View From The Starboard Side

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OOC Date: 26 April, 2011
IC Date: February 7, 2128

The Captain and XO share thoughts about the upcoming meeting with the Symbiotes.

Starboard Stasis Chamber

If the crew's stasis hold is a cavernous, sickly green chamber of horrors, then the civilian stasis tanks are more like a nightmare realm. A mind boggling number of stasis chambers fill a vast and seemingly endless construct shaped like a giant pontoon. In this tank alone there are twenty five thousand people, twenty five thousand tubes filled with freakishly green liquid with a single human being floating in each. They're stacked five levels high and five columns wide, ladders and catwalks weaving all throughout.

It's nearing the 20 hour mark, and Captain Nandi Ramesh isn't in any of his usual locations. He isn't in the conference room, he isn't on the bridge, and there isn't an answer at the door of his quarters. Does the Commander wander aimlessly looking for him? Does she have any other ideas? Or does she cheat, and ask Eve to locate him? Let's find out!

There is one other place aboard the Genesis where Commander Victoria Eisley can think of, off the top of her head, to look for the Captain. There is a certain spot in the starboard passenger corridor where, in times past, it has been noted that the view is exceptionally splendid. While this is not the first place that she goes to look for him, it is the last place she has to look before resorting to more arcane methods of hunting.

The stasis tanks are separated from the main ship by long air lock corridors, and it is perhaps in these corridors - stark and unadorned - that one truly gets the feeling of being on a massive spaceship, as far away from civilization and home as one could possibly be. At the end of the corridor is a second air lock door, one that only opens for a very select few members of the crew, of which Commander Eisley is one.

If the crew's stasis hold is a cavernous, sickly green chamber of horrors, then the civilian stasis tanks are more like a nightmare realm. A mind boggling number of stasis chambers fill a vast and seemingly endless construct shaped like a giant pontoon. In this tank alone there are twenty five thousand people, twenty five thousand tubes filled with freakishly green liquid with a single human being floating in each. They're stacked five levels high and five columns wide, ladders and catwalks weaving all throughout. Off in the distance, a single overhead floodlight illuminates the silhouette of the only person in the entire compartment that isn't in one of the containers.

One of two, now. That light is visible from a long way off, a beam of white to pierce through the green like a strange blade. This place -is- eerie. So many people, sleeping like the dead; so many fragile lives, unaware of what has happened or what will be done to save them. So much responsibility, wrapped in steel, drifting through the endless night. Occasionally something trembles or shudders; metal breathes, even in space; things hiss as pressures are released and gasses exchanged. And then there is the sound of sole on catwalk grate, measuring out Eisley's steps. No attempt at all is made to employ stealth, and her approach should be noted long before she reaches that particular spot, even though she stops a respectful distance away.

"I don't believe you've ever met my wife," Ramesh considers aloud as Eisley draws near, though he does not look in her direction or even remotely turn. He remains exactly as he is, hands clasped behind his back, staring straight ahead at the contents of a particular stasis chamber. "I believe that we had just started dating when you and I served together on the Columbus, and we each moved on shortly after. In some ways I worried that having her and the children aboard would be a hindrance, especially after we were brought out and given the news. I worried that they would make me hesitant, but I realized that they're actually beneficial to my work. It's easy to remember just what is at stake when they're here. Every single one of these people are my family now, and everything I do is with them in mind. It's made it easier to hold close to the last of humanity as if they were my own." At last, he looks over and offers a faint smile, clearly tired and run down from recent events. Perhaps it's just a trick of the light, but it's almost as if in these few weeks that they've been awake, his long, wavy black hair has started to show silver, his beard making him look less roguish and more distinguished. It's like he has aged a decade or more not during the six years of stasis, but in the few weeks out of it. "I can only assume that you're looking for me?"

"We have never met, sir," the Commander verifies. Her tone is… conversational, if careful, as though she was aware of just how sacred this little patch of floating real estate had become to at least one member of the crew. Some of this is taken as an invitation to move closer, so she does, though she does not quite breech the line of light that circles around him on the floor but chooses instead to remain in shadow. From that spot she can see the tube though, and its contents, as well as those of the tube next to it. There is a smaller shape, sleeping peacefully, surrounded by the glowing green gel, intubated and wired up. "…there was a time, not so long ago, when I thought it was foolishness to include children among the passengers." Strictly speaking, at the time, it was. Now? Well. She exhales, then straightens. "I need to speak with you about the upcoming delegation."

"Children have always been a part of colonies," Ramesh replies, shifting his attention one tube over, where his daughter is currently stored. His wife is very beautiful, the minimal clothing worn by those in stasis leaving no doubt as to her feminine curves and sculpted features. His daughter, four, is in the container to Eisley's side of her, and his son, six, is to her other side and barely visible from the Commander's current position. "In order for a colony to flourish, it needs future generations. Especially a colony like this, where fresh bodies would be 10 years away. The generation gap would be too great if the only children onworld were the children born there. It's not ideal to put them in such a dangerous position, no, but it is necessary for the survival the colony." He nods once when she changes the subject to focus on the delegation. "I take it you have suggestions?"

Eisley has no children, and according to her file is an only child; she with no family is really not the best judge of how to people a colony, obviously. Thus she makes no comment about the rest of this, merely looks into that tank, studying the girl within. A moment of silence passes before she answers, offering up what amounts to a lift of her shoulders. A shrug. "My suggestions vary greatly depending upon which source of information I draw upon. The strategy meeting's recommendations involved shaped charges and cyanide pills." This is spoken without humor, and while it might -be- a joke, it is just sober enough to impart veracity. "Shevchenko's Rosetta program finally cracked the alien database. There are many holes in the translation, but they were able to provide some indication of the relationship between the Pa…Symbiotes and the Devourers. All of those details are in my report, of course."

"I have studied your report," Ramesh confirms with a simple nod, likewise looking at the form of his hibernating daughter. "Are you aware that there are now nearly three dozen nationalities that are extinct? 33 countries that are not represented among the civilians on this ship, and are now lost forever." She may wish to talk about the delegation, cyanide pills and plastic explosives, but it appears that he is still in a philosophical mood. "We have their languages and cultures stored in our database, of course, but as a people, they're dead. They're literally history. That's not counting all of the indigenous peoples of the various countries and continents that long ago ceased to be recognized as individual. And here we survivors find ourselves wedged between a race determined to see the extinction of our entire species, and another that may or may not simply see us as convenient vehicles for the powerful minds trapped within small, inelegant bodies." He turns to look at her, now, facing Eisley directly. "Do you really want my orders, Commander? I am prepared to let you handle the situation as you see fit."

This tendency toward philosophy is not entirely without basis. Eisley listens in silence through this, still terribly sober; the weight of it - of the thousands of lives laid out and frozen in time in these neat little lines - is not lost on her. Summoning the appropriate response requires a measure of thought and at least a few moments for reflection, and that possibly literal, given that her face is dimly mirrored in the glass. "Earth, sir, is history. Ten thousand years of recorded history - lives, people, places, treasures, memories - all of it gone in the blink of an eye. We slept through the end of our world, through the deaths of the billions whose blood we share. What remains is a fragmented patchwork of a heritage, of everything - good and bad - that we are, what we were. All of it shapes what we will be, but it is now up to us to choose -how- to shape it." She pauses for a moment. "Sir, I am not above offering them Earth and everything left on it in exchange for a new planet for us."

It is the last bit, the admission that gets a solemn nod from Ramesh. "Then this is what you will do: you will not accept any deal that would make us hosts, not a single one of us. There simply aren't enough of us left to waste even one. Excepting that, pretty much anything else is open for discussion, and the more that they can offer us, the more we are willing to consider. The Devourers are not only following us, they crossed the wormhole before we did, and would have likely waited on the other side for us to come through. It's clear that they will chase us as far as they can. The Givers could find no Allies in our galaxy, but we may have found one outside of it. What ever their ultimate intentions may be for them, the Symbiotes have an interest in our enemy that could if not outright neutralize them, at the very least keep them off of us long enough to put some serious distance between us. Clearly they want something from us, and clearly they wish to negotiate it when they could simply take what they want. Unless, of course, they can't. What could they possibly want from us that they cannot take it by force?" It doesn't seem to be a rhetorical question.

"I don't know," is the only answer that Eisley has come up with in answer to this question. Evidently she has given it some consideration already, to no avail. "They took our database. By now they must know what we carry and why we are here. They seek to take the Devourers as hosts to be soldiers because they are at war with something else here. Instinct tells me that they want new hosts, and that they will want to know if we would be open to that process. Remove that from the equation, though…" She shakes her head. "Technology? Knowledge? Culture? The location of the Devourer homeworld? Bait? I will find out, and I will endeavor to make it work to our advantage." All that time on Mars might actually be useful in a different galaxy. Who knew?

"I'm sure you will, Commander," Ramesh agrees easily. "I can think of no finer representative of humanity in a situation like this."

Eisley smiles, but the expression is sharp and utterly lacking in any sort of humor. She bows her head though, all the same. "I will leave you four alone, then. Please excuse me."

Ramesh returns the smile and offers a brief salute in parting, then turns back to contemplate the three stasis tubes immediately in front of him.

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