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Double double, toil and Trouble...

Posted on Thu Dec 7th, 2017 @ 3:23pm by Lieutenant Commander Mel Torma & Lieutenant Colonel Jonathon Hayter [Hawkins] & Cadet Junior Grade Zul'arra

Mission: Operation Red Garden

At the moment, the Dalacari had a bit of time to indulge in a bit of curiosity and if it's one thing the Dalacari were known for back in their neck of the 'verse, it was curiosity.

And thus, roaming around the various department registries, one stood out. "Marines." she mused to herself. She was WELL familiar with the term, and what it meant, and even having had met some on her tour thus far. Though, it'd be nice to see them in their native environs, talk to some of them, really get to know what makes them tick. So, the twin forms took a walk towards what was commonly known as 'Marine Country' in the 'Fleeter' side of the Gladiator, and after a few turbolift trips and a few hallways, she found herself approaching Marine Country, a PaDD in one set of hands, and smiles on each muzzle.

"Can I help you two?" Lt. Colonel John Hayter questioned as he stepped around the corner to see twin officers which stuck out like a sore thumb. On his right, a young female alien humanoid in his shadows. She looked at the twins, herself and raised an eyebrow in curiosity but kept silent.

The pair turned and gave Hayter a smile each, "I'm just here to satisfy some curiosity, is all. Actually, maybe you could help me out if you aren't terribly busy. And I know how callous and insensitive this might sound..." and that talking twin just stopped. Boom. Hit the brakes.

Fortunately, her sister picked up the call at the exact moment, "...but I'm rather curious as to the how the Marines function on the Gladiator, and was wondering if you could show me around? Answer a few questions?" she inquired.

"Okay, that was creepy. Why are you two finishing each other's sentences... or rather thoughts?" Zul'arra, the female alien asked as she looked between him and the two before them.

"Uh..." John shrugged as though his jaw had dropped on the ground, trying to figure out what was going on himself. "... Don't know, but I think I need another drink..."

"... It is not even lunch, are all your species always require alcohol?" Zul'arra questioned as she focused on the Colonel.

"Hey... I am one of a kind..." the colonel shrugged with a slight grin.

"Oh, how rude of me. No introductions... smooth." and the one twin that wasn't talking offered Hayter her hand. "My name is Mel Torma, I'm a Dalacari." she paused for effect. "Dalacari are a binary lifeform. Two bodies, one gestalt intelligence."

The one that was previously silent spoke up now. "We evolved from swarm predators that formed a cloud empathy with their pack, which let them pretty much become the dominant predatory lifeform despite being..."

"... hardly a foot and a half long each. Over a few hundred thousand generations, well, evolution kicked in. They got smarter, and the cloud got smaller. Present day, here we are." the pair smiled.

"I'm 'A' Dalacari. My name is Mel Torma. It's a pleasure to meet you." it didn't seem like her repeating herself, more a statement of self.

"Right..." John stated as he slowly shook one of the form's hands as he looked at the two figures before him, one at a time. A slight chuckle escaped from Zul'arra's lips as she looked down shaking her head. "What?"

"She repeated herself because she thinks you are slow," the young female eased up on her chuckling, but a slight smile still was still on the future cadet's face. It was a rare moment when she was found to be smiling.

"Oh look at you, you made a funny," John glarred at her as he cleared his throat before returning to Mel. "So what do you want to know about my department, four eyes?"

"Well actually I.." and then she thought it over for a moment, and technically he was correct. "Well, to be short, Dalacari don't have Marines, so I was curious as to your history. As a division. I see a lot of bonding, a lot of brotherhood, so is there..."

"... an initiation? Rituals and traditions? Are there specializations are you all generally proficient in the tasks of everyone else?"

"Yup!" John stated right before he pulled his pistol that had been holstered to his thigh and raised it at one of the form's known as Mel, but was quickly stopped as Zul'arra pushed his hand down.

"No, I doubt Captain Hawkins would like that idea and the possiblity of you starting an interstellar war between Federation and her people, sir," Zul'arra reminded him.

He rolled his eyes as he reholstered. "Oh I was just kidding... I wasn't really..." He paused before he finishing the thought. He cleared his thought and and looked at the officer before him. "Sorry."

When he looked back at Mel, he saw that look of fear in her eyes. That crippling concern of harm to her well being. Her pupils were tiny little dots in her eyes, her posture was leaning more towards 'Flight' than 'Fight', and she was acutely aware of exactly how far she was from every exit in the room. She took a shaky breath, and held it before trying to sort herself out.

"No there really isn't rituals or traditions, per say. Marines are known to be tactically capable in both warfare and hand to hand combat, Simply put," John explained as he looked her over for a bit. "Honestly... I am sorry. I was just messing with you is all. Don't worry."

"Just be ready to defend yourself against him, ma'am," Zul'arra finished Hayter's thought as though he intended too.

"I... I'm sorry if I ..." she finally found her voice, but it was choked back as she regained something of her footing. There was something damp around her eyes, but that's just space dust. "I..." another shaky breath, then she just closed her eyes and counted silently until the trembles stopped.

"I... I'm alright. I'm... I'm alright." and then after a moment, she opened her eyes. "Okay, so that was... terrifying."

"Hey... hey... hey" John raised his hands up in surrender as he leaned in slightly lowering his voice. "I am here to protect you and others. Didn't really think that would have scared ya. I mean, you look pretty well off when it comes to handling yourself. Heck, I don't see how you and your people aren't more predatorial by what you said."

She gave a nod, a lot calmer now then she was a few seconds ago, "Well... w... we used to be predators. Top of the chain really. Then about, oh I dunno seven million years later..." she said with an amused smile creeping up on each face.

"Dalacari put ourselves as far from danger as we can. See, the trick is... if I punch you in the shoulder, she's not going to really be bothered." Mel explained, motioning to Zul'arra.

"If you hurt either of my bodies, I feel it. We just gotta be real careful. I mean, you gave me a hell of a scare but I ... yeah, you scared me." she admitted. "And thanks for.. you know saying I ..."

"... can take care of myself. Means a lot to a Dalacari to know they're good on their own." another deep breath, and then she gave a pair of nods. "Alright, I think I'm alright now. I forgive you."

There was a long pause before he finally sighed and nodded. "So your species are not confrontational. How have they not been threatened or destroyed? I mean, the only thing I can think of is a drone system or a subclass species you have overthrown."

"Defensive accords with a neighboring race who are more than capable of defending themselves and us as well. Not to mention our drone militia." she paused, "Space fighter class drones, scouts, and ..."

"... various forms and forces of ground troops. All drones." she pointed out. "So, yeah more of the former. Plus we always have Ts'usugi escorts when we venture into space, it's part of the..."

"... accord. They keep us safe, we share our research and starmaps with them and keep our shared border safe."

"Ts'usugi?" Zul'arra questioned as she raised her eye brows in slight confusion but more concern.

The pair gave a nod, grateful to be off the subject of her near close encounter of the ballistic kind. "They're a race of singular bipedals that bear a striking resemblance to a creature Terrans call 'Rabbits'. Proud, mysterious to the point of nearly cryptic, though they honor..."

"... a deal once they make it. Yeah, their name is a mouthful, but I hear it translates well in their own tongue." she admitted. "They're our oldest allies, and neither side of the accord..."

"... has even once ever suspected the other of acting against it."

"My people were told that the Ts'usugi are evil beings tall, and savage." The young cadat answered as she thought to herself.

Mel shook her head, then backtracked and put on a thoughtful face, "Well, when their ears are up they *look* tall, and to their enemies they could come off as militaristic... but savage? No." The Dalacari thought for a moment more, before she continued.

"They're a deep culture, and yes from the outside looking in, they're very enigmatic. They like their secrets and don't really do much to clear the fog, if you would. See, every one of..."

"... those secrets, those misunderstandings, those stories ... they kinda all work for the Ts'usugi. If no one knows anything concrete about your capabilities or your reach, then no one..."

"... really wants to be the first to find out. Having personally met quite a few of them, I can assure you they're actually noble people. Once you get through the fog, I mean." there was a pause, then the proverbial light bulb went off.

"You're a LONG way from home too, aren't you?"

This was a question she even wandered as she shrugged ever so slightly. "I would not know. Space travel never was thought off as we thought stars were our ancestors of old watching over us. At least not until our overlords came down and gave us a chance to join their heavenly cause. But they demanded some requirements on our end..." Zul'arra tried to explain a little but sighed before looking up at the twin figure. "... some of us were sent away to the land in which Commander Kavi found us and taught my people the truths of the galaxy."

Mel's features turned from curiosity to sympathy then back to curiosity. "Tell me about your people then, if you don't mind? I mean, I want to learn as much as I can. If you'd indulge?" she really didn't know how to politely ask about someone's entire species.

"My people are the Nygnu. We never reached space travel but felt as though we were added to their forces on what we called their sky palaces," Zul'arra explained as she answered.

"So much for you coming down here to ask about marines," John broke the converation for a moment looking between the three bodies but two forms. It was kind of weird.

"I am sorry, Colonel... Lieutenant." Zul'arra apologized as she stepped back and nodded at Mel in respect.

"No no no.. two sets of ears, remember?" and both of the forms of Mel Torma waggled their ears atop their head. "I can't actually hold two conversations, mind you, but I can always come back to the topic of..."

"... your very interesting sounding journey, and the people that made it, once we're done here. Say, over lunch?" she offered Zul'arra.

The young marine cadet wasn't completely sure of this but then looked over at John for approval. All he did was shrug his shoulders as he pointed at her leaving it only to her. She looked back at the twin form and nodded. "That would be acceptable."

" 'That would be acceptable'?" John looked at her shaking his head. "You talk weird."

Mel actually smiled, "Imagine how weird you sound to me." she held that smile for a moment before it broke into a giggle. "Sorry, just... weird."

"What's that supposed to mean?" John countered almost caught off guard by the alien(s) officer before them.

Mel's smile conveyed that she meant no offense. "Well, I have two pairs of ears. I hear you from two different points. If I were on opposite ends of a room, it'd almost sound like you had an echo."

"Oook..." He chuckled slightly unsure how to take what he heard but shrugged it off as though it came from a crazy person.

"By the way, actual echoes sound very different to me. Again, because of the two sets of ears." she explained. "And sometimes, when I hear my own voice, it sounds weird to me for just a moment."

"Yeah..." John stated not completely sure how to respond to that but before he could say anything else, his training cadet cut in.

"... So even after years of hearing your own voice, you still are thrown off by hearing yourself? I mean, we all hear ourselves, but you hear yourself from two different points of view. So wouldn't that one overpower your other set of ears" Zul'arra countered interested for sure.

"Well, after years of hearing your own voice, do recordings of your voice still sound weird?" Mel asked with a smirk. She paused for a moment, before continuing with what initially brought her here.

"I've recently completed my certification for strategic field tactical..."

"... deployment. Recon scout and sniper accreditation is the best way to parallel. I'm a good shot, damn good if I'm allowed to say so, and I'd like to take some time to..."

"... work with you and your crew so that should there ever be a joint venture, I'm not out of the loop." she offered. "Now that I have something of an idea as to what Starfleet..."

"... Marines are capable of, and deployed for. If that's alright?"

"Yeah, that's fine I guess. I thought your people were highly peaceful though? From your simple response of being scared. Are you doing this to get personal experience or for your research for your people?" John questioned. There were different reasons and he needed to know so he knew how and what to show her.

"We are, as a people." she pointed out. "Just like humans are peaceful, as a people." she let that settle for a moment.

"To answer your point directly, Dalacari in conflicts we have to participate in prefer positions of harassment and minimal response. To that, we've gotten really good at peppering..."

"... targets from way far away. Resource denial, suppression, that sort." she paused, "As for why, well, I wanted to be more than just a question and answer girl for starters." she offered a pair of smiles.

"Also to show that the Dalacari don't just roll over when we're threatened. I can say for certain though, this isn't research. I want to do more to help. And maybe be less afraid..."

"... sometimes. I know a little fear is good, keeps you on your toes. But if the time comes, I don't want to be afraid to protect my new friends."

"Fair enough. I can work with that," John nodded and looked at Zul'arra. "You two can work together."

"But that isn't completely fair," the cadet spoke up as she raised an eye brow of her own before continuing. "...Sir... She has two bodies and from what it looks like, can focus on two things at once, giving her an upper hand."

"But you have survival instincts that are real experience and an memory that is far better than most of us. You need to ease up on yourself, young padawan," Hayter stated before looking back at Mel. "Now, what shall we work on here..."

/// OFF ///

Lt. Colonel John Hayter
Marine Detachment Commander
U.S.S. Gladiator-A


Lt. JG Mel Torma
Assistant Science Officer
U.S.S. Gladiator-A


Cadet Zul'arra
Marine Cadet
U.S.S. Gladiator-A


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