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Day 07 [1600 hrs] Meeting of Minds

[ Lieutenant Valyn Amarik | |Below Deck Lounge | Deck 28 | Vector 03 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz  [Show/Hide]
Valyn had woken early in the morning to complete her duties that day. She’d been working on an array of tracking, hunting down certain individuals to apply just the right amount of pressure where they, the intelligence department, most needed it. However, waking earlier than normal hadn’t entirely been for her duties. It had been for their new arrival, the Romulan.

Hirek.

It wasn’t hard to find him initially. Utilizing the computer the track down the few Romulan life signs aboard and then simply isolating the new one hardly took any time at all. What had taken the most time was just how much he had seemed to move around the ship. Of course early in the day, he’d been in the science lab, where he was expected to be. After that though?

Where hadn’t she found him?

She followed from a distance, fort using internal surveillance to watch him from the intelligence suite, every single step followed by her hazel eyes with utter interest. She still didn’t entirely understand his place aboard. Why was he there? How had he gone from taking part in kidnapping Enyd to being what seemed to be a full fledged member of the crew? She knew that she’d likely been thought of the exact same way at one point. How had the Romulan woman ended up in Starfleet? She certainly wasn’t like many others. She’d been well into Adulthood and the odd debriefings she was frequently subject to had raised more than one eyebrow.

She continued to watch him for what felt like hours. Then, she perked up, watching him do his own surveillance across the ship. Seeing just where he could poke his nose. Her eyes narrow and she rose to her feet.

“Thea, site to site transport. Maintenance hatch on Deck six between the gym and engineering.” She prepared, getting on all fours as the transport began. She felt the familiar rush of cold work its way through her body as her surroundings faded out, and the Jefferies tube appeared before her.

[ Corridor |  Deck 06 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ]

She pushed the hatch open and carried herself into the hall, brushing her uniform off once before she let her eyes survey the corridor. It wasn’t long before she found her mark. Allowing him to pass, she waited until there was a fair distance between the both of them before she began to follow. She didn’t see many reasons for him to be where he was, and besides that…she wanted a word with him. The knife she carried remained in its home, strapped the the back of her pants at her beltline, but otherwise it was only her, no gear.

She followed him for a short time, until she saw that finally…he was alone. There was a small alcove to the side of the corridor, so she went for it, calling out to him, and speaking in her mother tongue, for only him to hear the accent that almost credited her as Romulan Nobility. “Stop. It’s time we spoke.” Her tone too, left almost no room for argument. However, she didn’t know the man. His reaction could go any direction, and she was ready for it. “Alone.” Glancing over him once, she in a single glance tried to size him up and…subtly appreciated the fact that she was seeing another Romulan aboard, and this one, a man.



Re: Day 07 [1600 hrs] Meeting of Minds

Reply #1
[Hirek tr’Aimne | Corridor |  D. 06 | V. 01 |  USS Theurgy ] Attn: @BipSpoon

Hirek’s mother had once been tempted to rename him. Some years after his birth, Hirek proved himself far more inclined towards mirthful mischief than the average Romulan boy his age and woefully shameless in his expression of delight, regardless of his audience. She’d told Hirek of a long list of names, all denoting a vexatious character of playful delinquency, that his father had naively protected Hirek from. Ultimately, his mother’s yielding to his father only added another divertive layer to Hirek’s public persona. For, in hearing his name, especially his full one, the average person—namely the average Romulan—would create a certain image of who he was or how he should act. Thereby making it even more pleasurable for Hirek when, upon meeting him in the flesh, he could slowly but surely slice away all their preconceived notions before leaving them in a befuddled mess.

Poor Lieutenant Madsen, a casualty of heartless fate, had been left in such a state. First meeting Hirek in the dark, chained to old sewer pipes, ears still ringing from the explosion that had provided the cover for her kidnapping. Then, before her “rescue” by friends, she was drug through the sewer's darkened corridors and subjected to numerous near-death occurrences before getting shot and rescued from drowning, both by Hirek himself. If ever there was a woman befuddled by his not-exactly-welcomed presence aboard this ship, it would be Enyd Isolde Madsen. But she wasn’t the only one.

A smile tugged at Hirek’s otherwise bored expression as he moved back into the corridor from the room he’d been studying. He felt her eyes on the back of his neck and knew SHE had come for him. It was about time, really. Hirek had finished his check-in at the science labs, and with nothing better to do with Madsen on duty and thus out of reach for him to pester, Hirek had opted for luring in the fish that was Valyn Amarik. And how better to bait her than to wander the ship, lurking as it was, in areas that made no logical sense for him to approach?

Ever since he’d met the blonde during her “rescue” of Enyd from his nefarious clutches, Hirek had been intrigued. Intrigued for a variety of reasons. One was her defection story, obviously more thorough as she’d been in Starfleet uniform and was an officer at that. Two being, just how did Starfleet allow a former Tal Shiar operative to join their ranks and have a security clearance?

If Hirek had a supernatural ability, it would be that of sniffing out Tal Shiar. Even if he hadn’t seen the woman’s notable dagger in their first meeting, everything about the way she carried herself screamed Romulan secret police. He didn’t regret in the slightest how he’d responded to her at their first meeting, though he knew eventually he’d have to pay for it. In a way, he welcomed the reckoning. It would mean he was seen. He was heard. Hirek didn’t like being ignored or skirted around, as some onboard had already taken to doing. At least in irking Madsen or being a “security concern” to Valyn, Hirek ensured that his presence would not be overlooked any time soon.

On the one hand, Hirek wanted to know more about Valyn—and not just because he found her strangely attractive. She wasn’t his usual type, being far more…brutish in her mannerisms than the type of women who usually approached him—be it for his family resources or his body. But she wasn’t without her own type of allure. Her eyes had been quite distracting, all fiery with violent passion at seeing him shoot Enyd. Not bothering to look over his shoulder, Hirek continued his aimless saunter. He was content to let her approach first. And he knew she would. On the other hand, he hated absolutely everything about her. Or at least, if she still bore any warmth toward the Tal Shiar, Hirek would despise her to his last breath. He would wait before he subjected her to his cold abhorrence. Let her give herself way, establish where her loyalties lay with her next move.

When she finally broke the silence of the abandoned corridor, speaking in accented tones that did not fit her behavior thus far, Hirek chuckled before pivoting on his heel. He advanced to stand toe-to-toe with her in a breath. He knew he was in her space, crowding her in the alcove that did not require such proximity, but Hirek was curious. Was she going to pull that cursed dagger on him and curse herself in his eyes? Or was she going to play this out as he was?

Hirek broke the palpable tension between them after a few shared breaths, “Is this alone enough for your tastes,” he purred in the lilting accent native to his island home, dipping his head down to almost whisper against the top of her head, “or would you feel better with me strapped to a chair beneath you for this interrogation?”

Re: Day 07 [1600 hrs] Meeting of Minds

Reply #2
[ Lieutenant Valyn Amarik | Corridor | Deck 06 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz  [Show/Hide]
Her limited interaction over the past several years gave Valyn a split second of pause. What if she had grown soft? Was she truly prepared for what she had walked herself into? Her typical confidence still exuded from her very pores however, any indication of her apprehension buried beneath the fire of her eyes. Her gaze was unyielding.

Enyd had been her first friend on this new assignment. Having met her aboard the Klingon ship before transferring to Theurgy the two had hit it off quickly. Then, Hirek had shot her. Valyn didn’t have a large book of ‘friends’ and those she considered friends, were cared for by the ex Tal-Shiar agent vehemently. Seeing her be shot, that night, had rattled her. Her job wasn’t one without risk, she understood that. Seeing a night of enjoyment however, turned so swiftly to the violence that bathed all aspects of her life, drew the point home.

Nobody was safe.

Not Enyd. Not the Captain. Not the cook. Not even her.

From her first step into the room, Valyn watched him intently. Each ripple of muscle was watched, each breath marked. The body gave away just as much information as the lips did, a fact that she was certain he too knew. Only the side of his cheek gave away the answer that he knew she was there, but it was just enough. The moment she saw the subtle movement, she stood a bit taller, pronounced brows furrowing as she prepared herself. She didn’t know how exactly he would react. She doubted he’d become violent, she knew as well as anyone that the Romulan drive to survive oft made it so that senses prevailed, and he was after all surrounded by Starfleet officers. The flip side of that Romulan drive, was that they were just as often unpredictable.

Showing her natural accent in her natural tongue, was an intentional queue from Valyn. She was leaving him the opening to connect, even if on the most basic level. After all, if he was aboard, she’d rather get along with him than have to watch him.

Whatever she was expecting from him though, it wasn’t what he did.

She watched the pivot and before she’d even blinked, she was close enough to feel the breath pouring from his lips with his every word. For a split second, she felt her instinct begin to kick in, and saw the movement like a premonition in her mind, hand twitching as if to grab at something, but instead…it balled itself into a tight fist, knuckles whitening with the pressure. A second later however, as the goose flesh at the back of her neck subsided, her fingers relaxed.

Her voice remained in the Romulan accent that denoted her station socially almost as much as the knife did the rest of her past. “It’s a start.” She almost growled, upper lip twitching into something akin to a snarl for the briefest moment, before she tightened her jaw and took a deep inhale through her nostrils. It was almost…unconscious. A defense mechanism, or something else, however with the breath she also inhaled even more information about the man standing before her. That very inhale however caused something else, deep in her psyche she hadn’t expected. It had been so long since she’d been so near another male of her species, that the creeping feeling of subtle attraction was almost unrecognizable…until it was. She blinked a few times, then turned her head ever so slightly up to stare him dead in the face, shorter or not her face was a field of fury.

“Why are you here? And why have you been leading me on a chase across the ship?”

Re: Day 07 [1600 hrs] Meeting of Minds

Reply #3
[Hirek tr’Aimne | Corridor |  D. 06 | V. 01 |  USS Theurgy ] Attn: @BipSpoon

Not gifted with the telepathy of their distant cousins, Romulans had instead developed an uncanny ability to read body signals. And this Valyn Amarik was both good at shielding the intensity of her emotions and thoughts yet not so good at hiding the fact that his presence was a new variable yet to be contended with. Magnanimously, Hirek allowed her the silence to process the situation, an eyebrow quirking up when Hirek heard her sharp intake of breath.

It seemed the innuendo of his words had not been lost, though the Starfleet officer was stalwart in her deflection of anything beyond clinical interrogation at the moment. Pity, but not surprising. From the looks of her, this specimen of Romulan flesh had never had her head thrown back with mouth wide in a scream, skin bright with a sheen of sweat, body quivering as the last throes of passion vibrated through her nerve endings, before she collapsed onto an equally sweaty chest, completely spent from a thorough fucking.

Hirek smiled when she tossed a half-snarling glare in his direction, her question both curious and accusatory. How very Romulan of her. It was yet to be determined whether or not he would take up the mantle of bringing this woman to the highest levels of pleasure, showing her that there was far more to one’s existence than presuming enemies lurking in every corner or within the person standing next to you. The game was in play for now, and Hirek would play along as a good Romulan should.

“Now, how else would I get your undivided attention?” Hirek dipped his head, ostentatious in his deep inhalation of her scent, his smile only growing when he noted the subtle signs her body betrayed of annoyance.

Waiting tacitly for her response, Hirek was surprised that the former Tal Shiar operative hadn’t given in to the cold instinct bred into her by her old handlers. That he was standing so close without a knife buried between his ribs could lend itself as evidence that she was not so horrendous as he presumed her to be, guilty by association with the evils of the Romulan secret police. Or it could mean that she was very, VERY good at infiltration, and it was only a matter of time before her true colors bled through.

“As to the why I am here,” he casually brought up his hands in the air between them, his movements slow as he drew imaginary boundaries denoting the shape of the ship mere millimeters from her chest, “If you are asking from your rank and position, I would think your superior officers would have briefed you on what was necessary for you to know in order to perform your duties with the aplomb beset one of such prowess as yourself.” Hirek dropped one hand to his side but placed the other on the wall just behind Valyn’s head, angling his body closer as he all but blocked her access to the corridor with his mass. “But if you are asking from the warmth and affection of your heart, why then I would be happy to discuss it more with you over dinner.”

His body hummed with delight as he waited for her response. Be it violence of words or body, Hirek found himself fully engaged with this woman in a way he hadn’t been in ages. So much of his life in recent years had been consumed with work for Starfleet Intelligence. He hadn’t had the freedom to flirt like this since…Hirek inwardly cursed. It had been far longer than was likely healthy.

Re: Day 07 [1600 hrs] Meeting of Minds

Reply #4
[ Lieutenant Valyn Amarik | Corridor | Deck 06 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz  [Show/Hide]
Valyn knew she’d given more away than she’d wanted to with the inhale through her sensitive nostrils. Unlike many human, Hirek was likely well aware of just how sensitive the female olfactory senses were among Romulans. Her lip gave the slightest involuntary twitch, exposing just the slightest bit of pearly white teeth, if only for a moment. Hirek was unknown. Something and someone she had no idea what to expect from. In on go, he’d shot and nearly drowned what was likely her best friend, and then quickly after joined the crew of the ship. She did suppose though, that her own defection wasn’t much different.

She’d been betrayed by her own, then captured by the enemy. She’d befriended a Starfleet officer and the rest, well the rest was history. She’d been saved. He’d given her the benefit of the doubt, and she knew full well she’d been just as difficult and well…Romulan, as Hirek was. She did her absolute best to keep herself in check, to keep her attitude and questioning to facts only. Trying to separate herself from emotion and natural instinct as much as she could, opting instead for the wisdom of her mind. However, she did struggle. Where humans, like Romulans picked up on subtle visual cues from the body and face, her nose gave her an additional sense to contend with. While she couldn’t read his mind, it wasn’t too extreme for her to imagine exactly what was on his mind, given the subtle scent of sweat and hormones that poured from Hirek, and even herself.

Betrayed by her own body, she stood a bit taller, reaching her maximum height, of which Hirek still stood over her. That fact only stood to further irritate her. From the distance they were from one another, he could likely feel the heat seeping off of her as much as she did his own.

“Well usually, when you want someone’s attention, you just ask instead of wasting my time.” She threw her hands up to her shoulders in an exaggerated shrug. “Asking nicely gets you a long way on human ships, you’ll come to find out. But-“ She paused, relenting, “I’ll bite.”

She listened, her annoyance shifting ever so slightly. Oh certainly, she was still very much vexed with practically everything there was about him. His smell, the way the salt fell into the pepper of his hair. The way he looked at her. Everything about him drove her to utter madness, but there was something else there under the annoyance. She was positively gripped by the interaction with one of her own. The sparring back and forth, the scent off of him, everything about it had her whole attention, which again, looped around into further irritation with him. His own inhale of her scent caused the most mild of prickling flesh across the back of her neck.

Giving way to the violence that had been beaten into her, that had been presented to her the moment she’d been ripped from her mothers breast, squalling and pleading for that comfort, didn’t even cross her mind. She was no longer that mindless, violent, agent of death that the Tal Shiar had molded her into. She was forged in a crucible of agony and discipline, and shelled in the hardest of armor as a child, and yet she’d found a way to break herself of the violent ends that she’d once found almost a queer sense of delight in. The knife though, wasn’t exactly hidden. It was still there, plain to be seen if he was really looking for it. She certainly wouldn’t give it up without a fight, but she didn’t think he’d go for it. There was something more to the interaction than simply trying to goad her into the brutality she’d been born to.

“Well, believe it or not. I can read.” She quipped back. “I’ve read the reports. I’m asking you, not the official report you gave coming aboard.” Not once did her tongue slip back into the strange southern accent native to Earth. It remained in the noble, almost highborn accent of upper Romulan society. Her natural accent. The one she’d learned to speak in from a young age, before she’d learned to imitate any other.

She gave a momentary pause. His words about her prowess and confidence weren’t lost on her. A subtle compliment, one that was just about as Romulan as it could get, so, her eyes narrowed ever so slightly, the corner of her lip twitching into the most mild of amused smiles, though her face still spoke of little else besides the same fire that she’d held since her ‘hunt’ had begun.

Again though, he caused a moment of hesitation.

Dinner. He wanted to share dinner with her.

It had been by far the strangest interaction she’d had in years, but truthfully, to her, it wasn’t as strange as it may have been to any other human. Their conversation was steeped in subtlety and innuendo, each word guarded and chosen carefully by each participant. It was almost a game, and a fun one at that.

“Depends what’s for dinner.” She shrugged, allowing him to perch himself over her, and allowing herself to enjoy the view from below with little regard for subtlety in that regard. If he was going to flirt, she’d return the gesture.

She leaned forward, nostrils and pupils flaring as she got ever so closer to him, enough to feel every hot breath off of him as much as he could feel her own. She was right in his face, studying each crevice and pore for a moment before her head canted slightly to the right. “I am quite the fan of jumbo mollusk, but I’m partial to a sauce native to the Capital.” She was testing him. “I have struggled to get the replicator to get it right…” She trailed off, issuing him a challenge to include with his dinner. If Valyn was anything, she was a woman who knew exactly what she wanted, and in that moment she wanted a Jumbo mollusk, with her favorite sauce, and it didn’t hurt that she’d share it with a Romulan man that she had an attraction for that frankly, wasn’t something she intended on denying herself the enjoyment of. It had been far too long since she’d allowed herself any latitude in that regard, and even longer since she’d been able to enjoy any such thing with a member of her own kind.

“When?” She quipped, crossing her arms and leaning back into the bulkhead, another test. Was he prepared already, or had he asked on a whim? In any case, her gaze didn’t break from him, and she continued to breath through her nose, taking in every piece of data she could as her own mind wandered to just what things might occur between the pair, be it screaming and back injuries, or trading blows across the table. That coquettish gaze, didn’t break from him for an instant.

Re: Day 07 [1600 hrs] Meeting of Minds

Reply #5
[Hirek tr’Aimne | Corridor |  D. 06 | V. 01 |  USS Theurgy ] Attn: @BipSpoon

“For someone like you?” Hirek shifted his weight closer, dipping his head down, then abruptly stood straight as he dropped his hand from the wall behind her. Even he felt the sudden cool air rush between them but the sharp change in posture only brought a broader smile to his face as Hirek crossed his arms over his chest and moved to lean on the bulkhead behind him, his posture at ease, as if he stood in abandoned corridors with former Tal Shiar every day. “No, no, a mere ask would go nowhere. And was it really such a waste?”

Hirek’s movements were flagrantly exaggerated as he poked his head out into the corridor, looked both ways, then resettled against the wall, his smile once more playfully lopsided.

“You’ve got me corralled alone, which is what you wanted all along. And I must say,” Hirek raised a hand and brushed the back of his knuckles slowly against his own lips, his gaze slow as it traveled up the length of Valyn’s body to rest once more on her face. He was careful to avoid staring at her blade, though he was aware that his avoidance was in and of itself a cue for the woman to pick up on. “If you do bite, I much prefer it here,” he pointed to the juncture between his neck and shoulders, “and here,” one hand traveled down the length of his torso to rest on the fleshy area just above his hip bone.

Leaning his head against the wall, Hirek feigned a look of boredom. “Why would you think just because I’m on a human ship, I would do away with the delights of ‘the game’ and rely on face-value inquiries? A favor for a favor, an answer for an answer. You know that as well as I, Valyn Amarik.” He said her name as if it were a prayer with his tone of voice and lilting intonation indicative of what he might sound like in the bedroom, should she ever be curious.

It surprised Hirek that he was almost enjoying this despite her obvious ties to the Tal Shiar. If she turned out to be a sleeper agent, he would have no qualms with fucking her and then killing her before she could do more harm to these temporary allies. While he would never characterize himself as a fighter or a killer, Hirek had never felt one iota of guilt tingling at his skull any time his actions directly or indirectly caused the death of a Tal Shiar agent. After all the hell they’d caused his family, Hirek found pleasure in their destruction. So, as pleasurable as this woman was proving to be, if she were as his prior experience led him to believe her to be, he would slit her pretty throat with her own knife after making her scream his name with pleasure.

But…if she wasn’t…well then, that opened up a whole new corridor of curiosity for the Romulan scientist.

“I don’t suppose you’re offering yourself as an appetizer,” he let his gaze wander just enough to play with her sensibilities before adding, “And ‘tis a shame we aren’t on Romulus if you’re keen on jumbo mollusks. I know of the best diving spots for the most delectable mollusks. Of course,” his smiled turned marginally sinister, “if I ever told you where they were, well then, I’d have to kill you. Fierce competition and all that, you know?”

He noted the subtle changes in her demeanor and felt satisfaction grow in his belly. It seemed she was loosening up, slowly giving over to her instinctive desires. That was good. Either she was genuinely inclined to reciprocate in this endeavor, or this was just another layer of intrigue. Either way, it would prove diverting.

“I’ll need to scavenge what I can from Qo’Nos if you’ve a craving for mollusks. I agree with you, without motive, that these replicators are lacking in authenticity for most of our dishes, and so if you grace my quarters with your divine presence, well then, it will be real food presented. And is that the grey sauce from the capital, or the red you’re referring to? Perhaps the brown? The white? That will also determine the length of time between our present…interrogation and the more pleasurable dinner.”

Re: Day 07 [1600 hrs] Meeting of Minds

Reply #6
[ Lieutenant Valyn Amarik | Mess Hall | Deck 13 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz  [Show/Hide]
Valyn was only forced to smell him even more with the burst of air, and her jaw tightened as the feeling washed over her. She chose to instead of standing off against him, to simply match his energy, and relax herself. She allowed a calm sense of confidence to take over herself, and her eyelids narrowed ever so slightly, lip quirking in a teasing leer as her body adjusted to match his.

If he wanted to play, Valyn would play.

“An ask may have gotten you somewhere-“ She paused then gave a lazy sort of shrug, “Probably not alone in a hallway.” She too, dipped her head to look out the hallway, mouth slightly ajar as her face took on the look of someone as equally fiery with flirtation as she was with an inherent sense of danger.

“I wanted you corralled on your own because I didn’t-“ She started, catching herself and pausing. She crossed her arms, canting her head to the right as the full image of Romulan sass and attitude took over her. If he wanted to meet Tal Shiar Valyn, she was giving him the slightest glimpse. His avoidance was noticed, and she offered him a tell of her own in the slightest twitch of her lip as his eyes ran over her, purposefully dodging the knife. Though her brows rose when he mentioned being bitten. If that was how it was going to be, Valyn intended to play along, and she played dirty.

She released the cross her arms were in and smirked, voice lowering to a sultry, and conspiratorial tone. “See I much prefer…” She ran her fingers up her thigh until she was just about to her groin, “Here…and…” She let her fingers continue to trail up, pausing as she traced the hills and valley of her breasts, “Here-“ She continue once more until her fingers had inverted, tracing the side of her jaw. Instead of vocalizing that for the moment though, she leaned in, voice lowering finally to a whisper that could be considered nothing short of lascivious. A short, lazy shrug, and she again leaned back into the bulkhead.

Her face gave no answer to his question, at least not at first. “Human’s don’t particularly appreciate our games, or our way of interaction.” She shrugged, stating it as if it were simply a fact. “I think sometimes they find our behavior exhausting.” Her voice never once slipped out of her native tongue, the feeling of speaking it feeling like a weighted blanket, providing her a warm familiar comfort akin to that of one being swaddled.

“I however-“ She leaned forward again, “Understand the game entirely, Hirek tr’Aimne.” That was what little of his name that she knew. Just as her true names were concealed, she presumed his were as well. Not once had she told a soul her true name. Not a single person had ever earned her trust in that fashion. How she said his name though, was laced with the beguiling heat of one trying to seduce their paramour. While Hirek didn’t neatly fit into that category, she utilized it nonetheless, given the feeling of heat that permeated the room.

Finally making her move, she slowly reached for her waistband, and in a quick draw, produced the knife. However, she held it by the blade. “I imagine you’re curious about this?” She offered, holding it tight. She had no intention of giving it up, however she was plainly allowing him to at least see it. To even read the inscription upon it. She had atoned for her past, time and time again, yet the knife still remained. It was her constant reminder, not an anchor to bind her to the Tal Shiar agent she once was, a reminder of what she ought never become again.

She decided to read it aloud herself, only concealing the names that she held dearly, showing the names she offered openly, “Colonel Valyn Amarik.” She wanted to make it entirely clear to him that she wasn’t simply some Uhlan in the Tal Shiar, she had wielded power.

True power.

“It reminds me of where I come from, who I was.” She moved to put it away. “While I may not be Tal Shiar, I will protect every member of this crew down to my last drop of blood.” Her face grew serious for a long moment, making that fact clear to him before she allowed herself to slip back into the playful attitude. If he wanted to know more, he’d have to ask her, and he’d have to do it over dinner. “There’s more to it, but not here.” He’d have to earn further information from her, just as she assumed she would from him.

She too let her gaze wander over him, hazel eyes tracing each defined muscle they could find, before moving up his torso and studying his facial structure, as if putting it to memory. “Me the appetizer?” She scoffed and rolled her eyes, “You haven’t even bought me a drink yet.” She hadn’t outright denied him, though she also hadn’t agreed to his pre-dinner enjoyment either.

“Of course. Couldn’t possibly allow your best hunting spots to be revealed.” She rose her brows, eyes momentarily going wide in a studious, fiery glare. She let out a breath and crossed her arms once again. “Our replicators don’t do Romulan Mollusk’s too well. Vulcan ones aren’t terrible but like all things Vulcan they tend to be a bit…bland.” That was sort of the Vulcan modus operandi, bland and emotionless. Good food had fire to it, in Valyn’s eyes, and the Vulcans led their lives with little fire as far as she was concerned. They were interesting, but more often than not left her wanting for more.

She allowed the feeling of allure to grow even further, letting herself ride the wave of momentary silence. She was relaxing somewhat in his presence, believing the immediate threat of danger was gone. Of course, she was still a bit apprehensive, but nothing near what she’d been walking down the hall, expecting a full blown fight in the middle of the ship.

“If Mollusk is too difficult to procure then-“ She pursed her lips, “Surprise me.” She put the ball in his court on that matter so to speak, perhaps against her own intuition but…she wanted to play his game, wherever it led to.

“The red.” It had a fire to it. Something…warm, but not overpowering. It reminded her of the market on a winter day, the Mollusks being basted in the sauce and served as if they were some sort of festival food. She raised a brow, “Best not make me wait too long though, I’m rather impatient and at present remarkably hungry.” She canted her head once again, that same coquettish quirk growing on her face. It was evident she wasn’t talking about food.

Re: Day 07 [1600 hrs] Meeting of Minds

Reply #7
[Hirek tr’Aimne | Corridor |  D. 06 | V. 01 |  USS Theurgy ] Attn: @BipSpoon

He could not read her mind, but he certainly noted the moment Valyn decided to fight fire with ice, cooling herself as she faced off against him. Her demeanor switched from guarded to intentional casualness. Hirek kept his lazy half smile, kept his body relaxed against the bulkhead, his playful gaze following her self-touching, noting her head quirks and hinted smiles. He even managed to maintain the persona when she lifted her knife free of its sheath, holding it out for view.

Colonel. Hirek’s smile turned predatory. The bitch had carried weight within the Tal Shiar ranks and yet had the audacity to presume he’d be fooled into thinking a sudden love for humans and this ship had wiped clean the bloody slate that was her past? No one got to that rank without mountains of bodies and a ship’s computer’s worth of betrayals. It would take far more than a mere conversation to convince Hirek that this woman standing before him didn’t deserve to have her spine ripped out of her body, with the sinew pulled from her bones and used as a fishing line.

“If you intend to bleed that much, we must keep you hydrated and well-fed.”

Images of her choking on a mollusk set aside, yet serving the purpose of keeping his smile warm and affable, Hirek dipped his head in feigned respect.

“It would astonish me to find a Romulan female who considered patience among her virtues. But not to worry, my line of work requires both tenacity AND patience. So if I miss the window of opportunity to have you for dinner,” his eyebrows raised quickly before settling again, “I believe another could be manufactured.”

Hirek clapped his hands together loudly and suddenly, pushing off the bulkhead to stand up straight again.

“Aside from stalking me, near harassing me, and then promising me a good time, was there anything else you wanted from me at this time, Colonel Amarik?”

Re: Day 07 [1600 hrs] Meeting of Minds

Reply #8
[ Lieutenant Valyn Amarik | Corridor | Deck 06 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz  [Show/Hide]
Valyn maintained a calm composure, eventually simply stowing the knife back away and out of sight. His change in demeanor was evident, and it had been the clue she’d hoped for. The predatory leer that plastered his face was matched with one of her own, though one that spoke far more of pride in the fact she’d gotten him to react in such a way. The knife was her reminder. It was the token she had to carry in remembrance of the lives it had taken by her hand. Of course, that wasn’t what she told anyone, particularly not Hirek. She understood what the implication of her rank meant, and it wasn’t the first time she’d dealt with it.

Her career was one lined with the bodies of those who stood in her path. Be them human, Romulan, even Ferengi. Obstacles were to be removed by any means necessary, and the mission was always the most critical objective. Even her own life was disposable in exchange for a successful mission.

All for the empire.

“I suppose you will have to-“ She played into his game giving him a shrug. Her eyes narrowed, watching every twitch of muscle she could. Even the slightest hint as to his emotions, or his intentions, which she well knew, could be very double edged. While he may want to entertain himself with her as much as she did him, she was under no illusions that he may well be the sort to stab her in the neck whilst in the throws.

“I wouldn’t call myself patient, necessarily. Only when it’s absolutely needed. Usually I prefer to simply have what I want with expedience.” Her voice was truly in a tone of jest then. She was by no means the patron saint of patience, and she knew that. She didn’t find herself in firefights all the time because she was a patient woman.

As he pushed off the wall, so too did she, taking the chance to give herself a bit of room, though she did so in a smooth, slow fashion. She wasn’t afraid of him by any means, or by how he’d practically had her pinned to the wall. No, she just wanted to see what he did with her new motion. How he took it.

“I suppose there wasn’t.” She allowed her jaw to tighten as her eyes darkened and she glanced over her shoulder, “Do let me know when you’d like to have dinner?” She quirked a brow at him, and paused.

Re: Day 07 [1600 hrs] Meeting of Minds

Reply #9
[Hirek tr’Aimne | Corridor |  D. 06 | V. 01 |  USS Theurgy ] Attn: @BipSpoon

Nothing about the woman standing across from him struck Hirek as particularly patient, at least not outside the hunt of prey. Her confession, as it was, did not surprise him in the slightest, and he allowed himself a genuine snort in his initial response.

“That’s a shame,” Hirek demurred with a playful smile, “the process of getting what you want makes what you want, when you have it, all the more sweeter. Perhaps that comes from years of ale blending or the patience gleaned from sailing the waters around our islands. My work, also, requires an enjoyment of the process and not just a desire for a result. I believe the humans say ‘patience is a virtue.’” He winked. “But then again, most Romulan women aren’t known to be extraordinarily virtuous, are they?”

Hirek could almost taste her disappointment when he left the game in her court, the woman realizing too late she hadn’t come prepared for more excuses to delay him. How pleasant it was to see someone disappointed at the thought of his departure, even if the subject didn’t realize they were exuding those behaviors.

Looking back down the corridor for a moment, Hirek quirked an eyebrow at Valyn before he spoke, “Will you escort me to the nearest cafeteria? I find myself peckish and haven’t yet exhausted this ship’s menu of Romulan dishes.” Clasping his hands behind his back, Hirek shifted directly into the corridor, and it was his turn to pause, curious if Valyn would take him up on the vague offer to spend more time together. “I find their version of some of our dishes to be morbidly amusing. And it is no wonder their negative view toward our people with such poor representation of our culinary art.”

Re: Day 07 [1600 hrs] Meeting of Minds

Reply #10
[ Lieutenant Valyn Amarik | Deck 06 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz [Show/Hide]
Even in the Tal Shiar Valyn hadn’t been known as the most patient of all agents. She certainly attained results, but generally it wasn’t the result of her quietly waiting for her mark to make a move. She allowed herself an amused sort of look at his snort, and raised her brows at him, questioning the sound. It was in a way a teasing sort of look, making it obvious she found a certain joy of her own in the snort that had emanated from him.

“So I’ve heard.” She shot back, her voice losing its joyful lilt in exchange for something more coarse and annoyed. “Like you say though, not particularly virtuous, though that’s a trait I don’t often find is specific to Romulan women alone. The men of Romulus are just as bad if not worse.” She shrugged, not denying her own impatience or lack of virtue, instead harnessing the accusation and shrugging it off. “Maybe though, I’ll give patience a try.” She allowed her voice to trail off at the end, hanging the bait in front of him.

“Don’t know about a cafeteria but I can take you to the mess hall. Replicators, not plates of slop. Actually makes some decent food from Romulus, though not everything.” She stared at him for a moment and ushered him along. “I don’t suggest you attempt anything that contains seafood it’s all swill.” Her nose wrinkled, sensitive nostrils reacting to the scent and taste as though she were eating the replicated disaster right there as they spoke. Clearly the food had left a rather horrid memory in her head.

“I think they look so negatively upon us for different reasons.” She shot at him, not hesitating for a moment to correct him on the matter. Though she knew he wasn’t being serious, humanity had grown on her a great deal, and she understood that they distrusted Romulans so much because well, frankly, the Romulans had earned it. Generations of subterfuge, lies, and spy craft had earned them a reputation and untrustworthy and it was a reputation that Valyn herself had contributed to.

“It’s a bit of a hike but the below decks lounge is probably the most comfortable.” Without hesitating, she started off, guiding him in the direction of a lift.

As she started, she decided to ask him some questions, “So other than diving for mollusks and making Ale…what did you do back on Romulus? Where are you from?” Her voice was hungry for information, and not only to try and learn more about him, but simply because it had been so long since she’d heard about her home. Every shred of information was valuable and wanted, to sate her desire to see her home once again.

Re: Day 07 [1600 hrs] Meeting of Minds

Reply #11
[Hirek tr’Aimne | Turbolift |  D. 06 | V. 01 |  USS Theurgy ] Attn: @BipSpoon

Hirek chuckled at her momentary lapse of control, the obvious disdain for patience as a virtue bleeding through her earlier poise. The intended barb had not effect, and Hirek merely shrugged at it, knowing his fair share of male and female Romulans who could count virtue as one of the traits they least exhibited. As a scientist, Hirek was not one of those, however. He had patience and tenacity together, a potent mixture when aptly applied.

He followed Amarik as she began to guide their path towards the “mess hall.” Hirek was curious what they meant by “mess” but, for the time being, kept the question to himself and listened to Amarik’s advice on what he should and should not order. It seemed the fellow Romulan had already taken for granted just how well versed she was in alien culinary options to think that he would have the knowledge to order much of anything beyond Romulan. Of course, he’d had some food from other cultures, but very few non-Romulan food venues existed on his home planet and while on Qo’Nos, Hirek had not had the opportunity to explore all his options.

Hirek raised an eyebrow at her quick defense of humanity at her pointed comment about negativity. It hadn’t seemed feigned either. Tipping his head to the side as he studied her, Hirek voiced his question. “What reasons would you ascribe then?”

She led them to a lift, and soon enough, they were confined in the smaller space, just the two of them, and it was here that her impatience surfaced once more through her curiosity, prompting her to voice yet more questions.

“I presume you’ve already requested access if not have already broken in to have access to my Intelligence file,” Hirek leaned against the edge of the turbolift, crossing his arms over his chest as he faced the curiosity-driven woman presumably leading him to food. “There would have read that I am a bioengineer specialist with a long history of lecturing at the Imperial War College. And, based on your accent, I would doubt you ever deeming my home worthy enough of your time. Capital-city dwellers have not often viewed the Uluma islands with anything more than disdain and mistrust. But then again, it is rare to have anything else from anyone from the capital city."

Re: Day 07 [1600 hrs] Meeting of Minds

Reply #12
[ Lieutenant Valyn Amarik | Turbolift | Deck 06 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz [Show/Hide]
She paused in her steps and looked at him, a quizzical look plastered across her features. “We spent generations trying to blow one another out of the sky, and both the Romulans and the Federation did some awful things to one another in the name of…security. Things I took part in.” Her voice was twinged with the slightest hint of regret, an emotion she had actively chosen to share with Hirek. “The few times the Federation did try to make peace the Romulans were less than receptive, and the last time a lasting peace looked to be possible, after Shinzons death, our people got too busy with infighting to make strides towards peace with an outside power, and now as far as the people of the Federation, and Earth are concerned our government just detonated one of the most catastrophic weapons in a civilian population center.” Her face looked…sad, almost. She’d fought for years, since coming to Starfleet, to try and make a better name for her people, to share more of her culture beyond simple violence and espionage.

Entering the lift, she spoke aloud, “Mess hall.” The lift sprang to life and she nodded, turning her attention towards the other Romulan. Her brows furrowed though and she shook her head, “Why do you say that? My accent.” She pursed her lips and spoke up again, before she gave him the chance to speak, “My accent is a result of the people who raised me. Who, for your information, weren’t my parents. I haven’t got a damn clue who they are, hell they may have even been from where you are. I was taken and turned into a weapon before I’d said my first word, or even started to eat solid food. I haven’t seen or heard much of your Islands because I wasn’t allowed to leave.” She snapped at him, another outburst of emotion. There was something about him that…grated her, that caused her to lose the usual iron grip she held on her emotions. That wasn't to say though, that the emotions weren't genuine, he had touched a sore spot, one not often irritated. The sore spot that held the place where she knew, and understood that her childhood, and a life of what could have been, had been stolen from her.

“I did read your file, was just trying to make conversation, but if you are so hellbent on disliking me because of what I was forced into, then perhaps you would prefer if I simply left you to your meal in peace?” She had a feeling that wasn’t entirely the case, but she wanted to test his reaction to the information as well, giving him just a hint of her past, which was truly, nothing like her appearances alluded to.

“What are they like, the Uluma islands?” She rose a brow at him, and crossed her arms as the lift flew through the bowels of the ship, dragging its two occupants towards the mess.

Re: Day 07 [1600 hrs] Meeting of Minds

Reply #13
[Hirek tr’Aimne | Corridor |  D. 06 | V. 01 |  USS Theurgy ] Attn: @BipSpoon

He merely shrugged as Valyn walked him through the supposed sins of their people. It seemed she’d tracked him down to learn about his motives and character and instead, she was stripping herself emotionally nude with every moment they shared. Oh, he’d be an idiot to point that out to her. It would ruin all the fun he was having. And though he still had his doubts regarding her sincerity in regret over past actions with the Tal Shiar, he couldn’t help but feel the sense of genuine shame radiating off the Romulan woman as she spoke of Shinzon. Had she been counted as one of his followers?

Hirek rotated his shoulder before replying, “My family has worked within the government for generations. If at one time we were in favor of maintaining our closed borders without incursion on neighbors, at another time we were in favor of calculated alliances for trade. Politicians, educators, scientists, fishermen, my family has long worked to influence Romulus from their vocational status for hundreds of years, and always to leave others’ toys alone so we can develop our own to be efficient and effective, and not be repurposed for domination of other quadrants. Perhaps this pragmatic semi-isolationist approach to life stems from our geographical isolation, but no one in my family has gone to sleep bearing the guilt of doing something to jeopardize galactic peace or sabotage our people’s efforts to maintain societal stability. So I will not walk these halls apologetically, bearing the sins of idiots on my shoulders.”

He’d touched on yet another nerve when he’d referenced her accent. Far from feeling pity for her when she shared glimpses of her childhood through her confession, Hirek felt fury at the Tal Shiar. Not for Valyn’s sake, either. There were not enough emotional ties between them as of yet for him to feel anything for her sake aside from curiosity and amusement. No, she was just further condemning evidence against the secret police that there had never been a time for them, and there certainly wasn’t a future for them, at least not a future he wanted to be a part of.

“Drank your first cup of naughty civilian blood in your bottle, then?” Hirek snorted. “Cut your teeth gnawing on the bones of dissidents?” He gestured to her body. “And when did the conscience activate for this weapon? Before or after you ruined families and destroyed lives?” He was proud of himself for not allowing one iota of emotion into his words. They were hollow, still carrying the sing-song accent of his home, yet tinny in quality. “Though our white-mountained islands isolated in the turquoise sea spared us much of the Tal Shiar’s tyranny, my family has suffered for generations from the spiked heel of your former masters. They don’t like it when we use our minds, you see? They don’t like it when we have opinions that aren’t mere reflections of the propaganda circulated in the cities of the mainlands. They punish you for finding joy in anything that is beyond the State, for seeking to create opportunities for freedom of expression in science, art, or deed.” He shook his head at her last question, “I could describe them to you, but I can see that you would not see them. Could not see them. Not until the Tal Shiar are eradicated for good, will your mind ever comprehend what the Uluma Islands are, for they are more than a mere place. They are a representation of an entire faction of our society that still believes in the old gods, that still clings to what it means to be truly Romulan, and that is NOT the State or any other lie propped up by the Tal Shiar.”

 

Re: Day 07 [1600 hrs] Meeting of Minds

Reply #14
[ Lieutenant Valyn Amarik | Corridor | Deck 06 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz [Show/Hide]
Valyn remained quiet for a time. She’d shared enough about herself, in the process entering a zone of utter discomfort. She’d found with humans at least though, that often she was able to find some common ground just by sharing something about oneself. With Hirek, it was far more complicated, and each piece of information she shared felt as though she was further violating and endangering herself in his pretense. Though she had enjoyed their game to a point, and even allowed herself the slightest moment of fantasy as to what might occur between the pair, she guarded herself during their walk.

She listened to him talk of his family, tucking away every piece of information he willingly shared. His disdain for the Romulan Government, and the Tal Shiar specifically were palpable. His family had worked hard for their own betterment, and even for the betterment of Romulus. Had something happened to them? She didn’t ask. She’d do her own research on the matter. “Nor do I apologize for the actions of others.” Only her own. She had merely been pointing out a flaw in their people, in their shared culture and heritage. She had nothing to connect with him over however. She had no clue who her family was, if she even had one. Who they were and what they did, had no bearing on her and what her life had consisted of. If she had been raised by her mother, perhaps she’d have been a baker, or a farmer, instead of a killer.

His next set of words though, caused her jaw to tighten. She froze, her steps no longer propelling her forward and for what seemed like an eternity she existed in her own mind. In that instant, she was reminded of Romulus, and its people, all because of Hirek. His words forced her memory into overtime, remembering each of the lives she’d taken. Each mess she’d made with her own hands, each drop of blood spilled by her blade.

‘Before or after you ruined families and destroyed lives?’ The words brought forth a white hot fury in her. Slowly, her gaze locked onto Hirek, and her feet carried her forward, unconsciously though clearly with purpose. Without thought, Valyn brought her shoulder slightly back before she unleashed a clenched fist towards his face. Never would she dare to strike a human with the force the strike contained, but she had every intention of putting Hirek right on his ass if she could.

“My conscience activated a long time ago, long before I left the Tal Shiar but like most of us Romulans I also had a drive to continue to live. I could leave no easier than you could. And…If you ever, and I do mean, ever-“ Her eyes locked on him, and behind them was a hot fire that would not be quenched, her face steely with rage, shame, and the specter of violence, “Speak of the families I ripped apart at knifepoint, under the watchful, and violent orders of the Tal Shiar…I’ll give you right back to them.” Her jaw tightened and she shook her head.

“I’m sorry for your families suffering.” She meant it too. “Nobody deserves that.” She believed every word too. While she had been skilled at her job, she hated herself for it. For the times that she enjoyed it. She spent every moment of her life in Starfleet atoning for her actions, though she stopped trying to explain herself to Hirek. Perhaps a fist was a better way of communicating. It was certainly emotional and fiery enough for a Romulan. Sometimes, words failed. Romulans, like Klingons, had emotions that burned like the hot surface of an adolescent star. “I know the feeling.” Like his family, she’d had no voice. No choice. Nothing.

“Then don’t describe them to me. We have a holodeck. Why don’t you show me. Show me what they are. Show me their people. Or-“ She shrugged, “Don’t. I don’t care either way. I ain’t the Tal Shiar, not sure what you want from me to prove that to you, nor do I frankly care to prove myself to you.” She raised a finger, “So I find it curious just how curious you are about me, given your disdain for me. So…lets nip this in the bud shall we.” She ushered him into a mess hall, then motioned towards a private room.

[ Mess Hall | Deck 13 ]

“Out.” She ordered a crewman who was looking at a lighting fixture with his tricorder, who immediately turned on his heel to leave. “Aye.”

She took a seat, then used her leg to force the adjacent chair out, leaving it open to Hirek. “So lets hear it.”

Re: Day 07 [1600 hrs] Meeting of Minds

Reply #15
[Hirek tr’Aimne | Corridor to Mess Hall |  D. 06 | V. 01 |  USS Theurgy ] Attn: @BipSpoon

Hirek shifted his weight just enough to take the hit to his cheek instead of his nose. He grunted, body half-pivoting from the force of her punch, but he made no move to defend or reciprocate. The blood he tasted as she spoke of her conscience was like a victory. She was easy to aggravate, easy to read, and now he knew a bit about her strength from the punch. He knew she could have hit him a bit harder, but he also figured she’d hit him harder than she did her human counterparts. While she may feel a sense of self-righteous fury at his goading and nursing self-justifications for punching him, Hirek relished that she’d hit him. It was unlikely that she was so good of an agent as to simulate this type of rage at his comments.

Swallowing the mouthful of blood, Hirek absently rubbed at his jaw as she continued her tirade. He knew any type of smile that reached his lips would annoy her, which was one reason he happily pulled his lips back into a pleased grin as he dropped his hand back to his side.

“It is good you have a conscience. I hear the Tal Shiar do not issue those. Must be Starfleet standard issue. Now I wonder if your backbone is still pliable Tal Shiar or Starfleet?” He raised an eyebrow, having a delightful time toeing the line between antagonizing the woman and prodding her for more insight into her inner workings. “’I was only following orders is perhaps one of the oldest justifications of idiocy in the galaxy, and I wonder if it is just as pervasive in Starfleet as it is in the Star Empire.”

Her frustrated dejection voiced moments later was further evidence in favor of her earlier claims of no longer working with the Tal Shiar. Hirek followed her into the mess hall, his eyes moving away from her to take in his surroundings and note the various individuals populating the room. He smirked at her “diplomatic” maneuvering of securing them a private room. Taking the seat opposite hers, Hirek lowered himself slowly, enjoying how it seemed his every move irked her more.

“You have nothing to prove to me, Amarik. Just as I have nothing to prove to you. Your superiors have deemed you worthy enough to join this crew, and, for the time being, they have done the same for me. So if you trust and respect your superiors to make correct decisions regarding yourself, I find it fairly hypocritical that you wouldn’t with regards to myself.” He steepled his fingers together as he continued to study her. “I disdain the Tal Shiar and will work to destroy any still active within their ranks. I make no mystery of that motivation. I feel nothing for you, Amarik. Curiosity, yes. Attraction, yes. Amusement at how easy it is to aggravate you, yes. Disdain?” Hirek shrugged. “You have claimed to no longer be an active agent of the Tal Shiar, and my jaw still stings from a very un-Tal Shair-like outburst, so for the time being, any disdain I might have felt for you because of your association is at an end.”

He broke eye contact to nod toward the line of crewmen getting food. “What do you suggest I eat and drink here? I’m curious if you’re going to give me suggestions that will sour my stomach or if you’ll suggest a personal favorite.”

 
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