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Day 15 [1410 hrs.] The Gemini/Bloodwing Adventure

[PO3 Lillee t’Jellaieu | Hamar Mountains | Qo'nos ] Attn: @P.C. Haring

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It was late morning in the Hamar highlands, and as was typical of an equatorial Qo'nos summer, the sun was already mercilessly baking the land. The mountain range stretched out gloriously from horizon to horizon, hidden valleys nestled between the giant peaks, with trees of all kinds covering the landscape. Far from the vast cities, the emerald sky was even more dramatic, with only a light clouds to accompany the searing sun. The great shattered orb of Praxis only added to a spectacular skyscape.

Atop one cliff, itself beneath a small mountain, two figures fizzled into existence in a whirl of blue sparks. One of them, a woman with long blonde hair, stretched luxuriously, looking up and taking in the sunlight with a smile. She was lightly dressed with only a thin vest, long pants and durable boots, with a backpack slung over her shoulders. Most curious was the scabbard that was clasped onto the backpack, home to a blade that was quite unusual, even on a warrior's world like Qo'nos.

"Oh, that view is spectacular," Lillee said with relish. "I was always told that Qo'nos was horrible, but this is magnificent! And the sun...it must be forty degrees, at least! Feels like home!" She glanced at her companion, still grinning. "How does it feel?"

Re: Day 15 [1410 hrs.] The Gemini/Bloodwing Adventure

Reply #1
[Lt. Reggie Suder | Hamar Mountains | Qo'nos ] Attn: @Griff

The Qo’Nos heat hit Reggie like the blast of an open oven as soon as the transporter beam released her. Her skin broke out in a sweat almost instantly. Making her wonder if she had erred in wearing the blue pleather exercise wear. Her experience with Alana Pierce a couple of days ago had inspired her but even so, she wondered if she should have worn something that breathed a little more.  The boots weren’t exactly the perfect match for the garb, but she’d brought a second pair of shoes with her for when they got to wherever it was that Lillee was planning on taking them.

Next to her Lillee was already taking in the view and the Betazoid could certainly see why. Despite it’s well earned reputation as a harsh world, Qo’Nos’s Hamar Highlands were picturesque indeed. She had not anticipated the emerald sky and while she wouldn’t have expected it to appeal to her, there was something about it that just…worked. Even a harsh world could be beautiful, she surmised.

“It is a little warm for my tastes,” she admitted.  “Betazed tends to be a bit more temperate.  Even so, it’s gorgeous.  Great call on your part.  I can’t wait to see more of these highlands, but please bear with me if I’m a bit slower on the pace than you’re planning.”

Reggie shifted her own backpack, tightening the shoulder straps a bit, and double checking the clamp on her own scabbard.  It too was home to a blade, more common than what Lillee carried but just as foreign to this world. 

The Betazoid allowed herself a moment as she turned a slow 360 in place and took in the  surrounding vista.

“It really is quite beautiful up here.”

Re: Day 15 [1410 hrs.] The Gemini/Bloodwing Adventure

Reply #2
[PO3 Lillee t’Jellaieu | Hamar Mountains | Qo'nos ] Attn: @P.C. Haring

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Lillee smiled at Reggie before glancing back out at the view. "And to think that I once fantasised about laying waste to this world," she said with wry amusement. "We trained it, even flew in holosims, but it doesn't compare with the real experience. Dropping antimatter bombs here would've been a waste of good scenery, speaking true."

Lillee sighed before turning around and heading up the trail. "Come. The climb is supposed to be reasonable for most humanoids, heat notwithstanding. Think of it as endurance training, yes? Isn't that a part of Tac CONN training? I have heard such, but I never thought to ask in detail." Glancing at Reggie's form-fitting apparel, she added with a smirk, "Or perhaps not, based on your choice of clothes. Truthfully, though, if I had the curves to make such an outfit work, I might do the same regardless of practicality. Serving on a starship provides so few opportunities to dress up and look good, to feel good."

As the two women hiked, Lillee was in a thoroughly cheerful mood as she remembered the one night lately when she had dressed up. Anh-Le was dazzling and enthralling in her suit, but Lillee remembered the dress that she'd worn even more fondly. It had been destroyed eventually, but the replicator code had been saved for future use.

Re: Day 15 [1410 hrs.] The Gemini/Bloodwing Adventure

Reply #3
[Lt. Reggie Suder | Hamar Mountains | Qo'nos ] Attn: @Griff‍ 

Reggie felt herself blush under the compliments Lillee offered her. 

“Thanks, but I think you give me too much credit.  I focused too heavily on the idea of combat training with you and too little on the idea of having to climb half a mountain to get there.”

She continued the hike, making sure to keep up with Lillee as they made their trek.  “Endurance and survival training is a thing both at Starfleet Academy and at TacCONN.  Surprisingly though I think the Academy’s course was more rigorous.  Final exam there, they drop you and a randomly assigned partner into a randomly assigned scenario and leave you there for an unspecified period of time.  And yeah, it can be tough to dress up on a starship.  I’ve learned to take the opportunities where they present themselves.  If I’m off duty I often try to find an opportunity to change out of the uniform for something else.”

As they hiked, Reggie noticed she didn’t object to the heat as much as she had at first.  Perhaps now that the initial shock in the change in temperature had worn off and her body adjusted, she might be doing better.

“It’s about the little things on board ship, I think,” she said in continuation of her earlier thought.  "Even if it’s something as simple, if not out of place, as getting dressed up to meet a friend for dinner.  Plus there’s the holodeck.  Just about anything is possible there.”

Her mind wandered back to the concert night and all of the insane looks that everybody brought to that event.  What had Lillee worn to that?  Reggie couldn’t remember.

“Were you able to make it to the concert event we hosted?  I don’t remember seeing you, but I was bouncing around so much I might not have remembered seeing my parents had they showed up.”

Re: Day 15 [1410 hrs.] The Gemini/Bloodwing Adventure

Reply #4
[PO3 Lillee t’Jellaieu | Hamar Mountains | Qo'nos ] Attn: @P.C. Haring

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Lillee led the way, setting a reasonably sedate pace on the trail. She was in no rush at all amidst the pleasant scenery and spectacular views. The sparring at the summit would surely prove to be exercise enough, and more than welcome. As she walked and listened to Reggie, Lillee's mind flashed back to her previous "sparring" escapades with amusement, and all the delightful activities that had been enjoyed. Mickayla and Donna had been wonderful fun, both before and after the clothes had been fully discarded, although neither woman could compare with Anh-Le's mischief, majestic body and honest spirit atop that hill.

Still, as terrific as those experiences had been, there had been precious little actual training. The terrifying fight to protect Martok's grandson had been a pointed reminder that Lillee needed to improve her bladework. This time, there would be no distractions.

"I was on duty," Lillee replied sadly, mentally wiping away her prior thoughts as she glanced back at Reggie. "I would have certainly come otherwise. I heard that the concert was very successful; the deckhands wouldn't shut up about it the following day." With a knowing smile, she added "Just...ah...how bouncy did you get? No, wait, I have another question!"

Lillee stopped and half turned round, her eyes alight with eagerness. "Explain 'rock and roll' to me. I have heard much about it, and about the concert that night, but I don't understand a word. What is an Ozzy, and why was there kissing? How are rolling rocks involved? Why did a demon attack partway through? Why did Crewman Byrne say that he was banging his head all night, yet he seened unharmed? What does any of this have to do with music?"

Re: Day 15 [1410 hrs.] The Gemini/Bloodwing Adventure

Reply #5
[Lt. Reggie Suder | Hamar Mountains | Qo'nos ] Attn:  @Griff‍ 

Reggie continued to keep pace with Lillee as they ascended but she couldn’t help but laugh at the onslaught of questions about the concert and the various people and bands Lilee had heard heard about without the context.  Her laugh was not a patronizing sound, at least it wasn’t intended to be, but rather the utter amusement of the way the Romulan posed her questions.

“How much time do you have,” Reggie asked, her voice filled with mirth.  “Seriously though, that’s a somewhat longer answer.  But let me see if I can give you the short version of it.”

The Betazoid took a sip of her canteen, before continuing.

“Rock and Roll is a style of music that comes from Earth’s mid twentieth century.  There are may forms of ‘Rock and Roll’ but the genre is typically identified by a heavily driven beat behind the music, the use to a certain degree of some form of synthesis in the output of the instruments and, to a certain extent, a non traditional melodic line.  There are a lot of different versions, but the concert was a show case of what was commonly called ‘classic rock’.”

She paused momentarily as she put her hand down to steady herself as she took a larger than expected step before continuing her explanation.

“Musical groups typically consisted of a drummer, a few guitarists and a lead singer.  Often times, the lead singer would also be a guitarist.  These groups of musicians would form what was called a ‘band’ and the members of the band would give themselves a name.  The Rolling Stones, KISS, AC/DC, and the like were all band names.  Ozzy Osbourne was a musician in a band called Black Sabbath, as well as a band named after himself, and in our holodeck re-creation he was also the master of ceremonies for the night.”

She took another pause as they continued their ascent. 

“As to the demon,” she chuckled.  “The members of the band KISS all took on personae of various characters as a part of their stage presence.  One of the guitarists always did himself up like a demon.  There’s a random event subroutine in my Jukebox program created an event where a band…which was not a classic rock band…took to the stage to close the show.  The audience did not like that and in response, this guitarist from KISS stepped on stage and between his instrument that looked like an executioners axe and a parlor trick where he appeared to breathe fire, he chased them off stage. It was actually pretty fucking funny, if you ask me.”

The Betazoid paused again while she took a mental tally of the various questions Lillee had posed and remembered the one item she hadn’t explained yet.  “The concept of head banging is a bit of a misnomer.  It’s basically an aggressive nod of the head that is in time with the beat of the music being played.  Ideally the person doing the headbanging isn’t actually hitting anything.    It looks something like this…”

Reggie stopped walking and waited for Lillee to look at her before she started demonstrating.  Her hair shook with the motion of her head and when she was done, it took her a minute to sort out the mess that had fallen over her face.  When she'd cleared her face and could see again, she offered Lillee a wide smile before continuing on the trail, curious to see what other questions her companion might have.

Re: Day 15 [1410 hrs.] The Gemini/Bloodwing Adventure

Reply #6
[PO3 Lillee t’Jellaieu | Hamar Mountains | Qo'nos ] Attn: @P.C. Haring

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As Reggie turned away, she left a completely baffled Lillee in her wake. "Earthers are weird," she muttered fervently before moving to catch up with Reggie. "I wish that I had been able to come; it sounds...fun? Interesting at the least. I have experienced some Earth culture since making a home there, but nothing as strange as that."

After a few moments, Lillee laughed as she hiked. "Oh Elements preserve, how can I talk about strange? There are nightclubs on Hal'tahitha in the Empire that are entirely submerged; one must wear a breathing apparatus. The music thrums through the water...you don't just hear it, you feel it. The melodies are carefully crafted to Romulan physiology and the sonic vibrations take us through every emotion imaginable. Every half hour, one of the performers does a special underwater dance in costume...oh, I've always wanted to go back. All worlds have their craziness I suppose, yes?"

Grinning at Reggie, Lillee drank from her canteen. "How do you know Earther culture so well? Did you live there?"

Re: Day 15 [1410 hrs.] The Gemini/Bloodwing Adventure

Reply #7
[Lt. Reggie Suder | Hamar Mountains | Qo'nos ] Attn: @Griff‍ 

Reggie gasped as Lillee described the submerged nightclub.  “That sounds fucking amazing.  If you ever get the chance, you gotta promise you’ll take me.  I’d love that experience!”

She paused her conversation while they negotiated a switch back on the path up the mountain.  The trail had proved rockier than Reggie anticipated and her foot slipped.  She fell forward but her hand came down, arresting her fall and keeping her otherwise on her feet.  Lillee had been right that she nad not dress appropriately for the hike.  She’d been far too focused on the combat training and sparring; not on the excursion to actually get there. 

But when Lillee asked if she’d lived on Earth she couldn’t help be do a double take.  Granted Lillee was both a Romulan and Enlisted, but even so Reggie would have thought Lillee would have known. 

“Yup,” Reggie said.  “Starfleet Academy is based on Earth.  Every officer has been there to Study for the majority of their academic training.”  She paused as she stumbled again.  “Before my Freshman year, I traveled to Bozeman Montana, to the sight of where Zephram Cochrane launched the first warp capable vessel built by humans.  He was an avid rock and roll fan and on a whim I started listening to some of the music he liked.  After that I kinda got hooked and started curating a holodeck style jukebox.  It’s what I used for the concert night.  Hell, if you’re interested I can give you access to it when we get back.”

Re: Day 15 [1410 hrs.] The Gemini/Bloodwing Adventure

Reply #8
[PO3 Lillee t’Jellaieu | Hamar Mountains | Qo'nos ] Attn: @P.C. Haring

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Just a step too far away to do anything, Lillee winced in sympathy as Reggie fell, but made no comment or offer of help. Instead she just continued on, gazing out at the spectacular countryside below them. There was a majesty to such vistas that just couldn't be replicated on a holodeck or from the air. Even setting aside the hike and the blade sparring, the trip had been worth it just for the view.

Amidst the intense heat and sweltering humidity, Lillee wondered as Reggie stumbled again whether she was asking too much of the other woman. Betazoids were generally not thought of as athletic, even compared to humans, never mind stronger species. Reggie was a fighter pilot and clearly fit, but  could this be too much?

No. If it was too much, Reggie would be the one to declare her own limit. Lillee wouldn't insult her friend by presuming weakness. Thus, outwardly not caring a wit, she listened as they hiked further and further up the trail that encircled the mountain. The sun blazed mercilessy, but Lillee relished the toasting sensation on her bare shoulders and arms. At Reggie's words, she smiled at the other woman.

"I would be very grateful," she said brightly. "You have made me very curious, but I do not assume anything. I have known many officers, even humans, who studied at the Academy but barely ever left San Francisco. It can hardly be called 'living' when all you do is study and train for months on end, no? I spent nearly two years in flight training on Romulus, but speaking true, it felt like all I ever saw of the planet was when I was airborne."

A minute or so later, the trail finally (mercifully) began to open up and level off. Reggie and Lillee walked out into a vast mesa, easily as large as a football pitch, unnaturally smooth and lacking in vegetation or rocks. The view was even more spectacular at the summit, with other immense mountains towering high above and beautiful lush valleys littering the landscape below. Grinning, Lillee took off her backpack and laid it next to one of the few rocks before taking her sheathed honour-blade in hand.

"For once, the Klingons weren't exaggerating," she said in wonderment.

Re: Day 15 [1410 hrs.] The Gemini/Bloodwing Adventure

Reply #9
[Lt. Reggie Suder | Hamar Mountains | Qo'nos ] Attn: @Griff

Reggie sensed Lilee’s concern as the continued up the mountain, but was grateful that she did not push the issue with her.  While not the most ideal of conditions given her personal preferences, she’d been through far worse with much less desirable company.  Summiting the mesa struck her with both relief and jubilation.  For as tired as she already was, a sense of accomplishment coursed through her. 

She took in the view as Lilee made her comment and while she did not immediately reply, she could not disagree with the sentiment.  A far cry from anything someone might expect to see on the harsh Klingon Home world, the vista rolled on forever in all directions.  Wind cut across the mesa, blowing a breeze through her hair that cooled her enough to be comfortable, but not so much that it took the heat out.  And yet she felt slightly cold and realized she’d stopped sweating.  Not a good sign.  Fortunately she came prepared.

She dropped her bag and lowered herself to a crouch, the material of her body suit creaking as it stretched, and rummaged through the equipment until she’d found the hypo Dr. Rez had provided her and injected it’s contents into her corroded.  It would take a few minutes to fully kick in but she’d be fine.

“Wow,” she said as she rose to her full height, the hypo in one hand, her sheathed katana in the other. “I always thought Qo’nos was just dark clouds and storms all the time.”

She stepped over towards Lillee, extending the hand with the hypo.  “Want a dose?  Dr. Rez gave me a saline hypo to help combat dehydration.”




OOC - Also tagging @BipSpoon‍ for the reference to Rez, with thanks for her permission to make said reference

Re: Day 15 [1410 hrs.] The Gemini/Bloodwing Adventure

Reply #10
[PO3 Lillee t’Jellaieu | Hamar Mountains | Qo'nos ] Attn: @P.C. Haring

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Lillee was doing some simple stretches when Reggie offered the hypo, and she regarded the proferred device with bemusement. The eyebrow even went up for added effect.

"That won't be necessary," she said, looking at Reggie with an even expression. "I am Romulan."

Not bothering to explain further, Lillee carefully and slowly drew her honour-blade one centimeter at a time, examining the blade carefully from every angle. The golden sword, inscribed with rihannsu lettering, sparkled in the sunlight, adding a magical aspect to its appearance. After setting the scabbard down next to her bag, Lillee stood aside and held the honour-blade with great care, resting the blade on a gloved hand as she examined it further.

"We start slow, yes?" she suggested to Reggie with clear concern. "This is the first time that I test this weapon blade-to-blade since the battle. The Klingon was so strong with his bat'leth that I thought the blade would surely break, and I am still uncertain if there is damage from when I severed his spine. It was so tough to cut through, with all that bone and muscle...I have scanned the blade, of course, but I do not know enough of metallurgy to be confident."



Lillee's honour-blade:
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Re: Day 15 [1410 hrs.] The Gemini/Bloodwing Adventure

Reply #11
[Lt. Reggie Suder | Hamar Mountains | Qo'nos ] Attn: @Griff‍ 

Reggie chuckled to herself.  Oh how very Romulan to deny onesself a little bit of assistance in order to appear strong.  Seemed like you could take the Romulan out of the Empire but you couldn’t take the Empire out of the Romulan. 

“As you wish.”

Setting her own pack down, Reggie unbundled the Katana from the gear, slung it over her shoulder, and strapped the scabbard to her back.  While not necessarily the most traditional way it had had been carried on Earth, Reggie preferred it this way as by keeping it tighter to her body, there was less swing in it to pull on her as she moved.  Plus it was far more contemporary than the way it used to be carried during the era of Feudal Japan on Earth.

The Betazoid pulled the weapon from it’s scabbard, its blade obsidian save for the deep purple glow along the sharpened blade, drinking in the light.  She had, of course, checked it, cleaned it, and re-applied the chemical to give the blade it’s plum colored glow before she’d left the ship, but even so Reggie took the time to inspect the weapon herself.  Her cybernetic eyes making quick work of the task and showing no imperfections or defects in the weapon.

It struck Reggie as a curiosity that Lilee would admit to not knowing whether or not the strength of her own weapon would hold under combat or even training conditions.  Putting the Romulan bravado aside for a second, it struck the betazoid that one who wielded a weapon should know exactly the condition it was in before attempting to wield it.

“Starting slow is just fine with me.  I’m actually a little out of practice myself.  So It’ll be a good opportunity for me to get the feeling back in my arms.”  She spun the Katana slowly in her hand, as she reacquainted herself with the weight and balance of the sword.  “If you’d like I’d be happy to give your blade a quick scan with my ocular implants.  It would detect if there's any defect in the blade.”



OOC - Reggie's Sword


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Re: Day 15 [1410 hrs.] The Gemini/Bloodwing Adventure

Reply #12
[PO3 Lillee t’Jellaieu | Hamar Mountains | Qo'nos ] Attn: @P.C. Haring

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When Reggie drew her blade, Lillee inhaled sharply, immediately transfixed by the stunning weapon. Even in the bright sunlight, which favoured the golden honour-blade more than the obsidian katori, it was spectacular, and Lillee barely caught Reggie's offer. in her distraction.

"Hm?" she said, looking up at Reggie in askance before her brain caught up. "Oh...yes, of course, I would be grateful. I'm sure it's nothing, this blade is just very precious to me, and very difficult to repair." Lillee obligingly walked up to Reggie, her own honour-blade laid carefully across her palms for the scan, but the Romulan's eyes had only one object of desire. "Oh, that sword is just gorgeous! The light must be so striking indoors...and the curve near the point, it must be wonderful for cutting! However did you come by such a weapon? Did you design it yourself?"

Before Reggie could answer, Lillee made a low keening sound, her eyes still fixed on the sword. "Forgive me, Reggie, it is just so rare to meet someone who appreciates good blademanship! I was raised in it from a young age, it is part of our culture, but it is so rare to meet someone from the Federation with the same passion."

Re: Day 15 [1410 hrs.] The Gemini/Bloodwing Adventure

Reply #13
[Lt. Reggie Suder | Hamar Mountains | Qo'nos ] Attn: @Griff‍ 

At first, Reggie was unsure as to whether or not Lillee was offering her blade for Reggie to take and scan, or simply scan while the Romulan held it.  But when Lilee expressed an interest on her own weapon, she read the moment as an unspoken invitation to momentarily trade weapons.
 

With respect and reverence, she gently clasped her free hand around the hilt of Lilee’s sword and echanged it for her own Katana.  Reggie was herself a bit surprised by the Romulan weapon. Traditionally when one thought of bladed weapoins outside of the Federation, their first thought went to Klingon society and the myriad of bladed weapons they had produced and while she knew the Romulans were fine craftsmen in their own right, she would not have considered them to be proficient swordsmiths.  The weapon in her hand changed her opinion.


“This,” she said, “is exquisite, Lillee.”


Remembering exactly why she had been offered the Romulan blade, Reggie transitioned her occular implants into their scan mode and began examining the blade.

“Nothing to forgive,” she replied as she scanned.  “I am just as happy to have something of a kindred spirit on board as well. As to the katana, I wish I could take credit but the design isn’t mine.  It comes from the Japan region on Earth and dates back a millennia to their 14th century.  The precursor designs pre-date the Katana by another five hundred years or so.  Feel free to work it a bit and get a feel for it.”

Carefully, she turned the Romulan blade in her hands so as to scan the other side.

“I found that while on a trip to Kyoto Japan during a break in my training as a cadet.  The smith refused to accept payment for it, but I found a local charity he cared about and made a donation in his name.  Something about the black blade, which is not typical of swords of the style, called to me.  The purple glow of the blade edge itself is cosmetic and is the result of a phosphorescence based chemical applique I found during the War.  I’m sure the smith who granted me the sword would consider it a dishonor to have applied it, but it seemed to go hand in hand.  I like to think of it is my response to the Jem'Hadar’s ability to shroud.  They’re not the only ones who can strike from the darkness.”  She let a wry chuckle out.  “You should see this thing when I practice the forms in the dark.”

Her scan completed, she transitioned back to normal vision, or rather what passed for normal when one had ocular implants.

“I just did a molecular scan of the blade and I’m not detecting any microfractures or imperfections..  The blade’s taper is consistent throughout as well.  I’d say it’s in fantastic shape.”

As she offered the blade back to Lillee in the same manner in which it had been offered to her, the Betazoid resisted the urge to exercise with it herself.  It was not her blade, she had not been given even implied permission to exercise with it and she respected her friend too much to risk offending her.

Re: Day 15 [1410 hrs.] The Gemini/Bloodwing Adventure

Reply #14
[PO3 Lillee t’Jellaieu | Hamar Mountains | Qo'nos ] Attn: @P.C. Haring

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As Reggie scanned the golden honour-blade and explained its history, Lillee listened attentively, alternating between looking at her friend and the obsidian sword in her hand. She tested the weight and balance with interest, but despite Reggie's invitation, she didn't do anything more. When the two women exchanged weapons again, Lillee accepted hers with a touch of ceremonial reverence.

"Thank you," she said brightly before stepping back to create some space. Lillee held her own blade in one hand down to the side, unintentionally making it shine in the bright sunlight in parallel to her golden hair. "I'm sure that you are very impressive with that blade, to survive against the Jem'hadar in close quarters. I'm very grateful that I never had to do that myself. I've only fought Klingons with my honour-blade."

With that, Lillee flourished her honour-blade before bringing it to a two-handed guard stance. "I would love to share the history of honour-blades with you, later on. I haven't talked about it in so long! Anh-Le is amazing and wonderful, but she's an archer more than a fighter, and every time I try to teach her..."

Lillee's grin turned downright salacious before she shook the errant thought off. "Anyway! Come, you can start!"

Re: Day 15 [1410 hrs.] The Gemini/Bloodwing Adventure

Reply #15
[Lt. Reggie Suder | Hamar Mountains | Qo'nos ] Attn: @Griff‍ 

Reggie chuckled at the idea that she’d be able to stand toe to toe with a Jem’Hadar. She was good, but she wasn’t that good. At least not back then.

“Don’t get me wrong,” she said. “I held my own, sure, but that was mostly because I didn’t give the Jem’Hadar a fair fight. Strike from the shadows…retreat. Throw some telepathic misdirection, strike again… retreat. I was terrified. One mis-step. One miscalculation and…well..I’d be a name on a casualty list somewhere.”

It occured to her just how lucky she’d been. Despite the high priase she’d earned in the skies of Betazed during the war, it had been a hell of an experience. She still remembered the smoke filled cabin of the peregrine fighter as it fell out of the sky. How she’d managed to land that thing…if one could even call it a landing…she still didn’t know. But she remembered being injured, trying to hold out for the local resistance to find her…and then being hunted.

And oh how it had been a hunt. Jem’Hadar patrols had seen her ship go down, of course and they’d wanted her. She hadn’t made it easy for them, and in one case her having that blade had saved her life. Even though she’d overheard the local Vorta ordering the First to capture her alive, she had no doubt that she’d die if captured even if that death was delayed by what could only be assumed to be a rather unpleasant interrogation.

The First had found her, but not before she’d managed to kill three of his unit. He was vicious and while she could tell he was not going to kill her a sper his orders, he had no qualms about hurting her first…hurting her badly. Had the Resistance search and rescue not intervened when they had…

She didn’t really want to think about it much more.

Luckily, Lillee’s offer to teach her about the Romulan Honour-Blade pulled her back to the present and while the Romulan’s voice trailed off at the comment about Anh-Le, another member of the crew Reggie had not yet met, the Betazoid decided not to pursue that loose thread.

“I’d love that,” she said. “Any chance to learn something new!”

She picked up her canteen and took a sip of water and, at Lillee’s invitation to begin, she tossed the bottle back onto her pack and began a warm up kata. It was a basic sequence, one she took slowly as the katana spun in her grip before coming to a stop as Reggie took her ready stance. She held that position for a moment as she considered how to open. Reggie did not intend to go easy on her sparring partner, but at the same time was uncertain how their skillsets compared.

Best to start slow and escalate as appropriate, she decided.

She stepped forward and attacked.

Re: Day 15 [1410 hrs.] The Gemini/Bloodwing Adventure

Reply #16
[PO3 Lillee t’Jellaieu | Hamar Mountains | Qo'nos ] Attn: @P.C. Haring

They started slowly at first: a simple exchange of attack sequences, slow and deliberate, getting a feel for each other's ability. It was a stark difference to Lillee's last 'sparring' fun on the island at Aldea, which had been competitive from the start, if only because they'd been using blunt weapons and the looming threat of nudity for the loser. Here there was no such frivolity; a careless moment could lead to an injury that not even the Theurgy's doctors could mend.

Steadily, Lillee and Reggie upped the tempo,    teasing each other's guard in turn. The violet and golden blades clanged again and and again, the metallic clangs ringing over the plateau, soon accompanied by grunts of exertion as the two combatants struggled against each other, testing each other, neither quite committing. Finally Lillee disengaged, grinning in exultation, her cheeks flushed a faint green.

"I like your style," Lillee sad, flexing her shoulders as she bounced on her toes. Her bare arms were finally becoming slick with sweat, but it didn't seem to have dimmed her enthusiasm in the least. "It is unconventional, yes? Unpredictable." Lillee considered Reggie carefully with an assessing gaze, growing more confident by the moment as the fierce Klingon sunlight blared over them. There was a real temptation to play with Reggie a little, now that Lillee was confident in her superiority, but it was an idle thought. Among Romula friends, such a game was acceptable, but Reggie might easily misconstrue the taunts as a lack of respect.

Instead, Lillee set herself, holding her honour-blade one-handed at a loose guard position, the tip pointed at the ground. "Your move."

Re: Day 15 [1410 hrs.] The Gemini/Bloodwing Adventure

Reply #17
[Lt. Reggie Suder | Hamar Mountains | Qo'nos ] Attn: @Griff‍ 


Reggie bounced slightly on her heels when they disengaged and kept her breaths controlled.  Between the heat and the high altitude the only winner this sparring would eventually see would be the climate.  She wiped her mouth with the back of her free hand and eyed Lillee as the Romulan evaluated her technique.

“Thanks, I think,” she replied. 

She wasn’t entirely sure how to take Lillee’s comment about being unpredictable, but the Betazoid sensed the self assuredness she’d come to expect from her experiences with Romulan, few though they had been.  Even so, Reggie sensed that Lillee considered herself the superior, an assessment with which the Wolf agreed.  Even so, she decided.  That would not stop her from trying.

Taking a few more paces in her place, she slowly spun the blade in her grip before stilling herself and coming to rest in a different stance.  While their first engagement had favored quicker ligher attacks, due in no small part to their desire to start slow and work their way up, Reggie’s stance now indicated she would be putting considerably more power into her attacks.

“Defend yourself.”

With no further warning, Reggie rushed forward, her weapon raised.  She drew it down in a hard chop but the motion was cut short as Lillee successfully followed the provided instruction.  The two exchanged blow for blow, each blocking and parrying neither finding any significant advantage.  Still, Reggie remained certain that despite her inferior position, the speed and force of her attacks would eventually catch up to Lillee as the Romulan’s weapon was the heavier of the two.

Again, Violet clashed against gold but whatever fatigue Lillee might have been experiencing, the Romulan offered no indication of weakness.  As they pushed back and forth, the Betazoid considered whether or not to use her natural gifts to see if she could catch her opponent off guard.  She decided to risk it.

No sooner did she let her mind open but she found herself distracted.  Not by her opponents thoughts, but by the thoughts of others.  Two of them, close.  Far closer than she had realized.

They were not alone.

A strike from Lillee’s blade clashed against hers and threatened to tear the Katana from her grip.  Her strength served her well but in her refusal to drop her weapon, Reggie lost her balance and found herself thrown to the rocky ground below.

Her training took over and she tucked into a roll, avoiding the hard hit and as she stepped out, she swung her blade wide, striking the back of Lille’s knees with the flat of the weapon before pulling it back so she would not cut her legs on the blade as she fell.  The Romulan came to a stop on her stomach and quickly rolled to her back, her Honor Blade lashing upward in defense of an antiicpated strike to her neck.

A strike that never came. 

The Betazoid stopped, before stepping back and sheathing her sword as she saw the pair of foreheads start to peek over the end of the cliffside as the Klingons made their way up the trail.  She stepped to Lillee’s side and offered a hand to help her up.

“Get up,” the instruction came as more of an order than the superior officer had intended but the motivation was no less genuine.  “We’ve got company.”

Re: Day 15 [1410 hrs.] The Gemini/Bloodwing Adventure

Reply #18
[PO3 Lillee t’Jellaieu | Hamar Mountains | Qo'nos ] Attn: @P.C. Haring

The following spar was fierce and relentless. From the first blow, Lillee was momentarily shocked by how her arms ached at the clash of blades, the steel singing keenly into the mountain air. How could such a short human be so powerful!? Lillee fended off the initial flurry easily enough but she found herself stuck on the defensive, moving from block to block, unable to find an opening. Reggie's attacks had no rythym, no form, but they were clever, weaving an offensive riddle that was quickly wearing on Lillee's nerves.

Finally she managed to counter, attacking Reggie with a furious onslaught, only just remembering to lighten her strikes. Lillee was painfully conscious of hurting her friend; a fractured wrist or broken arm would be poor recompense for such a good spar.   Heart pounding, her blood aflame with the thrill of the fight, Lillee saw Reggie's expression become oddly blank and ruthlessly hammered Reggie's guard away with brute force.

Then, somehow, Reggie managed to leverage her evasion into a strike that sent Lillee to the ground. Furious, she rolled onto her back for the inevitable finish, only to see her opponent holding back. Reggie's tone communicated more than her words, and Lillee accepted the helping hand, grimacing at her aching arms. She eyed her Betazoid partner ruefully; regardless of superior strength or superior training, Reggie was still physically more fit and more nimble. It showed; she'd won.

"Company?" Lillee repeated, looking around the mesa in confusion. "How...oh."

Voices began to be audible from the path, steadily growing louder, a man and woman. The conversation was...unexpected.

"...with pink hair! Pink hair, Balq!" the woman said, laughing all the while, her voice carrying easily up to the mesa. "You should've seen her at work the next day! The foreman had her meet the governor when she visited the factory, and on my honour, the governor just kissed her, called her courageous, and asked the foreman to make pink uniforms and hair mandatory for us all! Can you imagine what the High Council would say if they find out that an entire factory becomes pink during the Festival of Raq'thul?"

"Blame the Federation, probably," the man replied wearily, clearly not sharing his partner's enthusiasm. "I'm sure the governor visited Risa or Betazed not long before. She probably got some strange fashion in her head while over there."

"Is that so bad?" the woman countered irritably. "Balq, you know I love you, so would it be so bad to travel with me one day? There's more to the galaxy than the Empire! Andorians are honourable warriors, you'd really like-" she stopped talking abruptly as the two Klingons crested the top of the mesa and realised that they weren't alone. They briefly stopped and spoke to each other quietly before approaching.

As Klingons went, both were quite impressive. The man was enormous, wearing a loose vest that bared powerful arms; he looked like he could bench-press Lillee and Reggie combined without issue. His black hair was long and lustrous, stretching past his shoulders, framing a handsome face. He even wore shorts, a bat'leth slung on his back via a harness.

The woman was a good match for her boyfriend, much taller than the other women, and strong to match. She wore even less than her partner, with just a black sports bra containing her substantial breasts and exposing a chiseled abdomen, plus tight-fitting shorts and her own bat'leth. True to her words, her hair was short, violently pink and undeniably....cute.

"Romulan filth," she hissed upon seeing Lillee's crenaled forehead. "What-?"

"You're the one who keeps telling me to keep an open mind," Balq said to his girlfriend in a gentle voice that seemed completely at odds with his appearance. "You. Human. Identify yourselves."

Re: Day 15 [1410 hrs.] The Gemini/Bloodwing Adventure

Reply #19
[Lt. Reggie Suder | Hamar Mountains | Qo'nos ] Attn: @Griff‍ 

Even knowing they were coming, Reggie was caught off guard seeing the pink haired klingon woman and her…boyfriend…she decided was the correct term.  Both of them looked ready for a fight, as though there was ever a time when a Klingon was not ready for combat.  But in this case their dress was a bit off.  No armor, not even ceremonial garb, but rather what she assumed passed for exercise clothes in the Empire.  It flattered them both and Reggie felt the attraction almost immediately.

An attraction that disappeared just as soon as the woman started to disparage Lilee. 

Reggie should have expected it, of course.  Even in the aftermath of the Dominion war, while relations between the Klingons and Romulans were better than they had been, the improvement had once been described as the difference between eating a bowl full of feces and the ‘improvement’ in eating a bowl full of mud.  Marginally better but still….not good at all.

For a split second, she debated whether to correct the erroneous assumption made by the Klingon that she was human.  The mistake was common as the only visible distinction between the species were the eye color and as a society, the Betazoids had come to accept it, not be offended by it, and move on.  Besides, she decided, if things went south, she might prefer to keep that piece of knowledge to herself.

The request to identify themselves came out a bit kinder than she would have expected. 

“I am Regiene Suder,” she replied.  Making sure to keep her tone strong but respectful.  She almost stumbled over her own name.  It had been so long since she’d used her full given name that she’d almost forgotten it but in the presence of the Klingons it seemed somehow inappropriate to defer to nicknames and call signs.

She waited for Lilee to introduce herself to the Klingons before she continued.

“I am R’vek Son of T’Gor,” the male said.

“And I am Balq, Daughter of Grilka.”

“I am honored to meet you both,” Reggie replied as she sheathed her sword.  She did not fear being attacked by these two.  If they were as typical Klingons, they would announce their intention to attack before doing so, which more than likely meant she would be able to sense the intention before then, even.

“Well met, Regeine,” R’vek said before turning to Lilee.  “Your presence here does you credit.  The climb of this mountain is not for the faint of heart.”

“Assuming you did, in fact, climb and did not transport here from somewhere else,” Balq jabbed.  “By the looks of you both, you are frail things.  I’ve known the ascent to thwart even the most conditioned of hikers.”

Re: Day 15 [1410 hrs.] The Gemini/Bloodwing Adventure

Reply #20
[PO3 Lillee t’Jellaieu | Hamar Mountains | Qo'nos ] Attn: @P.C. Haring

Lillee, for her part, was much more wary. She kept her golden blade bared, content to let Regiene take the lead. Even after a surprisingly positive experience with Mickayla on Aldea, plus many years of life in the Federation, she still wouldn't let herself relax around Klingons. Her mother did not raise fools. Thus, she only identified herself with a curt "Lillee,", her sword kept at ease.

Oddly enough, R'vek's attempt to be friendly jarred her more than Balq's open hostility, and Lillee grinned dangerously at the woman. The insult rankled, mostly because it had a lot of truth in it. They had beamed in from elsewhere, and not just for Reggie's benefit. Even with all the training that she'd done lately, Lillee wasn't sure that she could handle such a hike; she was still not as strong as she'd been before bearing her babes.

Not that Lillee would ever admit as much to a pair of Klingons.

"Oh, you call this a mountain?" she asked sarcastically, glancing out at the spectacular view, the sun shining fiercely on the valley below. "How quiant. Oh, you really must try Mount Jith'mor on Vulcan if you want a true challenge! It is warmer than here...the Forge is a desert, you see? Transporters and communicators are not reliable there, so you're really all alone, just you and the electrical storms and the sehlats. Oh, but..."

Lillee trailed off, eyeing Balq with exaggerated concern. "You are so bulky and big. Your arms, your breasts, your ass." She indicated each body part in turn on her own body, exaggerating the size to ridiculous proportions. "So much deadweight, yes? Not good for a hard hike. Maybe it'd be too difficult for you? Klingons do struggle sometimes compared to my people..."

Balq grinned back, baring her teeth. She glanced at Ri'vek, whose eyes widened in alarm as he recognised the look in her eyes, but she cut him off before he could speak. "This is happening, beloved. Accept it." She looked at Lillee with relish as she slowly pulled her bat'leth off her back. "You're fun, for a Romulan, so I promise not to kill or maim. One of those Starfleet ships in orbit can fix you when I draw blood...even if it's a lot of blood. You green-bloods are so fragile, so meek, for sparring with a Klingon warrior, so I'll be merciful."

Lillee looked at Reggie with evil glee, shrugged apologetically, then stepped away to put some distance between her and Reggie. "I'll try to repay your kindness, but I hope that you can keep up, for your sake," she said playfully as she rolled her honour-blade. "You wouldn't be the first Klingon to feel my blade's touch. If I cut off an arm by accident...well, Starfleet doctors can help. How do Klingon doctors fix amputations, anyway? I've always heard that you use leeches to bind the limb back on..."

Re: Day 15 [1410 hrs.] The Gemini/Bloodwing Adventure

Reply #21
[Lt. Reggie Suder | Hamar Mountains | Qo'nos ] Attn: @Griff‍ 

It was all Reggie could do to keep a straight face.  Between Lillee’s needless antagonizing of the Klingons and the Klingon’s odd attempts to keep the encounter free of actual violence, the Betazoid found herself at a loss for what to do next. 

“Leeches, HAH!!” Balq shouted.  “Klingons do not fear death, p’thak!”

Reggie sensed it in both Balq and R’Vek.  The latter knew what his mate was about to do, and knew that he could not stop it.  But before either of them could say anything, Balq was on the move.

“Let us see if you fear death like the rest of your cowardly race.  DEFEND YOURSELF!”

The Klingon charged forward, her Bat’Leth held high as she closed the distance.  At once, Reggie was, herself, in motion charging for Balq as she drew her Kitana, intent on stopping the Klingon before things got out of hand, but the Betazoid’s charge was cut short as the flat of R’Vek’s Bat’Leth struck her belly, stopping her cold.  She took a step back, changed targets and brough her Katana down, only to be stopped by R’Vek’s weapon.

“You must not interfere,” he said  “Honor demands they settle this themselves!”

She knew he was right and yet didn’t care.  She had come here for exercise and now she was getting more than she’d bargained for.  She knew Lillee could handle herself, but wasn’t sure the Romulan would stop before she killed her opponent.  The only way she could ensure that neither of them would kill each other was to get in there and end that fight.  But R’Vek stood in her way and she couldn’t be sure he wouldn’t kill her.  That left only one conclusion…

She had to defeat R’Vek before she could prevent Balq and Lillee from killing each other.

“I will defend my friend, or die trying,” she stated.

With newfound resolve, the Betazoid pushed off the Bat’Leth and took a few steps back, spinning her blade through a kata as she moved.  When at last she came to rest, she took her Katana into a two handed grip, holding it vertically in front of her.

“R’vek, son of T’Gor,” she declared.  “Defend yourself.”

She charged forward, lunging into the attack.

Re: Day 15 [1410 hrs.] The Gemini/Bloodwing Adventure

Reply #22
[PO3 Lillee t’Jellaieu | Hamar Mountains | Qo'nos ] Attn: @P.C. Haring

With the pre-battle banter dispensed with, the ring of clashing steel once again echoed across the mesa, accompanied by grunts and (oddly enough) laughter. Lillee, more nimble than her opponent and having greater reach with her sword than Balq's bat'leth, danced merrily around her opponent, deflecting rather than blocking. Balq, despite her words, was very calculated with her aggression, favouring measured attacks that tested Lillee's defence rather than brute force. Both women were grinning, relishing the fight, so trapped in their own little world that (save for the occasional violet flash) they were completely heedless of their companions.

Finally Balq managed to predict Lillee's sidestep, swinging her bat'leth horizontally at Lillee's torso like a hammer, forcing the Romulan to put all her strength and weight into the block. Sparks flew as gold met silver, the two women grunting as they struggled against each other, but Balq proved stronger, forcing the honour-blade back inch by inch. Finally Lillee succumbed, dropping into a crouch in a desperate gambit, allowing the bat'leth to swing over her head before she slashed at Balq's knees.

The gold blade stopped mere centimeters from Balq's legs, both combatants freezing in place. Balq looked down in astonishment then laughed gaily, grinning at Lillee, both women sweating and out of breath.

"Well fought, Romulan," she said merrily, twirling her bat'leth as she stepped away. "You have a warrior's heart! And you have fought Klingons before, I can tell!"

Somewhat bemused, but enthused with victory, Lillee grinned back as she stood, flexing her aching arms. "When your kin boarded the Theurgy during the battle, yes, though speaking true, I was Elements-blessed to survive it."

Balq laughed again. "I wish that I'd been there. It sounds like a glorious fight!"

Re: Day 15 [1410 hrs.] The Gemini/Bloodwing Adventure

Reply #23
[Lt. Reggie Suder | Hamar Mountains | Qo'nos ] Attn: @Griff‍ 


Reggie was only aware of the duel between Lilee and Balq peripherally through her telepathic centers. She sensed enjoyment through their fierce determination, and as she sparred with R’Vek, she decided it was enough just to know both her romulan companion and her opponent’s Klingon companion were both alive.

As for R’Vek and her, they were both giving as good as they got. At first Reggie was not sure that her fighting style with the Katana would be a sufficient counter to the style R’Vek adopted with his Bat’Leth. But either he was going easy on her, he was less skilled with his weapon than she had expected, or she was better with hers than she gave herself credt for because the contest seemed to carry on for quite a bit.

They traded strike for strike, neither the Betazoid nor the Klingon gaining a significant upper hand on the other. What she lacked in raw strength, Reggie more than made up for in her agility. For R’Vek it was the exact opposite. But ultimately Reggie knew her strength would sap before his as she was using hers to both fight and move, to say nothing about the high altitude and the thinner air denying her body all of the oxygen it demanded for this level of activity.

R’Vek’s weapon came down on her. Instinct took her as she rose her sword up, letting it tip to one side so as to parry the blow safely to her right. His momentum was too much for her and she staggered to the left spinning past him. Resisting the urge to strike his back with the flat of her grip (such a move would be considered dishonorable), she tried to put a few steps between them and give herself a moment to regroup.

But R’Vek was prepared and before she could put her foot down to step. She felt the leg swing forward as his arm swept under her and planted her ass and back on the hard rock of the slope. Her head bounced off the rock as well, a tightness starting small and blooming larger until every muscle in her face seemed to tighten and then release.

She might not have a concussion, but she would certainly have a goose egg back there.

“E-cha!”

The feel of cold steel against her neck forced her eyes open and for a moment she froze in fear of her own life. The Klingon language was unfamiliar to her and she was unsure of exactly what R’Vek had said. But her telepathic centers picked up on his motivation, and the response he was expecting to hear.

“Movek.”

Satisfied he withdrew his weapon and offered his free hand to her. Still somewhat disoriented she reached for it and before she could think she had hoisted her off the ground and to her feet. Had it not been for his steady, firm grip, the disorientation and the budding pain in her head would have sent her right back to the ground and, judging by just how close she had been to the edge of the plateau, down the side of the mountain.

“You fight well…” R’Vek said.

“For a human,” Reggie answered.

At this R’Vek laughed. “You are no human, Regiene Suder. Do not think I did not hear your voice in my head and by the black color of your eyes… no. You are no Human at all.”

Fear took her. Would the Klingon attack again, this time out of anger?

“I meant no disrespect, R’Vek. I assure you that in no way did I attempt to influence…”

He held his hand up silencing her immediately. “You showed great honor. I have often wondered what it would be like to fight a Betazoid and I thank you for providing that opportunity.  You fight well and I am honored, Regiene Suder of Betazed.  ”

“The honor, sir, was mine,” she said as, for the first time, she felt herself relax.

She stepped to her fallen weapon and sheathed it. Seeing that the contest between Balq and Lilee had lkewise come to some semblance of a peaceful resolution, she and R’Vek stepped towards the women to see how they were doing. Her head hurt still, and she wondered if she’d managed to give herself a concussion. However, she pressed on, unwilling to show any sense of weakness to these Klingons.

 
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