Teresa's Journal

Teresa

31 July 200SE

SCCL031, Orthrom private docks

First Entry
I've decided to keep a record of everything I've done, seen, and learned since the destruction of SCCL0026. I am keeping it in hardcopy because I do not trust electronic storage on this ship, and some of what I have done I do not want the EMSF to know about. So please forgive me for the fact that you're currently reading a girl's pocket diary with a pink unicorn on the cover. It had a combination lock and I can pass it off as Sparrow's if I have to.

Speaking of Sparrow. I should give the very short digest version of events up to this point, so there's some context.

On 24 July, my class went on a field trip to the local spaceport. While there, the Lander's twins wandered off and Sam ran off to find them (she does that sort of thing a lot, by the way), and the rest of us followed. We found a man attacking an EMSF officer, an admiral, and jumped in to help, grabbing some pokéballs along the way. Then we had to evacuate. We carried the admiral out, then directed our class to his ship - the battlecruiser Ocean Blue. Along the way, Sam and I helped Bulk Smith rescue a little girl named Sparrow Mills. In short order we were inducted into the EMSF because the pokémon we had found bonded to us, and Sam and I became Sparrow's legal guardians because her parents were missing and presumed killed when the colony exploded. Then we were asked to investigate this TRE group, which we did by posing as trainers and winning a gym battle. The EMSF didn't much like our methods, but apparently they need us because not only did the pokémon bond to us, but we're something called Awakened Colonists. Our teacher disappeared on the station during a mission as well. We went back to find her, and instead ran into some of the TRE's own ACs, and we barely escaped their warship. Back on the Ocean Blue we met an "expert" on ACs, and got a young military AC assigned to our group. We reached another colony, fought another gym battle with Ariel Orthom, went to her birthday party, and then infiltrated another TRE warship and captured an AC called Lady F.

In short, I became a trainer, had my home was blown up, joined the military, became a mother, earned a few gym badges, learned I was psychic, crashed one of the biggest social events of the year, and helped capture an enemy warship.

It's been a busy week.

The Captain and the Admiral
I should probably get this out of the way first: I cannot stand Captain Cain Kits. He's a martinet, has no discernable personality, and appears incapable of dealing with things except via the by-the-book approved military methods. All of which may make a decent executive officer, but makes him total shit at the sort of cloak-and-dagger, black book, anti-terrorist stuff we've gotten ourselves neck deep in. Not that I have a lot of experience with it, but even I know stomping in and pointing guns around like a bunch of stormtroopers is just going to make things worse.

On the other hand, Admiral Roger Damasi is essentially the total opposite of Kits. He's friendly, has a sense of humor, is clearly quite creative, and appears to have a lot of experience with this sort of thing. He's everything Kits is not.

I don't trust him at all.

The more I think consider it, the more I think that, despite his failings at being a real human being, it's Kits who actually cares about our welfare. His problem with us is that we aren't military so we don't think or act the way he expects. The only way he knows how to deal with it is to try and force us into the mold he's used to, which doesn't fit at all. It doesn't excuse the fact that he's wrong, but I don't think it's actively malicious. Of course, my usual problem with authority probably doesn't help our relationship.

Damasi, on the other hand. He's the dangerous one. I can't imagine someone like Kits so much as wipes his hands without orders. So if we're being used as weapons to throw at TRE or as disposable experiments, it's coming from above. Kits being so unlikeable makes him a useful front for someone like Damasi, who gets to sit back and play the kindly uncle while pulling the strings…

Or maybe I'm just getting paranoid. This whole hearing other people's thoughts thing is making me second guess everyone's motivations.

Sparrow & Awakened Colonists
Sparrow is my adopted daughter.

I have never written words more terrifying.

When the colony was destroyed, Sparrow was trapped under fallen rubble, with Bulk Smith and his makuhita were literally holding it up so it didn't crush her. Sam jumped in to help Bulk, and I pulled Sparrow out from under the rubble. She came with us to the Ocean Blue, where Sam and I ended up her legal guardians when her parents… Officially, they're just missing, but if they didn't make it off the colony… We haven't figured out how to tell Sparrow yet. I think she probably knows, but she hasn't said anything.

With what I know now, I think Kits suggested we adopt her because he needed a way to keep her on the ship without arousing too many suspicions. I think he also expected we would get overwhelmed or bored with "playing mommy," that we only agreed because Sam can be naive and I like pissing him off (my problems with authority figures again - I hate when mother is right about things like that). The part about naivety and being difficult may be true, but Kits underestimated us. We may not be perfect, but we always stand by our friends. I care too much about Sparrow, and I take my responsibilities too seriously. I think they may try to undo it at some point. If they do, they won't like what happens next. It won't be just me and Sam they have to deal with.

Especially since I think Sparrow is a pretty amazing little girl. She is shy around people and sometimes seems afraid of pokémon (and sometimes she doesn't - I think I should talk to her about that at some point). But she's smart, and quite brave, considering everything that's happened to her. I hope Sam and I are being good… well, parents. Honestly, sometimes Sam acts like she's Sparrow's older sister, conspiring to get off from doing anything like work and playing at it being summer vacation every day. But it's okay; I know Sam just wants to keep her happy, and she'd do anything to protect her. I don't want to be the mean one, though.

The other thing is that Sparrow is an Awakened Colonist. In fact, we all are - me, Sam, Kaz, Leo, and this new guy, Thom. According to Dr. Turtle - the supposed expert - Awakened Colonists have extra-human powers, stuff like controlling fire or altering people's emotions. Apparently Kaz's father was interested in ACs too, but Kaz didn't know anything about it. Sparrow is supposed to have a lot of potential, but we don't know what her powers are. Sam and Leo have some kind of low-key abilities which aren't entirely clear either - though I wonder if Sam has some kind of trouble detecting ability, since she always seems to find it. Thom is apparently really good at influencing people.

And then there's Kaz and me. Kaz is apparently something called an aura reader, which lets him do some really flashy things. He can project his thoughts, learn all sorts of things just by looking at people, and even make some kind of ice-fist attack. But he has some trouble controlling all of it. I feel bad for him, because I can at least… filter people out, almost instinctively. Which is good, because I can read people's minds, and if there are too many people nearby, it really hurts. I learned that the hard way. I can also move things with my mind, which is actually really useful.

The fact that Sparrow is an AC is why they want her staying on the ship - why they want all of us staying on the ship, besides our pokémon. They want something from her. If it's just to let her learn to use her abilities safely and to keep her away from TRE, then okay. But I'm damn sure going to make sure they don't hurt or take advantage of her.

That's enough for tonight. I'll cover the rest later.

Teresa Mai Kurita-Steiner
Ensign (EMSF)


31 July 200SE (2nd)

Evening
Ocean Blue, En-route to ruins of SCCL026

Picking this up from the morning after we captured Lady F. Apparently her real name is Freya Reymond. The EMSF has turned her over to Dr. Turtle, naturally, who has her in a tank with some kind of oily liquid that can keep her cool a lot better than a bunch of fans. Better heat transfer. She's not particularly happy about it, claims the good doctor is staring at her breasts. She's flattering herself - besides, all Dr. Turtle actually cares about is her brain. Which is creepy too, but in a different way. We went in to "interrogate" her which basically boiled down to Kaz and Thom trying to sweet talk her and tell her the EMSF are the good guys. I'm not so sure about that myself, but they're better than these TRE idiots. What does TRE even stand for? Need to figure that out. Anyways, I'll admit I got a bit snippy with her, but I think TRE has been feeding her lines about EMSF atrocities. The EMSF has done some incredibly stupid shit in the outer colonies, but it's incompetence and short-sightedness, not some great malicious conspiracy. Or maybe its an incompetent conspiracy.

Sam looked like she was going to try something, but I… talked to her, and I think it distracted her enough for the moment to pass. I think she has this idea that Freya is just misguided and all Sam has to do is sit her down and talk to her, and Freya will suddenly become our best friend forever. I love Sam, but she's really naive about this kind of thing. Freya was trying to kill us in that fight - which I don't blame her for, since we kind of jumped her from behind. Still, given what Freya thinks about us, I think she'd have come after us full bore regardless. In any case, after that little tête-à-tête we went back to the Ocean Blue for the rest of the debrief.

That briefing got pretty testy. The fact that Kit and Damasi left us hanging out to dry, apparently on orders from some higher authority - which I think is something called the Council - didn't exactly sit well with the others. Kaz and Sam in particular got into it with Kits, and Leo had some pointed comments. I think we shocked poor little Thom. I'm still worried about Sam, though - Kaz mostly just seemed shocked that the EMSF is in this conspiracy business up to its eyeballs, just like TRE. I think he's finally starting to really get that we aren't working with the good guys, just the less-bad guys. I think Leo is more offended by the fact that they seem so bad at it than he is at the fact that they're doing it in the first place. Sam, though… I think she really expects things to work out like they do in an action movie, where the hero always makes the right choice and saves everyone, where everything is black and white and the good guys never have to kill anyone. In a way, I admire her convictions, but she's going to get herself killed. Not to mention smacked around by Kits.

One of these days, he's going to regret laying hands on my friends.

Sam apparently had a bit of a run in with Thom too. Kit's signed her up for gun safety classes. I called in and arranged some for myself, though I doubt I'll actually be using a gun. Not because I have anything against them, but this whole telekineses thing seems like it makes it a little redundant. Still, if people are going to be shooting at me and the things are going to be around me all the time, I should know how to handle them just in case. But with Sam… That whole comic book hero thing again, plus I think she still blames herself for the rifle going off and hitting Leo. It wasn't her fault, but she's flinching every time someone brings it up, like she feels the rest of us blame her for it. I don't think even Kits does. To be honest, I think he just realized that she hadn't had the training, and is the one of us, on paper at least, who's most likely to be get handed a rifle. On top of all that, since Thom is on the one hand military himself and on the other one of 'us,' he's the easiest target for her to take out her frustrations on (I save mine up for Kits, of course). So things aren't exactly good between them. If it wasn't that I think it's going to hurt Sam in the long run, I wouldn't care. In fact, I kind of enjoy watching Thom flail about. He's much too slick for his own good, and he's got too much of Kits' "always follow orders don't think for yourself" attitude for comfort. I think she's sicced the twins on him, which should be good for some laughs.

I actually had a really interesting conversation with the two of them, actually. I hope I wasn't that bad when I was 16 - though I was probably worse. I learned a few things, and they get along well with Sparrow. Also apparently the scuttlebutt on the ship is that Sam and I are a couple. Got a good laugh from that - she is sooo not my type. Wonder if Sam is even aware of it?

Additionally, Sparrow has started calling me and Sam both Mommy. This is simultaneously heartwarming and incredibly sad. I'd better stop before I start crying onto the page. I think she's getting better around pokémon at least. She held Kaz's bachuru today at egg class. I don't like the little thing. Everyone thinks it's because it's a bug, but that's not it at all. Electrics and I… don't mix.

On a more serious personal note, Kaz finally revealed that his mother has been missing, and apparently TRE knows something about it. Particularly that hussy Ava knows something about it. I made fun of Kaz for having a thing for her, but clearly she's just torturing the poor boy. I hope I can get my hands on her, and shake what she knows out of her, no more games. I'm also a little annoyed with Kaz for keeping it secret - doesn't he know we're here for him? But… it's kind of touching how worried he clearly is about her. We'll have to help him find her somehow.

In other wonderfully depressing news, we're heading back home to do the final claims aboard the colony before they tear it down to rebuild. I imagine my parents have already gone through everything, but I'll call them in case there's something they want to get personally. Plus dad will be worried and mom hasn't had a chance to freak out at me in a week. All right that isn't entirely fair - I know she's worried too, but she doesn't handle it as well as dad. I also need to go to Sparrow's home and look into it for her. We just heard that her parents have been listed as casualties. I have no idea how to tell her. Maybe seeing the colony will… do something to make me stop dodging this.

Teresa Mai Kurita-Steiner
Ensign (EMSF)


1 August 200SE

Ocean Blue, En-route to ruins of SCCL026

Had my firearms lesson this morning. As suspected, I can't hit the broadside of a barn, but at least I won't blow off my own foot. Probably.

I've also started working with one of the lieutenants during the day as well. Today they paired me up with Lt. Havlicek, who basically just spent the afternoon explaining what I actually do as an Ensign. Apparently it's like being an intern, except you might get shot rather than just scalded by coffee. Technically I can order enlisted personnel around, but they tend to be rather patronizing about it - "awww, look at the cute little ensign!" And warrant officers clearly have some kind of natural ability to reduce junior officers into quivering messes just by agreeing to do what you tell them. But if I'm going to be part of the EMSF, I may as well use it to my advantage.

Spent the evening in the gym - I'd been neglecting to keep up with the zero-g exercises. I hate having to do them, but at least it gives me a chance to work out my pokémon. I should make an entry about them at some point. After all these years arguing with my parents about getting just one harmless buneary or something, suddenly I have five pokémon, including restricted and military types. And apparently I'm actually pretty good at this, though I did lose to Sam at Ariel's gym. Made a foolish choice about which pokémon to use - Aardy fought well, but Sam's torterra was way too tough. I'd have been better off not trying to dodge a psychic and using either Ran or Annae. I want to get Vlaandre into a battle at some point too, but I want her to be more comfortable with me first. I've been loaning her to Kaz so she and Remiel can have time at the ranch. At some point I should get some use out of Bitey too, have him chomp on someone else for once.

Teresa Mai Kurita-Steiner
Ensign (EMSF)


2 August 200SE

Ocean Blue, En-route to ruins of SCCL026

Thom's egg hatched at breakfast - a Torchic, which he promptly traded to Kaz for his egg. I suspect that Thom was hoping for something else, but it's also possible he didn't feel strongly either way, and noticed that Kaz thought the little firebird was really cute. Thom might sometimes be a greasy used groundcar salesman, but I think he's got a heart under that uniform and his ridiculous accent. At some point my egg is going to hatch as well - managed to get through egg class today, so they let me take it. The egg has this weird zig-zaggy stripe on it. No idea what it'll turn out to be.

Spent some more time with Lt. Havlicek, this time helping him do his rounds. He's in supply, which is one of those incredibly boring yet really important areas that everyone forgets about unless something goes wrong. Basically his day consists of running around finding out who needs what, then hounding people to fill out forms for it, and then filling out forms himself. Which means my afternoon consisted of trying to do the same thing and probably creating more work than I did. But I'm starting to really get a feel for how this big dumb contraption really works. Apparently I'm getting handed off to navigation tomorrow, though - new Ensigns seem to get shuffled around until they figure out what we won't screw up too badly, and in the name of exposing larval officers to all the weird functions of the fleet. Oh joy.

For some inexplicable reason I decided to spend the evening working with Dr. Turtle of my own free will. I'm trying to figure out just how far I can push my powers, and Dr. Turtle is the best option available, unless I want to snipe at Freya and see if I can figure out something from her. Which I may try anyways, if I can swing it somehow. For the first session we inventoried my current abilities - I held back a bit with the telepathy, it's too much a trump card to have them really know how much I can get from them - and then we looked into what I might learn to do. Being able to phase through solid objects sounds particularly useful, though that and the telepathy would give Dad's privacy lawyers a collective coronary.

Sam and Sparrow apparently watched movies today. Including The Black Knight of Mars, which is one of my favorites. I am extraordinarily jealous.

Addendum: I almost forgot. Kaz named the torchic Arael, which he claims is entirely unrelated to Miss Hot & Spicy. Sure. I must tease him mercilessly for this.

Teresa Mai Kurita-Steiner
Ensign (EMSF)


3 August 200SE

Ocean Blue, En-route to ruins of SCCL026

Followed up my evening with the good Doctor with a morning with him as well. He suggested I might prefer evening sessions going forward. I guess I snapped his head off a little when he kept prodding me with a non-reactive probe to see if I had managed to force myself out of sync with the normal space time continuum. Well, he should have let have my coffee beforehand.

I spent the day in navigation with Lt. Auerbach, who is frankly an asshole, though clearly competent. She basically told me to sit and not touch anything and not make any noise while she did her job. I wonder if I can find out how to drill a hole in the back of someone's head just by looking at them. Eventually Petty Officer Walton managed to sneak me away and actually show me something useful. I get the impression PO Walton actually runs the department, since Auerbach is some kind of technical genius but has the social skills of a particularly clueless rock. Walton isn't in her league when it comes to actually handling the math - which is what navigation comes down to, lots of headsplittingly complicated math - but is, I think, more important because it takes more than one person, even a savant, to handle the duties for a ship as big as the Ocean Blue. In any case, it sounds like Auerbach has foisted me off somewhere else already, but I may stop in with Walton again on my own.

Back to the Gym again today, got Aardy out for some exercise. She's doing really well, and since she became a mightyena she's become really quite elegant and confident. Almost as cute too. I've decided that I'm going to try and have Vlaandre evolve into an Espeon, since according to Dr. Turtle I might be able to learn some abilities from a psychic pokémon. Also they're very pretty.

Teresa Mai Kurita-Steiner
Ensign (EMSF)


3 August 200SE (2nd)

Late Night
Ocean Blue, En-route to ruins of SCCL026

Sam's egg hatched, into a green slugma. It's really bizarre looking, but she seems happy with it. She named it Mantle. Also, I think she's keeping a journal herself.

More importantly.

During dinner, Brian joined us and started a conversation about what we'd find at the colony, particularly talking about that rare pokémon of his, which turns out to actually exist. Some kind of electric, I wasn't really paying attention, because I noticed Sparrow had left at some point after the hatching. I found her back in the room, hiding under the covers and sobbing. She realized during dinner that her parents really aren't coming back - she's suspected for a while, but it finally hit home. I held her and told her it would get better, and that I'd be there for her. That she could call me mommy.

Dammit I'm crying again. How can something be so simultaneously heartrending and yet make you feel… proud to be doing something with real meaning.

I called Sam down, and she must have run to get here. We've basically shared a bed, since Sparrow's had nightmares and needs someone close to her. I'm worried about Sparrow, of course, but she's strong, and I think she'll get through this.

Sam though… It's another blow to her, and she can't seem to see anything except how she's screwed up lately, even when she hasn't actually done anything wrong. I need to talk to her… well, probably we need to talk to her, all of us. Hell, we all need to talk, to get everything in the open and come up with a general understanding of what's actually going on and what we're going to do.

It will have to wait. Tomorrow we reach what's left of home.

Teresa Mai Kurita-Steiner
Mother


3 August 200SE (3rd)

Very Late Night
Ocean Blue, En-route to ruins of SCCL026

Haven't really been able to sleep, between Sparrow's nightmares and, to be honest, my own. Might as well get some more thoughts down.

Ocean Blue
I've hung around Kaz too much not to pick up a little bit on military spacecraft, whether I wanted to or not. As far as I've been told and understand, the Ocean Blue is a Lugia-class battlecruiser, which is to warships what a Aubrac-Diane dress is to evening wear. That's a fancy way of saying its the very best and most expensive option, and the one you pick when you want everyone else to know how rich and important you are - and how dangerous.

So, why is this haute couture warship rattling around the inner colonies playing taxi for a bunch of kids and their pokémon? And even before that, the Admiral was practically using it as a personal transport. Either we ACs and these special pokémon are a LOT more important than I've suspected, or there's something more going on here. Exactly how much pull does Damasi have? Why were they even at SCCL026 in the first place? And what is going on that they want everyone watching this big, scary warship, instead of paying attention to whatever else the EMSF is doing? Or is this not really an EMSF operation at all?

The more I learn, the more questions I have. And I doubt I'm going to like the answers.

What I Told Ariel
I hesitate to even write this down here. Which shows just how paranoid I'm getting. But there's no real point in having this journal without this piece of information.

During the party, before we went down to the Orhrom docks, Thom and Leo tried to pry useful information out of Ariel. Right after this exchange, I - telepathied? thought at? I need to find a real verb for this - her. I told her that while we were working for military currently, I didn't trust them. That they were just the better option over TRE, and that I wanted to keep an eye on them. I also told her I felt the Inner Colonies needed to start paying attention more and working a bit as a group, otherwise either TRE or Earth would be telling us what to do. And not like before - now they were going to be paying a lot closer attention, and being a lot more specific about what we could and could not do. Ariel was non-comittal, explaining that the Orthroms would go on as before, regardless of who was in charge.

I guess it's a noble sentiment, the loyal servants serving the master of the house, whoever it might be. Things won't stay the same, though. I think most of the colonists see this as another thing that will just blow over, and then it will go back to the way it was before.

I don't agree. There is a storm coming, and nothing will be the same afterwards. And I don't want someone else deciding how it's going to be, not if I have any choice at all.

Teresa Mai Kurita-Steiner
Ensign (EMSF)


4 August 200SE

Ocean Blue, Ruins of SCCL026

I'm an idiot.

We finally reached what was left of the Colony today. As promised, I suited up and headed over while Sam stayed with Sparrow on the ship. On a side note, Sam said something about not wanting to go home that I didn't really catch at the time, but didn't sound very good in retrospect; I really need to sit down and talk to her about things, but today was not the day. As you will see.

In any case, the first part of the trip was relatively uneventful. Brian brought me, Thom, Kazuma, and Leo to his place in order to look for his missing pokémon, but it turned out the place wasn't as wrecked as he had expected. The decompression must have been really quick, and the Colony probably didn't stop rotating immediately. Since it looked like things were under control, I took off for my place. I heard later that there was some drama - Leo trying to help, but he can be really pushy about things if he doesn't catch himself. It seems to have turned out okay, and without them resorting to getting into a fist-fight and suddenly becoming best friends afterwards. Sometimes, I really don't understand how the male mind works. Assuming it does in the first place.

It was harder to get around than I expected. I've seen the Colony from the air before, but floating around in the vacuum was still disorienting. My house was in pretty good shape, though the garden was completely wiped out. I felt sad for father when I saw that, he worked really hard on it. He and mother had already been in to mark all their things, so I didn't have to worry about the silver, thankfully. They also left a note that they'd get the rest of the things out of my room after I took what I wanted. It made me sad, being there and reading that note. My parents will make up another room for me, I'm sure, but it won't be… home. Anyways, I gathered up some decent clothes, my personal sewing kit, my spare glasses, as much contact solution and lenses as I could find, and my makeup. Hopefully it's okay after being in vacuum. Also my manga collection, which I need to find a good hiding place for. In the garage I managed to find the old astronomy kit my mother gave me when I was little; I wish the two of us got along better now. I hope I get the chance to try and do more with her; having Sparrow really makes me hope I get to. Not that I expect us to be best friends or anything. My ultra-light was in the garage as well, which didn't surprise me, mother HATES that thing. I marked it for pickup - I'm not sure why, I've been wanting to replace it for a while. Maybe it will come in handy somehow, if the military actually picks it up. Might be over my mass limit.

After I finished up, a probe piloted by Sparrow and Sam showed up. Sparrow managed not to crash into things too badly, so we headed off for her place. This is the bit that proves I'm an idiot. It turns out Sparrow's house was basically ground zero. It was just GONE. I should have checked the damn address first, it would have been easy to avoid shocking her like that. Sam tried to distract her, but… After that I headed back to the ship, and went to check on her. She'd gone to sleep, and Sam had gone out to take care of a few things, so I sat with Sparrow until she woke up. She was pretty down for a while, but seems to be bouncing back pretty well. It's not fair that she has to deal with so much when she's so young, but she's brave and tough. I'm so proud of her.

Later on Kaz FINALLY got around to giving Sparrow her model. I still think it's too complicated for a first try, but if Sparrow has fun with it, ultimately I don't care. Apparently he also found a pokéball in his room while on the station, which had this rather creepy thing called a duskull. He named it Char, which I suspect is a reference of those old shows he likes. He doesn't seem to know where it came from, which is also pretty creepy. There may be even more players out there than I thought. Also we got a look at Leo's chart of the TRE hierarchy/Damascus family tree. He says the note next to Lady S is "probably not" but it sure looked like "probably hot" to me. He's trying to figure out how Kaz and his father are connected as well; I wonder if he's tried charting my family. Good luck if he has.

I saw Bulk briefly on the way… he has this doll on his belt. Was it his sister's? I feel so awful for him. Another person I should talk to, but I don't know him that well and I know I can be a bit… abrasive. I'd ask one of the boys, but Kaz and Leo are oblivious, and Thom isn't one of us still, not really. I don't think he's an enemy or anything like that, but there's still a difference between those of us from the class and everyone else.

Of course I still got my daily helping of awkward and painful conversations today, courtesy of Sam. No, that's unfair. It was important that she told me what she was thinking, though that doesn't make it less exhausting. Sam basically told me she considers me to be Sparrow's most important person, and that she was going to make sure I was the one who came back if it came to having to make a choice. I don't agree with her. Sam is selling herself short, and she's just as important to Sparrow. But in the end I promised to trust Sam's weird instincts and get out if she told me to. Still, I had it out with her. I was probably too harsh, but my whole life my parents and family kept trying to keep me in a safe little box. I won't stand for that. I've had every advantage with my birth, I know it. At the same time, I want to prove that I can do things for myself, that it's not all been handed to me on a silver platter. I started further along than most people do, but I'm not going to let anyone treat me like I'm somehow in a special category that I haven't actually earned. Of course, Sam's answer was to ask me to hit her, to prove I could hurt her if I needed to to protect Sparrow. That made me mad, to be questioned like that - I wasn't trying to be selfish about my needs, it's just that… if I'm not true to myself I can't actually be the person I need to be to take care of Sparrow. So I shot right back - told her it was all well and good she was willing to die to protect people, but was she ready to kill to do it? She said she was, for Sparrow, for me, for our friends - and I believe her. It makes me sad though, that I hurt her that way, even though she had to face that.

This is why I keep telling her Sparrow needs her to. Because I think Sam is probably a better person than I am. Because… if Sam had asked me the same question back, I wouldn't have had to hesitate or consider to answer yes. And part of me is afraid of what that means about me.

Teresa Mai Kurita-Steiner
Occasional Idiot


5 August 200SE

Ocean Blue, en-route from ruins of SCCL026

Spent the morning with Dr Turtle again. I think he's still regretting agreeing to morning sessions; after last night's fight/conversation with Sam, I didn't sleep well and was probably even worse than usual. That might be why he decided to forgo trying to get me to phase out of reality again - probably worried I'd make good on my threat to make him eat his little poking stick. Non-reactive probe. Whatever. Instead, we're working on something he calls probability control. Essentially, I can change the chances of something happening just by wanting it to. As long as it's possible, I can make it more probable. He warned me that there might be a cost, though, that reality doesn't like my messing with it like that. Dr Turtle thinks there might be a backlash, that by using that ability too much I'll make probability unstable around me. So while I can try to make chance favor us at times, as a result it might unexpectedly turn against me later on. It's a double edged sword, but I think it will prove useful. In any case, he had me roll a pair of dice and try to get 7s. It was incredibly boring sitting there throwing dice for three hours with a half-dozen monitors hooked onto me. At the end, I was told that the number of 7s that came up was "greater than normal to a statistically significant degree." That's nice.

After that, I was back working with the lieutenants. True to her word, Auerbach pawned me back to Lt. Havlicek. This would have been nice, except I spent the first hour answering angry emails and intraship calls because all sorts of things have gone missing. It would have been the whole afternoon except I think I nearly gave the Lieutenant a heart attack when I got into a shouting match with the people down in engineering. So he had me take over the inventory, to find out exactly what we actually still had. It's not a hard job - unless you go through five data tablets. I dropped one and the screen cracked, which isn't supposed to happen. A drink got spilled on the second. The third just flat out disappeared - I swear it vanished in the time it took me to put it down, turn around to check a packing label, and then turn back to get the tablet. The fourth simply stopped working, which made the computer tech look at me funny because he'd never seen one just die. The last one held up through the rest of the afternoon, but I had to hard restart it over and over. And then somehow when I sent to Lt. Havlicek it came out translated into Cantonese. I don't understand how it's possible to have that many computer problems when I'm just using a word processor and a bar scanner.

After dinner, I got to spend some time with Sparrow. We spent some of it picking out outfits for her, which is definitely not a Sam thing, though Sparrow and I certainly enjoy it. I hope I haven't bitten off more than I can chew with a few of them, though. That ruffled skirt… After that, we went down to the rec room and played some board games. I was going to let her win a few times, if I could manage it without her realizing, but I didn't need to, she beat the crap out of me three times in a row fair and square. I finally took the last game, but it's hard to be too puffed up about winning a round of Candyland. Especially since I think Sparrow picked it to take pity on me after I didn't even manage to get a point in Settlers of Venus. We went back to the room and watched some cartoons, and then by the time Sam came back Sparrow had me read her a story. I think normally she would be a little too old for that, but after yesterday… I might make that a nightly ritual, but pick something more advanced and have her read it to me sometimes too.

Sam also seems to have had a better day. Kaz played peacemaker between her and Thom, probably with Leo assisting a bit, from what she said. It sounds like they made up, and then ended up mad at each other again, but Sam seems to trust and understand Thom a little more now. I'll have to get the details at some point. I'd like to find out a bit more about Thom myself as well.

Tomorrow will be soon enough for that though.

Teresa Mai Kurita-Steiner
Ensign (EMSF)


6 August 200SE

Ocean Blue, en-route to SCCL051 cluster

Ugh. I had my gym session today, and guess who was there? Captain Kits. And his personal pokémon, which of course is an electric type. Figures. I took Ren over to the other side of the gym for our workout and tried to ignore him and his luxray. Naturally named Lux. The man really is like a bad facsimile of a person sometimes. Leo and Kaz decided to take up his challenge to a match, though. He used the luxray and an absol. I would have loved seeing him get his ass handed to him, but no such luck. Kaz and Leo did all right, but I'll give Kits his due - the outcome wasn't really in doubt. At some point I'd like to take a shot at Kits myself, but not that luxray if I can help it. Need to get better first.

Spent the afternoon at Dr Turtle's lab. Since it wasn't morning, he decided to go back to the phasing, but we didn't have any further success. His suggestions were singularly unhelpful. "Try shifting around but don't move! Or maybe if you cross your eyes twice…" And then he had me try just walking through the wall. We argued about it for about 15 minutes, and then I tried it and banged my nose. I maintain I wouldn't have done anything after that if he hadn't poked me with that damn probe right afterwards. He'll just have to deal with having two shorter probes now. Dr Turtle decided to call the session early after that and had me sit with a nurse and get some additional baseline bio readings.

That evening it was back to tutoring with Sparrow. We're working on math, because she still seems to be struggling with it. We made some progress with fractions, once she made the connection to division. She seems to like history better, so while she did that I caught up on some of my own work. The twins dropped by again - apparently they're still on Thom's trail. Other than that it was mostly the usual. They were a little subdued, but all of us from the Colony have been. They didn't know anything more about Bulk than I did, but I suspect they'll find out.

To my surprise, they turn out to be pretty good with math, and really seemed to help Sparrow out. Who knew.

Teresa Mai Kurita-Steiner
Ensign (EMSF)


7 August 200SE

Ocean Blue, en-route to SCCL051 cluster

I'm wondering if instead of psychic, I'm actually just psychotic. Spent the morning with everyone's favorite AC expert (by default). After yesterday's "incident" it has been decided to focus on probability manipulation again. First he asked me if I noticed anything odd after our last probability session. When I told him about my run of bad luck with the tablets and with the board games, which got him really excited. It was sort of funny and sort of creepy. He thinks that it was the return on the manipulation I'd done that morning, though he wasn't sure why the bad was so high compared to what I'd done. In any case, he had me try a more organized approach, drawing word flash cards at random and attempting to make sentences. Initially all I was getting was gibberish, and he started getting impatient, which made me angry enough that I threw the hand of cards I had at him. Turns out, they spelled out "Stop annoying me now." That was a little bit scary.

The solution to the mystery of where all those supplies went popped up this morning as well. It turns out that there are tons of bachuru infesting the ship. Ugh. Those little static-y things climbing around all over the place - apparently someone woke up to a dozen of them sleeping in her bed. It makes me shudder just to think about. Lt. Havlicek and I spent the whole day in front of manifests sorting out. At least it kept me away from the bachuru. I had Sparrow stay in the room, though she wanted to go help catch them. I wouldn't let her, mostly because in a lot of cases "catch" meant "torch or dump out an airlock." It's harsh, but on a ship if there's too many, there's a lot of things that can go very, very wrong. Sam was a little down, because she spent a the entire day running around after them with the rangers and saw it first hand.

Did more studying and tutoring with Sparrow, this time on science. She likes it more than math, especially biology. She asked some questions I couldn't quite figure out; I'll have to email mother and father and see if they know the answers.

That evening I instituted my reading plan with Sparrow, who seemed to like it. We're working our way through The Hobbit to begin with. Sam listened for a while, but she fell asleep pretty quickly.

Teresa Mai Kurita-Steiner
Ensign (EMSF)


8 August 200SE

Ocean Blue, en-route to SCCL051 cluster

Gym was interesting. Sam and Kaz went at it, both with pokémon training battles and then actual hand to hand sparring. That Char of Kaz's is downright frightening, it took down Sam's spoink immediately. They did a rematch, with Kaz using his bachuru - yuck - against Sam's spoink. This time the bachuru got wiped out, and then the spoink managed to bring down Kaz's malik, though I think Sam would admit to getting really lucky there. After that was when the two of them sparred, which I think got a little out of hand. I don't think they were actually trying to hurt each other, but they don't really seem to know their own strength. In the end Sam knocked Kaz out cold, but she was essentially out on her feet herself. Leo spent a little time patching them up.

Did more work with Dr. Turtle. Though today he decided to do another round of physical tests, so I spent most of the time getting poked and prodded, then slung around in the centrifuge and so forth. It did not improve my mood, so Dr. Turtle decided to call it quits early. That he voluntarily gave up time he could have used to test - read: annoy - me further may mean this probability control is really starting to work.

Sam took Sparrow up to the ranch at midday. The two of them had a lot of fun, and Sparrow called down to ask if she could stay there and help out. Even though I think this was half to get out of school work, I didn't mind. I needed to catch up on my own work, and I thought it was good that Sparrow wanted to be out, and especially around pokémon. Progress, I think. I also got a little study group together of myself, the twins, and Brian. He says his magnemite is doing pretty well, though as usual getting anything else out of him is pulling teeth. The twins had some juicy gossip, but nothing really relevant or that I hadn't heard before (except that apparently Walton has a thing for Lt. Russell). They spent most of the time pestering Brian, in stereo. Also started a message to my parents, including those tricky questions Sparrow asked yesterday.

Unfortunately we then got called into a briefing about TRE's latest bit of nastiness. Apparently they tracked down the research facility the EMSF had moved Freya to, and had managed to take it over. The admiral and the captain didn't really know much about what was going on there, who was alive and who had been killed. There are apparently even rumors that its the work of one AC. That's probably not true, but if they do have an AC there things are going to get messy. It's also not clear if they're trying to free Freya or kill her. I suspect the latter - it would fit TRE's modus operandi. It's vicious but also clever. For those in the know, it's a clear sign of the price of failure. Meanwhile, the Tree front group will almost certainly spin it into a military atrocity - the EMSF kidnapped, experimented on, and ultimately murdered Freya. It infuriates me on so many levels just to consider - I think that Freya girl is a bitch, but she doesn't deserved to be used as a tool and discarded when it's convenient, and it demonstrates just how behind in the political game the EMSF still is. In any case, we're going to get a chance to do something about it. We're being sent in as part of a strike force, the third team. The other two teams are made up of elite soldiers, specially trained for this sort of thing. That they're also sending us is a mixed bag - on the one hand it shows the EMSF realizes they're caught up in something they aren't prepared for and consider us the best weapon they have against the unknown. On the other hand, it's probably also another "test." Still, I think we really do have the best chance to figure out what's going on.

It was a relief to go back to the room and spend time with Sparrow. She read a chapter of The Hobbit for me. She really seems to like the book so far, and Sam is still listening while pretending not to. The three of us are going to spend tomorrow evening together, before we go to the station…

Teresa Mai Kurita-Steiner
Ensign (EMSF)


9 August 200SE

Ocean Blue, en-route to occupied research station

I had a better than usual start to the day, since I went to breakfast with Sam and Sparrow. I still am in no fashion a morning person, but I got up and got myself a cup of coffee right away, and there was something about sitting and eating with both of them that made it better. I'm not really sure how to explain it. Sam took Sparrow to the gym afterwards, and I went to Dr. Turtle's lab.

We had a breakthrough of sorts with the probability control today, which was rather amazing. It turns out yesterday that the Doctor was reviewing his notes and observations, because the probability effect was not working the way he expected. He thought that I would permanently warp probability around me simply as a result of my abilities, that extreme events, both good and bad, would be more likely around me at all times. Not a particularly bad assumption to make, given my last two weeks. Dr Turtle was trying to get me to learn how to dampen out the effect, and then turn it on when it might be useful to me, maybe even get to the point where I could "take hold of the strings of the universe" so I could make it more likely to give me a positive outcome. After he looked things over again, he thinks it actually works very differently. Apparently something I mentioned in passing, that in one case I said I could "feel the cards going against me, for a second," led him to come up with a theory that I actually already have some latent or weak precognitive abilities. That gives me a bad feeling when an extreme negative event is coming, and pushing me to mess with that has given me the ability to "put my finger on the scales" to make it less harsh or even turn a failure into success. It seems that if I only do this occasionally - maybe once in 24 hours, Dr Turtle thinks - I can get away without any backlash. However, if I do it too frequently I create some kind of ripple effect that builds on itself and creates that aura of screwed up probability he thought I'd have in the first place. It sounds pretty useful to me, but I'll have to be careful with it. Dr. Turtle thinks I might be able to use this supposed precognitive ability to do other things already, and even if not, that he can teach me to expand it. He didn't want to get into that until I had a real handle on the probability control, so it was back to card and dice drills.

After I finished up with the good doctor, I was back with Lt Havlicek. I mostly helped him balance the books to fix the mess from the bachuru fiasco. It wasn't too difficult, easier than when father has me help with his budgets (so I can learn the family business). In fact, we managed to finish up a bit early, and when I told him about the picnic we had planned, John said he thought there was a basket of some kind somewhere in the ship stores. We hunted through the records and then dug through one of the long term storage bays for it. Not only did we turn up the basket - though plastic and not wicker - but we also found a rather nice blanket with the ship's colors and insignia. Since we couldn't figure out why they were there in general stores in the first place, John signed them out to me. It was really nice of him; now we can have an actual picnic with a blanket and everything. Of course, it will be a little tricky to manage it all in microgravity…

I met up with Sam and Sparrow back at the room. Turns out Sam couldn't cook things up herself at the galley - she still just calls it the kitchen - but she was able to get some nicer meals at the ship's store, including maccaroni and cheese for Sparrow, some fruit, and a big tub of coleslaw. It was rather mediocre coleslaw to be honest, but that was hardly Sam's fault so I didn't say anything; it was a really nice gesture. While I was packing it into the basket, I told Sam to put on something nicer than the ship's slops, but it turns out all she has besides that are some shorts and jackets! We'll have to rectify that, but in the meantime I loaned her a sun dress that looked very nice on her. Maybe I should just give it to her, actually - it never really worked for me, but it fits her. Sparrow was excited because I managed to finish that damned ruffled skirt for her in time. Seeing her smile made all the stuck fingers and reworking worth it.

We went down to the ranch and managed to find a nice spot, and then we figured out how to get situated with some handholds and magnets. The blanket even worked, more or less. While we were eating, Sparrow asked me about my family - which is her family now, too. I still haven't figured out exactly how to tell mother and father they're grandparents. Great-gran will probably get a good laugh out their reactions, so maybe I'll tell her first and have her relay the news. I told her about her great-grandmother, her grandparents, and then about my mother's brothers, and my father's siblings, which went smoothly enough. But when I mentioned Uncle Helmut, Sam asked me how I was actually related to him, and I think I sort of confused her when I explained it. Sam thought it was crazy to consider a third cousin twice removed as related. But of course we are; Jaeger Wu is his Great-great-grandfather, and my fifth great-grandfather. That's quite clear. I think part of the difference is that it I wouldn't necessarily consider someone I was related to as family, though. Just because I can work my way through the family tree to them, doesn't mean I really know them. I'd be more willing to lend them help than I would a total stranger is really all it means - and that's the whole point, really. The first colonist families keep track of these things basically in lieu of having to remember who owes who favors; instead you just know to give a relation a little more consideration. Though I guess most people don't bother with "relations," just family. And from what Sam said about hers, maybe I do have a larger than average one anyways…

After we watched the pokemon for a while - Sparrow really thinks the bachuru they have are cute, though Sam and I are pretty well over them - we went back to the room. I read Sparrow some more of The Hobbit, but she fell asleep pretty quickly. I think she was just so excited about the picnic she wore herself out. Sam went out and picked up some supplies for the mission tomorrow, including a new pokémon, a ralts she named Gwen. Her name choices are improving at least. Apparently Thom loaned her some of the money to buy it; I suspect he has some ulterior motives. But I also think he was genuinely trying to make nice, so hopefully it will work out.

We still don't know what's waiting for us on that station tomorrow. The only thing I can do now is get some rest, and be ready for anything. I hope we can handle this.

Teresa Mai Kurita-Steiner
Ensign (EMSF)


10 August 200SE

Very Early Morning
Ocean Blue, en-route to occupied research station

Things may be even worse than they appeared. Especially since I found this out via a dream.

Or at least thats the only name I have for what happened, other than calling it a vision, which sounds even weirder but may be more appropriate. A vision that I shared with Sam, Kazuma, and Thom. I'm assuming we all saw it, since Sam definitely did. We started out waking up in bed, except our beds were all floating together in an empty void. After trying to figure out who's dream this was - I had figured I might be picking up someone else's nightmare as some kind of feedback - we set off for a point of light in the distance. It turned out to be a colony - our colony. It was like watching a scale model of it, and of its destruction. It didn't really explain what happened to it, though now I wonder if there was some kind of direct AC attack. I had been assuming some kind of pokémon or a weapon… But the visual was of these strange jagged black lines closing in on it, and then it broke apart. We didn't have much time to investigate, because then we were somewhere else.

A swamp of some kind, but strange. It was like Earth - I can remember just enough of my trip when I was little to say that. But different somehow. More vivid, almost hyper-real. Sam and Kaz tried to grab some poliwags, but again before we could really look around, the… moss I guess started cawing at us and flying around. There was a huge flock of whatever it was, and when they had gone, we were suddenly in a grassland, under a bright blue sky. That definitely felt like Earth, but wilder and emptier than what I experienced. Empty of people I mean. There were pokémon around. Prehistoric species, like bastiodon and shieldon. We also suddenly had all our gear, which made me realize we were all in our pajamas before. If Kaz or Thom make any comments, I'm going to kill them. Kaz decided to try and see if he could catch a shieldon, but I sensed something else in the grass, watching…

It turned out to be some kind of persian, or persian relative. But huge, and with giant saber teeth. There were six of them, and two of them came after us. One of them scratched Kaz up pretty good. We called out our pokémon, and managed to knock one out, and then Sam used her styler on another. She managed to convince them to leave us along thanks to that. Annae got hit during the fight, but when I called her out in the room she was fine. She seemed confused that I was even checking on her. I have to check with Kaz and Thom, see if they had a similar experience with their pokémon, and Kaz with his own wound. Of course, things immediately got worse - the sky turned red, and when we looked up there was a huge meteor in the sky. I remember reading about this, that the age of the prehistoric pokémon is believed to have ended with mass extinctions due to a meteor impact.

We didn't get to see that part of it, because then time seemed to speed up and flow by, and we watched a city grow up around us. But the meteor was still there, or that's what I thought at first. In reality - to use the term loosely - it had become a colony, falling out of orbit. The city was in a panic, and then it hit… and again we were watching it from the outside, an orbit's eye view. It looked like it wasn't the only impact, either, and a fleet of TRE warships was moving on Earth.

At that point someone spoke up. A woman, I couldn't tell how old but she spoke like someone young, I think. She apologized, apparently not having intended for us to be pulled into… whatever it was. She asked us not to tell "him," and to say hello to someone - I could not make out the name, somehow - who was her - and again I could not make it out. She wished us luck, and the vision ended. I felt like there was some other presence there as well, at the end.

My guess is that it was one of Damascus' ACs, someone with some kind of clairvoyant ability, if I understood what Dr. Turtle was talking about when he explained it when we went over my precognitive ability. It's like super precognition, except it's not just seeing what might happen in the future, it's seeing what happened in the past and what is happening now, like through a remote. So TRE may have some kind of, I don't know, seer. Which means they could find out what we're doing, maybe even before we do it. Not good. On the other hand, it seemed… stranger than TRE. TRE's methods are unusual, but their goals are actually kind of banal. This felt like something more, somehow. Something even bigger. I don't know how to explain.

Sam said she couldn't get to sleep and went off to the ranch or gym to try and clear her head before the mission. I said I would try to get back to sleep, but I thought I should write this down first. Sparrow seems to be sleeping peacefully. I'm glad - after everything else she's had to deal with, I didn't want her to have to see that.

I better try and get what sleep I still can. I'm even more worried about what we'll find on that damned station now.

Teresa Mai Kurita-Steiner
Ensign (EMSF)


10 August 200SE (2nd)

Late Evening
Ocean Blue, Research Station EFCU0390

It was just as bad as I imagined. Everyone on the station was dead by the time we got on board. Except Freya.

Apparently it was just one AC on that escape pod, one AC and some pokemon, maybe. But that was more than enough. My suspicion is that Lord D may have driven the staff mad, turned them against each other. Some of the pokemon we fought may even have been experimental subjects of the station itself corrupted by him. We entered via the main lock, into the zero-G spine of the station. We checked the pod as well, nothing in there except some old blood, which didn't mean anything at the time… As we moved down the spine, we found a body and signs of combat, before we were attacked by sharpedo ourselves. One of them was incredibly big, but we managed to fight them off. I got bit and had to patch my suit, but we weren't hurt too badly. All the while there was a strange smell to the air. When we finally got to one of the wheels, we found out why - the crew and scientists had been literally torn apart. We were smelling blood. Things got worse from there.

As we got into the disks attached to the wheel, we were attacked by blood muks. There were hundreds of them. I shudder to think of where they came from. We held them off, then pushed through the horde to connect back up with one of the other teams, which had been cornered. At that point, we decided they would hold the backdoor for us, while we pushed on into the disk, since that seemed to be the heart of things.

There we found what we were looking for - Freya, and Lord D. There was a huge pool of blood, which apparently Lord D could control, or was made from. It wasn't entirely clear. I could… feel him trying to impose his will on mine, but he wasn't strong enough for it. He was plenty strong in other ways, though. I put the details of the fight in my report, but it took all of us and our pokemon to beat him and the giant muk he summoned. He used the blood to maneuver, to make weapons, to summon a giant muk to fight us. Sam and Tom went down to try and get Freya out, but he came at them hand to hand, and they had to get out. I was scared to death for a moment, but I'll hand it to Tom, he did something really clever with his Butterfree to get them out. In we had to burn away the pool of blood, at Freya's suggestion. Ren did perfectly for me, torching a good chunk of it. But even with the pool burned off, and with us throwing everything we had at him, he wouldn't go down. Every time we hurt him, he shot blood needles at us. This was especially bad when the other times finally showed up, guns blazing. Even then Lord D kept fighting. He tried to kill Freya, smashing open the tube she was in, but Kaz… Kaz seemed to lose it. He drove him off her, then brought him down when Lord D seemed to be trying to smash open a window to space, screaming that he was immortal and would summon something to kill us. We managed to calm Kaz down, who was in a bad way, as was Freya. Leo and the other medics managed to stabilize Freya and Kaz, and then got us off that gods forsaken place.

The debriefing was… interesting. The admiral and Dr Turtle told us that Lord D was summoning something capable of destroying colonies - something huge, something possibly alive. Whatever it is, it's over a mile long and is so big that when the military first spotted it, they tagged it as a star. It's almost certainly what destroyed our home. Apparently it was on its way to the research station, but it appeared that something called it off. That's almost more frightening than it actually showing up. It's clearly TRE's ace in the hole. I wonder if it's some kind of pokemon? I can't even begin to imagine what it would be like. Not just the incredible size, but the fact that it can survive in hard vacuum, and relatively close to a star. A true leviathan.

The subject of our shared dream came up as well; Sam had muttered something under her breath about it, and then Leo called everyone's attention to it in the most obvious and awkward way possible. Just as well; if they hadn't brought it up, I would have. I still don't trust the military's motivations, but they have more information and resources, and trading the knowledge of the dream for access to those resources is a good deal to me. Turtle was particularly excited, and the admiral confirmed my suspicion that TRE has some kind of clairvoyant. Turns out Leo had a dream as well, though his came across more like a look behind the curtain after the play had ended.

After the briefing, Sam went and picked up Sparrow from the ranch. I needed some time by myself to think through things, and Sam needed to see Sparrow. I did too, but not as badly. Sam dropped her off and went off with Tom for a while. I read to Sparrow and just spent time with her until Sam came back - well, until Tom brought Sam back. Typically for her, she pushed herself too hard and apparently fell asleep in the middle of a hallway. It was sweet of Tom to bring her back - maybe too sweet. I wonder if there's really something there? Regardless I'm going to have to tease Sam about it.

Apparently we're to continue on to SCCL051, which is good. It's a resort colony, and we all need a break.

Teresa Mai Kurita-Steiner
Ensign (EMSF)


11 August 200SE

Early Morning
Ocean Blue, En-route to SCCL051

Had another unusual dream last night. It was more than a normal dream, but less than our shared dream before we fought Lord D. It started out at a nice little outdoor cafe, on a densely populated metropolitan colony. Then all of a sudden I was under attack, guns going off all over the place - except I wasn't worried, I just dashed out of the place. I was out-pacing cars, on foot. A man with a rocket launcher tried to ambush me, but I leaped haflway up a building, and then ran up the side of it, jumping back and forth between the faces of different skyscrapers until I reached the top. Where of course there were ninjas, with red swords and white suits. I drew a pair of pistols and took them apart, actually curving bullets through the air to hit them. The I entered the building, and crashed through wood and paper doorways in a vaguely oriental space to confront someone I knew was the fox-woman Kirioshi. She had someone important to me, chained and caged, so I attacked her. She deflected bullets with her fan, but I finally maneuvered behind her to bring her down. Then I went to open the cage… and woke up.

Besides the fact that I was some kind of anime hero - too much time hanging out with Kazuma, though I have to admit it was kind of awesome - there seemed to be something more to it. In the dream, I could tell I knew who the caged person was. But now, awake, I can't figure it out. And something about those ninja and the fox-woman… Well. I need to keep thinking it over.

In the meantime, I'm actually going to the gym with Sparrow and Sam today, so I better go finish my coffee and get ready.

Teresa Mai Kurita-Steiner
Ensign (EMSF)


11 August 200SE (2nd)

Early Evening
Ocean Blue, En-route to SCCL051

Gym with Sparrow and Sam was kind of nice, though Sam is maybe a little too intense about training for me. I did tease her about Tom a bit, but it didn't seem to quite get through. No fun.

Lt. Havlicek was happy to have me back - I think not just because he like's having a gopher, but because he was actually worried about me. He's a nice guy, really, if a bit dull. In any case, he had plenty of work for me - nothing hard, but plenty to keep my busy. I did catch something interesting. There's a shipment coming in that Havlicek is handling entirely on his own, but it's not under the classified headers. Wonder what it is… I could just read his mind, but that would be cheating, I think. Also apparently we're getting swimsuits, just in time for shore leave. I snuck a suit I've had my eye on for a while into the manifest. I think I got it under Havlicek's nose, but he might have just let me get away with it. I am still going to pay for it in the shop, after all. If anyone steals it out from under me, though, there will be consequences.

I spent an evening session with Dr. Turtle. I expected to go back to phasing, but Turtle had a lot of questions about Lord D, what I sensed from him, basically everything that happened on the research station. We didn't do much training, but his suggestions gave me some ideas for things I want to try on my own, ways to improve my telepathic abilities. For one thing, Lord D's attempt to… turn me, makes me wonder if I could project my feelings onto someone else as well. Not to instill bloodlust, but maybe to quell it. It's worth a try.

Turtle also talked me into coming back for dream experiments tonight after dinner. Sam and Leo are coming as well, I believe. Sparrow seems okay with us being gone, as long as it's only for a night or two, and someone spends time with her during the day. Sam will have her tomorrow, I think. I'm planning on doing some cross training with the other ship operations.

It's sort of nice to be back into the normal routine. Well, what passes for normal these days.

Teresa Mai Kurita-Steiner
Ensign (EMSF)


12 August 200SE

Ocean Blue, En-route to SCCL051

The dream session was a bust. Turtle's awful tea worked and put us out and seemed to spur some dreaming. I remember some snippets, but Turtle had apparently not set one of his machines up correctly, so not much happened. He did get some good baseline data, so he wants to try again tonight. Have to see if he has it right this time.

I spent the whole day routing from one technical training to another. Started out with learning how to pilot the ship. This is a lot more complicated than I'd expected. Apparently conn needs something like a half-dozen people working in concert to fly this thing around. It took the whole morning for me to learn the basics just for the port side thrusters. So now I can turn right. Could come in handy.

Technical maintenance was mostly orientation, showing me where the actual functional parts of the ship were. I didn't even really do any basic maintenance. I don't think it's really my speed, to be honest. Kazuma would probably enjoy it. Still, it's useful to know. The lieutenant in charge, Pierce, suggested that I work with damage control. The officers in charge of that aren't all engineers, and it's a good way to learn about how the ship really works. I'll have to consider it.

Spent the evening back with Lt. Russell. It was nice to see him again. I knew he was good at his job, but it wasn't until I actually got behind the gunnery board and tried to do it myself that I realized just how good. He made it look easy. At the heart it's just applied physics and geometry, but you have to do it fast and under intense pressure, and you have to be right the first time every time. On top of that, it's not pure physics - no two guns are ever dialed in quite the same way, and not only does each weapon type have it's own quirks, Russell says each individual mount is a little different. So there's a little bit of art on top of the science. I'll never match Russell, but I'm confident I can master the technical aspects. Russell seemed to agree, though he's pretty close mouthed. I have to admit there's something inspiring about having that kind of firepower at your finger-tips. And something frightening as well.

Sam, Leo, and I are back with Turtle for dream experiments tonight. We'll see if he's got his act together now.

Teresa Mai Kurita-Steiner
Ensign (EMSF)


13 August 200SE

Ocean Blue, En-route to SCCL051

I knew my relatively boring days wouldn't last.

Turtle apparently got his machines lined up, because Leo, Sam, and I had another shared dream last night. We started out in this white caves - chalk, maybe? At first I just saw a pair of human shaped shadows that I couldn't understand, but eventually I realized it was Sam and Leo. We had all our gear and our pokemon with us, which proved useful. We went exploring and found a ruined… mansion, or great hall of some kind. It was pouring, and we seemed to be in some vast forest. Sam climbed up on the roof to look around, which worried me. Sam seemed to think it was dream so she couldn't get hurt; I'm not so sure. The building looked a lot like something Sparrow described from her own dreams. That worries me as well - the idea of her being in the dreamworld is not something I like to consider.

In any case, while Sam crawled around on the roof, Leo and I looked around inside. I sensed… something near us. Something that turned out to be the natives. They're some kind of pokemon apparently, a rather creepy kind. They were small white humanoids, eyeless, but with big red teeth and small wings. They had spears as well. Sam managed to calm one down and get it to bond with her, but the others were spoiling for a fight. Leo and I obliged. It went poorly for them, but I could see they could be dangerous in numbers. I tried catching one, but couldn't. After we drove them off, a bigger version showed up. Those were down right frightening. They called the little versions Young Ones, which I suppose made them Old Ones. Not a name that I find comforting. Leo apparently ran into them in his last dream. The Old One didn't answer any questions, just tossed us out of the dreamworld.

Turtle was definitely interested in this dream - all the more so when it turned out Sam had managed to bring a Young One back with her. That I find scary as hell - it means the dreamworld IS another, real place. Which means it's probably dangerous in ways we can barely even imagine. I don't trust the creepy little thing either, though Sam likes him. Have to keep my eye on it. It reminds me of something somehow, too, but I can't put my finger on it…

If that was't enough, after gym I spent time doing schoolwork with Sparrow - at least until Kaz showed up. He asked to speak with me in private. He was clearly in some kind of distress, so I went with him to his room to find out what was wrong. I was definitely not prepared for what he told me. Apparently, he's hearing Lord D in his head. Rambling about immortality, and how he's going to take over Kaz's body. It scared me to death. I couldn't tell if it was real, or if Kaz was just cracking under the pressure. Or if maybe it was a little of both - not that Lord D had… possessed him, but had twisted something in his mind. Naturally, all Kaz wanted to do was tell me and then have me keep it a secret from anyone. He refused to let me try and use my abilities to help - which I guess was probably a good idea, and a bit sweet of him to be worried, but infuriating as well. What use are these abilities if I'm afraid to use them? And like I told Sam, I'm not some fragile flower to protect. It drives me crazy when people do that. Well, I finally talked some sense into Kaz - pointed out that if something was going on, he was a danger to our other friends and to my daughter. Unfair, maybe, but effective and ultimately true. I got him to agree to let me bring Turtle in on this, and for us to work with him to try and fix it.

I broached the subject with Turtle while we were doing more phasing experiments - still no luck there. I broke another one of his non-reactive probes, though this time by accident. I sort of felt bad about that. Turtle understood what was going on and agreed readily, and agreed to keep it quiet, away from the captain and the admiral. Hopefully that won't come back to bite us. He postponed any more dream experiments while he kept trying to figure out what the hell Guy was. Guy is what Sam named her Young One. Guy Smiley. That thing still creeps me out.

Hopefully things will go well with Kaz tomorrow. I'm really worried about him.

Teresa Mai Kurita-Steiner
Ensign (EMSF)


14 August 200SE

SCCL051 (Early Afternoon)

Finally we reached the resort colony. I'm really looking forward to a break, especially after this morning.

Kaz didn't show up for the appointment - that secret shipment of Havlicek's turned out to be a whole bunch of evolution stones, so everyone was down at the shop. The twins apparently sussed out what it was, which I have to applaud them for. I went down to retrieve Kaz, but I picked up a pair of stones myself. I got a dawn stone and a fire stone. The latter I'm going to use for Ren, but not yet. I want her to get stronger before she becomes as Ninetail. I did, however, have Vlaandre use the dawn stone to become and Espeon. I think she look's really beautiful, and I think she understands what's going on a lot more now. Also, her abilities will really compliment my own. Kaz evolved Remiel as well - it was cute to see them together, especially since Remi had to basically relearn how to walk since he's no longer 90% tail. Tom evolved his nidorino into a nidoking, while Leo had bought himself a girafarig, which he let Sparrow ride. She really liked that, I need to remember to thank him.

After that I dragged Kaz to Turtle's. He was even worse today, especially once Turtle started working on him. He was paranoid, and kept trying to leave. I tried my calming trick on him, and it seemed to help. Turtle took blood samples, which seemed to have something in them. Lord D must have actually infected him. Thank goodness I got Kaz to come in. Apparently the… infection started to die off while we were working on him. I like to think I might have helped, if not with the mind tricks at least by making him face it. Turtle turned out to be surprisingly compassionate and helpful. Maybe I've misjudged the man. Of course, he was really excited about the data he was getting from it. Kaz was pretty wiped out, so he took Turtle's… well, closet… and laid down for a while. To be sure it was really gone, I reached in and checked Kaz's mind. There was nothing else there… but I did find out Kaz's deepest desire. I feel embarrassed and guilty, but I had to be sure he was okay. Also it was rather sweet… he wants to see his mother again. I'm going to do everything I can to make that happen.

After that it was finally a chance for shore leave. Everyone was scrambling to get off the ship - though the captain had the twins cornered, something about their suits. I'll have to text them about that. He's such a stick in the mud. The beaches around the docks were really crowded and expensive, definite tourist trap. But it makes sense - they have actual salt water here, which is amazing. I argued we should try and find someplace more out of the way, but even the transit was overpriced. I remembered a trick Uncle Helmut taught me, that renting a bike is a good cheap way to get around. Except Uncle Helmut is old and apparently everyone else figured out the trick, so that was expensive too. Except Leo remembered we should try for a military discount. Lucky us, there was one, so we got the bikes for a reasonable rate. Have to be careful not lose them, since it gets billed to the ship if we do. Bet the captain would be all over us for that.

We headed for the local gym, figuring that might be less crowded, and we wanted to check the place out. We do still want to keep some of our cover as trainers intact, so we can't skip a gym. On the way we found a fishing spot, and lo and behold our rival/friend Gesine the ice trainer was there. She'd already beat the gym, and was trying to catch some feebas. Apparently they're rare, but they're ugly as sin. She had a poliwag egg to trade, which Sam apparently wanted really badly. This started a chain reaction since she offered her sharpedo egg from the research station for it… except she had apparently already offered it to Tom. I started fishing with Sparrow, which was fun, though I'm really bad at it. Only caught a tentacool and a staryu - the latter of which Bitey whacked a little too hard. I thought it was going to die, so I… tweaked things in it's favor. I just couldn't bear to have it die in front of Sparrow. Tom was a lot better fisher than I was, caught some goldeen, magikarp, and even a feebas! Gesine naturally got one for herself, and she started pestering Tom to get his. This ended up with them having a battle, which was incredibly intense. Tom isn't bad, but Gesine is really good. Tom used his charmeleon, Shannon, which gave him an advantage since Gesine uses so many ice type. But her snorunt, Minna, actually beat Shannon. It was as close as it could get, but Leo called it in her favor, and I think he's right. Tom had to give up that feebas in the end.

To celebrate, Gesine took us out to a restaurant near the gym. I finally got to change into my new suit, and it's as cute as I'd hoped. It was a very nice restaurant, served all kinds of seafood and even catered to our pokemon. It was nice to get the whole team out to eat. I have so many now… to think I spent years arguing with my parents to get just one harmless buneary or eevee. Gesine gave her poliwag egg to Sam, apparently because Sam helped her get Tom to battle her. Gesine is interesting; she's very skilled, and apparently her father taught her a lot, but she doesn't like talking about him. She also said she lost her eye to a spear, which I found interesting. A spear in the modern day? I wonder if there's more to her than first appears. Maybe an AC… I'll have to look into it, and keep an eye on her.

The waiters at the gym turned out to be trainers, and indulged us for some tag battles. Leo and Sam lost a tough one - the waiters turned out to be a lot better than they expected, plus they expected Sam and Leo to go all out, while they expected the waiters to be push overs and sent out weaker mons they wanted to train. Kaz and I did a training battle straight up. His Char is pretty effective, but Bitey stole the show. I think I'll be using him at the gym.

After that, I took Gesine on, mostly on a lark. Also to be honest I wanted to see what she was made of, and lastly for some reason I wanted this young girl's respect. I think because she's clearly an excellent trainer, and despite my focus on my new found powers, at heart I'm still so proud to finally be a trainer myself. I want to prove myself to be a good one. In any case, I used Annae and Ren against her shellder and glaceon. Except Ren just got to watch. I didn't realize just how strong Annae had gotten - she took down the shellder without much trouble at all, and then held on against the glaceon to win it close. To take down two of a strong opponent's mons all on her own - I couldn't be more proud of Annae. I think Gesine was impressed, though she called it a warmup for a rematch with Kaz.

That ended a little badly. Kaz is a tough matchup for Gesine, since he has so many fighting types, and his are getting quite strong now. Her little snorunt showed well, but in the end it just couldn't stand up to a hitmonchan. In fact, Malik hit Minna so hard I though he'd killed her for a second. Thankfully the restaurant has a center built into it. Kaz clearly felt really bad. We'll have to find a way to make it up to Gesine. Despite my suspicions, I really like the girl. I do want to learn more about her, though.

Sam and Leo just won their rematch with the wait staff, so I better sign off.

Looking forward to just laying on the beach for a while.

Teresa Mai Kurita-Steiner
Beach Bum


14 August 200SE (2nd)

Late Evening
SCCL051

Another exciting night thanks to Sam. Gods.

After lunch with Gesine, we spent some time relaxing on the beach, and scoping out the local gym. Sam went off into deeper water, but seemed okay. A precursor for later though. Tom found this horrible ugly electric thing and insisted on catching it. Ugh. As long as he keeps it way from me. After the beach we had dinner with Brian, Bulk, and the twins. I brought up my study session/gossip circle idea, which everyone seemed to be into. Well, not Kaz so much. I also got a chance to talk to Bulk… I can't imagine what he feels right now.

After dinner we found a hotel for the night, and that's when things went bad. Kaz spotted Eva, and Sam went off to tail her - at least with Leo's blessing for once. But then she didn't come back. Her Xatu found us and told us she had ended up fighting with Eva, and had gotten hurt. Kaz ran off to find Eva, on his own, but Tom went to bring him back. It worked, thankfully. Sam was in a hospital, but was mostly okay. Scared me though. Thankfully Bulk was willing to look after Sparrow for us while we collected Sam. I really owe him.

I should try and get some sleep. I think we're okay now, and I would like to try and win at the gym tomorrow.

Teresa Mai Kurita-Steiner
Ensign (EMSF)


15-17 August 200SE

Ocean Blue, Docked at SCCL051

The local water gym turned out to be run by Kimberly Akisawa-Delfino. I didn't realize she was a gym leader. Her sister Rebecca is one as well - more about her later. Sam and Leo managed to defeat her in a typical match, but Tom and Kaz I don't think made it. I decided instead to challenge her to a race. She was fast, but Annae managed to beat her - with a little help from that phasing trick Turtle and I had been working on. I'd feel like it was cheating… except Kimberly is really annoying and it's not like she didn't use her abilities to their full limit. So there.

After that meeting with Kits about TRE and Leo getting in trouble, we managed to get some free time again. The girl Tom fought Kimberly with asked us for a ride to another colony, which we decided might be some fun. Turns out the colony in question also had a gym - Rebecca's. We decided to check it out, but first we picked up some birthday presents for Kaz - I found him the scarf the hero from his favorite show wears, plus a really complex model from the same show. I think he liked them.

The gym was impressive - Rebecca is much nicer than her sister. Her particular style is with flying types. Sam and I teamed up, and managed to win, though it was a tough fight. After that Rebecca gave us a chance to fly around inside the gym, which was a lot of fun. Sparrow enjoyed it too.

Of course we can't get good without some bad. We had a briefing about our next move - apparently the higher ups aren't entirely pleased with our performance. Leo got in trouble over his chart of TRE, which I think was excessive. They keep assuming we know more about how the military works than we actually do. Worse, we found out that Lord D wasn't dead. Wonderful. That's definitely going to make Kaz feel good. We also found out about our next mission - we have intel about a TRE ship carrying Lady S, and we're going to hunt it down. Vacation is over.

Teresa Mai Kurita-Steiner
Ensign (EMSF)


18-20 August 200SE

Ocean Blue, en-route to location of TRE Ship

I've been making an effort to learn more about the ship still, continuing to work with technical maintenance, bridge training, and battlestation training on the 18th and today (the 20th). The last I've been finding the most interesting. Firing a railgun is essentially math - calculating velocities and solving for fire solutions. There's something almost pure about it, bodies moving in a vacuum, affected only by inertia and gravity. It's a nice break from all the messy political and social problems going on around us.

The 19th was interesting. I worked out in the morning, and when I saw Kits there - I decided to make a run at him. I challenged him to a training match. It was close - so close. I nearly won, but… he's right, I don't have enough experience yet. Dammit. I should have had him. I will next time.

We had our big group meeting in the afternoon. I don't think we got as much out as I'd hoped, but it's a start. We need to do a better job of working together. Leo at least pointed that much out, though I'm not sure how closely Kazuma and Sam were paying attention. We were all a bit distracted by the news about Lord D being seen again. It makes sense - if he could try and convert Kazuma into another one of himself, he'd clearly done it before. Simple to hide one portion away as an insurance policy. I wonder if we'll ever be rid of that monster.

I got to spend the evening of the 19th with Sparrow, which was great. We played boardgames again, and watched some of her favorite movies. It's a good reminder of what's really important.

Tomorrow we should reach the TRE ship and Lady S. I think this time we're ready.

Teresa Mai Kurita-Steiner
Ensign (EMSF)


21 August 200SE

Captured TRE Ship

Ready? How did I think we were ready for this? We've won, but the cost of it…

The initial battle was deceptively easy. The TRE ship was simply not a match for the Ocean Blue, and in short order its engines had been disabled and the boarding action began. The two trained strike teams went in on the lower decks and worked on securing the armory and engine room. Meanwhile, we infiltrated on the higher deck and made our way to the bridge, on the assumption that either we'd find Lady S there or near there, or at least be able to lock down the ship.

We quickly discovered that the ship appeared to be crewed entirely by pokémon, and in many cases families of them. We first encountered a bravasantized vespiquen and a colony of her combees, which weren't really a match for us - too many fire types among our mons. Sam was getting pretty worked up about the fact that we were fighting what appeared to be families, in particular a nidoking and nidoqueen and their children, but we didn't have much choice. When we finally reached the bridge, we found a group of slowkings at the controls. I wanted to lock them up and lock down the ship, but they refused. They did surrender, though, and Leo decided it was good enough. Especially since, as usual, Sam was rushing off as soon as they told us where Lady S was. And since Team B had apparently encountered her, and things had gone wrong…

I'd begun to suspect something at that point, but I didn't say anything. I should have. The fact that there were no other people on this ship, just pokémon, and the rumors we had about Lady S… If I'd said what I suspected then, maybe what happened next could have been avoided.

Lady S was waiting for us, in her ball room. Team B was there, unconscious and wounded. Her power, as I had feared, was to drain the life force of the people near her. And possibly also to make them her thralls, her puppets. She clearly did not see any non-ACs as people. The fight was brutal. I could - we all could - feel our life draining away, and she called in her pokémon, which were powerful in their own right. Finally we drove them off, and pulled Team B out… and then she refused to surrender. That's when things really went to hell.

She wouldn't stop fighting, and wouldn't stop trying to kill us. She refused to let us offer help. It was literally her, or us. But Sam couldn't accept that. She jumped in, and tried to protect Lady S - protect her from us. Sam and her damn heroics, her seeing the world as black and white. We had no good choices left! Just the least bad. But Sam can't accept that. Finally Tom had to put her to sleep so we could… put Lady S down.

Team A finally showed up at the end. We found Lady S' diary, which told us what I'd already known - TRE used her, expanded her life draining powers, and she wanted to die, to stop it. But she was too much of a coward to do it herself, or to ask someone for help. Damn her.

Leo and I had it out with Sam as well. How could she side with someone against us? Does she think we want to kill someone, that we're just sheep following orders? The world doesn't work that way. Things don't always have some shiny happy ending. And if Sam keeps insisting on trying to make that happen, she's going to get us all killed. I love her, but it's going to be a long time before I really forgive her. I think she knows she was wrong but - does she really get why?

Maybe she should take a non-combat position, like she said.

The debrief was a bit of a disaster as well. Tom, for all his charisma, managed to say exactly the wrong thing. Almost undid the work Leo and I did to try and get the best outcome for Lady S' surviving pokémon. But they took a combination of our suggestions, that the smartest ones - like the slowkings - be treated as POWs, and the rest given to experts or new trainers who could handle them. At least, most of them.

Some of them refused to surrender. Like the massive machamp. Sam couldn't accept that, again. I was willing to try to calm it, see if maybe it was too enraged to listen, and if we could just calm it down… But it knew what it wanted. To kill us. And it damn near got a hold of Sam. There was really only one choice.

I'm worried about everyone, but Sam especially. Maybe this will finally open her eyes to reality. I'll give her some space, and hopefully…

I think we need to get away from this for a while. Leo agrees. We're going to try and get assigned to the prize crew for the captured ship.

Dammit. I wish I knew what was coming. How to prepare us for it. We'll just have to keep going.

Teresa Mai Kurita-Steiner
Ensign (EMSF)


22 August 200SE

Ocean Blue and Captured TRE Ship, en-route to SCIC004

I spent all day working on the prize ship, helping with minor repairs but mostly surveying the ship's layout and tagging components for replacement or overhaul. For once being rather petite was an advantage - at least in my superior's eyes - since I could squeeze into access hatches and maintenance crawl-ways the rest of the crew couldn't fit in. Mostly boring, hot, claustrophobic work. And dirty. Feels like I found every grease puddle and grimy spot on the damn ship. Lt. Pierce was magnificently unsympathetic. Still, after yesterday… I have to admit that it was sort of a relief to do some mindless, hard grunt work.

I did see Tom on the ship at one point that evening, looked like he was helping figure out how many crew berths there were. Lucky bastard.

Sam spent some time at the Ranch and with Sparrow. I hope it will help her get her head back together.

Teresa Mai Kurita-Steiner
Ensign (EMSF)


25 August 200SE

Young Blue, Departing SCIC004 for SCCL031

So it turns out Tom is from SCIC004. Fortunately not everyone there talks like him, just his parents. They were really nice people, but wow.

I wish everything was just as amusing, but in typical fashion we couldn't escape drama, and also in typical fashion much of it was centered around Sam. That weird dream world thing, the Young One she calls Guy, apparently found some kind of rift and decided to eat it. Yes. These things are incredibly alien.

As far as I can figure, the dreamworld is possibly some manisfestation of additional dimensions usually folded into themselves in the normal universe we inhabit. Or perhaps its the informational substrate of the multiverse. I'm beginning to suspect the latter. It seems like sometimes we've encountered people or things from parallel world lines, temporally ahead of or behind our own. It's clear that the rules are different there, and seem to operate less according to what we understand as physics or even quantum mechanics, and more in line with information theory. I wonder if perhaps Awakened abilities are themselves explicitely tied into this substrate. A waking connection that allows us to do things that would normally be considered impossible. It would explain the name, if it actually means anything.

As for the Janitors and Young Ones themselves, they appear to be something that is neither a true hive mind or true individual beings. Instead it appears to be a collective entity with a population of semi-independent "physical" bodies, in constant mental contact with each other. In fact I wonder if it's better to imagine each " mature individual," each Janitor, as inherently several minds in a sort of consensus. All I can say for sure is that trying to read Guy's mind was downright painful - an endless cacophany of competing voices. It was like the first time, when I tried to read too many minds on SCCL031, but worse.

In any case, Guy explained - as best it could - that it had eaten a 'hole,' apparently into the dreamworld.

The real drama, though, was Kaz' reaction to all this. Kaz has never trusted these things, keeps calling them demons. Sam on the other hand still believes everything is inherently good and pure, so naturally she defended Guy and insisted he was just being cute or some nonsense. And then it all came out, the leftover anger from dealing with Lady S. Of course, Kaz does it right in front of Sparrow, in a completely unacceptable way.

I don't want Sparrow to be - sheltered. But she is still just a child, and Kaz's behavior was just out of line regardless. Would have helped if Sam had actually talked to anyone else about things before now. Kaz still had the impression she didn't think she'd done anything wrong, when of course Sam's been ripping herself up over it.

Kaz went off to blow off some steam - and apparentlty got himself beat up by a heracross. I met up with him after that and told him, again, that I'm not some delicate flower needing protection.

Later on, after everyone had calmed down a bit, we met with a breeder Kaz had run into in the woods, and we actually got some new pokémon. Oh, that reminds me! Sparrow got her first pokémon! A little sewaddle she's named Ummi. Have to make sure Ummi gets checked out, she seemed a bit wilted. But I'm sure with Sparrow fussing over her, it'll come back nicely.

I traded Eron, who I just never seem to have enogh time for, and paid some money to pick up a sigilyph I've named Logos. He's a bit quiet, but seems like a good addition to the team. Kaz got a pink deerling named Marty, though he's trying to rename it Sashiel. Of course it was pink. I teased him about that, and now we have a bet over who's pokémon would win in a beauty contest. Have to figure out a good forfeit for it. Sparrow fell in love with a little buneary, so now she has two pokémon, Ummi and Mayu.

We also bought Leo a zigzagoon he was looking at, since he spends so much making vitamins and such for the rest of us.

Around then is when we went to meet Tom's parents, while Sam went off with Sparrow, which I think was good for her. Though she got herself roped into helping out with a dumptank at the bug fair. We had fun at that, and even took part in a catching contest. Kaz found that heracross again and won, and Sam and Tom placed. I didn't do so well, but I didn't mind.

We went back into the dream world that night, and met someone there. Someone I feel like we should know. She has a Lopunny and a Haunter. We had a friendly match, and after when I used some of my telekinesis she seemed to know us. She told me to warn her sister… I just don't know.

After a few days the captured TRE ship, renamed the Young Blue - a really terrible name, if you ask me - was ready to go. The ship assignments were handed down, and as I suspected we were on it. So was Kaitlin, but not Kerry, which I think was stupid of the Captain. Who of course was also assigned to the Young Blue. So was Briggs, Suzan, Turtle, Lowell, and Swift. We've already set off for SCCL031, where we're hoping Ariel Orthom will accept the Bravasantized Combees.

The other piece of good news is that this ship apparently has a bath house, and they are going to open it tomorrow! Should be fun.

Teresa Mai Kurita-Steiner
Ensign (EMSF)


27 August 200SE

Young Blue, En-route to SCCL031

The bath house is indeed quite nice, though it caused a bit more trouble than I think anyone expected.

Turns out the good Liutenant Lowell is a bit of a liepard, and the Captains decision to have separate men's and women's sides didn't sit well with her. Eventually she staged an assault to take down the separating wall, after her actual liepard tricked Kaz into jumping over the barrier because it was trying to steal his swim-trunks. I will admit to joining in a little by helping the liepard complete its mission, but I ducked out before the real chaos began. The others weren't out quite as quick, and apparently Leo intercepted Kits to give them a chance to escape, and ended up challenging him.

And won the next morning. Dammit. I came so close to getting Kits myself, it's frustrating to see someone else beat me to it. Especially since I lost to Leo soon after as well. Damn, damn, damn. I wouldn't bother me so much, but I always feel like I'm struggling to get the others to take me seriously as it is.

At least I've gotten to the point where I'm getting actual bridge duties now, instead of just training.

I did get to spend some quality time with Suzan after the bathhouse that night. She helps us out so much with Sparrow, sometimes I feel really guilty. And I hope I'm spending enough time taking care of Sparrow myself… It's never really easy. Still, though, I learned some interesting things about Suzan. Apparently she used to train her own pokémon, but doesn't anymore. It sounds like something happened to her. I'd like to find out, but I'm not going to pry - yet.

Teresa Mai Kurita-Steiner
Ensign (EMSF)


29 August 200SE

SCCL031

I'm still shaking. We almost lost Sparrow today. Ava

i can't finish this right now


30 August 200SE

Morning
SCCL031

I should explain what happened yesterday.

The first part of the day was fine. We met Ariel along with Kits, and she agreed to take the b. combees. I don't think it took much to convince her to do it, I think mostly she wanted to make the EMSF sweat a little before agreeing. Make it clear she wasn't at their beck and call. She turned out to have a lot of grass-types in her garden, an interesting combination with her fire types. Sparrow tried to sneak out a cottonee, which was cute but we did have to scold her a bit. After that, Ariel invited us back to her gym. I managed to upgrade my badge to the colored one, which I was pleased with. The others took turns as well, and after grabbing a bite to eat we tried out the contests. Kaz, Sam and I were in one, which Ren managed to win.

But during the contest, we'd left Sparrow with Leo. That's when things went to hell.

Leo ended up going to talk with Ariel about something, and left Sparrow with Zero. When Sparrow went to the bathroom, Ava showed up. She took out Zero and Sparrow's little pokemon, and took Sparrow. We managed to track her down, and Kits got the colony locked down. There was a short, sharp fight, and we managed to get Sparrow away from her.

I wanted to kill Ava. I thought she was taking Sparrow because she's an AC, and Ava has been trying to turn Kaz at least since we first saw her. But it was more complicated than that. It turns out that.

Ava is Sparrow's older sister.

I really don't know what that means for us. I have to give Ava a chance, because I honestly don't believe she was thinking clearly when she took Sparrow, and I also don't believe Ava wants to hurt her. I just do not trust the people Ava works for, or that she can keep Sparrow safe from them. I'd wager Ava feels similarly, but as far as I can see the evidence is in our favor.

In the end Ava managed to get away, though part of her ship got left behind since the airlock docking clamps wouldn't release. Before she left, though, I managed to exchange some thoughts with her, and passed on the warning the girl from the Dreamworld gave us - since we realized that girl was Sparrow, from some future world line. Have to go more into that at some point.

The fighting didn't end after Ava got away… Kaz laid into Leo, which I felt like doing myself, but it wasn't the time for it. At all. I'd have laid into Kaz, but Sparrow… did something. She seemed to make time stop, though it made her faint. That at least brought everyone to their senses, and we were able to get out of there and back to the ship. I asked the others to keep Sparrow's outburst, and her relationship to Ava, a secret, and so far it seems to be holding.

It's hard though. We have to pretend its a normal day, partly for Sparrow's sake and partly for our own. And in the meantime I've lost some respect and trust for Leo, and I'm increasingly frustrated with Kaz being a hot-head. Not to mention Tom having some kind of guilt trip over wanting take out Ava. He can't seem to see past his own nose sometimes.

But maybe we're all too wrapped up in ourselves. Maybe that's the problem.

At least today will just be some hard work, take my mind of all this for a while.

Teresa Mai Kurita-Steiner
Ensign (EMSF)


31 August 200SE (2nd)

Very Early Morning
SCCL031

What a difference a few days can make.

We spent the day (technically yesterday) helping to relocate the combees, which mostly involved cleaning out the special bee house the Orthom's have for bravasantized combees. It hadn't been used for a while, but Ariel put us to work setting it up. During a break Sparrow got to catch her first pokemon, getting a cottonee. I was very proud of her, and she seemed really happy. She seems to have weathered what happened on the 29th better than the rest of us, and doesn't seem to recall what happened with her power outburst.

While we were cleaning and prepping the bee house, I managed to get paint and fireproofing all over myself, despite wearing a coverall. . Ariel was nice enough to loan me a change of clothes. After that, Ariel offered to take us all out for a treat at a local spa. We convinced Suzan to join us, and it was a lovely time. Ariel and I got Kaz totally made up, even had his nails painted and waxing, which was hilarious. Everyone else seemed to have a good time as well.

Later on, Suzan showed up pretty hammered and on a crying jag. Scared Sparrow a bit, but I think she was okay after I explained. Got Suzan to bed and to drink some water to maybe cut into the hangover tomorrow. Sam was busy with the dreamworld again. I think she's been going a lot lately.

Anyways, it was overall a good day, despite Suzan being in the bag at the end of it.

Teresa Mai Kurita-Steiner
Ensign (EMSF)


2 September 200SE

Young Blue, En-route to SCCL066

We've left Ariel's colony behind, much to Sparrow's regret. And to be honest mine, I really enjoyed having something like a break, after everything. We even got a chance to go back to her garden before she left, and I picked up a pair of joltik. I think I may see about getting Tom and perhaps Suzan's help to get a super-joltik, as a way to get to know him better, since we're working together. Still think he's a bit too much of a pretty boy for his own good.

Leo threw us a lunch, which was nice of him. He and I are still not on the greatest terms at the moment. Besides my feelings over what happened with Ava, he found out about the dreamworld stuff - predictably from Sam - and was rather upset. I think he's still overlooking how this could help us, plus I don't think the dreamworld itself will leave us alone just because we want it to. It pulled us in without our willing it once before, whats to keep that from happening again? Better to go there first and learn how to deal with it. Anyways it's hard for me to feel too guilty about it right now. I think though in the end the two of us will get back somewhere better. I hope so anyways.

The last few days have been fairly uneventful. Been taking on more bridge duty, and got to spend some quality gossip time with Kaitlyn and actually Lowell. I asked her to maybe keep an eye on Kaz, after explaining the bet we had, that he had to go to the mixed bath house time, naked, with her. I hoped she could maybe get him to open up, to stop being so angry or whatever he is all the time. He's wound up too tight or something, and I'm sort of worried. He can't seem to figure out even a little teasing.

She managed to get him to go the next evening. I sort of spied on them, so I could make sure he did it, and also because I wanted to see if Lowell could talk some sense into him. It seemed to help a bit, since he actually got me with some ice move. Makes me shiver just mentioning it. Should make our little prank war more fun now that he's actually fighting back a little. Still going to crush him.

Teresa Mai Kurita-Steiner
Ensign (EMSF)


3 September 200SE

Late Evening
Young Blue, En-route to SCCL066

So yesterday the trick with the Young Blue finally paid off. I'd suggested - or perhaps suspected - that we'd use it to lure in another TRE ship, and then if we were lucky the Ocean Blue could jump it so we could take it. And since it would be a more typical example, hopefully, we'd get a lot more useful intelligence.

Unfortunately we were too far away from the battlecruiser, so instead we had to fight off the TRE on our own. But we still caught them by surprise. They boarded, using a smoke grenade to cover, but in our section they didn't last along against us or the fireteam backing us up. They did use grenades, which was a shock. Dangerous to everyone, and illegal. They try it again, though, and I'll have a nasty surprise for them.

But I spotted something else odd - a TRE fireteam went one way, and a single pokémon went the other. I phased through some walls to get on the other side of it, and realized I recognized the pokémon. Lola, Iris Camille's sneasel. I took off after her after alerting Leo. The others caught up pretty quick, especially since Lola hit me with an icy wind and slowed me down. I hate getting hit with cold stuff like that.

We took out another TRE fireteam, and then caught back up with Lola at some kind of lab. Where we also found Iris. I don't know if she's been brainwashed, or just swallowed their propaganda. Everyone else is assuming the former, and to a certain extent it may be true, but I suspect she was already close with them beforehand. TRE is so good at information control, that just being stuck in their echo-chamber can look like brainwashing. The EMSF is bad at it, so all their warts and mistakes are obvious. But TRE hides theirs, so if you're predisposed to be angry at the EMSF…

In any case it appears Iris has the ability to block out psychic powers. I could not read her at all, though apparently it hurt her when I tried to. She had a pair of researchers with her who apparently figured out how to duplicate the process artificially. Iris wanted to take us to the leader on the ship, and we refused to go. She refused to come with us. So a fight broke out.

It was pretty brutal, especially on Leo. She had quite a few aces up her sleeves, and a lunatone that was just ridiculously tough. And when we finally got her down - a solrock hit us with a hyperbeam. I managed to use my powers to protect myself and keep Leo up, but he decided we needed to fall back, especially since it became clear the solrock was Reymond Damascus'.

I'm of two minds. Fighting him may have been biting off too much for us, but I also think Leo didn't really have a full awareness of where our team stood. Still, while I think he may have made the decision for perhaps the wrong reasons, it turned out to be the right one. The TRE ship had disengaged from the Young Blue, so we had to meet up with a fireteam and commandeer an escape shuttle.

We didn't go away completely emptyhanded, though. When we got away from Damascus, I grabbed Lola and Sam grabbed her pokéball. Sam took Lola when we got the shuttle, since I had to help fly it.

It was clear Iris had not been treating her well. I can't help but be furious about it. How can someone do that to their pokémon? I want to - make it better somehow. I don't know.

Sam does too, I think, but I also fear Sam will kind of… smother Lola. Maybe I'm just projecting, but I think Lola would be happiest if she could get out there and DO something.

In other news, I challenged Kits again on the day before the battle. And lost. I feel like I can't get out of my own way or something lately. I was incredibly frustrated about it, but Lt Lowell, of all people, actually picked me up. I really do think she's a good friend, even if she's a bit… well.

Anyways, I'll have to add more later, it looks like Sam is trying to sneak off into the dreamworld on her own.

Teresa Mai Kurita-Steiner
Ensign (EMSF)


New

6 September 200SE

Morning
Young Blue, En-route to SCCL073

Damn Cain Kits. Damn him.

I keep hearing all this about the great captain, but all I see is the hollow shell of that man. What's left is barely worth the air keeping him upright.

The way he treated Sam - I just couldn't let that stand. Whether or not it was a good idea for her to be dressed that way or in the high roller area, she didn't deserve that. She's not his damned daughter. And even if she was…

I don't know what the fallout is going to be of our little tête-à-tête. My own temper got a little away from me, otherwise I wouldn't have done it. Yet… if I hadn't done it, I don't think I'd be able to look myself in the mirror. I had to prove to myself that I wasn't afraid of him. And I learned a bit more about Kits. Like the fact that he sees himself as a monster. Lowell said later he wouldn't have carried through his threat - but I think he would have, to prove he means what he says. He's still being jerked around by his pride, for all his claims to just be a cog in the machine.

I've not told anyone else about that. Not to protect Kits, but because it would bring things to a head sooner than I want. And someone would almost certainly end up dead.

I need to put this down for a while. I have other things to cover, but I'm too angry to write them properly. Also hungover.

Teresa Mai Kurita-Steiner
Ensign (EMSF)


6 September 200SE (2nd)

Late Morning
Young Blue, En-route to SCCL073

I feel a bit calmer now. Not that there weren't other things that tested my patience on this little stop-over.

On the plus side, I liked that sneasel outfit, even if it was rather risque. It was kind of fun. And Sam looked delicious in that spoink outfit… Need to stop thinking about that. I'm pretty sure Sam doesn't like girls that way.

Anyways, OTHER excitement for the day. The job the Admiral dumped on Kits, the missing people, lead us to an ancient genetic weapon, a pokémon called Mewtwo. It had created a 'family' via mind control. Worse, the bastard sucked ME in. Turned me into a… well, a magical girl. I liked the outfit, but it threw me into a fight against my friends. I don't care how lonely or lost it was. Thankfully no one got hurt. The others let it go, which I agreed with in-so-far as I didn't want the military to have their hands on it. And I'm not sure we could have stopped it for real. But I still can't stand it for what it did.

Speaking of that hangover, after all that we hit a bar. For some reason I decided to do the local challenge and drank some bizarre concoction that had to be nearly 90% alcohol. But I pulled it off, so I was queen of the bar or something.

So I was drunk, and everyone else was drunk, so OF COURSE this is the perfect moment for Kazuma to confess he has feelings for me. That idiot. Though I wasn't much better. A kiss and a slap? How cliche, and how confusing. Dammit.

Not to mention I've got Sam stuck in my head too. Argh. Like I needed another complication.

Teresa Mai Kurita-Steiner
Ensign (EMSF)


9 September 200SE

Young Blue, En-route to SCCL073

I got the girl! The mistress. Pirates. Ohgod Suzan and Sparrow.

Teresa Mai Kurita-Steiner
Ensign (EMSF)


10 September 200SE

Young Blue, SCCL073

After the party & after the gym

Teresa Mai Kurita-Steiner
Ensign (EMSF)


11 September 200SE

Young Blue, SCCL073

It's over. For some reason. Fuck.

And it has to be HIM. Goddammit.

Fuck this.


12 September 200SE

Ocean Blue, SCCL073

Back together with Sam, wtf with vision quest, hey a joltik!

Teresa Mai Kurita-Steiner
Ensign (EMSF)

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