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Day 02 [1800 hrs.] (Assuredly NOT) Romancing the Romulan

[Lt. Enyd Isolde Madsen | Arboretum | Deck 22 | Vector 03 | USS Theurgy ] attn: @Auctor Lucan

Evidence of the Klingon boarding party and subsequent attacks were still visible despite the crew’s efforts to clean such things away when Enyd found her way to Theurgy’s arboretum after the memorial service. Though she had not served with those lost on the recent missions, a life lost was a life to be mourned nonetheless. Enyd had offered her support to those friends onboard who HAD served with the departed and only left their side when a subtle glance from Rutherford reminded her of one of her “side missions” her department head had given her. After changing from her formal uniform into a more casual maroon jumpsuit, Enyd had moved through the ship into new territory—new for her at least—to the area most likely to find her target.

Stepping to the side of the path to allow a few of the maintenance crew to pass, Enyd was momentarily “swallowed” by the lush foliage. Until this moment, Enyd had forgotten how much she missed the greenery of Earth. Cardassia had been a war zone with pockets of green-filled beauty amidst a lot of brown and grey, and Vulcan’s hue of green when it was available was not at all the same. Turning her head and closing her eyes while letting one leaf continue to brush against her face, Enyd basked in the peace of the moment. The air felt lighter here, cleaner, and though she knew it wasn’t real, Enyd couldn’t help but feel as if her cells were being rejuvenated with the same photosynthesis as the surrounding plants.

Moments passed before Enyd opened her eyes and blushed. The maintenance crew was long gone, and she’d been standing half off the path within the embrace of a bush like an absolute loon. With Major Situka aboard and Donatra fleeing the Star Navy in their direction, it was only a matter of time before the Romulan “side quest” became their main one and Enyd agreed with Rutherford that they needed all the information they could get regarding this Major Situka and any other Romulan officers or characters they could be coming up against. Yes, there was an Intelligence edge that such information could give them, but there was also a diplomatic edge as well. The more information on a potential problem one had, the less likely the problem would degrade into a crisis. And though she had not yet made his acquaintance, Rutherford, knowing of Enyd’s curiosity towards Romulans in general, had tasked her with tracking down Drauc T’Laus. If he had been influential enough on Major Situka to get her to “turncoat” so to speak, perhaps there was more that he knew they could benefit from.

T'Laus was her intended “target” here, though now that she was here, Enyd was content if he didn’t show up or reveal himself for a time. It would give her more freedom to explore the various pathways and corners of this place, a place that was quickly becoming her favorite spot on the ship. Spying a particularly vibrant flower at the junction of two paths, Enyd crouched in front of it, marveling at the intricate veins that crisscrossed in each of its pastel purple petals. Oh, if only every assignment from Rutherford entailed her coming to such beautiful places, awaiting the appearance of mysterious men.
Lieutenant Enyd Isolde Madsen, Assistant Chief Diplomatic Officer

Lieutenant Commander Cross, Chief Tactical Officer

Re: Day 02 [1800 hrs.] (Assuredly NOT) Romancing the Romulan

Reply #1
[ Drauc T'Laus | Arboretum | Deck 22 | Vector 03  | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz  
In the wake of the battle, Drauc T'Laus had difficulty finding sanctuary anywhere aboard the ship.

Repairs were conducted in areas he usually sequestered himself, and he was forced to seek new places wherein he could gain some relative distance from large gatherings of officers. He merely used the confines of his quarters to cleanse himself, to use the replicator in order to eat, but the minds of the crew inhabiting quarters of their own adjacent to his were too invasive at night. Below him, above, and beyond the bulkheads, there were people who bled into his mind. At night, their dreams became his, and as unguarded as he was in his sleep, he could feel himself waking up and not knowing who he was. He always slept poorly since Kraun died, years ago, and Drauc had found that the only way to remain himself was with distance. This proved difficult the first two nights after the Theurgy reached Qo'noS, and not just because of the shipwide repairs.

Major Situka had been extracted from the Aliqui. She'd reached out to him from the Oneida, upon which she remained. Their subsequent conversation had been conducted via LCARS screens, which was a comfort given their history, and it had gone as he might have predicted.

<Our people is too proud to admit to fault, even when their Praetor commit war crimes. At least you have made me understand how Tal'Aura could seize power despite her involvement with Shinzon. The use of thalaron weaponry should have exempted her as a possible candidate, but here we are, aren't we?>

<In retrospect, matters tend to be clear,> Drauc had rasped in Rihannsu to the Major, this face from the past.

<Drauc... I know our dealings have not always been...>

<No, they have not.>

<Nonetheless, that raiding mission, before Starbase 84. Did you reach the facility before you were caught?>

<Yes,> he grated, saying naught more.

Annoyance, seen rather than felt through the monitor. <Did you find what you were looking for?>

<That is irrelevant now. The battlefield ahead hold more import.>

They had shared a moment of silence, recognising that fact, but she wasn't finished. <You know that our interests are the same in her regard. Though if you don't find her some day, I will... and I might not be able to spare her for your sake.>

<Then don't. I doubt she would expect mercy. We'll speak again, when Starfleet Intelligence calls for us both,> he'd said, and terminated the link.
As it were, the summons had come from another Department entirely, and when he stepped into the Arboretum - a place in which he'd fought House Mo'Kai two days prior - he had expected to find Commander Rutherford waiting for him. Yet as he moved down the path, he found another officer instead. Someone who stood out in how a surface thought or two of hers were directed towards him personally. He had never seen the Human before - or at least her mind seemed more Human than not to him - so he gathered she might be the one he was supposed to meet.

She did not wear a uniform, so he did not know how to address her. Thus, he slowly stepped up to her from the side, looking at her through the tresses of his hair, and kept his scarred hands from flexing inside the sleeves of his threadbare robe. If he'd been able, the sight of her crouching in the grass, it might have made him see her beauty in earnest. Yet he suspected it was merely an echo, in how her mind was preoccupied with the beauty of this area aboard the Theurgy - of the flower she studied. While he suspected that the sight of him would end her enjoyment, he thought naught of it. Damaged as his own emotions were, benumbed by what the Tal Shiar had done to him, he could merely enjoy sharing that moment with her - through her - for as long as it lasted.

Until she found him standing not far away from her. Only then did he purse his lips.

"I'm Drauc T'Laus," he rasped, unblinking as he looked into her eyes. "Did you wish to speak with me?"

If he was mistaken, he would just have to bide his time in the Arboreturm. At least there were no others present in their immediate vicinity, the repairs of the place not deemed essential yet.

Re: Day 02 [1800 hrs.] (Assuredly NOT) Romancing the Romulan

Reply #2
[Lt. Enyd Isolde Madsen | Arboretum | Deck 22 | Vector 03 | USS Theurgy ] attn: @Auctor Lucan

Enyd felt a presence before she saw him, a powerful presence, but not a commanding one. Over the years, she had never attempted to train any latent mental abilities leftover by her ancestry, but compared to many of her peers who did not have as diversified a background as herself, Enyd knew she had a “leg up,” so to speak, regarding the reading of a person or situation. That was one reason she’d excelled in problems or on planets many others had struggled with—such as Tellar or even with certain surly Andorians. Unlike most, Enyd found such peoples and places to be mentally exhilarating; a welcome break from the human norms she’d grown up with. And generally, she could sense mal intent or perceive when someone was operating for nefarious, unspoken reasons. Of coruse, she was not always right and species-dependent, she could be misled the same as anyone else.

However, as she stood to her full height, be it the full 5’4 of it, and continued to look up—not a surprise there either—Enyd did not sense anything reprehensible from the scarred and fairly dour-looking Romulan who revealed himself as the very man she’d been looking for. He was not dressed in standard Starfleet attire, though Rutherford had informed Enyd of that possibility, and he also looked quite different from the only other Romulan she knew aboard, Valyn Amarik. His burgundy hair hung as an elusive curtain, offering only glimpses of the scarred features hidden by thick tresses. From what she could tell, though, Drauc appeared handsome, albeit not in a traditional sense, and that was even with the scars. If anything, what scars she could see, made Enyd curious if they would feel the same as Victor's did or if because his skin texture was different--if it was--or because he was Romulan--to Victor's half--Bajoran--if they would feel differently. He had moved silently and Enyd knew without having to ask, or see beneath the layers of clothing that hung from his frame, that he was as deadly as the predator he emulated. Though, while he exuded the capability to death-deal, he also appeared calm and collected. Calculating even.

Before coming here, Rutherford had briefed Enyd on Drauc’s file, and what she’d read still didn’t do the man justice. When he spoke, his voice had an immediate effect on Enyd, causing the hairs on her arms to raise and an involuntary shiver to course through her. She’d always been sensitive to voices, finding deeper timbre ones alluring, and those such as what Drauc was sporting were just as intriguing. It was body language and voice that drew Enyd, sometimes more readily than looks, and Drauc had both in spades, piquing her curiosity to even higher levels than before. Here was a mystery she desired to solve. But then again, here was a mystery that could very well desire to be left well-enough alone. Either way, Enyd would refrain from peppering him with questions—knowing she could do this from her “practice” with Valyn that first night onboard—and driving the poor man bonkers with trying to evade her questions or her hands as they assuredly wanted to test the quality of his scars.

Not exactly a nervous movement born out of discomfort, but out of sudden awareness that this was very much a man and she was very much a woman, and they were quite alone, Enyd reached up and tucked her hair behind her ears, pushing the loose locks back over her shoulders. She realized only after the movement was finished and her hands were back at her sides that now Drauc, likely a very observant man, would note the point of her own ears. Perhaps that would assist in the conversation, as it had with Valyn. Or mayhap it would detract from it. Enyd inwardly shrugged. Only time would tell either way.

Clearing her throat of any girlish giggles that now threatened to irrationally spill forth, Enyd offered a genuine smile to the Romulan and gave a pert nod in response to his introduction.

“Yes, as a member of the diplomatic corps, I was instructed to discuss our guest, Major Situka, with you. Perhaps glean some insight on the other ‘guests’ we might have in the future with you as well. If you have any insight to offer. However,” her smile grew lopsided then, “as a new member of the crew, I am also pleased to meet you, Drauc.” Enyd felt her cheeks warm with a blush and inwardly cursed how immature and naïve she must seem to the man just then. “I hope it isn’t impertinent of me to call you by your first name.”

It was then that Enyd realized she hadn’t introduced herself yet, further adding to her growing list of reasons she needed to kick herself to next Sunday once she was back in her quarters alone. Maintaining eye contact as best she could through his hair, she added, “Enyd Isolde Madsen, lieutenant, assistant to the diplomatic department head, Rutherford.”

Her hand was moving of its own accord before her conscious thought caught up, and by the time she broke eye contact and glanced down at the air between them, seeing her own hand outstretched in traditional Earth-greeting in the empty space, it was too late to tell her body to cease and desist. Now they stood across from each other, brooding Romulan male and ridiculous female with a single hand lifted towards him in an innocent, and silly, greeting.

With no way to disguise the gesture as anything other than what it was, Enyd sighed, her smile twisting into one of self-deprecating humor, “Old habits.”

Though she knew it was more likely that he would ignore her hand and apology and move the conversation back to the task at hand, Enyd couldn’t help the unexpected wondering if he was as warm to the touch as he seemed to be, despite his cool demeanor.
Lieutenant Enyd Isolde Madsen, Assistant Chief Diplomatic Officer

Lieutenant Commander Cross, Chief Tactical Officer

Re: Day 02 [1800 hrs.] (Assuredly NOT) Romancing the Romulan

Reply #3
[ Drauc T'Laus | Arboretum | Deck 22 | Vector 03  | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz 
His dark eyes saw the shape of her ear since her hand drew attention to it, but there was little sign of either Romulan or Vulcan demeanour when observing her. If anything, her apparent heritage served as a stark contrast to the manner in which her mind behaved when seeing him, which was far from the stoic or suspicious tendencies he'd otherwise ascribe to her.

Drauc found himself surprised at the myriad of thoughts that sprung from her, the emotions that suddenly surfaced, both riding on a steady stream of words from her lips. Ranging from the skittish embarrassment and self-deprecation at her own notions - be it concerning his scars or her voice - to the genuine intrigue and curiosity she held towards him, she was anything but guarded. Intrigue may not be the first time he faced, since he drew attention to himself - purposefully or not - but that interest was most often in the shape of people trying to take advantage of him in some way or form. This officer wore her emotions on her sleeve, and even if she'd been Ferengi, he'd believed he'd understand where her mind was at.

Why does she want to feel my scars under her fingers?

As it were, basked in the warmth of her heart and her thoughts, Drauc found himself so affected by her that he - belatedly - raised his hand to shake hers in the Federation way. His scarred and calloused fingers made for a complete contrast to her fair skin, but he made sure to not hurt her with his grip.

"Traditions have their place," he rasped in answer to her comment about old habits, his voice reverberating in his chest, and then let go of her hand, "even when they are not your own. You may call me what you want, Enyd Isolde Madsen..."

He then stepped towards a small pond not far from the path, looking at the way water trickled into it from a rock formation. He flexed his scarred hands inside the sleeves of his robe to keep them from stiffening up, and gave his answer to the diplomat. "I am afraid it is not my place to divulge more about the Major. She has her story to tell, like all of us, and it would not be right of me to tell it for her. When I left Starfleet in exile, I sought answers about the Tal Shiar program that raised me and my twin brother, Kraun. She was one of the operatives I approached, and we came to an understanding. I had other questions as well, of other personal matters, in which our ambitions coincided... albeit for different reasons."

Drauc turned his head, and glanced at the diplomat, still perplexed at the way she'd reacted to him. "If you are wondering why she would betray her people, and stop the Aliqui from reaching Qo'noS, that is also for her to say..." he grated, though without edge to his words, "...but when I contacted her, I told her the truth, and she trusted me based on her own experiences, her own findings."

Breathing evenly, he turned to face the officer again, and stared at her as he spoke. He found himself being... accommodating in her company, since she appeared to appreciate his presence in kind. Drauc found himself mirroring her sentiment, as he always tended to do since he had little emotion to offer himself... and as she derived something positive out of the exchange, so did he. "If I were to make an educated guess, she is on the Oneida not because she is opposed to the Romulan Star Empire... but because she loves her people, and in doing so, she has to challenge the leader that seek to destroy it from within."

He wondered whether or not he would bespeak her thoughts, or if she would be intimidated by him if he did. His curiosity - or rather hers, as it was another emulation - got the better of him. "My scars do not hurt physically any more, so you may touch them, but I wonder why you wish to do so? They are naught more than silent stories of old pain."

Re: Day 02 [1800 hrs.] (Assuredly NOT) Romancing the Romulan

Reply #4
[Lt. Enyd Isolde Madsen | Arboretum | Deck 22 | Vector 03 | USS Theurgy ] attn: @Auctor Lucan

Enyd knew she wore her surprise like a beacon when Drauc accepted her gesture and wrapped his decidedly warm fingers around hers. She could feel the strength of him in the touch, sensed the hesitation in his movements and in the varying pressure he exerted in the grasp and was idly curious just how powerful he was. Not so much in the sense of how capable he was of killing her—that was a quick, VERY—as it was in an almost clinical pondering of PSI force and the like. When he spoke of traditions while still holding her hand, Enyd felt the blush deepen and imagined she felt the vibrations of his voice in her chest. It was silly, of course, she hadn’t, but the responding quickening of her pulse was real enough and she was almost thankful when he let go of her hand. She didn’t trust herself not to go weak-kneed and feign a faint just to be held in his arms like some old Earth ninny. Especially not after he said her full name in a way that left her fighting the urge to fan herself. It was not hot in here. And she was not that affected by a new acquaintance. Enyd sighed. Only one of those thoughts was the truth.

As Drauc turned away but continued speaking in a speech pattern she was growing to recognize as unique his, Enyd listened between the words and concluded that this Major was genuine—as much as a Romulan officer could be—and she was approachable, to a degree. While probably not the type to be accepting of a “welcome aboard” cake delivered to her guest quarters, it sounded as if she would be accepting, and expecting, a visit from an officer of their crew. Likely the Intelligence department. Enyd nibbled her lower lip in thought. Would it be more likely that the Major would open up to an intelligence officer or to a diplomat? Valyn had been wary of Enyd at first but had quickly been won over with Enyd’s shared ancestry, distant as it was, and in her unassuming ways. Perhaps this Major Situka would be similar? Likely they wouldn’t attempt to raid pantries together as Enyd had with Valyn, but maybe they could form a close enough bond that the Major understood Enyd wanted the same thing: for Romulans to be free from the Infested and left to do what was best for Romulus. Of course, they could differ greatly if what was best for Romulus was interpreted to mean attacking the Federation, but that would be a puzzle to solve on another day.

Feeling his eyes on her, Enyd shook herself back to stay in the present and to track the conversation she’d solicited from the enigmatic Romulan. He’d spoken of a twin brother, Kraun, though she didn’t comment on it. They had known each other a span of minutes and based on the way he talked of it, further information would have to wait for a longer acquaintance if it was ever something he intended to share. No, Enyd knew she would have to sit in her own curiosity stew over the details of Drauc’s brother until such a time as the Romulan felt keen on sharing.

Enyd nodded in response to his comment on Situka’s motives, “One’s duty and one’s love, when those factors are combined, that makes for a powerful mixture to contend with. That’s when we will break with traditions and norms if it means saving the ones we love or upholding the things we feel a duty towards.” In quick succession, Enyd recalled breaking off contact with Victor to protect him from her work for Anderson on Cardassia, Javec dying in her arms when he took the blow meant for her, and even the deaths of her parents in the line of duty. Though these thoughts zipped through her mind at breakneck speed, each carrying with it a layer of pain or guilt, Enyd smiled. “So long as our mission coincides with her motives, we have nothing to worry about, is what you are alluding to then?”

She’d moved to stand next to him, closer to the fountain, also finding a sense of tranquility from the scene and the sounds. Drauc seemed almost sphinx-like with his movements and his mannerisms, calculating and observing, waiting for the opportune moment to say or do something. Of course, Enyd realized she could be reading more into his mannerisms than was reality. They had just met after all, and just because he acted a certain way with others didn’t mean he WAS that way or would be that way with her.

His next stated question had Enyd snorting in a most unladylike manner, pivoting on her toes to stare at him in wide-eyed amazement. It took her a span of milliseconds to piece together that he was skilled in mind reading, perhaps even emotion reading, for how else would he have known all that. Then it took her an additional few milliseconds to recall all the near lustful thoughts and feelings she’d had from him from the get-go and feel a growing sense of mortification. But then, close behind the mortification that squeezed at her throat, was a strange calming realization that even with sensing all that from her, Drauc had not retreated, had not acted repulsed, and had in fact merely asked a question out of curiosity instead of ridiculing her. To an observer, Enyd would have stood gawp-mouthed and saucer-eyed for a few seconds before forcing a blink and a head shake, her expression then re-schooling into one of amusement.

“That is a most delightfully advantageous skill to have, Mr. Drauc. We should take you on more diplomatic missions.” Enyd laughed and this time she gave in to the urge to fan herself. Accepting reality didn’t change the fact that she still felt a smidgeon of discomfiture. The image of a hulking Drauc—hulking in comparison to her stature at least—stalking beside her or trailing behind her when they went to talk to especially difficult aliens had a certain appeal.

“As to why I wish to touch your scars,” Enyd let out a breathy laugh and rubbed two fingers against her temple, “a dear friend of mine is also heavily scarred on his face and body, even has a cybernetic eye and a prosthetic hand. He serves on board as well.” She smiled as she thought of Victor, her mind briefly straying to his features before skittering back to focus on the Romulan standing before her. “As a half-Bajoran, the textures of his scars are not so different from my own.” Enyd twisted her left arm so Drauc could see the sensitive flesh of its underside and the marring left behind by the Cardassian manacles. “Though his did keloid more than mine, but that has much to do with the fact that his scars are from burns and mine from rubbing metal edges.” Enyd realized she was babbling and quickly dropped both arms back to her sides. “Scars write into our skin the stories of our lives, don’t they? Though created in pain, I try to think of them as reminders to persevere.”

There was a sudden image of tracing her fingertips over the scars she could see on Drauc’s skin, and even those unseen but that must exist beneath his layers, memorizing their positions, noting their textures, soaking in the warmth of his body. But then Enyd’s eyes widened, her hand covered her mouth, and she forced herself to take a step back when she realized what she’d allowed her mind to conjure up while standing beside the very object of her momentary curiosity-driven fantasy.

“I am so sorry, Mr. Drauc, if my thoughts have made you uncomfortable. I usually have greater control over my thought life.” Enyd stopped and frowned. No, that was a lie. Her mind was always a mess of thoughts and woven patterns. She just hadn’t been around mind readers enough to learn how to shield her mind from others. “If you have any advice for how I can better protect you from my prurient ponderings, please let me know.”

When she reported back to Rutherford empty-handed, if she’d just messed up the prospect to glean further insight from Drauc, it was going to be quite the delight explaining to her department head WHY the opportunity had crashed and burned so quickly and thoroughly.
Lieutenant Enyd Isolde Madsen, Assistant Chief Diplomatic Officer

Lieutenant Commander Cross, Chief Tactical Officer

Re: Day 02 [1800 hrs.] (Assuredly NOT) Romancing the Romulan

Reply #5
[ Drauc T'Laus | Arboretum | Deck 22 | Vector 03  | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz 
When officer Madsen asked if her assumptions about what he said about Major Situka were correct, Drauc had merely inclined his head. He was not inclined to speak for her, even if he had a good idea about what her motivations were. Those assumptions, however, were based on his previous affiliations with the Major, since they had not met in person after she was extracted from the Aliqui. Their correspondence had been restricted to LCARS terminals simply because Situka has made no effort to seek him out aboard the Theurgy, nor had he visited the Oneida. Whether or not that was by the Major's choice, because of his abilities, he did not know, so he made no further comment.

As shocked as the diplomat became when he revealed his ability, he gathered that she hadn't been briefed about him. The shock was like a ripple through him as well, feeling the minute distress even if the cause wasn't one he could relate to. It made him clench his fists to keep them from fidgeting, and he looked away from her - the instinct to back away one he knew well from his childhood. In the wake of the shockwave of her reaction, she implied to bring him along whilst she preformed her duties, but the word 'skill' wasn't one he could relate to.

"It's a curse more than anything else," he rasped quietly, almost imperceptibly, yet given the decades of living with that curse, one might think he should have bared his teeth and spat the words out. As it were, given he warmth of Enyd's emotions, how they filled the emptiness the Tal Shiar had made... he just didn't have that tone of voice available. Stunted, only the presence of others made him feel, and only through them.

Enyd moved on to speak of her friend with the scars, their texture compared to her own. He glimpsed other faces. A Cardassian with a name, which had been dear to her. Now dead. The diplomat was a maelstrom of raw emotions, towards old acquaintances, and towards him. She mentioned how while physical scars were created in pain, they served as reminders to persist. He was not entirely sure he agreed, but through her, he understood the meaning she ascribed to them.

"Judging by my own experience," he rasped, alluding towards the thousands of minds that had encroached upon his own, "we tend to remember the abuses endured rather than the endearments. For what remains from an embrace, when wounds leave scars?"

Raising his hand, Drauc looked at the marks upon it, pondering the textures in the manner Madsen did, and continued. "I realise that emotional scarring is not the same, and humans have been known to claim that 'time heals wounds'," he dropped his hand, and stared at her through his hair. "I disagree... The wounds remain, always, until we cease to be. Though in time, our minds - in preserving our sanity - shroud them with scar tissue and the pain decrease. Yet they are never fully gone."

While he spoke, Drauc perceived how the diplomat envisioned touching him, and in emulating her emotions, he found himself reciprocal - merely unsure how to act. "I keep my scars not as an incentive to persevere," he grated quietly, his eyes straying to the feminine figure of the Human like hers strayed over his. "I keep them to remind me that my past is real. That it belongs to me. That it isn’t something recalled from the memories of others. The marks of battle and experimentation... anchor me, so that I do not loose myself amidst the minds of those I meet."

Enyd asked a question about how to shield her mind for his sake, which was a kind sentiment, but not something he could readily teach. "Few can, even with training, unless you have a natural affinity towards such abilities," he rasped, and while bereft of a smile, he appreciated her willingness to do so for his sake, even making it a secondary priority to the great benefits she might have from that in her line of duties. "A single mind imposing upon my own is preferable to that of more, and experiencing you has been a privilege. The Tal Shiar gave me my scars as they gave me this ability... and it is times like these when I consider it less of a curse. When I meet someone who is genuine and true to herself."
It was a long time that Drauc had felt so open, and it was all in thanks to this diplomat.

Re: Day 02 [1800 hrs.] (Assuredly NOT) Romancing the Romulan

Reply #6
[Lt. Enyd Isolde Madsen | Arboretum | Deck 22 | Vector 03 | USS Theurgy ] attn: @Auctor Lucan

Enyd felt almost immediate concern when she noted Drauc’s physical demeanor change in the wake of her own surprise at his abilities. Instinctively she wanted to reach out and pat his arm reassuringly but, after just meeting the man and basically undressing him with her mental eyes in the short span of time they’d been acquainted, Enyd refrained. Instead, she nodded empathetically when Drauc spoke of his abilities as if they were a curse and she could understand how they would be even after this brief time together. Still not knowing all the details, and uncertain if he would ever feel at liberty to divulge, Enyd had known enough empaths in her time to understand how draining it could be to deal with the constant barrage of unguarded minds. And she was certain her mind and emotions were no picnic to deal with either. His straightforward manner of speaking was welcomed, especially as he touched on the subject of grief and healing. So soon after being reunited with Victor and starting the healing process of the break she’d created between them was ready evidence that some scars were purely emotional, yet life could continue on even while bearing them.

“No, they are never fully gone, that is true.” Enyd echoed, adding a nod of agreement as she shifted her weight from one foot to another, eagerly listening as Drauc continued, her attention again momentarily wavering from his face he held up his hand as if to study his own scars before dropping it again.

At his admission of “why” he kept his scars, Enyd felt her heart lurch at the concept that something so terrible as a traumatic past could be welcomed, if only because it was something of one’s own instead of a projection from others. Again Enyd felt pulled to reach out to offer physical comfort and again she refrained. Just because he was sharing with her these thoughts didn’t mean he would welcome her touch, she reminded herself as she intentionally tucked her hands behind her back and held them together in a tight clasp.

When Drauc next spoke of natural affinities for mental shielding, Enyd smirked. Her distant Vulcan relatives who had contacted her during her time at the Metternich and later, when stationed at the Embassy, there had not been particularly impressed with her blatant emotionality. But then they’d had to remind themselves that Enyd wasn’t just dealing with human DNA battling out against Vulcan, but a smattering of Romulan as well, and so she had two points against her regarding being seen as someone with an “affinity” towards anything to do with logic and mental control. She was still keen to learn, however, even at this late stage, as it was only a matter of time before they called her to be a representative to aliens who would benefit from a diplomat with greater mental shielding.

His additional comments regarding the Tal Shiar giving him his ability and his scars had Enyd raising a single eyebrow, her curiosity spiking again. Before she could interrogate, or rather, resist the urge to interrogate along that line of conversation, he offered her a sincere compliment and Enyd blushed. Likely, Drauc didn’t realize how charming he was being in that moment.

Reaching up to tug at the bottom of her ear, a childhood habit displayed when failing at flirting Enyd thought she’d gotten rid of until just then, she almost giggled but at least saved some personal dignity and let out a breathy chuckle instead.

“Where I come from, Mister Drauc, a comment like that would be considered a backhanded compliment. Meaning, what you could be inferring is that I’m an absolute chaotic mess but you’re being far too kind to say so directly.” Lowering her hand back to her side, Enyd smiled. “If you will teach me, Mister Drauc, I would appreciate the guidance in mental shielding. And not just for my position within the diplomatic corps, but also for your benefit as well. We’ve just become acquainted, of course, and I may come across as that chaotic mess I just described, but I find you fascinating. And not in the sense of something to be studied and analyzed.” Enyd wanted to stop her words, to stop her confession, and yet she realized that because of his abilities, Drauc already knew these things but by her saying them, she was freeing him up to discuss them openly in case he’d been uncertain before. “I’m sure by now you have glimpsed enough of my mind to recognize that I’ve not met someone quite like you in some time and to be able to feel some of these things again,” she decided NOT to address the earlier near-lecherous thoughts and would allow him to piece that together himself, “well, I feel like there is hope.”

A moment of silence fell between them then and not for the first time, Enyd almost wished herself into a hole as she reflected on how quickly this exchange had gone from business to whatever this was presently happening between them. Not exactly given to colorful euphemisms, she was still tempted to shout in a nearby mirror, “What the fuck are you doing, Enyd?!” However, instead, she busied herself with bending down to study the bloom nearest the fountain they’d been enjoying together.

“Do you know what this is?” Enyd asked first with her eyes on the bloom before tossing her hair back with a head flick and looking up over her shoulder at Drauc again. “After spending so much time here as I’ve been told you do, I’m assuming you to either be an expert or someone who just enjoys the atmosphere but feels no draw to know the details of the plants.”

She knew she was attempting to draw his attention away from her “confession” to whatever it was she was confessing, but Enyd hadn’t had to contend with someone with his abilities before and didn’t exactly know how to go about things in a manner that didn’t result in her looking like an absolute madwoman.
Lieutenant Enyd Isolde Madsen, Assistant Chief Diplomatic Officer

Lieutenant Commander Cross, Chief Tactical Officer

Re: Day 02 [1800 hrs.] (Assuredly NOT) Romancing the Romulan

Reply #7
[ Drauc T'Laus | Arboretum | Deck 22 | Vector 03  | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz 
Hearing the human speak in concert with her mind, rather than in attempt to veil her thoughts with words, was an experience Drauc enjoyed in general, and he found himself especially cherishing the unbridled way in which she was honest about where her thoughts led. While he may not have intended to compliment her, he found that he didn't regret doing so when the diplomat pointed out he did. He realised, of course, that there was nothing 'backhanded' about it either.

He meant to say so, but she instead requested to be taught how to shield her mind, for his benefit and that of her profession, and he considered how he might possibly do so. He never had, so he didn't know how to begin. He thought of Samala, the Romulan and Reman hybrid he met weeks ago, and how she'd been able to do it, but she had another kind of abilities altogether, so he wasn't sure her method - if he could even teach someone else's skill to begin with - would be applicable for Enyd Isolde Madsen. His ruminations were were halted, however, when her request turned into that of a confession. A compliment in kind, perhaps, in how she said she found him fascinating. The context of the word, however, made the meaning as unmistakable as the heated feelings she held towards him. No, her wishes didn't escape him, but his words did, when she confessed to feeling like there was hope that she might feel like she once did for someone else.

Someone else than the Cardassian he'd seen in her mind... whom had died in her arms.

Even if he wasn't emotionally compromised since he was a child, how was he supposed to answer such a statement? So, naturally, a short silence feel upon that part of the Arboretum. The woman had plainly shown how she had the kind of interest in him that Jovela had shown once they were reunited on the Theurgy. The Head Nurse had helped him escape Starfleet Medical on Earth, saved him from court martial, and when they met again, she had shown him the ways of her people, and helped strengthen his identity as best as he might. Only now, she was dead. Killed in that lounge along with many others. She and officer Madsen weren't anything alike, but in respect towards him, their feelings had been of a kind. Therefore, Drauc found himself able to trust the diplomat more than he would normally do a stranger, for he couldn't sense any ill will towards him, no fear or scorn. Quite the opposite, in fact.

As awkward as the moment got, Enyd bent down and began to speak of a flower by the pond. Drauc caught himself surprised, but answered readily. Having stood as still as a statue, he slowly stepped up to her side.

"I am the latter," he rasped in confession, thinking about the times when a botanist might have ventured there, but he had never caught either of them thinking of the name of the flower. "Yet I only come here when it is as empty as this. The lowermost decks of the ship is where I commonly dwell, or I visit the steam room in the public baths area, since few can remain there as long as I do."

Another pause, but he felt it just of him to bespeak something about him which she mightn't understand. "I must confess... that while I reciprocate the fascination you hold for me, there is a risk that the emotion is not entirely my own, but a reflection of what you feel for me." How could he remain silent about it, when he might otherwise lead her on by giving false premises? Not for the first time, he felt broken, regretting how the grasp of his own feelings were so fleeting, and how he might always doubt them because of the state his tormentors left him in? "Because of what the Tal Shiar did to me and my brother, I have few emotions of my own. Like a mirror, the sentiments of others affect me, and makes me feel the same as them. Right now, I wish to do as you would do to me, and as you observe the beauty of that flower, so I find beauty in you. I... cannot be sure I am genuine, even if what I feel - through you - might be."

He looked way into the foliage unsure what to add. "Someone believed in me, once. Thought my desires were my own, but she died on the battlefield, and I remain unsure how much of the feelings she had towards me were actually my own," he rasped, and looked back at her. "All I know... is that you invoke the same response in me."

If he only could teach her the way to guard her thoughts, then he might know for certain if his feelings were still there.

Re: Day 02 [1800 hrs.] (Assuredly NOT) Romancing the Romulan

Reply #8
[Lt. Enyd Isolde Madsen | Arboretum | Deck 22 | Vector 03 | USS Theurgy ] attn: @Auctor Lucan

Having him close to her side, Enyd listened as he confessed to ignorance on the flora of the space and smiled. It was logical that he would seek out more deserted areas of the ship to spend time in. With abilities such as his own, Enyd could only imagine how welcoming a “conversation” with a tree would seem. Even without his abilities, Enyd also enjoyed time alone or nearly alone, surrounded only by nature. In fact, some of her fondest memories of Yew Valley Farms and her home entailed long rides through the wilds around the ranch, just her, her horse, and her dog. Of course, other fond memories involved her parents, her grandmother, or the ranch hands. But the greatest moments of peace were always in those moments of near solitude.

Closing her eyes briefly in the silence that continued to drift around them, and believing that Drauc could in some fashion see the memory just as she could, Enyd happily shared it. The feel of the horse flesh between her knees as she rode without a saddle, the scent of crisp autumn in the air as she rode beneath a partly cloudy sky filled her nostrils, and for a moment she could hear the gurgle of the brook she rode beside as the water tripped over the smooth rocks. She’d already made a promise to share such a scene with Valyn now that the mission was over, so Enyd found it amusing that she first shared it with Drauc, equally Romulan, but drastically different.

When he broke the silence again, Enyd shifted on her toes to look at him, still bent close to the fragrant flowers yet wanting to give Drauc her full attention. It once more broke her heart to hear of the struggles that his abilities brought him. To doubt his emotions any time he was near someone else, for fear that they were mere reflections of another's emotions. Drawing her lower lip between her teeth, Enyd lightly bit down as she continued to mull over his revelation. How to help…how to help…

Her mental chant and file search for tips or tricks for mental shielding stopped at Drauc's additional comment of “someone,” and her heart squeezed in empathetic pain when she learned of their passing on the battlefield. His words and response made it seem far more recent than her own loss, and this revelation further sobered Enyd from selfishly lusting after the near-stranger. And with this additional assertion, Enyd was more determined than ever to find some way to shield him. Even if in the shielding, it proved that Drauc wasn’t nearly as fascinated by her as he currently felt, as he was “feeding” off her emotions presently, then so be it. The man deserved to feel for himself instead of constantly feeling for others.

A brief flash of anger for Tal Shiar operatives she’d never met, nor would she be likely to meet, rippled through her. But then, just as quickly as it came, Enyd was intentional about mentally stamping it out. Not that she had any intention upon faking emotions, not that that was even possible, but Enyd figured it would be best to “think happy thoughts” while around Drauc until she could find the right mental focus necessary to shield him from the whirlwind that was her mind. If Enyd could exhaust herself with her own thoughts and emotions, she almost pitied the Romulan beside her for what he was going through then.

Her eyes moved from Drauc’s features back to the flower close at hand. Aware that it was now her turn to let silence reign between them, Enyd at least had the peace of knowing Drauc was aware of her thoughts, whereas she’d had to wait to hear his own spoken aloud. It was like waiting for an echo to return in a fashion. Enyd tilted her head, her eyes narrowing for a moment as childhood lessons from music class came to mind.

Curious if it would help at all, Enyd again closed her eyes as she focused her mental energy on “building” an orb in her mind composed of acoustic foam. She wasn’t aware of how long it took before she had the orb “finished” and imagined her consciousness slipping inside and “sealing” it behind her. Perhaps if she pictured her emotions or thoughts as sounds and contained them within a sound-absorbing orb, that could help Drauc?

Opening her eyes, Enyd suddenly felt dizzy as she looked back at the man. Even as she wobbled on her feet, Enyd blinked up at him with a lopsided smile, “Did that help?” As she spoke, Enyd felt as if bits and pieces of her mental orb wobbled just as she was on her feet. Almost as if the energy it took to form coherent words spoken aloud was causing her to lose the integrity of her mental orb. “I tried to picture an orb in my mind made of sound-absorbent material, and I tried to picture myself moving inside it.” Enyd sighed, her lopsided smile remaining on her lips as she pressed a few fingers to her forehead. “Made me a little dizzy.”

She spied a bench not far from where they were and pointed toward it, leading the way to sit down without pausing to see if Drauc followed. Her dizziness slowly abated as she sat there, the coolness of the bench beneath her thighs somehow grounding her again, and finally, Enyd addressed his earlier confession, her gaze once more traveling over his scars with that same mixture of curiosity and appreciation.

“Thank you for your honesty, Mister Drauc. I do understand your hesitation and reluctance, and I promise I won’t let your present reciprocation go to my head.” She winked, hoping the additional levity eased any tension her earlier silent efforts to shield him may have brought. “I would like to continue to explore methods of training for shielding, and not just for my own potential ego-building revelation if it turns out your mutual…interest is genuine.” Enyd didn’t bother fighting the blush that darkened her cheeks, nor did she hesitate with the girlish smile that tugged at her lips. “So long as we serve on this ship together, and should we ever have the opportunity to go on missions together in the future, I believe you have a right to feel for yourself when you are around me. That is your right, and I want to protect that right if it is within my means to do so.”
Lieutenant Enyd Isolde Madsen, Assistant Chief Diplomatic Officer

Lieutenant Commander Cross, Chief Tactical Officer

Re: Day 02 [1800 hrs.] (Assuredly NOT) Romancing the Romulan

Reply #9
[ Drauc T'Laus | Arboretum | Deck 22 | Vector 03  | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz 
Through the impressions of Madsen's mind, Drauc learned more about her by the moment - finding himself immersed in a scene from her home world. Peaceful scenery of Earth, of animals Drauc had learned about in Starfleet Academy, so long ago. He even got the impression that she purposefully gave him the scenery, as if granting him a gift, and he found himself grateful for her consideration. Especially when he'd just spoken of loosing Jovela, and the constant doubt about the authenticity of his own feelings. Moreover, she appeared keen on trying to help, and to find a way to lessen his constant doubts.

It was easier when there was a corporeal enemy to focus upon. To fight and subdue. There was no room for doubt then, when an adversary tried to kill you or those you sought to protect. It was simple, the exertion of violence to protect others, or defend yourself, whereas the plights that remained with him were elusive, and defied any known means to address them. This human before him tried to do just that, however, for his sake, in exercising a thought experiment in which she tried to muddle her mind for him.

Her focus was upon this orb, and so he saw it, but whether or not she actually was able to shield her thoughts in her first attempt... well, that was uncertain. Drauc could sense the imagined image in her mind, her determination, which even resulted in a spell of dizziness on her part. Before the illusion broke, this mirage he could see through her, she had imagined stepping inside that orb, and yet she was still there - present - and so were her thoughts.

"It seemed strenuous to you," he rasped quietly, and followed her to the bench she'd spotted not far away. "Whether or not you managed to hide something is not for me to tell, the success not mine to determine... but given how focused you were, I might be surprised if you managed to actively think of ought else than the shape and purpose of your thought-exercise. With time, perhaps, or with a teacher better than I, you might be successful."

The levity of her comment served to further take the edge off the memories of the fallen, and to keep Drauc present and attentive to her. She made no secret - anymore - about her feelings towards him, which further intensified his own since there was no shroud between the reality and the figments of her mind. No veil behind which she hid her thoughts for sake of propriety. As wherein she had hid her desires for him before, and she now spoke of them plainly, the honesty served to bolster Drauc in his mutual fascination for her. Which, incidentally, was the crux of the matter between them - the unknown of what he actually felt.

If anything, he thought, and since there was no deep dejection to find in Enyd Isolde Madsen, Drauc didn't feel it.

"A... right," he echoed, considering it out of that perspective. A sentiment which was rather unexplored, since the option was bereft of him. She meant it in the specific situation of being in her company, but even if they might serve on missions together in the future, he suspected they might seldom be entirely alone, and the presence of other minds would still compromise him. Her interest to touch him fed his own, and he found himself putting his scarred hand on top of hers. When he spoke anew, he turned his face towards her. "Your kindness, it is not misplaced, but you may hope for the impossible on my behalf."

His dark eyes lowered to her lips, to her neck, and the pulse of her life. This woman that could see past the scars. "You should know... that my life has been no other way, than being in the current state I am. The doubt, always there, is something I live with constantly, and I just wanted to tell you that I have no way of knowing that my feelings for you are real. That being said, they may also be the only way through which I can experience something like this - between you and I. Whether or not it is genuine, stemming from something dormant inside me, I still consider it a privilege to feel what I do now, since it is nonetheless real to me. Be it my own or not."

He was like the mirror children in that Tal Shiar training facility, only he was not dysfunctional. He still lived to fight, and had a sense of right and wrong. Deep down, there had to be something of himself, because otherwise he would be like those children. Those who merely spoke in echo of those present. The thoughts and emotions of their peers echoing in the empty halls of their minds. Drauc had stepped into the room where they were kept one day, and they had all repeated what he thought like a terrible chorus - lambasting him with the horror of their non-existence.

Thinking of the mirror children almost pulled him out of the present, but like a moth to a flame, Drauc basked in the warmth of his new acquaintance. This Enyd Isolde Madsen.

"I would not function without incentives of my own," he rasped to her, looking into her eyes, "but you must decide whether or not you are willing to see if you emphasise something that is already there, within this husk.... or risk finding that you've made me want you just because you want me. It is too soon for me to even guess. All I know... is that I also want to experience all of you."

Re: Day 02 [1800 hrs.] (Assuredly NOT) Romancing the Romulan

Reply #10
[Lt. Enyd Isolde Madsen | Arboretum | Deck 22 | Vector 03 | USS Theurgy ] attn: @Auctor Lucan

Enyd lightly rubbed at her temples as she let out a breathy laugh. “My grandmother always described my brain as constantly stirred poor man’s stew.” The majority of her dizziness had abated, but for a few lingering waves, they were nothing her massaging fingers could not easily take care of. “Poor man’s stew is basically anything and everything from your pantry and fresher that is about to expire or go bad, so you toss it into a pot, add broth of choice, seasonings of choice, heat it up, then typically serve it with hearty bread.” Enyd chuckled again, slowly lowering her hand back to her lap. “She wasn’t wrong in that, as I’m sure you’ve already gleaned, I tend to think of many things all at once, making rapid connections, and trying to slow things down to one thought at a time, or better yet, controlling thoughts, well,” she pointed to her head and shrugged, “seems I’m going to need an advanced teacher with a lot of patience to learn how to shield.”

She watched Drauc as he came closer, dropping to sit at her side, and while he did not move quickly, it still took her a bit by surprise when his hand covered hers. Her eyes remained on the simple touch as he spoke of the difficulty that would be connected with forming any type of relationship with him. Taking a deep breath, but being slow in letting it out through her partially parted lips, Enyd moved her gaze to meet his as she continued to listen, continued to ingest the deeper nuances of what his words conveyed.

When she first spoke, it was with a playful tone that did nothing to hide her nervousness. “’Hope is the thing with feathers,’” she felt the blush warm her cheeks before she continued, “that is part of an ancient Earth poem I always liked. The poet imagined hope as a bird, with all the intended connotations therein regarding birds and their fragility or tendency to fly away." Sighing, Enyd gave a half shrug. "Before my posting on Cardassia I was far more glass-half-full than now, far more keen on believing the impossible was always possible. But after Cardassia,” though she continued to smile, the quality turned wistful, “I’ve realized that hope may perch in the soul and never stop singing, but it is my choice to listen or sing along.”

Realizing she was starting to sound like a mystic instead of getting straight to the point, Enyd turned her hand until her palm was against Drauc’s, letting her fingers wrap around his hand and giving it a reassuring squeeze.

“Any sort of relationship requires humility. A willingness to face the reality that there is not the balance you were hoping for, or that things are not quite what you’d thought they were.” Enyd brought her other hand up and slowly draped it over Drauc’s as it lay enclasped in her other hand. It was still odd to speak plainly of the racing thoughts or longings in her mind, yet Enyd believed it far more respectful, even mature, to be forthright than to pretend with someone like Drauc. “And, technically, most emotions in a relationship are mirrored emotions of the person you’re involved with. When I loved before, it was because of being loved. Granted, I processed my emotions differently and maintained my sense of self, even so,” Enyd sighed with a frown, “I am not trying to downplay your plight in any way, but perhaps trying to offer you some hope?”

Or just sound like an idiot. Enyd inwardly sighed even as she allowed another self-deprecating laugh. At his “husk” comment, Enyd blushed again, her eyes lingering on what areas of skin she could see of the man sitting so close beside her. The warmth of his hand was like a beacon, drawing her to slide closer on the bench, tempting her to turn feline and curl up in his lap, begging for attention. Enyd rapidly blinked away the brief mental image and returned to the conversation.

“My definition of ‘husk’ and yours are quite different, Mr. Drauc.” Enyd gave his hand another squeeze as a smile tugged at the edges of her lips. “I am curious, though, about your definition of ‘experience,’ is it so different from mine?”

She allowed a series of images to flit through her mind, some as mundane as cleaning quarters or watching a holofilm together after eating a meal they’d cook together, to slow dancing followed by a heated embrace shared in shadowy corners of a dance club. Enyd was careful to keep her mind from delving too far into the lustier side of things, very much aware now of the influence that had on Drauc and uncertain if she was ready to start something so emblazoned so soon after meeting him.

She hadn’t walked into this room expecting to be so susceptible to his voice or charisma, and she certainly hadn’t been briefed on how that would influence him in turn. If something was to happen, be it friendship or more, Enyd had never been the type to light up like a firecracker and dive headfirst into the explosion of pleasure that could be shared between two people. Even if she had to fight back her hunger for touch or affection, the deep-seated desire for oneness again with another soul, Enyd would not start something she wasn’t willing to see through to completion and certainly wouldn’t start something quickly.
Lieutenant Enyd Isolde Madsen, Assistant Chief Diplomatic Officer

Lieutenant Commander Cross, Chief Tactical Officer

Re: Day 02 [1800 hrs.] (Assuredly NOT) Romancing the Romulan

Reply #11
[ Drauc T'Laus | Arboretum | Deck 22 | Vector 03  | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz 
When Madsen spoke of hope, it was an answer that imbued Drauc with exactly that. While being estranged to poetry, the words she spoke suggested that she would hold to that hope, and that she wasn't prepared to just give up on exploring what may reside between them... beyond this possibly mutual attraction. For while significant, attraction alone would only push them so far, before something more might be required to keep them together.

"Hope," he rasped quietly, looking at how she held his scarred hand, seeing how different they were. "You cannot set course for new worlds until you have the courage to leave your homeworld behind. Hope for something more would be a part of that as well, and not just courage alone."

He caught how she wished to straddle his lap, and the notion made him swallow, for he was unsure how he might handle such a situation. They appeared alone, of course, but at any moment there might be officers entering the Arboretum. As distracting as she were, he hoped he might be able to detect the presence of a new mind approaching them, but there was no way to be certain. It was a mixed relief when she didn't act on her desires, for there was no denying he also wanted what she had.

That was when she asked about experience, and presented a window into what she imagined a relationship to be like. The impressions were... vastly different from that of his own experiences, limited as they were because of his condition. Speaking of those were not something he liked to do, because of loss and abuse suffered, but he would for her sake, since she was as forthcoming as she was about her own.

"My life has held few experiences, limited to brief commitments. Bouts of attraction, reciprocated, whilst serving Starfleet, and afterwards... when I was forced into exile. Nothing of deeper commitment, and never of mundane nature. Comrades in arms, sharing a blanket, sharing warmth, on the eve of battle." Those incidents had begun with an attraction towards him, akin to what was happening between him and Madsen, which didn't have to mean those were the same. It was just the common catalyst, since he didn't know if he had such incentives on his own. "After I returned to Federation space, the one who helped me escape Starfleet Medical all those years ago was aboard this ship. Jovela, whom died in an explosion a few days ago. She... tried to help me find myself. For after I lost my brother in the Dominion War, it has been difficult. He was the presence that defined me, his memories of our past being my anchor - the point of reference that showed me whom I was. Jovela used the ways of her people to try and help me... results unknown."

Drauc frowned, not keen on speaking about Sar-Unga - of Dyan Cardamone - but he just might anyway. Since Madsen was transparent about her experiences, he was too.

"With my abilities, and the manner in which I emulate those around me, I have also been taken advantage of. An Asurian twisted me to think like her, and made me give her what she wanted... even if I resented her." Drauc took a deep breath, not keen on revisiting those images. "So, in that respect, it would seem that Jovela failed... since her teachings hadn't made me listen to my own desires well enough."

He paused then, for he realised the two of them came from entirely different pasts. His, broken and with a mind as threadbare as his clothes, with abuse and torment from a young age. They were, however, both scarred souls in terms of suffered loss - the Cardassian face having returned to her mind several times whilst he'd spoken with her.

"Who was Javec?"

Re: Day 02 [1800 hrs.] (Assuredly NOT) Romancing the Romulan

Reply #12
[Lt. Enyd Isolde Madsen | Arboretum | Deck 22 | Vector 03 | USS Theurgy ] attn: @Auctor Lucan

Working and succeeding, for the time being at least, to keep her attention entirely on Drauc’s words and not meandering into the realm of forbidden fantasy, Enyd listened as he detailed some of his experiences and struggles. Even with his unique abilities, or perhaps because of them, it sounded as if Drauc had survived more relational storms than Enyd. Though, from other areas of life, Enyd well understood that greater experience did not always garner a greater wealth of wisdom. Listening between the lines, it sounded as if Drauc may have gained experiences and memories, but had been left almost worse for the time spent with others. Though, that could entirely be attributed to the loss of his brother, as he had mentioned earlier.

When she’d lost Javec, obviously a piece of her heart had broken, shattering her sense of self. The context of how she’d lost Javec also lent itself to the unmaking of her equilibrium. But the discovery of her grandmother’s death during her interim as a prisoner had been the final weight pressed upon the fragile casing of her heart that broke it all. Drauc’s description of losing a point of reference that anchored him to his identity mirrored much of how Enyd had felt in losing her grandmother and her fiance so close together. It was a miracle she’d made it out of those dark days, sanity intact, and career not completely in shambles.

As Drauc shifted the conversation to include more negative encounters, Enyd couldn’t help the shiver of disgust toward such behavior. Enyd was no hypocrite, however, and could quickly and easily recall more than a dozen times where she’d used her gender and beauty, the unique charm of her personality, to help accomplish a mission. But never had she manipulated someone into thinking she loved them or pressured them into feeling more for her than they naturally felt. All her machinations had been strictly professional, and always with the other person knowing it and playing along because that was part of the game of diplomacy. Being aware of being played and finding a perverse enjoyment in the process.

Enyd snapped back from her thoughts at Drauc's simple question. After he’d shared so much of himself, Enyd respected his desire to know more of her own past. And not just mental snippets zipping by without verbal context. Squaring her shoulders, Enyd shot him a brief smile before letting out a sigh.

“I have loved two men in my life up to now, Mister Drauc. Victor vanVinter was the first, and Javec was the second.” She pictured both men in her mind, first the rakishly scarred face of the half-Bajoran then the regal features of the Cardassian. “Victor is still living. In fact, I just discovered he’s onboard the ship. Haven’t seen in him years, thought never to see him again, only to stumble into one another on the holodeck.” Enyd freely allowed the memory of reunion and all its awkwardness, hopes, and resolution to begin again as friends to rise then fall in her mind. “We were, are, kindred spirits, and fell in love as two souls often do. While there was, is, affection between us, our love was never, could never, be categorized by intense physical passion, or the,” Enyd blushed before adding, “physical joining of bodies to become one as is the case for most lovers.”

As her mind flitted over the various adventures, near-disasters, shared with Victor, and their years of correspondence, Enyd felt her heart once more hesitate as the thought of what next returned. Although she would still describe her feelings toward Victor as love, it had changed. They had changed. And now they would need to grasp their way through the dark of uncertainty to figure out their future.

“Javec.” Enyd spoke his name in a whisper, her mind jarring itself away from the comfort of Victor and into the tempest of Javec. “He was the Castellan's aide on Cardassia. I became acquainted with him through my posting and after a few months a genuine attraction developed between us. Naïve as I was at the time, his identity as the son of a deposed Legate of the Cardassian Central Command didn’t give me pause when I faced down my feelings and acknowledged them." Enyd didn’t speak of Anderson’s recruitment to spy on Javec’s former colleagues, nor of her intentional break with Victor out of her desire to protect him from the growing danger the intrigue on Cardassia was creating. No, Enyd allowed these thoughts to ebb and flow for Drauc to pick at as he saw fit before resuming her tale. “The Castellan’s enemies used me against Javec. Kidnapped me, held me hostage, and blackmailed Javec into…doing things for them.” Enyd could still see the violent snapback of the Castellan’s head as an “unknown” killer, her very own Javec, assassinated him. “Javec died in my arms. He secured my rescue and his enemy's downfall in one dangerous gamble, and lost his life in the process.”

Enyd had spoken in a matter-of-fact tone that did not quite match the intensity of emotion she’d weathered through during the detailed events shared, and though the memories, bittersweet as she recalled both the good times and the tragedy, haunted her still, Enyd felt herself able to cope. Unlike Drauc, Enyd could separate her feelings from those around her and had known that while the emotions shared between them were mutual, she had her own set of emotions apart from Javec.

“I had to walk through fire, quite literally, to get through the pain of losing him, and my grandmother.” Enyd intentionally pictured the Forge and brief images of her near-death ordeal that Anderson had helped to arrange to force her to move past the life-numbing grief. Turning a once more softly smiling gaze to Drauc, Enyd gave a half shrug. “That’s my sordid tale, Mister Drauc. I’m thirty-four years old. I’ve kissed four men in that time, loved two, and made love to one.”

Only after the last of her confession did Enyd remember the danger of speaking of certain things, of how her own rampantly active and traitorous mind could influence Drauc’s. As she’d spoken of the men in her past, the kisses traded, the former lovers, and finally the physical union with Javec, Enyd had allowed the images and memories of pleasurable sensations to touch at the edges of her consciousness. And now, reigning in her memories and thoughts, and doing her best to put a tight lid on that particular box of trouble, Enyd gave a nervous laugh as she once more fanned at her heated cheeks.

“One minute we’re speaking of Tal Shiar operatives and the next of love,” she chuckled in genuine amusement, “how does that happen?”

*NOTE: Javec Praar resembles Michele Morrone, just, obviously, Cardassian version.
Lieutenant Enyd Isolde Madsen, Assistant Chief Diplomatic Officer

Lieutenant Commander Cross, Chief Tactical Officer

Re: Day 02 [1800 hrs.] (Assuredly NOT) Romancing the Romulan

Reply #13
[ Drauc T'Laus | Arboretum | Deck 22 | Vector 03  | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz 
A prudent question, Drauc thought, as he had also considered how so much had been relayed between them in such a short amount of time. He supposed it was a natural development, since Madsen was just as open about her feelings as she made him to be in turn.

"I do not know," he rasped quietly, and while he appreciated how she was trying to keep her mind from wandering, he still caught the impressions of what she wished for, and what her past experiences had been like. She was granting him brief imagery, which had him imagine the continuation of each encounter. For while he doubted he had retained much of an emotional spectrum of his own after the Tal Shiar opened his head time and time again - using him and his brother as a living experiment - he did retain a semblance of imagination and intuition, for otherwise he would not have become the warrior he was. What she had experienced with Javec was but an inducement, a brief flash of passion that merely referenced what she'd felt rather than conveying the details thereof. The rest was up to him to envisage, but rather than doing so, he made Madsen his sole focal point.

An easy feat, since she beckoned for him to feel the same way she did about him. And thus, because of the embarrassment she felt about her thoughts, she made him imagine himself being with her instead of Javec, and share in the embarrassment. He cleared his throat lightly, his eyes having roamed farther than he had any right to. "...yet I believe we are on a basis of familiarity now in which you can shed the Human entitlement of 'Mister' from my name."

He wanted to ask her of this experience of hers after Javec had passed, these images of great hardship on a planet that he was unfamiliar with... If he were to guess, from footage of other planets he'd seen, she might have been on Vulcan, but he couldn't be entirely sure since there was only so much a passing thought might convey. Instead, he wondered if there was some way in which he might accommodate their mutual curiosity, without letting the progression of their familiarity become too hastened. It would not be proper to allow them both to enjoy each other in the middle of the Arboretum. Certainly not to the extent which had been envisioned, but perhaps there was a way to satisfy one of the initial points of interest she had in him.

"Here," he rasped, and the smile he gave her was faint - dampened by years and strife. He took her hand, and gently pulled it towards his thigh... but then he changed the path her fingers took so that they slide up behind his tunic. Through her mind, he felt her reaction to feeling his skin underneath her hand, and the outline of the scar from that fateful day of the Dominion War. "Kraun and I were fighting back to back in the field. A Jem'Hadar kar'takin went through me, and then reached my brother's spine. He fell... but even as an hour more of fighting passed, I cannot remember how many I killed in blind rage. I do not even remember cauterising my wound with my phaser."

If nothing else, he could satisfy her curiosity for the texture of his skin and scar tissue, and let her find the rest if she felt so inclined.

Re: Day 02 [1800 hrs.] (Assuredly NOT) Romancing the Romulan

Reply #14
[Lt. Enyd Isolde Madsen | Arboretum | Deck 22 | Vector 03 | USS Theurgy ] attn: @Auctor Lucan

Enyd let out a breathy giggle in response to his inadvertent teasing, “I suppose my fantasizing about you holding me in your arms and basically accosting you in my mind would allow for us to lose the familiarities wouldn’t it?”

Her breath caught in her throat on a laugh when Drauc took her hand in his and guided it towards his body. The initial direction of movement had Enyd’s brain short-circuiting with erotic images of her past lover’s body superimposed with Drauc’s face. Even when Drauc changed direction and maneuvered her hand beneath his tunic, pressings her fingers directly against the warmth of his scarred skin, Enyd’s mind was still playing catch-up with the change. Undoubtedly, the poor Romulan’s own mind was being flooded with the bawdy scenarios dancing through Enyd’s brain and at the moment she was still too stunned to bother trying to stop them. While she heard and discerned accurately Drauc’s voice as he explained how the scar she was touching had come into existence, Enyd had yet to find her voice. Instead, she continued to blink gape-mouthed at the honey-voiced man beside her, until at last the gravity behind his words was enough to wash away the initial shock and rampant lust his movements had caused. She was not a virginal teenager and he was far more than a crush-at-first sight.

“Thank you,” her own voice had dropped in timbre as a result of her sudden burst of desire, forcing Enyd to clear her throat before speaking again, “for sharing the story.” Refocusing her attention to the more clinical side of feeling his skin, Enyd’s was tentative in her touch as her fingers explored the entirety of the scar as she had available to her. “I’ve never seen a kar’takin in action but, based on this wound, I hope I never do.”

Blushing, Enyd was loathed to pull her hand away from his skin but she felt turnabout was fair game. First, she showed the matching scars on her wrists before shifting on the bench so she could pull up her leg, tucking her knee against her chest and placing her heel on the bench itself, and pulling up her pant leg to show one of the two matching scars on her ankles.

“I have other scars from various instances of stupidity in my youth, but these are from my time as a hostage on Cardassia.” It was Enyd’s turn to take hold of Drauc’s hand, guiding the much larger appendage to the mangled skin circling her otherwise delicately formed ankle. “They offered to do skin grafts and treatment to get rid of the scars once I woke up in the hospital after my rescue, but I refused. I wanted to keep them.”

Enyd would be lying if she said she didn’t appreciate the warmth of his hand against her skin or the stirrings his touch brought both her mind and body. But she just because she wasn’t about to lie, that didn’t mean she was about to bring attention to these facts for the umpteenth time. Drauc would be aware of these thoughts and feelings even if she didn’t bother to say them, and that was enough for the time being.

Letting go of his hand, Enyd brought both of hers up to the buttons that held her top together. They’d shared scars and stories that were connected to pain and while nearly all of Drauc’s scars were likely connected to pain and destruction, at least some of Enyd’s were not and that was perhaps something worth sharing now. With a playful smirk, Enyd undid the top two buttons, giving her just enough slack in the material of her jumpsuit to shift one sleeve over her shoulder so Drauc could see one more scar.

Looking first at the scar, a faint horizontal line that cut across her skin a few inches below her shoulder, then at Drauc, Enyd chuckled, "Would you believe this is from an arrow shot by my grandmother?” Enyd waited for a few breaths, her eyes moving to travel over the various plants nearby, before sharing the story. “It was at the town fair and one of my grandmother’s neighbors, a particularly cantankerous sort of woman, challenged my grandmother to a shooting contest. Of course, the neighbor was younger and believed my grandmother to be well out of practice and so thought herself the easy winner.”

Enyd laughed, her mind filling with the sights and sounds of that evening. The crowd standing semi-circle around the shooting range, the nearly empty quiver sitting upright on the ground next to her grandmother, a woman well into her 80s by this point. She could even vaguely make out the younger, more rotund neighbor, the dyed hair and layered makeup, the self-confident sneer marring her otherwise demure features.

“It was the last round and my grandmother upped the stakes, demanding that live targets take the place of the regular sheets. The neighbor balked and threw some insults and I, also being of a particularly cantankerous sort on occasion, offered myself as my grandmother’s target.” Enyd brought her gaze back to Drauc, her smile soft and her expression one of amused delight. “Grandmother shot five arrows at me that night, two by my knees, two by my shoulders, and one above my head. This was the only one that got me. I didn’t even flinch because I didn’t want anyone to know. Needless to say, she won the contest and the neighbor never bothered her again.”

Enyd hoped in the sharing of a lighter memory, one that gave some insight into her past as well as into her character, would serve to soothe any of the pain memories associated with his scars may have brought Drauc. She enjoyed sharing such things with him and before she could catch her own wandering mind, Enyd thought of at least four other scars, in far more intimate areas of her body, that had amusing stories connected to them. Intentionally blinking away these thoughts, Enyd smiled again.

“Before you go asking if that’s common, for me to offer myself as a live target, the answer is no. But she was my grandmother and she had a point to prove and for me, well, sacrificing a bit of flesh for the good of my family is well worth it.”
Lieutenant Enyd Isolde Madsen, Assistant Chief Diplomatic Officer

Lieutenant Commander Cross, Chief Tactical Officer

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