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PRO: S [ Day01 | 0900 hrs] Blanket Texts and Open Doors

[ Hirek tr’Aimne | Personal Quarters |  D. 17 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Dumedion

The conversation, if it could be called such, with the captain had been brief and to the point. The follow-up check-in with Pierce had been equally succinct in its content, the overall tone of both conversations one of serious sobriety. Hirek figured Lillee and most of the other Romulans or Remans onboard had been likewise informed of the necessary support for the upcoming missions. He snorted, curious how the feisty pilot was handling the news. Likely not well, considering her shared hatred for the Tal’Shiar. The difference, however, was that Hirek looked forward to the return to his homeworld, hoping to end the Tal’Shiar for good. Lillee had made it clear that she had no interest in going anywhere near where the Tal’Shiar might be. However, regardless of their personal desires, Hirek knew neither had a choice in the matter.

Upon returning to his quarters, a glance at the chronometer reminded Hirek that, at this present time, the captain was informing the rest of the executive officers of the upcoming missions. His purpose as a tool to the captain was coming to light far sooner than anticipated, but that suited Hirek just fine. If this upcoming mission granted him his desires—that of ridding his people of the tyrannical grip of the Tal’Shiar—then it was better that it happen now. His time onboard this ship had already presented more than a few intriguing circumstances, thrusting Hirek into interpersonal interactions that could prove more complicated the longer he remained.

Of course, there was the chance that this one mission back to Romulus would not offer his desires on a platter. In which case, he would have to return with Ives and whomever else survived this suicide mission—as it seemed to be—to regroup. If this were also the case, then he would face those intriguing circumstances again. This wasn’t necessarily an unpleasant concept, but it was enough to prompt Hirek to write a message to those few onboard he could already consider close enough acquaintances to merit being the recipient of the message. The message was the same to each individual, only the name changed in each message. He was curious if any of them would respond, be it in written form or, later, face-to-face.

Recipient's Rank and Name,

   What token would you desire to have from Romulus? I may have the opportunity to retrieve something for you.
      
                 Regards, Hirek

The message(s) sent, Hirek opted for a late morning shower. Peeling off the emerald robe and shucking off his cream-colored trousers, Hirek left these lying on the bed before moving on to his bathroom. Hirek doubted he’d have the privacy or opportunity to enjoy a lengthy one once they departed later this very day. In rapid order, the room filled with steam, and Hirek immersed himself in the warm comfort of hot water and mist, letting his mind fall into a meditative state.

Re: PRO: S [ Day01 | 0900 hrs] Blanket Texts and Open Doors

Reply #1
[Ens. Talia "Shadow" Al-Ibrahim | Personal Quarters | Deck 13 | Vector 3 | USS Theurgy] Attn: @Ellen Fitz
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Her eyes narrowed at the message while she dressed, unsure what to make of it. It had already been a confusing morning – first with Nara at the pool, now this – all Talia wanted to do at that moment was get to the FAB and figure out what the hell was going on. She'd already braided her hair into obedience; a thick rope that hung over her shoulder – easily curled upon itself if and when she needed to suit up – which the pilot hoped would be soon.

A fresh uniform top lay on the bed behind her, having already slipped into the duty skirt; an odd choice, but the stupid thing was easier and faster to get out of when the scramble order came. Talia knew this because she timed herself doing it. Practice makes perfect.

The room around her was tidy, everything in its place out of habit and in preparation – should the worst come to pass and some poor soul had to rummage through her shit and pack it. Wouldn’t be the first time, I guess, she’d told herself.

Talia tugged the grey-white undershirt down her toned torso and read the message again with a frown. The hell does that even mean, she wondered. Is he leaving? Is someone coming from Romulus? Is this more clandestine bullshit he’s pulled out of his ass?

Shadow sucked her teeth in annoyance, staring at the screen - demanding answers it would never give - then her dark eyes flicked to the chrono. She had time; time to figure out what was going on with him, and…say goodbye, at least. Part of her hoped that was really why he messaged her, but Talia refused to allow her own expectations to grow where Hirek was concerned; the Romulan had an aggravating tendency to turn them around on her, smiling that ridiculously sexy smile all the while.

This will end poorly, Shadow groaned to herself, but knew that if she didn’t go, it would eat at her, and she couldn’t afford that distraction today. With a sigh, Talia pulled on her duty jacket, then tapped the badge on her breast. “Computer, locate Hirek tr’Aimne,” she muttered.

Shadow left her quarters a few moments later, with a memento stuffed in the slim back pocket of her skirt. “Fuck it, why not. Its only him,” she growled at herself, headed for the nearest turbolift.

[A few moments later | Hirek’s Quarters | Deck 17 | Vector 3 | USS Theurgy]

The door opened at her hesitant approach, which prompted Talia’s brows to knit in confusion as she gingerly entered the shared common area. Why is the door unlocked? Strange, wonderful scents assaulted her nostrils as her eyes wandered; then froze with the rest of her body at the steam covered shower door, past Hirek’s room. The figure within was obscured, but the pilot remembered all too well how his chisled physique glistened when wet. Talia’s mouth dropped with a silent gasp as she turned her attention away, then loudly cleared her throat.

“It’s…Talia, Hirek,” Shadow grimaced at how silly she felt shouting her own name. “S-sorry, your door was open so I…I’ll uh, just wait out here. Till you’re done.”

Yes, solid plan. Lets do that, you idiot.

“I got your message,” she continued over her shoulder, facing away from his room out of respect. “Care to tell me what’s going on?”

Re: PRO: S [ Day01 | 0900 hrs] Blanket Texts and Open Doors

Reply #2
[Hirek tr’Aimne | Personal Quarters |  D. 17 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Dumedion

The suds of his last lather were washing down the drain at his feet when he heard the door to his quarters open. Since they’d yet to assign him a roommate across the shared space, Hirek knew whoever it was had arrived looking for him. When a familiar voice called out, already sounding perturbed and confused, Hirek smiled. It seemed Talia had been the first, perhaps only, one to respond to his query, and it didn’t surprise the Romulan in the slightest that the human had come to confront him with the motivation behind the message instead of simply answering the damned question.

He didn’t bother calling out a response as he finished rinsing the last of the soap from his body and shutting off the water. He’d planned on another round of herbal blends for his hair and skin. Still, depending on how long this next round of verbal and potentially physical dueling with Talia took, he could always extend his shower for another round before departure. Hirek opened the door to the shower, his smile growing at the amount of steam that billowed out from the shower stall, filling the room with the scents of his soap and the heat of his shower. Oh, undoubtedly, the spitfire would be fuming the second he opened his mouth.

Towel in hand but not yet in use, Hirek took advantage of her stance and crossed the space between them on silent steps, placing a quick kiss against the base of her neck, the weight of her braid pressing against his jawline. He took shameless retreating steps back toward the bathroom immediately after the touch, bringing his towel forward to begin dabbing at his skin in the process. He made no move to cover himself from her view, remembering vividly what her naked body looked like from their time spent on the holodeck and equally remembering how composed she’d been at seeing him equally nude.

“The same thing that has you in uniform,” his melodic voice finally responded to her question, “that skirt looks great, by the by.” He gave her a playful wink, figuring she’d find the gesture distasteful and respond with a huff and eye-roll. “An upcoming mission has been laid in my proverbial lap, and with this mission, I have been presented with the singular opportunity of procuring a…souvenir for you. Granted, one of your Federation peers may bring it back for you, should my desires for the Tal’Shiar’s destruction be met during the mission and I may remain on the planet. Or,” Hirek gave a nonchalant shrug, “if I perish. Either way, since you’ve seen parts of the Romulus through our excursion and we have a sort of…understanding between us based on our last encounter, I thought it…hmm…polite? No,” Hirek traced fingers over his lips, “pertinent? No, that that either.” After scanning the horizon over her shoulder a moment, Hirek gave another shrug before sighing out the last of his words, “Providential to make the offer.”

Re: PRO: S [ Day01 | 0900 hrs] Blanket Texts and Open Doors

Reply #3
[Ens. Talia "Shadow" Al-Ibrahim | Hirek’s Quarters | Deck 17 | Vector 3 | USS Theurgy] Attn: @Ellen Fitz
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Talia never heard him coming, distracted as she was with looking over the spartan domicile; her room, by comparison, seemed almost twice as large, too. Wonder who his roommate is, her head tilted slightly in curiosity; only a second later the pilot’s body tensed from a fleeting touch of warmth at the base of her neck – the press of lips to her skin – the tickle of stubble and beard. Hirek's scent flowed over her, around her – that alluring blend of clean masculinity adorned with the unique fragrances of his soap. Talia bit her lip almost instantly, then slowly turned to face him, unsurprised to discover Hirek utterly nude, casually dabbing the moisture from his body without shame or pretension.

Talia’s cheeks flushed a shade darker as her eyes wandered his form, despite how much the pilot fought not to. She knew he’d notice; he noticed everything – it was his game – to observe and record, then plot his next move, always a step ahead of whatever prey he set his sights on.
 
Talia didn’t care to play this time.

Her mouth worked in silent attempts to speak as he backed away; another one of his playful little maneuvers – meant to provoke her own chase drive, no doubt. Shadow breathed in his scent through her nose instead, then exhaled the tension from her athletic frame, chin lifted in challenge as her eyes fell to narrow slits; an expression of calm acceptance, not defiance. I didn’t come here to fight, the look told him, so play whatever games you wish.

The compliment on her uniform prompted a curl of her lips though, followed by an automatic and uncontrollable eye-roll. Holding her ground, Shadow simply folded her hands behind her back, and listened to his honeyed voice as he explained the reasoning behind his message. Her mind quickly sorted through his words and latched onto three key points: one, he was leaving on a mission to Romulus – two, if successful, he won’t return – and three, it could kill him.

Talia blinked rapidly as her jaw clenched at the knot forming in her stomach. She turned herself bodily from him to face the window – her attention held on distant stars while she gathered her thoughts – lips pursed, almost in a frown.

“Very courteous of you, Hirek,” Talia murmured sincerely, after another breath to steady herself. Her body was telling her to do things her mind resisted, and vice versa, all the while she fought to keep calm and controlled. Why does he do this to me, the dark, immaculately sculpted lines of her brow met in frustration, but only for a moment. Trinkets, from a world I’ll likely never see, from a man I’ll never really know, her head shook with a sigh.

Talia turned her eyes and face to his.

“You needn’t bother. I have more than enough to remember you,” Shadow told him, in a gentle tone she didn’t even know she possessed. “You recall Qo’noS? First time we met,” her lips pulled into the smirk she wore often, but was often only a mask. This time it wasn’t. “You got us dropkicked out a window, after trying to give me a carpet-burn with your face.” Shadow closed her eyes then, laughing softly at the memory.

“This was always your intent, wasn’t it – your mission. Freeing your people from the Tal’Shiar,” Talia spoke aloud, only to remind herself with a nod. “Part of me, a big part, wishes you all the success in the world,” she spoke in the same quiet tone, but laced with earnestness.

“A smaller part wants to beat you senseless for leaving, though,” Talia confessed with a sigh, turning her body back to face him fully. Her eyes never left his, as she took one bold step towards him. “This ‘understanding’ between us,” Shadow’s head tilted to the side. “I call that unfinished business. I don’t like leaving loose threads behind,” she paused to shrug in mimicry of his nonchalance – despite the thunderous, deafening thud of her pulse racing in her ears.

“So what do you propose we do about that?”

Re: PRO: S [ Day01 | 0900 hrs] Blanket Texts and Open Doors

Reply #4
[Hirek tr’Aimne | Personal Quarters |  D. 17 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Dumedion

While he noted her flushing cheeks and apparent awareness of his allure, something else about the pilot’s features gave Hirek cause for pause. She seemed more…subdued than the last time they’d met. She was more attuned to the layered nuances that danced in the air around him whenever he engaged with another. Similarly, Talia appeared uninterested in playing, which was most intriguing to the Romulan, considering the things she’d confessed to him in the holodeck.

She responded to him only once she’d faced away from him, a movement that didn’t surprise Hirek in the slightest. It seemed the human female desired genuine interaction and found venturing into this realm of sincerity whilst facing him a difficult feat. Hirek was still studying her form, gaging the meaning of her stance and tone of voice, when she turned her face towards his and continued with a type of disinclination for a present. He quickly recalled their first true encounter and mirrored her mirth.

Her abrupt switch back to the more serious undertones of his original offer had Hirek inwardly smiling with amusement. That she was both glad and annoyed with the next steps he was having to take was so very much like the Talia he’d come to know. Same too with her frustration with “unfinished business” or loose threads between them. To Hirek at least, the real question was when did one determine the threads were no longer loose? And what if you didn’t want a thread to tighten but also didn’t want to sever it?

Hirek distracted his mind from these philosophical musings with a physical response. As she faced him, Hirek used the towel to loop around her shoulders, tugging her closer as he equally stepped forward until there was scant space between them. He let the tension build with his silence, studying the color variations in her eyes and letting his gaze flick over the plumpness of her lips. Though his body was already warm from his shower, he could still feel Talia’s warmth through her uniform.

Tipping his head down further until the tip of his nose slid parallel her own, Hirek whispered, “A fertility statue.” Still, with his head close, Hirek winked, drawing back a bit to smirk down at the pilot’s face. “It is shaped like so,” leaving the towel draped over her shoulders, Hirek mimed what looked like a large phallic item, “and in ancient times, women lonely for their husbands who were off at war or the like used it. I think you might like one.” Hirek grinned, a touch of genuine amusement showing in the crinkle of his eyes. “To use for your pleasure, be it in the bedroom or in throwing at someone’s head when they offend you. Because of its girth, the statue does have some weight to it.” Hirek’s amusement continued, “Perhaps the captain will be willing to deliver it personally, should I be unable to do so for the aforementioned reasons.”

Re: PRO: S [ Day01 | 0900 hrs] Blanket Texts and Open Doors

Reply #5
[Ens. Talia "Shadow" Al-Ibrahim | Hirek’s Quarters | Deck 17 | Vector 3 | USS Theurgy] Attn: @Ellen Fitz
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An involuntary yelp of surprise escaped her lips after being lassoed and tugged forwards; too fast for the trained and polished reflexes Talia had honed over the years of her career. The next thing she knew, their bodies were pressed together, her hands planted on the warm, moist skin of Hirek’s hips; she could feel the water and heat of him slowly soaking into her uniform. The abrupt closeness sent her senses reeling – unable to think, to speak – for all her bravado had been deftly cast aside in one masterful stroke of physicality. Her breath caught in her throat, helpless as he gazed at her, and she up at him; lips parted, dark eyes wide as they drowned in his. That closeness, that intimacy, was all she ever wanted…and that revelation left her entirely vulnerable in his hands, if only for a moment.

Of course, that moment – whatever Talia had thought it would be – was shattered the instant Hirek spoke.

“W-what,” Talia exhaled in a huff of confusion, her brain not quite able to operate in its current state. She blinked, lips slightly ajar as the Romulan described the object, along with its historical and practical applications. Shadow didn’t miss the amusement that danced in Hirek’s eyes, or that grin – the one he sometimes wielded as a weapon, or as a distraction – like some slight-of-hand street performer. Either way, his amusement infected her, little by little, until Talia’s face cracked into a contorted smirk at the thought of Captain Ives hirself, delivering what – in her imagination – was essentially…a stone dildo.

The first wave of laughter was choked back in an attempt to hold on to her composure. A hand flew to Talia’s mouth when that failed. Her eyes screwed shut as she giggled uncontrollably. Her head fell to rest on Hirek’s chest, both hands over her mouth as the fit continued, filled with snorts, as her shoulders shuddered with muffled laughter.

Shadow could see it playing out in her head: the polished stone carving presented to her in a finely wrought wooden box, lacquered and inlaid with the intricate runic text of his island tribe – Talia herself in full dress uniform, holding the gentle curve of its length to her bosom while her fellow Wolves looked on in sympathy. Taps would sound as she clutched it to her face, weeping and laughing in equal measure.

It was beyond absurd. It was so damned silly.

It was Hirek.

When she finally managed to recover enough to speak, Talia paused to wipe her face before her hands rested on Hirek’s chest. She shook her head up at him with a genuine smile, dimples and all. “I’ll take it,” her voice cracked from laughter, while still attempting to keep a straight face. “If you can pull that off – hell yes, I’ll take it,” Talia grinned with a nod, then cleared her throat as she remembered the other purpose that brought her there; to say goodbye.

The pilot pulled back from him then, just enough to reach behind her and pull an object from the back pocket of her skirt, then held it up for him to see. “I want you to have this,” Talia nodded, then took Hirek’s hand and placed it in his palm. “Something to keep that slippery tongue of yours wet,” she chuckled, all seriousness abandoned.

There wasn’t time for it – for the answers she sought or reassurances that couldn’t be given. They were who they were and were bound for different paths; Hirek had broken through that selfish desire – intentionally or not – and Talia’s toxic need to control was cast aside in favor of simply living in the moment.

The sipping flask in Hirek’s palm was thin, slightly dented, it’s casing scratched from years of use –the decal of a palm tree on its surface barely visible. It had belonged to Talia’s father, and was the only physical legacy of his that she had carried around, all this time; a reminder of the pain he had caused. Talia raised her eyes to Hirek’s as she closed his fingers around it.

“I don’t need it any more. Please take it,” she whispered. “I filled it with your ale. Synthetic,” Talia shrugged, then managed to give him another small smirk. “Guess we’ll both have to make do until the real thing comes along.”

A sense of…impeding change swept through her; as if the hands of fate itself took hold, deep in Talia’s gut, and pulled. What more was there to say? What more could be done with what little time remained for them? If this was fated to be the last time she saw him, Talia wanted it to be as this; with shared humor – in mirth as they both faced whatever lay ahead. Anything more would be asking too much, especially after the way she had treated him, and Talia saw that much in his eyes.

No expectations. Just acceptance.

She would remember his smile, his warmth, and the way he looked at her.

That was enough.

It was him; if only for a moment.

Talia nodded at the universe’s unseen signal, her hand raised to cup Hirek’s cheek as she slowly withdrew from him with a sigh; the towel draped across her shoulders pulled down and offered back in kind.

“You should probably get dressed,” Shadow offered him a small smile, as her fingertips combed through the soft hair of his chin in farewell.

Re: PRO: S [ Day01 | 0900 hrs] Blanket Texts and Open Doors

Reply #6
[Hirek tr’Aimne | Personal Quarters |  D. 17 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Dumedion

Hirek had seen the moment going a few directions, most leading to violence, and was pleasantly delighted when Talia chose levity in her response instead.

“It comes in different sizes,” Hirek said, looking up and down at Talia with a lecherous grin. “I probably need to get you the larger version. Maybe one of the more eccentric ones, with all the artistic nubs and ribs.”

Talia pulled back, thrusting something at him before he had a chance to finish grabbing his towel back to wrap around his waist. Giving up on the endeavor entirely considering the present company, Hirek left the useless bit of material on Talia’s shoulder, completely ignored, in favor of accepting the unexpected gift. He recognized the item's purpose right away, and a vague memory of past conversations between them knocked at the edge of his consciousness until she added a little explanation: "I don’t need it anymore,” then Hirek remembered. This had been her father’s flask, the one item she’d spoken of keeping from the deceased man.

When she framed his face with her fingers, Talia pulled Hirek from his wandering thoughts. She seemed to be taking the upcoming missions with a stronger sense of somber awareness than Hirek, but that was to be expected considering their personality differences. Flask in one hand, towel in the other, Hirek deftly looped it around Talia’s neck again and tugged, turning to lead her into the common area of the shared quarters.

“The benefit of being put in these quarters without a roommate, and likely not getting one thanks to my nefarious nature,” he cast a wink over his shoulder Talia, “is that I have extra room to have activities in.” Hirek stopped suddenly, turning to stare down at the dark-haired woman with a feigned expression of severity, his voice dipping lower into tones of secrecy. “Understand that what you are about to see is completely illegal, well, probably, not at all sanctioned, and if you tell anyone, I will have to find a creative way of punishing you. And in the not pleasant kind of way.” He gave her a lingering look of promise, leaving it to her how to interpret the words and expression.

Without further dramatics, Hirek keyed in the new code he’d assigned the adjacent quarters and stepped back to allow Talia in first. It was a pitiful excuse of a brewery, but modeling it off the Terran style of “still,” Hirek had managed to construct an extensive enough system in these spare quarters to allow for a modest production of legitimate alcohol. It certainly wasn’t Romulan ale, and he hadn’t quite decided on what to call it. Still, depending on what he used to brew it and how long he let it sit, it ranged from the kick of Blood Wine, the smoothness of Andorian ale, the consistency of Romulan ale, and the color of Kanar. A little something for everyone, it seemed.

“Now I’m wondering, did I inherit your father’s flask because you associate drinking with me, you see me as a father figure, you expect I will die soon, and you’d rather a dead man carry it, or…is there some other reason I haven’t quite conjured up?” Hirek questioned from the doorway, leaning against the frame as he watched Talia explore his ill-gotten goods and machinery.

Re: PRO: S [ Day01 | 0900 hrs] Blanket Texts and Open Doors

Reply #7
[Ens. Talia "Shadow" Al-Ibrahim | Hirek’s Quarters | Deck 17 | Vector 3 | USS Theurgy] Attn: @Ellen Fitz
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After Hirek's continued description of the so-called ‘fertility statue’, Talia tilted her head to the side and shot him a look that said grow up with a lopsided smile. Even though the Romulan had repeatedly displayed a remarkable sense of observation that allowed him a relative degree of success in getting under her skin –  Hirek had no idea what he was talking about in that regard. Of course, Talia allowed it with the knowledge that it was all just another ploy to provoke a reaction; a playful distraction from hard truths – a shared joke to laugh at, rather than confront the bitter fact that this just might be the last time they spoke, or shared the same space. The pilot wondered briefly how Hirek would react if she decided to throw his own methods back at him.

Shadow's mouth opened to retort just as the towel looped around her neck – once again – to be dragged along behind the naked Romulan; only this time the pilot croaked out an amused bark of laughter. When he spun to stare down at her and pronounced his threats should she break confidence about whatever he was about to reveal, Talia snatched the towel from his hand and tilted her head up at him with a doubtful blink of dark eyes, lit with amusement. Is that a fact, the look said. “And how would you possibly know what I find pleas–,” she laughed, but the words died off as he moved away to open the door for her to see.

Her head tilted as Shadow realized what she was looking at. The setup was no where near as elaborate or elegant as the one Hirek had showed her in the holodeck, but she recognized the similarities in the process all the same. Her eyes and head panned as she walked in, to slowly turn about, hands planted on her hips as if inspecting his handiwork. Liquid slowly gurgled under heat within large vats; tubing snaked from one to the other – through makeshift filtration systems and repurposed replicators – heat sinks hummed while evaporators hissed. “Well, well – you’ve certainly been busy,” she commented, impressed with the clandestine operation.

Talia folded her arms in feigned seriousness, hip cocked to the side, when her eyes fell upon several dozen containers of variously colored liquid stored upon shelves along the far wall, then jutted her chin at them.

“Been holding out on me this whole time, I see,” the pilot smirked at Hirek. Rude – and no wonder you’re so worried about keeping this a secret. I don’t know how you got those deuterium tanks out from the FAB under the Chief’s nose,” her head tilted to the bubbling tanks with a chuckle, “but if he ever finds out, your ass is toast. Fortunately for you – I know how to keep a secret.”

When asked about the motivation behind her gift and given his guessed answers, Talia sauntered back to him with a wry shake of her head, then slowly wrapped the towel low around his absurdly toned hips while she spoke with an amused, lopsided grin.

“A memento from a man I despised, gifted to a man I hardly know was well as I want, yet who challenged me enough to realize I needed to change?” Talia shrugged casually. “You’re the one who likes puzzles, you figure it out. Far as the statue goes, bigger isn’t better, you know. Well, no, actually,” she paused to frown teasingly, “I suppose…you wouldn’t know, in this case. Pity,”  she leaned close with a playful smile, closer than he dared to go so far. “Rest assured, I'll always think of you and what could have been – every time I bring it to my lips,” she let her nose brush against the side of his for effect, “to blow the dust off it,” she whispered through a grin.

Talia left her fingers tucked deep under the lip of the towel, pressed against his warm skin – just below the smooth, hard contours of Hirek’s lower abdomen – directly above his groin. Shadow bit her lower lip, feeling the pulse there. For all the insufferable ways he provoked her, she felt her arousal rise ever higher with each moment; soon it would be beyond her ability to ignore. Surprisingly, Talia wasn’t sure she even wanted to try anymore.

Throttle back, ace – he’s just toying with you, her mind laughed at her. He was right there though; it would be easy – so easy – to just give in, to tell him what she wanted – to let him see the fire in her eyes and watch those flames ignite within his…

Shadow looked away from his eyes and cleared her throat instead, then tilted her head back to the brewery. “So…what will happen to all this? Seems a shame to let it go to waste,” Talia whispered, if only to break the tension she felt, while her fingers slowly withdrew from fabric and flesh.

Re: PRO: S [ Day01 | 0900 hrs] Blanket Texts and Open Doors

Reply #8
[Hirek tr’Aimne | Personal Quarters |  D. 17 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Dumedion

“I am a very charming man, you should know,” Hirek assured her with his best cocksure smile. “A few compliments to the Chief’s abilities, and he was lost.” Gesturing to the finished product lining one of the shelves, he smiled. “I didn’t want to say anything until it tasted palatable. I can assure you that the first few batches could kill even the toughest Klingons. Perhaps even Lieutenant Madsen herself.”

In the time he’d personally known the diplomat, he’d witnessed her astonishing ability to ingest large quantities of alcohol twice, which was a lot considering he’d interacted with her directly only a half dozen times. Having met and worked with her father, the man, though sober, had displayed a singular ability to withstand great trials and pains. He even went so far as to sacrifice himself for others, including Hirek. Hirek could only assume the man had held his liquor as, in Hirek’s opinion, at least, those with strong, stubborn characters typically held their liquor the best.

Hirek watched Talia with an amused smile as she tied the towel around his waist, offering a vague explanation, not explanation, for her gift.

“I’ve had my share of cocks, in both orifices, and I concur bigger is not always better.” He took great pleasure in potentially throwing her off with his brief interjection. “Intent and expertise, imagination and creativity, stamina are far more important than size.”

He felt her hand press against the skin just above his cock, and his balls tightened instinctively. Hirek quickly recalled the sexual tension between them back in the holodeck and just as easily recalled how alike some of her responses had been to his bitch of a wife. Talia could not readily be compared to that she-devil, nor should he continue to compare what little they had in common every time tension rose between them. Hirek remained quiet and eerily still until she withdrew her fingers, commenting on the brewing works he’d gotten set up correctly after much trial and error. He smirked in response.

“I believe humans call it a ‘will and testimony?’ Perhaps I’ve willed it to you. And my testimony is that it was your idea.”

With deft movements, Hirek was once more naked, the towel draped over Talia’s head, and within seconds, the Romulan darted back into his quarters with a shameless chuckle.

Re: PRO: S [ Day01 | 0900 hrs] Blanket Texts and Open Doors

Reply #9
[Ens. Talia "Shadow" Al-Ibrahim | Hirek’s Quarters | Deck 17 | Vector 3 | USS Theurgy] Attn: @Ellen Fitz
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“Wait – what,” Talia’s face scrunched up in an unattractive grimace of confusion mixed with incredulousness, only to be covered up with Hirek’s towel. Ugh, this fucking towel, she groaned, hands rested on her hips. The pilot took a deep breath while he scampered away laughing – but she couldn’t help but chuckle quietly, too. It was so hard to discern when he was being serious or when he was just playing; Talia had given up trying to tell the difference. So far, the Romulan seemed intent to remain playful, regardless. Fighting that had proved futile in the past, so Talia just took his words at face value. The man was a living rubic’s cube: aggravating, fascinating, utterly unsolvable unless you already knew how.

And Talia had clearly had no idea.

Okay, Pretty-Eyes, Shadow shook her head with a typical eyeroll, then pulled the towel off and calmly folded it while her dark eyes roamed the brewery once again. He has to be joking. There’s no way in hell he’d let anyone tinker with this, not after going through all the trouble to build it. Certainly not me. Once the towel was folded, her free hand smoothed over the loose strands of dark hair with a soft snort of amusement. “He’s lost his rabid assed mind,” Talia laughed quietly.

Of course she wanted to take care of it for him – but Shadow didn’t even know where to begin! She was a fighter pilot, not a chemist; not to mention the hell she’d have to pay if anyone discovered it – they’d take her wings for sure. He’s got to be joking. I can’t handle...all this. Shadow turned to glance over her shoulder but didn’t see him directly as she tossed the folded towel into the recycle unit to be shredded into atoms.

“Oops,” she mumbled; So long, stupid towel. Her other hand gestured to the still – well, multiple stills – in front of her. “Hey, are you serious? I don’t know the first thing about any of this Hirek,” Talia half sighed, half laughed. “Please, as much as I’d like to – I don’t think I’m the person you want to leave this to. I don’t think I can – I mean, this could get me into a lot of trouble.”

Talia bit her lip as she crossed her arms over her bust and turned to face him in profile.

“Surely there’s someone else who knows more about...how to operate and maintain it better? Another scientist, or...something,” Shadow offered gently. “I mean, sure I can...shut it down and...I don’t know, keep it clean? Or...dismantle it,” she added quietly with a shrug. If he didn’t return, what was the point?  What was she supposed to do with it? As she dwelt on those questions, all humor and amusement slowly faded. She didn’t want any of this if it meant not seeing him again.

“I’d rather you just came back,” the words spilled from her lips before Talia could stop them, then turned her body to face him fully. “I know its selfish,” she nodded with a sad smile but refused to meet his eyes. “I know I should tell you to go – to do what you need to do for your people – to do what’s best for you. What makes you happy. But,” she shrugged, then finally looked up to meet his gaze. “That’s what I want. I want you to come back,” the pilot smirked then, amused at her own admission. “For whatever that’s worth to you.”

Re: PRO: S [ Day01 | 0900 hrs] Blanket Texts and Open Doors

Reply #10
[Hirek tr’Aimne | Personal Quarters |  D. 17 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Dumedion

Hirek could sense that Talia was on the verge of going full-on raw emotion with him; he could almost taste it in the air. From the moment she’d walked into his quarters, the pilot had veered toward the side of serious and honest, showing surprising emotional growth in the brief time since their last encounter. The same could not be said of Hirek, at least not at the casual observer level. Listening to her speak as he stood shamelessly naked in his quarters, Hirek knew he had a choice to either honor that sincerity with some of his own or continue to play the game he’d been raised to play.

When she finally finished, tossing a little attitude toward him at the end, Hirek decided: sincerity won out. Closing the distance between them in two confident strides, Hirek quickly hoisted the woman over his shoulder and turned, pitching her the short distance to land on his bed. He was on the bed beside her within seconds of her landing, rolling on his back and pulling her against his side, tucking her limbs and curves around him as if she were a doll to manipulate. Hirek calmly spoke over her response to his abrupt movements and actions.

“This is called ‘snuggling.’ I’ve never done it before and would like to do it with you before leaving.” He angled his head to stare at her once she stilled. “Though, you really can leave if you like.” Hirek loosened his grip on her to emphasize the truth of his words. “And, if I don’t die, and Romulus is freed from the Tal’Shir, or even if it isn’t and we have to recalculate our attack against them, if the captain permits, I will return to the ship.” He leaned down, making it seem like he’d kiss her, only to deviate and playfully bite the tip of her nose instead. “I am most curious about a great many things with a great many people on board, including you. It would be a shame not to see ‘where things go,’ which is the term that fits our circumstances, I believe.”

Re: PRO: S [ Day01 | 0900 hrs] Blanket Texts and Open Doors

Reply #11
[Ens. Talia "Shadow" Al-Ibrahim | Hirek’s Quarters | Deck 17 | Vector 3 | USS Theurgy] Attn: @Ellen Fitz
[Show/Hide]
She’d done her best to remain calm. Whatever happened, Talia consoled herself with that knowledge. As the Romulan hesitated in the silence that lulled between them after her honest confession, the pilot began to suspect that he simply couldn’t offer an answer – either because he felt differently, or he just didn’t know what to say. The idea and precedent of rendering Hirek speechless held it’s own merit; but in that moment, she wished he’d just say something. Anything. Rejection would hurt, but at least it was familiar. The same could not be said for...whatever this pregnant silence meant. Okay, that’s my cue, Talia told herself; opting to leave him in peace.

Perhaps some things were better left unsaid.

Hirek, it seemed, had other intentions.

Talia flinched as he rushed her in a blur of motion, then cried out in alarm as she was hoisted up on his shoulder without so much a grunt of effort – not that she could hear anything over her own hollering. What came out of her throat was a combination of startled shriek and the Romulan’s name, elongated further when he tossed her like a sack of laundry onto the bed. Flight or fight kicked in, mixed and at odds with her emotions; Talia struggled against him on instinct, but it was a half-hearted fight – easily countered.

“I swear, if you don’t stop -” she growled at him through a smile, which Hirek duly ignored. Shadow blinked at his words and grew very still. When his hold on her released, she didn’t move, but watched his eyes in confusion and concern – wondering if he was being serious, or if his admission was just another ploy. Never snuggled? Talia couldn’t believe that. Even she, in the incredibly rare instances of her life, had snuggled; and his intention to return? Well, that was certainly unexpected. Part of her rejoiced, while the other wondered if Hirek truly meant what he said – or if she was just misinterpreting his words.

Why is this so difficult, Shadow snorted a laugh when he bit her nose. “Comfort and closeness is the idea, Pretty-Eyes,” she told him with a smirk; the irony to educate him not lost on her. Talia pushed him away as she rolled onto her back, then pulled him into position along side her after removing the sharp combadge from her chest. “Here,” she whispered, cradling his head there upon her bosom, her chin rested atop his crown; a hand combed through the short gray hairs on the back of his neck, while the other trailed down the muscled lines of his back. Talia lifted and hooked one leg over his while she breathed in the scent of his body.

This is cuddling,” Talia sighed contentedly, “and I’ll stay as long as I can.” She closed her eyes then - not wanting to let her mind ruin the moment. Whatever happened, happened; there wasn't anything she could do about it. What matters is here, right now, a small smile graced her lips. Enjoy it, ace. Just enjoy it for once.

Re: PRO: S [ Day01 | 0900 hrs] Blanket Texts and Open Doors

Reply #12
[Hirek tr’Aimne | Personal Quarters |  D. 17 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Dumedion

Hirek settled more comfortably against her, pressing his ear over her chest. He relished the alienness of hearing her heartbeat here and closed his eyes. Talia hooked a leg over his but made no further moves to increase intimacy or change the dynamics between them. Hirek had to mentally chastise his muscles into submission, arguing them into a state of relaxation.

When she began a steady rhythm of tracing her fingers over the back of his neck, a mirroring gesture on his back, Hirek had to fight the urge to rip himself out of her arms. His instinct was to retreat far and fast from such softness. This sort of touch was what killed a man or woman; this freely given and received intimacy was a death sentence, be it literal or proverbial, in most circumstances on Romulus. In all his life, every time he’d dared to express this time of affection, Hirek had had it twisted into a weapon against him or those he loved.

Eyes still closed, Hirek focused on Talia’s steady heartbeat, seeking to match his to hers through meditation. This encounter was perhaps one of the most physically intimate ones he’d experienced in decades, and it took every iota of willpower in his body to keep from saying or doing something to make Talia recoil. The best defense was offense: this philosophy had kept him alive and mostly intact physically and emotionally.

In quick succession, Hirek saw his childhood and formative years, the times he’d reached for his mother’s hand or sought his father’s arms in public but had been chastised and reminded of the danger or when he’d tried to physically comfort a cousin or friend after a hardship, making the grave mistake of doing it in public and being rejected, sometimes by physical violence. Hirek likewise saw the years of emotional and physical torment at the hands of his wife, keenly remembering how she relished every moment she could twist Hirek’s eccentric yet innate desire for giving and receiving affection into a way to further dig into him, tearing him apart little by little.

The longer he lay in Talia’s arms, cradling against him so readily and easily, the more Hirek marveled at their differences. She’d grown up in a culture where this sort of intimacy was taken for granted, a “given” and yet overlooked or bypassed in favor of intercourse. He wondered if Talia or anyone else on this ship could ever truly understand the magnitude of a touch as simple as an embrace, a handhold, a brush of fingers over the temple. Consistent touches of this nature were true intimacy, not sex. Sex was easy, this…this was hard.

“If you get in trouble for reporting late, you can always say you were held hostage by a Romulan defector.” Hirek’s voice when he finally spoke was muffled now that his face was half turned against her chest, not exactly trying to get more of a faceful of her breasts, but certainly not objecting to it.

Re: PRO: S [ Day01 | 0900 hrs] Blanket Texts and Open Doors

Reply #13
[Ens. Talia "Shadow" Al-Ibrahim | Hirek’s Quarters | Deck 17 | Vector 3 | USS Theurgy] Attn: @Ellen Fitz
[Show/Hide]
Moments passed while she held him. Talia shut her mind off by force of will – all lingering questions and unimportant desires pushed aside – and simply felt. As comforting as the moment was, being so close to someone, the pilot couldn’t ignore the story her senses told; Hirek’s body was warm, firm, and immeasurably pleasant to behold, but the slightest tremors under her touch betrayed his unease. Perhaps it was Shadow’s imagination, or the fact that she’d ignored her own intuition for so long that the woman doubted herself, but that sense of unease endured no matter how hard she tried to ignore it.

They were so different, yet alike, in many ways. Talia had sensed that almost from the very first time she saw him. One struggled internally, one externally; both tried to hide the way they felt from the world – for very different reasons.

Unable to understand his difficulty, but in recognition of the attempt to redirect her attention from it, Talia opened her eyes and laughed softly into the top of Hirek’s head; the gentle touch of her fingers ceased to tighten her hold on him briefly – smothering the Romulan’s face in her chest. “Did you say something? Sorry, I couldn’t quite hear you,” she grinned playfully, “who is holding who here?”

She released him then, after planting her foot on the mattress to roll them both over – him onto his back, while Talia promptly mounted and straddled his waist – the fabric of her skirt rode high on her thighs, stretched to it’s absolute limit. There she sat, her hands planted upon his chest for a hesitant moment; dark eyes wandered his while she smiled down at him. Despite the fact she could clearly feel his cock pressed against the thin layer of underwear – in all its pulsing glory – Shadow knew they didn’t have time for further exploration, nor did she truly feel the desire to. She’d made plenty of mistakes, rushing in without thought of consequence before. This time would be different, if it ever came to pass…

There would be other opportunities, if fate allowed. For now, though...

The pilot lowered herself to Hirek, arms folded atop his chest, to rest her chin on one forearm; nearly nose to nose with him. “There are no hostages here, Hirek,” Talia whispered, serious and sincere. “No motives, no expectations. I know you meant it as a joke,” she smirked, “but if I’m late no one will care what excuses I make,” her eyes darted to the chrono quickly, then returned to his. “So I wont be late.”

Her lips pressed against his then – a rushed thing of a kiss, but earnest, sincere, and intimate. Talia hoped it conveyed enough of how she felt to encourage him to at least remember her, but forced the rest of her feelings aside. “Give them hell,” she whispered into Hirek’s ear, “and don’t forget my statue,” the pilot added through a smirk, then rolled off him to fix her skirt.

Talia left him without another word or a backwards glance - head held high, the thick rope of her braided hair swaying with every step. She was bound for the FAB, and the dream of flying she'd chased for so long. The mysteries of Hirek and her desires for him were cast back into the recesses of her mind; there they would wait until she saw him again.

Re: PRO: S [ Day01 | 0900 hrs] Blanket Texts and Open Doors

Reply #14
[Hirek tr’Aimne | Personal Quarters |  D. 17 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Dumedion

A strange, almost flatulence-sounding noise erupted from Hirek’s mouth while Talia held his head hostage in her bosom. He feigned a dramatic gasp of breath when she let go and proceeded to switch places, Hirek on his back and her, surprisingly, straddling his hips. He would not begrudge the pilot if she pushed for more sexually-inclined intimacy, though Hirek acknowledged he would have to deal with a smidgen of disappointment if she did.

However, he was prevented disappointment when she lowered herself onto his chest and spoke in low tones. With her body language and words, she verbalized much of what he’d encouraged of her during their holographic expedition to his home and then some. The kiss was brief but welcomed—a promise more than a farewell. He was still laughing at her reminder of the statue when she rolled off him and walked away without another look.

Hirek laid back against the pillows of his bed and took in steadying breaths. That had been quite a stretch for him, and he knew it had been equally so for Talia as well. He had no particular aspirations for what might become of them if they both survived and returned to the ship. This unnamable “thing” between them had already encouraged emotional and physical growth, and Hirek was both surprised and pleased with that. He didn’t feel he’d been stretched so far as to break out of necessary habits, the ones that would keep him and his mission mates alive while on Romulus, but he felt…stronger in a way. More competent. And this just from one snuggle session.

Hirek chuckled as he rolled off the bed and returned to the shower stall. He doubted the curriculum leaders at the Imperial War College would concur with his assessment that what they needed to be stronger, fiercer, more capable Romulans was more snuggling.

FIN

 
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