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[2385/Caitia Prime] Life continues

[ K'Ren | Diplomatic Residence | Caitia Prime ] Attn:  @steelphoenix
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[prelude]
It'd been five years since the war ended, since peace had returned to the galaxy. The cost been great, in men and ships, entire planets wiped out by the creatures as they drove their hosts to commit atrocity after atrocity. Eventually the untainted, as they had come to call themselves, wrest control from the parasites, driving them back to the realm they came from. In the aftermath the survivors were left with shattered worlds, governments in shambles, a tattered canvas upon which to rebuild. A tenous peace settled upon the galaxy as the powers that once ruled the known galaxy licked their wounds, content to focus on their own peoples, their own problems.

[present]
K'Ren looked around the room, open crates on one side of the room, some furniture on the other. They'd only arrived that morning and they were trying to get some things unpacked before they started seeing guests. While the two cubs played in their room with a crate of toys, K'Ren helped Deacon unpack the boxes in the main living area. The apartment they'd been assigned was in the Caitian capital close to the Embassy. Like most Caitian residences, the apartment was built on a hillside, each apartment having a outward facing view of the mountains across the valley. The Caitian sense of harmony with nature and the beauty of the surroundings drove them to make their homes on the side of hills and other natural formations, allowing each Caitian, no matter their wealth or social stature, a vista of the natural beauty of their world. Even privileged as they were, K'Ren and Xander's residence near the embassy had views only a slight bit more expansive then the lowest apartments in the city.

Her crate now empty, the box had a few personal effects she'd placed on the shelves of a display case, another feature of Cait living quarters, one tended to show off a few favored possessions near the entrance to show others who came to call. Never anything garish or showy, mainly trinkets that told of your clan, your family, and perhaps an accomplishment or two. She'd placed a few little items, reminders of her life on Theurgy, and also trinkets her sister had given her after they re-united. Those placed she sauntered over to Xander who seemed to be digging through a crate for something.

Re: [2385/Caitia Prime] Life continues

Reply #1
[ Xander Maryk | Diplomatic Residence | Caitia Prime ] Attn: @SummerDawn  @patches 

Deacon sighed as he fidgeted with the contents of the box.  Moving was a... novel concept that he'd never really had to experience before.  Moving to homeworld, he'd barely had enough to fill a suitcase.  Leaving homeworld had been spur of the moment and left him without any possessions aside from what few clothes he'd worn for sake of socializing with monkeys.  Leaving Theurgy... well, that hardly involved packing.  What few possessions he'd retained from that could hardly be considered worth packing, with few exceptions. 

But now, he was expected to have things.  He supposed it was inevitable, but it was hardly the direction he foresaw his life taking.  He'd grown up expecting to replace his grandfather.  Now, it seemed he was to replace his grandmother instead.  Well, not so much replace her as she had formally retired her position as a Federation ambassador some years prior to even meeting him, but she was not so far out of touch that she could not pull sufficient strings to have him placed as she had done.  There was still some uncertainty in his mind if this had been her idea or his own.  Certainly, yes, he had mentioned his desire to bring peace between the Federation and the Patriarchy, and truth be told, he was singularly qualified to understand the ways of kzinti culture.  Still, stuck as he was with a human's face now, dropping him back on homeworld would likely end as it had for any true-born human before him.

He sat back in his chair, having found the PADD buried within the box that he'd been seeking-- part of the official dossier of the diplomatic core, full of regulations he'd be required to follow, contacts with whom he'd need to become familiar, situations he would need to manage, preferably in favor of the Federation.  Laying his head back into the large chair, he grumbled under his breath, slipping his free hand to massage a knot in the muscles that lined his lumbar.  It had taken years of walking in specialized boots to correct his posture from the digitigrade stance with which he'd grown up to the plantigrade stance forced upon him thanks to his imprisonment at the hands of the Savi.  His grandmother, of course, had strongly recommended that he learn to stand on his own -- that reliance on such prosthetic devices could be seen as a sign of weakness and it was often necessary for diplomats to be seen to operate from a position of strength.

It was a challenge -- one that he had overlooked to make for himself out of convenience of life on the ship and performing his duties without overburdening the others he had come to consider his artificial pride.  But here, now, life was different... stable.  Certainly stable enough that he'd decided to forego his therapeutic devices for the entirety of the move.  The pain in his back was enough to remind him that perhaps today had not been the proper day to make such a choice.

His name had been another point of contention.  Deacon was his Kzinti name, but it was also meant to be his position in their society -- something that wasn't to change without the will of the Patriarch.  His duties on the Theurgy had been, at best, questionably in line with his name, but now, he was to be something quiet different.  He was to be the face of the Federation, the face of Humanity, and as ironic as he felt that was, he knew, too, the importance of names to his people.  Further, his grandmother insisted that his position would only benefit through the use of his birth name -- something he suspected would result from any good will she, herself, had garnered.  Here, he had to abandon being Deacon.  Here, he was Ambassador Xander Maryk, and he would have to swallow any distaste he felt at the name until it, like walking without his prosthetics, became second nature.

Flipping idly through the contents of the PADD, he noted the names of the senior Caitian ambassador who would be serving as the initial lead in contacting the Patriarchy.  The Ambassadorial Corps had agreed with Deacon's recommendation that a felinoid species would have the greatest chance of making headway with the Kzinti given the centuries old distaste for humanity.  The Caitians were selected given Deacon's marriage to K'Ren, but to bolster the cultural divide between Caitians and the Kzinti, it was determined that the Klingons, too, should be entreated to bring their own unique diplomacy to bear.

His eyes moved towards the office door as K'Ren approached, the golden flecks sparkling faintly against the blue that now predominated.  "Grandmother has me scheduled for four meetings tomorrow and she expects me to have all of contacts memorized before hand," he grumbled, punctuating his statements with swipes of his finger across the screen of the PADD.  "Their birthdates, favorite foods, accomplishments and awards, family names, THEIR birthdates... Fanged God, I didn't even know MY birthdate until after I arrived on Theurgy."  He leveled his gaze.  "Being a Black Priest involved a lot less talking and more blind obedience.  People tend to be less chatty when you're there to take their children away or make pronouncements on behalf of the Patriarch."

He slid down in his chair slightly, giving her a lop-sided grin.  Years as a human and he'd only managed to offer a proper smile on the rare occasion, his quirk half-grin being his best practiced effort to show humor while managing to keep his teeth obscured.

Re: [2385/Caitia Prime] Life continues

Reply #2
[ K'Ren | Diplomatic Residence | Caitia Prime ] Attn: @Steelphoenix  @patches
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Stepping up close, K'Ren could see her mate was tense, most likely fretting a little over the expectations of his new role as Ambassador to the Caitian people, and envoy to the K'Zin when the time came. Her paws, claws retracted, went to his shoulders as she came up behind him and leaned over nuzzling his ear. A good back rub was always welcome in their household, by both of them, and K'Ren was more then happy to oblige her husband. Purring a little, she could feel the tension in his neck as she began her gentle massage. "It's no different then when you ran the lounge on Theurgy Xander, You learned what everyone liked so you always had their order ready as hey walked in." She glanced down at the list of names, noting a few even she'd have a hard time with. Keeping track of clans was hard enough even for a Cait born & raised here, she expected that those within diplomatic circles would not expect her husband, a human in their eyes, to understand the subtly and complexity of clan associations.

"You'll also have R'Rori to help you sort through this. She's probably the most familiar with Caitian customs of the three of us. Growing up as P'Roash N'Grin (forsaken one) I didn't learn any of that beyond what little mother taught me." She smiled a little back at her mate as she stepped around the front of the chair, straddling it so she could sit facing him. Tail playfully twitching, her ears perked up, she looked into his eyes. "You'll do fine mate. I know you will." A bit of a rumble was setting up in her chest, that deep seated purr that signaled all was well in K'Ren's world, a rumble that could be heard and probably felt by her mate.

She nuzzled his cheek a bit, trying to distract him from the padd. There would be time for that, but they'd literally only been here hours, made a small dent in unpacking, and work was the last thing on her mind. Of course any onlooker, seeing any girl straddling her partner's chair as K'Ren was, could be forgiven for the presumption of assuming she had other matters on her mind, matters less of work and more of play "Our second litter is doing well, another couple months to go and we'll be introducing the cubs to their newest siblings." Taking his hand that rested near the padd, she guided it to rest on her belly, the swell of their second litter laying between them. She was far enough along she looked the part even when she wasn't showing it off with her choice of clothes, and to her people, she carried the scent of one with cub.

Re: [2385/Caitia Prime] Life continues

Reply #3
[ Xander Maryk | Diplomatic Residence | Caitia Prime ] Attn: @SummerDawn  @patches 

Deacon closed his eyes for a moment, letting the tender ministrations of his mate knead at the stress points at the nape of his neck.  Although he could hardly call it a scruff any longer, it was one of the few kzinti features he'd retained -- at least beneath the surface -- that certain spot that weathered away all sense of worry.  True, it was a bit harder to find with the change in his anatomy, but K'Ren was a master at the delicate art and never failed to pinpoint her target.  It was only a matter of seconds before his shoulders began to slump, the tension that squared them dissolving beneath her touch.

As she slipped around from behind, straddling her legs across his, she took his hand and placed it to her belly where their latest kits were gestating.  He grinned, the closest to a smile he'd ever cared to exhibit even after five years, teeth still firmly obscured behind his lips, his blue eyes locked mischievously on hers, the golden flecks dancing within.  "You are trying to distract me," he said, softly scratching at the fur along her protruding abdomen before leaning forward and giving her a soft kiss.  "But it took me weeks to memorize the Theurgy crew.  It was hard enough until I figured out how to tell them apart.  And we had an inordinate number of red headed females on that ship... did you ever notice that?  Far more per capita than the rest of Starfleet it seemed.  Half the time I was convinced they were somehow specifically immune to the parasites."

Leaning his head back against the chair, he removed his glasses and lay them beside the PADD, giving his eyes a moment to refocus and adjust to the faintly expanded spectrum even as he could feel the nascent murmur of his empathic sense stirring once more, no longer artificially suppressed.  He placed both hands to K'Ren's stomach, feeling the faintest whisper of life within, surrounded by the will of his mate, her protection, her concern, her playfulness.  Curling his fingers slightly, he placed one hand to K'Ren's temple, trying to translate the feelings he was sensing to her.  Given the kzinti disdain for vulcans, he found no small amount of irony in the fact that he'd needed vulcan assistance to master these new abilities of his.  True, he couldn't speak with his mind any more than he could directly read the thoughts of others, but his bond to his mate had granted them a level of familiarity and understanding such that certain thoughts came through loud and clear even if little more than a pulse of emotion. 

Now was one such moment of clarity.  Buried amidst a suppressed sense of worry over the performance he would be expected to give before the diplomatic corps, the joy and pride he felt in his growing family, one thought came through as if it had left his lips.  ** Are you ok? **  It was a general concern, caught amidst thoughts of her reuniting with her own clan, settling for life as an ambassador's wife rather than a fighter pilot, and more subtle worries about her health, whether the trip was exhausting her, whether he'd unfairly put the burden of unpacking on her while he fretted over meetings and itineraries.

Re: [2385/Caitia Prime] Life continues

Reply #4
[ K'Ren | Diplomatic Residence | Caitia Prime ] Attn: @Steelphoenix  @patches
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K'Ren smiled a little as Xander's hand pressed against her belly, the cubs inside responding to the touch and pressure they felt from within. She returned his gentle kiss, purr box going full tilt, tail twitching. "You've been so focused mate, a distraction for a few moments isn't going to hurt anyone." She said, purring as she rolled her R's. "And no I did not notice, I guess I was more focused on the mission, but mostly you my mate. Though it does not surprise me a male would notice these things." She nuzzled him, "Human's do have a limited number of natural colors to their skin & hair that I expected there would be many."

Leaning forward, she placed her forehead against his as he moved both hands to her belly, cupping the swell between them. Moments of closeness like this, she felt an energy between them, the bond stronger in these moments. His own empathic sense, and as they'd discovered later, a weak telepathic sense only when he touched her seemed to boost the bond between them and in quiet moments, she could sense his feelings with clarity, as could he hers. The fanged god expected truth as he'd said numerous times, and there was no deception in these moments as they shared the bond.

She was a little stressed, new home, new job, she was among her people for the first time and while on the exterior she was Cait, growing up as she had, she felt more human, less attuned to her people and the nuances of life as a Cait. Most of the diplomatic staff knew from the briefings what to expect, her unfamiliarity with Caitian culture, and she hoped that her people at large would understand her shortcomings as a cait, that she was learning from a life spent off world. It was stepping out in Public among her people, without the support of Xander and those around her like R'Rori that she feared most. She'd been keeping herself steady and trying not to let her worries out as she knew Xander had his own to deal with, his were in many ways more important then her own so she remained quiet.

It was hard to explain how speaking happened in telepathy but she felt her mate's voice in her head, asking her if she was okay. She couldn't lie to him, sighing a little as she lowered the mental wall she kept up at times, slowly releasing the bottled up emotions. "Nerves," she whispered back, unable to respond in her mind as he did. The memories associated with the worry he would be able to see plain enough as they sat there. Concern for his well being, worry how the cubs would interact with their peers despite being placed in a Caitian school on earth to acclimatize them to the world they would grow up in. And worry about this birth, not so much the cubs health, they were lively and active, but how she would fare this time around, if it would be easier then the first litter, or not.

Re: [2385/Caitia Prime] Life continues

Reply #5
[ Xander Maryk | Diplomatic Residence | Caitia Prime ] Attn: @SummerDawn  @patches 


He closed his eyes, slowly filtering through the many sensations he felt from K'Ren.  It still took some time when so many came through, even from a single source that he knew so well.  Under different circumstances, had he been the captain's direct adviser or counselor as he'd been trained, he might have had more cause to train his gifts beyond the more rudimentary techniques he'd acquired, but compared to the chaos that had been the first days since their encounter with the Savi, he had to admit the occasional period of quiet in his own head was something he'd come to appreciate.

"I understand that the first birth is the hardest and you came through that fine," he offered reassuringly, managing to make sense of that particular stress point first, "and the boys will do fine."  He opened his eyes, gold sparkling faintly amidst the blue.  "At least they won't have to be inducted into the Patriarch's war machine and won't have to risk losing their ears to prove themselves.  And I'd rather them be used to dealing with females on equal footing.  I hope homeworld will eventually come to realize what they lost with the subjugation of the kzinretti.  Of course, if grandmother has her way, she'll have them married off to the next eligible diplomatic contact she can find.  That woman is building a dynasty.  If I locked her in a room with the Patriarch, I fear for the Patriarch," he mused, a smirk on his lips.

Returning his glasses to the bridge of his nose, he ran his free hand through her hair.  "You're going to do fine.  You're a fighter.  You persevere.  You've put up with me all this time and I like to consider myself somewhat formidable."  Already color was a little less vibrant and again the waves of emotions from beyond his own mind faded into silence once more.  "But," he added, "if it makes you feel any better, I've already called R'Rori over to help deal with this stuff."  He tapped the padd with his claw tip.  "So you have my undivided attention."

Re: [2385/Caitia Prime] Life continues

Reply #6
[ K'Ren | Diplomatic Residence | Caitia Prime ] Attn: @Steelphoenix  @patches
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K'Ren gave him a moment to respond, she knew he was feeling her emotions, filtering and making sense of what she was feeling. It'd become an accepted way of interacting, letting her mate read her emotions when they talked, remaining open with each other. She couldn't read him to the same extent, but she felt his own emotions, when they were close like this, touching.

"It usually is mate, and Caitian's birth easier then Humans, but there is always risk, to the cubs, and to the mother." she replied. She knew in her head that the birth would be fine, she'd soon enough be holding the cubs in her arms when it was time, but like mother's the universe over, she still worried for the safety of her cubs, and herself. Nuzzling him as he spoke about the older cubs, and the patriarch. "They are children of two worlds, three argueably, but the Caits will treat them with respect. I worry sometimes I may make mistakes in my interactions, mistakes a half-breed would be expected to make, not a full Cait like me." It was her one real fear, offending others of her people because she was unfamiliar with Caitian customs. For all the learning she'd done, she worried about it.

His closeness was comforting, and his reassurances calmed her fears and worries. "I know mate. But I still worry, baseless fears I am sure, but still fears." She purred, enjoying his hand resting on her swollen belly. They could feel the cubs moving around inside her, a feeling she enjoyed, and she knew Xander could feel them beneath his hand. "How long do I have until she arrives?"

Re: [2385/Caitia Prime] Life continues

Reply #7
[ Xander Maryk | Diplomatic Residence | Caitia Prime ] Attn: @SummerDawn  @patches 

How long?  He wondered, a faint smirk pulling at his lips. "She does seem to keep her own timeframes, but she only arrived a few days ahead of us, so she could still be up to her ears in crates and boxes still, for all I know."  With a soft scratching of his claws against her stomach, he offered up his approximation of a smile, the slight tips of his fangs barely exposed.  The practice his grandmother had encouraged him to engage in did nothing to assuage his wariness of using the expression with anyone other than K'Ren.

"Speaking of timeframes," he added, "maybe we should have some lunch?  I'm sure the boys are getting hungry -- well, hungry, or into trouble.  I'd rather avoid both if possible."  Tracking meal schedules was ingrained into him at this point, not merely a matter of his hunger, as he ate off schedule from the rest of the crew for so long that it proved an unreliable marker, but instead it stemmed from the routine he'd developed on ship -- an expectation that his hands would be occupied with the meal prep an hour before the shift began.  He'd occasionally complained about his hands feeling itchy or cramped when he found himself otherwise occupied, as if they were in protest of any unexpected change in his routine.

"We should probably check what we have on hand," he said, intending to see to the meal himself, even though others might find such tasks below his current assignment -- a task to be handled by a staff member at best, replicator at worst.  Still, he made no effort to remove K'Ren from his lap as he continued to scratch softly at her belly.

"Aside from that, what's on your agenda for today?  Is your sister coming over?"

Re: [2385/Caitia Prime] Life continues

Reply #8
[ K'Ren | Diplomatic Residence | Caitia Prime ] Attn: @Steelphoenix  @patches
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K'Ren purred, the gentle scratching of her mate a welcome spot of affection. It really didn't matter where, belly, ears, other spots, she enjoyed the touch of her mate against her fur, the claws gently dragging through it. She often reciprocated the gestures, both of them seemed to enjoy the casual grooming as much as anything else.  "Your grandmother does keep to her own schedules, I haven't seen a message from her in the last 24hrs." K'Ren smiled back, baring her fangs a little in return. Amongst Caitians such a gesture was not welcome and like Deacon, reserved the human expression for her mate, and the occasional human where the gesture was most appropriate.

"I was hoping to have a little bit of you before lunch mate," she nuzzled hima little, purring in his ear, "but I suppose I can wait until after the cubs are in bed and everyone else has reired to their quarters." She reluctantly began to climb off her Deacon, her mate, even as she knew they should feed the boys, make sure they were properly fed before her sister, M'Ressa came calling.

That had been an unexpected, tho not unwelcome surprise when her sister, whom K'Ren had given up hope of finding, showed up on her doorstep with a cub in tow, looking almost as pregnant as K'Ren herself was. Life it seemed had taken a good turn for her sister, who'd managed to get off world with their mother, escaping the life of the P'Roash N'Grin, and made their way back to the home world. K'Ren had promised M'Ressa that when they transferred to Cait, she would be sure to look them both up. Her sister of course, made sure she kept her word, and today was that day.

"My sister is coming over after lunch with her cub. Mother may also be coming over, and I would like both you and R'Rori to meet her if she does." K'Ren remarked, "meaning we better get our two fed as it'll be a busy afternoon for everyone."

- FIN

 
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