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Day 17 [1800 hrs.] Come Sail Away

COME SAIL AWAY
STARDATE 57574.55
MARCH 17, 2381
1800 HRS

[Lt. Cmdr. Natalie Stark | Chief of Operations Office / Transporter Room 3 | Deck 12 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ]Attn: @Number6 
[Show/Hide]

Natalie changed in her office. The moment that the clock struck 1800hrs, Natalie ordered the door to her office locked, and she reached under her desk, hauling out the bag she'd brought along with her earlier that morning when she had left her quarters. As a result of her role as ships second officer, she'd worked more than a standard 8 hour shift. That had been par for course for most of the days leading up to Aldea as well; it went without saying. When you're fighting for your life, day in and day out, you put in extra hours and you try not to burn yourself out. The analogy about a candle with a lit wick at both ends rose up in the back of her mind once more, and the now off duty Department Head had to admit that Commander Ducote might have had a point about her needing a few days off. And more importantly, off the ship.

As things stood, Natalie had been anxious all throughout the day. More than a few of the officers she'd interacted with had made oblique comments about the fact, and the general assumption was that Natalie was something of a work-a-holic and wouldn't know what to do with downtime. In general, it was all said and thought with a certain kindness and respect for a young officer who was doing her best to see to the job she'd been tasked with. And while there was some truth to that, Natalie's nerves had nothing to do with the lack of work ahead of her, and not having to worry about being called up unless the ship were on fire in orbit.

She'd checked in with Commander Ducote not thirty minutes before, and sent off a duty report to the First Officer and the Captain, noting whom would be filling in for her, and what pending tasks were of most importance, along with recommendations for paths forward, and the summary of her planned leave, at a very high level. Both knew the general itinerary of what she had planned, which was beam down, board a boat, and see where the winds took her. And if either of them had bothered to do a review of officers taking leave in the same general time frame, they might have been able to piece together the real reason for Natalie's nervous anticipation - Vanya.

The Romulan science officer was joining Natalie on her trip to Aldea. They were meeting each other in Transporter room 3, which had the benefit of being on the same deck as Natalie's office. She might have been a nervous wreck, but as she took the Martian-Navajo blanket off the back of her chair and folded the large, warm cloth so that it would fit in her bag, Natalie could not deny that she was eager. Licking her lips, and pressing the woll down with both hands, she called out, "Computer, execute replicator program Natalie-Aldea-4."

Stark had spent roughly an hour when she should have been going over recent shipments of deuterium from the outer reaches of the system (having nailed down that supply problem, thank you very much) instead surfing through the ships catalog of Aldean attire for something that would be fitting for the trip down. None of it was what she would call her style, such at it was. She preferred comfortable, easy clothes - summer dresses or flannel shirts, jeans, or long skirts. Robes and wraps were not quite her style, but even the most conservative of Aldean garments seemed outlandish to Natalie. In the end she'd nabbed a little bit of advice from Thea, whom had seemed delighted to assist, and come up with the outfit that now sat in the replicator alcove of her office (Natalie's former superior, Christian Hendricks had already bypassed the devices original configuration to allow for more than just food to be replicated from it, and Natalie had seen no reason to walk this modification back when she had assumed ownership of the office after his passing).

Letting out a huff, the short woman made equally short work of the clothing she was wearing, setting her combadge and rank pips aside and then tearing off the rest of her uniform with undue haste. Now that the moment was upon her, all of her previous hesitation seemed to have vanished like a wayward sensor echo in the baffles of the warp field. Natalie wanted out of her uniform, and down to the planet. She did remember however to pause and actually dress in turn, though this was after she scampered naked around the room for a moment, picking up all the stray bits and folding them into a haphazard pile. It would do no one any good if she were to leave a sock or something more unmentionable lying around in wait for a keen eye to note the next time she used the office.

Ten minutes after the end of her shift, Natalie was adjusting the sash of the sari like garment at her shoulder with what the computer assured her was a culturally appropriate clasp, locking it into place over the red shirt that she wore under the flowing robes. Honestly, it was a stunning piece, and she flushed a little, wondering if perhaps this was a bit much to be wearing. But...But as much as you try to pretend like this is just another trip with your best friend, you and she both know it's not just another trip. This is much, much more, and so you're putting in an effort and pretending you're not because this scares the hell out of you.

She frowned at her reflection, having re-tasked a small wall mounted monitor to serve as a digital mirror. She pursed her lips and wiggled her shoulders a bit, cupping her bust and generally adjusting everything until she was sure she would not spill out of the dress if she happened to sneeze. "What is it that they have against buttons, anyways? They're so useful." She gave her reflection a little pout, then sighed and waved the screen blank. Dumping her clothes into replicator alcove, she had the materials recycled. It was all stock uniform anyway, and she would replicate another one when she got back to the ship later. The pips and her commbage went into the drawer of her desk, and out of it she took an Aldean communicator, and a locally stylized PaDD, with all the proper false identification documents provided as a cover by the Aldean government, as well as purchase orders for the ship she was renting for her trip.

These she tucked way into the saving grace of the garment: Pockets. They were cleverly woven into the folds of her dress and Natalie had to admit that they were simply divine. Scooping her bag up, she took one last look around the room, and then exited, letting the door cycle locked behind her. Then she made a bee line down the hall toward the junction that would take her to Transporter Room 3.

Less than 20 minutes after the end of her shift, Natalie was breezing into the room and looking at the bewildered expression on one of her transporter officer's faces. She fixed the man with half a scowl and asked, "What? You look as if you haven't just spent the last 5 hours beaming crew up and down from the planet dressed just like this. Did I spill coffee or something?"

As the doors hissed open to allow another arrival, the man at the console very wisely kept his mouth shut and simply shook his head.


OOC: Natalie's Aldean attire for the evening: [Show/Hide]

Re: Day 17 [1800 hrs.] Come Sail Away

Reply #1
[Lt. Vanya | Crew quarters / Transporter Room 3 | Deck 12 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy}
Attn: @Brutus
Vanya’s day had gone as much as she had expected.  The results of the spectral analysis suggested that some of the Borg junk was some form of data receptacle.  She wasn’t about to go tinkering with the tech however.  That way lay madness.  The junk could interface with the Theurgy, before they knew it nasty whirly tentacles could start swimming out of the replocators and assimilating the organic crew members, before the AI on the crew like her are broken down for the physical and software components 

No, Vanya wasn’t going to poke the beast.  Not today.  Finally she sent her full findings to Martin, and left for her quarters at the end of the shift   

Vanya’s quarters were still pretty spartan.  A set of silk sheets lay on her bed, the only sign of her occupancy.  When she arrived in her room, she undressed  Normally this ritual marked the end of the day, when Vanya was fee to relax, but now it was something else.  Something better.  On the silk sheets was a single holdall she had set up.  In it, it contained her clothes for the trip,  and a few other key essentials. 

“Oh Nat, wait till you see all of this” she said with an excited grin  Next to the bag was her “Travel gear”.  The outfit was made of various shades of red, it kind of went with the theme that Vanya had in mind for the later portions of their trip  Firstly she retrieved a par of red sandals that  straped up to the middle of her calves.  Satisfied, she wrapped the skirt around herself, and then put on the top, its various jewels shining in the light of her quarers.  Finally she added the last sash like appliancs.  She took a moment to admire herself in the mirror.  She checked that her hair covered her pointed ears, normally she was happy for them to poke out.  Perhaps she was beginning to understand the concept of “dressed to kill.”   

Thinking on, she brought her hair forwards, normally  she would let the tips of her ear show, but while they were in populated centres, she wanted to ensure that they were hidden. 

She picked up the holdall, fearing the strap around her shoulder might dislodge something, she wasn’t worried about revealing anything, just conscious about having to go back to her room and change. 

The anticipation was palpable for Vanya now.  For the next two days or so they would be with each other.  Not sharing a dorm as they were in the academy,    Instead they were with each other for the purpose of being with each other.  It was everything for her not to go running down the corridor, or even order a site to site transport. 

Although her outfit wasn’t particularly see through, it was one of the lightest garments she had ever worn    She definitely wanted to keep this.  Judging by the looks from crew in the corridors, Nat would want her to as well. 

The doors to the transporter room parted, and Vanya looked upon her Martian companion for the evening.  Although her outfit was slightly less ostentaceous than the Andorids, it nevertheless suited her.  Nat looked gorgeous.  She wanted to tell her as such then and there, but knew that the transporter chief – one of her people – wouldn’t be appropriate. 

Yet she added.   

Instead, she did nothing to hide the desire in her green eyes as she looked on her friend  “Wow, Nat you look, amazing.”  She wanted to say so much more, but decorum was called for. 

She very much hoped that it would be the last time for a few hours. 

OOC: Vanya will be wearing: [Show/Hide]
[/i]
Inhabiting my head are:

[Lt. Vanya |Assistant Science Officer| USS Theurgy]

[Lt. J.G Foval |Assistant Diplomatic Officer |USS Theurgy]

Re: Day 17 [1800 hrs.] Come Sail Away

Reply #2
[Lt. Cmdr. Natalie Stark | Transporter Room 3 | Deck 12 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ]Attn: @Number6 
[Show/Hide]

Rumors were going to circle the ship the moment after Natalie and Vanya beamed away. It was inevitable. The Transporter tech on duty would end up ensuring that happened. He looked from his boss, to the towering Romulan that had walked in, and back to his boss. Their bags. Their similar attire. The immediate look of recognition, coupled with the words exchanged. One didn't need to be a super genius to sort out what was going on in the Transporter room. The tech tilted his head ever so slightly to the side, and then dipped it down, doing his best to hide a smile as he punched up the coordinates for the planet side transporter station at the Ibai Besi promenade. It was the primary authorized beaming point for Theurgy crew, and he doubted very much at that the Lt. Commander and her...friend were going to take advantage of the Klingon Dockyard's recreational facilities dressed like that. Everyone that he'd sent over to that complex had been clothed for a fight, not a fine dinner.

Natalie, mean while, paid her subordinate no attention at all what so ever. Her eyes had locked onto Vanya the moment she had arrived. Having not seen the woman since that morning before the start of Alpha shift, Nat's anxiety had been playing mean games with her brain all day long. Her imagination had summoned up a plethora of reasons as to why the science officer might have to beg off the trip last minute. Something could have gone horribly wrong with her Borg related research; her boss might have come down with a case of Andorian Shingles, necessitating Vanya taking over the Science department (which ignored the fact that there were two Assistant Chiefs). She could have simply changed her mind last minute. It had been very easy to run a litany of worse case scenarios throughout the day. Almost ot the point that Natalie had not believed that, when the moment came, she would be beaming down with her friend.

And yet, there Vanya stood, looking like a Romulan Goddess, or at least what Natalie imagined one to be. Already statuesque in height, and possessing the kind of beauty a master sculptor would envy, she looked like a piece of art, decked out in a flowing red ensemble that, like Natalie's, clung in all the wright places without managing to be too revealing. Vanya's attire was made of a somewhat more diaphanous material, which only served to further the impression of divinity among mortals. She'd always known that her friend had good looks, with the exotic twist of coming from a far away land, but, damn.

Or, maybe, possible, Natalie was a bit biased and smitten. Perhaps.

Her  composure wasn't at all helped by the look in Vanya's eyes. Even Nat could see it was there - hard to miss, as her gaze had been drawn there swiftly. She swallowed, feeling like a deer in the proverbial headlights, and felt her lips flutter into a smile and a blush creep up her cheeks. "Have you seen yourself? I think amazing applies a bit more to you than me. But thank you." She added, reminding herself that she should at least pretend to be able to take a compliment without fussing like a school girl in front of the staff. She'd never live it down.

Instead, she beckoned the android forward, with a curl of a finger, and adjusted her sash again, the bag nestled at her feet on the transporter pad. Flashing Vanya a nervous smile, she turned her attention to the transporter chief and held her head up a bit higher. The raised platform put her just a bit higher up than the man operating the console. The downside of being short. Managing to look down at someone and summon up authority was not nearly as easy as it would be for someone who towered over others, like Vanya. All the same, she simply said to the man, "Energize."

Almost before the blue white motes of light vanished, taking the officers with them, the transporter tech was tapping his combadge and calling a friend to relay the latest gossip.

[Ibai Besi Promenade Transporter Station | Aldea Prime | Aldea]

A brief moment later, the Transporter room of the starship vanished, and Natalie found herself under the glass domed roof of the Ibai Besi Transporter station, a short ramp walk away from the sprawling avenue of shops, restaurants, spas and hotels, winding its way down to the Marina, with the beach stretching out along the river front. The sun still shown in the sky, coming in at a low afternoon angle behind the station, casting shadows out before Natalie and Vanya as the stabilizing rays of the Transporter Effect released their bodies. Nat was assaulted by a myriad of foreign smells and sensations, breathing in the sea air, the warmth of it wrapping around her body.

She shook her shoulders, nodded to the woman operating the transporter station on this side of the equation, and stepped down off the pad to make room for those that had queued up to make use of the station for the next outgoing transport to wherever they were headed. Two steps down, and one shuffling step to the side - holding her bag in front of her - and she turned, holding a hand out to Vanya as she asked, "So uh...how do we do this whole vacation thing again? Where too first?" The cowards way out. A much safer start than saying 'I'm so glad you're here' or perhaps, 'Dear god, you're beautiful.' She didn't say it, but she was thinking it real hard, and anyone that was watching could tell that Nat was more than a little enraptured by her companion.

Re: Day 17 [1800 hrs.] Come Sail Away

Reply #3
[Lt. Vanya | Ibai Besi Promenade Transporter Station | Aldea Prime ]
attn: @Brutus

She materialised on the launch pad, hearing the sounds of a bussling seaside town.  The smells of salt, fish and other treats registered with Vanya’s nose.  0.047 seconds later they were forgotten as she looked upon Nat  In the glow of the late afternoon she seemed to look even more gorgeous in her native outfit, as if she belonged there.  Unlike most beings, Vanya had the answers as to why she was created, nevertheless, she felt like giving thanks to whatever deities happened to exist, if any, that she was in Nat’s company for these days, these hours and these minutes.  She grinned, 

Vanya wasn’t used to shore leave.  She would visit a Starbase or visiting Starship when she was stationed on the Morsaka array, and then when she was assigned to the Cayuga, she tended to seek comfort in the ship’s amenities during, rather than visiting shore leave locations.  She seldom Nevertheless seeing the offered hand was more than enough to start the ball rolling, and convince Vanya to give this vacationing thing a shot. 

“I suggest, we dump our bags wherever we are spending tonight,  maybe take a walk, we find food and then…”  she shuddered with anticipation at what could happen.  She didn’t want to force anything, but knew that Nat wanted this as much as she did.  Finding out what “this” was would begin, here.   
Inhabiting my head are:

[Lt. Vanya |Assistant Science Officer| USS Theurgy]

[Lt. J.G Foval |Assistant Diplomatic Officer |USS Theurgy]

Re: Day 17 [1800 hrs.] Come Sail Away

Reply #4
[Lt. Cmdr. Natalie Stark | Ibai Besi Promenade  | Aldea Prime ]Attn: @Number6 
[Show/Hide]

Natalie made a point of slipping her fingers in between Vanya's when the other woman closed the short distance to her from the transproter hub. Already many of the locals (she assumed) had begun to funnel past, but Nat paid them no heed. It felt odd, to not be wearing her uniform. To be on an alien world and not blatantly, obviously advertising the fact that she was Starfleet. She'd never gone on one of those typical Starfleet undercover missions that made the rounds among the fleet, embedded to observe a pre-warp culture. She rather felt she'd missed out on that, and this moment here was, not quite the same thing, but it was adjacent enough to be exciting.

Prospects for the rest of the evening were laid out in very short order, as Vanya summarized the most logical plan in a few short words. While that left a lot to actually be sorted - what and where to eat, for instance - it was a succinct plan. Drop the bags off, walk around, eat and...sleeping. Sleeping would happen. Natalie wasn't an idiot, of course. There were potential implications. And her cheeks were heating. This was all new, and scary and...she didn't want to make assumptions.

"Well, we have access to the boat." She held up the Aldean padd from within her robes and wagged it a bit, before tucking it away and reaching down to grab her bag, attempting not to spill out of the dress in the process. And still not letting go of her friends hand. That tangible sign of...whatever was happening.  "We don't necessarily have to stay anywhere else, in all honesty. When I booked the boat, the agent assured me that two passengers would be quite comfortable bedding down. And truthfully, even if we're just docked at the marina, I've found the gentle swaying motion to be great for falling asleep."

Growing up, Natalie had spent more than one night out on the water of one of Mars' largest lakes. Mostly with her father, but a few times out on her own, when she was older. In truth she was somewhat looking forward to that aspect of things, and the amenities list for the boat seemed reasonable enough. Nothing too extravagant, but if she wanted, say, a full soaking tub bath she could go to one of those bath houses that had caused her to blush so much earlier. You didn't have to have someone working you muscles, you could simply enjoy the deep tubs. (And it wasn't as if she didn't have access to a bath in her quarters back on the ship).

Squaring her shoulders, Natalie braced her self and began to step forward, hand in hand with the Romulan woman. "If I remember correctly its about 20 minutes down the road from here. Plenty of shops and restaurants and what not. So we should keep an eye out to see if anything looks good while we're going to the boat, and then we can circle back after dropping everything off." Putting actions to words, Natalie increased her pace, steering the two of them into the flow of things, and ambling down from the glass enclosed transporter station. In the evening light, everything seemed to glow slightly, reflected from the sun as it hung low and warm in the sky. When there were breaks in both the buildings and the crowd, even someone as short as Natalie could see the riverfront between the buildings.

But mostly, she spent the majority of the next quarter hour looking from the buildings, to looking up at Vanya - sneaking glances really. Trying to be discreet about it. But the woman just looked...radiant. Maybe it was the outfit. Maybe it was her hair. Perhaps the natural lighting just favored her. Or maybe, Natalie considered, it's because you know she put effort into this because of you. She's still stunning Vanya, the same knock out you met on your first day of the Academy. She hadn't changed a bit, physically. You're just noticing things about her now because you've changed.

And let's be honest. You like the idea of someone making an effort for you.
Musing on that as they wound their way down the lane, seeing the sign for the marina not too far off in the distance now, Natalie said quietly, "That outfit. This place. It really does suit you, you know. Beautiful, really." A human might have had trouble picking up what Natalie said, having been so quiet and shy in admitting that she'd noticed. A Romulan - and an android to boot, not that Nat really thought about her in that way - would have no issue at all.

Re: Day 17 [1800 hrs.] Come Sail Away

Reply #5
[Lt. Vanya | Ibai Besi Promenade  | Aldea Prime ]

attn @Brutus

She smiled to herself as Nat reached into her robes, took out the PADD and waved it at her, before returning to its hiding place.  Not only did it represent the key to their base, but the android was very keen to get the other treasures within the other woman’s attire. 

“Sounds great.    I hard charged up last week, so I don’t need any specialist equipment.  At least, not for charging.”  Many of the android’s biological features were meant to mimic those of a living sentient as much as possible.  The android had to “sleep” and the process would even be good for her flesh.  However, she still needed to fully charge using a modified replicator in her quarters for 10 hours every month or so.    As her former roomie, she was sure that Nat would be familiar with the process. 

In the same vein, Vanya enjoyed eating and food, but she didn’t have a particular preference.    The exotic smells of the street did get the Android’s curiosity going, but in all honesty, they could be squatting in a public shelter sharing a pack of field rations, the only thing that mattered to the android was being together with Nat in the present.     

It hit Vanya, and her smile grew.  If the people passing the, few, if any, would be from the crew.    If anyone saw them, they’d just see two travellers together.    Nat vocalised half of the equation when she told Vanya how much she liked her dress. 

“It’s being with you.” She said honestly.  “You know me.  Normally I’d rather be naked then wear anything.  I might as well live on Ferenginar, but one of their males would probably take me apart and try to patent me.  The point is, with you it’s the journey too.  Getting dressed up, seeing you looking as gorgeous as you do, it gives me something to care about.  A designer gave me my looks, but you make me feel beautiful.”   

Inhabiting my head are:

[Lt. Vanya |Assistant Science Officer| USS Theurgy]

[Lt. J.G Foval |Assistant Diplomatic Officer |USS Theurgy]

Re: Day 17 [1800 hrs.] Come Sail Away

Reply #6
[Lt. Cmdr. Natalie Stark | Ibai Besi Promenade  | Aldea Prime ]Attn: @Number6 
[Show/Hide]

Biting her lip, Natalie looped up at Vanya, and tried to keep the blush out of her cheeks. As was often the case, the Martian woman failed, miserably. She was having her thoughts spoken back to her, from someone she knew was not a telepath. Which meant that she was simply speaking what she felt, and that happened to reaffirm how Natalie viewed things. And while the shorter woman made a snort at the thought of Vanya on Ferengiar, she was still quite touched by the confession, and wished she knew how to properly show it. Squeezing Vanya's hand didn't seem to be nearly enough (though she did). On a while, she brought the hands up, and pressed a soft kiss to the girls knuckles, though she wasn't able to bring her eyes up to look at Vanya while she did. She might have done an impression of a tomato if she'd done that.

Swallowing and letting the hands swing back down, she said, "Thank you. Mind you, you'd make a burlap sack look stunning by wearing it, but I get what you're saying. And I...thank you. I'm glad I make you feel the way I see you." Nat managed complete sentences even, and had probably pushed herself enough for the moment. Coughing again, she let out a little laugh, shaking her head, and ignoring the fact that she had been called gorgeous by someone who had the authority to have the opinion, and more so, who mattered.  Knowing that she had such an affect on her friend was, again, as scary as it was awe-inspiring and humbling. That made her stomach

"I utterly pity the Ferengi that tries to take you apart," she shook her head again, laughing, and lay it against Vanya's shoulder. Nothing to see here, nothing at all out of the ordinary. Nope, nope, not at all, she denied, rather loudly, in her head. "Mind you, if one did try, I'd take a hyperspanner to their kneecaps. Just, for the record." While she was trying for humorous, there was a trace of that protective nature that had blossomed at the Academy. Which had been, and still was, truly ironic. Of the two of them, Vanya was considerably more capable of protecting herself, and others, than Natalie.

Not that it stopped her in the slightest. Natalie had a vested interest in Vanya, and so far at least, that only seemed to be growing, now that they were exploring new possibilities.

Tugging lightly on the other woman's arm, Nat steered them onto the docks, and past the guard house. "It should be down this way," she said as she glanced over at a sign and compared it to the berthing information she'd read earlier on the now hidden PaDD. The docks creaked under their feet, the board seemingly made from some kind of carbon fiber planking. Little posts that came up to waist height ran down either side of the dock, with rope slung between each post. Every twenty feet or so, a taller light pole rose up out of the post. Natalie had little doubt that they would be able to find their way back to the boat later in the evening.

And there it was, up a head on the right. Sleek, two decker, single masted, bobbing up and down at the end of the row. The cabin lights had been left on, and she could just make out the blinking diode where she'd enter the access code. "There she is. The name roughly translates to 'The Flowing Breeze of Eastern Tranquility' though I'm told it looses something in that translation. I figure we just call it 'Tranquility' for short." It was of a comparable size to the boat that her father had, perhaps a bit longer in the nose and not as stout across from side to side. And it looked sleek, mostly in blacks and whites, not unlike many of the other boats in the marina.

The boat was moored to the docks by some kind of flexible clamp. This too would require an unlock authorization, Natalie knew, but of the moment she ignored it, instead walking to the ram that lead up and onto the deck. "Well, here we go," she said, flashing a smile up to Vanya. Eagerness shown in her features. This wasn't the boat of her childhood, but it was a boat, and it had been so long since she'd been properly sailing.Taking a breath, and smelling the river around them, Natalie squared off her shoulders before stepping onto the boat proper, and moving to tap in the code she'd been given to disarm the security system. There was a little trilling four tone series of beeps, and a male sounding computer voice noted (in perfect Federation Standard) "Welcome aboard, Ms. Starkin"

Natalie had forgotten the name supplied for her cover identity - Starkin, close enough to Stark that she'd respond to it. She shook her head gestured silently for Vanya to follow her as she made a slow circuit around the top deck, pausing with her hand on the wooden wheel, before descending down to the lower deck, to check the amenities. Which was where they would find a surprise waiting for them.

Re: Day 17 [1800 hrs.] Come Sail Away

Reply #7
[Lt. Vanya | Ibai Besi Promenade  | Aldea Prime ] attn @Brutus

As Natalie kissed her knuckles, Vanya checked to see if the amount of smiling she was doing would wear out her facial muscles.    The kiss was another gesture that reaffirmed her feelings toward her.  In Vanya’s early days understanding and expressing her emotions was difficult  In some ways, part of her was always worried about messing up emotionally.  But to see Nat react in this way was affirimation that her feelings were misplaced. 

Nat paid her a compliment, and Vanya chuckled in response.  “You are kidding, right?” she said.    “I used to have to wear those awful engineering jumpsuits while they were trying ton ascertain my freedom  Mustard is NOT my colour.  And I don’t want to sound like a platitude generator, but you beauty, your strength is something you’ve cultivated, and that’s so much better than what was on the design desk of a Romulan machinist.   

Vanya bit her lip as Nat talked about kneecapping the hypothetical Ferengi  The truth was, if ever she died, or met some other fate, she often felt as if no one would morn her passing  Her commanding officers would be outraged at the loss, but she never imagined anyone mourning her, let alone wanting vengeance.

“And if anyone were to try to do anything to you Nat, I have lots of ideas to make them regret it for the rest of their lives, be it thirty years, or thirty seconds”  She’d been through too much hardship.  As much as Vanya wanted to prevent that from happening again, she would be ready to defend her dearest soul mate. 

The arrived at the boat, and Vanya looked up at it.  Nat named it Tranquility for short.  It was a beautiful name.    “I like it.” She said    The name seemed right, Nat deserved tranquility.    The boarded the boat, and it was a fairly familiar design, Vanya supposed that sea fairing had to have the same fundamentals whichever world you were on.

“Starkin huh?” Vanya asked  “Illestra is looking forward to getting to know her” she said with a chuckle.  It was a name she selected, something to suggest an exotic and regal bearing.    “This is pretty nice.” Vanya said as she studied the deck.  The “controls” looked simple enough if she wojuld be required to take the wheel. 

They went below deck, and Vanya saw the cabin.  Peach and orange drapes hung from the ceiling.    There was a table with a low backed chair, and a pair of arm chairs, but her eyes were immediately drawn to the bed 

Singular.  The drapes in the room formed a canopy over the luxiurious looking bed.  For such a small boat it was downright extravagant.    The peach coloured sheets had silver and gold cushions above them.    There were several lights mounted in the walls, and current setting gave a very intimate shade to proceedings   

“Well.” She said playfully.  “Which side do you want?”
Inhabiting my head are:

[Lt. Vanya |Assistant Science Officer| USS Theurgy]

[Lt. J.G Foval |Assistant Diplomatic Officer |USS Theurgy]

Re: Day 17 [1800 hrs.] Come Sail Away

Reply #8
[Lt. Cmdr. Natalie Stark | Below Deck | Tranquility | Aldea Prime ]Attn: @Number6 
[Show/Hide]

At the end of the day, there was something comforting in knowing that there is someone in the world that cares about you, your well-being, who had a vested interest and would miss you when you were gone, would come after you if you were in trouble. All these things were a basic need for most sentient beings. Neither Natalie nor Vanya were immune to this simple, base impulse. That spoke wonders for Vanya's programming, perhaps, and just reinforced Natalie's firm belief that the girl was a person, and not just a machine. She chose to focus on that as they boarded the boat, and not the fact that for every compliment she tried to pay to Vanya, the android turned it on its head, and made Natalie blush all the more.

Seeing yourself through someone else eyes can be quite a challenge. To accept that they see you in such a light, when you struggle to do so...yeah. I'll just have to trust her on that. She also noted, with an amused smile, the name that Vanya had chosen for herself was considerably prettier - and much different  - than the one that Stark had used, having erred on the side of caution and gone with something easier to remember. Not that she would need to worry about that here on the boat. Only belatedly did she realize there was some potential double meanings that could be at play, and Natalie flushed red, before deciding she was over thinking things, because she was already keyed up about the whole 'very clearly going on an extended vacation/date with her best friend and going from friend to something significantly more so'. Potentially.

No, as Natalie adjusted to the slight, gentle rocking of a boat at dock, there was little doubt in her mind that she was over thinking things and should just enjoy herself. She let out a pleased little sigh as they entered the cabin proper, running her hand down the side of the ships wall, letting her eyes adjust to the lighting of the lower deck. The colors were a warm, bright contrast to what Natalie had grown used to, with the standard Starfleet decor of dark grays and beige's. And ceiling mounted drapes was not a style that Natalie might have considered, but it made interesting, and down right pretty use of the space granted by the comfortably proportioned cabin, with its nice chairs, table and bed.

And bed.

Bed.

"Oh my," she nearly meeped the words out, in a fast rush, as heat crept up the back of her neck. "The agent clearly said that it would be comfortable for two passengers..." Again, there were implications that she had, at the time, missed entirely. She bit her lip, could feel the amusement rolling off the android behind her,  and had to resist the urge to scowl back up at her friend. "You're enjoying this. I can tell you're enjoying this. You brat."

There was nothing else for it. She laughed. She laughed long, and hard, and was wiping a tear from her eye as she moved around to the left hand side of the bed and dropped her bag onto the floor there. Turning, she sat on the edge of it, laying her wrists on her knees and looking up at Vanya. "It is rather comfortable. And there is plenty of room for two. But I swear I did not plan it this way. I didn't want to make assumptions you know?" She waved a hand between each of them, and then back to the bed. She shrugged her shoulders a bit, and toed at the carpeted cabin deck with one foot. Usually I curl up in a tight ball right in the middle of the bed. Or spread my arms and legs out...also in the middle of the bed. I can take the left side though. If you're sure you don't mind?"

If she were to be perfectly honest, there was a small part of Natalie that was excited at the prospect. This would be something she had not really done before, with anyone she was...interested in. And there was , very much, a huge amount of interest going on. If she could just get over things like nerves, and coping with the fact that, up until this point, Natalie's interest had been reserved solely toward male humanoids. Vanya, as Nat well knew from their days at the Academy, was very much female, in every way that mattered.

Re: Day 17 [1800 hrs.] Come Sail Away

Reply #9
[Lt. Vanya| Below Deck  | Tranquility| Aldea Prime ] attn @Brutus

Vanya joined in Nat’s laughter, humour was such a peculiar thing  So much went into a good joke, and its ability to sink or swim was based on the audience before one was even mentioned.  “Why did Toby the Targ Cross the Road” Jokes would fail to get a laugh at the comedy clubs at cantinas, the limerick about the young woman from Venus and her oddly shaped body probably wouldn’t make the cut in the local school magazine.  Nevertheless Vanya was able to learn that there was joy in seeing someone you care about laugh. 

She joined her on the bed.    At first, Vanya thought that the bed was a happy accident, something to accelerate their plans, but she could tell the conflict within Nat.  She’d only dated men at the Academy, whereas Vanya had dated many who were curious, male, female and unclassified 

“Relax I’ve “slept” standing up in a storage locker with a restraint around my body and  a ODN cable jammed into a hole in my neck.    Having you draped over me is not a hardship in the slightest.”

She leant forward and placed a soft kiss on her temple, taking a moment to smell her hair and feel her soft skin.   

“Nat, I won’t like, I want us to become more of what we but I want you to want it too, not because you want to make me happy, but you want me.  I want to protect you from anyone who would hurt you, even me.” 

It was an odd thing to say, but there it was.  Vanya realised that there was a need to set some ground rules for the trip.   

“You seem interested in being more than friends.    We can try things however you want, guilt free.    When we get back to the ship, if you decide you don’t want to go on, we won’t, I’ll be your kooky friend, but we can have so much more, if you’ll let me.” 
Inhabiting my head are:

[Lt. Vanya |Assistant Science Officer| USS Theurgy]

[Lt. J.G Foval |Assistant Diplomatic Officer |USS Theurgy]

Re: Day 17 [1800 hrs.] Come Sail Away

Reply #10
[Lt. Cmdr. Natalie Stark | Below Deck | Tranquility | Aldea Prime ]Attn: @Number6 
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 A slight shifting accompanied Vanya as she settled down next to Natalie. She glanced over and smiled up at Vanya. With all the overtones, and under tones, and potential implications going on right now, she aught to have been nervous around her friend. She wasn't though, not really. Nervous about what might happen and how things might change, but not nervous with Vanya's presence. Perhaps more so than anyone else, she was comfortable around the scientist. A long history between them, a foundation of trust and friendship. a certain sort of safety.

"When you put it that way," Natalie started to say, as Vanya implied that they'd be draped over each other. But before she could finish whatever she was going to say, the android had leaned in and pressed her lips against the Martian's temple. It served as something of a reset button and Nat's words sputtered out as her eyes went slightly wide and did a slow sort of blink. It was a small gesture, a simple one. But an intimate one as well. More so than when Nat had pressed her lips to the other woman's knuckles, this hit her and drove home that changes were afoot.

She listened quietly as the android spoke to her, turning her face to watch Vanya, leaning back just a bit to get a better view. Not quite pulling away - she laced her fingers in between the Romulans about half way through what her friend was saying. And Vanya...was not holding back. Nat's throat went a bit dry and she had to swallow for a moment as the girl laid it out, how she intended things to go forward. It was all, well not exactly easy to say, but it was easier said than done. Not that Natalie doubted for a moment that, should things just be too odd or weird for her, Vanya would shift gears, no harm, no foul. Nor did she doubt for a moment the Romulan's sincerity (there was a phrase that many would consider oxymoronic); if she said she wanted to protect Nat from being hurt, even by her, then that was the truth.

After all, Vanya knew what Natalie had been through. She was the first person that Natalie unburdened herself on, when she well and truly understood how she had been manipulated by Lucan Nicander. By the thing inside Lucan. It was a distinction that she was still struggling with, but she was trying there. She was.

But he, and that act, had no place on this boat. This was...a new beginning, with an old friend. With the one person on the ship she could well and truly trust. With whom she could let herself be vulnerable. Which she very much was under such an assault of well meaning confessions. All her hopes and dreams of not mimicking a tomato were for naught. There were considerably worse prices to pay.

"When you put it that way," she said again, "Sharing a bed with me hardly sounds like a hardship at all. Though how do I know it's not going to be you with your arms all draped over me, huh? Miss-doesn't-want-Nat-to-be-hurt? What about you getting hurt? I don't think that...if we push things. If it doesn't work out I don't know if I can go back to just...the way things were. I think its sweet and wonderful that you would do that but i don't know that I can."

She took a deep breath, and then said, "But I'm here despite that fear, because I think...if I don't get wrapped up in my own head - that becoming something 'more' would be very, very nice. That it's worth exploring. That you are worth the risk." Well that's been said, at least. "it's not just about making you happy. Its being happy with you. Hopefully. Its the idea anyways. We have to actually, yano, try all of this, to see if that'll be the reality. Won't be easy either because lets be honest I'm kind a relationship disaster waiting to happen."

Re: Day 17 [1800 hrs.] Come Sail Away

Reply #11
[Lt. Vanya| Below Deck  | Tranquility| Aldea Prime ] @Brutus

She listened to her friend, relationships were all about give and take, that was true, and frankly life where things didn’t work out between them was difficult for Vanya.    The truth of the matter was after the Cauyga fell, and she lost everyone that she had cared about, Starfleet was apparently under the sway of an outside influence, she had given serious consideration to finding an ocean, and walking until she got to the bottom and just… wait.    But then she saw Nat again, and hope for something had started to burn in her heart   

She looked down at their intertwined fingers, holding them up againt the bottom of her jaw.    “Trying things is all I have ever asked.  But disaster?  Nat, you didn’t put a parasite in Nicander, and more than I put a bunch of Borg Nanites in Ekon.”     

Her affair with the Cayuga ops chief had been brief but fun for them both.  His death had challenged her, and felt like a kick in the gut.  Nevertheless, thinking about their first liaison brought a smile to her face, not for who he was, but its relevance to the hear and now. 

“I’m sorry, I guess you are already rubbing off on me.” She said with a light laugh.  “Here I am thinking things over, when I usually go right in for what I want when I meet someone.” 

She listened for a moment to the sound of the waves outside washing against the ship.  It gave rise to the name of the boat 

“How about we grab some food, and work things out from there?”
Inhabiting my head are:

[Lt. Vanya |Assistant Science Officer| USS Theurgy]

[Lt. J.G Foval |Assistant Diplomatic Officer |USS Theurgy]

Re: Day 17 [1800 hrs.] Come Sail Away

Reply #12
[Lt. Cmdr. Natalie Stark | Below Deck | Tranquility | Aldea Prime ]Attn: @Number6 
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 Vanya had a good point; she was not responsible for the events that had lead to Lucan Nicander's infestation. That was utterly and completely beyond her control. She did feel guilt related to having lain with the man. Not that it had been unenjoyable at the time, far from it, in fact. The Doctor's touch had been expert, and the man knew how to use his...tool set. The setting added to the whole event as well, the clandestine, illict nature of it all. The issue was that the later knowledge had taken something that perhaps had been healing in nature, if not simply enjoyable, and twisted it on its head, darkening it into a nasty experience. Intended or not, it felt like she had been abused.

By a similar token, Natalie and Vanya had discussed Ekon, and his poor fate. There was nothing that the scientist could have done to save the man. While not exactly the same situation as that which Natalie faced, there was enough there for each of them to relate to the others situation. Misery loved company, or something like that. Natalie certainly preferred Vanya's company, and if they could give each other something more than just the easy comfort of friendship then perhaps she really aught to be fully exploring the possibilities. Breaking new ground.

"Its fine you know, really, it is," Natalie said softly, "Thinking before jumping in, I mean. Less likely to hurt yourself that way," she was teasing the girl. That came easily enough, and much more comfortable than acknowledging her points about applicable fault. In truth, Natalie was surprised that Vanya had not pushed things farther than she already had. There was one note to bring up however, and the Ops Chief did.

"I will point something out, however," there was a note of wry amusement now. "You are probably thinking all of this over because you have not 'just met me'. You're dealing with the entirely different set of working parameters for developing a deeper interest in someone you have known for years. Kind of a different um...algorithm to work of off, I would imagine. It's plenty confusing enough for me in the exact same situation. Its...well. There's more at risk. There's more to the reward, too." This was not exactly an unreasonable conclusion to draw, and the two mulled it over in the relative silence of the rocking boat and the moving water around it.

Pursing her lips for a moment, Natalie nodded in agreement and pushed herself up, off the rather nice (if slightly gaudy) bed. she turned and offered her hands to Vanya, helping the android up in turn, though she doubted the other woman needed any assistance. Still, she went through the motions without a second thought or hesitation. It came naturally to her.

"There were more than a few restaurants along the way here that we passed. We should go try one of those. Just, no Klingon food. I'm not sure I want raw worms crawling around in my stomach. Not my idea of relaxing, and as far as I can tell you have to fight all of your meals when you order Klingon." She flashed her friend a wide, cheeky grin. It wasn't entirely true, after all. While most (but not all) Klingon food was served raw, not all of it was served alive. Natalie simply lacked a taste or appreciation for the cuisine as a whole. She knew more than one officer during the Dominion War would swear by the Klingon version of coffee, raktajino, Natalie had found the roast entirely too bitter for her taste.

She started up the gangway toward the top deck, and blinked when she came out onto it. The sun had lowered considerably, and little lights were sparking to life all along the docks, and the walkway beyond. Pausing there, she gripped the mast with a hand, letting the breeze blow out her hair and the skirts around her legs, watching the city rise up and away from the Harbor. She felt, more than heard, Vanya come up on deck, and without looking back her, Natalie breathed out in a whisper. "Yeah, this is worth it. Right here. This place looks amazing. I can't wait to go out there with you."

Re: Day 17 [1800 hrs.] Come Sail Away

Reply #13
[Lt. Vanya| Below Deck  | Tranquility| Aldea Prime ]

attn: @Brutus
It certainly was a different algorithm.    Most of the time, Vanya’s personality was like her former android self n- there was a target, she would seek it out and would reflect on the experience  Nat it was quite different  Ultimately, Vanya reflected, all one could do was take things one day at a time.  She nodded in agreement. 

“I think you’re right.  Just when I get things figured out, boom, there is another mountain to climb.  I wouldn’t have it any other way, if I’m with you” 

Nat held out her hands, and Vanyua stood up as her companion spoke about avoiding Klingon cuisine, which was a good thing as Vanya wanted to avoid Klingons  “With this ears, and this forehead, there’s every chance I will end up offending someone, patrons and/or proprietors alike” She reflected. 

The lights of the city were beginning to flicker to life, night life was something that Vanya could understand easily, people coming and going, having fun, working, having clandestine meetings, everyone buzzing around with their own stories liberated from the restrictions of the day and granted the freedom of the night, the first frontier for many races to conquer   

She turned and saw Nat resting her hand on the mast of the boat, again she seemed serene.    A moment preserved. 

She considered some line to reciprocate and compliment to reflect what Nat meant to her as well, instead she took her hand again and simply replied “Totally worth it”
Inhabiting my head are:

[Lt. Vanya |Assistant Science Officer| USS Theurgy]

[Lt. J.G Foval |Assistant Diplomatic Officer |USS Theurgy]

Re: Day 17 [1800 hrs.] Come Sail Away

Reply #14
[Lt. Cmdr. Natalie Stark | Boardwalk | Ibai Besi Promenade | Aldea Prime ]Attn: @Number6 
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Each having thoroughly complimented the other, they'd ascended to the deck of the little craft. It lived up to its name in that moment, Tranquility, as Natalie stood by Vanya, the deck rocking under them, and the lights of the city stretching out before them. While the view was not the wide open seas, or the lulling lake that Natalie most associated with being on a boat, the dockside scene was stunning. An omen of good things to come, or so Natalie chose to take it as she pulled her sari wrap tighter around her. Not that it was really chilly out, but the breeze off the river was nice and steady, and this dress left a lot more of her exposed than she usually chose to wear or allow.

Smiling back at Vanya, she gave a little nod in turn, and then tilted her head toward the stern of the boat, and the dock behind it. "Let's get going," she suggested, and put words into action, swinging slightly by her grip on the mast and then dropping down and away, strolling along the gently rolling deck with practiced ease. Like the proverbial bike, the skills of moving on a sailing ship came back to Natalie, akin to a second nature. She was up and over and on the dock within moments, shifting her weight from one foot to the other.

Again, she offered a hand out to Vanya, to help her with the transition from boat to dock. Not that the gap was large or worrying by any means, but simply that it was a habit of long practice when sailing. Whomever got off the boat first helped the rest to shore. Seeing the android securely on the dock, Nat did not let go of the hand. Instead she twisted her hand around a bit until she could once more lace her fingers with Vanya. Thus settled, having decided that this gesture, at least, she was comfortable with, she set off down the dock.

It took much less time to get out of the dock than it had been to navigate to their rented boat. They knew where they were going this time. They didn't have to look for a specific dock number, just follow the clearly designated 'exit' signs until they were back out onto the main boardwalk of the promenade of Ibai Besi. Setting her head on a swivel, Natalie started taking note of the options in easy walking distance as her feet clacked along the wooden boards of the street. Plenty of small vendors were set up, almost all with a universal outdoor seating scheme, a little roped off area with small tables under a sea of string lights, lining the walkway, facing out toward the riverside beaches.

A plethora of options spanned the road, heavily influenced by species from within the Klingon Empire, not just their namesake rules but various other jeghpu'wI' - the conquered peoples of the empire. It was fascinating, in that the Aldeans, as a willing protectorate were classified slightly differently, though Natalie was not readily aware of the proper Klingonese word for the specific title granted such a status. Of course, there were options from outside the Empire as well. Plenty of worlds of the Federation seemed represented, as well as a few more esoteric cuisines. Nat saw one stall proudly proclaiming it served the best tube grubs in the sector.

That was a hard pass as far as Natalie was concerned.

Unsurprisingly, there were more than one waterfront affair selling locally caught sea food, a market that had begun to boom again in the years since the arrival of the Enterprise-D and some of the more helpful reclamation efforts. Eventually Natalie looked up at Vanya and gave a little shrug. "Unless you object, I suppose we aught try the catch of the day? Keep it local? Explore the strange new world and all that?

Re: Day 17 [1800 hrs.] Come Sail Away

Reply #15
[Lt. Vanya | Boardwalk | Ibai Besi Promenade | Aldea Prime ] Attn: @Brutus

She watched Nat wrap her Sari around her.  One of the things that Vanya had learned is that a body gave a person power.  Sure, sex was some of it, but how one comparted oneself in their body could open doors, ad close others.  When evading capture, sometimes it helped to walk around as if you owned the place.  Others, sometimes when you want to get noticed, the best way was to make it look like you were trying to do anything but   

But Nat, Vanya thought, had the experience, if she could be encouraged to find her bearing, she could be a great captain someday, assuming their present situation was resolved to the point where they were returned to Starfleet with open arms, instead of an open cell door.  Vanya was sure that Nat could pull of regal in that hypothetical potato sack she mentioned earlier, all she had to do, was believe.     

Vanya’s gyroscopic systems were able to compensate the transition from boat to dry land, nevertheless, she took the offered hand as she disembarked.    The fact that Nat manouvered to keep the touch and their fingers together was welcome.  She was concerned her speech on the bed had ruined things completely. 

Now her wonder about their destination satisfied, Vanya took the opportunity to study the place around them.    She could hear the crude Klingon drinking songs coming from some of the taverns, singing songs about Kahless and so forth  There were a few grittier Klingon establishments, with loud songs about how many tribbles Fek’lhr could stick up Gul Dukat’s…

Vanya’s cultural observations were interrupted by Nat pointing out a traditional Aldean seafood place.  She tuned out the musical slights to enemies of the empire, living and dead and turned back to her. 

“Sounds delightful.” She said as she followed her towards the suggested restaurant.  ”Just tell me Aldeans don’t have drinking songs.”
Inhabiting my head are:

[Lt. Vanya |Assistant Science Officer| USS Theurgy]

[Lt. J.G Foval |Assistant Diplomatic Officer |USS Theurgy]

Re: Day 17 [1800 hrs.] Come Sail Away

Reply #16
 [Lt. Cmdr. Natalie Stark | Boardwalk | Ibai Besi Promenade | Aldea Prime ]Attn: @Number6  
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The off duty Ops Chief let out a snort of laughter at Vanya's request, and glanced up at her companion for the evening, the snort growing into a steady little giggle. Her eyes sparkled with warmth and delight as she gave a small shake of her head. "I don't recall anything in the cultural reports that I reviewed when we first arrived in the system about a tradition of drinking songs, though I suppose most sentient species have a few here and there. The Irish, back on Earth, were particularly cleaver with some of their more ah, charming limericks, such as it were. So its a possibility, but honestly, the reports from the Enterprise made the lot of them seem far too stuffy and self-importantly enlightened to bother with banal activities like a drinking song." 

Natalie had been careful to pitch her voice into a lower cadence as she spoke words that sounded fairly critical of their hosts culture. "Of course, those same logs from such established luminaries as Beverly Crusher and William Riker didn't mention bath houses, or nude beaches either, so it just goes to show that First Contact can't tell you everything." If she blushed slightly at either notion, perhaps that was to be expected. Shrugging her shoulders gently, she pressed on, turning toward a promising looking establishment that proclaimed daily fresh fish and seemed reasonably frequented, judging by the guests currently strung about in the outdoor seating. As everyone was in Aldean attire, she could not tell if some of the other patrons of the establishment were from the Theurgy. So much the better then. "What we have to keep in mind is that for the last decade at least, the primary outside influence upon the population are the Klingon's that established bases in this system. So...there's always a chance some of the protectors rowdy habits have rubbed off on our supposedly dour hosts."

Nothing to be done for it, of course. It was inevitable when two cultures were exposed to each other in close proximity for a prolonged period of time. Each picked up a bit from the other. This was one of the touted pinnacles of the Federation. While all cultures adapted somewhat to the general feel of what it meant to be "Federation" they all retrained their own unique selves. What, to the outside looked like the suppression of individuality was in fact the spreading and celebration of each distinct culture across the greater whole. That so many outside powers feared such a thing saddened Natalie. Then again, she had grown up with it, in one of the founding solar systems of the Federation, if not a founding member world. 

Setting all of that aside, Natalie and Vanya found themselves swept along by a local hostess, in flowing green robes, whom sat them outside in ready order, a table near the far edge of the gathered allotment, though still within easy earshot of other patrons. The conversations around them filtered into a steady background noise, as menus were handed out, and the specail fo the day, some spiced swordfish analog, was pronounced. A mollusk soup was suggested as an opening course, and Natalie looked to Vanya for a moment, before shrugging and agreeing. The hostess and waiter whom had joined her both departed, promising to return with the first course and a suitable wine to pair with it. 

"Well, they certainly are efficient. I almost feel a bit whip-lashed, to be honest," she confessed to Vanya, sipping one of a pair of glasses of water. A small candle flickered in a jar between them, while over head, glowing bulbs of warm, yellow lights swayed back and forth in the gentle breeze coming off the riverfront. It cast shadows about each of their faces, and for a moment, Natalie got completely, and unabashedly lost in the sight of her friend across from her, and the way the lights played across the beauty of her face. To the extent that she felt her heart skip a series of beats, before jerking back into motion with a soft inhalation of air.

Oh, boy. I'm in trouble.

Re: Day 17 [1800 hrs.] Come Sail Away

Reply #17
[Lt. Vanya | Boardwalk | Ibai Besi Promenade | Aldea Prime ]
attn @Brutus
Vanya considered the past reports  It seemed to her like you just needed to slap the name Enterprise on your ship and it will become a part of recorded history.  She wondered if the names of Cayuga or Theurgy would go down in legend, if decades, or centuries from now people would snort at the adventures of Lieutenant Vanya.  Then again, most of what made Vanya, Vanya probably shouldn’t make it into an after action report.  She allowed herself a small smile. 

Nat talked about the influence of the Klingons on their hosts.  Vanya saw the logic. 

“Kind of like me I guess.  I mean, in my life there are Federation ideals I have come to embrace.  Oh Nat, you think I was something when we met at the academy, just be glad you didn’t meet me when I arrived in Federation space.” 

She didn’t hide what she wanted, could be easily considered rude or aloof.    T didn’t help when those that didn’t want to dismantle her wanted to put her back in a box to Romulus. 

They were ushered to their seats, the hostess seemingly impatient with them  Perhaps the influence of Klingons was indeed touching this area of the planet.  When Nat mentioned the word ‘whip’ Vanya may well have snorted water.  A mischievous expression crossed her eyes as she finished her sip.

“Didn’t pack a whip, sorry.” Vanya said

The comment didn’t seem to register with Nat, she seemed to be staring at something… at her.    Vanya was deeply flattered, and slightly aroused to be the focus of her companion’s affection and focus.  She shook herself back into focus, almost as if she were lost. 

“Are you okay?” she asked
Inhabiting my head are:

[Lt. Vanya |Assistant Science Officer| USS Theurgy]

[Lt. J.G Foval |Assistant Diplomatic Officer |USS Theurgy]

Re: Day 17 [1800 hrs.] Come Sail Away

Reply #18
 [Lt. Cmdr. Natalie Stark | Boardwalk | Ibai Besi Promenade | Aldea Prime ]Attn: @Number6  
[Show/Hide]

Vanya's lips were moving, and Natalie felt her gaze drop down to follow the motion. Though she was aware of Vanya's looks, which were generally accepted as gorgeous among most humanoid cultures, and had seen those lips form a smile countless times over the course of their years at the Academy, and the rather increasingly infrequent video letters they'd exchanged during the end of the Dominion War, and after, there was something ever so slightly different about them tonight. They looked especially appealing in the low lighting, the candle causing more shadows to flicker there, as it had all over her friends face. The same sense of trouble bubbled under the surface of the Ops officer as her dining companion said something else, and those lips moved gain. 

Soft was the word that Natalie was looking for. They looked soft, and  inviting, and for a brief moment she wondered why she had not paid such attentions before. I wonder how they would feel -oh! She blinked rapidly for a moment, and realized that Vanya had been talking at her, and asked a question of some form. Focus returned to Natalie's gaze and she played back the conversation that she had previously glossed over. There might have been a word or two that failed to stick into the buffer of her brain, but she got the fist of it all, and flushed slightly in the cheeks, and swallowing, embarrassed at her own momentary lasp. 

"Fine. Er, that is, I'm fine. Just got...distracted," she managed to stammer, feeling a mild tinge of mortification. The waiter returned, sans pushy hostess this time, with two bowls of the local mollusk soup, the cracked shells pocking up from the slightly green tinged broth, as well as two glasses and the bottle of wine. A cork was popped, the liquid poured, and Natalie and Vanya found themselves alone again shortly after."He was more polite than the other one, but I get the feeling they like to roll people out of here as swiftly as they can."

Having mad her observation, she sipped at the drink before her. It was fruity and a little tart, not like the sweet wine she'd tried back during the party between the Theurgy and Harbinger's crews. Back before things had really gone to hell, when Rory had tired to cheer her up. He'd succeeded, that time at least. Pushing aside another reminder of her history of failure in the world of relationships, she smiled back at Vanya, sampling the soup and nodding in approval. It had a bit of a spice to it that warmed the tongue without searing it, and Natalie used her spoon to force the shell open and get at the meat as well, which was, as to be expected, slick and soft and basically a vector for the broth.

"I uh, I didn't mean to stare, earlier. Its just...really good ambiance, and you, looking like that," she waved a hand, "You know, stunning? I got distracted. Which...I'm not really used to doing. Certainly not with women," she waved her hand in a circle. She didn't say certainly not with you, but that was a part of it too. That was the reason, she figured, that she was considering this. Who it was, not what was between their legs. She smiled a bit, and shook her head. "In any event, I'm almost afraid to ask just what you might do if you had packed a whip." She shot her friend a wry look and tried to ignore her own blush.

Re: Day 17 [1800 hrs.] Come Sail Away

Reply #19
[Lt. Vanya| Boardwalk | Ibai Besi Promenade | Aldea Prime ]Attn: @Brutus 

Nat mentioned the ambiance, and Vanya admitted that she  had a point.  The entre room felt warm and inviting.  The candle light put Vanya in mind of some of her earliest musings  The danger it represented, the challenge.  She took a sip of the wine.  Her alogrythm immediately told her how drunk she should act for an average woman of her height and build and apparent age.    Not that she would spoil the moment with Nat with false theatrics.  She had real sensations to feel and share. 

She mentioned that she wasn’t used to getting distracted, especially not with women.  Vanya held her hands over the table candle, her long fingers creating fluctuating shadow between them. 

“I’ve always had, not a fear, but a respect for fire.” She said. “Maybe my creator put the fear in there in an attempt to control us if we ever got too big for our boots.  Maybe fire is too random, too dangerous for my processors to successfully predict, or maybe my creator’s primal fear imported to my matrix when she imprinted herself onto my processors” 


She rested her hands on the table in front of Nat’s 

“But the more I think about it, the more I’d like to be on a Federation Anthropological Team watching some humanoids discover fire for the first time.  How did they find it?  Did lightning hit a tree?  Did a spark from a river of lava light up their village?  In that case, they took this side effect of damage, and honed it, used it for cooking, warmth, construction, and light.  Combustion is the basic concept behind everything.  All from a random disaster that probably threatened lives.” 

Her fingers moved closer, the tips of touching Nat’s, rubbing the back of them. 

“My point is…  your attraction to me, like fire, it’s the unknown, but if you give it a chance, some care it can take you to wonderful places.” 

A wicked grin crossed the android’s face.  “And the whip?  Well, the question would be what would you want to do with it?” 
Inhabiting my head are:

[Lt. Vanya |Assistant Science Officer| USS Theurgy]

[Lt. J.G Foval |Assistant Diplomatic Officer |USS Theurgy]

Re: Day 17 [1800 hrs.] Come Sail Away

Reply #20
 [Lt. Cmdr. Natalie Stark | Boardwalk | Ibai Besi Promenade | Aldea Prime ]Attn: @Number6  
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Something in the way Vanya looked at her, while she pondered a response to Nat's word, left the brunette almost literally sitting on the edge of her seat with anticipation. She worked her spoon around in the bowl for a bit, sipping another mouthful of the broth as she watched Vanya contemplate the candle before them, and the general nature of fire, and her feelings regarding it. The nature there in, was it hers, something imprinted from her creator. Nat set the spoon down against the edge of the bowl, a slight frown that marred her forehead for a moment. Vanya had told her much about how she came to be, but certainly not everything.

Their hands were less than an inch apart now, Nat leaning farther forward, hanging on her friends every word and wondering where it was all going. No doubt existed in her mind that Vanya did not have some point she was going to get to, and was taking a somewhat scenic route to make sure it stuck. That was fine with Nat. Curiosity ate at her. A smile graced her lips at the thought of going on such a mission as that which the Romulan Android described. So much of the work that Natalie had done revolved around fixing things, and not simply studying them. The war, and the aftermath, there had hardly been time for the science of it all, the exploration. The idea of joining on such a study was fascinating.

After all, had she not thought, within the last few hours, that beaming down like this, attired in local garb, was the closest she'd ever come to one of those missions that Vanya was now describing? It tugged a bit in the pit of Natalie's gut, and she swallowed, knowing that this wasn't the point that Vanya had wanted to make. Slender, diligent fingers slid slowly up her own, and Nat's gaze dropped down for a moment, watching the byplay of the pale, faintly green digits over her own fingers. A smile tugged at her lips, and she looked back up as she nodded a bit, and laced her fingers with Vanya's, the soup course forgotten for the time being. 

No dish could be as delicious as this moment. 

"That's a beautiful way of saying 'trust me, I'll rock your world later,' Vanya," there was a trace of humor in her voice, but still that nervous, anticipatory edge was there as well. For that possibility existed, within the confines of this trip. She had no expectations. That had not stopped her from wondering. Fantasizing even, when she'd allowed herself to do so. She licked at her lips and glanced down again, then out over the water, before circling back to Vanya and that wicked smile. Once more she silently contemplated the nature of the other girls lips, and all their implications. 

"I don't see myself as the whip wielding dominatrix in some seedy holo program, but who knows, I might develop a taste for it. I figure we'll have to use one to keep all the Ferengi away from you." Humor wasn't her strong suite, but she was trying. "In all honesty I wouldn't know what to do with one of those things. Probably take an eye out trying anything fancy." Which was true enough. As an ops officer she was great with her hands, pretty good on the whole hand eye coordination thing, and doing things by touch alone. Small, detailed work. Wielding a whip was an entirely different prospect, and she didn't see herself as someone that enjoyed pain with her pleasure. 

Don't know until you try though, do you? A little voice that sounded suspiciously like the woman across from her made itself known in the back of her head, and Natalie quietly told it to go shush itself. She still hadn't let go of her companions hands, nor did she feel any urgency to do so. The rest of the restaurant could have been watching their every move and Nat wouldn't have noticed. She was getting lost again, and it was okay. That was perfectly fine tonight. Sighing softly she brought the other girls hands up, over the candle and to her lips. Carefully she kissed each knuckle, one after the other, and tried not to blush more than she already was. "This is me, giving it a chance, Vanya."

Re: Day 17 [1800 hrs.] Come Sail Away

Reply #21
[Lt. Vanya | Boardwalk | Ibai Besi Promenade | Aldea Prime ]Attn: @Brutus 

Vanya cooed softly with anticipation as Nat kissed each of her fingers.  She was starting to let go of her doubts, and this filled Vanya with anticipation.  A small part of her worried that her lack of inhibitions, and in case of relationships, subtly, would send Nat running back to the ship.    Vanya wasn’t sure that she could bear the aftermath.  She put such thoughts aside as the girl kissed her fingers, her soft lips quickly relegating the worst case scenarios to the distant fog of her mind. 

This was everything she had wanted, since perhaps she had med Nat on their first day settling into the academy.  She had been playing the long game, and the results were starting to bear fruit.  And a feast was likely to present itself tonight. 

“That’s all I wanted.” She replied at last.  “In fact, I think it might just be the thing I want more than anything I have ever wanted.” 

Dominance and submission were fluid concepts to Vanya.  She thought about the differences between her and the science officer, and in truth, surrendering herself to Nat’s want and desires was as appealing to her as taking more of a lead in the relationship.

She leant over the table and whispered into Nat’s ear, fingers interlinked with hers

“I can replicate spares.” 

She planted a kiss on her cheek and sat back. 

“Besides, all I want with you… is you.” 
Inhabiting my head are:

[Lt. Vanya |Assistant Science Officer| USS Theurgy]

[Lt. J.G Foval |Assistant Diplomatic Officer |USS Theurgy]

Re: Day 17 [1800 hrs.] Come Sail Away

Reply #22
 [Lt. Cmdr. Natalie Stark | Boardwalk | Ibai Besi Promenade | Aldea Prime ]Attn: @Number6  
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For Natalie, it had not been a long game so much as a slow realization. Perhaps she had needed to mature and grow to consider the possibility. To look at Vanya and see something more than a friend. Perhaps it was simply that she had been hurt, deeply, multiple times within the span of a few months, and that Vanya represented a sort of safety, from an earlier point in her life. She was steadfast, even after years of having been far away and mostly out of touch. Natalie was not so completely smitten that a part of her mind could not at the very least contemplate that as a possibility. This didn't invalidate the growing emotions though. The surprise at the realization that Vanya had been curious about something more, nor the swift swelling of reciprocation of the notion, once it had been voiced into the air between them, just before they threw down with the Borg. That response had been almost immediate, and she had spent the ensuing weeks dancing around the subject. Entertaining that notion. Falling into the pool of vibrant, dark green eyes every time she saw them. Contemplating something never considered before. 

Needless to say, as Vanya made her candlelight confession, Natalie was considering it now. Contemplating it very intently. Falling utterly. The notion was thoroughly entertained. And though it might have been almost sickeningly sappy to think it, she felt like a part of her was melting at her friends words. This night was heating up faster than she'd expected, and she found herself strapped in along for the ride. 

There was a sharp intake of breath as the Android leaned over the table, and for a moment, Natalie wondered if she was about to be kissed. We haven't even finished the first course, was, perhaps, the most incredulous thought to ever have been thought in a moment such as this (which was a very Natalie thing to think). But the scientist entered a course correction at the last minute, leaving her lips instead next to Nat's ear, and whispering softly. IT took a second for the words and the meaning to click, and she let out a little gasp, and then a giggle at the whimsy of her friend replicating a new eyeball because Nat took the old one out frolicking about with a bloody bull whip. It threatened to send her into a tizzy of fitful laughter, but again, her friend found an ample off switch. 

In the end it was nothing more than a light, simple pressing of lips to cheek. Not at all unlike the one placed onto her temple back on the boat. Certainly the contact lasted less time than the small series of affectionate pecks that Natalie had delivered to the hands she still held not moments before. And yet, it left her feeling like an awkward teen all over again. She huffed a bit, blushed and bit her lip while she willed her skin to return to something approaching normal. The downside of being naturally pale - little things like a blush showed brightly, no matter what.

"Pretty sure you got me," Natalie finally pointed out, as the other girl sat back down, some how she managed to do so gracefully, and without setting any piece of the dress out of place. Just how she managed that was a thing of envy for the ops officer. Not that Nat was complaining. Feeling a bit ungainly, sure but she knew Vanya didn't see her that way. She had plenty of ample evidence to the contrary, tonight. Swallowing a bit, Natalie giggled again. "Remind me the next time we go out to eat to make sure we sit corner to corner and not across from one another. If things keep going the way they're going, I can see future dinners being a somewhat snugly affair."

While this was not the words sexiest response to what had just happened, Natalie banked on that not mattering. It was the offer of contact, of a nature she didn't indulge in often at all. And she remembered how Vanya craved such things at the Academy. Pleased with herself, and showing it in her smile, she picked up her spoon again. "I'm not sure how we're going to make it through the meal at this rate. There's the main dish yet. Probably some salad first if we're doing things right. Not to mention dessert." Of course, as she looked at Vanya, Natalie found herself contemplating a different sort of after dinner course. She had to wonder how much of that thought showed on her face, and if she would be comfortable acting on the sudden impulse an hour or two from now when they made it back to their chosen lodging for the weekend.

Re: Day 17 [1800 hrs.] Come Sail Away

Reply #23
 [Lt. Vanya| Boardwalk | Ibai Besi Promenade | Aldea Prime ]Attn @Brutus

She could sense Nat’s anticipation, it was reflected in her own countenance.  She took a spoonful of the mysterious broth.    Happily, though the meal had cooled slightly, it hadn’t gone completely cold.  Plus the food wasn’t writhing, which was good for both Nat and Vanya.  She mentioned having to sit on opposite sides of the table corner to corner  She smirked  slightly half wondering if it was a joke or a challenge.  Vanya saw that it could be both.   

“Oh, that wouldn’t stop me.” She said with a playful tone to her voice  “Although we can set up snuggles protocols if you really want to.  ” 

She gazed into her friend’s eyes for a few more minutes.  She realised that the joke she had just made was their thing, something a couple might do.    But her friend did have a point, perhaps privacy was better  There was a boat bobbing up and down in port that promised to be the entire universe.  She did decide to dial things down, but only slightly.  Sailing was something that Nat was very passionate about, and in turn, the android was becoming more and more interested in the hobby.   

“So, have you given any thought to our route tomorrow?” she asked as she set down her spoon and took another sip of the potent wine.  “What awaits us on the open water?”
Inhabiting my head are:

[Lt. Vanya |Assistant Science Officer| USS Theurgy]

[Lt. J.G Foval |Assistant Diplomatic Officer |USS Theurgy]

Re: Day 17 [1800 hrs.] Come Sail Away

Reply #24
[Lt. Cmdr. Natalie Stark | Boardwalk | Ibai Besi Promenade | Aldea Prime ]Attn: @Number6 
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A short burst of laughter slipped out past Nat's lips at the thoughts of establishing a snuggle protocol. It was such a Vanya thing to say, and the brunette human had to cover her mouth with the back of her hand to contain the giggles. This set the spoon in said hand to bobbing up and down, but she managed not to spill any of the soup that had clung to it, onto her dress. Squeezing her eyes shut for a moment, she shook her head and set the piece of silverware down, swallowing to clear her throat, flashing an amused grin at her weekend date. Which... was a nice way of thinking about all of this, she realized as she amended the categorization of Vanya to included 'date' along side 'best friend.' Organic though she might be, there was was a lot of machine logic to her habits of thinking and her world view.

"I suppose that is something we'll have to work out over time," she agreed, taking a sip of the wine to settle her nerves and clear her throat. "It's not like we have to figure it all out tonight. There's the whole weekend ahead to sort out what we're comfortable with, and in what settings." She stirred her soup, running her tongue over her lips for a moment before taking another bite. She knew the next course wouldn't be long in coming, and in fact, could see the waiter making his way through the crowd. "And...it's not like we wont have more to figure out after we get back to the ship so...we'll get it sorted eventually."

Before she could answer Vanya's question about the route they'd choose and what would happen going forward on their trip the waiter returned, swapping out mostly finished soup bowels with some soft of local seaweed salad, over a bed of some kind of local grain that reminded Natalie of swollen cous cous, adorned with a heavy citrusy dressing. The over all affect was slightly slimier than Natalie would normally go for, but all the same, "This isn't all that bad. Weird, mind you, but not bad."

Pointing a forkful of the salad at Vanya, Natalie addressed her curiosities with a bit of a smile and a bit of a shrug.

"So the docks on the river, and that's a pretty big body of water. It empties out into a bay not terribly far from here, and from there, its the wide open ocean. Lots of little archipelagos dot the waters relatively near the coast, and I've head there are some great reef's out a bit farther into the deeper waters. Good fishing too, if thats a thing you're interested in. Supposedly they have something similar to yellow fin tuna out there, and I remember that being pretty tasty from the fish markets down in San Francisco. So, a possibility. As for the specific route," here she paused to shrug, while she took a bigger sip of the wine, feeling it was down her throat and settle in her stomach. Unlike Vanya, Natalie wouldn't have to fake the affects of genuine alcohol on her system. This was very much not synthohol.

"There's a map of suggested sight seeing routes in the cabin of the boat, or there's supposed to be," she set her fork down, having gone through most of the oddly slick salad in a surprisingly thorough fashion. "I figure we can take a look at that and pick one, going from there. Then it's really up to us as to how long we want to stay out on the water, or if we want to come back into shore at some point during our trip. We could just set out and not bother coming back until we're ready to beam back home." She had almost said 'to the ship' but realized that even though they seemed to have some space around them, there was no way to be sure that someone wasn't listening on the conversation. Better to be safe than sorry, she decided to avoid mentioning the Theurgy while in public. It wouldn't do good to have the ships Second Officer blow its cover.

Cradling the wine glass in her hands now, she looked down at the liquid, considerably less of it in the bowl of the glass than at the start of the meal. Nat was starting to relax more, to both being out in public, on a vacation, and to the idea of what was growing between her and Vanya. The wine was probably helping with that. "I know this trip was my idea - well, my punishment from Ducote," she amended with a laugh, "But was there anything you wanted to do, or go see?"

 
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