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Day 10 [0720 hrs.] Experience Merit Emulation

[ Drauc T'Laus | NCO Quarters | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Griff  
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While the hour was early, Drauc hoped to make his visit prior to the beginning of alpha shift. Thus, he walked the corridors to the door that Thea had told him about, knowing that Lillee t'Jellaieu resided there.

His gait was slow, not wishing to provoke the sub-dermally treated internal organs and his mended ribcage. He was no longer in pain, though he did feel a certain tightness across his lower chest when taking deep breaths. Allegedly, this temporary transition would be alleviated over the course of the coming week, during which he was forbidden to preform any high-intensity cardiovascular exercise. He had inquired as to whether or not he might use the steam room, and the physicians had not seen any detriments in that, for which he was grateful. After speaking with Petty Officer t'Jellaieu, he would do so, since the public baths were oft empty in the beginning of alpha shift.

This was not the case as he treaded down the corridor, since most officers were awake and preparing for the shift to start. Their minds imposed upon his own, and he clenched his jaw - using the tightness as a focal point to shutter his thoughts from that of others. He cared not to dwell on the shower-thoughts of the crew, nor how they might wish to style their hair. Much less their relationship troubles or their worries about the mission - where the Theurgy might do battle anew. The maelstrom of minds that washed over him might not be entirely uncommon a theme whilst dwelling aboard a ship the size of the Theurgy, but it remained nonetheless unwelcome.

Still, Drauc knew that his best opportunity to speak with another Romulan - this companion-in-arms that he'd fought alongside twice - was right that morning, and not later. Beyond sharing the same blood as himself, t'Jellaieu had other experiences that might aid him. So, he hoped to get her counsel, if she was willing to give it.

When he reached the door to her NCO quarters, he pressed the chime, and when a chirp prompted it, he revealed his identity and presence. "It is Drauc T'Laus, may I speak with you?"

That Lillee was there, he had no doubt, for he could sense her mind through the door.

Re: Day 10 [0720 hrs.] Experience Merit Emulation

Reply #1
[PO3 Lillee t’Jellaieu | NCO Quarters | Deck 11 | USS Theurgy] Attn: @Auctor Lucan

Commander Fisher, I wish to emphasise once more the weight of my request, backed up by my battle record...

"Fvadt," Lillee swore under her breath, erasing the line on her PADD. She leaned back in her chair behind the desk, rubbing her aching forehead ridge. The accursed document had been weighing on her mind for weeks, even as Lillee submitted the information request, was denied, modified then resubmitted and was denied again. This was the fourth submission to Intelligence and she had to get it right, to spark the stodgy human's attention and get him to act. All other avenues came up empty. With a sigh, Lillee felt the futility of her quest weigh down on her. She rarely felt dissapointment or shame for being an unimportant enlisted pilot, but surely an officer could make something happen, right? If she was a lieutenant, someone might actually listen...

The final desperate option hung in Lillee's mind, and she winced in disgust. Anh-Le could and probably would make it happen, but using her in such a way was deeply unsettling. Besides, as naive, cute and head-over-heels as Anh-Le was, she was also very intelligent and well trained. Manipulating her was both frighteningly easy and frighteningly risky. Even the attempt could land Lillee in the Brig, to say nothing of destroying the relationship. Sure, she'd do anything for the babes, but still...

"FVADT!" Lillee swore again, this time more loudly. Giving up the form for the morning, she stood up and stretched, wearing only her pants and a vest. A couple more hours of sleep before her shift was tempting, as anxiety had woken her in the first place, but Lillee recognised the futility of it. Instead, reluctantly, she went to the replicator to replicate some coffee. The cup was still materialising when the chime went off.

Moderately curious about who the visitor might be, Lillee picked up her coffee and went to the door. Her eyes widened in surprise when it opened. The last time she'd seen her visitor, they'd been surrounded by Klingon blood and body parts.

"Drauc!" Lillee said, blinking. After the shock passed, she held up a hand and bscktracked to her roommate's bedroom door, checking the indicator. "Oh, good. Pardon me, Drauc; my roommate is Reman, and he is twitchy around our kind, but he is out at the moment. Come in, please. What may I do for you? It is good to see you well after the battle."

Re: Day 10 [0720 hrs.] Experience Merit Emulation

Reply #2
[ Drauc T'Laus | NCO Quarters | Deck 11 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Griff  
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The residual turmoil in Lilleee's mind faded when he entered through the sliding doors, so Drauc did not immediately inquire as to what was amiss. With the cacophony of minds around him, hers was not easy to isolate, but he believed it may have had something to do with her lost children - the offspring whom she had yet to make contact with since the Theurgy fled Earth. He had picked up on their existence at some point during the time he had spent with her, but they had not become a topic of conversation since the second time they met. They might again, however, given the issue he was bringing to her that morning.

"My gratitude," he rasped and made his way inside, still favouring one side in his gait, but he gave the door opposite of Lillee's a passing glance. In all likelihood, it was Lorad whom resided behind that door - the brother of Samala. They were both familiar to him since the four of them - Lillee included - had convened in the conference room on Deck 01 in the beginning of the shoreleave at Qo'noS. Natalie Stark had adjourned the meeting prematurely since Commander Fisher hadn't observed proper security protocol by inviting a Romulan that hadn't been screened by the anyonic phase protocols of Thea's airlocks and transporter rooms. Since that day, Stark had yet to invite them again, which was something Drauc wasn't sorry about since it had been an unpleasant experience for him.

After entering Lillee's accommodations, Drauc gave the interior a passing glance, and decided upon remaining standing. Agitated by the number of minds beyond the bulkheads, he was flexing his scarred hands inside the sleeves of his threadbare robe. He ground his teeth, and decided to voice his request without preamble, so that he might focus on the conversation and Lillee alone rather than whatever was transpiring mere meters away - as if the soundproof bulkheads didn't even exist. The thoughts and emotions of the Non-Commissioned like a mad chorus of trivialities.

Should I wear the skirt uniform today? I might meet that cute guy from delta shift. Or was he on an away mission today? Better take the skirt. I did shave my legs last night. Drauc blinked, looking at Lillee and trying to focus on her thoughts, but some crewman's lamentations overrode her. Did I replicate this uniform yesterday, or the day before? Ugh, it stinks. I better get a new one. Ugh, I hope the Lieutenant doesn't notice the missing diagnostics. I hate doing maintenance. Drauc blinked again, his knuckles whitening. A Petty Officer, preforming onanism in his sonic shower, imagining Deputy zh'Wann without her uniform, fellating him. Drauc could hear his own knuckles cracking, and he slowly raised a hand to press a finger against his temple, rubbing it.

"I wish to inquire about a conundrum of mine, if you are amendable to give your thoughts. I would benefit from your experiences, since I am lacking in this particular regard," he grated thickly, and he would have continued if his train of thought hadn't been lost in the maelstrom of minds washing across his own.

Re: Day 10 [0720 hrs.] Experience Merit Emulation

Reply #3
[PO3 Lillee t’Jellaieu NCO Quarters | Deck 11 | USS Theurgy] Attn: @Auctor Lucan

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Despite her words, it quickly became obvious to Lillee that Drauc was anything but well. His limp was obvious, but it couldn't possibly be from battle; that had been over a week ago. More troubling, however, was the tension that gripped him, and the discomfort that Drauc was in simply standing there. Sensing that compassion was neither desired nor helpful, and aware that he could likely sense her thoughts anyway, Lillee opted to ignore Drauc's condition, instead stepping back beside the desk that she and Lorad shared.

"Of course, I will help if I can," she said, considering Drauc more closely. She imagined that without the scars, both visible and invisible, he would've been quite handsome, but the pain that permeated everything about the man was unmissable. It cast a dark pall all over the poor man. "We are not friends, but we are allies. The Elements have an odd sense of humour, tossing us together, but I know better than to question it."

Lillee scratched her cranial ridge idly, painfully conscious of Drauc's intrusive telepathy, but she just had to accept the violation of privacy as a given.  It wasn't his fault, after all. "I don't know how my experience can be of help to you, though unless you expect to be flying a Valkyrie in the near future. What do you wish to discuss?"

Re: Day 10 [0720 hrs.] Experience Merit Emulation

Reply #4
[ Drauc T'Laus | NCO Quarters | Deck 11 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Griff  
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In attempt to ward his mind from the outside influence of the Starfleet officers beyond the bulkheads, Drauc sought the memory of when Lillee had visited his quarters at Aldea - inebriated and for some reason needing to ascertain whether or not he was a threat. She had said that if he was in need of company, she'd be available, and that was one of the reasons why he stood there before her.

He gave voice to another one, speaking in High Rihan. "<Flying hold little interest for me. What I know of your skills in that regard I have heard from Nathaniel Isley. He was my half brother,>" he grated, knowing that she had flown with the late Lone Wolf - the halfblood having met his end battling Romulan ships over Andor. "<Had he not met his end on the battlefield, I would have considered speaking with him as well... though I am unaware as to whether or not he had the experience that would aid me.>"

If his mind worked like others, he may have harboured feelings of loss, but even so, he had spent little time getting to know the man. His death was a loss, but when given the opportunity to feel it, he has grieved Jovela's death more.

"<You, however, have daughters. Ahnlai and Monoui," he rasped, recalling a memory of them that wasn't his own. Lillee pictured her twin girls, blonde and pointy-eared like their mother but bearing the Japanese features of their human father. Pushing the image out of his mind, he continued. "<It has led me to believe you have experience of long-term romantic attachment with a human. This is the experience I seek, for there is a human that has shown such interest in me.>"

He let it remain unsaid, however, whether or not those feelings were reciprocated, because he did not know for certain they were a mere reflection of hers - bleeding into his mind. Just like when Lillee considered him handsome, he found Lillee attractive as well, though neither of them had ever acted on those notions. The instance, in Enyd's case, in which he had gleaned some hope about his feelings being mutual towards her, was when she had fallen unconscious, and residual feelings had still lingered.

"<Do you have any advise in such a situation," he rasped in query, looking at her with an intensity born from shutting out what was happening outside the room they were in, "<knowing how humans act under such circumstances?>"

Re: Day 10 [0720 hrs.] Experience Merit Emulation

Reply #5
[PO3 Lillee t’Jellaieu NCO Quarters | Deck 11 | USS Theurgy] Attn: @Auctor Lucan

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Lillee stared, astonished. Finally, with a weary chuckle, she wiped her hand over her face. "Elements ward me, I did not see that coming." The idea of the perpetually grim Drauc having a romantic relationship was bizarre, but Lillee reined in her bafflement. He was asking for help, one rihannsu to another, and so deserved an earnest response, not confusion or mockery. It helped that they were speaking in their native tongue, a language that Lillee had only spoken otherwise to her daughters.

"Drauc," she said as she moved across the room to the small window, the stars twinkling beyond, "you might as well ask whether a ter'ak will cuddle you or bite your leg off if you pat it. Speaking true, I can't give you a general answer. Humans are just...weird." Lillee shrugged helplessly as she looked at him. "With us, there are courting practices, body language, inflections, a hundred dfifferent ways to express romantic interest and reciprocate or decline. Humans, though, are so unpredictable that it's impossible to know how to act. It's frustrating, sometimes. After I defected, my future husband and I spent months trying to work out if the other truly cared for us, and how to move forward. It was exhausting."

It felt odd to talk so openly about Jiang; Lillee hadn't even told Anh-Le about him yet, not in-depth. Perhaps it was the telepathy, knowing that he could read her thoughts regardless, but Lillee felt no need to hide anything. Perhaps it was his guileless demeanour, or his direct sincerity. Perhaps Lillee was just horribly lonely and desperately wanted to trust someone.

"Tell me of this person," Lillee said with a sigh, rubbing a finger along her cranial ridge. "What experiences you have shared, how they have expressed interest, and what you want to happen next."

Re: Day 10 [0720 hrs.] Experience Merit Emulation

Reply #6
[ Drauc T'Laus | NCO Quarters | Deck 11 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Griff  
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The question about whom it was that showed affection towards Drauc was no secret he had any intention to keep. He was no Starfleet officer any more, so she was no superior officer of his, and any potential affiliation ran no risk of undermining the chain-of-command. Even if he had still been a Security officer, they would have served in different departments entirely.

"It is Lieutenant Enyd Isolde Madsen," he rasped, speaking still in their native language. He followed Lillee with his stare while she moved through the room. "One of the Assistant Chief Diplomatic Officers. She came aboard while we travelled for Qo'noS."

As for what experiences they had shared, he gave it a moment of thought, unsure how to convey the two encounters in a way that would aid the other Romulan in understanding the context of their affiliation. "She approached me in the Arboretum in a matter relating to her duties, asking about Major Situka, yet her task was compromised by a... strange fascination towards my scars. You know of the abilities the Tal'Shiar cursed me with, so the attraction she felt towards me was no secret... yet you may not know that I tend to emulate those in my company rather than feeling emotions myself. Therefore, I was unsure to which extent my attraction was entirely my own, and how much was mirrored by Lieutenant Madsen's feelings. We parted, though it was plain that she desired an intimate liaison, because I told her I did not know how much of my desires were mine."

Frowning, grinding his teeth to shutter his thoughts from the NCOs outside the bulkheads, he flexed his scarred hands and continued. "The second experience with her was an excursion in the Blng'av Mountain Region, where she invited me to look at the dawn. The mountain region was not safe, however. I had to slay a sabre bear, protecting her, and we could not finish the trek to the intended summit since I required medical attention. I was released from sickbay today. Her interest in me seem to remain, nonetheless, as do my own feelings - such as they may be. As for what is next... I am unsure."

Hopefully, his brief account might aid Lillee in deducing more detailed questions and answers about his situation.

Re: Day 10 [0720 hrs.] Experience Merit Emulation

Reply #7
[PO3 Lillee t’Jellaieu NCO Quarters | Deck 11 | USS Theurgy] Attn: @Auctor Lucan

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"Your own feelings, such as they may be," Lillee repeated slowly. She bit her lip as she pondered, tapping her knuckles idly on a bulkhead. She realised that it was little different to gossiping with her friends about that relationships back on Earth, which helped focus her thoughts somewhat. For a brief moment, Lillee thought back with longing for those happier days, when she could enjoy some wine with friends as her girls slept upstairs amid a blessedly hot Khartoum night. It occurred to her that those friends likely thought her long dead, and the house had been empty for months, if it hadn't already been passed on by her in-laws. Lillee even mused on what might've happnened to the cat.

Shaking off the errant thoughts, Lillee considered Drauc. He wasn't being especially helpful, sticking to a strict recitation of events with no description of his own hopes and feelings, but that was to be expected. It was obvious that Drauc wasn't used to talking about such things.

"I am no telepath, obviously, so I cannot advise you there, but I...believe that I understand your concern, and why you wished for a neutral opinion." Lillee crossed her arms. "I know nothing of this woman, so I have no opinion or feelings to contaminate your own. I also feel no attraction to you, so your mind should be clear, yes? Or as clear as it can be?" Lillee paused. "So think of Enyd now, with no mirror to affect you. Think of her smile, her eyes, her body, her voice. Concentrate."

After a few moments, Lillee said quietly, "What are you feeling, Drauc?"

Re: Day 10 [0720 hrs.] Experience Merit Emulation

Reply #8
[ Drauc T'Laus | NCO Quarters | Deck 11 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Griff  
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Listening to the advise, Drauc considered the fact that while Lillee herself was not a source for distraction if he were to conduct the mind-exercise suggested, there were other souls in close vicinity. At his own request, the accommodations adjacent to his own quarters didn't house any minds that might bleed into his thoughts, allowing him more restful sleep, but such wasn't the case where they were presently. Lillee was correct, the advise sound, though she didn't consider the range of his abilities. Still, he would try to do as she had suggested.

"When I think of Enyd Isolde Madsen," he rasped quietly, stepping towards the viewport while he tried to concentrate, "I turn to the memories of her, the experiences shared. Those memories are intrinsically laced with the feelings I felt in those moments, be they my own or not. Thus, memories are both treacherous in that capacity, as well as necessary to recollect her."

He took a deep breath, staring at the vista outside. "When I try to think of her appearance and the way she conducts herself, without focusing on the moments shared with her..." he grated quietly, steeling himself by not wishing the minds beyond the bulkheads would influence him, he nonetheless felt the desire that the showering Human felt for Deputy zh'Wann pushing into his thoughts - associating the desire towards Enyd instead. The jittery feeling of the female picking between uniform options filled him with anticipation towards the next time he could see Enyd. The one who worried about the missing diagnostics reports elevated a concern in Drauc that he may have frightened Enyd in the Blng'av mountains.

He shook his head.

"This part of the ship is not quiet enough," he rasped in the end, turning his stare towards Lillee. "Are you amendable to doing this somewhere else?"

Re: Day 10 [0720 hrs.] Experience Merit Emulation

Reply #9
[PO3 Lillee t’Jellaieu NCO Quarters | Deck 11 | USS Theurgy] Attn: @Auctor Lucan

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Lillee smiled in resignation. There went the rest of her morning, as was surely the case. Still, she was moderately surprised to realise that the prospect of spending more time with Drauc, learning more about him, was far from objectionable. He was a fascinating man, and a good one, as far as she could tell. Guiding him in his romantic adventure was the least she could do, and heck, it might even be fun to some degree.

"Certainly," Lillee said as she opened the door to her bedroom. Her red shirt and grey uniform jacket were neatly laid out on the bed, and she swiftly began donning them. "About your telepathy...have you ever been to Vulcan, Drauc? I know that it must seem strange to think of going there, but I greatly enjoyed it, and most Vulcans that I met were very kind and open-minded. Perhaps after we prevail against our enemies, you can visit the Vulcan priests there and seek aid?"

A moment later, Lillee returned to Drauc, carefully attaching her rank insignia as she did so. After affixing a combadge to her breast, she looked at him expectantly. "Where would you like to go? I can think of a couple of remote areas onboard that are very isolated, although none that are comfortable or easy to access."

Re: Day 10 [0720 hrs.] Experience Merit Emulation

Reply #10
[ Drauc T'Laus | NCO Quarters | Deck 11 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Griff  
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When asked whether or not he had been to Vulcan, Drauc shook his head quietly, before pursing his lips. "I have not, but perhaps their teachings might aid me in centring myself - keeping the minds of others from affecting my own. I would be amendable to make time for a visit unless I die on the battlefield."

As Lillee had prepared herself to leave, Drauc had several options in mind for that specific hour, in which some areas of the ship would grant him respite and room for thought.

"There is a place. Follow me," he rasped, and led the way to the turbolifts close to where Lillee's quarters were at. Once they were both in the turbolift, he spoke anew. "Deck 25."

They were heading to the lowest decks of the ship, and in the aft, just beneath the Lower Shuttle Bay’s maintenance bays, where the corridors were less trodden and the lighting was dimmer. The bulkheads lacked panels, granting easy access to conduits and other technology that were supporting the functions of the decks above. There were no people there, save for rare occurrences were those of the Engineering Department made their rounds, yet such would not be the case for several hours. The quietude of thoughts were the same as the quiet of the ship, the latter consisting of the hum that most whom had served on starships were accustomed to. Below the deck plating, there was just space, which would eventually be replaced by the outer atmosphere of Qo'noS.

If Lillee spoke whilst he showed the way, he would answer, but eventually, they would reach a a window set in the bulkhead, showing the compartment that held one of the aft landing gears. There, Drauc drew to a halt, and turned his head to gaze at the towering, mechanical construct beyond the glass. As far as Drauc knew, having learned the history of the Theurgy's dire straits, the landing gears had last been used on Theta Eridani IV, and when looking closely at the lowermost section of the landing gear, there were still volcanic dust coating the metal.

"When I think of Enyd," he rasped quietly, his mind on the task Lillee had given him, "I recall how, when she was unconscious, my feelings of affection - of attraction - still lingered. This, even without her direct influence. I am doubtful that her dream-state would affect me in this regard, though to be fair, it could be that the effect she had upon me would remain for some time. A delayed reaction, though I am not sure..."

Frowning, Drauc leaned against the bulkhead next to the window - the spot one he often visited to get away from the rest of the crew. "Perhaps... I am merely flattered by her affectations, intrigued by what she might see in me - this mirror of a man that see no other purpose than the one found on the battlefield."

Re: Day 10 [0720 hrs.] Experience Merit Emulation

Reply #11
[PO3 Lillee t’Jellaieu NCO Quarters | Deck 11 | USS Theurgy] Attn: @Auctor Lucan

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Lillee was quiet on the journey down, knowing that Drauc was not for one for small talk. Her mind occasionally drifted to mundane matters like shuttle repair, the next time that she'd see Anh-Le, musing on the pleasant evening that she'd spent with Nat. Eventually her thoughts turned to curiosity about their destination as Drauc led her deeper into the ship, to rarely-travelled passageways. A ship as enormous as the Theurgy had many such areas, given its relatively small crew, but even so, Lillee was surprised that she didn't know this one.

"Odd," she mused as she walked. "For three weeks I've worked in that shuttlebay right above us, yet I didn't know of this place. Fascinating."

Listening patiently as Drauc talked, Lillee found a conveniently shaped bulkhead protusion and sat herself atop it. She paid close attention, deeply curious about the odd man before her as much as anything, but also determined to help. Lillee was no counselor, but she hoped that her perspective might be an advantage all the same.

"You don't seem like the type of man to be so easily flattered," she said quietly, contemplating him carefully. "Speaking true, it sounds like you're determined to find an excuse for your attraction to this woman. Is it so terrible, so unimaginable, that what you feel is genuine? I do not see a monster, Drauc, though I know you little. I have witnessed from you compassion, honesty, selflessness, concern for the feelings of others and more."

Lillee paused as she pondered. "That day, when we fought to save Martok's grandson, we didn't do it out of obligation or duty. We fought because any child, even a Klingon child, deserves the chance to grow up safe and loved. It wasn't tactically wise to fight as we did, protecting the boy, but we did it. More, a man incapable of love would not care about respecting this woman's feelings. Logically, then, this suggests that you can exist beyond the battlefield, and you can experience genuine love and affection. Your behaviour stands as evidence."

Lillee hiked her legs up and crossed them, rather enjoying the ambiance of the place. "Drauc, please tell me about this woman. Tell me of her appearance, her personality, how she spoke to you. I would very much like to know more about her."

 
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