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Re: Day 10 [1326] Chaos in the Clouds of Qo'Nos

Reply #25
[ Lt. JG Callax Valin | Mekro'vak Region | Qo'noS ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz
“So let me get this straight. In the same thread of conversation you admit to being ‘off your rocker’, which I can only assume is some sort of human phrase to denote mild insanity, and then ask me if you are making sense? You know, if Starfleet personnel express or show signs of a compromised mental state, we are duty bound to report it, right?” The Ardanan’s voice was monotone and serious; but, the grin on Cal’s face would betray the fact that he was enjoying this quite a bit and was far from serious if she cast a glance in his direction. "That said, make a high enough offer and I might be willing to forget such an admission of insanity."

With each passing second the stress and throbbing pain throughout his body subsided, aided by the steamy hot waters and the knowledge that nothing could top what they had just accomplished. What they had done would certainly not make its way into any shore leave travel brochures, but as an adrenaline junkie the chaos and peril of it made it all the shore leave Cal could have asked for.

“Why was the engagement so long? Commitment issues?” Cal asked as he allowed his feet and lower legs to float to the surface now sans any mud or dirt. “Or does he not even know it is over? Poor guy may be waiting on Earth for you to write. Now, I have ghosted people before, with good reason, but leaving a fiance on read? That is savage.”

He allowed his voice to trail off a bit before losing some of its teasing edge to become more gentle. “But I do not think you would do that. I am curious to know what happened though, if you are still in a sharing mood. Was it distance?”

Re: Day 10 [1326] Chaos in the Clouds of Qo'Nos

Reply #26
[ Lt. Enyd Isolde Madsen | Mekro’vak Region | Qo’Nos] attn: @Eden

Laughing, Enyd tossed her head back, letting the warm water wash over her forehead, and closed her eyes as the liquid dropped down over her eye sockets. She reached up to swipe the watery residue from her lashes before she spoke again.

“I haven’t a clue what a rich, well-connected Ardanan would want as a bribe. Is it something nefarious? Potentially naughty?” Enyd glanced at her friend with a smirk. “Is it something I should report YOU on?”

When Cal brought the conversation back to her romantic history, Enyd smiled and shook her head, “Neither Victor nor I have commitment issues. It was just timing. Our postings in different places, our work needing us in different places, and then the war, and the aftermath therein. I wrote him directly when I thought to break it off. I didn’t want him to do something foolish, like bust down the door and try to rescue me if something went wrong, which it did, and he would have. I thought it was more important that he potentially resent me but live than die for me.”

Enyd allowed silence to bubble between them before she continued, “He did not have warm and fuzzy feelings towards Cardassians thanks to the war, but he was willing to share me with the Cardassian man I fell in love with during my posting on Cardassia Prime. We were in the process of negotiating a marriage contract between the three of us when I was asked by an old friend in Intelligence to keep an eye on my Cardassian fiancé’s former colleagues.” Enyd sighed. “Long story short, I ended things with Victor when I got the feeling that Javec, and I with him, were about to get sucked into something big.” She stood in the water, not caring that the water level caused her breasts to bob up and down on the surface. “Victor survived, but Javec died. And both because of me, in a way.”

Walking her hands across the water as she used to as a child, Enyd glanced at Cal a moment before giving another sigh, “Things are resolved with Victor, now. Soon after my first away mission on Theurgy I ran into him.” Enyd smiled at Cal’s response and nodded. “He’s one of our shipmates. vanVinter, Victor. You should look him up if you get the chance. Wonderful man, and thankfully a forgiving one. We were able to clear the air between us soon after we realized we were both still alive, and while we are not rekindling the romance, we are still kindred spirits. A fact of which I am very thankful.”

Enyd sank up under the water until it cupped her chin and nodded toward Cal, “Do you have anything dramatically sordid enough in your past to beat that?”

Re: Day 10 [1326] Chaos in the Clouds of Qo'Nos

Reply #27
[ Lt. JG Callax Valin | Mekro'vak Region | Qo'noS ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz
“I haven’t a clue what a rich, well-connected Ardanan would want as a bribe. Is it something nefarious? Potentially naughty?” Enyd glanced at her friend with a smirk. “Is it something I should report YOU on?”

Cal feigned insult, complete with dramatized gasp and hand cupped over his mouth. “Lieutenant! I am a commissioned officer of Starfleet, sworn to uphold the ideals of the United Federation of Planets and its member worlds. To suggest I would take advantage of another officer in such a way… I see the Diplomatic Corps is no stranger to attempting character assassinations.”

He rolled his eyes before allowing a smirk to appear. “Besides, I have already seen you naked. Short of giving our Klingon friends a real physical performance to witness I dare say I am lacking in any particularly nefarious or naughty ideas at the moment.”

“Perhaps when my concussion subsides I might be more creative. So beware,” he added with a wink.

A slight shift in temperature in his part of the spring caused the Ardanan to shift slightly, now a quarter of the roughly circular spring away from Enyd. As he regained some comfort on the new muddy bank, he listened closely to Enyd’s explanation of past love.

“..Long story short, I ended things with Victor when I got the feeling that Javec, and I with him, were about to get sucked into something big. Victor survived, but Javec died. And both because of me, in a way.”

“I certainly cannot claim to be an expert in love, nor have I had anything quite so sordid in my past. I always assumed any marriage of mine would be for political purposes. Any love in it, if any, would come later. That said, it sounds like you got dealt a bad hand there.” He was on the edge of saying more but held back. In these situations it was common to offer some form of comfort. A kind word that it was not her fault.

But it was her fault, at least in the way she described it.

“Love seems to be complicated when it should not be. I am sorry yours has been more complicated than most. Through struggle we can grow and leave the past behind. That said, and please take this as an impartial observation and not a judgment or critique, but it sounds like you are heading into complicated waters again. Who might get hurt this time?”

As his feet floated to the surface, Cal leaned his head back and closed his eyes before sitting up suddenly. “Wait… did you say vanVinter? Victor vanVinter? That Victor? I will hardly need to look him up. He is in my flight. One of my wingmen. Small ship, huh?”

Re: Day 10 [1326] Chaos in the Clouds of Qo'Nos

Reply #28
[ Lt. Enyd Isolde Madsen | Mekro’vak Region | Qo’Nos] attn: @Eden

“Diplomats are cunning linguists, you should know that, and are certainly not above bribery if that is what it takes to seal the deal.” Enyd winked at the Ardanan, not in the slightest embarrassed by his feigned insult or the reality of his seeing her naked. “I wish I could say it is a rare thing for me to be seen naked in public like this, especially since I really prefer not showing much skin,” Enyd laughed at how ludicrous the sentiment seemed given their circumstances, “but within the past few weeks, I’ve been in a number of circumstances where I either ended up naked, near-naked or around naked people. I rather feel like the goddess of chaos has it in for me at this point, so be ye fairly warned.”

His additional comment about giving a physical performance had Enyd snorting the coughing when her body momentarily submerged enough to breathe in some water. She gave him a thumbs up at his warning, already curious as to what a creative thinking Cal could come up with. His quick summation of her love life with reference to cards had Enyd smirking and nodding in agreement.

“I’m sure you’re familiar with the concept of ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” His observation had Enyd sighing, “If we are always going through life trying to avoid hurt, or approaching everything with an apology already on our lips for the hurt we may cause, are we truly living?” Her fingers began twirling circles under the water, eyes watching the way the surface bubbled and moved in response. “That is not an effort to justify, just a personal belief shared through question.”

Cal’s torso was suddenly above the surface. Enyd had to force her gaze to remain on his face and not track the water droplets as they curved and swerved their way down his attractive chest. Enyd’s eyes widened with surprise at Cal’s statement; then her lips pulled back into a pleased smile as she relaxed into the water.

“That Victor, and I’m glad he’s one of your wingmen. This position is something he’s wanted for a while if memory serves me right. From what I now know of you and what I know of him, gods help anyone you guys come up against. I think you’ll be the one-two punch our enemies fear the most.” She snorted again and nodded, “Very small ship. But I’m wondering, is it so small I’m going to run across any of your former paramours or have you kept it strictly off ship?”

Re: Day 10 [1326] Chaos in the Clouds of Qo'Nos

Reply #29
[ Lt. JG Callax Valin | Mekro'vak Region | Qo'noS ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz
“I rather feel like the goddess of chaos has it in for me at this point, so be ye fairly warned.”

“If all the goddess of Chaos has in mind for you is public displays of nudity, I hardly require warning. Get me box seats instead,” he replied with a cheeky grin, turning towards one of the less muddy edges of the water. Defined back muscles flexed as he pulled himself up out of the water and onto an expansive section of flat flagstone. He lowered himself onto the surface and laid back, arms keeping his back raised to keep facing Enyd. It was not quite a ‘draw me like one of your French girl’ pose, but it was close and left nothing to the imagination. “The least they could have done is brought us towels. Do klingons use towels? I reckon not. Why bother in this humidity?”

He continued to listen to the woman, his head tilting back with eyes closed as a ray of sunlight provided some comforting warmth. All things considered, there were less comfortable places he could be right now.

“I’m sure you’re familiar with the concept of ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. If we are always going through life trying to avoid hurt, or approaching everything with an apology already on our lips for the hurt we may cause, are we truly living? That is not an effort to justify, just a personal belief shared through question.”

“And yet, it sounds like the kind of thing one tells themselves to justify their actions, whether consciously or unconsciously. Though, I suppose it could be both.” He considered aloud, his tone indicating deep consideration. “Maybe you are correct. It makes sense.”

The conversation continued as Cal basked in what sunlight the star above struggled to provide through the clouded atmosphere.

“...Very small ship. But I’m wondering, is it so small I’m going to run across any of your former paramours or have you kept it strictly off ship?”

“Off ship thus far, not for a lack of trying. There was this one thing with a nurse; but, it did not proceed beyond flirtation. There was also a CONN officer from the Oneida who I fancied, but I never had the opportunity to pursue it. Any others are far from here. Alas, I must deprive you of anything juicy here on Theurgy.”

Cal peeked momentarily towards the sun to gauge its rough position. Time had passed quickly.

“Might want to start drying off. Looks like the hour is growing late. Take advantage of the sun while you can.” He leaned his head back, the stone he laid upon warm to the touch with only an intermittent breeze causing some not too subtle perkiness. "Besides, we leave those klingons alone too long and they'll start to get all uppity again," he added with a smirk as his eyes closed.

Re: Day 10 [1326] Chaos in the Clouds of Qo'Nos

Reply #30
[ Lt. Enyd Isolde Madsen | Mekro’vak Region | Qo’Nos] attn: @Eden

Enyd had to swallow her tongue and avert her eyes from overly roaming as Cal removed himself from the marginal safety of the water and splayed himself out like a main dish on a rock adjacent to the spring. To hide her sudden influx of awareness of the beauty of his body, and their physical differences—and extreme isolation—Enyd began to ski her fingers across the water’s surface. Finding a leaf to aid in her diversion efforts, Enyd all but made motor noises as she listened to Cal’s response.

Her lips pulled back into an amused smirk, gaze darting up to catch his before returning to the oh-so-fascinating details of her makeshift motorboat leaf. “I doubt they use towels. Probably some local leaf or something.” She shrugged, skiing her fingers over the surface as she slowly bobbed closer to the edge parallel to Cal’s position. “I think in a pinch, nearly every argument can justify actions. Given enough time and enthusiasm, even silliness can seem solid.”

After scuttling her leaf boat, Enyd gripped the edge of the spring and hoisted herself onto the mossy grass. She preferred something soft under her skin to Cal's harsh rock. “Do you need a wing woman?” Twisting to lie with her head towards Cal, Enyd likewise allowed what bit of sun filtered to their level to aid in the drying off process. “I’ve become acquainted with a wide variety of women and men, who may suit your fancy. Some are open to sharing, others more traditional in a one-to-one ratio.” Tilting her head up, Enyd spied Cal upside down and gave him a lopsided grin with a wink. “Getting to know people’s preferences and desires comes with the territory of diplomacy, be it in the official capacity or less so.”

She ran her hands down her arms to collect the droplets and slack them off with a waving hand. Enyd had also noted the sun’s movement before Cal brought attention to it and nodded her agreement. Sitting back up, Enyd continued the smoothing motion over her chest and abdomen before leaning forward to repeat the process with both legs. It wasn’t perfect, but it helped divest her body of the larger droplets.

“If you’re interested, you can stop by my office sometime in the next week or so, and I can give you the run-down of folks I know. Or we can turn ourselves into traditional ninnies and compare social calendars to see where there are openings, you know to create opportunities?” Looking over her shoulder, Enyd waggled her eyebrows, then chuckled. “Or we can keep it even more simple, and we try to have a meal where we aren’t falling from the sky, having creatures chase us, or getting far more intimately acquainted with one another’s body than Starfleet protocol would deem appropriate, at least for a first time out?”

Enyd pushed to her feet, instinctively brushing the moss and leaves from her backside as she turned to face Cal. Though she did better about keeping her gaze north of his clavicle this time around, Enyd couldn’t disguise the blush that colored her cheeks, and nor did she try to hide it this time.

“You’ve got a lot going for you, Cal, if you don’t mind me commenting on the obvious now. You’re a very handsome man and charming too.” Enyd shook her head and clicked her tongue against the roof of her mouth as she pushed past his position to get back onto the path leading to their Klingon barbeque party. “A real lady killer, as my aunt would say.” Now that they weren’t running for their lives, Enyd’s feet reminded her of their earlier flight and fight. Her going was slower than normal, her steps as light as possible, weight mostly on her toes as she picked her way along the trail. “Elro will love our excuses when we report to sickbay after this.”

Re: Day 10 [1326] Chaos in the Clouds of Qo'Nos

Reply #31
[ Lt. JG Callax Valin | Mekro'vak Region | Qo'noS ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz
“Do you need a wing woman?”

The question took him slightly aback. He had been on the Theurgy for all of two or three weeks now but already had two crewmembers offer their services as a matchmaker. Did he really look that desperate? Self-consciously he lowered his gaze down the length of his own body as if looking for some obvious inadequacy or sign that he needed help.

“Do I look like I need one?” Cal teased in reply, locking gazes for a moment as they shared lopsided grins. If her initial question was surprising, the words that followed were more so. He had tried to remain somewhat proper up to this point, at least as much as one could do, but felt his resolve waning. “I hardly think we need to compare social calendars. After all, I have already seen your openings.”

The man’s cheeky grin turned into dangerous smirk, the kind that betrayed everything that was on the mind; but, as quickly as it was there, it was gone. The Ardanan began to lift himself up to his feet, patting off excess grass and dirt that still clung to his mostly dry physique. He stretched, unintentionally flexing well-toned muscles in the process.

“How about we meet in the middle? A meal together and let the god of chaos decide what happens next,” he finally replied after a period of thought. As the pair departed the spring, Cal took up the rear prepared to catch the woman should she lose her footing and fall—or be charged by some unseen threat from the woods.

It quickly would become apparent as the pair navigated the overgrown path back towards the Klingon camp that he should have been more concerned for his own safety. Distracted by a shuffle of leaves in to their side, Cal’s foot caught an exposed root causing him to trip forwards. Reaching out for support his hand, warm to the touch, found the small of Enyd’s back as he regained his balance. “Damned foliage. The gardeners on Stratos would never allow such overgrowth,” he muttered, withdrawing his hand with an only slightly apologetic look. “Shall we?”

Re: Day 10 [1326] Chaos in the Clouds of Qo'Nos

Reply #32
[ Lt. Enyd Isolde Madsen | Mekro’vak Region | Qo’Nos] attn: @Eden

Enyd rolled her eyes at both his cutely arrogant question and his not-so-coy innuendo, “Cheeky twit.”

They’d both done an admirable job in keeping the air light and casual up to this point, even with the forced nudity of their circumstances. But be it her comments or his, it seemed they were now on the cusp of veering into what Enyd determined to be murky waters. His timely stretch spied in her peripheral vision, did not help matters in the slightest either. Cal’s next words, obviously back in the neutral territory they’d made their social camp in, earned a smile and accompanying nod from Enyd.

Their journey through the undergrowth was mostly silent for a time, aside from the jungle noises typical for this area. But when Cal’s hand was suddenly pressed against her lower back, practically on her bum, Enyd couldn’t help the small gasp of surprise. A quick glance over her shoulder and down to the ground confirmed his words, not that she really believed he’d be the type to sneak in a touch like that and then make a lame excuse. Given his vocation, he seemed more likely to openly touch her and challenge her response.

“Given the careful control common to your planet, I can’t help but find it both amusing and intriguing that you decided to become a fighter pilot. Everything about flying requires the ability to adapt to new elements, always only barely in control in a way.” Pausing in her steps, Enyd turned to study him. “Do you desire control in every aspect of your life as well? Or just in certain places?”

Re: Day 10 [1326] Chaos in the Clouds of Qo'Nos

Reply #33
[ Lt. JG Callax Valin | Mekro'vak Region | Qo'noS ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz
Cal quickly regained his balance and gave his foot a perfunctory glance to check for any open wounds. Finding none, he fell back into step with the woman.

“I suppose it is somewhat amusing when you explain it that way. A bit peculiar, even,” he began to explain. “Is not all life chaos and a lack of control though? That is the default state of the universe, after all. Without social contracts and rules a great many more of us would simply be dead in the struggle for one’s own self-preservation.”

A slight rise in the terrain caused him to scramble over some thick roots which would have been easily traversed had it not been for the blood red thorns that seemed specifically placed to cause him discomfort. Muffled curses briefly replaced his philosophical rambling. Finding purchase on flat ground again, he offered a hand in support to Enyd before continuing on towards the camp.

“Ardana conquered chaos – in their own way. Anti-gravity generators conquered gravity and the caste system conquered civil strife, if for but a time.” Stepping over a large rock, he glanced back at Enyd and met her gaze. “I will not deny that desire for control and order is in my blood. The desire to overcome and conquer chaos. To master it.”His expression turned dangerous, features accentuated by the shadows cast by the setting sun. As quickly as the veil had been lifted it had returned, iron merciless severity replaced by a warming smile and his usual calm demeanor.

“But what pleasure is there in mastering something that is already mastered?” He added with a softer tone and an only slightly mischievous grin. “Ardanans conquered the chaos they could and most contented themselves with research and the arts. They are contented with resting upon the laurels of their ancestors. I do not judge them for seeking their own peace and pleasures; but, I am not so easily contented. Of course, not all things in life need to be controlled and mastered. Some things are better left to the randomness of the universe. A chance encounter. Tragedy. Love. Some things, but not all.”

“Flying represents one of those frontiers of chaos that can never be conquered. Never be mastered. When I fly I am on the frontlines of a war that will never be won – and yet, it is one of the few places in this universe I feel truly alive. The thrill of doing battle with chaos and not knowing whether that day will be the day it finally wins is like tasting the juices of a forbidden fruit. To have one foot in the world of order and stability and the other in the feral state of nature.” Cal glanced back at Enyd and again met her gaze with his piercing eyes. “To do battle with chaos is ecstasy.”

A sound some hundred meters ahead drew his attention away from the woman. They were nearing the camp and some part of Cal wished the walk had been just a bit longer. “Almost there. Are you looking forward to some roasted trigok? If they even attempt to cook it…”

Re: Day 10 [1326] Chaos in the Clouds of Qo'Nos

Reply #34
[ Lt. Enyd Isolde Madson | Mekro'vak Region | Qo'noS ] ATTN: @Eden

Enyd was so intent on listening to Cal that she was less than careful when moving over the thorn-covered hump. One of the thorns caught her in the left heel, the intial prick painful enough to give Enyd pause, eyes closing in a wince. When she opened her eyes again, Cal was offering her a hand down, and she smiled, thankful for the gesture. Trying to distract herself from the strange tingling sensation emanating from the prick point, Enyd responded to Cal’s words, “I think each culture has its own view on what is considered chaos and control. Likely, my closet would horrify most Vulcans while barely getting a blink from your average Pakled.”

She continued following after Cal, nodding to herself as he spoke, the movement born out of a lifetime of being an active listener. As he spoke of desiring control and conquering chaos, Enyd’s mind strayed. One part drank in the sight of Cal as he stood confidently in the path, an assertive look denoting a dangerous undercurrent to his affable nature. Another part fussed over the fact that her entire left foot now felt like ants were dancing over her skin. And a third part was reflecting on her own relationship with chaos and the striving for control, namely that no matter what she did, chaos found her, and only by an endless line of contingency measures and a highly adaptable nature had she ever had any fleeting sense of control over her life.

“I wonder,” Enyd stumbled over the rock Cal had easily stepped over, blaming the dancing ants feeling in her left foot for the added level of clumsiness, “do your parents respect this trait? Are there others like you who likewise wish to find their own…uncultivated Ardana set to be conquered and tamed by their skills and invested time?”

Ducking under a low-hanging fern frond, Cal had easily shifted around, thanks to his two good feet, Enyd determined to ignore the onward creep of the ant-dancing feeling as it now circled around her left ankle and seemed to move, one tendril at a time, up into her calf. Focusing the entirety of her attention on Cal’s words, Enyd fisted her hands at her sides. The way he spoke about chaos made her inwardly laugh. Not in mirth at him, but more so at the ready fact that where he seemed love chasing chaos, she was always chased by it. If she’d been made of less stern stuff or had a more demure nature, likely Enyd would’ve ended up in a nuthouse years before, given how often she ended up in the most random and most chaotic scenarios, even with careful planning and appropriate or logical maneuverings.

“You know, Cal,” Enyd couldn’t hide the wince any longer, not now that the noisome ticklish feeling had reached her knee, “If you like chaos so much, it’s a good thing you and I found each other. Chaos seems to love me and –“

Two things cut off her words. One, less than a hundred meters ahead, a medium-sized squealing targ ran across the path, pursued by a hopping, leathery-looking avian creature approximately the size of a child. Two, a pair of talons wrapped over Enyd’s shoulders, one painfully piercing through the muscle of her right shoulder, and hoisted her off the ground without further warning. A huffed gasp of pain escaped her throat, followed by a high-pitched yelp at the unexpected attack. Enyd instinctively kicked her legs back and forth as her body was raised further off the ground, arms coming up to grab hold of the spindly legs attached to the talons. She looked up and found, to her chagrin and growing concern, that a larger version of the same type of avian had decided she looked just as tasty as a targ. The fact that she’d just been talking to Cal about chaos was not lost on the diplomat. So, despite the gravity – both literal and figurative – of her situation, Enyd couldn’t help but laugh a little in between her curses and struggles against the Klingon pterodactyls’s vice-like grip.

Re: Day 10 [1326] Chaos in the Clouds of Qo'Nos

Reply #35
[ Lt. JG Callax Valin | Mekro'vak Region | Qo'noS ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz
“I wonder… Do your parents respect this trait? Are there others like you who likewise wish to find their own…uncultivated Ardana set to be conquered and tamed by their skills and invested time?”

Cal considered Enyd’s words as he traversed a slight dip in the terrain. His mind flashed back ten years to his graduation ceremony from the Stratos Institute...

Commencement had just concluded and the students were ushered into a large reception hall where friends and family awaited. Nestled in one corner, a group of adults were standing around one cocktail table sharing friendly conversation. Even from across the expansive hall, the young graduate could make them out clearly.

On the right were his parents: an unlikely pairing to a casual observer. His father, towering over the others in his military dress uniform, had a deep voice that roared in laughter. His mother wore a neutral colored dress that clung tightly to her lithe body. Her face was calm serenity as she listened to the conversation. The consummate politician.

On the other side of the table stood Jarik Vorain, High Advisor of the Plutocracy of Ardana, a longtime family friend looking as aged and outdated as his political views. One of the “Old Guard’, he had complied with the reintegration orders and policies of the Federation Bureau of Industrialization, but only just. No more than was necessary to avoid a Federation audit.

Unfortunately for the Old Guard, Vorain was in his final term of office and if the polls were to be believed, his more moderate successor was standing across the table from him now beaming a warm smile in Cal’s direction.

“There is my firstborn,” she said with motherly pride, placing her flute glass on the table before opening her arms to embrace her son and kiss him on his cheek. “We are so proud of you.” Once his mother had released him, his father placed a hand on his shoulder before pulling him in for a hug and ruffling his hair. “Well done, my boy.”

“Congratulations, Callax,” Vorain said with a warm smile, raising his glass in a slight salute to the graduate. “You know, every High Advisor Ardana ever had was a Stratos Institute graduate.”

Cal beamed with pride at the comment. “Thank you, Jarik. An honorable legacy I will live up to.”

An aide approached the table and whispered something into the High Advisor’s ear. “Excuse me,” Vorain said with an apologetic tone to the trio. “I must return to the office and I suspect it may take me some time to escape the hall.” Cal had not noticed it at first, but on the perimeter of what was considered a polite distance, a group of families looked to be waiting to speak with the High Advisor. “Congratulations again, Callax. We will be watching your career with great interest.”

As Vorain departed, Cal’s father placed a hand on his shoulder. “Now that my firstborn is a proper adult, have you given any thought as to what you will do next? There is always a place for you in the officer corps of the defense forces, you know.”

“As well as in the High Advisor’s office. Jarik was just informing me that there was an internship available and he was none too shy in indicating that it was yours if you wanted it,” his mother added, a hopeful glint in her eye. Of course, if she was elected High Advisor then he would then be her intern. To be kept close and safe as was ever her goal.

“Actually,” Callax began somewhat nervously as he withdrew a PADD from his graduation robes. He extended it towards his parents to take. “I was accepted into Starfleet Academy. I just received the news this morning.”

The young man waited anxiously to see the reaction of his parents. Both had focused and unreadable expressions as they reviewed the acceptance letter on the PADD. The silence seemed to last longer than the few seconds of reality.

His father was the first to speak.

“My boy…” he began with a mischievous grin, a grin he had apparently inherited. “Not content chasing down pirates and arresting smugglers, eh?” He let out a deep laugh, clapping Cal’s shoulder. “Off to explore the universe then. How exciting. Oh if only I was a few decades younger I would have joined you. You will be incredible.”

“Thank you, father,” Cal said with gratitude and a bit of relief. In truth, his father was the parent he was least concerned with telling. His mother had still not looked up from the PADD, seemingly deep in contemplation. When she finally looked up from the device she was smiling, but Cal knew her well enough to know hidden in that smile was worry. Worry, concern, and disappointment.

“Well, I am impressed you were able to apply and gain sponsorship without us knowing.” A comment as much a compliment as it was a criticism. “If this is what you really want then we will not stop you.” She seemed about to add ‘be careful’ but she knew her son. He was careful in some things, others not so much. It was a quality he had gotten from his father and one she knew she could not change in him nor more than she could change in her husband. Another few seconds passed before her expression warmed significantly, seemingly having come to a new realization. “My firstborn. President of the United Federation of Planets. First Ardanan to hold the office!”

Callax laughed as a wave of relief washed away his anxiety. “Mother… I have not even graduated from the Academy!”

“Yes, well, nobody ever said the Federation Council was full of the universe’s best and brightest,” she said off-handedly, pulling him into another hug. “They will come to their senses.”

“I am not sure that is how that works,” Cal said with a smothered tone as his father joined the embrace, pressing his face into his father’s uniform.

Finally his father spoke. “Come! We have dinner guests due to arrive in an hour and I could do with a drink or two before entertaining the Sarins.”

Cal blinked and he returned to the present, suddenly aware of his own nakedness in absence of warm graduation robes. To his chagrin, he also became aware of his aches and pains.

“They were… accepting of my decisions. Most of the time,” he said neutrally. “My father more than my mother. Much of my intrepid nature I inherited from him. There was never a doubt about my parentage.” He chuckled and realized how similar even his laugh was.

“What did your parents think about your… everything? Starfleet and the lot. I have not heard you mention them much, if at all. From Earth, yes?”

They progressed on, the terrain growing worse before it got better. Everything on this planet seemed to want to kill or challenge them. No wonder the Klingons were so moody.

“You know, Cal. If you like chaos so much, it’s a good thing you and I found each other. Chaos seems to love me and –“

Cal watched in surprise as Enyd was lifted into the sky by a native avian. This woman truly was chaos incarnate, he thought to himself as her legs began to flail in resistance. Without a weapon in hand, instinct kicked in and using a fallen log, he propelled himself upwards into the air, just high enough for his hands to form a solid hold on her ankles.

He hoped their combined weight would be enough to bring the avian to the ground but he was wrong. Both of them were now ascending quickly towards the forest canopy. Trying as he might with his legs, Cal could not find purchase on a tree to pull them back down. Instead, his efforts were met with an assault on his nuts by every passing branch.

Looking up towards his companion in chaos, the view of the woman’s intimate parts would normally have been a welcome sight, especially if his face had been the intended seat for them. Alas, the sight of the vile looking avian ruined the thought and image as it pulled them ever higher.

At this point they were too high for either Starfleet officer to let go and he had no intention of dying by falling. At least, not without a say in the matter. All he could do was hold onto Enyd’s ankles and the avian finally began to descend again towards the treetop canopy. Releasing them, they both fell into what appeared to be a large nest at the top of an expansive tree. There was room to roll about, maybe about 5x5 paces, but not much else. Devoid of leaf coverage too, the breeze was chilling despite it being a volcanic planet.

“Well… Chaos is not finished with us yet, it would seem,” he mused, looking for something to tend Enyd’s shoulder injuries with. “How badly are you hurt?”

Re: Day 10 [1326] Chaos in the Clouds of Qo'Nos

Reply #36
[ Lt. Enyd Isolde Madson | Mekro'vak Region | Qo'noS ] ATTN: @Eden

Enyd didn’t have a chance to answer Cal before one of the creature’s offspring de-camouflaged itself from within the nest and made a snapping attack at them both. Approximately the size of her aunt’s Shiba Inu back on Earth, its razor-sharp-toothed bite would hurt like hell if it was given a chance. Enyd acted on instinct. The creature already being by her thigh, Enyd twisted on her back, thrusting her head into Cal’s lap, and kicked at the creature as hard as she could. The first kick caught its throat, the second its torso when it raised itself higher to try to bite her again. By this time, its sibling, also de-camouflaging on the other side of the nest, closer to Cal, decided to raise the alarm to bring back the mother.

While still kicking at the flapping fiend at her feet, cutting a few of her toes and the side of her calf when it managed a good swipe at her with its taloned feet, Enyd reached around and beneath her for anything to throw at it. With her head in Cal’s lap and a crisis playing out at her feet, she didn’t truly think it through before reaching beneath her head to see if there was a stick or something beneath them she could use. Her fingers did grab something, but with a stilling realization that she’d just grabbed Cal’s penis, Enyd quickly retracted her hand.

“I,” KICK, “am” LEG SWISH “sorry!” Enyd continued her kicking deflections, her hand still frantically reaching around the nest for a weapon, this time not Cal’s private parts. Then Enyd glanced down at what her fingers finally pried loose. The thigh bone of some creature. Good enough.

She stopped kicking so the creature would stupidly hop closer, which it did, and then she whacked it upside the head. Giving it another whack for good measure, Enyd tossed the bone in Cal’s direction, hoping he could find it as he held off his own flapping opponent. She then curled up on her back again, pulling the head-lolling heavy creature onto her feet, and abruptly straightened her legs. The thusly yeeted creature hit the side of the nest and came out its daze just in time to squawk before disappearing.

“Hey, Cal,” Enyd turned to help him, but her words died out when she spied another enormous creature of an entirely different species approaching the nest in pursuit of the mother. Talk about out of the frying pan and into the fire!

Re: Day 10 [1326] Chaos in the Clouds of Qo'Nos

Reply #37
[ Lt. JG Callax Valin | Mekro'vak Region | Qo'noS ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz
The scuffle was over almost as quickly as it had begun. Dropped into the nest, the pair were successful in fighting off the winged creature after some none too organized attacks and a workplace harassment complaint waiting to happen. The winged creature was gone, clubbed over the head by Cal and tossed over the edge by Enyd. He doubted the creature would have gained consciousness in time before it hit the rough ground cover below.

Alas, chaos was the ruler of the day and all Cal could do was follow its lead as another creature appeared.

“I did not take you for a polearm fighter,” he teased through heavy breathing as he collected his breath. He used his free hand to tap the inside of his thighs for emphasis on what he was alluding to. “Though your grip could use some work.”

Though he was smirking, his focus was entirely on the newcomer to the nest, what appeared to be a long leathery skinned cat-like creature. The body was where comparisons to a feline ended though. The snout was long and pointed like an alligator with double rows of razor sharp teeth. Drool dripped freely from the creature’s mouth as it bared its teeth upon sighting what was no doubt a larger meal than it had expected in the nest.

“I have no intention of dying here; but, if we should meet an early and unfortunate demise, I just want you to know you have a rather fine arse.” Comedy and wit were some of his coping mechanisms when facing extreme odds and near certainty of death. Death, of course, was a common companion when one was a fighter pilot. He did not fear death having faced it on numerous occasions, but that did not mean he was comfortable with it.

Taking a defensive posture in front of Enyd, he waited and watched the beast as it began to circle them. The bone she had tossed to him was sharp on one end and just maybe sharp enough to pierce the beast’s flesh if it should pounce. One upward jab to the neck would be his only chance before his own neck and head found themselves crushed in the jaws of the predator.

“This planet sucks.”

As if insulted by the remark, the beast leapt forwards closing the distance in just one fluid motion. It collided with Cal who fell backwards against the edge of the nest. The two, beast and man, went still along with the forest around them. The beast, impaled through the neck with the bone, had died but not before it had clamped its jaws around the Ardanan’s neck. Pushing the beast off of him and to the side, Cal spit bloody saliva onto its corpse.

He was in bad shape, with several deep wounds to his neck beginning to bleed. Despite this, he managed to shakily get to his feet.

“I think,” he began to say through strained breathing. “I would like some of that cooked Trigok now.”

Re: Day 10 [1326] Chaos in the Clouds of Qo'Nos

Reply #38
[ Lt. Enyd Isolde Madson | Mekro'vak Region | Qo'noS ] ATTN: @Eden

The crash through the jungle canopy was thunderous and painful for all. Sporting a goose egg on her forehead and more than a dozen cuts all over her body thanks to the crush of the ruined nest and that earlier punk of a creature, it took Enyd a few gasping moments of staring at the sky to realize what had happened. She recalled Cal’s tenacious mirth and teasing before and during the attack by the new Klingon creature, and then everything became a blur. Hearing his voice again, Enyd turned his head and gaped, awed that he could stand while bleeding so profusely from the wounds in his neck, and still confused to feel the ground beneath her body.

“Oh,” the flash of memory of falling with the nest and creature came back to her in a rush, and Enyd rolled onto her side, “We need to get you looked after!” Moving into a quadruped position, Enyd frowned when she felt the world spin and her stomach roil. That wasn’t good and probably connected to the throbbing she felt in her head now that her senses were coming back to her.

“You off-worlders know how to have a good time!” Enyd dry heaved when she turned her head too quickly, hearing Anik’s voice as the youth and a small party of his peers approached. Likely, they’d heard the roars and commotion, and Rik’evet had sent them to investigate. Anik moved to Cal first, attracted to the blood, “Your blood is such a strange color.”

“We need medical attention,” Enyd rasped through the waves of nausea, moving into a kneeling position slowly, “that strange-colored blood needs to be stopped and quick.”

Anik snorted. He signaled a few of the youth to come to his side, taking up position beside Cal and half-dragging, half-carrying, they moved back through the brush in the direction where they’d first appeared. Anik honored Enyd with his aid, or at least that seemed to be his opinion on the matter when he hoisted her into his arms with an enormous smirk. Even amid her spins, Enyd noticed that now only she and Cal were naked.

“I’m sure my uncle has what you need. He never comes on these hunts without gear.” Anik was not at all subtle in looking at Enyd’s chest, the same curious expression on his face as when he’d studied Cal’s blood. “Are all human women your size? They’re so,” he tipped his head to the side as he sought the correct word, “IHqu.”

Enyd only knew the word because Pa’Qis had used it, paired with all sorts of animals and creatures from Qo’Nos, to describe Enyd. Instinctively crossing her arms over her chest, Enyd sighed. He’d probably drop her if she insulted him, and with a potential concussion, that would be less than ideal.

“I will take that as a compliment.” Anik snorted, not confirming or denying the intent. “And no, not all human women have ‘cute’ breasts. Many are more…fluffy and pillowy than mine, and some are smaller.”

“Smaller?” Anik looked horrified, and Enyd had to count to five mentally to keep her expression neutral in response. She realized Klingon women were fairly well-endowed as a norm, and the thought of anything smaller than her would be a shock to the youth. “How can they nurse their children? And can you nurse? There doesn’t seem to be enough to-“

“Anik,” Rik’evet’s stern voice cut through the youth’s babbling as they neared his erected tent, where he already stood next to a cot, treating Cal’s wounds, “you may set Lieutenant Madsen on that cot over there and fetch me some gH’ret root and ti’Qh leaves. Work with your cousin to make both of them some tea.” Catching Enyd’s gaze, the older Klingon offered a smile, “I’ve given this tea to other non-Klingons, and it seems to work the same across species. Activates the cells used for healing wounds, speeding up recovery.” He looked back to Cal and sighed, “You may not want to do it, but I recommend you drink some of the trigok blood mixed with loy’Hr sap. It has a naturally occurring glycoprotein hormone that will increase your red blood cell reproduction. You’ll still feel dizzy until your body fully replaces what you lost, but it should get you by until you return to your ship.”

Anik returned with the requested items and hovered, somehow knowing his uncle would give him more fetch and return missions. Which Rik’evet did, sending Anik back into the jungle to find a few more natural items that would treat Enyd’s throbbing head and help seal both her and Cal’s smaller wounds. As he worked, Rik’evet monitored both patients, understanding that while one was weak from blood loss, the other was just shy of loopy from a head knock.

“Will you be returning to the ship now? We can send some of the trigok meat with you if you feel you cannot remain for the feast.”

Enyd glanced over Rik’evet’s shoulder, catching Cal’s gaze. Returning to the ship and getting patched up quickly and efficiently with their more advanced technology and medicines would be smarter. But, despite the headache, Enyd hated the idea of leaving this opportunity to experience something most off-worlders never did.

Re: Day 10 [1326] Chaos in the Clouds of Qo'Nos

Reply #39
[ Lt. JG Callax Valin | Mekro'vak Region | Qo'noS ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz
Cal did not really come to. Rather, he slowly became aware of the rough jungle floor beneath him covered with foliage and grass that really did not need to be as sharp as it was. It seemed everything on this planet wanted to be dangerous to some degree even if just for the sake of keeping up appearances. He imagined in his loopy state some ranking system that pitted plant against plant in their quest to be the most dangerous.

“Ow,” he mumbled, finding only sharp pangs of pain when he tried to turn his head or move his body. Unable to angle his head to get a clearer look he noticed who he assumed to be Enyd, curves somehow still visible despite the blurriness. He made an attempt to speak but was cut off by a harsh voice. A silhouette appeared above him, vaguely in the shape of a Klingon and he squinted to get a better look.

“What is a Klingon doing on Qo’noS? That is so weird.” He would have chuckled had the sky not begun to spin. Nausea came in sharp waves as someone lifted his head and began to drag him. Dragged! How uncouth of them. He was a city-dweller. He deserved proper respect. At least a litter! The thought of rocking on a litter though, even held by competent porters, made him sick up onto a bronze colored arm.

“Your blood is such a strange color.” He heard a growling voice say as lights swirled and his head began to pound.

“We need medical attention. That strange-colored blood needs to be stopped and quick.”

“Why is everybody calling my blood strange? Your blood is strange!” He quipped, words slurred and barely coherent. He felt his feet being dragged across the jungle floor but still could not move them.

He faded in and out for who knew how long, waking only to hear broken commentary about breasts. “...Fluffy and pillowy than mine, and some are smaller.”

“Enyd’s breasts?” He asked, eyes only half open staring at the sky and accent slurred. “I am glad you asked. I think they would make for a fine pillow. I bet fun to hold too. Also, I would not mind my head between those thig–” Cal trailed off as overwhelming discomfort forced him again into unconsciousness.

This time when he woke he was in a cot in a tent. His head still hurt like hell but he could see better now and turn his head without throwing up, although fast movements were likely to ruin whatever control he had. The elder Klingon was explaining something about a drink and trigok blood. It was always something about blood with these people. Klingon blood wine, blood oaths, blood feuds, it was so bloody damn silly.

“I will drink the tea and the blood,” Cal struggled to say through a painful cough. It took every ounce of his strength just to raise his head high enough to drink the liquid that Rik’evet gave him. It took even more willpower not to throw it back up onto the Klingon’s boots. Liquid downed, he rested his head back onto the cot and stared up at the roof of the tent. He was utterly and thoroughly exhausted. The cot might as well have been the down feather mattress in his bedchamber on Ardana, the comfort infinitely better than the rough ground.

“Will you be returning to the ship now? We can send some of the trigok meat with you if you feel you cannot remain for the feast.” He heard the Klingon ask.

“No, no,” Cal was quick to say, struggling to mouth the words. “I did not come this far just to give up now. We will join the feast.” He spoke on behalf of Enyd without even thinking what her answer might be. Though, given the time spent together thus far, he could hazard a guess that she would not argue the decision.

“Very well,” Rik’evet said, depositing the empty cup on a chest before exiting the tent. “The feast will begin shortly.”

Left alone in the tent, Cal managed to tilt his head enough to get a look at Enyd. They were both in rough shape but he was glad that she appeared to be in better condition than himself. “How long was I out? I remember waking up from the fall and a Klingon standing over me.”

He groaned in pain as his body fought his efforts to turn onto its side. A shiver ran up his arms and side as he felt his member flop onto the cold metal bars holding up the cot. At least that was still there.

“I invited us to the party. I hope you do not have conflicting dinner plans for the evening,” he managed to tease, eyeing her wounds that had clearly been tended to by the Klingons. “What is dinner etiquette with Klingons anyway and how fucked am I? Will I be expected to start a fist fight? Seduce one of their sisters? Swing a bat’leth?”

Cal shifted one leg off the side of the cot and attempted to put weight on it. A bad idea, it would turn out. Rising slowly, he contented himself to sitting up on the cot, his toes just touching the ground. “Give me a hand? I do not think I will be able to support my own weight.”

Re: Day 10 [1326] Chaos in the Clouds of Qo'Nos

Reply #40
[ Lt. Enyd Isolde Madson | Mekro'vak Region | Qo'noS ] ATTN: @Eden

Giving her friend a small smile as he departed the tent, Enyd picked up the luxurious purple loose-fitted tunic Rik’evet had left for her to wear, with a matching one for Cal, and began to pull it over her arms when Cal spoke up. His question made her smirk. Hearing a subtle thump also drew her attention upwards, and she chuckled, with a blush tinging her cheeks, when she saw that the thump had been from his penis flopping onto the hard surface of the cross bars of the cot.

“Well, you were loopy enough to declare my breasts the perfect handhold after finding it strange that a Klingon was on Qo’Nos and growing a bit surly that they found your blood a strange color,” Enyd’s mirth lilted through her voice as she stood up and carefully gave her body a shake, allowing the tunic to fall down the length of her body, the bottom hem stopping at her calves and the scoop neck almost falling off both her shoulders. “So I’m not sure if you were ever completely out so much as rendered a dufus from blood loss.”

Enyd closed the distance between her cot and his, “I was hoping to go to the barbeque, so I’m glad you accepted. And while I do have an engagement later this evening, we still have enough time to find ourselves in another awkward incident before returning to the ship.” Picking up the almost silk-like material of Cal’s tunic, Enyd’s smile broadened at his questions regarding Klingon etiquette. “Since we aren’t in the city or at a major function, I doubt we’re as fucked as we might be in those more formal circumstances. Rik’evet will keep an eye on us, and I’m sure there’ll be hell to pay if someone tries to do something too serious while he’s around. But I can assure you that yes, at least one of your hypotheticals, or at least a version of it, is likely a standard practice.”

She watched his efforts to stand with a frown. It seemed unlikely that he’d be able to walk on his own for a while yet, making her curious if Rik’evet had gone to find a makeshift crutch for Cal to use until they could return to the ship.

Shaking the tunic in the air between them, Enyd chuckled, “If you’re going to fall on me, which I have every reason to presume will happen considering the differences in our statures, want to get dressed first? I already tried to use your cock as a sword earlier; I’d hate to use it as a handhold if you fall now.”

Anik came into the tent long enough to deposit a recently hewn stick, obviously to be used as a cane, with sticky sap still oozing out of one end of it. He sneered at Enyd, his expression difficult to read, before leaving them alone again. Outside, they could hear the revelry already beginning, and the delicious smells of food wafted through on a heavy breeze.

Re: Day 10 [1326] Chaos in the Clouds of Qo'Nos

Reply #41
[ Lt. JG Callax Valin | Mekro'vak Region | Qo'noS ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz
“Well, they are the perfect handhold, are they not?”

The Ardanan managed to get out some cheek before the ache of moving grounded him back into reality. He was upright at least but certainly feeling pains in places he did not know could ache, even after discovering new places just this very day. “And excuse you. They were perfectly good inquiries. Why do Klingons choose to live on this hellscape of a rock anyways? And what is wrong with my blood?”

He rolled his eyes and nearly vomited because of it but held the nausea in by sheer willpower. When she mentioned getting dressed, he silently acquiesced and reached out for the silk garment. His pride did not allow him to ask for assistance with the task. It was not that he would think less of himself if Enyd were to help him, it was more to keep up appearances with the Klingons that he was not as weak as he looked. Or felt. Or really was. Here was hoping a gentle breeze would not knock him over.

“Well that would be a first. Cannot say I have ever heard someone say they hate using my cock,” he said as he lifted the garment above his head and over his shoulders, allowing it to fall to his waist from his seated position. It only made him partially decent as the extra limb in question was still visible.

At Anik he beamed a pearly white smile. “Thank you for the stick. Honor to your house.” The Ardanan’s words were not without a slight hint of jest. Just enough to avoid any trouble, he hoped.

Leaning forward, he grabbed the stick and used it to lift himself up, placing much of his weight upon it. Now standing, the garment fell down the remainder of the way to make him properly decent, though it still only reached his knees. It was comfortable but far too drafty. He preferred more tailored and form-fitting garments but he was certainly not going to complain.

He took a gingerly step forward, impressed at how much weight he could put on the newly cut stick without it bending or warping. At least the trees on Qo’noS had utility.

If there were any additional articles of clothing to put on he managed to get them on without too much difficulty. More than once he visibly winced from certain motions but everything still seemed to work. He would be sore but he would live.

“Ready?” Cal asked his Starfleet companion once he had finished. A shallow basin of clean water had allowed him to wash some of the muck from his face though his hair was beyond rescuing without additional grooming supplies. “Please tell me I do not look like some ancient druidic spirit. All I am missing is an avian nest in my hair though I have had enough of avian nests for one day.”

The sounds of revelry were calling to him as well as the prospect of some cooked food. He hoped it was cooked anyways. With Klingons you never knew.

When Cal emerged from the tent, the camp had transformed into a small celebration minus any banners or streamers. Already some were imbibing in blood colored liquid out of drinking mugs and laughing with each other. Opposite a large campfire where a spit for the meat had been set up, two klingons wrestled with each other.

He found Rik’evet sitting on a camp chair near the fire pit but was directed towards a makeshift bench made from a fallen tree when he tried to approach. Cal lowered himself onto the log, leaving room for Enyd if she wished. It was not comfortable but it was a seat and the walk from the tent had not been without anguish.

Before long he was handed a goblet of what he could only assume was blood wine. He did not care for the strong liquid but drank it greedily. No need to insult the hosts and the beverage did come with the benefit of a buzz that helped reduce his pain.

Re: Day 10 [1326] Chaos in the Clouds of Qo'Nos

Reply #42
[ Lt. Enyd Isolde Madson | Mekro'vak Region | Qo'noS ] ATTN: @Eden

Enyd laughed, briefly glancing down at her chest before giving a haphazard shrug. "I suppose they would be for a paramour but I can honestly say I've never intentionally reached down and grabbed hold of them just for kicks and giggles." She took on a mock offended look for the same of their hosts. "One man's hell is another's heaven. You're less like to have neighbors come knocking on your door, asking for sugar, if your house is in the middle of a fetid swamp or festering desert, no? The location seems to have impacted the culture, for the good or bad of it, and I find it fascinating. If," she chuckled, looking first as Cal's injuries and status then at her own, "a little inconveniently dangerous for off-worlders."

Enyd hovered nearby while he dressed, gently reaching forward to help tug certain articles of clothing over certain bulging areas when it became apparent his impeded mobility would prevent his ability to do so for himself. His comment about his cock had Enyd snorting, her head shaking from side to side as she stood back.

"No complaint, I'm sure it is a suitable handhold for the right circumstances. A most...uplifting handhold indeed." Winking, she turned away just long enough to get the last of her outfit secured, turning back around at Cal's question about his appearance. "If you look the druid I look the witch and together we can frighten our crewmates when we beam back looking like this. I personally think, before we make the effort to clean up, we go to the lounge and get a drink looking exactly like this. May our appearance itself serve as a warning to our peers of what perils and delights await them on some of these Qo'Nos tours they have advertised across the ship."

Close by his side, Enyd ventured out to join the party. They were quickly offered food and drink and shuffled over to a log closest to Rik'evet. Knowing she'd likely get drunk on one sip alone if she didn't have at least something on her stomach, Enyd took the time to eat a few bits of meat before washing it down with the wine. Her efforts to stave off the buzz were in vain, however, and soon enough she was leaning against Cal with the cup held loosely between her fingers, a goofy grin on her face as she watched the fellow revelers sing and dance around the campsite.

"Did you ever have parties like this growing up, Cal, or was your childhood as uptight as I've been imagining it to be?"

Re: Day 10 [1326] Chaos in the Clouds of Qo'Nos

Reply #43
[ Lt. JG Callax Valin | Mekro'vak Region | Qo'noS ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz
"If you look the druid, I look the witch and together we can frighten our crewmates when we beam back looking like this. I personally think, before we make the effort to clean up, we go to the lounge and get a drink looking exactly like this. May our appearance itself serve as a warning to our peers of what perils and delights await them on some of these Qo'Nos tours they have advertised across the ship."

“What are the chances they will think we just came from the holodeck?” He thought aloud, grinning at the mental image of the pair of them at the bar around well-dressed Starfleet personnel. “In either case, I am in. I cannot have the ship thinking I am some preppy spoiled rich kid from Ardana and the gossip will be good for my reputation.”

The pair proceeded to join the celebration. After some time, and a generous amount of blood wine, Cal found himself still comfortably seated upon the fallen log, a comfortable buzz dulling the pain and bringing a smile to his face as he watched the reveling. A tipsy Enyd leaned against him, loosely holding onto her cup.

"Did you ever have parties like this growing up, Cal, or was your childhood as uptight as I've been imagining it to be?" She asked him, watching the revelers sing and dance.

“Mmm, do you want the official diplomatic answer or the true answer?” Cal replied, meeting her grin. “Oh who am I kidding, you want the true answer. Officially, no. Most of the familial parties were formal affairs. Political meetings masquerading as parties. Us youths were expected to be on our best behavior.”

He cast a drunken smirk in Enyd’s direction. “But the afterparties… Those were a different affair entirely. You see, while the adults conducted their business, we youths or those who at least considered themselves to be youthful would excuse ourselves and proceed to what you humans refer to as barhopping. More often than not we would end up at some nightclub in the maintenance levels of Stratos and I would end up returning home with… well.” Cal paused, giving a thumbs up to a passing dancer who barked something celebratory in his direction before winking at Enyd. “I do not kiss and tell.”

A cheerful tune caused him to begin bopping his head and humming along. He found some Klingon music to be quite enjoyable. Or was that the blood wine talking?

“And what of you? Spill your secrets. I will admit with regret I am unfamiliar with your own upbringing but if I had to hazard a guess I would say chaotic?” He gently bopped the tip of her nose with a soft chuckle. “Or was it one of rigid rules and formality? You cannot lie. I am a truth-reader when I drink. It is a special skill of mine.”

Re: Day 10 [1326] Chaos in the Clouds of Qo'Nos

Reply #44
[ Lt. Enyd Isolde Madson | Mekro'vak Region | Qo'noS ] ATTN: @Eden

Enyd’s mirth fell in with the general din of the celebration as she listened to Cal’s descriptions of the after-parties. As a diplomat, she’d seen her fair share of orgy-like gatherings but had thought little of them since, in the context, they’d been representative of the culture she was dealing with. Enyd had never taken part in said orgy-like events when invited, using her skills at learning cultural dancing to be part of the party but not IN the party, as it were. What Cal described reminded Enyd of some of her Montanan peers who chose to go to the cities for education. Her education had been primarily on the premises of Yew Valley Farms, under the guidance of officially hired tutors but also all the men and women who worked the ranch.

As her parents had rarely been home because of Intelligence work, Enyd’s primary educators had been the cowhands and farmers, the rough and tumble of society, and many of them from beyond Earth’s borders. Her early interest in cultures had likely come from the officially appropriate stories her parents brought home from work and the various aliens who sometimes wandered through wanting a taste of the good, hard life that could be found on a Terran ranch. Enyd had learned how to wrestle a steer and barrel race while she’d also learned how to walk the balance beam and trapeze. The entirety of her childhood was like a tightrope walk, but in the most delightful way, sometimes the rough and ready, down and dirty of ranch life, and sometimes the softer, more eclectic artistic ventures a highly imaginative and tenacious young girl enjoyed.

Her first foray beyond the community borders had been to the Metternich on Vulcan, so the after-parties, if there even had been another remotely akin to one, were a far cry from what Cal had lived. The diplomat explained all this to the pilot in a somewhat slurring matter-of-fact tone, adding, “My grandmother had her ways, but I don’t think anyone could label her as formal. We had so many celebrations and gatherings at the ranch. Every holiday, it seemed like someone asked to have a party at our place, and we were always happy to host. Always lots of food since everyone brought something. Lots of music, since everyone brought some sort of instrument, it seemed. So much dancing. I remember one year, two people fractured their feet but kept on dancing, saying the doctor was too busy dancing to look at it anyway.”

Enyd giggled, then snorted, then laughed at the sounds she’d made, falling against Cal’s side again and settling more comfortably. He really was nice and warm and comfy. Her gaze languidly followed the dancers and singers of this celebration, and her lips quirked upward in a dreamy sort of smile.

“My first kiss wasn’t until I was just about in college, so you can presume that the other firsts came after. Much after. And, as we discussed earlier, despite my chaos, I’ve had very little experience in the sexy schmexy shenanigans,” she giggled, “you know, the likes that happen at your after-parties.”

As if pulled forward by the goddess of chaos herself, Rik’evet chose that moment to approach. First, he inquired after their health and the status of their stomachs. Then, once he was satisifed with their answers, he shifted almost nervously on his feet, glancing over his shoulder at a group of almost feral-looking women, hovering on the other side of the fire.

“Enyd, it seems you’ve been invited to join the g’Htali dance.” Enyd sat up straighter, immediately curious about the dance. "I told the women you were injured earlier and probably not keen on –“

“I’d love to!” Shoving her cup into Cal’s hands, Enyd surged to her feet and almost immediately regretted it. Rik’evet had to brace her shoulders to keep her from falling back into Cal. “I mean, I won’t be able to jump or twirl as much, but I’m happy to join and do what I can. I take it, it’s a women’s only dance?” Rik’evet nodded. “Okay, I’ll go join them.” She twisted to flash Cal a mischievous smile. “This way, if it’s a mate claiming dance, I can get you instead of her,” she jerked her thumb over her shoulder where a behemoth woman stood staring at Cal as if she wanted to eat him, “Catch ya later!”

Her path was marginally crooked, thanks to the alcohol, but she made it to the women without falling into the fire. The explanation was more miming with some brief examples made by the women with a few verbal prompts, but for the most part, Enyd was left to follow along as an awkward tagalong once the dance started. As predicted, she couldn’t twist or leap as much as the others, and not only because it was her first time doing the dance. More than once, she nearly toppled into the fire or into the lap of a leering Klingon, but she laughed and exuded an air of delight all the while.

Enyd was so caught up just in dancing to the music, throwing more than a few moves from the other cultures she’d gleaned them from, that she didn’t catch when it was in the dance that the women found a man—or the man found them—and the dance turned into a partnered dance. But she startled and nearly fell over when strong, very Klingon hands gripped around her waist, and she suddenly felt a very manly body press up against her. She felt the heat of his body and breath as he laughed and gyrated against her. It was obvious, after a few seconds of processing the change, that he wasn’t trying to make sexual overtures but was merely following the other dancers, but it was still enough of a shock to Enyd that she stumbled, and they both tripped. The Klingon laughed even louder when he had to pick her up by her waist and swing her around like a doll to prevent her from falling into the fire—again.

Re: Day 10 [1326] Chaos in the Clouds of Qo'Nos

Reply #45
[ Lt. JG Callax Valin | Mekro'vak Region | Qo'noS ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz
The Starfleet officer listened to his comrade’s words as closely as he could manage with the buzz settling in. So much stimuli surrounded him it was difficult to concentrate too closely on any one thing. Still, he did his best to pay attention to her story. He had actually been to Montana one weekend during his time at the Academy. He had gone hiking and mountain climbing in Glacier National Park. It was a fond memory, though fuzzy in recall at this moment in time.

“It sounds like a supportive upbringing,” he managed to say. “A community upbringing it would seem. The employees of your family business helped raise you? That is not common on Ardana. We are still quite stratified.”

There was a joke in there but he could not remember it. Something about Stratos and stratification. A derogatory joke told by the city-dwellers to each other that reinforced the idea that they were higher, both socially and literally, than the troglodytes. This particular Ardanan had never quite been a fan of those jokes.

For once, Cal was glad to be an observer of the festivities. When Enyd got pulled into the dance by one of the klingons, the pilot was glad to hold her cup of wine and watch. He was laughing and bobbing his head to the music as Rik’evet sat down on the bench beside him after saving the woman from an unceremonious fall.

“Your mate is a feisty one,” he began to say, blood wine dripping down the corners of his mouth. “You must have bested many suitors.”

Cal shook his head, focusing still on Enyd as she followed along with the dance the best she could. Anything he could do to avoid the lascivious gaze of one klingon dancer. She was very well-endowed but in his current state he doubted he would survive long with that one. If at all. There was finishing early and then there was finishing early and he was not one to willingly seek a torpedo burial just yet.

“Oh, she is not my mate though I could be considered lucky if she was,” Cal said with slurred speech, watching the dancers move about the fire. “She is quite unique amongst Starfleet officers. Chaos seems to follow her more than any other I have known.”

Rik’evet just laughed at that. “That is like my first mate. Fine times we had. Remember Starfleet, like a battlefield a relationship can be a scene of constant chaos. The winner is the one who controls that chaos and speaking from experience, it makes the victory all that sweeter.”

Cal just blinked. “Did you just quote Napoleon Bonaparte…?” he began to ask before getting cut off by a hoarse laugh. Rik’evet patted his shoulder and stood up to rejoin the others, downing the remainder of his wine as he himself joined the dance.

Left alone on his log, Cal began to realize just how tipsy he was. The flames of the fire were becoming blurred but he was still in control of his faculties. One of the appreciated side effects was that he no longer felt the pain in his body. Oh, he was sure it was still there, but at that moment it was dulled enough that Cal felt confident when he placed the cup on the ground and rose to his feet. Taking a few ginger steps forward, he approached Enyd and her dance partner just as he saved her from falling into the fire.

“I will take this next dance,” Cal said confidently, extending a hand to Enyd. The Klingon barked a laugh and like Rik’evet, patted him on his shoulder before quickly finding another woman to dance with. “I could not let you have all the fun,” he said with a cheeky grin, pulling her close as the song picked up in tempo.

Re: Day 10 [1326] Chaos in the Clouds of Qo'Nos

Reply #46
[ Lt. Enyd Isolde Madson | Mekro'vak Region | Qo'noS ] ATTN: @Eden

Enyd’s eyes widened when the hulking Klingon switched out for the lither Cal. Her gaze grew troubled despite the debonair attitude of the pilot, glancing down at his leg and wordlessly asking with her gaze whether he should even be dancing. When he continued to sway the music, albeit with less poise than if he’d been uninjured, Enyd followed his lead. If Cal was feeling no pain, be it from alcohol or medicine or both, and he wanted to dance, he was an adult, and she saw no reason to diminish her own pleasure out of a misplaced desire to mother him.

With one hand on his shoulder and the other cradled in his hand, Enyd continued to happily let Cal twist and turn her around the fire as one song ended and another began. The Klingons shared a guffaw before quickly falling into the new song with renewed gusto and shouted sing-song voices. The song, alien in nature and lyrics, still held enough similarity to an old tune the ranch hands used to sing that Enyd giggled, dropping her head forward to rest in the crook of Cal’s neck for but a moment before she pulled back with a grin.

“I’m going to sing to you.” Her smile took on a more impish quality. “Mind you, it is not a translation of what they’re singing, but the melody is similar enough that it'll work with a bit of a stretch here and there.” Clearing her throat, Enyd opened her mouth to start but she interrupted herself. “Oh, you probably need some insight otherwise, the joke of the song will be lost. Um,” she sucked in her lower lip as she mentally ran through the song’s lyrics, trying to pinpoint keywords the Ardanan might struggle with.

Her mind so wrapped up in this, she became the model dance partner, her body molding to Cal’s perfectly as she instinctively adjusted to all his micro movements. When her consciousness kicked back into focus, however, she stumbled slightly and muttered an apology.

“Scotland was a European country and the men there used to wear kilts. They are long swathes of fabric wrapped around the waist resembling a skirt but having lots of folds and pleats and offering quite a draft, perfect for a hot day. They’re still worn for ceremonies and Zark, you know Zark right, she likes to wear one too, though women didn’t really wear kilts, they just wore plaid dresses and skirts and…oh my.” Enyd laughed, letting her head drop forward again, slower this time in pulling back. “I’m rambling. In any case, the word ‘bonny’ means good-looking, handsome, or pretty, and yeah. I think that’s the bulk of key terms.”

Enyd had to wait for the beat and melody of the song to shift back in her favor before she began. First, she hummed the tune and moved her hand from Cal’s shoulder to rest on his upper chest, patting out the beat of the song so he could pay closer attention to her words and song over that of the background fracas of the Klingons. Then she began the song, not caring if she sounded good or not. It was the type of song that sounded best when sung with an air of mirth anyway, and that rarely sounded spectacular unless the person was a trained singer, which she was not.
While she sang, Cal continued to lead through in the dance, both of them careful not to veer too close to the other dancers but still having to pause in the song to readjust themselves out of harm’s way a time or two.

Enyd emphasized her rendition of the Scottish accent when she finally got to the point of the song where the Scotsman himself was speaking, rolling her words and making more guttural sounds as she gave the flourishing finish, “Och! Lad, I don’t know where ye’ve been but I see ye won first prize!” She finally gave over the fit of laughter she’d been fighting all the while, thanks in part to Cal’s facial expressions as she worked through the song's narrative. “Did you like it?”

Before he could answer, the general mood of the area shifted from high-octane revelry to a more subdued, not quite romantic, but certainly not-not romantic feeling. Enyd gazed over Cal’s shoulder to catch the other Klingon female staring at them, her lips pulled back in an obvious lecherous grin. She rolled her shoulders and cracked her neck, barking something to her comrades before she started towards Cal and Enyd.

Enyd stiffened in the pilot’s arms, whispering, “You better think fast otherwise you’re going to have an armful of lusty Klingon female.”

Re: Day 10 [1326] Chaos in the Clouds of Qo'Nos

Reply #47
[ Lt. JG Callax Valin | Mekro'vak Region | Qo'noS ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz
It took much of Cal’s concentration not to wince with every movement they made. He was grateful for the formal dance classes he attended as a child as muscle memory largely allowed him to lead the pair in dance despite wavering legs. He would be damned if he let an injury sideline him from one of the only bits of non-lethal fun they could have on the planet. It helped that Enyd was proficient as well, perfectly molding to his body as they improvised their way through the klingon melodies. However, that presented its own set of challenges.

For one, it caused the hairs on the back of his neck to prickle. As she placed his palm on his chest, it was not the touch that caused a wave of emotion to flow through his body, but her warmth. How long had it been since he held a woman this way? Felt the warmth of another? Not since his deployment on the Jadestone, he reckoned. Years. Too long. Even if this was just a dance of friends and went no further, it was nice. More than nice. Stress and weight he did not know he carried on his shoulders melted away. He felt lighter, or maybe that was his legs beginning to give way. Regardless, this was positively delightful.

Cal closed his eyes as Enyd began to sing, allowing himself to sway to the music. She had provided context to the song which he had appreciated though some aspects of Scottish culture he did not understand. The men wore skirts called kilts? But then also women wear them? It must be drafty for all genders involved. He doubted they would work well on Stratos. The winds alone would no doubt expose the nether regions of their wearers. It did not matter. The song was sweet and much easier to relate to than tartan fashion. He even hummed along once he picked up some aspects of the melody.

“Och! Lad, I don’t know where ye’ve been but I see ye won first prize! Did you like it?” She asked him, giving in to a fit of laughter. Cal could not help but do the same, grinning as he opened his eyes. “It was beautiful. You might have had quite the career as a cloudsinger.”

Stiffening in his arms, she leaned in to whisper in his ear. “You better think fast otherwise you’re going to have an armful of lusty Klingon female.”

Cal followed her gaze to the busty Klingon woman heading in their direction. While he could appreciate a fine endowment, he had little interest in Klingon women. There was something about crooked teeth and creased foreheads that just did not do it for him. Before he could formulate a reply, the warrior had reached him.

“Starfleet. I will have this man,” the Klingon barked at Enyd, a drip of blood wine falling from the edge of her mouth. It was not a request. What she meant by ‘have’ was anybody’s guess. None of the possibilities thrilled him.

“Now now,” Cal began to say, mustering up what strength he had to stand just a bit taller and prouder. “I am not some commodity to be traded at market. If I was, I deserve at least a formal auction. Preferably alongside other pieces of priceless art…”

“Be silent,” she barked with a menacing tone at Cal, cutting him off mid-sentence. “I will have my way with you soon enough.” Turning back towards Enyd, she narrowed her eyes with equally menacing intent. “Do you protest and lay claim to this man?”

Cal flashed pleading eyes in Enyd’s direction, a lost puppy seeking a refuge from the rain. He blinked SOS in morse code. Suddenly his legs limbs felt a lot weaker than they had been minutes before.

Re: Day 10 [1326] Chaos in the Clouds of Qo'Nos

Reply #48
[ Lt. Enyd Isolde Madson | Mekro'vak Region | Qo'noS ] ATTN: @Eden

Enyd eyed the much larger woman with the bemused look of a woman who’d already lived through far more chaos than was likely healthy in a day, presently feeling the pleasant numbing qualities of strong liquor. She detected Cal's voice as if through a tunnel filled with fluffy cotton, but his words were lost on her ears. The Klingon woman maintained a level stare with Enyd and barked at Cal to be quiet, cutting her gaze from Enyd toward the pilot long enough to send him a leering snarl.

Squaring her shoulders back, Enyd pulled her upper lip back in her best snarl, “I’ll do more than fucking protest.”

Seizing Cal, hands gripping his head in an almost painful grip, Enyd moved without hesitation, surging upward as she also brought his face down. She sank her teeth into the fleshiest part of his cheek, holding tight even when she heard his pained response and felt him squirming in her grip. She let go only when she tasted the first hints of blood and no longer had the strength to keep up her hold. Enyd intentionally left the bright sheen of his blood on her lips when she again faced the Klingon woman. She spaced her legs wide, putting her hands on her hips, and tilted her head back to again snarl bloodied teeth at her.

The woman blinked at Enyd for a few heart-hammering moments, during which Enyd realized the music had stopped and all had likewise ceased their revelry, so intent on seeing how this would turn out. The Klingon woman shifted closer, bending down to sniff Enyd’s face. Enyd knew better than to flinch, keeping her firm stance. Behind her, she could hear Cal’s continued response to the assault. Still, he would have to wait until this woman backed down or reinitiated for the next level before Enyd could hope to offer an apology or explanation.

“You must be mad, Starfleet.” The Klingon woman laughed, clapping a firm enough hand on Enyd’s back so suddenly she nearly face-planted into the dirt. “I like that.” She quickly shoved Enyd to the side despite Enyd’s posturing and leaned into Cal’s personal space. “Don’t fuck with her,” she gestured toward Enyd, “or you’ll answer to me.” She paused, looked at Enyd, gave her a wink, and then grabbed Cal by the face, hauling him in for an intense kiss.

Enyd hung off the woman’s arm during the brief kiss, tugging at the more muscular woman to let go. Again, she was almost flung into the fire when the woman mercilessly let go with another guffawing laugh and pushed Cal and Enyd back toward the log to sit.

“Time to let the adults dance.” She leered in the air between them before turning around and letting out another howling laugh.

The music restarted, as did the dancing, singing, and toasting. Suddenly very tired, Enyd sank onto the log. Her hands shook as she scratched them over her scalp, not caring how it turned her hair into a thicker bird’s nest than it’d already been. Rik’evet appeared in her peripheral, offering a bowl with water and a towel.

“Rub this ointment on the wound to prevent infection.” He gestured to his own cheek as he handed over a thick leaf with a clear ointment squeezed atop it. The doctor left them to themselves, chuckling in his retreat.

Setting the leaf aside, Enyd held the bowl and towel carefully, angling toward Cal with a sheepish expression.

“I’m…sorry?” She dipped the cloth into the water and held it up, waiting for his permission before touching him again.

Re: Day 10 [1326] Chaos in the Clouds of Qo'Nos

Reply #49
[ Lt. JG Callax Valin | Mekro'vak Region | Qo'noS ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz
She bit him. She bit him.

What the fuck?

Even as the woman’s teeth sunk into Cal’s flesh, he was too shocked to protest, his inebriation not helping matters. Was this really happening? It must be. He was bleeding. That was certainly real. There was indeed blood dripping down his cheek. And there were bumps. Holes, specifically, but for now only slight indents. He traced the mouth-shaped pattern with his fingertips. Yep, real as well.

To make matters even worse, the Klingon woman forcibly kissed him and then threatened him.

What the fuck?

Whether he was pushed towards the log bench or not he needed to sit down. His legs were wavering and he felt lightheaded. Mentally he crossed Qo’noS off his future travel list. The planet was beyond redemption as far as he was concerned. From here on out it was glamping on civilized worlds and beach bungalows on Risa.


He did not realize that Enyd was sitting beside him, her voice bringing him back to the present. There was music again. Dancing. Smells. It had not been a dream. Cal turned his head slowly towards his shipmate. He was still in shock, or some form of it, but managed to form a half smile.

“Remind me never to ask you for oral.” He laughed, causing the pain from bruised muscles and prior injuries to return. “I cannot say I approve of your tactics but can not dispute their effectiveness. What on Qo’noS made you think that was the course of action to take?”

Cal did not refuse her offer to help clean the wound. It needed to be done and he was certainly in no state to tend to his own wounds. As the cloth touched his cheek, he winced.

“This would also mark the first time I have ever been bitten by a woman and either did not deserve or had the night end on a coital high note. So thank you for the new experience,” he mused, beginning to feel better as the lightheadedness dissipated. Seeing a cup of blood wine on the ground next to the log, he reached down and moved it further away. “I think I have had enough for now. I am beginning to think a night with the Klingon woman might have been the preferable outcome.”

Considering the chaotic nature of the evening, it very well might still be the outcome.

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