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Day 03 [1000 hrs] Specter and Shade

[Ens. Talia Al-Ibrahim | Main Sickbay | Deck 11 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy] Attn: @Auctor Lucan

She’d woken up after nine hours in the recovery ward, confused and groggy, but most of all hungry. The staff had done their best to accommodate her, while they tended to all the other charges; Talia had not been the only patient there recovering. The sheer size of the medbay – what little she’d been able to see – gave her pause. It brought back memories of the enormity of the Theurgy she’d felt back when she’d first come aboard. It still felt like only yesterday, but now she knew different.

After gorging herself on a meal that Talia never would've included in her nutritional plans, she had been issued a newly replicated uniform and a PADD. Once she had submitted to a final exam and taken a brief on-boarding orientation (which she remembered vaguely from the first time she took it, months ago), Talia was ushered out of the ward to the waiting area for her release orders. In the interim, the PADD offered a plethora of information at her fingertips – the Theurgy’s deck layout, her personnel file, transfer orders, even mission reports, along with a host of pertinent ship-wide protocols for crew members – namely the rationing of critical materials. Hm, wonder what that’s about, she started to access more information, then stopped abruptly, flipping the tablet over with a groan.

She had all the answers to her questions right there, in her hand. Her dark eyes narrowed at the tablet while she waited, lips pursed in thought. What if I don’t like what I find out? What if this ship really did turn on Starfleet, or whatever, and now I’m caught up in it? What am I supposed to do, she arched an eyebrow, looking around at the various medical personnel going about their business. Take over the ship? Talia huffed at the ludicrous idea, shaking her head subtly. 

The PADD in her hand chirped then, as the receptionist waved to her. “You should have your release orders now Ensign,” the man nodded to her PADD, “and I’ve taken the liberty of liaising with the Quartermaster for your lodgings. Saves you a trip up a level,” he shrugged. “Room assignment should be on there too,” he gestured to the tablet. “Is there anything else I can help you with?”

Too nice for pirates or...Allah, just stop it. Enemies don’t nurse you back to life from certain death. Talia stood smoothly, brushing her hair away from her face before shaking her head. “No, thank you. Please relay my gratitude to the entire team,” her head nodded to the side, back towards the ward and surgical site. “Especially Vi

“Head Nurse Vinata Vojona – happy to ma’am,” he interrupted her with a knowing smile and a nod, before returning to his duties.

Guess that’s that, she sighed. Talia’s returning nod went unnoticed before she turned to leave, skimming over the incoming messages on her PADD: the room assignment was on deck 13, vector 03, which meant she needed to find the nearest turbolift. As she crossed the threshold, a notation below that caught her eye – labeled personal effects, Ibrahim, Talia Al. The urge to shake her head and roll her eyes at the constant mislabeling of her full name was like an old friend visiting out of the blue; she simply smirked instead. Not sure how my stuff managed to survive, but I’m not going to complain. Upper cargo bay #2, here I come.

[0847 hrs | Personal Quarters | Deck 13 | Vector 03]

After depositing the dufflebag and personal locker she managed to locate after nearly an hour and a half of searching the cargo bay for, Talia rolled her shoulders and took a moment to take her new quarters in. Not bad, she admitted, air’s a bit stale though. The room was bigger than the shared accommodations aboard the Diamondback, and she had her own shower which made her face split in a genuine smile.  “Allah, where have you been all my life,” she chuckled as she entered the washroom, giggling as she ran her hands across the sink and the door to the sonic shower. Upon opening it, she stared at the shower head in amazement; its got water. “Oh, honey, I’m so using you right now,” she cooed, then proceeded to relieve herself of her uniform.

[Some time later...]

Six months, she sighed as she wrapped the towel around herself, not bothering to dry off. The mirror in the washroom showed a pale, skinnier reflection of who she remembered; still decently toned, but lacking much of the work she had put in to defining how she wanted to look. Talia turned from the mirror with a grimace, gliding over the carpet to the bed. Can’t even wrap my head around it.

First things first – stow all this crap, she nodded to herself as she looked around. There seemed to be ample storage for her meager belongings. Then, set meal plans and work out schedules, she continued as she opened and up-ended her bag – spilling clothing, socks, hygiene products and other items across the mattress. Her eyes focused on her favorite brand of moisturizer – scooping it up instantly. Then, she continued, removing the towel from her body only to wrap it around the slick mess that was her hair, I’ll read up on what the hell’s really going on around here. Her eyes darted to the PADD on the pillow as she worked the lotion into her skin, filling the room with scents of sheer freesia, raspberries, shea butter and coconut oil.

Once she’d properly set a series of tasks to accomplish, Talia set to it. Securing a pair of short, faded gym sweats and a black sports bra from the pile, she pulled them on and took a second to adjust, rolling the waistband of the shorts down a bit from habit. The aversion to anything touching her navel was an odd one, but was just something she dealt with without second thought. Feels good to wear these again, she smirked down at herself briefly before setting to work.

Socks are a good start, she shrugged, and set to gathering them up. Once she had them all bundled in her arm, she dumped them into one of the drawers built under the bed. That’s when she noticed two miscellaneous items, oddly staring her in the face from the edge of the bed. Oh. Almost forgot about you two, she huffed at the vibrators, one slightly smaller and more curved than the other. In ya go, she unceremoniously raked them off the bed and down into the drawer, moving on without another thought.

[1000 hrs]

Talia was sitting behind her workstation, legs pulled up to her chest as she typed away, adjusting the nutritional plans according to the data revealed by her latest medical exam. She was 21.9 pounds short of her goal weight, 24.7% short of her ideal muscle mass. All in all, not terrible, all things considered. Still, you got work to do girl, she sucked her teeth. “Good thing this hulk’s got multiple gyms,” she muttered.

The chime to her door chirped then, prompting her to peek above the monitor towards it, brow furrowed in a confused scowl. The hell? Who could that be, she cocked her head for a few seconds, listening – wondering if she’d just imagined the sound. When it chirped again, causing her to flinch, she sprang to her feet. “Uh...uhh…,” she had no idea what to do. Answer the fucking door, ya kalb!Fuck,” she whispered, then tapped a command into her terminal, disabling the door lock as she rounded the corner of the desk to face the door as it chirped a third time. “S-sorry, come in, come in,” she pulled the towel off her head, shaking her hair out, suitably irritated with herself.

Re: Day 03 [1000 hrs] Specter and Shade

Reply #1
[ Lt. JG Evelyn Rawley, callsign "Ghost" | Talia's Personal Quarters | Deck 13 | Vector 03 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Dumedion
It had been pure bloody happenstance that Rawley learned about the would-be Lone Wolf being thawed, at long last, and being due for duty in the squad. Six months a 'popsicle'. Fuck, that's a cool callsign though, literally.

What had happened was that she'd been shooting pool in the Den - the Lone Wolf lounge in the fighter bay - and she'd overheard the scuttlebutt about this former Diamondback pilot who was in the recovery ward, the gossip focusing on how the woman would have been one of the original Lone Wolves if it hadn't been for her injuries. It had caught Rawley's attention, and while she didn't say anything, she remembered it clearly. The Theurgy had just left Earth, the brass having caught on to how the investigation into Starfleet Command had been compromised, when Command gave the order. All available ships in orbit got the word, and it had been a close call. The crew hadn't been prepared for the sudden attack, and with that many ships firing at once, they got through the aft shields, and the fighter bay had caught the worst of the first barrage. She remembered pulling bodies of deckhands out of the collapsed debris in the bay, and she'd found a Lone Wolf she didn't recognised. It wasn't until later, after she'd got Thea to beam the woman to sickbay, that she'd learned the woman's name. Talia Al-Ibrahim, callsign Shadow.

She'd asked Thea to inform her when Shadow left the recovery ward, and once she'd got word, she tracked her down to her new quarters with Thea's help. She'd come sooner but she had to submit some damn overdue patrol logs. When she'd chimed the Ensign's door, however, there was no answer at first. She thought of asking Thea if she was sure the pilot was in there, but she'd chimed the door again. Eventually, the sliding doors parted and she walked inside. With a smile, she put her hands in her pockets, thumbs outside, and squared her shoulders. Her blue flight jacket caught the overhead lights along with the white tank top she wore underneath it, and despite her diminutive frame, her heavy boots made light thuds against the carpet. She cocked a hip and gave the woman a once-over, and seeing how fit she was, she raised her eyebrows in an impressed expression.

"Wow, I bet ye could crush my head like a melon with those thighs," she said in her accent with a grin, raising her chin. "I'm Lieutenant Evelyn Rawley, but ye can just call me Ghost. If ye hadn't got yerself so bloody mangled up, we'd been flying together for the past six months. Thought I'd come say hi, and I bet ye have a few questions about what the fuck happened, right?"

Standing there, hands in the pockets of her grey sweatpants, Rawley gauged how welcome she was, since she realised that the woman might need some time to accept that she was on a renegade ship on a mission where the whole of Starfleet was hunting them.

Re: Day 03 [1000 hrs] Specter and Shade

Reply #2
[Ens. Talia Al-Ibrahim | Personal Quarters | Deck 13 | Vector 03| USS Theurgy] Attn: @Auctor Lucan

Talia observed the woman's entrance – dark eyes quickly darting up and down – unconsciously sizing the woman up as she pulled her hair back to drape the towel over her shoulders. The comment on her thighs provoked the slightest curl at the corner of Talia's lips, but no more; she'd grown accustomed to people talking about her body, positively or otherwise, and she could barely remember the last time anything had been between her thighs – other than weights. That didn’t stop her imagination from projecting a snap shot of the scene in her head, before Talia shut it down. Focus, she scolded herself.

After Ghost had finished her introduction, Talia gripped the towel in both her fists as she nodded, leaning her ass back on the edge of the desk. “You could say that,” she answered evenly, head cocked at the fellow pilot. “I’m Talia Al-Ibrahim, or Shadow, if you like – but something tells me you already knew that," she added, lifting a shoulder. She could only assume someone had alerted Ghost - or perhaps the SCO - when Talia had woken up. What else could explain the situation? Searching her memory for a moment proved futile; Talia had no knowledge of this woman. Odd, the only name that stands out is Rel…something, she realized, then gave up trying altogether; the memories surrounding the time of her internment in stasis were too fragmented.

She watched her visitor for a few more seconds, blinking slowly, considering. Ghost seemed relaxed and attempting to be friendly, despite the abrasive implication that it was somehow Talia’s fault for nearly dying. Cavalier thing to say to a person you just met, she thought bitterly.  Ultimately, she took a breath to shake the thought off; chalking it up to a poor attempt at humor to break the ice. Nice accent though, she admitted, then remembered her manners. “Make yourself at home Lieutenant,” she gestured with an elbow to her quarters, then moved to the replicator for refreshments, doing her best to appear relaxed and hospitable. Guests should always feel welcomed, until they prove unworthy – then propriety be damned, her uncle taught her.

As she ordered two glasses of cucumber water with a small plate of hummus and pita bread, her mind lingered on her attire. Hardly dressed for company. Talia debated changing briefly before dismissing the notion. This is my space now – fuck it, she concluded; tucking her hair behind her ear as her eyes met those of her guest over her shoulder. Wariness of Ghost and the anxiety of meeting new people aside, Talia held the contact, refusing to show weakness on her own turf. Whatever thoughts and judgments her fellow pilot dwelt on, Talia lacked the insight to guess. Let it be, she told herself. She came out of her way to be here; that should tell you something.

When the replicator chimed, Talia pulled the towel from her shoulders and draped it over the back of the desk chair before securing the glasses and plate.

Right,” she breathed out as she turned back to Ghost, “lets do this, shall we,” she tilted her head, moving to the cushioned seating area and small table where her guest had settled. She set the plate where they could both easily reach, placing the drinks nearby as well, before seating herself. Resting her back against the viewport filled with stars, she crossed her legs at the ankles, forcing her posture to relax. Time to find out what kind of shit-show I’ve woken up in, she grumbled mentally, taking a deep breath. Something gave her pause then, and she found herself speaking before she even realized it. “I remember the attack, vaguely; I know I should be dead,” she murmured, “but I’m not,” she added, letting some fire edge into her eyes as they locked with Ghost’s. “Someone’s going to answer for that,” she promised, her tone as hard as her eyes. "Lay it on me," she blinked, "all of it."

Re: Day 03 [1000 hrs] Specter and Shade

Reply #3
[ Lt. JG Evelyn Rawley, callsign "Ghost" | Talia's Personal Quarters | Deck 13 | Vector 03 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Dumedion
Leaning back in her seat, Rawley watched the new Lone Wolf in a relaxed manner, albeit a bit curious about how she would tackle the sudden visit and the chance to let someone tell her what the fuck was going on instead of reading through a ten-inch stack of PADDs.

"Right, ye just woke up, so I guess ye have been spared hearing all the shit-talking Starfleet Command and the FNN has done, so that ought to make ye somewhat objective to all the bloody stuff that has happened," she said, and sipped the water. She'd liked something stronger, but judging by this wolf's physique, Rawley hardly thought she was the kind to indulge in ale or a scotch. The water was fine to wet her throat, and she knew she'd need it.

"Starfleet Command has been compromised. They are acting in line with the wishes of parasites that control their minds. The Theurgy was on to them at Earth, but before we could sound the alarm or finish collecting evidence, they caught on to us, and gave the order..."

[ Twenty Minutes Later ]

After Rawley had talked her throat raw, her narrative about the current situation and past events embellished by hearty swearing, she had covered most things about where things were at aboard without delving too deep into events such as the Niga Incident or the Ishtar visit. She hadn't bothered to go over the mission reports from Theta Eridani IV or Starbase 84, or what had happened in the Azure Nebula, but she thought she'd said enough about where things stood in regard to the mission status and the situation aboard.

Her glass was empty, and after glancing at it, she tilted her shaved head a little and looked at Shadow, knowing there was a lot to take in.

"If I were ye," she said and took a bite from the food, a lopsided smile on her face, "I would replicate something stronger at this point. What's yer poison?"

Re: Day 03 [1000 hrs] Specter and Shade

Reply #4
[Ens. Talia Al-Ibrahim | Personal Quarters | Deck 13 | Vector 03 | USS Theurgy] Attn: @Auctor Lucan

Whiskey, usually,” Talia murmured as she stood, unable to keep the mixture of shock and disbelief from her voice. “I need a minute,” she added over her shoulder, walking to the PADD laying on her pillow. This is fucking insane, the thought repeated in her head, over and over, as her fingers tapped the surface of the tablet; mission reports from November 2380 scrolled down the display.

Allah, what the hell have I gotten myself into?

Dark eyes scanned paragraph after paragraph, scanning the words in a desperate search for contradictory evidence to everything she’d just heard. Parasites. Infested. Command infiltrated. This can’t be happening. As the truth and gravity of the situation pressed in on her, Talia felt her body tense; muscles clenched, her heart and respiration quickened. Her mind raced to outrun the growing anxiety treading into full blown panic. Keep it together, she breathed. Keep it together.

Then she saw the casualty reports.

Enough, she closed her eyes, tossing the PADD back on the bed. Holding herself for another moment, unable to do more than shake her head, Talia glanced back to her guest. Ghost sat waiting, apparently wise enough to allow her time to come to terms with all of it. Allah yil’anek, she swore with feeling, squeezing her eyes shut as she turned away, willing herself to calm down.

Hands rested on her hips, Talia focused on breathing and relaxing her body for another minute. When she felt confident enough to control herself, she turned back to Ghost but avoided the other pilot’s gaze as she walked to the replicator. A murmured command produced a container of hazy brown liquid, which she sat wordlessly on the table between them. This is probably a bad idea, a voice in her head warned her, but was duly ignored as she poured them both a generous shot.

Talia scooped her glass up without ceremony where she stood, and downed hers in one smooth motion; eyes closed, exhaling as the liquid burned her throat. She licked the taste from her lips before meeting Ghost’s eyes, and set her glass on the table. Still an unknown, apart from her guttural language patterns, Talia wondered at the reasons behind this visit at all. Why her?

So,” she tilted her head as she shifted her weight to one leg, “now that that’s out of the way, what’s next?

Re: Day 03 [1000 hrs] Specter and Shade

Reply #5
[ Lt. JG Evelyn Rawley, callsign "Ghost" | Talia's Personal Quarters | Deck 13 | Vector 03 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Dumedion
"Same here," Rawley had said when Shadow revealed what her preferred drink was. "Whiskey neat, all the way."

Biding her time and letting the new Wolf get her head around what she'd just heard - even allowing her to check whatever was on that PADD of hers - Rawley remained where she was. She leaned back with her arms on top of the back of the couch, sitting with her boots wide on the floor, and just admired the physique of the woman without further comment, a small smile playing on her lips while she tried to guess at what the woman might be thinking.

Eventually, she returned to the small sitting area after replicating a bottle for them, along with two glasses. Talia didn't look at her while she poured for them both, but eventually, after the woman had downed one glass, she spoke up, asking what was next. Rawley, shrugged with one shoulder and picked up her glass. "In a couple of weeks, the bloody Romulans will reach the Klingon border, having set Empress Donatra on the run with their thalaron weaponry - not giving a fuck about them being banned any more. I bet Captain Ives will help Martok and Donatra to join forces and bolster the border against the Praetor's fleets. Thing is, the Praetor is just one of these clowns, and there are more of them in Starfleet Command. There are these alien buggers called the Savi that are being led by Infested as well, and they are bloody dangerous, I tell ye. So I don't fucking know what the priority will be when we move out next, but we'll be where we need to be."

She downed her shot then, and leaned forward to pour them both another one.

"When I found ye in the fighter bay, I didn't think ye'd make it," she said and leaned back with her drink in her fingertips, arms draped over the back of the couch again. "Let's say ye looked a tad worse for wear... mildly put. I had ye beamed to directly to sickbay, and it seems ye were resilient enough to hang in there. I'm bloody impressed. Ye're a bloody survivor, and that will come in handy in the squad. This mission of ours is not for the weak."

She raised her glass to toast the new Lone Wolf. "Cheers, and welcome to the squad," she said with a grin, and then tilted her head, "...unless ye're having a change of heart by now?"

Re: Day 03 [1000 hrs] Specter and Shade

Reply #6
[Ens. Talia Al-Ibrahim | Personal Quarters | Deck 13 | Vector 03 | USS Theurgy] Attn: @Auctor Lucan

As she listened to Rawley, Talia grew ever more restless; losing the battle for emotional control of her body. The news of the coming fight was bad enough – the timetable however, that threatened to override the thin veneer of her composure alone. It took months of proper training to qualify for flight status on the Gryphons. The mk. IIIs were a completely different animal, and Talia had never even seen a real one.

I've got two fucking weeks.

But the Lieutenant wasn’t finished. With the casual tone of an old friend discussing the weather, Rawley disclosed how she had found Talia, broken and dying, saving her life as much as Vi-Nine had. Regardless of how Ghost had intended her words to be heard, in Talia’s mind, emotions flared. Anger and grief, to be sure, but also fear. Fear of not living up to expectations – of not being good enough to repay the favor.

How many others died so I could live?

When Rawley popped the amused, rhetorical question, Talia narrowed her eyes at Ghost’s smirking face, unable to answer. The rational part of her brain battled for dominance against the emotional response to slap that grin into the next week.

This isn’t a fucking joke.

She turned away instead, flexing her hands into fists as her nostrils flared. Breathe. Relax the body – the mind will follow. Eventually, she found her voice as her eyes wandered the stars, searching for something to anchor her.

Look, I’m trying my best to keep my shit together,” Talia whispered, resting her hands on her hips as she shook her head. “What the hell happened to you? How can you be so damn…nonchalant about this,” her face twisted at Rawley in a look of anger and confusion as one hand gestured wildly. “I busted my ass to get in the 309 program, only to get fucking killed, then I wake up to this…insanity,” Talia paused to scoop up her glass, shifting her weight from one foot to the other. The glass hovered under her lips in one hand as she held herself, refusing eye contact while her emotions simmered within. I don’t know if I can do this, her mind whispered, as venomous tendrils of self doubt bloomed. She was right where she didn’t want to be: vulnerable, in plain sight with no where to go.

Re: Day 03 [1000 hrs] Specter and Shade

Reply #7
[ Lt. JG Evelyn Rawley, callsign "Ghost" | Talia's Personal Quarters | Deck 13 | Vector 03 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Dumedion 
When her toast wasn't reciprocated, and it became plain how the new Wolf was struggling with the situation she found herself in, Rawley took a deep breath and just sipped her glass. The accusation about being nonchalant about the whole deal tugged at some strings within her, but her immediate response was a chuckle without looking up. When Talia was done with her short tirade about what had happened to her, Rawley put her glass back on the table and clasped her hands, elbows resting on top of her spread knees.

"This is all bloody new from yer perspective, I get it," she said, and looked up at the woman from where she sat, a lopsided smile remaining on her face even though her tone was a bit more serious. "Imagine the world from where I am sitting, where I have lived through all of it. Sure! I've been on ice too after I was knifed down by a group of mutineers. Yeah, I've been in and out of sickbay more times than I can count. I've wrecked two Valkyries, the third in repairs right now. I have lost... so... many... damn... good pilots over the course of these past six months. Though somehow, after so many close calls I can't even count them all, I am still here. Still flying. Still fighting, even though just two - two - of the original Lone Wolves fly with me still. Thomas Ravon and Tessa May Lance. Razor and Goldeneye. We were sixteen Lone Wolves that fled from Earth last year."

Having said this, she leaned back in the couch, and now her eyes were harder. She draped one arm over the back of the couch and raised her chin. "Ye just woke up, not having to see yer packmates die off one by one. Think whatever the fuck ye want about my attitude, but I have earned to say whatever the hell I want. Consider it a defence mechanism, if ye need to analyse me. We live on scraps of hope and a good bloody joke, so being cavalier about it all is probably the best fucking thing ye can do."

Sighing, she rose to her feet, and began to walk towards the door. "The pack is nothing without the wolf, and the wolf is nothing without the pack, so don't push yer sisters and brothers away because ye feel sorry for yourself, princess." She paused and looked over her shoulder. She gave Shadow a smile, as if to say it will be all right, but she couldn't quite make the smile reach her eyes. She'd lost too many to speak of it like it didn't affect her. "I suggest ye get your head in gear and fall in line. Getting close with yer fellow wolves is yer best means of survival. Trust is what pulls us through, even if we feel it more when we loose someone in the pack. Seems like ye're not keen on company at the moment, so shall I leave ye to your reading?"

Re: Day 03 [1000 hrs] Specter and Shade

Reply #8
[Ens. Talia Al-Ibrahim | Personal Quarters | Deck 13 | Vector 03 | USS Theurgy] Attn: @Auctor Lucan

Downing the rest of her whiskey slowly, Talia returned the glass to the table before falling into her seat; chin held in her hands, elbows resting atop her knees, unable to meet Rawley's eyes. The anger and confusion bled from her in the wake of Ghost's painfully curt words, leaving her feeling ashamed and even more uncertain of her place. She didn’t know how to answer, what she wanted, or where she really belonged. Not that it mattered. She was here, now, and there was nothing else for it. Part of her, most of her, wanted to tell Ghost where to go and curl up in a ball; that was the part of her she hated most. Maybe Rawley was right – maybe she was just feeling sorry for herself. Get your shit together, you selfish fucking child.

I don’t know,” she whispered, finally answering the Lieutenant’s question. Talia’s voice was little more than a hoarse croak. “Maybe you should. I wouldn’t blame youI don’t blame you. Maybe if I’d lived through what you have I’d do the same. Bet this hasn’t gone the way you expected, hm? Sorry about that; about all of it.” 

Her head dipped then, covering her features from Rawley in curtain of tangled hair. “I’m not like you, Ghost. I can’t relax enough to laugh the pain away. I keep mine inside, hidden away, because that’s all I know. Its why I don’t let people close; why I don’t trust easily. It’s just the way I am.” She stayed that way for several heartbeats, just breathing, then flipped her hair back with one hand.   Leaning back into the cushion with a sigh, her features smoothed calm and neutral once again. “I’ll take your suggestion under advisement Lieutenant,” Talia nodded, her voice tight with emotion, meeting the other pilot’s cold eyes. “I’ll sort myself out...and be ready when the squad needs me,” she nodded, then pulled herself to her feet, wiped her face, and started cleaning up the table.

Neither of us ever touched the hummus. That’s never a good sign.

Her eyes lingered on the bottle of whiskey, then she grasped it in one hand as she turned to close the distance to Rawley. “Here,” she handed over the bottle. “I’ve got work to do, and I don’t like drinking alone.”

Re: Day 03 [1000 hrs] Specter and Shade

Reply #9
[ Lt. JG Evelyn Rawley, callsign "Ghost" | Talia's Personal Quarters | Deck 13 | Vector 03 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Dumedion 
Lowering her eyes to the bottle proffered to her, Rawley took what Shadow had said into consideration. Of course she could understand what the the sexy new sister wolf was saying, keeping in mind that she had just been thawed and thrown into a caricature of the world as she used to know it.

"Yer loss," Ghost said after a moment and snatched the bottle, having no issue at all with drinking on her own. "I bet ye have some bloody reading to do, aye. Word of advise?"

Resting the bottom of the bottle against her thigh, cocking a hip as she raised her chin to look Talia in the eye, Rawley gave her a grin. "Don't assume the fucking worst about all of this. It all might seem like shite, the mission bloody impossible, but if ye focus on the bad, ye will never see the good. The Mk III Valkyrie is quite similar to the Mk II, so yer training to fly without a RIO won't be too hard. Ye have a squadron to get to know, fellow brother and sister wolves to hang with, and the most advanced fucking ship in the fleet to familiarise yerself with. Besides..."

To emphasise her point, Rawley took a healthy swig from the whiskey, looking Shadow in the eye. "Bottles are to be emptied. More fun that way, so 'bottle up' all ye want, but let those who care and want to help ye have a taste now and again, ey?"

Winking at the woman in a teasing but warm fashion, Rawley turned for the door and left. "Cya around, princess!"

Re: Day 03 [1000 hrs] Specter and Shade

Reply #10
[ Ens. Talia Al-Ibrahim | Personal Quarters | Deck 13 | Vector 03 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Auctor Lucan

As she locked the door after Rawley’s departure, Talia released the breath she’d been holding in a dawn-out sigh. Turning her back to the door, she crossed her arms and hung her head, furious at herself and the entire situation. Standing there, as she chewed her bottom lip, she leaned her head back against the cool metal door and fought the onset of tears – not at what Rawley said, or even the dire straits they were in.

Talia let her armor slip in front of a total stranger; that pissed her off more than anything. The self-loathing and condemnation rolled over her like a bitter storm-front, as she picked apart every mistake she’d made during the brief conversation.

She shouldn’t have said what she said; she had no right to lash out at Ghost – or judge her for that matter. She had no right to feel sorry for herself when so many people fought and died to keep her alive. Instead of responding with gratitude and sympathy for someone who had literally lived through a hell Talia couldn’t imagine, she’d shown naught but scorn and selfishness.

Way to go ace, she groaned at herself. Really great way to kick off a second chance at life. She shook her head at herself, then slid down the door to pull her knees up to her chest. Raking her nails through her hair, her eyes opened and stared unfocused at the window, to the stars. Rawley’s words ran rampant through her mind. Talia didn’t know how to feel about the Lieutenant, other than an instinctual desire to keep her distance. Why? Because she didn’t pull her punches, or because you’re afraid of her? Of becoming her?

Her eyes fell closed as she shook her head again. Speculation wasn’t helping; in the end, worrying about the future was pointless. She had a job to do, and sitting around on her ass wasn’t getting it done. 

You can do this, the thought whispered through her mind, like an echo from the past. You’ve never taken the easy road – not once. Throughout it all, you’ve kept going, found your own way. Now, get your fucking ass up and get to work.

What if I’m not good enough,” the words left her trembling lips barely loud enough for her to hear. “What...what if they don’t like me.” She’d whispered those exact words long ago, to her uncle, before her first day of high school.

Just be yourself, habibti. Be true to yourself, and do your best. Others will see your quality in time,” he’d smiled at her.

With a wet sniff and a groan, Talia pulled herself to her feet and got to work. Tomorrow was a new day, with new opportunities to come. She’d do her best to find her way through this madness one step at a time, and maybe learn to live a little along the way.


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