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Day 18 [1924 hrs] Cough it up, Wolf

[Ens. Talia 'Shadow' Al-Ibrahim | FAB | Deck 16 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy] Attn: @BipSpoon
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For all intents and purposes, Talia was on cloud nine. All the struggles, the unfortunate misadventures and exhausting effort she'd put in over the previous days and weeks had paid off. Her qualification runs were over – she'd done it. It felt like the weight of the world had been lifted off her shoulders, at least for now; on the other side of that high, new burdens awaited. She knew it, braced for it, but refused to deal with it for the time being. The AC-409 was hers to fly, and she couldn’t stop grinning.

Shadow stood at the nose of her fighter; dressed in a grey maintenance coverall. The top section was tied by the sleeves around her waist, her torso clad in the light grey undershirt of a duty uniform, the sleeves rolled up to her elbows. Her hair was loose, spilling down her back and shoulders in a black curtain. Her dark eyes were drinking in every contour of the crafts hull, again. I could do this all day, her grin widened, all teeth and dimples.

“Yo, Shadow,” a voice from under the craft laughed at her, breaking the moment.

She was supposed to be assisting with final stress testing of the secondary power couplings, along with a laundry list of other systems, before her bird was signed off to fly. Startled, blinking rapidly, Talia fixed the man with an apologetic frown. “Sorry,” her nose scrunched up, before joining him under the belly of her ship; she didn’t need to duck or cock her head at all. “Just excited, Reeds,” she shrugged, then gestured to her head with both hands blowing up. “Heads just all over the place.”

“Eh, I get it, no worries – I’d be pumped up too,” the big man nodded his shaved head, crouching between the impulse manifolds. “Just a few checks off the paperwork and she’ll be set,” he nodded to her. “We put a lot of work into her for you. Hope you remember to take care of her for us.”

Talia didn’t miss the specific language used; the crews never inferred the ships belonged to the pilots – because they didn’t. We just like to think they do, Talia smirked at him. “I’m with you. No more daydreaming, promise.”

“Well alright,” he nodded, “let’s get to it.”

While they worked, and time passed, the rest of the bay was anything but quiet. Crews were trickling in, inspecting other fighters; engineering teams were working on finishing up last minute repairs. Nothing like the noise and commotion of deployment or recovery, but Talia had noticed a steady uptick in activity over the last few days. Everyone knows something is coming, she thought, but shook the unwelcome feeling off; they had work to do.

[Three hours later, 1924 hrs]

Talia clapped Reeds on the back of one enormous shoulder as they cleared the aft of the Valkyrie. “That was longer than two hours,” she grinned at him.

“Couldn’t have nothing to do with you staring at her all googly-eyed, ma’am,” the tech laughed, jerking his head back to the bird. “I’ll get these to the chief,” he waved the PaDD in his hand at her, “thanks for the hand. Good hunting tomorrow, Shadow,” he nodded, leaving her there to stride off to the office areas on the other side of the bay.

Talia watched him go, nodding to herself, when her eyes caught the hesitant arrival of someone else. Tilting her head, she leaned against one of the struts under the port wing of the Valkyrie and watched, folding her arms with a grin. Well, I suppose she’s here about that tour I promised. Once she was noticed, her grin faded to a subdued smile as she moved to meet the arrival half way; her hand trailed the belly of the Valkyrie while she walked. It seemed like an eternity since that night on the holodeck, where they’d tried to beat the shit out of each other. The corner of her lip curled up at the memory.

“Medusa! Welcome to Wolf country,” Talia called to her, tightening the coverall sleeves around her waist. Once she got closer, she ran a hand through her dark hair to get it out of her face. “Sorry for the noise,” she gestured with her other hand around them, “things are picking up around here.”

They were standing right in the middle of the bay, as loader crews came and went by – hauling munitions and equipment between the fighters, all lined up in their individual bays along the sides. Talia made sure to keep an eye out so they didn’t get in the way, but jerked her head back the way she came anyway. “C’mon, we can catch up while you look at mine to start,” she grinned, turning to let Valyn fall into step with her. “Good to see you,” she nodded to her guest, dropping the volume of her voice once they moved away from the noise. "You are here to see the fighters, right," she asked with a laugh, just to make sure.

Re: Day 18 [1924 hrs] Cough it up, Wolf

Reply #1
[ Lieutenant Valyn Amarik | FAB | Deck 16 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Dumedion  [Show/Hide]
Ever since the fight, Valyn had been positively itching to get herself near one of the fancy fighters she’d heard so much about. Ever since she’d come aboard, she’d seen the pilots and had wanted to get a look at their fighter craft. It had been a long time since Valyn had had the chance to get behind the stick and execute some edge-of-the-seat maneuvers. During her time with the Romulans, she’d done plenty of her own piloting, given that many of her missions were solo.

With the Federation however, things were different. There were usually other people for that, not security officers and intelligence officers. Still, that didn’t alleviate the desire to get herself back into the cockpit. She was no stick jockey, but she could hold her own in a fight if need be. Most of Thea’s pilots though she knew, would absolutely smoke her if it came down to it. Not only was she out of practice, but she quite simply just wasn’t a trained Starfleet pilot.

She’d made her way down to the fighter bay, and immediately was overtaken with the sights, smells, and sounds of deck hands and pilots going about their day. Things seemed a bit more lax in the fighter bay than elsewhere, and the feeling that there was a true comraderie between everyone was immediately noticeable. Sure, there was likely tensions somewhere, but Valyn didn’t notice them. What she did notice was the all-too-familiar smell of maintenance and sweat. The stink that poured off of the humanoids doing the work, blending perfectly with the mechanical, metallic stench of the different fluids, greases, and oils that went into maintaining the ships and their weapons.

“Medusa!”

She heard it and quirked an eyebrow, glancing over towards one of the fighters. “Hot shit-“ She let out a whistle and smirked. The name had grown on her from the moment she’d heard it, and frankly she felt, it was pretty perfect. The Romulan monster that could turn men to stone with a stern look. It certainly fit the persona she projected. “Noise doesn’t bother me.” Valyn quipped back, approaching. “I fought in the Dominion War, now THAT, that was noisy.” She smirked and gave Talia a friendly clap on the back before she started to run a hand across the fine grit of metal on the wing of the fighter.

“I am.” She admitted, before giving a quick glance over the pilot and clearing her throat, “The company doesn’t hurt either.” She was in truth, happy to see the pilot as well. While their interaction during the fight had been brief and violent, Valyn liked her. She’d not only impressed her in the ring, going toe to toe with Valyn, but Valyn also felt a sense of attraction to the pilot she hadn’t expected. As of yet, she was unsure if she wanted to act on it, and what better way was there than to see the pilot in her element?

“So, tell me about these fighters. I don’t know much about them.” She let her voice lift up a bit in the end, intending it to be a question and not an order, “What exactly made you want to be a pilot?” She couldn’t help but allow herself to at least try to slip in a personal question. A personal question she felt she may get away with when it came to humans, with her own kind? Not so much. She’d have to learn for herself. With humans things were a bit simpler.

Valyn wasn’t wearing her full uniform, instead opting for something a bit more casual. She’d tossed on her usual combat boots, but had gone with some black cargo pants, a tank top, and a Theurgy hoodie, leaving it unzipped as she followed after Talia.

Re: Day 18 [1924 hrs] Cough it up, Wolf

Reply #2
[Ens. Talia 'Shadow' Al-Ibrahim | FAB | Deck 16 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy] Attn: @BipSpoon
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She knew she looked like an idiot, grinning like she was, but Talia couldn’t help it. Her dimples were on full display as they walked under her ship, cheeks hurting and a little flushed. Valyn’s comment on her company caused dark eyes to flick to the Romulan in a double take, but given her interaction with the only other member of that race being a smooth-talking, pretty-eyed playboy type, Talia chalked it up to just playful banter. “Likewise,” she smirked with a nod as they walked. Interesting, she thought with a grin, filing it away for another time.

They walked up to the port wing, where the Romulan posed her questions. Talia let her hands rest on her hips, chuckling as she ran a hand through her hair. “How much time have you got? I can talk about this baby all day,” she spoke through a grin as she threw a thumb over her shoulder at the bird. The second question was a bit more complicated to answer, so she chose to hold off on that for now. No sense in ruining the mood, she figured. Tilting her head to the side, Talia chewed her lip, considering how to answer. Valyn didn’t strike her as the type to get absorbed in the technical specifics, which might have been a pretty big assumption considering that she barely knew her, but that’s what her gut told her. Talia usually listened to her gut.

“She’s a complete beast – a pack hunter,” she nodded to the Valkyrie. “Third generation multi-role attack craft, borne of the lessons learned from the Dominion,” she gestured to Valyn, “and everything since. Not as fast or agile as the 477’s over there,” she wrinkled her nose at the Valravn’s across the bay, “but what she lacks in speed she makes up for in raw firepower,” she continued, walking to the dock service console to tap in a command. A low-pitched hum issued from the craft as it fired up in safe-power mode; her grin widened as the massive tetryon pulse cannon extended from the belly of the bird, turning to wink at the Romulan as she waved her over. Using her hands to point out what she was referencing, Talia showed Valyn each individual weapon system. “Two U+ pulse phasers, four arrays, two micro-torp launchers, twin mass driver turrets, and a fucking tetryon cannon,” she folded her arms under her bust, grinning as she shook her head. “And I can still mount external pod launchers for more torps. It’s...its the sexiest thing I’ve ever seen,” she confessed, turning to grab a ladder while Valyn looked things over.

“Course she doesn’t lack for shields and armor either,” Talia lifted a shoulder. “They were built to take a beating and dish it right back. Sound familiar, Medusa,” she quipped, arching a brow at the Romulan with a dimpled grin. “She’s locked down in low power, so don’t worry about poking around in the box,” she smirked as she pushed the ladder into position by the cockpit. She took a second to watch Valyn, enjoying the Romulan’s reactions thus far. “Figured you’d appreciate it,” Talia nodded, still smiling, then tapped the ladder. “Go on up, I’ll show you around,” she jerked her head up to the cockpit.

Shadow was enjoying herself immensely; but knew the icing on the cake was to come later. She couldn’t wait to take Valyn up and get her squealing. This is gonna be so much fucking fun, she thought, grinning at her. “C’mon. Bet’s a bet,” she encouraged the Romulan, jerking her head up to the cockpit again.

Re: Day 18 [1924 hrs] Cough it up, Wolf

Reply #3
[ Lieutenant Valyn Amarik |FAB | Deck 16 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Dumedion [Show/Hide]
Moving under the wing of the ship, Valyn crouched and looked into one of the weapons panels, letting out an impressed whistle. “Hot shit-“ She ran a finger gingerly over one of the power intakes to the weapons manifold and slowly nodded. Clearly, she was impressed. The ship itself looked immaculate, each piece of it well-kept to what seemed like factory standard. She stood up, and followed after Talia without further feeling up the ship.

“I’ve got time.” Her own duty schedule didn’t exactly function like that of the rest of the ship. In intelligence, they had things that needed to be done, but exactly what time they worked on it, or for how many hours, didn’t exactly fit into a normal duty rotation. Particularly for Valyn, who had been devoting every hour of her time on duty to either away missions, or her own mission trying to locate her contact in Romulan space. She’d spent the better part of the day working on it, and she needed some time to clear her head. She couldn’t think of a better way to do it than getting her hands on a Starfleet-issued speed demon.

Listening to Talia describe the ship, she tried to liken it to her own experiences with ships. The last thing she’d flown in the Tal Shiar had been a prototype snake-head fighter. Nothing like what they had in modern times, but they had always served as practical, but quick strike craft for agents running their own missions. The Starfleet ships packed a hell of a punch though, and Valyn understood she’d have stood little chance against a few of the more advanced craft. Her eyes went wide, watching the Tetryon cannon deploy, and she moved closer to inspect it. Hazel eyes bored into the device, and she couldn’t help but get close enough to try and peak into the panel that had spit the cannon out. “Packs a hell of a punch.” She continued to inspect the various weapons systems and nodded slowly. “What’s your top speed then, with all these weapons?” She understood that carrying such a large payload, had consequences, namely on speed and maneuverability.

“My old fighter had a handful of disruptor arrays and a couple torpedos, the biggest advantage was the cloaking device. Thing was meant to be a stealth craft, run quiet, get in quiet, hit loud and hard, then go. This though…” She let her eyes rake over the fighter like she was eyeballing a naked lover on her bed, “This thing hits like a fuckin’ tank.” She smirked at Talia.

“Sure does.” Valyn herself had been raised to take a beating, and dish it out. Just as the craft was. The offer to sit in the cockpit, was truly unexpected, and Valyn didn’t hesitate to climb up, pulling herself up the ladder with a speed which probably wasn’t needed, as though someone was about to rescind the offer before she had the chance to poke around inside. Taking her position, she settled into the cockpit and adjusted the seating so she was positioned properly as she went over the controls.

“Throttle-“ She placed her hand in the right position, “Pitch-“ She used her other hand to gently move the stick, “roll-“ She made the same motions, “and yaw.” She nodded slowly and began to survey the rest of the controls. It was evident it wasn’t her first time in a cockpit. She had flown plenty of times for the Romulans, but not once for Starfleet. It had been a long time since she’d had the chance to fly.

“Alright.” Once she had her bearings she got to the fun questions, “Walk me through some of the other controls?”

Re: Day 18 [1924 hrs] Cough it up, Wolf

Reply #4
[Ens. Talia 'Shadow' Al-Ibrahim | FAB | Deck 16 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy] Attn: @BipSpoon
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Her face had scrunched up a bit when Valyn inquired about the Valkyrie's speed; it was still impressive - faster than the Gryphons - but compared to the Valravyns? The mk. III's just weren’t designed to compete with them; a fact that some of her fellow Wolves loved to point out, as often as they could. “In void? 970 km/s,” Talia shrugged, “that’s what the safety regs state anyway. Atmo is a different animal all together – seriously doubt I'd try to deploy that cannon at that speed. The turrets alone are bad enough. But I've learned some rules can be bent from time to time,” she smirked. “Besides, it’s all dependent on the particulars of the mission as to what load out I get,” she added, gesturing from where she stood next to the ladder to the weapon mounts. “We were running final checks on everything this morning, which is why all these are still here.”

When Valyn casually compared the Valkyrie to her old fighter, Talia's attention wavered for a second as her brain processed what she’d heard, leaving her blinking in confusion as the Intel officer raced up the ladder.

Wait…what? Shadow frowned, watching Valyn climb into her cockpit. Okay, so…beautiful, intimidating, hell of a fighter, now…she used to fly Romulan fighters? She shook her head, then pulled a hair tie off her wrist and drew the long curtain of her hair up into a loose ponytail. Who the hell are you Medusa, she wondered as she climbed the ladder; stopping to fold her arms on the edge of the cockpit. Dark eyes watched as Valyn worked out the basic flight controls like a kid remembering how to ride a hoverbike, stealing glances at the blonde with a mix of curiosity and mild apprehension. Whoever Valyn Amarik really was, somehow Talia doubted she would ever know. That didn’t stop the swarm of questions that rattled in her skull – everything from the capabilities of Romulan fighters to how she ended up in Starfleet – but Shadow forced them aside, for now. She didn’t enjoy telling people her own life story; maybe Valyn was the same way, for good reasons.

Just focus on the task at hand – having a good time, not interrogating people.

“Well,” Talia smirked at Valyn’s request, gesturing to the Romulan’s right hand on the throttle, “you want to grip that from the side, not the top. Aside from acceleration/decel and warp, that also controls your RCS directional thrust. Up and down for z axis, left to right for horizontal. You can also twist it left or right to ‘skid’ into turns or track targets. Handy for evading fire too – space is still three dimensional, even without a fancy cloak,” she smirked at the Romulan, teasing her a bit.

“Consoles are pretty standard,” she grinned, pointing to the three main ones left to right. “Engineering, Tactical, Ops.” A brief rundown of the various systems slaved to each followed – standard enough for anyone trained to fly a shuttle. “But these are all linked into the PaDDs built into our exo-suits too. Makes things a hell of a lot easier. The onboard computer in this baby practically handles everything though – it’s a wicked fast RIO,” she added, her smile faltering a little. It felt…weird, not flying with someone in the back seat, but she’d adapt. “RIO’s fly backseat, handle the bird’s systems while the driver flies,” she explained quickly, then realized Valyn probably put that together already and kicked herself mentally.

She’s not an idiot, keep it moving, her face colored slightly, but Talia pushed on.

“The suits are synced to each pilot and bird on a whole new level from the mk. II’s. Its really something else – the TVD system is crazy cool. Let’s me see right through the bird,” she lifted her chin to the rear of the cockpit, where the fuselage blocked the entire aft view. “Paired with the cleanest, sharpest sensory package R&D could pack in here,” she laughed lightly, “like I said, she’s a beast.”
 
Talia paused to inhale, patting the ledge of the cockpit. “Can’t wait to take her out tomorrow,” she grinned. “Maiden flight. CAP with the KDF,” she explained, then turned her eyes to Valyn’s. “Sorry if I sound biased. Did you want to look at the others too, or…,” she asked, letting her voice trail off as she remembered the Romulan’s question, about why she got into flying.

“Actually, wait,” Talia interrupted, chewing her lip. “You asked me why I wanted to be a pilot,” she sighed, folding her arms over the edge of the cockpit once again. Her head tilted a little to the side as she wondered how Valyn would take the truth she was about to divulge. Fuck it – it is what it is, her lips pressed together in a thin line at the thought, as her eyes dropped.

Everyone asked at some point, and she’d always danced around the real reason why she’d made such a drastic career change as a 2nd year cadet. She wasn’t proud of the truth, yet her gut told her to be honest. Somehow, It wasn’t as hard as she expected it to be.

“The Breen,” Talia lifted a shoulder subtly. “I know revenge isn’t exactly a sentiment endorsed by the masses,” she shook her head, “but when they hit Earth, they killed my uncle and a lot of good people. I wanted to make sure that kind of shit never happened again. So,” she met Valyn’s eyes again, smirking softly. “Here I am.”

What are you doing, she doesn’t care, her insecurity whispered, powerful enough to make her blink and clear her throat.

“So, what else – oh, try the top hats on the stick. The knobby things, yeah. One controls the turrets, the other moves the cannon,” her eyes looked up, at the canopy. “You want to close the top? Check out the HUDs,” she asked, pointing up at it, then showed her where the controls were. “Just don’t try to take off with my ship – I’m already on enough peoples shit list as it is,” she muttered humorously, leaning back a bit to let Valyn close it up if she wished.

Re: Day 18 [1924 hrs] Cough it up, Wolf

Reply #5
[ Lieutenant Valyn Amarik | FAB | Deck 16 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Dumedion  [Show/Hide]
Valyn nodded slowly, a look of appreciation going over her as Talia mentioned the speed. “970?” She drawled, whistling lightly, and clearly impressed with the ship so far. However, it was short lived before it was interrupted by a chortle and a lazy waving of her hand, “Fuck the regs, sometimes you gotta push ‘em.” She nodded towards the controls of the fighter. There was always a listed ‘top’ speed by the engineers and test pilots who’d deemed that was the safest speed to fly them at, but she knew well enough that sometimes, particularly when one needed to try and escape an outnumbered fight, those regs had to be ignored.

Valyn ran her hands over the controls, lithe and evidently well practiced phalanges brushing softly against the controls as she discovered them. The layout was definitely different to what she was used to but the Starfleet cockpit was leagues more comfortable than the Romulan fighters, “Starfleet has much better lighting in their ships for some reason, and this ain’t an exception.” It had been an odd thing she’d noticed when she’d left Romulus. Their ships felt so dark, and cold compared to Starfleet ships. The inside of a cruiser back in the Empire often felt more like the inside of a cavern then it did the interior of a Warship. Her attention wavered, moving from the controls and over to Talia, watching her as she put her hair up. Her eyes lingered perhaps a second longer than she’d intended to before she quickly diverted herself back to the ship, and not her companion.

Looking down, she shifted the grip of her right hand as Talia mentioned, “Like this?” She adjusted her grip to the proper position, though it felt strange, but she kept it in the right spot. “Skid?” She quirked a brow, “Like…an RCS glide?” She glimmered with excitement. Her old ship wouldn’t have been able to pull off such a maneuver, and she’d never actually attempted it. Using that in tandem with the other perks of the Valkyrie, Valyn saw the appeal. “Fancy cloaks come in handy, you know.” She leaned back in the cockpit and crossed her arms, bringing up an eyebrow and almost staring Talia down, a serious, yet teasing glow came over her and she explained, “Think of a ship as maneuverable as this one. You’re cloaked, you come screamin’ in at top speed, pull your fancy glide maneuvers, decloak and deliver a face full o’ photons at point blank before the bad guy even knows you’re there?” She shrugged, letting the scenario hang for a moment.

Valyn nodded along, “I imagine keepin’ it standard with normal flight systems is intentional. If there was ever an emergency, other people could fly if they need to.” If that was really the reason, she was unsure. Her brows furrowed though, “Our intel suits have some similar gear, though it’s mostly tied to mission ops and team communication.” Honestly though, she hadn’t truly spent the time to just dig through the PADD on her own suit, to figure out everything it could do. She uncrossed her arms, and placed her hands back on the controls, choosing instead of the sticks, to focus on digging through the computer screen, at least to see what information she was allowed to see with the bird still on the ground.

“Bias is alright with me.” She smirked at Talia, and removed her attention from the ship entirely, instead she listened to what she had to say. Everyone had a reason for why they were, where they were. Aside from why they’d all chosen to join the crew of a ship seen by most as traitors and warmongers, they each had skills and history that lent to their position on the crew. Learning why someone had gone into a certain line of work was key to understanding them, and how they worked.

‘The Breen’

Valyn felt the hairs on her arm go erect, as gooseflesh came over her. Years later, and still, the dominion war haunted not only her, but most people in the quadrant. Everyone had lost or suffered to some degree. It was a shared trauma amongst the races in the alpha quadrant, and one that she personally had hoped would bring races together, yet the opposite had happened, and they’d all seemed to drift even further apart.

She let out a breath and shook her head, “You’ll get no judgment from me. Revenge is a perfectly acceptable sentiment.” She remained silent for a long moment and tapped idly against the metal of a bulkhead in the cockpit. “I joined the Federation in part because I was betrayed by-” She chose not to mention the name, “Someone. I was stripped of everything, and practically gift wrapped and sent to a Jem’hadar prisoner camp. Revenge is a natural response to horror.” She nodded a few times at Talia then asked a question, that she wasn’t sure she ought to but she did anyways, “Did you serve during the war at all?”

Valyn, by what she’d said, clearly had, and when she spoke of it, the light in her eyes seemed to fade ever so slightly, replaced by darkness. Valyn, chose to spoke before Talia could respond, sharing some of her own story to perhaps make Talia a bit more comfortable sharing, “I fought, I was with the Romulans though, didn’t fight until closer to the end, I wanted to join sooner but…the powers that be didn’t see the point, decided non-aggression with the Dominon was smarter. Until they blew up our senator.” She scoffed.

“I served with Reman shock troops, I was the overseeing T-” She paused and lowered her voice, despite the fact she’d grown more comfortable sharing her story over the years, she wanted to share it for herself and not have rumor distort the truth, “I was the overseeing Tal Shiar colonel attached the unit, a unit who’s CO was Shinzon of Remus.” That was a name she imagined would be familiar, at least. “Got a medal, then Shinzon sold me to the Jem’hadar.” In the end, she’d gotten revenge in a sense though,  fighting aboard the Enterprise to stop Shinzon in his tracks.

“Hell yea.” Valyn drawled, reaching up to try and find the cockpit controls to close the canopy. Though she wasn’t sure where it was. “I won’t.” She winked at Talia, and let her hands find the little knobs she had mentioned.

Re: Day 18 [1924 hrs] Cough it up, Wolf

Reply #6
[Ens. Talia “Shadow” Al-Ibrahim | FAB | Deck 16 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy] Attn: @BipSpoon
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From where she stood on the ladder, leaning her elbows on the edge of the cockpit, the pilot listened to Valyn with her head tilted slightly – her full attention directed at the Romulan’s eyes and words. The comment on the lighting struck her as odd, but then she realized the fact that she’d never stepped foot on anything but Starfleet or Federation vessels. Huh. I never even considered that, she thought, slightly amazed at taking something so simple for granted - nodding with a lopsided smile – genuinely enjoying the company. Her dark eyes wandered over the Romulan discreetly. Hm, she looks good in a cockpit, Shadow mused as she chewed on her bottom lip.

After Valyn’s ‘scenario’ with a cloaked fighter, similar to the 409 – Talia pursed her lips in thought, meeting the Romulan’s eyes evenly. She even leaned in a bit, after a moment, her face scrunching up playfully. “That sounds like a challenge, Medusa,” she lifted her chin then, smirking. “But yes, cloaks have their pros and cons, I imagine,” she added, conceding the point. “If you have any insight to share that will benefit our odds of survival – hell, I’m all for learning new tricks.”

Then the mood turned, and Talia blamed herself for it entirely. For a second, the pilot couldn’t help but wonder why the hell she’d even bothered to bring it up – Medusa hadn’t pressed the issue, after all – and as the Romulan offered some insights into her own personal history, Talia felt her brows knit in concern. Betrayed. Given to Jem’Hadar. Tal Shiar colonel, under Shinzon. For a brief moment, Talia wondered if Valyn was just screwing around, but then saw the truth in the Romulan’s gaze.

In those hazel eyes, Talia saw a void dawn to swallow what simple pleasures were enjoyed only moments ago. It wasn’t pain, or regret, or even anger. It was nothing – the same unfocused, numb gaze Talia herself had held as a child, after experiencing her own hell. She knew tragedy, betrayal, and abandonment all too well, recognizing similar scars from vastly different wounds in Valyn.

“I’m…,” she blinked, trying to find the right words to say. “Sorry that happened to you,” she shook her head, unable to imagine the hardships the Romulan had endured. “But...thanks, for understanding. Means a lot,” Talia rapped her knuckles on the edge of the cockpit, nodding at the blonde with a slight frown. She understood the sensitivity of what the Romulan had shared as well. Did it change the way the pilot saw her? No. Whatever she was before, she hit the ring mat as soon as I did that night on the holodeck – trying to help, Talia thought. Honesty offered deserved it in kind.

“The war ended before I got my wings,” she shrugged, breaking her eyes away from Valyn’s. “My contribution started and stopped at the Academy, searching for survivors and bodies,” she whispered. She could see it in her head – all of it – like it was yesterday. Gray dust. Sparks. Fire. Smoke and ash. It was the second worse day of her life, so far. Bleeding out on the deck just a few yards away six months ago was the third. Talia shook herself, forcing it all down, unwilling to let it ruin her day.

“Enough of that shit,” Talia growled suddenly, turning back to Valyn, brows raised as she pointed at the Romulan. “I was in a great mood, and so were you, so lets find our way back there, shall we,” she narrowed her dark eyes at Valyn, but her tone was teasing. “And the lid controls,” she paused to step up the ladder and lean in to point at the console just above Valyn’s right forearm. “Are right there, where I showed you the first time,” she smirked, dark chocolate eyes meeting hazel, seeing the fire rekindled in them. Hm...she likes being challenged, perhaps? Well then...we’ll see where that goes.

“So,” Shadow cocked her head, close enough to enjoy the Romulan’s peculiar scent as the canopy lowered, “enjoy yourself – I can go see if the sim is clear in case you want to get smoked – fly I mean,” Shadow corrected herself with a smirk, moving away to clear the canopy. “What?” she grinned at Valyn’s look, lifting a shoulder. “I’m a stick jockey, Medusa – we’re all a little crazy,” she chuckled, showing her dimples. “We have a lot of fun though, in and out of the box,” she added through a playful smile, watching the canopy descend. She lingered there on the ladder, waiting to hear what Valyn wanted to do.

 

Re: Day 18 [1924 hrs] Cough it up, Wolf

Reply #7
[ Lieutenant Valyn Amarik | FAB | Deck 16 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Dumedion  [Show/Hide]
Valyn gave Talia a grin, one laced with the slightest hint of flirtation. In all honesty, Valyn had never had much of the chance to explore her sexuality, and only recently had been comfortable enough to even admit that she felt the same attraction towards women that she did to men. All of her experience though, was with men, and even that experience was limited to the more physical pursuits of romance, nothing emotional. Valyn drew her own lower lip in between her teeth and leaned over slightly, trying to get a better look at the console itself, seeing where the wiring and isolinear chips were inserted. She didn’t remove any paneling of course, but she wanted to get a good look around.

She let out a deep breath, voice lowering into something more conspiratorial and even sultry, “I’m always down for a challenge.” She fired a wink at Talia and shrugged, “They have a lot of pros. Their biggest con is how much power the damn things take.” She leaned back slightly and ran some fingers across her jawline in thought, “We could always throw something together on the holodeck, some good old fashioned dogfights, Romulan versus Starfleet but there’d have to be some sort of skin in the game for both of us.” She shrugged, suggesting a bet with an absolutely devilish look upon her.

The look in Valyn’s eyes was haunted. It was the look of someone who had seen and done things beyond the typical imagining of those who lived in the everyday society of the galaxy, not just Federation but even Romulan. She had served what was practically the Romulan monster that went bump in the night, and she herself had been the baba yaga. She’d built herself into an unstoppable being, and she’d been torn asunder by her own kind, losing everything in the process. She didn’t regret the loss though, for without it, she’d still be there, a foul instrument of a malevolent empire.

Shrugging, she just shook her head. “Don’t need to apologize, you didn’t do it to me. That was the Tal Shiar.” She paused for a moment and then let out a breath, “In any case, without everything I’ve gone through, I’d be a very different person, and for the most part, I do like who I am. Just-“ She paused again, trying to find the right way to phrase what she wanted to say, “I just don’t particularly like everything I’ve had to do.” Valyn had become far more open about her past since joining the crew. Each of them was on the run, a criminal so far as the Federation was concerned. Sharing that piece of herself, only felt right. Particularly with the enemy they were likely about to face, her own people. It wouldn’t be right if they didn’t know the truth about her. She still though, did not trust everyone with the facts. She was careful not to be overheard by wandering ears.

Valyn let Talia break her gaze without forcing continued eye contact and slowly nodded, “I’m sorry.” She thought again, then admitted, “I don’t think I’d be able to do that. Just…dealing with the aftermath, not being able to get my own in return.” She shook her head. For a moment, she kept her gaze on Talia, understanding the gravity of what they’d each gone through. Their own personal hells, and yet, each of them, who had been practically strangers, had found common ground. Something to bond over, to talk about, and to overcome. Life in the Federation never ceased to amaze Valyn, as around every corner of her new life, she found additional slivers of hope.

Valyn blinked, and cleared her throat, taking a look around the sealed cockpit for a moment before she pulled the canopy back open. “Smoked?” She made a ‘tsk’ sound, sucking gently on her own teeth as her head shook back and forth, “You might beat me, but I’m sure as shit not a pushover.” She crossed her arms and let out a chortle, “A stick jockey and a spook, both their own brand of fuckin’ nuts.” After another moment of looking around she pushed herself to her feet, “Alright, show me where to find a suit so we can go blow shit up.” More than likely one another, but she was sure there were training programs in the sims too.

Re: Day 18 [1924 hrs] Cough it up, Wolf

Reply #8
[Ens. Talia "Shadow" Al-Ibrahim | FAB | Deck 16 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy] Attn: @BipSpoon
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She'd left Valyn to poke around in the cockpit for a few brief moments, opening space up between them, which the pilot used to accomplish two objectives: one, to verify that there was indeed a holodeck available for them to use, and two, to process everything she'd learned and felt. I feel like I'm way out of my league, getting sucked into a black hole of desire in a row boat of wishful thinking, the self-deprecating thought floated up in the background of her mind, as a low hum of amusement curled the corner of her lips. Dark chocolate eyes flicked up to steal glances at the blonde while she leaned a hip against the bay control console, feigning interest in the PADD in her hand.
 
Time for a no-shit assessment, Shadow thought quickly, setting the tablet down and folding her arms, turning her attention to the Valkyrie and inwards. A natural skill, for better or worse. I like her, the pilot acknowledged. This was important, for it went beyond the simple and obvious physical attraction. But why? A subtle smirk pulled at her lips with the question.

They’d beaten the hell out of each other only moments after learning the other existed. They’d learned a lot about one another in that ring, and even more in the past few minutes of curiously cautious interaction. Layers upon layers, Talia thought, tilting her head. Does the why even matter? Must you always ask why? Her brow knitted. Why don’t you try just feeling for once, instead of thinking? Instantly, Talia’s mind answered with the aftermath of what happened with Ghost. No - that was drunken recklessness, and you knew it going in. This will be different, she knew, somehow. Then again, wishful thinking strikes again.

Of course, she also knew all this internal dialogue wasn’t even remotely answering any of the real questions in her heart – chief among them being: Did she really want to do this? To take the risk? Every second she flirted with going down that road, she opened herself up for pain. She’d seen it before – Ghost, Razor, Goldeneye, hell, herself included – she already carried enough around. Would she really want to add to that load? Would Valyn? The truth there was simple, really. Talia didn’t know what direction to go with her. I don’t have a clue what she wants, or feels…so why don’t you throttle back and focus on figuring that out first, huh ace?

Medusa’s voice sliced into Talia’s awareness, breaking her out from the brooding prison of her thoughts. The pilot looked up at her with an easy smile. “Nothing about you says otherwise,” Shadow chuckled, regarding the Romulan’s pushover statement. “Feel free to drop me if I get too cocky, by the way. Just…not the liver again, please. Once is enough,” her hands came up in surrender, but the smile never left her face.

Talia nodded then, resting her hands on her hips as her head tilted the other way, unable to keep her eyes from roaming over Medusa. “We can suit up in the holodeck,” she lifted a shoulder, adding “while we figure out what stakes to throw on the table,” her smile bloomed, all teeth and dimples. “Just give me a second to put her to bed and we can go, okay,” a tanned hand gestured to the Valkyrie, then Talia spun to the control console, releasing a breath she hadn’t meant to be holding.

Get a grip, you’ve seen abs before, she grumbled to herself. Valyn’s were subtle; there, but…not, curiously more alluring than she’d realized. Unbidden, images and sensations spawned in her mind’s eye, which she promptly shut down by force of will. Stop it. Wrong time, wrong place.

“Sorties are in there, if you want to look,” Talia jerked her chin to the PADD. “I had intended to take you up as a RIO in a Gryphon, but that was before I knew you had time on the stick,” she turned to glance at Valyn with an approving grin. “I’m curious to see what you can do,” among other things, she added silently as her fingers played across the console, powering down her baby. “Done,” she turned to glance at the sleeping Valkyrie, then to Valyn, gesturing to the PADD before falling into step with her. “The green ones are boring as hell, just basic Ops. Yellow is intermediary; light enemy presence, maybe a system glitch or some such. Reds are full blown wild cards; anything and everything could happen. Blacks are custom; I got one from Goldeneye against the Borg, the Azure Nebula scrap,” she whistled lightly. “Shits intense.”

Shadow tugged her sleeves up as they walked across the FAB, nodding to the deckies as they passed. “If you’re keen on ‘blowing shit up’,” she grinned, “I have a few recommendations, but I’d like to hear what stands out to you first, and, full disclosure,” she stopped, just before the lift doors to face Valyn fully. “I’ve flown them all, repeatedly, and…I’m not the same person, in the box,” the admission felt silly, but it was true. “We train how we fight,” she nodded to Valyn, utterly serious. “All or nothing,” Shadow smirked, “so, if you want a piece of me, don’t hold back – because I won’t.”

 
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