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Day 02 [0920 hrs.] Came for the Pets, Stayed for the Friendship

[ Dyan Cardamone | Hallway | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Triage

Dyan thought she had been using her makeup kit well enough. When she looked in the mirror, she didn't look like a sad sack. Her eyes were maybe a bit puffy, but who was to say it was because she was crying?

Apparently though, everyone was to say it was because she was crying. If she had another two sets of arms she still wouldn't be able to count all the totally random people asking her what was wrong, and she just couldn't figure out why. It was infuriating, the questions were so annoying she wanted to cave in the face of the next person to ask her what was wrong.

At least the last one was helpful. He was some sort of enlisted crewman that she had been sharing lunch with off and on for the past few weeks, since they both liked spicy food. She couldn't remember the name of the crewman, but he mentioned someone who could help. One Weather McVillain? As foreboding as the name sounded, she was supposed to be some sort of expert in photonic therapeutic pets. Now, Dyan was no advocate of therapy, it never helped anybody! But if she could use her recent trauma to convince a Villain to let her pet all of the animals, then there's no shame in taking advantage of it, right?

At least, that's how she justified it to herself, and that's how she had been justifying it to herself the past three minutes, as she stood in front of the door to the...photonic pet lab? Or is it more like a work room? Regardless of what it was, this is supposed to be where Halter or whoever worked, and where all the cute little photonic pets would be. All she had to do was chime the door and ask for Heavy. Explain she heard that she had photonic pets and she was under the weather, so...so why was this so hard?

It shouldn't be this hard. She's kicked down doors that held scarier things behind it. Sure, the lady's name might literally be Villain, but what does she have to fear?

With an unhappy, grouchy grumble, her tail trying to tuck between her legs, she forced her hand to chime the door regardless of the fear rising up in her guts.
“Is there a, uh, Happy McVillain here? I came for the pets. Photonic ones?”

Re: Day 02 [0920 hrs.] Came for the Pets, Stayed for the Friendship

Reply #1
[ Heather McMillan | Upper Science Labs | Deck 7 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @FollowTomorrow
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Upon awakening that morning, McMillan had been busying herself with recovery of her salvageable belongings from her quarters and then making arrangements with the quartermaster for a new one or a temporary one until the environment controls in her room could be repaired. It was fortunate that she had been on a deck in the same vector as her work space, so she didn't have to do a site-to-site transport. She was feeling nauseaus enough by herself already. A little chicken soup helped calm her nerves, and she adjusted the environments to near-autumn levels of cold whilst wearing a very thick jacket just to fill herself up with some nostalgia of home, then she put things back to normal, threw off the jacket even if she loved to keep it on, but she was sweating a little, which was odd, but in any case, she had work to do. Namely, making more fun photonic pets to play with and distribute to the Sickbay or to anyone who wanted or needed one.

She had just finished making a fluffy yellow duckling and was playing with the fun-loving little bird when she noticed a glaring error: ducklings didn't have razor-sharp teeth or Jem'hadar horns. Nor did they bark and wag tails like dogs. Oh...it was sprouting a lizard tail. That was perfectly normal, right? Sighing, she realized she had messed up the programming and details. “Computer, restart the sequence. Profile: Duckling, fluffy yellow. Erase previous rendition.”

While waiting for the sequence to start up, she picked up the photonic copy of Rini's rainbow-coloured tribble, Bobo, and tossed the happy tribble up and down, catching it carefully in her little play. The purring and chirping of the ball of fluff cheered the Radiant up, and she was soon shining and giving out lights again, when the door chimed and McMillan jumped, crying out, “Guh-uh what?!? Sorry, just a minute!”

She had dropped photonic Bobo, and the tribble mewed indignantly. “Sorry Bobo! Sorry sorry sorry!”

Wait, had she heard her name correctly? McMillan was so discombobulated at having a visitor this early, that she lost track of her thoughts, all of them flying about her head at maximum warp. “Y-yes this is Mather HackVillage...whuh...no! I mean Hacky Weatherston...Heather! Heather McMillan! Oh God...”

She stumbled towards the door, her hand accidentally swinging and knocking over a pile of PADDs and strange ancient toys known as Legos, which caused her to jump again as she danced frantically around trying to avoid stepping on anything. Then she stubbed her toe on those Legos, and she hopped around one-legged, clutching the smarting toe, shouting, AAAAHH! SHEEP FARTS IN ASPIC!!! COCKTAILS!!! AAAOHHH!

Leaning up against the bulkhead by the door, she finally said, in a lighter voice, “Come in...S-sorry about the mess. Uhm, can I...can I help you?”

Re: Day 02 [0920 hrs.] Came for the Pets, Stayed for the Friendship

Reply #2
[ Dyan Cardamone | Hallway | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Triage
Sweet merciful one-handed pull-ups. She wished she had more to add to that mental train of thought, but she did not, because very little of this scene made any sort of sense. It's like the moment this Hacky lady appeared in her vision, suddenly everything was chaos. There was some sort of multicolored shrapnel on the floor, and there was a rainbow somewhere behind her and also PADDs on the floor mixed with the shrapnel, and whatever the hell that thing was with the yellow fluff (cotton candy?). There was simply too much to look at all at once for Sar-unga to make any sense of what just happened.

“Uh. Someone said you had...photonic pets.” As well as a butt-ton of other miscellaneous things. Was this a workshop or a children's amusement park? “Actually, uh, maybe I should come back later you look...you look...busy?” She asked, because honestly, busy wasn't the right word. Confused, maybe? Did she just speak in tongues earlier, or was that a new form of human swearing that she was unaware of?

But wait, was this hectic hag in her hut human? Her hair was doing...a thing. Like it was just floating around with absolutely no weight, but Sar-unga could definitely see and feel gravity everywhere else. She thought he remembered something, some sort of briefing or informative meeting, but the information was hidden away in the recesses of her mind. Right now, she was busy suppressing the urge to reach out and just touch her hair, just yank it to see if it was some sort of high-fashion wig or not.

As the abusrdity of the situation settled, she hit upon a realization. Hacker Washington is weird, but if she had to come face to face with a Picasso in order to pet cute fluffy animals and make the corrupting, acidic black hole in her chest go away, then so be it.

“Look. You're weird, and probably busy, but I came for cute fluffy shit and I'm not gonna leave until I get what I want.” She steadied her voice, trying to use her tough gal bouncer facade, but it wasn't quite right today. After all, she's standing in front of a door, and past that door is a dimension where a rainbow threw up on everything, and past that dimension is the easy-to-attain solution to all her deep seated emotional issues. It can't be that hard.

Re: Day 02 [0920 hrs.] Came for the Pets, Stayed for the Friendship

Reply #3
[ Heather McMillan | Upper Science Labs | Deck 7 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @FollowTomorrow
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Clearly she made the wrong impression on the visitor, who, if the Radiant guessed correctly, was not impressed by the madness that apparently prevailed the young woman's life. Then she went on to add to the incoherence, Heather McMillan, that was. “Pho-photogenic pets?!?” said McMillan, blurting it out despite clearly hearing the horny woman correctly. That was just how her brain worked...or didn't. “No...sorry, you said photonic...right, right...uhm. Han...uh?”

She was about to clarify that she wasn't busy per se but the silver-haired woman had more to say, and apparently she really wanted a holographic pet. Well that was what she specialized in these days, right? Those horns looked dangerous, and she looked dangerous. Everything looked dangerous to McMillan, and......she was about to invite the lady in while the place was mined with these cruel legos and PADDs full of her random ramblings and half-baked ideas or researches. Yeah nobody should read that unless they wanted a headache or wonder what they're trying to read. If one thought Heather McMillan looked chaotic in life, they ought to look at her head.

No, don't do that. Seriously.

Just don't.

“Come on in!” said McMillan, before she darted off on tip-toe to grab up as much of those ancient death-traps in her frail hands as she could, then bundled them in a pile on the nearest empty workstation. After that, she scooped up her PADDs and stacked them away in drawers. The effort took a visible toll on her as she was red faced and her aura of light was taking various shades of crimson, and she was out of breath. “Okay...” she offered a weak smile, “looks safe now, oh, Bobo!”

She bent down and picked up the shuffling photonic rainbow tribble, which purred and mewed happily in her hands. When the pilot, Zrinka had been comatose, McMillan had taken to caring for the adorable tribble, and shortly after Bunny, she made imprints and copies based on Bobo's features. The real tribble had since been returned to its proper owner, but McMillan enjoyed playing with the creature. It was very soothing. Turning her attentions back to her visitor, she offered the tribble to her, “He's a photonic version of the original tribble. But uh, you can customize his appearance to something else if you prefer. Maybe a Tuffli-type tribble or Dot? I-I'm not sure what you're really going for here. Maybe a dog? Or cat? Iguana? I have some various proje...oh, you have a tail...”

Her eyes had finally noticed the leathery tail that the woman had, and on top of the “...horns...silver hair...oh, you're an Asurian! Right? Hi! Wait, I already said hi earlier, didn't I? Did I get your name?” She rose up on tip-toe to look at the woman, then looked past her, seemingly distracted.

Re: Day 02 [0920 hrs.] Came for the Pets, Stayed for the Friendship

Reply #4
[ Dyan Cardamone | Upper Science Labs | Deck 7 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ]

This woman was a mess. In some weird way, it made her feel better about herself. At least she wasn't this bad. On the other hand, she felt awful that she's stooping this low just to make herself feel a little less shitty about today.

But now that she had the invitation, she couldn't just turn around and walk away anymore. She had to follow through. She walked inside, her tail curling in the air with interest and curiosity. A new environment, it smelled different, and the decoration made her think about the sickeningly sweet buttercream frosting humans put on fancy desserts. Her boots did not crush the legos below her feet, but they protected her from the minefield below.

She followed after Hearth, picking up a stray PADD and reading over it's contents with initial interest, that soon grew into confusion. Even her writing was incomprehensible. She put it down again on a surface it likely did not belong on. And then, she saw it.

“What is that.” It was not a question, it was a demand. Her eyes widened, her pupils dilated slightly. Her instincts told her food, but everything else in her brain told her this was a godsend. She took it from Heather and held it up in the air to look at it, eye-to-....uh, butt? Face?

She knew it had to be a tribble. That's what they were described as, after all, but she had assumed they were relatively boring animals. But now that she was in the presence of one, she knew that the writings weren't accurate. Her tail whipped about in delight, the tribble came to rest in Dyan's arms, near her agape face, somewhat serious face. She hadn't even noticed Heather was talking.

“This is the best thing I've ever met. Bobo's your name?” He offered the tribble pets, scratching him with her nails. Or, her. It? Scritch scritch scritch...

Oh, she had been asked a question. It only registered a few moments after Healthy spoke.
“I'm Dyan Cardamone, or Sar-unga Neleo. Take your pick. Also, I'm keeping this one.” She buried her face in tribble fur. She had not smiled while here once, but her tail indicated she was something like happy. Very involved, at least.

Re: Day 02 [0920 hrs.] Came for the Pets, Stayed for the Friendship

Reply #5
[ Heather McMillan | Upper Science Labs | Deck 7 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @FollowTomorrow
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Well at least she liked tribbles, McMillan looked relieved. And her eyes darted to the woman's tail, which was...wagging? I wonder if it's how we can tell their emotions? Like dogs? Would that be weird? Regarding a god as a dog? She justified it as the closest analogy and reference she had right now. Xenobiology always got her attention. And she knew as much about Asurians as the next...uh...xenobiologist? How many were there? She was the civilian variant, and it was a wonder she had survived through some of the things that others didn't. Either she was lucky, or she was building up the karma for one big misfortune.

Not that she believed or understood karma all that well.

In any case, the woman appeared genuinely happy with the tribble, saying he was the best thing she'd ever met. She wasn't really sure that tribbles had a gender, but since this one had a masculine name, she automatically went with he too. “Uh...you might want to change that. The real Bobo belongs to one of our pilots, and it might get confusing if you run into each other. You can add your own customizations and give him a name of your own choosing. He'll respond to whatever you assign to him as a name.” McMillan smiled, “just like my own pet, Bunny, the bunny.”

An automated response had the photonic rabbit materializing on a workstation, and the energetic little animal leapt off the station and onto the floor, tearing off at full speed, doing a circuit around the place with rapid hopping. McMillan grinned at her pet, which suddenly paused and reared up on its hind legs, sniffing the air curiously. She took up a PADD and offered it to Dyan, “Here, you can adjust your pet to your desire, and uhm...oh yeah, and assign him his name. You can even customize whether he'd eat food. It's no problem, it's all holographic, but it's fun. I let mine have the ability to eat. Makes it more realistic.”

She was fascinated by the woman's name, “I guess I'll go with Dyan Cardamone. Pleased to meet you.” That tail twitching was very fascinating.

Re: Day 02 [0920 hrs.] Came for the Pets, Stayed for the Friendship

Reply #6
[ Dyan Cardamone | Upper Science Labs | Deck 7 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] @Triage
“This is a tribble, right?” She butted in the moment Heath was done with the pleasantries. “They eat everything? And they are always this soft?” Like a child discovering their first alien species, she was elated.  Nothing on this ship was as wonderful and cuddly as...well, whatever this thing was. Bobo was a stupid name. She raised the little multicolored furball up into the air, as if it were a solemn and serious ceremony, but her face was alight with joy.

“You will have a new name! Destroyer! Hey uh---Hillshire, was it? Where's his teeth?” She started prodding about in the tribble's fur for teeth. After all, they had to eat somehow... “And how many will you allow me to walk out of here with? I can really keep your photonic pets? I need a lot of them. Or, well, I'm going to need a lot of them. Today is going to suck.” She returned 'Destroyer' back to her bosom, where she delighted in the critters coos and purrs. Her tail wagged, whipping about with such frevor that it knocked over a pile of miscellaneously assorted things.

“S-shit, sorry, I can fix it--” How embarrassing! It had been forever since her tail had been so emotive. She probably looked like a stupid teenager now—as she set 'Destroyer' down on the ground to pick up the pile, she started to feel anxiety creep back in. She shouldn't have came, she probably looked a fool, what would a badass like her be doing in a...a place as....in a room so...Jeeze. She couldn't even name it. This just wasn't where she should go if she wanted everyone to think she was fine. If people started to talk, they could think maybe she's finally lost it.

Her tail began to lay low, even curl between her legs as her mood declined. Her tail matched her face, now looking defensive.
“Look—I want many tribbles. But just don't tell anyone about it. The last thing I need is to be sent to the Federation-mandated looney-house they keep aboard every ship, and I'm not going to see a shrink. That's what people resort to when they fail. All I need is Destroyer and a few friends for him and I'll be alright. So how many tribbles will you let me walk out of here with without talking about it?”

Re: Day 02 [0920 hrs.] Came for the Pets, Stayed for the Friendship

Reply #7
[ Heather McMillan | Upper Science Labs | Deck 7 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @FollowTomorrow
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“Whot? Oh, uh, yeah, yeah.” McMillan squinted at Cardamone, her vision blurring momentarily, and she felt an irritating tickle in her throat, urging a cough, but she swallowed and cleared her throat with some effort. When her vision cleared again, she tried to pick up as best as she could, “...w-well, they eat almost anything! Obviously anything harmful to us could be harmful to them...g'uh...I mean, well, to a real tribble....photonic tribbles should have no trouble. Y-yeah!” She smiled nervously. “And yes, they're always very soft, and they love being showered with attention, hence the purring. Mine have been programmed to like Klingons too. For some reason, real tribbles don't like Klingons.”

Her eyes widened at the name of Destroyer. It wasn't her idea of a name for anything. Certainly not a little ball of fur that brought joy and comfort. Who on Earth names a tribble Destroyer? Well, Dyan, I suppose, for one. But she got her name wrong too. “Uhm...Heather....Heather McMillan. Uh...his teeth? I...don't think he has any. No, he definitely doesn't have any. But he does have a mouth. Here...” She turned to a nearby projector table and with a specific gesture, had the device activate, and she called up the display of a tribble's anatomy. A translucent flat image appeared, and she adjusted it so that Cardamone could read it without trouble, and allowed McMillan a refresher course for herself. “As you can see, there's a mouth here. But as they're mostly invertebrate, they possess no bones at all, therefore no teeth.”

She gave the woman a toothy grin, and then her eyes lit up at the question she hadn't answered yet. “Oh! Uh...as many as you want! They're uh...technically not mine....they're everyones'. And if they help you with all the stress and uh, everything....then mission accomplished. That's what they're for.” She looked worriedly at the Asurian when she said that today was going to suck. Was that going to affect her and everyone else? “Uhm...well, we wouldn't want your day to suck, would we? Here!”

She looked frantically for a PADD amongst piles of PADDs, scattering several haphazardly when a sound of things rattling and crashing after an impact made the Radiant leap up in fright, and she whipped her head around frantically. When she saw what it was she made a placating gesture, “N-no, it's okay, that's all right actually. I think it made the place look a little better, and you helped me find what I was looking for.” She gingerly reached around the woman and lifted a pink cased PADD and began tapping the screen, and suddenly an empty table materialized with a small mountain of cooing, purring tribbles in all sorts of colours and fur patterns. There wasa  blue tribble with a white stripe around its centre, a plain brown tribble, a mottled grey and brown tribble, a black tribble with two green racing stripes, and so on. She picked up a cloudy fluffy pink-and-white tribble and stroked it tenderly, making the creature purr and mew happily at her. She smiled and offered it to Cardamone.

“You can have as many as you want, and I can have it assigned directly to your quarters...wha...?” She tilted her head and gave the woman an incredulous look. What mandated looney-house? Was there one? She'd never seen it. “Uhhh doctor-patient privilege. I won't talk...” she looked away distractedly, “...not really a lot of people to talk to anyway...no one comes here often.” She glanced back at Cardamone, realizing she'd spoken aloud, and quickly covered with a bright smile and her natural aura of light shifting colours and brightness rapidly, looking like a streaking nebula, and her hair danced about crazily as she moved, “...so we actually have a...a...what was it, looney house? Which deck? Oh! Destroyer, right.”

She bent down and picked up the newly named rainbow tribble and handed it back to the Asurian, and an dull metallic grey PADD that she grabbed from a pile of messily arranged PADDs. “You can just use this as a one-stop control centre for your pets, and you can have them appear with you whenever and wherever. Oh you can also customize the summon feature, so you don't always have to have the PADD with you. You'll just need to press this, and then this, and then you set it. Easy! As long as there's holo-emitters where you are, your pets can always be with you, where it's allowed to be seen with pets, oh...oh my...that one's different...” She had noticed one of the tribbles she had summoned looked a little strange, and the reason why was because it was grinning at the two of them, with a whole row of sharp teeth.

“Sorry, I had accidentally fed this poster into the computer when I was developing the tribble breeds,” McMillan explained with a blush, “it doesn't actually bite, and I'm not sure if this thing even really exists, though I suppose anything's possible...uhm, I can delete that off the group if you want...” She already headed over to the table with the small mountain of tribbles and tripped over a tricorder, “Gyah!” and the funky fluffy yellow duckling with a lizard tail, sharp teeth, horns on its head and barked reappeared.

Re: Day 02 [0920 hrs.] Came for the Pets, Stayed for the Friendship

Reply #8
[ Dyan Cardamone | Upper Science Labs | Deck 7 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] @Triage

Heather's momentary pause gave Dyan no concern whatsoever. Her instincts and natural suspicion washed away the moment she laid eyes on Destroyer and declared it hers. Even if she wasn't delighted by the wonders of the photonic tribble, Heather was just strange. She may have training in reading people, but she couldn't get a good read on the weird woman. Not that she minded. She looked like if Dyan sneezed on her, she'd die immediately, so the Asurian did not fear her.

She studied Heather's anatomy picture, and looked between it and the photonic, rainbow Destroyer. The picture was helpful, but only if you could see though the lovely fluff of a tribble. As she bent down and roller Destroyer over to look at...well, she assumed that was it's underbelly, she switched between looking confused at the slide and frowning at Destroyer. She could identify two openings. Unless she poked one—and she was not about to poke something that had a 50% chance of being a tribble anus -- she couldn't tell which was which.

As Heather moved on, so did Dyan, or, well, she tried. She was about to follow the woman, and then she knocked over her things. Normally, she'd be embarassed, but the mess fit in with all the other messes that lived here. Somehow, Heather made her mood a little brighter. But then, it happened.

Before her, she beheld an altar, for there are no other words that accurately describe the photonic furniture that upheld the glory before her. She bore witness to a vision, an event that almost inspired religion in an Asurian for the very first time in history. If she were a weaker, humbler woman, she would have weeped, claimed she was not worthy, but she was not weak nor was she humble. Heather gave Destroyer back to her, but she did not realize that she was now holding the rainbow fluff ball in her arms. God above, there was even one with teeth, just like she wanted! She had spiritually ascended and was no longer present in the room with Heather. Please leave a message after the beep.

“They're mine? All mine?” She gasped, and scooped up the toothy one. “Annihilator, yes, that is your name—what is that?!” She squealed upon seeing the ugliest duckling she's ever seen in her life. She scooped it up too. “Killer!”

“Heather, nobody told me you made miracles here! How have you kept your work a secret for so long!” She didn't bother helping Heather up, but instead sat down to her level. Hopefully there'd be less damage sitting. “And you say you have no friends! Well, I can see why, you're silly, and also you live in some sort of danger-cave. But listen here, if you have any enemies, you tell me their names. You will not have enemies anymore, because you rub shoulders with me now.” She was grinning, showing off her just slightly too-sharp teeth. Her tail swayed from one side to the other, both animated with joy and with the intent to cause some trouble.

Yes, she was not using the human manners she should be using, but clearly Heather was not human. Humans don't have that thing going on with their hair, and humans do not pilot their bodies around in a manner that resembles a six year old child attempting to pilot a fighter ship.
“...What the hell are you anyway?” She asked, but she was smiling all the while, staring at Heather's hair. Her arms were full of Destroyer, Annihilator, and Killer. As she heard Heather explain herself, she slowly reached back behind herself to grab more tribbles off the Holy Altar and add them to her tiny army. Her tail continued to whip about in childish glee.

Re: Day 02 [0920 hrs.] Came for the Pets, Stayed for the Friendship

Reply #9
[ Heather McMillan | Upper Science Labs | Deck 7 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @FollowTomorrow
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The little object lesson on tribble anatomy had Cardamone examining the colourful little fluffball in her hands, and the Radiant's own cascading lights shifting around, changing colours with no discernible pattern made her the humanoid lava lamp. She saw that the woman was trying to figure out which point was the tribble's mouth. Fortunately, the diminutive young alien knew exactly where it was, and pointed it out, “That's its mouth.”

The look on Cardamone's face when she saw the micro-mountain of furballs was definitely something McMillan would remember. Nothing quite like making a god smile. But there was also the possibility that Cardamone was having a stroke, and maybe that was her symptoms for it. “Uhm, Miss Cardamo...?” she was interrupted by an outburst from the Asurian, who excitedly began naming the photonic tribbles and even the Jem'hadar duckling. “Actually the duckling's a...” said McMillan, beginning an explanation, only to be interrupted by Cardamone's excited naming it as Killer. “K-Killer?”

She blinked stupidly at the other woman when told that she made miracles, “Well I don't know about miracles...” And then she was interrupted with another question or a declarative statement, about keeping her work a secret, “It's hardly a secr...” another cut, and Cardamone was now sitting down with her, and promising to eliminate people for McMillan should she wish, “En-enemies?” said McMillan, startled, “Oh, I don't really have enemi-hhhh...” her voice trailed off into a mild gasp when she saw the Asurian's flesh-ripping teeth, and the way her tail was swishing left to right for unknown reasons.

“Oh!” said McMillan right after Cardamone asked what she was, “well, I'm a Radiant. We were travelling collectors of lore and knowledge, but the ship of my ancestors crashed on Earth, and we've lived there since, posing as humans. I'm the first one to reveal myself to any human.” She looked at Cardamone to see her response. But the woman was quite keen to collect more tribbles to hold. And her tail was positively hyper at the moment.

Re: Day 02 [0920 hrs.] Came for the Pets, Stayed for the Friendship

Reply #10
[ Dyan Cardamone | Upper Science Labs | Deck 7 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] @Triage

She was enjoying herself, maybe too much. She forgot her manners and spoke over Heather the whole time. She stared at her, bared her teeth in her smile. She was disconcerting all around, though she didn't mean to be.
“A Radiant! That's a weird name. You radiate light then?” She continued to stare at her hair, like a cat being teased with a toy. With her lap full of fuzzy, delightful joy, her hands idly petted Killer, Annihalator, Destroyer, and she decided the others were now Mauler, Wrecker, Rip, and Tear. She'd have to come up with more names later. All but Killer were tribbles.

As Dyan listened to Heather, her impulsive urges continued to rise, until she just did it. She sat forward, reached out, and just grabbed the other's floaty hair. She wanted to know if it was real, or a photonic wig, and if it felt like her own hair.
“I'm Asurian, first to reveal myself to any human too. You've probably heard of me.” She swatted at her hair, and when she was satisfied with herself, she sat back down among her army of cute small critters. She did not offer explanation for her random touching, mostly because she had no clue why she did it either.
“What are your people like, what sort of ships do they have, do they fight?”

Privately, she considered this visit a huge success. This was indeed exactly what she needed to escape her current hell.

Re: Day 02 [0920 hrs.] Came for the Pets, Stayed for the Friendship

Reply #11
[ Heather McMillan | Upper Science Labs | Deck 7 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @FollowTomorrow
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Despite how intimidating this woman could be, something about her made McMillan feel comfortable enough not to be completely awkward around her. Even if those teeth were terrifying. But she smiled back instead, and answered her, “Yes I do. I suppose my people's name is a little on the nose, isn't it?” Cardamone's interest in her hair was as obvious as the stars all around the vessel.

“Oh!” She saw the Asurian's hand darting forward, and there was just no time to avoid it, so she leaned her head forward, hopefully to minimize any risk of damage, especially if she decided to pull it. The light and colour faded away as fear took over, and she quickly added, “Radiant are extremely fragile! We can die at the mere touch of gods like yourself! Please be careful.”

Mercifully, the woman didn't pull her hair out, along with her head. If nothing else, she was apparently curious about it. Giving her new friend a lopsided smile, she said, “Yes, I have...” affirming that she had heard about her at the least. Xenobiology was her forte after all. “does my hair bother you?” she couldn't help asking when she inwardly cringed at another few swats at her head. The strands flew and scattered everywhere at Cardamone's touch, and then slowly floated back down, shining and shifting in colours as McMillan tried to puzzle out what was Asurian natural instincts and what was Cardamone's.

She frowned at the woman's last questions, though only after they were asked, and she didn't frown at the woman. Mostly her brows furrowed together in concentration as she tried to figure out what she knew of her people. “We're pacifists,” said McMillan, “by nature, culture and instinct, you could say. We believe that to strike someone will do as much as well as more harm to ourselves, so it is better not to fight, even in defense. As for our ships...I only know of the one that brought my people to Earth. It was an exploration craft of some sort. We had warp technology, but I do not know how advanced compared to today's ships.”

Idly brushing her hair out of her face, making it shoot away, she said, “I know, you think we're nutters, right?”

Re: Day 02 [0920 hrs.] Came for the Pets, Stayed for the Friendship

Reply #12
[ Dyan Cardamone | Upper Science Labs | Deck 7 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] @Triage

Radiants were extremely fragile. They could die at the mere touch of...gods?...like herself. That's why she shouldn't touch her hair. Dyan had to though, it was light and floaty and extremely distracting. It was just light touches, swatting the hair around and feeling it in her fingers before she let go. Radiants were fragile, but apparently that didn't kill Heather because she's still sitting here, very much alive. She silently pledged to keep her hands buried in her furry army instead of in Heather's hair.

It didn't surprise her to hear that her people were pacifists. She supposes that if she were genetically inclined to be weak, she'd be a pacifist too. What did surprise her is that she mentioned they wouldn't even fight back, in defense. What sort of life is that?
“No, not nutters, just weird. So you're saying if someone was trying to punch you in the face, you'd just let it happen? And you're fragile, so you'd...die right away?” How would that even happen? She looks like she has enough skin and bone to protect her brain at least.
“Also, why'd you call me a god? Not that I mind.” Her tail flopped about. She'd never been called a god before, not outside of sex anyways. It was odd, but she accepted it as a stroke on her ego. What else could it be?

Re: Day 02 [0920 hrs.] Came for the Pets, Stayed for the Friendship

Reply #13
[ Heather McMillan | Upper Science Labs | Deck 7 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @FollowTomorrow
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She'd gone and done it again. In her panic, she went and blurted out all sorts of things that was going to need more explaining from her. And Cardamone was somewhat remindful of a cat. She just did what she jolly well wanted to, thank you very much. She didn't want to tell Cardamone when she swatted at the hair, it felt like a club was being swung through them, but she believed it was mostly in her mind, and the fear of the danger that had her feeling everything on an intensified scale. That, and she wasn't feeling at her best at the moment.

It was also hard for anyone who hadn't lived as a Radiant to be able to conceive or understand the reason for their pacifism. It was genetic already, for them. She idly wondered if it was possible to break from this genetic trait in them. But the very thought seemed nigh blasphemous. Why would she want to bring misery, pain and unhappiness on anyone? She wasn't sure any more if she wanted to let Cardamone understand, or bother trying. Judging by her choice of names for the photonic pets alone, McMillan was fairly certain that Asurian culture was nearly as brutal as the Klingons. Then again, humans were only a fraction less terrifying. And her people had been hiding amongst them for centuries, though it helped that they looked human when they didn't look like a walking aurora.

“Well I wouldn't be standing still if I saw it coming,” said McMillan with a nervous smile, “I said we wouldn't lift a finger to fight back, but I never said we'd stand there and take a hit if running away is available as an option.”

She closed her eyes and explained, “I'll have you know Radiant are particularly fleet-footed and capable of jumping very far. But yes, if one of you had decided to hit me and I didn't get away, I will die. And as for gods...”

She shrugged helplessly, “...you all are to me. To any Radiant, but that doesn't mean we worship you. It's just a...I guess it's how we regard every other race, because you're all superior to us. But we don't mind, really. I know I don't. It's just my lot in life, and I'm content with that.”

That would be her very low sense of ambition. Her contentment was probably what kept her from being bitter or striving to be more than she could ever be.

Re: Day 02 [0920 hrs.] Came for the Pets, Stayed for the Friendship

Reply #14
[ Dyan Cardamone | Upper Science Labs | Deck 7 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] @Triage
Heather was such a fascinating creature. She didn't fight, but she would run. In actuality, it seemed like her speed would've given her quite a fantastic edge in battle if she chose to fight, it might even be enough to make up for her fragility. But no, they just...avoid fight altogether. That's what was confusing to her, and she just had to say something about this. It was too peculiar to leave alone.

“Right, I can live with being a god. It's kinda weird that you just...admit you're weaker right off the bat, but at least you're honest about it. But how can you not fight? I mean—there's just, there's always people who will fight to keep you down. Good stuff doesn't fall in your lap without someone trying to take it. So what do you do if like—say you had a nice meal in front of you. What if someone tells you to get out the chair, it's their food now. You just let it happen? Run away?” She frowned. To imagine the scenario is massively uncomfortable to anyone, but for Dyan, it was especially so. Here sat Heather, a creature with absolutely no self defense, zero, nada, but she had all these awesome talents! Talents and gifts that someone will, eventually, try to take from her.

The thought that her photonic pets could be stolen away made her clutch them all closer. The beginnings of a plan formed in the Asurian's mind, however...

Re: Day 02 [0920 hrs.] Came for the Pets, Stayed for the Friendship

Reply #15
[ Heather McMillan | Upper Science Labs | Deck 7 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @FollowTomorrow
[Show/Hide]
Smiling, McMillan nodded and let Cardamone finish asking her questions. She was used to this part. There were others who were equally perplexed by her absolute pacifism, and she doubted in a galaxy rife with conflict, that it would ever be considered acceptable by most, if not all. Her body pulsed with white and blue light, then pink, and then green, before all the colours began to conjoin in random order and numbers, while her hair continued their dance as she moved her head. All the while, she remained attentive towards the Asurian, her eyes occasionally glancing at the woman's active tail.

She shrugged helplessly, “First of all,” she said, “I might as well mention it, because you'd find out soon enough, anyway. And I can't fight...I just...can't. To even think about it is...painful.” She cringed and shivered, remembering not too long ago she had used a phaser with the intent of trying to stop the other man from hurting Dr. Nicander or Vojona, but she had done more than that when the cage supporting the light broke loose and smashed into the security officer, knocking him down. Grievous harm by proxy. She still deeply regretted her actions and reckless behaviour.

“If I intended to harm another soul,” said McMillan, “I might as well let myself be killed, for the amount of harm fighting back would do to me in any case. So if someone wanted my food...I guess he was really hungry. I'd let him have it. I can always find more.” She couldn't imagine anyone on the Theurgy doing that to her, but they were Federation, so she supposed she was used to the relative peace that they had...that was, until the parasites, of course. Now, she was the first Radiant of Earth in hundreds of years to travel to space, and she was trapped, framed for crimes she didn't commit, and forced to participate in a fight for survival. She privately hoped that if they ever made it home, she would retire from Starfleet and never leave Earth ever again.

But then, Carrigan Trent...

Blinking, she refocused her mind and looked at Cardamone, “It was a hypothetical question, right?” she asked nervously, “I haven't really met anyone who'd chase me away for my food.” Her pet rabbit rematerialized and hopped down from a examination table to sniff at the Jem'hadar duckling, then it hopped away, investigating everything.

Re: Day 02 [0920 hrs.] Came for the Pets, Stayed for the Friendship

Reply #16
[ Dyan Cardamone | Upper Science Labs | Deck 7 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] @Triage
“I would steal food.” She blabbed, freely admitting her nature as kind of a jackass. Oh well, she decided. It's not like she makes a point of hiding it in the first place.
“I'm not going to steal your food though. But I will steal food. I've done it before--” She stopped, just to stare at the rabbit. She's seen many of these things before. She's eaten many more. Mmm, rabbit meat... She licked her lips.
“Look, how about this, I do all the fighting and you stay here and provide me soft fluffy creatures. Someone bothers you, you come get me and I deal with them personally.” She starts grinning at her. It's hard not to smile at Heather. She's enjoyable, like a lava-lamp, or one of those night-lights Terran children use to help them sleep at night.

“See, I'm Asurian.” She started, she owes Heather an explanation, “We're warriors, like Klingons but a lot cleaner and cooler. We fought for everything we have today. I guess we're the opposite of you guys, Radiants.” Every time she pets her tribbles with her nails out, they purr. The duckling, however, was far less interested in being spoiled. Killer, previously settled in between Annihalator's head and Destroyer's side, takes off after the rabbit, emitting territorial squawking sounds.
“Aw, look at them play! Go get 'em Killer!”

Re: Day 02 [0920 hrs.] Came for the Pets, Stayed for the Friendship

Reply #17
[ Heather McMillan | Upper Science Labs | Deck 7 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @FollowTomorrow
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McMillan tilted her head to one side, studying the silver-haired woman in an intrigued manner. Why did she need to steal food? Did they force her to ration? Perhaps she was ashamed to eat more than it looked like she could in front of people? She was guessing by the way Cardamone was looking hungrily at her rabbit. “Would you like a rabbit too?” she asked. “Uh-as a pet, I mean! I don't think photonic pets are good for eating.”

The light shades of pink light appeared on her cheeks and over parts of her skin. She was intimidated, but she couldn't quite bring herself to deny Cardamone her idea. So she did the best she could, and said, “Most certainly; all the fluffy creatures you want.”

She grinned and listened attentively when Cardamone went into detail about her race. Radiants were always interested in new cultures. If they had a fetish, they had a fetish for learning. “What language do you use?” she asked curiously. “do you have art?” She giggled when Killer went chasing after Bunny, then she grimaced, hoping the duckling didn't bite, though it had razor sharp teeth under its bill. The rabbit suddenly sped up and ran in a wider circuit around the room.

Re: Day 02 [0920 hrs.] Came for the Pets, Stayed for the Friendship

Reply #18
[ Dyan Cardamone | Upper Science Labs | Deck 7 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] @Triage
“Rabbits are best for eating, so I'll pass on the photonic one. Cute though!” Dyan grinned, watching Killer chase the rabbit. It was far more agile than her little duckling, not yet trained in the art of the hunt. She let him chase it around the room regardless, finding his antics absolutely adorable. Eventually though, she had to stare at Heather again. Her face turned red, and not just the way humans blush sometimes. The more she saw of her, the more she likened her to a lava lamp. Hypnotizing, entertaining, and pretty.

“Oh, we speak...Asurian I guess? I don't think we have art. Not really. Well...I guess some Asurians write books. Freaks.” She smirked. She didn't really expect Heather to understand that, so she supposed she'd have to elaborate. “We don't have a whole lot of people who aren't concerned with survival, so we don't have a lot of people who go out of their way to make art. We have martial arts though, that's art, isn't it?” She shrugged, “I think it is. Like, humans have dancing? That's kind of like our martial arts, but I think we do it better. Lots more strong movements, less twirling, and no silly poufy toot-toots.”

“And uh, while I'm thinking about it, don't act condescending just because we don't paint and shit, alright? I'm real sick of that attitude.” She rolled her eyes, “Some people think just because we kick ass all the time means we're stupid and brutes. I hate that.”

Re: Day 02 [0920 hrs.] Came for the Pets, Stayed for the Friendship

Reply #19
[ Heather McMillan | Upper Science Labs | Deck 7 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @FollowTomorrow
[Show/Hide]
“Why would I be condescending?” said McMillan, her face one of complete innocence and curiosity, “It is the way of your people, and I respect that.”

They seemed to be people who had a hard life, based on what Cardamone told her. She didn't know that much about Asurian culture. The biology she learnt from whatever was stored on the ship's databanks, as she felt the onset of her migraine growing, she strained to think on what she was told, and to store it away in her memories, but she didn't quite have a fully functional brain. If she were Thea, she would probably be having the equivalent of a computer virus. It was hard to think, and it was actually starting to hurt to shine her light. “The martial arts sounds interesting...” she said, “I don't suppose there's chance I could read some of those books sometime is there? Cultures are an interest to me, as well as written records of histories and such.”

That was probably a leftover from her own racial characteristics. The Colony on Earth was like a lost band of nomads now seeking any trace of their home. Most were too afraid of discovery by Starfleet, despite the near utopian nature of the Federation, they were also almost always in one form of conflict or another with one faction or another throughout history, and that frightened the Radiant. McMillan very nearly didn't make it into the Theurgy, but she was now the first Radiant in centuries to be among the stars again, and now the cat was out the bag. The crew knew about her and her people. She'd submitted her details, her true biological records. Her physical frailty and the near lacking of a normal immune system looked like a doctor's worst nightmare. Killing her required minimum effort.

Keeping her alive was the challenge.

And they wondered why the Radiant look at every else like they were gods. They basically were in comparison.

Bunny the bunny hopped over Killer the Jem'hadar duckling, ran around him, then finally leapt onto McMillan's shoulder, the only safe refuge left. The holographic bunny adjusted itself to be almost weightless, as part of an automated programing when making physical contact with her. Beneath the coney, her shifting colours and light affected the photonic creature, and its image flickered on occasion, revealing its holographic nature. It reared up to balance on its hind legs, placing one paw over its mouth in an almost comical manner, like a thoughtful being. Smiling at her pet, she gave the same expression to Cardamone and slowly got to her feet, showing obvious signs of strain and weariness, “I do have to get back to work,” said the young woman, “but it's been most interesting meeting you, Dyan Cardamone. I hope we'll see each other again soon? Oh, do you like tea? I make tea, hand-brewed, in my quarters.”

She blinked, and then quickly corrected, “When it's restored...that is. My quarters was damaged by a plasma leak. But do drop by sometime, I'll give you this recipe for a chicken vindaloo I learnt from an ancient chef. I think you'll like that.”

She picked up a small data chip with all the details of the new pets and gave it to Cardamone. “Here you go, if there's any file corruption or something goes wrong, just contact me immediately, and I'll give you a back-up copy of your pets.”

Re: Day 02 [0920 hrs.] Came for the Pets, Stayed for the Friendship

Reply #20
[ Dyan Cardamone | Upper Science Labs | Deck 7 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] @Triage
Dyan saw her getting up, but she couldn't look right at her. Her glow was just so...radiant! That must be where the name comes from then. She seemed wobbly, and slow. She starts standing up as well, much faster than Heather and carrying her tiny army to boot.
“Well, I guess I like tea, sometimes.” She wasn't even going to ask what vindaloo was. She was sure it would taste good. Most human foods do, compared to Asurian.

Her arms were full, but she reached out for the chip anyway, letting her tribbles rain down on the poor Killer between her feet. It didn't really matter that they fell, Dyan had their code right in her hand now. She could flood her quarters with them later.
“Thanks—wait though, we're really just going to part ways? I was just getting to know you and all.” She frowned, no, pouted. Heather was fun, even if she was weird. Even so, she could tell Heather was looking tired, she was moving slow and had that weird glazed over look people sometimes got. Maybe she was sick? No, wait, she had mentioned earlier that Radiants were fragile beings. It occurred to her that maybe Dyan's visit was enough to overwhelm her. The Asurian was bombastic, loud, and pushy, and Heather was...like crystal dinnerware. Shatters when manhandled. Dyan was likely coming to the point where Heather would shatter.
“Well, alright.” She reversed her position after just a brief moment of thinking. “But you stop by my quarters and I'll see if I have one of those 'books' from home. You'll probably like them more than I do. Oh, and I want vindaloo, bring some if you stop by.” She offered her hand to shake. For a moment, it escaped her that touch could kill Heather, but she realized in time and retracted her hand awkwardly.
“And if anyone gives you trouble, I'm your girl. Dyan Cardamone, or Sar-unga Neleo. Got it?” She flashed her a thumbs up and a grin that fooled absolutely no one.
“Oh, and maybe see somebody about you're, uh...that.” She gestured at Heather, dropping more tribbles as she did so. “You look like shit. Unless, you know, that's how you normally look. If so, uh, good job?”

Re: Day 02 [0920 hrs.] Came for the Pets, Stayed for the Friendship

Reply #21
[ Heather McMillan | Upper Science Labs | Deck 7 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @FollowTomorrow
[Show/Hide]
McMillan couldn't help but smile at the sight of the Asurian woman trying to keep hold of the entire lot of tribbles as she rose with her. She was fairly certain that she'd stated Cardamone could easily vanish the lot for now and carry them in the Data Container, but she supposed it was a wonderful feeling to hold those friendly little fuzzballs, and even that faulty design of the Jem'hadar duckling. Who knew that even a flawed photonic design like that would find someone who'd love it? It certainly wasn't her idea of cute, but if it made Cardamone happy...

She blinked a few times at the woman when she seemed amazed that McMillan was cutting their time short. She immediately felt a sense of guilt, and was ready to change her mind but for the ever-growing pain in her temples. It might be mild compared to the kind of pain experienced by the gods, but to one who almost never suffered pain, it was excruciating, and almost impossible for her to conceal with a smile. But it was all she could do not to groan or cry out. The Asurian took a brief moment to consider the situation, it seemed. “R-right,” said McMillan, “I'll bring you plenty. I'm sure you'll like it.” She unconsciously reached her hand out to take the offered one before it was withdrawn, making McMillan retract quickly, realizing that Cardamone very likely could not measure her strength against the Radiant's lack thereof or the non-existent durability, which could well result in the grisly image of her arm getting torn out of its socket.

Cardamone's grin was both fascinating and at the same time terrifying, but she gave a thumbs up and a smile of her own, showing off all her harmless, perfectly human-like teeth. “Dyan Cardamone or Sar-unga Neleo. Got it!”

She brushed a stray flailing strand of hair back when Cardamone pointed out how terrible she looked, and she nodded, “Absolutely, yeah.” She didn't confirm whether or not that was how she looked, and saw the woman out. When the doors closed she leaned against them for a moment, her photonic rabbit looking at her quizzically from his perch on her shoulder. She nodded to herself and notified her superiors that she was heading to the sickbay for a check-up. She almost wanted to ask for a site-to-site transport, seeing as her legs were going numb and turning to jelly, but she resolved to drag herself there if necessary. But either way, she was out the door, and off to see a doctor, photonic bunny hopping along beside her.

FIN

 
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