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Posted on Mon Jul 25th, 2022 @ 8:45am by Captain Shran dh'Klar & Lieutenant Ayana Hillis & Commander Samantha Howard & Lieutenant Commander Shoniara T’ghann-Travis Dr & Ensign T'Plana-hath & Ensign James Phoenix

Mission: A Trip to Middle Earth
Location: Holodeck

Darkness fell, blanketing anything not within the light of the fire in an inky blackness so dense, one could almost feel it. Despite the mass of solid rock surrounding them in the cave, there was a definite chill in the air, causing Sam to shiver slightly. There was a small amount of food to be shared, not nearly enough to survive more than a few days on though. The only option was to go deeper underground, into the realm of the Dwarves - Moria.

T'Plana sat watch, she could feel the heat from the fire from her watch position. She absently worked on arrows. She would sit the entire watch, one of the advantages of her past trainings, she could go several days without sleep and minimal food and water. She thought upon what the captain said, it would be difficult for her to 'get close' to the crew, previous experiences had taught her to be cautious and suspicious, but she would try as she considered the captains advice as an order.

Shran sat against the cave wall, the fire close by but not overly so. He waited to make sure both Sam and Shon had been tended to before even considering rest. He wasn't showing it outwardly, but he was concerned. This program was now far more dangerous than he had intended. He knew that they were trading one danger for another once they entered Moria. But they were limited in choices. He could only hope that they were aware of the predicament and were trying to get them out of the holodeck.

Ayana sat next to the captain. She was supposed to be resting, but she was too concerned with guarding the captain. She was considering what they might encounter inside Moria. Orcs and goblins for sure, possibly even cave trolls. If things were as she thought, they would be spared having to deal with a balrog. It was not something she wanted to dwell on.

Shon woke suddenly immediately feeling the oppressive feel of the cave around her. She had been dreaming of the sunlight and a day out with her husband and Shasta so recently returned to her. She knew that some of the crew felt that the return of her deceased daughter was wrong and the possible price that they might have to pay would be too much. She stood and stretched walking over to T’Plana whom she noted was still standing watch. She sat down beside her wanting to reach out and touch her arm but knowing that Vulcans did not like to be touched. “How are you doing?” Shon asked simply.

T’Plana looked at Lieutenant Shoniara, “I am well enough.” T’Plana continued to study the woman next to her, “You are half Vulcan, yet you do not seem to embrace the school of Tu-Surak, nor the schools of Nirak or Tu-Jarok; and most definitely not a follower of the school of T’Mor. May I ask what school of philosophy you follow? Is this why you make such radical decisions based on emotion instead of suppressing your emotions and using logic. I mean no offense, I am merely trying to reconcile how emotions effect one’s decision making. I myself succumbed once to my emotions and it shattered my mind. It took four years of intense healing and study under the monks of Nirak to restore me to balancing my emotions and logic.”

Shon sighed and spoke. “When I was young the last thing I wanted was to be bound by logic. My Risan genetics constantly fought against any kind of formal Vulcan teachings. My parents tried but I was very wild and ran from the schools I was sent to. After the tragedy of my family I did not care what happened to me. I left StarFleet and became a pilot on an ore mining colony. Most of the time I was drunk. Then a Vulcan called Valev T’Ghrek found me and, for whatever reason saved me. I began to value and learn the teachings of Tu-Surak. At times I am swept by emotion such as where my daughter and my husband are concerned. I meditate every evening but do find it difficult, I don’t know where I would be without my emotions.” She smiled, “it is a lot more complicated than that really.”

T'Plana nodded and smiled at Lieutenant Shoniara. "I can understand your quandary, perhaps you should try the school of Nirak, I am a follower of the path of Nirak. You would most likely find it most equitable of the schools of thought. It teaches that the more violent emotions are to be repressed, but virtue can be found in less destructive passions, especially curiosity and joy. It does however maintain that a high degree of temperance is necessary to keep even the most encouraging of one's emotions in check. Or if you find that school of thought not to your liking the path of Tu-Jarok may be to your understanding, as I understand it the followers of Tu-Jarok seek mastery over the 'Inner Chorus' by embracing emotion, understanding it, and finally coming to terms with it. I know of a master of Tu-Jarok should you wish to pursure that course, and several masters of Nirak should you wish to pursure that course. I only offer you these options as I find your family did you a disservice by not informing you of these paths of logic and emotion control." T'Plana again look at Shon "Please forgive me if I have offended you by offering alternatives to your struggles with emotion and logic, I meant none. I just know the difficulties of the 'struggle' to contain one's emotions." she said with a sad smile.

Shon smiled at the Vulcan, “believe you me my father and three Academy’s did try to instill Vulcan teaching. I ran away from two and was asked to leave by the other. They felt too restrictive at the time. Now I am older I feel a pull towards logic and emotional control. Maybe we should meet and discuss it further once this has ended?”

T'Plana nodded and gave a brief, slight smile "That will be fine, as I have stated there are alternatives to Tu-Surak that you may find more suitable." She then looked at the arrows she had made and did a quick count "I have forty-five arrows, then strictly hand to hand and melee for me. You should rest, I am more than capable and trained for a prolonged time without sleep. One last thing, should I begin to sing a very ancient Vulcan battle song, it will affect your Vulcan half. It will stir a blood lust; similar to the Pon-farr male Vulcans feel, increase your awareness of the battlefield; making it appear as if your opponents are three steps behind your every move. You will also not feel any injuries sustained until the battle is over. The strangest effect though, like I pointed out is the battlefield awareness, you will be mind linked with everyone seeing what they see, allowing you to make tactical decisions in regard to who needs help the most and who is injured the most. The others will feel an uplifting of their spirits and be able to draw off both our mental strength. It is very confusing when one experiences it for the first time and can become addictive."

Shon leant back, her shoulder aching. “I will listen for your song T’Plana.” She said her eyes closing imagining a battle scene unfolding as the Vulcan talked about until she again dodged in the smoky darkness.

Seeing Shran deep in thought Sam shuffled over and plonked down next to him, still close enough to be warmed by the fire but out of ear shot of the rest of the team.

" You're concerned" She said simply, as though stating the obvious. " Got a plan?"

Shran turned to her, his eyes closed and gave a smile. "Mostly just trying to ensure nobody gets killed. Anything beyond that I am sure you and your medical staff can fix. As long as we are quiet, being inside Moria shouldn't be overly hazardous. Once the inhabitants inside are aware of us though, things will become far more tactical. With a bit of luck, things won't get to that point though."

" Whatever it throws at us - we'll manage. It's what we do" Sam shrugged with a confidence she didn't entirely believe herself. " Any musings as to how or why we're trapped in here? Want me to try and pop the top off one of the holodeck control relays? There should be one stashed behind those rocks over there" Sam offered, pointing to an inconspicuous pile of rocks in the cave.

"Could we be passing any anomalous nebula's or anomalies in general?" Phoenix inquired as he leaned back against the wall while sitting down.

"No Sam, I don't want to chance anything at this point." He sat contemplative. "I would assume this is because of some sort of anomaly, possibly a nebula. At some point Jon and the others will take notice and will work to get us out. We just have to hold out until Jon figures out how best to get us out. Celes is with him. Between the two of them they will figure out what is going on. I worry though about Callie. In her current condition, the stress this may cause her could be detrimental."

Sam nodded sagely, concern for those both inside the holodeck and out bubbling within her. " You don't think there's another intelligence at play here? Or just a random co-incidence of the holodeck program going hinky"

Shran shook his head. "No other intelligence. I'm sure Hela will be far mor tactful and blunt when she comes calling. This is little more than a malfunction we have to deal with."

Shon replaced her leather armor around her trying to ignore the ache in her wounded shoulder and began to clean and sharpen her sword until it gleamed razor sharp in the light of the fire. As she sharpened the rhythmic sound became a swish of stone against metal almost musical. Shon began to sing softly,
“ Arise now, arise, Riders of Théoden!
Dire deeds awake, dark is it eastward.
Let horse be bridled, horn be sounded!
Forth Eorlingas!”

Shran smiled as he heard Shon sing. "At least someone is having a good time" he said with a grin.

Ayana gave a soft chuckle. "She isn't alone."

Shran looked around, "I would say most of us look to have enjoyed this little respite. We should press on soon."


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