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Day 09 [1400 hrs.] Starlight

[ Lt. Cmdr. Rutherford | Shuttlecraft “Rosalind Franklin” | Bridge | Sector K-9 | Klingon Territory ] attn: @Swift
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Eradiated dust streaking, as if looking up into the night sky during a spring rain. Luminous drops against the black abyss. Gentle blips against the visage of the shuttle’s warp bubble. Just having left the surly bonds of Qo’nos’ orbit, moving not the shuttle itself, but rather reality around it, as it zipped across the void like a silver arrow. With Athena’s impeccable aim itself, unwaveringly encroaching on its obscure target, as it plowed not only through space but – in a way, to counteract misalignment – time as well. Oh, the infernal machine at work behind such a simple act. The eons past numbing every natural inclination to question such wizardry. A notion that had become so commonplace, that it existed almost without meaning. But recently, the most mundane things had started to hold deeper meaning to the plucky blonde, currently arching her lithe frame over the starboard console, beneath a canopy of transparent aluminum, as if a soap bubble encapsulating the capacity for life. The gentle hum of their magical carpet ride, the subtle symphony to the tranquil notion of peace and security. Not only facilitated by metal sheets and shielding, but rather an ethereal instinct, nurtured not by matter or its counterpart, but rather the unrelenting measure of time passing, itself.

“Propulsion output and deflector operation are within standard parameters. Looks like it’s going to be smooth sailing.” Saccharine voice broke through the haze of silent like a rising sun over the marsh of eternity. A fog that had lay thick between them, since leaving Theurgy and Qo’nos behind. Yet it was not in deliberate spite, but rather a mutual comfort in silence, that had sparked such lush reprieve. For there was more to say about people who always needed to bask in a waterfall of superficial lamentations, than those who could simply exist in silence between them, without falling victim to the insecurities lurking in the dark cracks of reticence. As a diplomat, the blonde knew so fair well, and at least five obvious examples to support such a thesis. Arching her lithe figure into the vertical, like a gerbera erecting towards the warming sun, larimar gems reflected the passing measure of rainbow sparks for a little moment more, before her figure move don wraith like, with a dainty hand gingerly brushing over the perimeter of Andrew’s shoulder and neck, as if a specter of eternal bliss, while she moved over to the backwards located science station. Beneath a reflection of her beautiful self, like a mirage across a black lake, she watched over the star map beneath the surface, slowly drifting off underneath their location indicator, much as space did around their little sphere of real space.

Following the trajectory, of their little dot in the void, far beyond the reaches of the display parameters, the blonde officer could not find any specific systems in their immediate path, nor did any of these ring any bells in the grander scheme of recent developments. After all, she wasn’t entirely sure yet, this would not turn out to be some top-secret spy outing, where she would have to put on a sparkly outfit and dance as a distraction. At any rate, she would not find the answers she was seeking, trying to extract clues from their plotted course and some rudimentary navigational charts. Casting herself off the console, like a clipper ready for sea, the blonde paced a few delicate steps into the heart of the cockpit, clapping her hands together before her hips, before letting intertwined digits keep them together, as she swayed back and forth, like a little girl on the first day of school. And it was in that moment, that the comfortable haze of silence, turned into a suffocating smog of sulfur and ash. The midst of the space turning into the stuffy hot crater of a volcano. And even just for a moment, her defiance prevailed over the urge to cut through the mist like a knife through butter. However, it soon succumbed to the realization that this flight could take hours.

“So … any hint on where we’re going, maybe?” Samantha piped up delicately, her voice but a little kitten, vying for attention at his feet. Groomed brows raising precariously, over azure lagoons, as if manicured lawn retreated into the plane of smooth sandstone pavement. Clasping her hand together behind her back, leaning forward once more to accentuate not only that lovely figure, but her point as a whole, the blonde smiled gingerly. Moist rose petals arching under the mesmerizing glimmer of light. Without notice, the soft precipice of her palm had fallen upon the man’s broad shoulder once more. Another measure of silent diplomacy, negotiating the situation in her favor, through subvertive means. Which was quite curious, this dynamic, given that it had been not only doctor Kobol and Sam herself, who had urged Drew to take a few days away from Theurgy; but the captain himself was in favor too. Yet here they were, and somehow this had become more of an intervention on the plucky blonde, than the bearded hulk, once again control of their fate.

It wasn’t that she didn’t trust him, not by. Along shot. But that trust was in direct contrast with her defiance to relinquish control on certain aspects of her life. On the physical trajectory her body was in certainly qualified as such an aspect. She didn’t even know if she would have been able to pack the right things. Cold or warm, rugged or distinguished, so she hadn’t packed anything at all. Figuring whatever dilemma he would get her into, clothing wise, could be remedied via the replicator of the shuttle. Or an absence of clothes at all. That made her plush lips squeeze forth the ruby sangria of life even more, as peach slices thinned under the enigmatic pressure of delight. She realized she was going to be fine no matter the outcome, the destination, the mission. But had already swam out too far to scamper back safely, with her myriad of subliminal cues towards eliciting a slither of information towards their terminus. And a good diplomat never backtracked on their demands, but rather drove the point further, if anything.

“You know … if you would set the autopilot to our destination, we could start with the whole R&R the doctor ordered, right now.” Sam relayed with modest volume, her voice almost a cloud in the winds of the ambient noise, yet beneath, an unmistakable glimmer of control. The air, which had reverberated through her vocal cords, now an ethereal reminder of her suggestion, as it delicately caressed the skin on Andrew’s neck. An obvious ploy, indeed, there was no saying it couldn’t become a reality, if the man so willingly chose to succumb to it. And in doing so, he may have revealed the ultimate destination, of their trek across the stars. But even in knowing better, than to try and play mind games with a spook, the blonde had indulged the notion for her own entertainment alone. And there was little to be had, in the silence between them, the ever-repeating canvas of stars, and seemingly homogenous makeup of space, out here in the dark. Far away from planets and nebulas, any distinctive features, other than the stars themselves. Among them, two moons, circling a common center mass, considered by many to be the pinnacle of human emotion. Ever inching closer to that realization they orbited.

Re: Day 09 [1400 hrs.] Starlight

Reply #1
[ Lt. Cmdr. Andrew Fisher | Fore Compartment | Type-11 Shuttlecraft “Rosalind Franklin” ] Attn: @stardust

The order had officially and finally come, with absolutely no measure of indirectness belied within, Fisher was to take some time to allow his body, mind, and most importantly spirit, a chance to actually heal. His continued insistence to remain at active duty regardless of the cost to any of the aforementioned aspects of who he was, would no longer persist. He had simply pushed too much and too far against the leniency that had been afforded him in wake of his imprisonment and interrogation at the hands of Gorka’s subordinates on Qo’noS. For years, he had managed to avoid any actual escape from some form of service; moving from one assignment and operation to another and filling any gap in between with studious intelligence gathering and analysis. He had flown so carefully under the radar of any command oversight for so long, that one had to consider it an artfully honed skill in absence of any deliberate omission on their part. In fact, were it not for his direct involvement in an away mission just the day prior, a very real violation of the verbal understanding he’d reached with the Medical Staff contingent upon his dismissal from observation, he likely would’ve continued on in this manner. Yet, here he was, now effectively removed from the greater picture and grand scheme of the ongoing struggle to stave off the total annihilation of life in the Universe.

And while it might not have been his first impulse to leave Theurgy during such a struggle, he wasn’t exactly about to complain either, given the company in which he’d taken. Confined aboard a shuttlecraft with anyone as overtly pleasant as his counterpart in the Diplomatic Department would’ve certainly been atop his list of ways to spend R&R.

‘This ought to be interesting.’ He thought to himself wryly.

Splayed out before his outstretched palms placed delicately at the CONN of Rosalind Franklin, a mistress whom he’d spent an inordinate amount of time getting familiar with in recency, was a succinct summary of the course in which he and his blonde counterpart were now engaged. In truth, Fisher had little idea what awaited him upon arrival, an occurrence that would come some six-hours later. He knew of course that the system in question, Gorath, was just over four-lightyears distance from Qo’noS, and that of the six planets which orbited the pair of dim-blue stars, only one was frequented by the Klingons of whom the system technically belonged to. Yet, among those six planets, was a lone gas giant, and encircling that gas giant was a myriad complex of over three dozen moons. And somehow, one of those moons was now unofficially his property. Of course there was no legal way a spy for the Federation could ever own any sort of territory or even a whole celestial body, regardless of how close the Empire and Federation would ever come to be. And in fact, when the message came in regarding his apparent ownership of said moon, Fisher had every reason to assume it to be an attempt at coaxing him out of hiding by an old bitter rival in the Klingon Intelligence services.

Though, his suspicions had proven decidedly incorrect, as after having tasked Benson back in Theurgy’s CIS to decrypt the message no less than a six times in an effort to ensure its veracity, he’d sent a communication of his own to the bumbling pair of fools that had somehow managed to acquire the moon, with the use of Fisher’s latinum nest-egg no less.

Initially, the spy had considered contracting an old asset to track down Ferron and his brother Norben with the soul purpose of ending his partnership with them in a judicious and wholly vindictive manner. But just as he’d done years earlier when first meeting the Ferengi Investors, and then again sometime after while on another deep-cover operation, Fisher had opted to spare their lives. A fact that the Intelligence Chief had found it necessary to reveal to Ferron, prompting an immediate apology for having misappropriated a portion of the wealth in which Fisher had trusted to the Ferengi. The aforementioned nest-egg; several-thousand bars of gold-pressed latinum that he’d ‘earned’ while on the various covert missions he’d been part of during his career with SFI, were supposed to be kept in a low-interest account somewhere off the books, only to be accessed and retrieved if in the event Fisher were ever killed during one of his assignments. In death, the entirety of his estate would be transferred to his mother on Earth, as recompense for having given two sons to the service of Starfleet and the Federation. And while technically, the funds he’d acquired should’ve been turned over to his handlers, it was in fact one of those handlers that had suggested Fisher set up the account for a rainy day.

‘Just because we’re not paid for this work, doesn’t mean our loved ones shouldn’t be.’

Visibly, Fisher shook his head ever so slightly as he tried to erase Hurley from his conscious thought, wholly disinterested in imagining the man, regardless of whether or not the piece of advice had proven to be a good one. Given how visceral his hallucinations had been back on Qo’noS and in sickbay, he’d had little desire to conjure up any memories of his mentor, especially considering his pleasant company. Though for an instant, he still would’ve sworn he’d tasted a hint of acrid burning tobacco hovering in the air of the cockpit. Focusing his gaze back from the moment of ill-born reverie, he shifted in place as a teasingly evocative voice interrupted the silence which had permeated since the departure from Theurgy; just the faintest hint of both English and French accentuation hidden in her vocalized syllables, betraying a youth spent partially in the streets of France, Paris to be exact, though he knew that from reading her file. Still, Fisher would’ve been lying had he tried to claim that the sensual intonation of her siren like voice hadn’t played a part in diverting the course of his ship as it had sailed the seas of romantic interest, lost but somehow found once again.

Grinning broadly as he sensed the motion of her moving about the cabin in the periphery of his vision, he surmised without any doubt that the delicate nature of her voice was if anything, a carefully attuned instrument which she knew would only further aid her in the completion of her duties as a Diplomatic Officer. In fact, were she of his cut of cloth instead, he knew it would’ve been a most deadly weapon in which to lull one’s adversary into a state of relaxation. It was amusing how both she and he had their respective gifts of charm and subterfuge; a veritable armory of options at their expense, which was exactly why together they formed arguably the most dangerous and potentially effective duo aboard Theurgy. Realization of which Fisher had come to some time earlier during one of his parlances with Sam, wherein he’d recognized the futility of his own resistance to whatever wiles she so decided to engage him with. And while he should have been disturbed by how totally he could feel his defenses subside when in her presence, he felt oddly comfortable. As though a warm blanket would enrapture his shoulders in absence of the cloak which would normally adorn them.

“Well...” he teased, swaying back and forth in his chair at the controls as she touched the back of his neck, a shiver running down his spine that both eased and tensed the muscles in his back. In his mind, he could see a proverbial flag fluttering in a torrential storm, ready to be brought down in signification of surrender.

‘C’mon, at least put up some sort of a fight.’ A voice in his head piped up.

Dancing a hand across the panel before him, he began to bring up the relative files contained within the Federation database for the Gorath system, that he might at least explain what little he even knew. However, the thought hastily vanished from his mind as her own bout of teasing easily trumped his, leaving him in a state of moderate disarray as he an internal contest began to wage in the foremost atrium of his brain. Quickened in his chest, he felt the flutter of his heart reaching an early crescendo, as if to muster an audience to form at the onset of a symphony. Accordingly, the smirk on his face, one born of an intent to at least try and play upon the mystery of their destination, broadened ever more so, though it had clearly morphed into one tainted by a measure of devious intent he’d reserved for her, and her alone. “...I mean, if you’re going to put it that way.” He answered, quickly spinning his chair ajar while strong hands immediately sought out to snatch up the exceedingly resplendent woman by her hips, twirling and pulling her until she fell unto his lap, an arm bracing against her delicately slender back as he effectively caught her.

There would be no delay in his ministrations after, as the void between his and her pates would close with rapidity, drawn together by a force far more persistent and overriding than even that of the constant of the Universe. Soft plumes of hot exhalation coalescing for an instant before his scruff-lined lips found hers of pure soft perfection.

‘Why would I ever want to fight this?’ He answered that voice in his head.

 

Re: Day 09 [1400 hrs.] Starlight

Reply #2
[ Lt. Cmdr. Rutherford | Shuttlecraft “Rosalind Franklin” | Bridge | Sector K-9 | Klingon Territory ] attn: @Swift
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Walking through the enchanted forest of Andrew’s reticence, marveling at the shy creatures of fable’s design, cowering pusillanimously in the shadows beneath the tattered branches of viridian fern and wild azaleas, observing her cautiously, the aura of her presence almost felt like an intrusion, yet the bewitching silence served more as a measure of airborne ambrosia, corrupting her mind to gentle extasy, rather than vying to expel her from this serene place. As she galivanted onward on the drumbeats of her words, echoing through the thicket, unrelenting and determined. An adventurer in the wild of unspoken truths, seeking out the hidden treasures, within the comforting poise of nothingness. A stage play created for her explicitly, an escape room challenge of affectionate design, indulging her innate appetence to solve a riddle, to challenge an obstacle, and to carve her own way out of the underbrush of nonverbal communication.

A notion that prompted the lithe blonde to stop in her tracks, admiring the deft suaveness with which the man pampered her investigative spirit. If this little game of clue hunting had already been the great adventure they were to embark on, the diplomatic officer would’ve been wholesomely satisfied. But as usual, with the multilayered spy, what she was allowed to peer was only the tip of the proverbial iceberg, the event-horizon of a black hole of indefinite depth. Circling around the glowing disc of spatial distortion like a duck in a toilet bowl, marveling at the prospects of endless discoveries in the depth below like a lunatic. And as she picked up momentum her excitement only grew, even within the vacuum of space and absence of words, by the sheer power of imagination alone. And Sam wasn’t even known for having a very active one at that. Almost as if the man inadvertently lit a fuse she couldn’t put out. And it would stand to be seen, what kind of eruption its conclusion would create.

When delicate fingertips brushed across the soft skin of Andrew’s neck, like a desert wind sweeping across arid planes, manicured nails added a thrilling sense of friction, as the woman’s digits eagerly found the precipice of the man’s thick head of hair, diving into the auburn foliage like herds of deer, recoiling from the rising dawn, into the cozy safety of silken reeds. A notion of deeper understanding setting in like the beams of a rising sun over layered morning fog across dewy fields. The notion of playful persistence, resistance even, dancing through the pastures like Pan, the Greek god of the wild. A single token of verbal delay, echoing through the woods, like a bugle echoing through the woods, declaring the hunting season to have started. Hound dogs at the ready, Samantha bravely accepted the challenge and ventured into the dark forest of skillful obfuscation. Sending forth her agents of disarray, barking and rifling, she gracefully delighted in the game growing skittish, under the might of her talent in the hunt. The hunt for the true motivation in a person, no matter the circumstance.

Lingering in the information revealed upon the navigation console, the blonde let her guard slip if only for a second, like a silken cape off dainty shoulders. The Gorath system meant little to her, in terms of factual understanding about it, yet it held some sort of to-be-determined importance towards Drew. Or at the very least, their erratic journey, by serving as a figment of a terminus: A measure of absolution. But the investigative bout was immediately cut short, as the slender woman was pulled off her feet, her gentle curves melting into the man’s lap as if caramel, draped over two éclairs. Turning the two of them into a pastry from Sam’s childhood, she had almost forgotten the delectable taste of. However, the ploy for distraction was not entirely executed just then, as scruff-lined lips inched closer, before claiming bubblegum pillows in delicate veneration. A notion of bliss the blonde gave in voluntarily, while casting an anchor to shore, binding her lifeline to the very console before them. A measure of defense against the spy’s deft wiles, with which he undoubtedly had solved many situations in which information was about to escape his grasp. A sentiment which, in turn, acted as the rope, the diplomat used to bind herself to reality, just for the sake of following her own trajectory, despite his best efforts to derail her.

Snaking warm heat from juicy pleasure, Samantha’s silken pate rolled from the gentle embrace along Andrew’s guiding arm, leading to a sideways nod towards the spinning halo of planets cast across photonic display cells. “That’s not the autopilot …” she remarked. Her voice more hoarsely than she had intended to, her mind more frazzled than was acceptable. Finger decidedly slipping off the man’s muscular frame, where they had caught temporary hold like a koala to a tree, lithe limbs and voluptuous bends skillfully contorted in the man’s strong arms, so she could reach the controls with one hand, while also giving the displays her full attention. Fingertips dancing across glowing gems beneath reflective ice the commander herself didn’t even pull up the computer controls, but rather a more detailed information on the system. Which wasn’t much. It wasn’t actually until she cycled through the display filters, that out of a uniquely crimson hue... denoting Klingon affiliation.

[Tactical Alert,] the computer of the Rosalind Franklin announced, [four vessels approaching, bearing two-five-zero mark five.]

“Andrew...” she said under her breath, her eyes uncharacteristically wide. “It's House Mo'Kai...”


TWO HOURS LATER


The report from House K'Tal, which eventually found its way to the Theurgy, was succinct but clear. The shuttle named Rosaling Franklin had been beset by House Mo'Kai separatist. The Theurgy shuttle had been boarded after a chase through the Gorath system, and while the damage to the craft could be repaired, the two officers aboard had fared far worse.

When House K'Tal had answered the distress call and arrived at the scene, the separatists had been chased off. Councilor K'Tal  stated in his report that Lieutenant Commander Fisher had been found dead aboard the shuttle, and even though the Theurgy's Chief Diplomatic Officer was still alive, the injuries she'd sustained were so severe that the Klingon physicians had immediately preserved her fading spark of life in a transporter buffer. Upon later rendezous with the Theurgy, Samantha Rutherford had been put into stasis pending future medical treatment. The chances of her surviving surgery, even with V-Nine's renowned Savi treatment techniques, were however minimal.

The Rosalind Franklin, after having been towed to Qo'noS by House K'tal, underwent repairs while the crew mourned the losses of the two officers that had aboard her.

- FIN

 
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