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JPL: New Crew, Old Stories

USS Excelsior Logs and Narratives


by Lieutenant J.g. Sierra Gar & M'Terow P'Nulish
[Stardate ]

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M'Terow sits in twelve forward, at a table near the windows where distant stars move slowly by. She nursed a weak herbal tea, suggested by medical for better digestion but its taste made her whiskers twitch and she pushed the mug away. She looked out into space, contemplating her recent shift on the bridge, where she was able to operate the science console and be introduced to some of the bridge team. Including another Caitian, who was Helm officer. Her tail flicked.

The doors slid quietly open and Sierra walked in. It was rare she stopped in the ship's various lounge areas, but she was wanting to check up on someone. Her eyes scanned her surroundings before she spooted the new ensign, alone. She walked over and offered a friendly smile. "Enjoying the view?"

Deep in thought, thinking of how hard she'd worked to get assigned to a ship like Excelsior, she reminded herself that interpersonal relationships were important to an efficient team. Despite her innate tendency to mistrust those she did not know, she needed to remember that everyone here had worked hard to get their assignment. She probably had more in common with them than she thought. Her reverie was interrupted by a voice. She looked up, her golden eyes unreadable, and said, "Still getting used to it." She racked her brain trying to remember the name of the officer who had come in.. quickly adding, "I'm M'Terow, Ensign M'Terow Rrurr P'Nulish. Some call me Row for short."

Sierra's smile seemed to stay present as she slowly stuck out a hand. "Nice to meet you, M'Terow. I know how overwhelming it can be to be posted to a ship like the Excelsior. I've been there... and it was more overwhelming than you can know. So I'll make things easy for you." She chuckled to herself. "Call me Sierra."

M'Terow rose, finding that she and the human officer were practically the same height. She reached a gentle paw to touch the hand that was offered, it was a custom that still felt foreign to her, this shaking of hands. "I think I saw your name on the roster... Operations?" She gestured to a chair, "Join me?" She sat back down, tucking her tail away from the woman.

Sierra nodded casually in response. "That's right, chief of operations." She regarded M'Terow, seeming to be trying to commit her features to memory. Then a strange look crossed her face. She seemed to want to ask something.

Feeling the scrutiny of the woman M'Terow searched for something to say. It had been a day of encounters. Even after all her training in her lowest moments she felt like an imposter. She's studied everything she could and had aspired to be assigned to a respected ship. And here she was, instead of feeling proud she was like a fish out of water. She shifted restlessly. She was probably just tired. She looked back at Sierra, "You have beautiful fu-- hair."
Sierra looked appreciative. "Thank you," she responded. She seemed to notice M'terow's discomfort and gave her a reassuring, friendly look. "Easy," she said, her voice taking on a soft, reassuring tone. She clearly wanted to make the new crew member more comfortable,. "I like your furr too. You take care of it well."

Nodding M'Terow said, "That's the Cait way. How are things in Operations? I had a hard time deciding between science and ops. I did full training on flight control." She looked out at the stars again. "This is an impressive ship."

"That she is," responded Sierra in agreement. "I never thought I could feel this at home..." she paused, trailing off for a moment as her eyes seemed to grow distant. She seemed momentarily distracted as though remembering something before she managed to bring herself back to reality. "Anyway... it's certainly a challenge. But I enjoy facing it."

"How long did it take you to feel at home?" She notices Sierra seems distracted and adds, "Is something wrong?"

She shook her head quickly. "Sorry, I was just remembering something. From before I was lucky enough to find myself here. I was M.I.A for twelve years before the Excelsior found me, on pure luck. If I could adapt to that... I'm sure you'll be at ease here soon enough, as well."

"M.I.A.? Twelve years is... a long time," M'Terow said with surprise and was unable to stop herself showing interest. She hoped it was polite to be curious.

Sierra nodded slowly. "The first two of which I thought I was dead for. There was... nothing. Just green. Green all around. I couldn't really move. Some... thing, held me still."

She found herself interested and looked into Sierra's face, waiting for more details. "I've never heard of anything like that," she invited the officer to say more.

Sierra chuckled quietly. "I hope you never do after today." She looked out a nearby window before she began to speak again. "Basically... it was my first ever assignment. I was barely out of the academy. We were on our way to join a fleet against the Borg. We didn't make it. None of us did. One moment I was at my station. There was barely time to register anything was off... and then I felt lightheaded. My vision blurred. The next thing I knew, I was alone. No one to talk to. Nowhere to go. Nothing to do. I was just, alone, in a void of green. I was in there, for two years or so. The next thing I knew I was... I can only say deposited, on a planet, with some of the other crew members who were assigned to my post. We had to start from scratch. We had no food, no shelter, nothing. Not even clothes.... though that was fixed rather quickly." She laughed. "The rest... is rather boring. Was down there for ten years, or so. The makeshift colony is actually still there, as are some of the crew who made a life for themselves and chose to stay behind. I jumped at the chance to leave, and here I am."

She looked about briefly. "It took a little while before I got past the... terror. "What if this was all a dream? What if the, Green Devil, as I came to call it, returned, took me, and the Excelsior's crew as well? But I got past that, and here I am."

M'Terow's expression changed from wonder to fear to confusion. "The 'green devil'? What was it?" She'd heard of the Borg, of course - everyone had - but not this.. "Was it... Borg assimilation?" A tremor went through her body and her whiskers twitched. How could Sierra be so calm telling that story.

"I called it, The Green Devil... because that's all it was. Green. On the inside, green on the exterior. A green sphere. One which held me captive, for two years. No one to talk to, nothing to do. It's what delivered me to the planet."

Full of the curiosity of a scientist M'Terow leaned forward. "I don't understand. How did you even survive? And what held you like that?" She racked her brain trying to imagine what it might have been like. Two years in the same place, constrained from moving, from doing. No use. Nothing in her experience... except perhaps having to submit to some medial or dental procedure, was anything like what Sierra described. "How did you... get through it?"

Sierra gave a simple response. "I got through it because I had no choice. I survived because... it... forced me to." She shrugged lightly.

M'Terow felt deflated by the cryptic response. At the same time, perhaps it was not a subject to talk about for too long. "I'm glad you made it through," she said politely. "And then you discovered you had not been alone all that time?"

Sierra gave a slight nod. "I guess you could look at it that way. Everyone else who I talked to had gone through the same thing. I don't really know how we survived it given I don't recall eating or drinking at all."

"Has anyone tried to figure out what happened? It doesn't sound like a natural phenomenom. Were... I don't know... were you and the others 'used' in some way for those years?"
"Natural?" Sierra asked. "No, it wasn't natural. And as far as I know, we weren't... "used" at all. There was just nothing to do."

M'Terow was both curious and confused at the cryptic responses. But before she could ask any other questions, her tricorder beeped. She pulled it out and turned off the alarm. "I'm going ot have to excuse myself.. Sierra. I have a training session in a few minutes. It was nice to meet you and talk with you." She rose, straightened her uniform and looked down at the officer with quizzical eyes. "Some time I'd like to here more." She nodded again and moved towards the exit.

&Gar&&
   
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