug off, stupid' in Tellerite, and 'Clear the way' in Klingon. Both perfectly common for the situation.

Sandwiches, Sheep & Seagulls
“Anyway with a couple of her other senior staff doing dumb things I’d think your performance was above average,” He tried, then nearly bit his tongue as he remembered she was married to Quinn. Now that was an unlikely couple, the zero-personality Engineer and her…

“You beat yourself up like this regularly?” Steiner asked “Or is this a special occasion?”

[...] She threw down the napkin beside her plate, and tried to wave it all off. “Sorry. My therapist is also out of comms reach. I guess I’ve been hurting for a friend to talk to, either way.”

Quantum Uncertainty
Like so many things Calliope had learned of Lance, the fact that he was a mamma’s boy was something that she’d found kind of sweet. It only stung when she sat between them or made any kind of demand on him that she disapproved of. Lance favored satisfying his mother’s wishes over anything she felt. And always just when it would become nearly unbearable to be the woman’s daughter in law, Lance's mother would say something kind and disarming.

“Oh, no, I’m not—” Calliope had wanted to explain. She was on a prescription and she wasn’t like the Orions in the holodeck adventure series. But all that was too personal to discuss with a man in a proper dinner jacket. Instead she’d blushed. “Not a pirate or anything. My mother has roots here on Earth.”

“Has she? Where abouts?”

“The Caribbean Isles.”

“Pirates on both sides of your tree...” Her future father in law had chuckled.

Not talking was one of their primary modes of communication.

“Well, it hasn’t been the same, trying to cover the gap he’s left in our projects. We’ll need twelve minds to make up for what he was able to produce just in quantity, to say nothing of his mental acuity, and his tenacity in attacking complex quantum evaluation matrices.”

In other words, Calliope knew Lance was irreplaceable. “It will be hard to fit all twelve of his replacements into the contact badge-in image.”

Maris smirked at her former co-worker's funny wife, who he'd left the division for. “I hope he’s enjoying drying out his eyelids staring at stardock power grid outputs and cycle rates. Thank you for calling the Office of Engineering Design & Development, Theoretical Propulsion Design Division. Lieutenant Maris out.”

Considering Lance’s old department contact card, Calliope slid the rings on and off.

On and off.

Where Waters Meet
“How much more powerful are the Pyrryx that people who can create something from nothing are running away from them? Perhaps our war was misguided like the tadpole said,” Uanika responded.

One Last Duty
“Did you get the data recorders and PADD, Captain?”

“I did. Chief Xeri provided me everything. As soon as we’re back in comm’s range, I will send it all, along with everything else. Officially, I should just send it back in the data stream. But, the tradition is that I send it under the Sunrise’s signature. Her final transmission,” she declared solemnly.

He found himself tearing up. Trying to comport himself proved almost impossible and he began to try and talk around the lump in his throat. “I’m sorry, Sir. I…uh…um. It’s just…” he sucked in a breath and let out a shaky one, steadying himself. “After getting Ibis and the kids off the planet. Those were it. The last of my duty to the Sunrise.”

Wallace’s eyes widened slightly, “You mean to tell me that Starfleet knew of the Pyrryx? Was that before or after the Sunrise?”

“I suspect well before,” Corvus answered.

“Before?” he pushed himself up a little, “Folks have been operating out here not knowing…Good God. They ripped through the Sunrise in less than ten minutes. Why didn’t they warn us? Why didn’t they share information?”

“There’s nothing to share. They’re bogey men. We have a few scattered security feeds, one encounter with a Luna-class vessel and the debris remains of another. There’s next to no information available on the Pyrryx. What your logs have, and what we’ve gathered during our escape, are the best intel we’ve got on them. Starfleet has no idea that that planet was in Pyrryx space. Let alone had that information when the Sunrise was in this area.”

The Borg had once been like that: a rumor or myth to be taken no more seriously than monsters under the bed. Why was it always like that? “I suppose,” Wallace finally said.

Ante Up
“Two pair,” Wallace threw his own cards down and leaned back with a sigh. “I’m a little out of practice. Should’ve folded two antes ago. Doctor, that stuff you’ve been giving me makes it seem like cotton-balls are stuffed in my brain. Was doping me just a quick way to win at cards?”

A Tiki Wake
The loss of Minka and the soul-crushing fallout of that on Ptolemy had his heart raw and clawing for calm. Add to all of that he was now the XO on a Fleet command station whose Captain was off on an away mission and he was now having to deal with a four-pip Admiral, and he was overwhelmed on the professional side. The two stresses were fright trains hurtling at three hundred miles an hour right at one another. He had to find a way to work through it, or else, he might be the next one to go down.

“Ptol,” Thad replied quietly. “I… I don’t know what to say.”

“Yeah,” he replied, glancing up at Matthieu, “Isn’t really anything to say, is there?” He sighed, turning back to the cup and taking another drink.

“Aye,” Ptolemy nodded proudly. “I said to myself, I said, Ptol. That’s a woman that can handle anyone. That’s the kind of woman for you,” he said, smiling painfully again. “And that’s what I did. I went head first after that woman. And I…” he cleared his throat and took a drink. “I wouldn’t be the me I am without her.”

“She touched all of us in her way,” Matthieu agreed, holding back a smirk. Both of them looked at him, uncertain why. “You remember how awful she was at bowling?” he asked, playfully quiet.

“Put that ball through the wall like it was nothing!” Ptolemy roared with laughter.

Proud Mary, Rollin’ Rollin’
Once back in position, the robot bent into a fighting stance, legs planted wide, hips back, chest leaning forward, keeping its center of balance perfectly aligned, shoulders hunched, arms slightly raised, elbows locked, the right eight-fingered hand clenched in a fist; the left triple-talons in a spear-point.

Then it did something completely unexpected, it gave a loud booming growl!

The sound was somewhere between an almost natural animal cry and a synthetic sort of static reverberating snarl. It was felt as much as heard and made HaiRoa’s hair stand on end.

The warrior collided with the display, a tailors dummy with its suit jacket went flying, a wooden trouser press was smashed to splinters, the pants and shirt draped over it caught fire. The Pyrryx stumbled to its feet, the robot fired a second six-round salvo and the warrior fell backwards crushing a wooden chair and a wine table.

The third Pyrryx rushed at the robot, which kicked out with its left foot, slamming the food cart towards the warrior and letting loose at it with a rotational barrage. Several shots hit the cart which exploded, showering the area with some kind of meat and sauce subs. The Pyrryx hurled the cart aside, at which point the robot shot it in the helmet with another six-shot volley and the warrior dropped. The robot took two steps forward and shot it again, beams hitting the neck, elbows and knees. The Pyrryx stayed down.

For All Our Sakes
“He’s a Three-dimensional Chess Life-master, Mars Division.” Back when there had been an active Mars Division… “I think he’ll recognize the opening on the board. I’ll do what I can to clear the rest of my pieces.”

A Clear Decision
It had been one hell of a day, even by their more recent standards, one that had taxed her mind near to the breaking point. Not just because of the amount of things that had to be handled, but because of the perpetual dance around the gigantic cloaked elephant in the room that seemed to be there in every conversation. Every single one. It was enough to drive someone mad and it nearly had Corvus there.

Meeting the Team
Samual looked at each supervisor making eye contact.

"That cannot be allowed to happen here. Stay on top of things. I expect quality and safety updates in every shift report. Understood?"

Cast Away
“I had not realised that this is also how you see me, Oroff.” Brek remarqued, a little disappointed.

“You keep asking questions, young master. Not all answers are pleasant. Still, to resume my explanation. The reason why you were selected to take care of Desha is that - I warn you - you may not like the sound of what I’m going to say - as far as we know, you are the only honest Ferengi on the planet. You can be trusted.”

Those words, barely audible, resounded in Brek’s large brain like a furious bee. An honest Ferengi who could be trusted. For any son of Ferenginar, this was an abominable description. It meant that you could be used and abused. It also marked you as a useless businessman. One doomed to ensure the success of others whilst condemning yourself to repeated failures.

Miscalculations, Great and Small
“I shall summon us some breakfast,” Lance said through the door. The phrasing absurdly seeming as if he was going to ring the butler and not simply gather his tray from the replicator like anyone else.

Calliope lifted the cover over the tray and found it exactly as she expected, right down to the stars. Was it really her that was so predictable? Or was Lance just comforted by the idea that he could predict her and she’d leaned into it, thinking that’s what marriage was? All of these well intended compromises. Calliope replaced the lid and walked it to the replicator to clear it. She entered protocol for a shake. Not the usual sludge. Salted caramel frozen mocha. Damn everyone else’s programs for her this morning.

A Sprout in the Gunks
"I don't want my daughter to be some ill mannered dirty little wilding. When I had no daughter, it seemed a fair enough thing to just read the engravings on the rock or whatever to Fana." She waved her hand dismissively. "I just said some words from an old poem. Now I don't see why it should matter to some imaginary capricious woodland goblin lady how I raise my child."

Trouble's Precursor
“Every friend we had either sold us out or turned their backs, and now a man drops a name and you forget! Don’t make my heart sick again, Xerne!”

Surgical Tandem
Adrenalin coursed through her veins in a quantity that she was peripherally aware would cause a crash of monumental proportions, once she'd exhausted herself...but there wasn't time in the here and now for that.

Stranger on the shore
Those two loved each other. They had always been love sick for each other, even before the Sunrise had crashed. It was only the two of them acting like they didn't know it.

“So what?” Wallace flew into a rage, “Let’s say there’s a conspiracy that threatens the universe and this guy is the key to understanding all of it! What exactly are we supposed to do? Throw rocks at the problem? Carve the word ‘DANGER’ into the beach with sticks in hopes that a passing starship glances our way? Right now—”

But it was obvious she was applying conviction like repair tape, trying to patch over the chasm of uncertainty.

Steiner: Stranger no more
Jolwut was a weasel, but a highly accomplished ass-kissing weasel and a weasel with a powerful Rabbi, who had smoothed his way.

A New Nightmare
“A little bit?” she repeated, like he had said something silly. “You always do things by half, Brek. That’s one of your problems. You either want to accomplish something, or you don’t. Do you want to harm them?”

“Do you like her, though?”

What an odd question that was. “No. Why should I? She is old.”

“She is only two years older than you, little beetle.” There was reproach in her voice. Cold and unforgiving. Coming from a woman who, according to rumours, had dispatched all her husbands beyond the Great Material Continum, this was pretty rich.

“Yep. That’s the definition of old. Since you need to be enlightened, I prefer younger women. Like in their twenties.”

“You mean, like all cads do?

Wildlife Watching
The voices of bullfrogs reminded her that there were others that liked the bugs a fair bit more than she did. An outline of a heron standing off in the tall weeds reminded her, too, that there were those who didn’t mind the song of bullfrogs.

As she restowed the padd, Ibis noted all the broken bark around the base of the tree. Something had practically peeled it, starting from much taller than she could stand, and whoever it had been, they had broken up the lower branches as well. Maybe the something’s name was Andrew Wilson, she thought, rolling her eyes as she pressed forward, gathering up one of the broken branches. She completely missed noticing the long claw marks carved into the other side of the tree, which would have absolved Andrew of the vandalism to nature she was ascribing to him.

Ibn Sharjar: The Trickster's hammer of fire
He had experienced them before, but never outside of the protection of his ship. Loki was an angry star; it frequently threw out its venomous rage across the planets it had spawned, and Obsidian was often the target of its spite.

He smiled a little behind his own mask, it was rather exhilarating, pounding across the glass plains in a column, on an enormous insect.

Two hours later he was not smiling. The pace was brutal, the beetle’s galloping action was giving his bruises bruises and he was feeling more than a little seasick. On top of that, the wind had picked up, the previously annoying clatter and rattle of grit had become a battering blast. The sky had darkened and when he peered over his shoulder there was a massive dust storm building up on the northern horizon, ominous roiling black and gray clouds of grit. The storm was gaining on them and above it all was the white heat glare of Loki. The corona was clearer than before, as was the spurt of plasma heading across the void towards Obsidian.

Others had seen the same and the columns pace quickened more. Fifta’s legs became a blurring clatter as she surged onwards. With the tribe riding four abreast, anyone who fell would have been instantly trampled to a bloody pulp beneath them.

Minutes later the storm caught up to them and the column was engulfed in a dark maelstrom of flying grit and shards of glass. It tore at Ibn Sharjar’s thwab, trying to find anyway in, the grit stung and plucked at him. The shards hammered on the Earulsu’s shells, making an unholy clatter. Visibility dropped to just a few yards and they rode on in a black swirling cacophony, thundering southwards.

Communication was impossible and Ibn Sharjar could only just make out Hrada alongside, the boys little more than a blurry hump on his back. The riders in front and behind were almost impossible to see. He hunched down in the saddle holding on grimly, unable even to check the time. How long they had ridden he had no idea, nor how long they had before the sunstorm fell upon them.


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