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Aldea Prime / Re: Day 36 [1100 hrs.] The Reef
Last post by Auctor Lucan -
[ Lt JG Derik Veradin | Lagoon near Volcano S-147 | Open Ocean | Aldea | Epsilon Minos System ] Attn: @Stegro88 @stardust @Brutus
While the debate about whom ought to swim out to the skimmer and bring it to the shore led its short life, only to be interrupted by yet another creature, Derik found himself unable to move - governed by the animal instinct to remain still and escape notice.

Of course the former Ash'reem was the best candidate for getting out to their skimmer, the man literally having lived most of his life in water and even being biologically engineered (despite the pre-existing human modifications) to breathe it. Derik was certainly not going to offer swimming in his stead after seeing those creatures hiding in the deep, but out of respect, he wasn't about to tell the scientist to hurry up either. Better if the monster had managed to swim some distance away from the skimmer first. If they lost Sarresh, Derik didn't want to think about whom would be sacrificing themselves next.

Perhaps we should all swim at the same time, in wild panic, and only one of us gets eaten and the rest get to safety?

A morbid thought, only made slightly more jocular when he looked around himself, the fact that they were facing the ordeal without any clothing on likely being a jocular footnote in the report they'd submit to Commander Ducote about what they had encountered.

OOC: Passing the torch to @Stegro88 , whom will be writing the last post in this thread, so that we can wrap it and focus on the upcoming parts of the story instead of Aldea. :)
Director's Cut / Re: A Most Cordial Correspondence
Last post by Tae -
[ PO2 Victor vanVinter and Cadet Enyd Madsen | The San Francisco Belle | San Fransico Belle | Earth ]

This joint post brought to you by the unholy blending of Regency drama with Star trek.

Victor had managed to extend his medical leave with some actual leave, he'd certainly more than earned it, and the Thunderchild was in dock until February anyway, needing repairs after the encounter with the Borg. The crews of all of those ships required some time, but there was a war on, so they'd get a few weeks and then back into action against the Dominion, probably. And then there was the meeting with Enyd, and he was in a daze, a full and complete one. First came the worry of seeing Enyd injured as she was, which had to have been frostbite. If it left scars, that wouldn't matter. She was a lovely woman, mind, body, and soul. A few scars wouldn't change that in his eyes. And that still hurt to think about, and in fact as well. There was some times when the burns still twinged, and his eye was something to get used to. Even if the doctors said it was the exact dimensions, it just felt different.

Finally arriving at the meeting location, Victor adjusts his suit, a more modern one than the 20th century decor would prefer. Still, the suit was actual fabric, not Replicated, and that counted to him. This one actually fit him too, the fabric in rich shades of grey and a silvery blue, with a white undershirt lined with similar colored accents as the jacket and pants. Spotting Enyd, his heart skips a beat, and he bows before taking a seat next to her.

"Thank you kindly for saving me a seat, my Dearest miss Madsen, and I apologize for keeping you waiting. I shouldn't have." After the greeting, he sits there silently, a muscle in his jaw twitching as he smiles. Victor was nervous about being here, how Enyd would see him, and if she'd still want him at her side. There was a rising panic in his eyes that he was fighting to keep under control with a deep, steady breath.

Enyd jerked out of her thoughts, once carried away on the music, when the familiar timbre of Victor's voice sounded across from her. He didn't give her any time to respond to his greeting or sudden presence before he took his seat across from her. His suit accented the color of his eyes and fit his physique well. The new markings on his face, and his cybernetic eye, were startling to take in now that they were in person, but at the same time seeing them in the flesh also helped to smooth over the strangeness of their presence.

In his transmission, they'd looked far worse and more glaring, and yet now they gave him an almost roguish appeal and Enyd decided then that she liked the addition. Of course, she wouldn't voice it that way to him, not now that the pain of healing physically and mentally were still so fresh, but maybe one day she could call him "mon corsaire" without the endearment bringing harsh memories.

As for her own injuries, she had two more treatments and then it would be as if they'd never been there. For now, faint outlines of the wounds could still be seen on her face, primarily on her cheeks, forehead and nose. Even if they never went away, which they kept assuring her they would, as if they believed her to be vain enough to care, Enyd looked upon scars of survival with pride. Most likely a genetic imprint from the pioneering members of her ancestors, where only the strong survived, and those survivors always bore in their flesh the sacrifices necessary for that survival.

It took Enyd a full three seconds to process Victor's presence, his words, and observe the scars and the shifting emotions on his face. She knew that he was not as keen towards physical displays of affection as she, and yet the urge to touch him, to soothe his anxiety physically, was overwhelming. Without a word, Enyd pushed back from the table and rose. With deliberate movements, she rounded the table until she stood beside where he sat. She was careful with her movements, always giving him time to stop her or shy away. Reaching out, she smoothed a hand lightly over the side of his face and down to gently cup the bottom of his chin, then, leaning down, she placed a featherlight kiss on his forehead, just above his brow.

Once she stood to her full height again, reluctantly pulling her hand away from his warmth, Enyd finally smiled and nodded, "You're worth waiting for, Mister vanVinter."

Victor was taken by surprise with the gesture from Enyd. He probably shouldn't have been though. It was delicate and demure, just like anything that he'd expected from Enyd with any sort of social engagement. The gentle touch on his cheek from her delicate hand alone brought a smile to his scarred face. And then she kissed him on the brow, that alone was enough to make him nearly miss the first words she said to him in person since that chaotic day back on Vulcan.

Victor manages to keep his jaw shut as those words process, but a tear comes to his eye then as he regards Enyd and the sentiment that she had for him. His breath caught in his throat then as he tried to find the right words. Not fully able to process his own words, Victor answers on instinct, the only three words that could possibly come to mind.

"I love you Enyd." and there it was, said for the first time face to face, and his roguish features slowly turn into a handsome grin, his haunted eyes shining as he looks to her, the fears and uncertainties in his life slowly melting away as he looks upon the woman he knew that he loved.

Enyd cupped his face with both hands and placed another light kiss on his forehead, just between his eyebrows, drawing back with a smile on her lips.

"And I love you too, Victor."

She traced her fingers lightly over the scarring before shifting on her feet to return to her seat. The music had shifted once more to another melancholic song about a boy named Danny and it struck Enyd as fitting as she knew enough about the song to remember it spoke of returning home at one point. Enyd was subtle in her movements when she pulled the chair around from facing directly across from Victor to being perpendicular, desiring to be closer to him now that he was here. The waiter had left a pitcher of water on the table and she was quick about filling his glass and her own. The sugary sweetness of her earlier drink needed washing down.

"Now tell me, Victor," it was delightfully strange to use his given name but it seemed stranger to revert back to his surname now that they'd confessed in person to their feelings for one another, "everything it is you've been wanting to tell me after all this time apart." Finishing with the water pouring, Enyd set down the pitcher and picked up her glass, holding it lightly between both hands as she leaned into the table, her attention fully on the man beside her. "Only tell it to me slowly, so that it will take a very long time."

Victor got all choked up at that, finding it hard to even think of the words while looking to Enyd. His heterochromatic gaze takes in everything about the woman across from him. The elegant features, the bold way she carried herself. When she returns his words and places a kiss on his brow, he can't help but grin like an absolute idiot.

He reached for the pitcher but found himself a bit slow on the draw and Enyd had already filled both glasses. How did he respond to that request? 'Tell it slowly and make it take a long time'. He smiles wanly, looking to Enyd, feeling a bit of his rogue nature taking hold. "My dearest miss Madsen, this is a restaurant in public, and not a beach in private. I could take the next several hours speaking to you here, but to do so would be to run afoul of decency. After all I think we would be the only ones in the area wishing to hear me say how entrancing I find your heart and soul. Or how beautiful I find you, the gentle curve of lips when you smile, that beautiful sparkle in your eyes when you look at me. Everything about you is worthy of poetry and song, to do any less to to denigrate your complete beauty." Victor had gotten lost in his descriptions to the point where he didn't notice the waiter standing next to them until the man coughed gently, to get their attention. Victor blinks slightly and goes red, looking at the waiter. "Hasperat if it's fresh, if not, then whatever you'd recommend."

Enyd blushed at Victor's gushing. He really was too much sometimes, and she loved him for it. The waiter moved his expectant gaze to Enyd and she pointed to the menu, "I'm afraid I don't know how to pronounce this dish, but the description has me salivating at the thought."

"Ash-e Reshteh," the waiter politely sounded out the foreign word for Enyd, "This soup noodle dish comes from the ancient Earth country of Iran. Most pleasant taste, and quite exotic." He glanced at Victor and bowed his head, "Though it is no hasperat. Your orders will be out directly." Turning on his heel, the waiter disappeared through the maze of tables and chairs to the kitchen.

"The more popular chef here is Edosian and not only does he cook the food quickly, but to the cultural preferences of the patron who ordered." Enyd leaned back in her chair to try to glimpse into the kitchen when the door swung open then closed again. She shook her head, "Can't tell if it is him or not today." Shrugging, she took another sip of water and smiled, "Either way, good company makes a good meal."

She let the swell of the music to fall in a brief silence between them before she spoke again, "Now I was not earlier requesting accolades to my features or character, Mister van Vinter. And rogue that you are, you are quite aware of that fact." She shot him a playfully disapproving look but was unable to maintain the faux frown for long and instead her lips melted back into a smile. "Truly, dearest Victor, how are you?"

Nodded along with the menu suggestion, having little experience with Earth Cuisine, having grown up mostly with whatever his parents had cooked, usually heavy on the Bajoran spices. Whatever he was given, he was sure that he'd enjoy, but the company was why he was here. He smiles then, regarding the woman before him after the waiter leaves. What was there to say really? With all that he'd been through, how did he put it into words.

A look crosses Victor's face, one that's hard to define, even for him. "Honestly Enyd, to say anything but how I feel about you first would be a disservice." He gave a wan smile then, and slumps back in his chair slightly. "How do I tell you about the War? I've seen people I've worked with go out and then not come back. I've seen more fighters go through the hangar than we actually have stationed on the Thunderchild. Honestly Enyd, I'm not wholly optimistic." His words were honest, and he had a worried expression to him. Maybe it was just having his ship shot up again, or the accumulated stress of seeing so much frontline combat for the last year, but he was less than optimistic.

A heavy followed by a sip of water then. "I'm sure that we'll manage to pull through. We're gaining experience on how to fight the Dominion, and we're doing better. It's hard to say though, how much longer things can keep going this way. But from what I've seen on the ship.." He shakes his head then and closes his eyes for a moment. "And that is probably not what you wanted to hear I know, but that's how I feel."

Victor spoke with great pain and though she'd not experienced it first hand, Enyd felt keenly his pain as if it were her own. She reached across and lightly touched the back of his hand, offering a kind smile of reassurance.

"I almost feel as if my past woes aren't worth telling about, really." She waved away a protest before one could be had. "All my injuries and frustrations have been connected to training, not front line or just about missions." Enyd shook her head then. "No need to ask me about my injuries or woes then. I am made of sterner stuff than I appear. The Madsen bloodline is full of resilient creatures of unexpected talents. So far I bounce more than I break and I reckon so long as I keep my chin up, it'll continue to be that way."

The waiter returned with soup of the day and a side salad, standard for this hour of mealtime. The salad dressing was tangy and the soup a strangely sweet salty. Very telling of the diverse staff manning the menu. Enyd found them pleasant as she tucked into them, careful wolf it down and scare Victor entirely.

"I hope this isn't a difficult subject to address," Enyd spoke some time later, "but I believe we had some questions or topics we promised to address in person. Is now a good time or should we wait?" Enyd paused in her eating to take a sip of water. "I am content either way and in truth would rather you dictate the pace. Your posting verses mine, well, I believe your preferences take precedence this time."

Victor shook his head then in between spoonfuls of Soup. "Enyd I love you dearly but you're so old fashioned. And this time not in an endearing way. While the experiences might not compare, as a friend of mine from the Academy said, "This isn't the pain Olympics." Your hurts and complaints are just as valid as everyone else. Your mental and physical health are just as serious as my needs are, more so since I'm down an eye." He smirks pleasantly at the self deprecating humor.

Rolling her eyes Enyd smiled, "Very well, Polyphemus, we'll play by your rules then." She wasn't certain how well versed Victor was in ancient Earth mythology but she found the reference to a cyclops amusing for he own benefit at least.

He finishes the soup, enjoying the chef's take on 'white chili' finding the blend of spices familiar and unique all at the same time. After the soup is consumed, he sits back, looking thoughtfully to Enyd. "I do want to hear about what happened to you by the way, but maybe it's not good dinner conversation, mine certainly isn't. As for the more important issues." He pauses then, fidgeting with his salad fork, twirling it about in his fingers. "I do want to tell you what happened, but by now I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Yes, the rumors are true about who attacked, and who saved us. As for the other rumors, I couldn't say." Clearly he didn't want to get into the details of the Borg attack, not while they were surrounded by Civilians. "I'll tell you that in private, but here and now..."

"I understand," Enyd nodded, her eyes also traveling over the patrons at the tables nearby, "either on our walk after dinner, which by the way you are walking me back to my quarters," she winked, "or in correspondence again. I know we will continue to share our stories, the good and the bad."

A brief pause in his line of thinking, having planned for more, and he looks wryly to Enyd, actually rolling his eyes at her. "Of course I'll be walking you home Enyd. We are both delightfully old fashioned in some of the best ways." He very nearly laughed at that, thinking about how to spend the most time together on the walk back to the academy. "In fact, I know a delightful little park only a few kilometres from the grounds, I'm sure you've passed through it on a run. It's right by the water, generally fairly empty."

It was Enyd's turn to laugh, "Run? Dearest Victor, do you think I ever purposefully run? Heavens, no. I do NOT. I walk with enough speed to get me to my destination promptly, but never at a run if I can help it." She shook her head. "And not for propriety's sake either. I simply hate running. I'd rather dance or perform martial arts for hours on end than run. But you're right, I have noted that park. Never really stopped before, so that will be a delightful detour."

Victor smiles then, ceasing his fidgeting, and he leans forward, looking Enyd directly in her eyes. "Over the years we've shared correspondence, I've fallen in love with you, in such a way that I cannot truly put into words. You've been the most delightful companion I could ever ask for, so now my dearest Enyd, you who always holds me in delight and wonder. I would like to ask you if it's alright if I ask your grandmother for permission to propose to you. I don't expect an answer to that now, but it is worth thinking on. With our lives, with how much is happening in the quadrant right now. I cannot imagine someone that I'd rather spend my life bonded to. You who bring life to me as a spring breeze ripples through fields of wildflowers. You who bring starlight with your every glance, who's voice is music to rival the sweetest of songbirds..."

And he got interrupted by the waiter coughing politely holding their meals, interrupting his soliloquy. Victor blushes and sits back as his meal is placed in front of him, something prepared with a winter squash, yams, and a green vegetable he couldn't place, probably collard greens by his estimation. And something yellow and grilled that had to be endive. For now though Victor was speechless and found that he had no words with his head of steam stoppered shut.

Enyd didn't notice when the waiter placed her meal in front of her, too stunned and staring dumbfounded at Victor to pay much attention to his additional question if she'd like additional pepper. She must've nodded, mutely, for the smell of the pepper grinding so close to her nose had her rearing back and lightly pinching it to keep from sneezing. Enyd smiled and nodded to the waiter before he disappeared again, leaving Enyd with Victor's proposal and her meal sitting on the table between them.

"I don't quite know what to say, Victor." Enyd didn't pick up her utensils, still too focused on his earlier proposal to think of eating just yet. "I agree with the depth of our connection, and truly believe you to be a kindred spirit born in the flesh." She tipped her head to the side and nibbled on her lower lip in thought before speaking again, "But there are still so many questions we haven't addressed yet. For example, my affinity for physical affection and my desire for sexual intimacy," she blushed then and ducked her head down, having for but a moment forgotten that they were in a crowded restaurant, "well, I know where you stand on that and I respect it, but with your knowing where I stand, how will we cope with that? I'm not certain if your culture or mine is very accepting of multiple partners in a marriage, or accepting of an open marriage either. I've never been placed in a position to ponder such things before this."

Finally picking up her fork Enyd let out the rest of the breath she'd been holding and offered a little smile, "Besides, we had better get our answers to those questions before my grandmother asks the same things. She's not the type to shy away from a difficult and invasive question and you'd best prepare yourself for all sorts of invasive questions if you truly want to pursue nuptials."

With roguish wit and charm, Victor winks at Enyd's final question that she has for him, and gives the cheekiest response possible. "I do.'' He lets that hang in the air for a moment taking a few bites of his meal, enjoying the way the flavors paired, and he almost gets distracted. But he did have more pressing questions to answer.

"So long as we maintain communication Enyd, sex is sex, it isn't love. If You want to have sex with someone else, by all means, have fun. Just please let me know, before the fact if preferable, after if it happens spontaneously. Relationships like ours, the long distance kind can only work based on trust. And I think that we love and feel for each other, no matter who gets added into that mix physically, there won't necessarily be that love." He wasn't naive enough to believe that Enyd couldn't fall in love with someone else, long distance and proximity always had those effects on people. "I am not Odysseus, and you're not Penelope, I don't expect that you'll be chaste and loyal for twenty years without seeing me. Just like I'm no Polyphemus with an insatiable appetite." He winks his eye, the cybernetic one, and grins, showing that he did get the previous reference.

Enyd swatted at his hand playfully but remained silent, aware that he had more to say.

"As for intimacy between us, to put the matter as simply as possible. I love you, and I want to share what makes you happy. Just as I assume you'll do the same for me. I love you and I trust you Enyd, but for any encounter like what you're asking about, you'll probably need to be the one that takes the lead." He smiled then, and thought about the question of multiple partners in a marriage, and how it applied to his culture. "While I draw most of my roots from Bajor, and the others from here on Earth, I am a spacer first and foremost. I've never asked if my parents have multiple partners, but frankly Enyd, they're not us. So I don't much care about traditions as they relate to sexual lives. And yes, I do acknowledge the irony in even asking you for permission to ask to propose with all of that being said." Now though, his meal was getting cold, and he did seem to quite enjoy what had been served to him. If he was ever on Earth again, he'd have to make his way here for a meal on a more regular basis.

Enyd nodded, weighing his words as she tested the food in her mouth. It was delicious, just as his words brought comfort.

"I think it will take me some time to wrap my brain around that sort, or this sort, of arrangement as it is so far outside the norm of what I was raised to expect." She nodded again. "I agree that we are not our parents nor are we particularly bound by the traditions of our cultures, but as much as we strike out to be different from those if desired, they still influence us and I believe acknowledging the influence is healthy."

She blushed when he spoke of her taking the lead if they were to have any physical encounters, "I definitely will need to work into the mental concept of taking the lead with physicality. I mean, I know I initiated just now, here, but," she leaned back and nibbled her lower lip as she gathered her thoughts together into coherent sentences, "I guess I would also like to be pursued, physically I mean. To be wooed and desired for my heart and body. That is, I suppose, a connection to my cultural influence or perhaps my personality preferences." Enyd sighed. "I would never expect you or demand you to do anything outside of your comfort, though, Victor. I love you too much to make such demands on you."

Gave a pleasant enough smile then, doing his best to come up with the words. "I don't know if I can pursue someone for their body.. I certainly am drawn by your heart, mind, and pah. To do or to say otherwise would be disingenuous of me. But for you my dearest Miss Madsen, I will make the effort to sweep you off your feet, and share with you the joys of our love together." he pauses then, taking a few more bites of his meal. "Though some foreplay to let me know you're interested wouldn't be remiss."

Enyd took another sip of her water as she further thought through the line of conversation, her mind whirling in every which direction and back again. Finally she spoke, "What if, after you speak with my grandmother, a tradition I whole-hearted support just so you know, if she agrees to it, we remain engaged until after my first posting? I don't know where they'll send me after graduation, and with the current circumstances," she lowered her voice as her eyes traveled over his scars, "I think maybe waiting until things are more stable for a full-scale wedding would be prudent of us."

Victor nodded then, giving her a gentle smile, reaching across the table to take hold of her hand gently. The strong calloused hand, wrapping around Enyd's. "You and I are on the same wavelength with this. To do anything while you're still a Cadet would distract you from what you need to be focused on right now, which is earning your commission. After the war we can plan the wedding of your dreams." He pauses and smiles again, chuckling slightly. "I say your dreams, because I've never considered contemplating such, and to be honest, the entire thought of doing so is new to me."

"Well," Enyd laughed, "I'll be honest, I never quite got around to imagining a wedding. My imagination rather skipped that part. I was conquering worlds and taking names as a single woman then suddenly I was married with a family, and bringing them along with me on the adventure. There was no in-between focus on the actual marriage." She gripped his hand tighter, and placed her own on top of his. "We can plan it together, channeling all our shared stories and hopes into the organized chaos that I know it will be."

The band struck up another lively tune and this time Enyd giggled, "I won't take no for an answer, Victor." She stood and used her grip on his hand to tug. "You're joining me on the dance floor even if you have eleven left feet and no sense of rhythm."

Couldn't help but grin at Enyd's enthusiasm to get him on the dance floor, finding himself pulled from the chair, he doesn't even have time to give his thoughts and opinions on wedding planning. While Victor wasn't great with dancing in general, at the very least there were what appeared to be holographic couples positioned to show people what the dances looked like.  So that was how he found himself dancing with Enyd to a lively Benny Goodman piece. With one eye on the holographic examples, and the other on Enyd herself. The height difference on the dance floor made him smile, but that gets no comment.

He was entranced by dancing with Enyd and taking her in his arms during a dip, figuring that Enyd had sent a signal, Victor leans in planting a kiss on her lips at the end of the fast paced song with a dance that certainly left him breathless form trying to keep up with the nearly impossible dance.

Enyd placed a hand on her chest while keeping a hold of Victor's with the other. Her face was flushed and she was as breathless as he, and for what seemed to be the same reasons. The kiss had been as spontaneous as the dance and both had left Enyd feeling warm and alive in a fashion nothing else had ever left her feeling. She laughed, the effervescent joy she felt being held by Victor radiating from the smile on her face.

"Who knew you could be so smooth on the dance floor!" She tugged at his hand again, leading them back to the table for a much-needed respite. "Must be all the fencing you took up, to defend my honor from brigands."

Laughed breathlessly as he walked back to their table. Once there he pulls out Enyd's seat for her, and then plops down in his own chair, smiling like an idiot. "That dance was new to me, but my mother was fond of dancing. Though dad often demurred, if only to see me make a bit of an ass of myself." Victor smiled once more before taking a long swig of his glass of water. "To be fair, learning the rapier has indeed helped with my footwork. Though i doubt you'll need me to defend you from brigands."

He winks politely to Enyd, and looks once more at the menu. "Should we get dessert, or do we need to be heading back to the Academy soon? I'm not quite sure how long we'll spend talking on the way, and I'd hate to saddle you with any demerits for tardiness."

"Mon Corsaire, there is ALWAYS time for dessert." Enyd grinned, immediately choosing the most decadent confectionary that featured chocolate when the waiter came to take their order. She added a black coffee, needing the bitter to balance the sweet.

Once they were alone again, Enyd nodded towards the door of the restaurant, "When do you think you'll be able to come back? As you know my graduation is around May or June-ish of next year and you already committed to coming for that, but do you think you'll be able to squirrel away any time in addition to that?" Though there was greater clarity in what Victor expected or wanted from the relationship, as well as his boundaries of acceptance, Enyd knew herself well enough to know it would take a few more intimate discussions to truly wrap her brain and heart around the matter.

Glancing over the dessert menu and finding something that sounded interesting, Victor had no idea what the language even was, maybe one from Earth? Victor was unsure about that, but still. "A slice of the pina trees leeches cake?" Yep, that was how Victor managed to butcher the pronunciation of 'Tres leches' the poor man having no skill in any language other than the Dutch of his father, and Bajoran of his mother aside from the Federation standard trade tongue which he thought was once English, but wasn't sure at the moment. The point was, his Spanish was terrible. "I have no idea when I'll make it back to Earth, if I do it's because the Thunderchild needs another set of major repairs or a refit, or I'm coming back for reasons worse than that." He grimaces at that, and frowns deeply.

"I'd love to try making it back for your graduation, and I'll make a point of doing so, war permitting. But I'm expecting another six month combat tour followed by another after that? I'm not sure." He shrugs at that, smiling slightly when the waiter brings their dessert, Enyd's looking far more appetizing than the apparently soggy mess that was his. It looked like it was sitting in... "Waiter, is my cake soaked in milk? Was there a spill?"

The waiter almost laughs at the question, but shakes their head and smiles. "No sir, that's how it comes, it's a traditional Mexican dessert from here on Earth."

Victor blinked at that,and poked at the saturated jiggling mass of pineapple and caramel flavored sponge cake, an eyebrow rising slightly. "I'm not sure I'm this adventurous, have you ever had this before Enyd?"

Enyd was laughing as she pushed her molten chocolate cake across the table and took his unwanted sweet without asking, "Yes, I have, and yes, I will."

It wasn't her favorite type of dessert but combined with the bitter coffee she sipped at to wash it all down, the
dessert was quite pleasant overall. She gave a little torso sway of delight, something she'd done as a child whenever she really liked something she was eating, and winked at Victor across the table.

"I understand the difficulties and will never pressure you to neglect your duty. Soon enough, I too will have duty pulling me in one direction while we might both prefer it to be another." Setting down her fork and dabbing at her mouth with her linen napkin, Enyd offered Victor a soft smile of reassurance. "There is no need to rush, be it here over our dessert, the walk home, or our relationship. If we start rushing here then I fear the pain and anxiety that exists outside the boundary line of our kindredship will seep in and we'll grow haggard from the inside and out."

They finished their dessert and coffee, listened to one more song and commented on its lyrics, then made their way unhurried from the restaurant both looking forward to the time they could do this again. Enyd was not shy about taking Victor's arm, tucking her hand in the crook of his elbow, as they meandered down the streets of San Francisco. Only once they were away from the potentially listening ears of fellow patrons, and secure in their isolation in the park Victor had mentioned, did Victor finally reveal the entirety of the story behind his scars and cybernetic eye. Enyd listened with an ear out for emotional distress, reaching out and taking his hand while maintaining her hold on his arm when he worked through the difficult portions. She gave him a warm embrace and another kiss on the cheek when he finished and they resumed their journey towards the Academy.

Enyd made Victor laugh more than once as she regaled him with more tales from her training previously unshared due to censorship or timing. He in kind leaned forward and kissed the tip of her nose, earning an amused smile from Enyd, after she told him the harrowing story of near-death during the black out training on Andoria. And it felt as if they'd both lived a lifetime and but a moment in the time it took for Victor to escort Enyd to the Academy. They were both reluctant to let go, to turn away, but with both Enyd and Victor understanding and accepting the necessity of duty, they eventually found the gumption necessary to have one last hug, one last kiss, and one last lingering look of farewell.

Aldea Prime / Re: Day 01 [0900 hrs.] Big Sister
Last post by P.C. Haring -
[ Lt. Cmdr. Hathev | Public Baths | Deck 06 |Vector 02 | USS Theurgy]  Attn: @Auctor Lucan 

Hathev arched an eyebrow as Thea explained how she could ingest and eliminate food and drink.  For all of her experience, she had not considered the technical aspects as to how that worked with holograms.  There were, of course, constructs of physics that would have to apply.  But the rest of that she would leave to the engineers whom carried far more technical expertise on the matter than she.

She turned, started for the exit back to the corridors.  Her self assigned evaluation of the nature and capabilities of the ship's AI had been completed to her satisfaction but one final thought surfaced - her reaction to death.  But instead of asking directly, Hathev found a different approach.

"I'm also curious, if I may, to know your reaction and your perspective on the casualties you've suffered in the recent engagements."

She left the question open ended.  While she suspected Thea had an emotional spectrum from which to draw, she could not be certain as to whether or not the AI chose to express those emotions as a human would or, if instead Thea preferred to suppress them as would a Vulcan.  Hathev found no logic in making an assumption for either outcome given that thus far all of her assumptions regarding the ship's AI had proved incorrect.
[ Crewman 3rd Class Samala | Hanger Bay | IKS Ta'rom | En Route to Qo'noS ] Attn: @Auctor Lucan @Griffinsummoner @Swift

Turning the last corner in the tunnel, Samala saw the opening ahead that would lead down to the Apache. Rivard's confirmation and explanation of what Commander Fisher had said rang in her ears as she shimmied across to the shaft and began climbing down. At the bottom, she lowered herself out of the roof, hanging for a moment from the bottom rung of the ladder before swinging herself forward and over, inverting herself just as she entered her ship's gravity field. Within it, her feet were pulled to the deck of the ramp and she regathered herself, looking at the Ta'rom's hanger deck, from her perspective, over her head.

"Crewman Samala, power this thing up and get ready to blast our way out. Hopefully we'll make a clean escape. Let's just hope the Commander makes it back in time..." came Chief Keyeh's

"Understood," Samala acknowledged, darting into the Apache. She ran the length of the ship, not stopping to discard any of her equipment until she fell into the pilot's chair and spun around to face the console. Bringing the ship's systems to standby, she heard Fisher announce that he was almost there and movement through the forward canopy drew her attention. Below her, she caught sight of Fisher in what she believed was the control room for the hanger. And he was fighting. He spoke again but his words were cut off as Samala saw that he was tackled to the deck. 

She sat there, hands hovering over her controls as she watched the Terran struggle with the Klingon. Then it was over, as Fisher rose to his feet, his face covered in the fallen Klingon's blood. But something was wrong, he stopped and looked down. And then the room exploded outwards with Samala barely catching sight of the Terran's body being flung through the air to the hard, unforgiving deck of the hanger below it. She wanted to shout to the others behind her to go and get him but a ragged, coughing voice echoed across the silent com channel.


Klingons were beginning to pour into the hanger, beginning to put out the fires from the explosion as well as moving equipment out of the way while another contingent surrounded the body of Commander Fisher. Her sensors told her he was alive, if only just, but as more and more warriors flooded in, Samala knew she had to obey his final order, as much as it railed against her very nature. Steeling herself, she remotely activated the ramp controls, sealing the ship as she brought the Apache to full readiness. A memory flash of Bacury III danced before her eyes and she snarled, blinking it away as she powered up her disruptor arrays. They had to leave but she was going to make sure that they remembered that they had been there.

With her tactical systems ready, Samala dropped the cloak and disengaged the maglocks, smiling wickedly at what she thought the Klingons would be thinking at her appearance within the hanger. But she gave them no time to react as she triggered her disruptors, scything into clusters of warriors, fighters, shuttles and even the walls as she spun and rolled the Apache around to face the doors. An explosion on the port side of the hanger, bigger than the rest, let her know that she had hit something important with confirmation coming in a moment later as she registered that the Ta'rom was dropping out of warp. Now was their chance.

"BLOW THE CHARGES!" she shouted, hoping someone had heard her. Nothing happened for an instant and she was about to yell again when the hanger bay in and around her erupted into fire as explosive devices detonated. The main doors rippled, one of them being completely blown off of its hinges thanks to her charge placements. It was now or never. Shutting down her disruptors, she shunted the power to her shields to reinforce them from the beating that the explosions, and largely ineffective Klingon small arms fire, had strained them. That done, she fired up her thrusters to guide them through the damaged opening. 

Once clear of the doors, Samala engaged her cloak and the Apache disappeared into the void like an assassin into shadow. Their mission, she didn't know if it had been a success or not, but she was alive and the bulk of the team was with her. Sighing, she closed her eyes for a moment in silent thanks to Commander Fisher before plotting a course back to the Theurgy and jumping into warp herself.


OOC: Escape Inspiration.
Episode 01: Advent of War / Re: CH07: S [D03|1725] Praxis Crucible
Last post by Pierce -
[ Ensign Lauren Pierce | Bridge | USS Allegiant | Approaching Praxis ] Attn: @Stegro88 @Auctor Lucan

Lauren sat back up as the tiny ship lurched forward again. The inertial dampeners had taken a beating it wouldn't soon forget. Lights flickered again as the ship's nacelle pylons and outer hull could be heard scraping the edging of the cavern. The intensity was not lost on her however as the ship's energy flow into the deck plates and speed to the core seemed to have that added oomph that she required to make a quick shot there. She could hear Arnold's comments pass by her but couldn't dwell on the specifics.

Her head and eyes moved sporadically across the panels and helped her adrenaline run wild. What a rush she thought to herself. Fingers still strummed the controls like a pianist on an orchestral concert performing one of Beethoven's famous symphonies.

There it was dead ahead. The bomb. And it wasn't stationary anymore either. It was falling at a rapid rate to the core. Below she could see the crewman fighting for their lives on the instrument panels. Little ants to be seen on the viewscreen and sensors. The sound of transmission was heard over the comm systems.

"Leavitt to Allegiant, the bomb has dropped, the bomb has dropped, you have to catch it, you have to catch it! You've got......fifty seconds until it hits!"

Panic filled her heart and lungs as she thought of all the opportunities she'd likely never see if this went off and didn't make it. Her mind snapped back to attention as she had little time to dwell on it. Lauren heard to her side the orders of escape coming from none other than T'Less.

"Ensign Pierce, come about and escape. We have 14 seconds until detonation. I will attempt to seal the shaft above us to protect the others somewhat. We will be exposed, unfortunately."

She brought the Allegiant about as she heard confirmation that T'Less had fired a quartet of micro-torpedoes back up the shaft. The final note from T'Less was on her diverting power from the weapons to the aft shields.

"On it!" the redheaded woman yelled abruptly as the ship continued its forward path towards the other end of the tunnel system. The caverns were vast and many in the mining of the once whole moon. With any luck, what's left would remain that way. Her sensors showed the phaser fire had finished its job of burying the exposed dilithium but watched on as the bomb edged closer to the micro-torpedoes. The tension on the bridge was high with the yells of various commands and attempts to beam up the away team.

"If you're looking to get the infiltration team, NOW would be a great time!" The ship cruised faster out of the radius of the bomb as it, and the torpedoes ignited into a blinding white light on the viewscreen. Luckily she had sensors to back it up but that didn't last long as the shockwaves and explosive fire from the explosion began to quickly creep up with them. Sweat dripped from the corners of her temples as she massaged the panel's instruments in hopes that she could squeeze the added power needed for a temporary boost of speed.

The wave of fire grew ever closer to the Allegiant as it began to overtake the ship, overheating the structure from the rear. Without looking, she knew the aft shields were not going to last long with the accelerated heat striking the small vessel. Fighting back tears of worry, she stifled her cries of fear as the ship edged closer to the outer rim. The light at the end of the proverbial tunnel was close but not as close as she'd hoped as the Allegiant was ultimately enveloped entirely in the remnants of the blast.

Outside the caverns of Praxis, the sight of a growing light from within could be seen by the ships around the already battered moon. There was no Allegiant but a giant fireball billowed that escaped the cavernous planetoid. Followed closely by a small Starfleet vessel, the Allegiant, as it soared further away from the fire. Scorched portions of the outer hull made it look as if someone put the ship in a giant toaster and set it to extra crispy. Gone was the pristine silver and whites, and replaced by an aesthetically unpleasing sight.

The Allegiant whipped around at breakneck speeds to avoid further damage as it spiraled back to the station above.

Lauren sat back at her console, exhaling the air she held so tight during the final moments of their escape uncertain if her efforts would bring them all out alive. What she didn't yet know was how many would make it back from the surface.

"Sir! We're back in normal space above Praxis."
[PO2 Kino Taer | Deck 07 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @BipSpoon  @Nesota Kynnovan  @Nolan  @Auctor Lucan


With the invasion still in progress and Battle Sickbay merely protected by a handful of crew members, Kino slowly slid away into unconsciousness. Her head getting heavier and heavier until she was completely gone. Thoughts that crossed her mind, unfocused, unsorted but kind. Pictures of Bremmer, of her family and friends, of dear comrades from the Dominion War. Feeling save despite the dangers all around her, knowing the Lieutenants had her back, her mind was starting to fade away.

Despite her decreasing consciousness, Kino faintly noticed voices in the distance. Voices which shouted something. Danger? Kino forced herself to come back, at least for a little while. She could still hear the rumbling and hissing of a ship in battle, but the voices - clearer now - proclaimed something different.

batlh Heghpu'DI' mIghwI'! tam!

Did she translate that correctly? She knew only little Klingon, but she was almost certain. But before she could think any further about what she had heard, another voice was audible.

"They're leaving! The Klingons are beaming off board..."

A soft, almost angelic smile crossed Kino's lips. The constant bombardement under which the Vector had suffered throughout the battle had stopped. Once again, they made it. Hoping that the same was true for the other Vectors, Kino relaxed and finally fell into a deep unconsciousness.


OOC: I hope this FIN suits all contributors. It was fun writing this and my sincerest thanks to everyone who made Kino's transplantation possible.

Aldea Prime / Re: Day 20 [1900 hrs.] Diving Deeper
Last post by Stegro88 -
[ CPO Mickayla MacGregor | Ens. Eloi-Danvers Quarters (Diplomatic Attache Suite) | Deck 10 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Brutus

The playful bite that followed Faye's assertion that she was made of sweet dreams only served to heighten the Klingon's already elevated excitement. There she was, naked as the day she was born with an equally naked female officer on her knees and between her legs, for all intents and purposes looking like she was about to start eating the chief out. Just visualising that in her head caused Mickayla to groan in want and desire as she felt her womanhood dampen at the imagery.

"It won't just be my dreamsssssSSSSSS!" Mickayla responded, her voice pitching up dramatically as Faye's mouth locked onto her pussy and drove her tongue between the sensitive folds and into the tunnel beyond. It was all Mickayla could do not to grab Faye's head with both hands and push her in harder as the Betazoid set to work on the Klingon's pussy. "I have known that it was one of the ways to refer to it, but before I always thought referring to it as a pussy was vulgar. Now it just fans the flames," Mickayla thought as she groaned and moan with each new movement of Faye's mouth and tongue.

"Damn that feels amazing," Mickayla managed to groan out as she gave up resisting and reached down to wrap one of her hands in fair's hair to ostensibly hold her in place as her other hand came up to play with a breast, her eyes practically rolling into the back of her head as her hypersensitive skin was simulated in multiple new ways.
Director's Cut / Re: [2380] The Ashby Files: The USS Leyte Dossier
Last post by Nesota Kynnovan -
Stardate 57290.71
November 24, 2380
1920 HRS

Time inside Cocytus Nebula: 61 HRS

[Ensign Amanda Ashby | Conference Room | Deck 01 | USS Aurora]

After the boarding party had beamed over to the USS Leyte and Commander Took reported their safe arrival, Amanda initially thought that the cameras on their EVA suits were malfunctioning. It wasn't until several seconds later, when the Executive Officer and the three other members of the team activated their night vision display, that their live footage finally came online; albeit cast in an eerie green glow that only made it more unsettling to watch.

"It seems we're dealing with a ship-wide blackout. According to our readings the atmosphere is breathable though, albeit somewhat stale." As he spoke, the live footage showed Commander Took standing in front of a wall console with a tricorder in his hand. When he connected an external power source directly onto the large touch screen of the wall console with his other hand, it flickered back to life and, somewhat unnervingly, immediately began to display a Red Alert. Seemingly unfazed however, the Caitian Executive Officer attempted to enter various commands before speaking up once more. "This console is locked out. Command has apparently been rerouted to Main Engineering."

"At least we now know why we managed to get a lock onto this specific part of the ship though." Lieutenant JG Bradley Marshall, the USS Aurora's Chief Engineer, was clearly a lot more tense than his Caitian superior. His footage showed various external power sources connected to the transporter platform, and as he spoke there was a nervous tone in his voice that was rather hard to miss. "It seems like the crew tried to boost the range of the transporter far beyond its normal operating parameters. I have no idea as to what end because they had nowhere to transport themselves to, but they were definitely working on something here. Even without main power, their modifications managed to emit a very feint signature for our targeting scanners to lock on to." He stood back up again and turned to face the other members of the boarding party. "I'd like to take a closer look at the transporter buffer. If they modified their buffer as well it might give me a clearer picture of what they were trying to accomplish."

Back in the Conference Room, Amanda noticed that she wasn't the only one who looked up to the holographic layout of the USS Leyte. Several other members of the Senior Staff, including Captain Anders herself, all shifted their attention to the blueprints to see where the Transporter Buffer Compartment was located. Before the blonde-haired Psychiatrist had even finished searching Deck 1, the Captain spoke up. "It is directly across the corridor from Main Engineering, Took. You're headed in that direction anyway, so give it a look if possible. It might not hurt to investigate what they were working on."

They could all see the camera in Commander Took's helmet shake a little as he nodded in agreement. "Acknowledged. Walker, you're with Marshall. Mister Taylor, you're on me." With those words, the Caitian Executive Officer briefly turned his attention to the burly British Chief of Security whom had been standing next to the entrance of Transporter Room 2 and, with a curt nod, the two of them swiftly moved through the door to cover both ends of the corridor.

Lieutenant Commander Walker was the first to see it, and his coarse remark prompted Commander Took to turn around. By then, the British Chief of Security was already in a tactical position, down on one knee and carefully scanning the surroundings with his phaser in hand.

There was a barricade in the corridor. It was a hastily assembled construction, roughly 4,5 feet in height, and it blocked all access to the corridor leading to the Shuttle Bay and the front part of the USS Leyte. More importantly, it supported the theory that someone -or something- hostile had found their way aboard the ship. "Walker?" As Took dropped down on one knee next to the Chief of Security, it took only the mention of the man's name for him to give an assessment. "There are no bodies on this side of the barricade, and there are no visible signs of a struggle. No phaser scorching, no blood..." The only visible indication that Bryce Walker was more alert than normal was the volume of his voice; while usually raucous, it was little more than a hushed mutter. "Only one way to know for sure though." For a brief moment the live footage of Commander Took and Lieutenant Commander Walker showed the two men looking at each other, before the two men nodded at each other in silent agreement and they both swiftly leapt into action. While the Caitian Executive Officer rounded the corner leading towards Main Engineering and dropped to a knee once more to keep the corridor locked down, the Chief of Security quickly made his way towards the barricade, scanned for hostile activity coming from the Shuttle Bay or the front part of the ship, and then quickly peered at what was on the other side of the barricade.

It was a series of events so often trained that it clearly became a routine, and it happened so fast that no one in the Conference Room had the time to properly prepare themselves for what was on the other side of the barricade. When Lieutenant Commander Walker peered at what was there, a collective gasp went through the Conference Room.

At nothing.

"Area clear." As he spoke, the Chief of Security was already turning back from the barricade to join the Executive Officer in the other corridor. At the same time they were joined by Lieutenant Taylor and Lieutenant JG Marshall, who came around the corner with their own phasers drawn as well. "We stick to the plan. Mister Walker, you and Mister Marshall go to the Transporter Buffer Compartment to find out what the crew was working on. Mister Taylor, you're with me. We're going to Main Engineering to find out what happened here." Just before the small boarding party started moving again, the Commander spoke up once more though, this time directed at the small group of Senior Officers in the Conference Room. "Aurora, we're cutting the feed. The last thing we need is someone hacking in to our stream and getting a live fix on our position."

Before Captain Anders could even open her mouth to protest, the live footage of Commander Took went offline, followed closely by the footage of the Chief of Security. Both men had served through the Dominion War and their wartime experience was showing, and while the strategy behind it was sound that didn't necessarily mean that their Commanding Officer agreed to it. However, Captain Anders could only say as much as "I don't-..." before the live footage of Lieutenant Taylor and Lieutenant JG Marshall showed their two ranking officers waving at them, resulting in their footage and communication being cut as well; leaving the five officers in the Conference Room in silence.

Several seconds passed by in silence, with everyone staring at Captain Anders but unsure of what to say, before the Captain spoke up herself. "Lieutenant Bennion, try raising them again." As she spoke, there was a hint of annoyance in the Captain's voice that everyone seemed to notice. The Canadian Chief Operations Officer quickly rose from her seat and made her way over to a wall console to re-establish communications. At the same time, Amanda coughed softly before speaking up; hoping to be of some help as well. "Captain, shall I head to Sickbay and prepare it to receive wounded?" While there was a nurse aboard as well, Amanda knew that she was the only Medical Officer aboard in the absence of Doctor Taylor. In hindsight it was a stupid question, which was made painfully obvious by the "You don't say?"-look on Captain Anders' face as the blonde-haired Commanding Officer turned to Amanda. "Yes Ensign, that would be a wonderful idea." The tone of the Captain's voice left little room for misinterpretation or discussion so, with that, Amanda quickly made her way out of her seat and began to quickly walk towards the door of the Conference Room.
Episode 01: Advent of War / Re: CH06: S [D03|1418] Lone Wolf check up
Last post by Nero -
[ Lt. JG Logan Hale, callsign "Wraith"| Sickbay | Deck 7 | USS Oneida] Attn: @Luciain

Logan smiled in amusement as the nurse, a good twenty centimeters shorter, threatened to stomp his feet if he ended up back in her infirmary. It was the usual findings and the usual advice and as usual he would ignore it. It did feel good, though, to imagine the petite person in front of him jumping up and down in a fit of rage.
"We'd like to avoid that for the world," he finally replied, playfully intimidated. "I'd never forgive myself."

She turned his head and looked into his eyes. Logan knew this from various examinations. She checked the reactions of his pupils, wanting to make sure he hadn't suffered any trauma and could perceive his surroundings normally. Then she placed a finger on his forehead and gave him a warm smile. If his headache got worse, he should come back. She would then give him something stronger. Katherine would be glad to see a friendly face, as she would still be in the infirmary for the next eight hours. It amused Logan to see her feel caught in her statement and feel the urge to correct herself. She didn't mean her words to imply that he should end up back here in the infirmary.

Logan jumped off the bed when she told him that their holographic masters, would be subjugating them for a long time to come. "This is outrageous!" he half-cursed so that her masters couldn't hear, but she learned of his feigned indignation.
"I wish I could be of service to you, Katherine. However, I don't want to spoil your masters' favor just yet," he finally said. Then a little more quietly, so that the holographic masters couldn't hear. "I didn't mean it that way. I'll think of something and free you from them."
Logan winked at her. Then he turned to leave.
"Thank you."
Lt JG Sorek Morgan | Shuttle Bay | Iota Eridani Starfleet Aerospace Command Facility ] Attn: @P.C. Haring @Eden  @SaraKnight


Ensign Nakarra had insisted on performing the landing procedure herself, which made sense. She would have enough time to clean herself up and make herself presentable. Sorek on the other hand, who had been utterly surprised by her sudden advance, once they had left the Thunderchild, had to leave the shuttle and report for duty once the struds touched the landing pad.

Sorek looked down at himself in the mirror. He was unsure what to think of what happened. He felt as if he should be happy but on the other hand, he was confused. Did they really do what he thought they did? His glance wandered to his discarded uniform, which lay next to the disheveled bunk bed, slowly shaking his head. Seems as if it was no dream... He thought to himself, when the warm and flirty voice of Nakarra sounded through the shuttle.

[Mr. Lieutenant, Sir? We have arrived at Iota Eridani Starfleet Aerospace Command Facility. I hope you'll have a nice stay and remember all the good things about the Thunderchild and me. Would be a shame if you never came back.]

Sorek blushed instantly. It was as if he could hear her cheeky grin. He quickly shouldered his duffle bag and headed for the exit. Forcing himself not to look back in order to try and get another glimpse of his subordinate, he made walked out of the shuttle and swiftly made his way to the tall, handsome NCO who was already waving in his direction. The piercing blue eyes of the Petty Officer sent a chill along Sorek's spine. Did he notice something? Went through his head as he held out his pad to provide the transfer details.

"Lieutenant Junior Grade Sorek Morgan. I'm here for the Advanced Tactical CONN Training." He stated matter of factly, realizing right after the words left his mouth, that this was well known to the NCO. But the young man, whose dominant chin and tall, fit body made him an impressive figure, merely smiled down at Sorek and nodded.

"Thank you, Sir. We've been awaiting your arrival. You are to report to your flight instructor first. Afterwards I will show you around and provide you with your schedule. Please follow me!" The Petty Officer replied and with another downwards glance at Sorek, turned on his heel and marched into the direction of the next corridor. Sorek, with a feeling of double humiliation, followed his guide into the depth of the Training Center.