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CH02: S [D02|2300] Notesharing and Nightcaps

[ Lieutenant Enyd Madsen | Corridor | Deck 07 | Vector 1 | USS Theurgy ] attn: @BipSpoon

Hair pulled back in a long braid, still wet from the shower, Enyd made her way to Lieutenant Amarik’s quarters. The hour was late, hence the reason she’d come across only a half dozen individuals since she’d left her own quarters on Deck 10. More than once, Enyd had also had to consult a map to figure out if she was still going in the right direction. Sighing, Enyd shook her head. She knew eventually she would confidently walk through the ship without having to look at a map. However, it had been mere hours since transferring to the Theurgy. And Enyd felt as if her head was about to explode with the amount of information Thea had given her.

 Other shoe to drop indeed…Enyd blushed at the memory of her conversation with the captain. While she didn’t have a problem speaking her mind to superiors in the line of duty when the situation called for it, typically, she had a better sense of timing and usually waited until after a relationship was made before attempting such a line of dialogue. Perhaps it had been the irritation from the new wound, still an irritation now, that had led her to being so bold.

Thinking of superiors, Enyd remembered she was due to meet with Rutherford, first thing in the morning. She had already gone over the reports from Anderson and then Thea countless times and intended to compare notes with Amarik shortly, but she would need as much rest as possible to prepare for that morning meeting. She was not normally a delightful individual in the morning and didn't want a repeat of her first few moments onboard.

Though tired mentally and physically, Enyd remembered her promise to Amarik while onboard the Kajunpak't. Their departments, both essential to the successful running of the ship, would be twice as successful if on occasion notes could be passed between borders. Before the transfer, Enyd had promised such a notesharing, and Valyn had offered a nightcap. Enyd was not known for forgetting a promise and was uninterested in starting that habit now. Especially not with Amarik.

Being off duty, Enyd wore civilian clothing reminiscent of another Earth era. She knew she further struck an odd sight as, in direct contrast to the feminine attire, Enyd carried her gifted blade. Amarik would probably find the tik’leth interesting, and the story of how she’d gotten the blade at least marginally amusing. While anthologies could not be written on the gushing warmth of their relationship, and in truth, the entirety of their shared dialogues would fit neatly within the “x” listing of the English dictionary, Enyd found the Romulan woman intriguing and had every interest in becoming her ally.

Partially because of the relationship between the Federation and the Romulan Star Empire, and the disposition of the Romulans themselves, Enyd had never felt as close to this part of her heritage. Not out of a lack of desire, but out of a lack of opportunity.  Her grandmother and parents, when alive, had told her what they knew and were allowed to tell her, as there were elements about her past even she wasn't allowed to know. What Enyd did know was that lurking within her DNA, was part of the Romulan code, diluted after centuries, but with no names and no context other than vague references to the distant Earth-Romulan Wars.

Thus without further background or the clearance to tell what she knew, Enyd accepted the suppositions from others that her ears were connected to Vulcan lineage alone and had not corrected her fellow Starfleet personnel on the Kajunpak't when they had assumed likewise. But in seeing Amarik among the others on the Klingon ship, Enyd had been drawn to the woman. Though Enyd had met other Romulans before Amarik, she'd had to use every ounce of her willpower to not come across as too eager to know and understand them each time. Romulans did not take kindly to one overeager to befriend them.

In the short time of their acquaintance, there were telling mannerisms and conversation patterns from Amarik that led Enyd to believe she was a woman to respect and learn from, and not merely because of the Romulan blood. Amarik had obvious strengths where Enyd had no business claiming any, and for Enyd, that was foundation enough for an alliance, if not the beginning of a friendship. For this reason, Enyd sacrificed more precious moments of sleep to further the bonds between herself and Amarik. If the woman proved amiable enough to Enyd’s attempts at friendship at best, cordial alliance at minimum, then Enyd would be grateful. Enyd had it in her to be patient, and especially with a Romulan, that was a trait very much needed when approaching the concept of anything more than suspicion passing between two people.

It was with this thought that she drew up to Amarik’s quarters and pressed the button to alert the woman of her arrival. No matter what the outcome, the opportunity fascinated Enyd, and she was excited by the possibilities. She would just need to rein in her enthusiasm at these possibilities, or else she’d trigger every single one of Amarik’s survival instincts. And without resentment at the thought, Enyd assumed that would end only way: with her death.

Re: CH02: S [D02|2300] Notesharing and Nightcaps

Reply #1
[ Lieutenant Valyn Amarik | Quarters | Deck 07 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz
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Valyn had gone straight to the nearest console in the hallway to find her assigned quarters after meeting the Captain. Once located, she went straight there. She’d had absolutely enough of the Klingon vessel, despite having some Starfleet personnel aboard, a Romulan surrounded by Klingons was a fuse just waiting to be lit, and a constant assault on her olfactory senses. Her poor nostrils needed a rest, and she needed a shower, desperately. She slung her bag over her shoulder and made her ways through the endless halls of Theurgy. It wasn’t long before she was hopelessly lost. She’d seen a brief schematic on the console, and taken a peek at some aboard the Klingon ship but nothing very detailed.

Eventually, she ran into a lift. “Deck seven.” She set the bag down gently on the ground, the lift stopping at another deck before her own.  A tall man, Vulcan by the looks of him entered the turbolift and gave Valyn a nod. He glanced at her collar and gave her a short greeting.

“Lieutenant.” He showed no emotion, in clear Vulcan fashion, but he did bow his head, ever so slightly. “I do not believe that we have met.” Valyn rolled her shoulder and spoke in her strange, human accent.

“Nope. We haven’t.” He too, was a Lieutenant. “Lieutenant Valyn Amarik, just coming aboard. Trying to find my quarters. Deck seven. Nice to meet you.” She smiled a bit, breaking the stoic look that had been plastered on her face, and the illusion that she too might have been a Vulcan. Lack of any cranial ridges gave her that edge, and edge she’d employed a number of times in her previous line of work. He brought one pronounced Vulcan brow up a bit higher on his head.

“Curious. It is not often that Romulans are seen far from Romulan space, and certainly not in a Starfleet uniform, particularly not so...openly.” He gave her a quick once over. “My quarters are on Deck seven as well, I’m going to my own, I can show you to yours.” The lift doors opened and he lifted a hand to motion ‘after you’.

“Appreciate it.” She gave him a nod. She provided him with her designated room and he started walking. “What’s your name?”

“Varek.” He hardened his jaw, “A misnomer on my parents part, as very rarely are any Vulcans particularly talkative, myself less so.” He motioned to a door on the right. “Here you are, Lieutenant.” Valyn tapped her entry code into the door and it hissed open.

“Thanks.” Though before she could say much else he’d dipped his head again and started to wander off. Valyn scrunched her  eyebrows together, walked inside and sealed the door. “Vulcans.” She muttered to herself. She’d offered Enyd a drink and some food before coming aboard, and she intended to keep the promise, but she had to get the stench of living, crawling food off of her skin first. She set her bag down on the small table in front of the desk. It was nice. Certainly not as big as her quarters had been on the station, but she’d not expected them to be as big.

Immediately, and without hesitation she started stripping off the dirty uniform, starting with the Tal Shiar officers knife that may as well have been a wedding ring. It was her most prized possession. She set it down on the desk, gently. The rest of her clothes however, were carelessly tossed aside. They ended up being tossed onto the bench in the corner of the room, leaving the ROmulan wandering bare-assed through her room towards the shower.

“Hot.” She said as she entered, “Water.” Fuck the sonic setting, she needed to scrub, and scrub she did. She didn’t allow herself to take too long though, she’d likely take another before bed. She likely wouldn’t feel like she was free of the stench of gore and gagh for weeks. Once she was finished, she dried off and started towards the living space and her bag. She pulled out an outfit that was very Romulan. It was a long black tunic, tied in the middle, with loose fitting pants. All of it was made of a loose fitting, fine made fabric. She’d managed to find it from a travelling merchant, a refugee that had come through the station. She’d spent every penny she had buying every Romulan thing she could get off of him. Every piece of home she could get was better than nothing.

A home she probably wouldn’t see again.

She simply brushed her hair and sort of slicked it back behind her ears before she pulled out a few more things from her bag, chief among which was a very large bottle of gin. She might have to use Synthohol for the other ingredients, but dammit she wasn’t going to use fake gin. She set the gin down on the small table and removed a small candle and some nicely made matches from the bag as well, lighting the candle and setting it on her desk. It too, was Romulan made and smelled very much like a Romulan seaside, intermingled with some sort of toasted pastry.

The replicator was next on her list. She stood in front of it and thoughts for a moment before speaking, “Dry vermouth, bowl of cocktail olives with juice, Charcuterie board, jumbo mollusk, and two jumbja sticks.” It all replicated on a tray and she picked it up. The table however, was full. Taken up by her bag, she set the tray on the couch, before relocating her bag to her bed and setting the tray on the table. She poured herself a martini and took a sip, collapsing into the couch with a sigh. Valyn strapped the officer's knife to her hip, where it always sat and just in time too, as she heard the chime. “Come in!” She called out.

Valyn was friendly enough, but she did not open up easily, quite the opposite. In all her time in Starfleet she could count on one hand how many people she had opened up to about her past, and one of those she was required to open up to unless she wished to serve time in prison or be returned to Romulus to face capital punishment for no reason at all. Despite her friendliness though, it was clear that she was constantly vigilant. She clearly had a past that had hardened her. 

Re: CH02: S [D02|2300] Notesharing and Nightcaps

Reply #2
[ Lieutenant Enyd Madsen | Quarters | Deck 07 | Vector 1 | USS Theurgy ] attn: @BipSpoon

Prompting the door to open at Lieutenant Amarik’s call, Enyd was first greeted with a pleasant smell wafting into the surrounding corridor. It was sweet and distinctly fresh, vaguely reminiscent of the breezes she’d experienced alongside the Voroth or Thanar on Vulcan, or perhaps even alongside the Atlantic Ocean back on Earth. However, the memories associated with the smell were so distant that Enyd couldn’t pinpoint exactly which one it most resembled. Regardless, she appreciated the candle from which the smell emanated. It made Amarik’s quarters so unlike the sterility of the rest of the ship that had been haunting her. While she couldn’t say she’d liked the smells back onboard with the Klingons, Enyd had grown used to them. And before that, on Cardassia, the smells there had also been so unlike the preferred Federation aseptic. Enyd knew it would take quite a bit of getting used to this forced hygiene, and she was inspired now to find some similar fashion to control her own quarters better after having seen how Amarik had adjusted.

Enyd’s eyes traveled quickly over what she could see of the room as she stepped just inside the door. It was the same size as her own, same layout, just a different deck. At least there was no cause for worry that they’d stuffed the untried officers into broom closets on the lower decks. Enyd noted the assortment of food on a tray nearly at the same time she spied Amarik sitting on her couch with glass already in hand. It appeared the Lieutenant had gotten a headstart on the nightcap portion of their evening. Enyd smiled in both amusement and greeting.

“Good evening, thank you again for having me over,” Enyd nodded towards the candle, “it smells lovely in here” To emphasize her point, Enyd took a deep breath and slowly let it out, her smile widening. Shifting the blade upwards so it could be more readily seen, Enyd nodded towards it, “Before we compare notes, I thought you might like to see my little souvenir,” she walked forward with smooth steps, keeping both hands visible as they held the tik’leth, “got this as a gift from Pa’Qis just before I transported.” She laid the blade on the table and took a slight step back, allowing both physical and mental room for Amarik to feel comfortable enough to approach without thinking there were ulterior motives. “She was the engineer you saw tossing me about in those sparring sessions.”

Enyd laughed again at the memory, “Got one more souvenir as well.” Unbuttoning the cuff of her sleeve, she carefully rolled it up to reveal at least the bottom half of her bandaged arm. She would follow Rik’evet’s suggestion and not remove the coming scar. She would let the wound heal naturally and keep the memory etched in her skin. Enyd looked from her bandage up to Amarik, “Pa’Qis’ doing, or rather, my own for not getting out of the way in time. She said I fought like a qa'put,” Enyd laughed. “Based on the description, I think that’s like a Klingon monkey. And, in case you’re wondering, they are not held in high regard as either an animal of honor or as something tasty to eat unless you have warnog, of course.”

Enyd dropped her sleeve back into place, “I’m thinking if you’ve the time and inclination I could learn better from you how to get out of the way in case I find myself in a real tik’leth fight. I somehow feel like Klingons would never describe your fighting style as monkey-like. At least not do so and walk away with all their appendages intact.” Enyd grinned over at Amarik as she re-buttoned the sleeve cuff. “The scientist who first took me under his wing, Rik'evet, did the honors of stitching me back up just before the transfer. None of us really wanted to go through the excessive questions or have to explain things. That’s frustrating even on the best of days.”

Enyd glanced back at the assortment of food and offered another smile, this time accompanied with a half shrug, “Aside from initial observations, half-heard conversations I can draw assumptions from, and all that loosely connected to the reports you’ve been shared with as well, I’m afraid I may not have as much intel to compare as I’d hoped. I’m due to meet my department head tomorrow morning, first thing. So, I’ll probably have more tomorrow. But I’ve spent most of my time since coming onboard drilling Thea with questions, meeting a few of the other department members, and pouring over the reports of recent missions that are connected to present matters. Completely lost track of time,” Enyd sighed, “what about you?”

She assumed that Amarik wouldn't have laid out the food if she hadn't planned on sharing, "May I?" Still though, she at least asked before grabbing a few olives and popping them into her mouth. Eyeing the glass in the woman's hand, Enyd smiled, "What are you drinking?"

Re: CH02: S [D02|2300] Notesharing and Nightcaps

Reply #3
[ Lieutenant Valyn Amarik | Quarters | Deck 07 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz
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Valyn stood up when the woman entered the room, and like a good host, she ushered her inside. “Thanks, I’ve never been a big fan of the smell of Federation ships, or in a lot of cases, the lack of smell.” Her sensitive nostrils though, picked up on quite a bit more than the vast majority of humanoids she’d encountered while with Starfleet. Her brows lifted slightly after Enyd laid down the tik’leth. Valyn reached forward to press a fingertip against the biting cold metal of the blade. She herself was quite keen on carrying a secondary weapon. That however, was not the method of fighting she’d suggest for most.

An amused grin appeared on her face when Enyd revealed the nickname the Klingons had provided her. “I guess it’s a bit more charming than the names I’ve heard Klingons slinging my way.” A chuff of laughter spilled from her lips and she just shook her head, “Should probably improve your footwork though. Better footwork means you won’t get thrown around as much, and you’ll be faster and steadier on your feet. I’d be happy to practice with you.” She took a drink from the Martini and gave a content sigh. “But-” She added with a warning sort of look, partly amused still though, “I don’t suggest getting into a knife fight with a Klingon unless you can help it. Or you know you’ll win.”

She didn’t comment on her own prowess in a fight. “Distinctly not monkey-like.” Though her own chiding during her training for poor performance, wouldn’t simply be dubbing her style of combat as ‘monkey-like’. She remembered several broken bones that taught her that lesson. She smiled and rolled her eyes, her face conveying the fact that at this point in her career, questions sounded like a nightmare. She’d gone through the inquisition of questions enough as it was. What was a Romulan doing in Starfleet? Why Security? Why was she at that particular POW camp, the only one of her people around? Questions had made up much of her more recent history. She was entirely empathetic when it came to the cause of avoiding them if necessary.

“I don’t have too much either.” She motioned to a PADD sitting next to her on the Sofa. She’d pulled some reports and gone through a handful before settling down, but beyond that she felt stranded. She hated not knowing what was going on. It was bred into her very DNA, that almost paranoid Romulan attitude still holding quite strong. The more she knew, the more relaxed she felt. She was content to stare down a monster from the deepest ocean, so long as she knew what the monster was. Knowledge was power.

“I’m supposed to meet mine too, I sent him a message. Well...the acting department chief.” The proper department head had been blown up in the bombing so far as she knew. “I went over some of these reports.” She motioned to the PADD again, “And I washed up. I’m never going to get the smell of that damn ship out of my nose.” It wrinkled, as if even speaking about the Klingon ship brought the shade of some foul smell right beneath her nostrils. “Sense of smell develops as a genetic edge, and now it's more often than not just a punch in the gut.” Humans, she’d grown used to, but a Klingon ship was a living nightmare. “And…” She shook her cup.

She motioned for Enyd to sit wherever she wanted to. “Of course!” Her peculiar human accent still hung thick in her voice. “Dry martini. Want one?” Before Enyd even made a motion however, Valyn was already at work making a pair of drinks. One fresh one for the other woman, and a refill for her own. “What’s your drink of choice?” As she brought the glass to her lips though she paused, “Oh, shit- That’s not synthahol, before you go too crazy. Don’t want to spend your whole opening shift here feeling like you’ve got a Cardassian bashin’ your head in.” She shuddered, as she passed off the second glass, holding it out for her to take.

Re: CH02: S [D02|2300] Notesharing and Nightcaps

Reply #4
[ Lieutenant Enyd Madsen | Quarters | Deck 07 | Vector 1 | USS Theurgy ] attn: @BipSpoon

The woman moved smoothly and confidently when she approached the table and the blade. Assuredly, Valyn Amarik was predator not prey, and Enyd admired that about her. She would do well to ingratiate herself to Amarik, and not just for the self-service of having a well-trained warrior as an ally. Amarik represented much of what Enyd lacked in knowledge of fighting and obvious knowledge of Romulan culture. While she sought support in the former, Enyd hoped that with time Amarik may feel comfortable enough to share what was appropriate to share about the latter as Enyd truly was desperate to figure out more intimate details of that aspect of her lineage.

“During my time on the ship,” Enyd chuckled, “I discovered that Klingons are quite the poets in their personal accolades and insults against others. Very much a culture that depends upon stories to transfer culture and personal merit to define one’s place in that culture. Many of Earth’s old regional cultures were the same way. I’ve found that such cultures are not that difficult to work with in regards to diplomacy, so long as you can tell good stories, be clever with your insults, and have a thick skin for taking a hit, be it verbal or physical.”

Enyd nodded at Amarik’s assessment of Enyd’s fighting practice, “My friend Pa’Qis said similar. It was my footwork that was the issue. If I’m allowed to fight in the styles I’m used to, namely Vulcan or Earth-style, I am tolerable. But being asked to adapt my physique to their style of fighting led to the cut. My charge with a blade versus a male Klingon charge with a blade,” Enyd shrugged, a smile tugging at her lips, “slight difference, eh?”

When Amarik kindly offered to practice with Enyd, she beamed and clasped her hands together in a faux prayer move, bowing her head over them, “Thank you! I appreciate your time already.” She reached for another olive and popped it into her mouth, waiting until she swallowed before she spoke. Enyd was quite aware that different cultures had specific rules against speaking with one’s mouth full, not to mention her grandmother would come back from the grave to have her hide if she attempted it. “I’d rather not get into a fight with anyone, but I know that comes with the job. I’ve always maintained my training to the necessary levels, but I prefer to not be a liability on an away mission now that I’m on a starship.” A brief shiver passed through Enyd as a memory of Cardassia came forward unbidden. Shaking her head, Enyd stalwartly kept her focus on the here and now. “I’ve had a few scrapes in my time, mostly as the unprepared victim, so now that I’m an officer on Theurgy, I know it is my duty to improve, so I don’t get anyone else killed by my idiocy. At least if I can help it.”

Enyd nodded at Amarik's off of a drink. “I’d love one, thank you. And no need to worry about it being the real stuff. I can handle a wee bit now and then.” At the woman’s follow-up question, Enyd smiled as her mind filled with the memories of tastes and scents from home. “I’m not sure you know of it, but a Tom and Jerry is my favorite Earth cocktail. We would make it every Christmas back on Yew Valley Farms in Montana. It's got egg yolk, egg whites, sugar, brandy, rum, butter, milk, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and for me, well, I always added a touch of cayenne to give it an extra kick.” Enyd licked her lips at the memory. “It isn’t for everyone, that’s for sure, but boyo, I’ve had a good number of Tom and Jerry’s in my time. Can make a good one too, if you ever are interested, and we’ve got the mixings.”

Accepting the drink, Enyd moved around the table, allowing her eyes to take in more details of the woman’s quarters. It wasn’t a prying look or an assessing one, but one born more out of curiosity. Turning back to Amarik, drink in hand, she sighed.

“For being as involved as we are in this coming mess, I feel rather like we’re going onto the stage with our pants down with the amount of intel we have. I’m seriously hoping that our chiefs have more than what we already know because otherwise,” Enyd snorted before taking a sip, “I’m not certain how well versed you are with old Earth shows for entertainment, but there was an old show called Laurel and Hardy and suffice to say they constantly bumbled around trying to solve problems whilst making bigger problems at the same time. I rather feel that may be our fate.”

Enyd gestured to one of the chairs a the table before taking a seat, not wanting to presume too much or make herself too much at home. After taking another sip, Enyd leaned her chin on one of her hands and nodded towards Amarik,

“Being part of the diplomatic corps, I’m sure you won’t be surprised to find that I am a curious individual. Diplomats and intelligence officers both must be curious to get their jobs done.” Sitting up again, Enyd took another sip. Briefly closing her eyes, she savored the flavor and texture of the drink. “This is a very good drink, Amarik. Thank you.” Shaking herself back to her purpose, Enyd continued, “So, with that in mind, I hope you’ll forgive my next question. How is it that you have a distinctly Earth-style accent? I’ve been wondering this since we first met but didn’t feel it proper to ask you while surrounded by others.”

Enyd knew she was taking a big step in their working relationship by asking the personal question. Amarik hadn’t invited her here for tea and crumpets. It was a work-related get-together, and Enyd was pushing the boundary already. However, she hadn’t been just saying the words earlier. She truly was a dangerously curious person by nature, and it would be outside of her norm to remain silent with such an opportunity spread before her.

Re: CH02: S [D02|2300] Notesharing and Nightcaps

Reply #5
[ Lieutenant Valyn Amarik | Quarters | Deck 07 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz
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Valyn watched Enyd, not necessarily with caution or apprehension, but with curiosity. She’d of course met plenty of other officers in Starfleet she’d liked, but none under the circumstances in which she’d met Lieutenant Madsen. For a diplomatic officer, she had a much sharper edge than the Romulan was expecting. Not many could stick through a voyage on a Klingon ship as well as she had.

“Oh they certainly are.” She chortled in response, “But I have to say, the tongue on a Romulan officer is a hell of a lot sharper than theirs.” She thought for a moment, “What was the name...Hu’rok?” She shrugged, not much caring about the details. “I think a ten year old could sling better insults. He’s got a hell of a right cross though.” She instinctively rubbed her cheek where she’d been struck. Thanks to the wonders that were medicine though, dermal regenerators in particular, she was left without so much as a blemish. “Can’t say I know too much about ancient Earth cultures though. Northerners and southerners though…” She waved a finger as she trailed off.

“If they were trying to make you fight in their style they were cheating the match anyways.” A sour look was plainly evident on her face and she just shook her head. “If there is a next time, stick to what you know...unless they were trying to teach you something, in which case they did a bad job of it if they spent the whole time whippin’ on you.” There was bad blood between her people and the Klingons, and there probably always would be. As much as she tried to let the bias fall away from her, like a Starfleet officer would, years of mental programming and a lifetime of paranoid lack of trust were a lot to battle.

“Don’t thank me yet. I got a hell of a cross too.” She followed the olive from the tray up to Enyd’s face. “I wish more people thought like that. Starfleets mission and purpose is exploration, but when blindly exploring we’re bound to run into someone who doesn’t want to be found.” Or on the inverse, someone who wanted to be found and was less than friendly. Valyn did not miss the shiver that ran over her companion, but she didn’t ask about it. Privacy was privacy. Another Romulan value. Asking about people's personal lives was often considered nothing short of rude. “We can train in the early mornings, hand to hand and with standard issue and commonly found weapons.”

The glass Valyn held would be easily taken. “A Tom and Jerry?” She made an impressed sort of look and took note to try it sometime. Not aboard a ship, alcohol free from a Replicator though. “Might have the fixin’s but what about the booze?” She quirked a brow at her, “You holding out on a secret stash of illicit drink? If so, I gotta say I’m impressed. If you found a source aboard, that was damn quick, and if you managed to make the space in your bags for that much liquor, I'd be equally as impressed.”

Valyn’s quarters were still fairly spartan, only the things in the living room really being laid out, besides a damp towel that adorned the floor of the space her bed was in, and a dirty uniform that reeked of Gagh’ and engine fumes. It was a standard room, without much of a personality, minus the lazily discarded towel. She was always on her game when on duty, and even when just outside of the room. This was her space. Where she could let her guard down, just a little.

“I don’t know what a Hardy is, but...yea.” She had to agree with her. “I don’t believe that we’d be out here though without a lick of intel. Doesn’t make sense.” Valyn motioned to the chair, “Of course, I’m not going to bite you for sitting.” She took another drink and brought her legs up and to the side of her, holding them close and taking a far more casual stance than she’d been able to in weeks it felt like.

“Well…” Valyn thought for a moment. “I’m not surprised at all actually.” Enyd had been open with her, and Valyn was trying every day to lower that Tal Shiar born and bred attitude of utter secrecy that dominated her subconscious. She knew she’d never rid herself of it, but she felt the difference. Not in a thousand years would she have thought to serve on a Starfleet ship, nor that she’d make a single ally within Starfleet, yet she had. She couldn’t have done that if that attitude hadn’t waned, at least a touch. “My best friend is a diplomat. Met him in the war, he’s Starfleet.” She took another drink and let her eyes widen, “I was not.” She didn’t elaborate on what exactly her job was or who her employer was either. “I didn’t speak English, and there weren't any universal translators at the POW camp. Dominion didn’t want us talking to each other. Unfortunately a Starfleet diplomat assigned to the Neutral Zone had a high likelihood of speaking pretty good Romulan...and he did. Fluent and damn near perfectly.” She grinned. “He taught me English.” So naturally, she’d picked up the accent in the process. Her tongue shifted into her mother tongue, Romulan and her entire pattern of speech and accent shifted to something entirely different, “Definitely not the same. English feels much simpler than Romulan but humans have come up with some really creative words, I have to admit.” She smirked and again spoke English.

“Where’d you learn how to fight like a Vulcan?” She dipped her head to one side and started making herself a refill. “Not super often the Vulcans share pieces of their culture like that.” The irony was thick in her voice. Both Romulans and Vulcans, genetic cousins, were so similar and the attitude towards them each was so terribly different. Not that it hadn’t been earned, she knew, and l likely it wasn’t a popular opinion.

Re: CH02: S [D02|2300] Notesharing and Nightcaps

Reply #6
[ Lieutenant Enyd Madsen | Quarters | Deck 07 | Vector 1 | USS Theurgy ] attn: @BipSpoon

Enyd listened attentively to Amarik's assessment of the Klingon teaching style, namely noting the woman's look of bitterness as she gave her assessment. It seemed there was a history there, an unsurprising one in some ways considering the history between the two races, and yet making sweeping generalizations was not something a professional diplomat did. Enyd logged away a note to pursue this matter further, should time and place ever prove appropriate.

"Unlike many of my peers in the program for officer training," Enyd trailed a finger up and down the side of her glass as she spoke, "I adored my time on Tellar. Tellarites are absolutely delightful beings! So surely and argumentative, and with insults so barbed and sharpened they leave the uninitiated absolutely gutted." Snorting, Enyd picked up more food from the tray but didn't eat yet. "I know I'm a minority in my enjoyment of their unique methods of communication, but then again my tendency to appreciate the nuances of life that most would find offensive or frustrating, like a rough-and-ready Klingon sparring session, to be fascinating and a worthwhile venture for the sake of understanding the deeper nuances of a person or their culture."

Her somewhat defense of Pa'Qis said, Enyd are her morsel of food as Amarik agreed with Enyd's assessment of the need to remain trained and ready for anything. Then she added the time they could train in earnest and Enyd groaned, though with a smile.

"I warn you, I am NOT in any fashion a morning person. In fact, I don't much like myself in the morning. I hear my grandmother's voice in my head telling me to shape up every time I say or do something remotely rude in the morning. But I assume you can handle grumpy people, so that particular feature shouldn't be an issue." Enyd laughed. "I’ll just drink a vat of coffee before we train, so by the time you’re finished making me eat humble pie, I’ll be all set for the day.”

When Amarik asked about the alcohol used for a Tom and Jerry, Enyd laughed again. “Funny you should ask. I have a very, very small flask of rum in my quarters. Not nearly enough to make a decent drink.” Enyd sobered then and, after taking a breath and shrugging, figured she could add context to a crewmate and hopeful ally. “It serves as a memory for a dark time of recovery for me. After my reassignment from Cardassia to Vulcan following the Castellan's assassination, I dealt with my trauma in a most alcoholic fashion.”

Enyd shrugged and took another small sip of her drink. “But after my pilgrimage to Mount Seleya, I sobered and shaped up, got my arse back into gear, and put the last of my booze into that flask. I plan to drink it someday, but in celebration for something spectacular.” Enyd held up her present glass towards Amarik in salute, “Hopefully you’ll be there to celebrate with me.”

Amarik’s story of language acquisition fascinated Enyd, and she was immediately curious if she’d ever met the diplomat who’d helped Amarik. It was a delight to hear the woman shift languages and watch how even speaking a different language could influence body language. It was also a welcome difference to hear Romulan, a language she’d begun to study many times over the years and had only gotten to a passable level.

“Thank you for sharing your story with me.” Enyd polished off her drink, then made a show of cracking her knuckles and rolling her shoulders in readiness of sharing her own. “Well, about that secretive nature of Vulcans.” Enyd shifted her hair enough to indicate the pointed nature of her ear. “They’re inclined to honor blood ties, no matter how distant, so long as it is documented and verified.”

Of course, there were details about her ancestry she couldn’t reveal to Amarik unless the woman was at a much higher grade of intelligence clearance than Enyd now assumed. But there were at least a few things she could share.

“I also studied at the Metternich school of diplomacy, Vulcan branch for several years and used the time to integrate as much as hybrid-ly possible into the culture. I always wanted to know and experience elements of that side of my ancestry and was thankful for the time to do it. And as I mentioned, I was stationed back on Vulcan after Cardassia, and in many ways that posting and the connection to that part of my ancestry saved my life.”

Enyd took a steadying breath, for she knew that the conversation was finally shifting, and without her manipulating it too, towards the realm of her earlier desired intent. “I never got the chance to explore the Romulan side of my ancestry, though. For obvious reasons. I always wanted to know about it, as distant as that tie may be, and not from a purely theoretical perspective. I’ve memorized what I can, that’s made available, and I’ve experienced basically all that I’ve been allowed access to, but have never been to the homeworld, and have never really been around many Romulans, or Remans for that matter. ”

Enyd stopped and looked at her companion, waiting for the woman’s response.

"In truth, you're the first Romulan who has sat still long, enough and seemed receptive enough, for me to muster up the gumption to reveal that."

Re: CH02: S [D02|2300] Notesharing and Nightcaps

Reply #7
[ Lieutenant Valyn Amarik | Quarters | Deck 07 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz
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Valyn was clearly a guarded woman. For a Romulan though, she shared a lot more than most. Many of her comments were rarely elaborated upon. She kept a remarkably close eye on the body language of the other woman though, it was who she was. Trust wasn’t much of a thing within the Romulan people, and that cagey, almost paranoid attitude was still ever-present in her mind.

“The Tellarites...delightful?” She curled a brow, her face incredulous. “I’d find it a little more charming if they could back their words up with action. They usually don’t.” Though truly, she wasn’t sure which mortality-appreciating creature really would want to pick a fight with the Romulans. Besides the Klingons, though she didn’t exactly consider them beings that appreciated their own mortality much. “There’s merit in experiencing new things. I can give you that. I can’t see the merit in getting insulted though.” She shrugged. She could certainly take and brush off some insults, she’d done plenty of it while undercover but, she didn’t exactly enjoy it.

“Most people don’t really like mornings I don’t think.” She grimaced. “I’m not a big fan m’self. “ Though she couldn’t help but grin, “Grumpy huh? Well the difference between you and some Tellarite diplomats is that I can knock you on your ass, and call it a training exercise instead of...cultural enrichment.” She chose her last words wisely, but maintained her grin, clearly joking to an extent. Coffee. Of all the human creations she’d found in her time, coffee was one of her favorites. “I love good coffee. Gotta give that to humans. And...credit where credit is due, a Raktigino is also…” She shut her eyes and put a look of pure ecstasy on her face. “Perfection.”

She didn’t interrupt her regarding the flask, she just gave her a nod. “Keeping a reminder around is a good idea. Whatever helps you sleep at night, right?” She set down the Tal Shiar knife, perhaps alluding to her own reminder, and in a sense, her own safety blanket. She did nothing without it. Even at night, it sat within her reach. “Good on you. Cardassians…” She just shook her head, “They’ve caused most everyone a fair bit of pain. Myself included.” She let a hint more of her emotions slip through the facade that she put up, but at once brought the mask back over her face.

“Sure hope I will be. Maybe when we kick these parasites back to wherever the hell they came from.” Or in the alternative, just killed them. That wasn’t the Starfleet way though, was it? Scorched earth wasn’t a tactic she saw the Federation participating in. “I’ve got a bit of Romulan Ale squirreled away. It’s expensive, hard to find, and the best damn drink the galaxy has to offer. I keep it around for...celebrations.” She motioned to Enyd, “And when I want a taste of home.” A home she couldn’t return to. Not safely, at least.

Just talking about him made V quirk up a bit. “He’s a great friend. Saved my ass more than once, though I returned the favor. He’d never admit to it though.” SHe owed him everything. If it hadn’t been for him, she’d be dead by  the Romulans' hand, or dead by the Dominion’s. Either way, no more Valyn. “Vulcan secrecy...sounds awful familiar.” She pursed her lips, “Two cultures of what on paper are so….drastically different. When you look though...one and the same, it’s just about presentation...maybe no secret police on Vulcan, hellbent on infiltration through any means but…” She shrugged, then looked at her ear. Just like Valyn, the woman had a distinct lack of cranial ridges. So of course, she assumed she was part Vulcan, even if distantly.

It was always impressive to Valyn, just how powerful cultural and racial identity was, throughout the galaxy. Vulcans were proud to be Vulcan. Romulans were proud to be Romulan. Humans were equally as proud. She saw no problem with the attitude either, if that was how some people found their solace and peace, so be it. She herself was a proud Romulan. Proud of her heritage and her service, only for it to be stripped from her.

“The what?” Valyn blurted out as it became evident that she was absolutely not part Vulcan. She stood and wandered over to her, trying to subtly take a breath through her nose, extra sensitive nostrils being put to the test. To no avail, of course. Then, she inspected the vaguely pointed ears. “I’ll be damned.” She pursed her lips, “It fuckin’ good to have some blood from home around, even if distant.” She really did seem pleased.

“You ain’t missin’ much with the Remans. They’re tough as all hell, hard workers, but-” She shook her head, “Violent. Thoughtless. Just look at who they threw their lot in with. Shinzon.” There was clearly history there. “As for Romulus...you’re missing a lot. I miss it with every bit of me.” Learning she was a Romulan, she opened up just a bit more. “And I’ll probably never see it again. Never feel the brutal lash of the beach winds on my face. Never see the senate building.” There was a distinct lack of any mention of family.

“Well I ain’t gonna tell anyone. It’s hard enough being a damn Romulan in Starfleet, without everything thinking I’m spyin’ on ‘em.” Which...in another life, she was. She refilled her drink and offered a top-up to Enyd as well.

Re: CH02: S [D02|2300] Notesharing and Nightcaps

Reply #8
[ Lieutenant Enyd Madsen | Quarters | Deck 07 | Vector 1 | USS Theurgy ] attn: @BipSpoon

Enyd laughed at Amarik’s obvious disdain for the Tellarites, “That is true, they do tend to say much and do less. I don’t see merit in the insults so much as the delight in finding clever ways of communicating, either in the positive or the negative. Being kept sharp verbally the way training with a blade keeps you sharp in a knife fight. And if you knock me on my ass, I probably deserve it for being too slow or not having proper form. My grandmother also said I was a stubborn animal that only learned after a few knocks about the head came.” Enyd laughed and shook her head at the mentioning of the Klingon version of coffee, “Did you know I drank like three or four heaping mugs of that on the transfer ship? I didn’t sleep at all until at least one hour last night and even then it was fitful.” Enyd laughed again, “I hope I sleep better tonight since tomorrow is our first day ‘on the job’ but seriously, the Klingons know how to make a morning brew that keeps you going.”

Enyd knew she wasn’t going to win favors with her soon-to-be confession but felt she understood enough about Amarik’s give-and-take tactic of forthrightness to “reward” the woman’s honesty with some more of her own, “Believe it or not, and judge however you wish, my fiancé was Cardassian. He was far from perfect, but then again, so am I. Yet, his faults did not lie within his blood, I can say that much.” Enyd shrugged. “He died in my arms. Bled out after taking the knife meant for me. So, yes, I agree with you in that many Cardassians have caused a great deal of pain and unnecessary turmoil, and not everyone has the opportunity to, or even the interest in,  developing relationships that go beyond politics and intrigue.”

Enyd smiled at Amarik’s obvious desire to kick Infested ass and nodded her agreement, “From what I can tell so far, they do not seem to be the type for which a diplomatic solution is even possible. The greatest benefit to the greatest amounts of people would be to eradicate them completely, without hesitation. But again, that’s me shooting from the hip and without greater intel from those who have been ‘on the frontline’ of this battle far longer than I.”

“I concur with your assessment. Romulan and Vulcan cultures are not so terribly different from one another. Almost as if one side is security and the other diplomacy,” Enyd winked at Amarik. Even before the woman stood to study Enyd more closely, she could track when Amarik’s attention and interest shifted. It seemed the woman felt a strong sense of cultural identity or a pull towards the familiar, making her not so different from nearly everyone else Enyd had ever known. At Amarik’s empathic response, Enyd let out the breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding and gave a nervous laugh, happy to have seemingly been accepted by Amarik. “So damned distant, I think some would scoff at it,” Enyd added, referencing her blood. “But I’m thankful to have the opportunity to connect to this side of my heritage at last. Or, at least, if you don’t mind my questions and curiosity. None of it will ever be for ulterior motives, I can assure you.”

Enyd listened to Amarik’s description of Remans and very much noted the vocal and body language change when she mentioned Shinzon. Curious. But for another time. Enyd tried to picture Romulus as Amarik described it but all she could picture were the Earth versions but with Romulan-looking people wandering about.

“I’m curious if it will always be that way, though, I mean the current status quo of the Empire and the Federation. Things have never been the greatest, of course, but there’s been enough major destabilizing events in the quadrant to shake even the most isolated cultures, I’m curious what a few more years could spell out for us.” Enyd accepted the top-off offer and gleefully sipped at the liquid once it was ready. “I’m not a die-hard hope-filled glass-half-full gal, mind you, but there comes a time when it is not only illogical but unreasonable to remain a certain way any longer. I am curious if we are reaching that point in the Federation, and if the Romulan Star Empire is reaching that point as well.”

Enyd laughed again at Amarik’s spy comment, “There are different kinds of spies. The clandestine, behind-the-scenes kind you never know were there and the ones who sit in front of you sipping your tea and talking about the weather.” Enyd looked between her glass and Amarik and gave a sheepish grin, “Not trying to confess here, I promise.” She took another sip and sighed. “This is nice. Thank you again for having me over and sharing. Maybe once we finish off the Infested for good, we can share that Romulan ale. Or better yet, have the opportunity to freely return to Romulus to get some more together.”

Re: CH02: S [D02|2300] Notesharing and Nightcaps

Reply #9
[ Lieutenant Valyn Amarik | Quarters | Deck 07 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz
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“Of all the things I’ve discovered, Raktajino is by far the most valuable. Klingons can’t make food worth a shit, it’s all still wriggling, but they know their caf and booze.” She draped one arm across her legs and grinned at Enyd, “Don’t be too harsh on yourself yet, you’d be surprised how well people can hold their own, even if they aren’t very well trained.” She gave her a shrug, “And I doubt you’re that untrained.” She grabbed a bite of fruit and thought for a moment, speaking through a partially full-mouth, that was covered with the back of a hand. “It’ll never cease to amaze me how well they’re able to sleep on their ships. They sleep like the damn dead but it constantly sounds like there’s a violent party going on, and typically smells like a sewage ditch.” She was clearly very glad to be back aboard a Starfleet ship. A ship with amenities and comfort. Being in Starfleet had spoiled her a bit.

Her eyebrows furrowed at Enyd. A Cardassian fiance? She gave her a slow nod and waited a moment before she spoke. Her face was inquisitive and appreciative. She was glad for the honesty. “Not judging. Just not for me. That...Damar fella, the one who resisted the Dominion there at the end, he wasn’t so bad. Just like so many other places though, those with the blood-craze of conquest got into power, whored themselves out to an outer-quadrant power, and initiated a war that we’re going to be feeling the pain of for a long time.” Valyn herself would bear the scars, both physical and psychological for the rest of her life. “Taking a knife takes guts though...I’m sorry you lost him.” She gave the other woman a nod and brought her cup up in a silent toast.

She swallowed back a fair bit of the liquid. “No they don’t. Some enemies need to just have the shit kicked out of them before they learn though. Case and point being the Dominion. The parasites though are a much bigger threat. At least with the changelings we had some sort of methodology behind detecting them. These bastards seem to be everywhere though. I wouldn’t want to unleash a genocide on them if it was going to take out everyone they’re inside of too.” The very fact that Starfleet officers could discuss genocide was a change of pace from her previous postings.

“I guess but both Romulans and Vulcans are as cagey as it gets.” She knew enough about herself to know she didn’t share easily, and when she shared...she didn’t share much. “Distant or not, you’ve still got some Romulan blood. Not that on the homeworld that matters too much. Power is measured through ability not blood purity, and power is everything on Romulus. Hell a human became Praetor. Not that there wasn’t a fair bit of quiet outrage at that fact but...still.” She took another drink and ate a couple of olives before she shrugged, the barest hint of amusement visible on her lips. “Ask away, but I wouldn’t be a Romulan if I didn’t suspect almost everyone of somethin’.” She winked, attempting to be playful about it, but what she’d said was completely true. No matter how desensitized she became to Starfleet general acceptance of the status quo, instead of paranoia, she would still remain who she was.

“It will be for some time at least. Things are complicated inside the Empire, always politically divided, always debating over everything. The one thing that wasn’t heavily debated was attitude towards the Federation. A lot of people are still isolationist, racist, hateful, paranoid. The Dominion didn’t help matters, and Shinzon made them even worse. A human praetor, trying to plunge Romulus into war with the Federation?” She made a face towards Enyd, hoping her point was coming across. The Federation wasn’t an ally in her time with the Tal Shiar, they were just a fact of life, and more often than not, an enemy. “It would be good for everyone involved if they could get along but the Federation government is stubborn and idealistic and the Romulan Empire is filled with isolated egotists who have hardly been off world. They use other instruments to see the galaxy through. Like the Tal Shiar, or their navy.” She didn’t see anything changing any time soon. “As much as I’d like to be able to see home again, I don’t know if that’s going to happen. I’d like to see an accord reached though.”

“I would hope not.” She smirked and took another drink in Tandem with Enyd. “I’d like that. I imagine when we defeat the infested though Starfleet’ll have us doing a grand victory tour.” She gave a glance around the room, “Despite the circumstances though, this ship is…” She let out a sigh, “Beautiful. These are nicer than my racks on the Enterprise.”

Re: CH02: S [D02|2300] Notesharing and Nightcaps

Reply #10
[ Lieutenant Enyd Madsen | Quarters | Deck 07 | Vector 1 | USS Theurgy ] attn: @BipSpoon

Amarik’s sense of humor was straightforward yet subtle, and Enyd loved it. She felt no fear now, surprisingly, and relaxed further in her body language as she continued to munch on the snacks Amarik had kindly provided. Enyd had no doubt that should it ever come to bear that Enyd was an enemy of the Federation, Amarik would not hesitate to kill her, and it was from that fact that Enyd took the greatest comfort. Here was a woman who seemed to know what she was about, to know what her skills were best suited for, and who would not hesitate to act when the moment asked for it. Those were all qualities Enyd had been raised to respect and admire, and which she tried to emulate herself. Though their backgrounds, and many elements of their personalities, were glaringly different, Enyd could sense that given proper time and exposure, Amarik could make a great friend and ally aboard Theurgy.

“Yes, I’ve found that most species are quite resilient overall. I survived a freak ice storm on Andoria with my injured Vulcan partner during black-out training by carving open a makra, shoving the two of us inside, and using its trachea for a breathing apparatus. Got terrible frostbite and needed multiple skin grafting after that, but growing up in the countryside of old Montana on Earth, I heard legends of people doing similar things with large moose and elk or even bears in a pinch to survive blizzards, so just applied the stories of my youth to a tough situation.” Enyd shrugged with a playful smile. “So I agree it is never wise to underestimate someone due to a supposed lack of traditional training. Given enough incentive and personal sense of ‘hell no,’ I believe anyone can survive just about anything. The will to live has done wonders, for the good or bad, in many cultures.”

At the memory of their Klingon transport ship, Enyd laughed again. “In that regard, I was thankful for that Klingon coffee. Never felt the need to sleep because I never would’ve given the noise and the bed. I am no princess demanding a silken mattress of the plushest order, but something aside from metal is preferred.” After taking another sip from her drink Enyd shared another hint of what she’d lived through from her past, “Although, after a long hike in the mountains, or a long day of work on the ranch, I’ll admit the dirt of the ground was like a feather pillow the exhaustion was so deep.”

When Amarik mentioned Damar and the Dominion, Enyd nodded in agreement and mirrored Amarik’s toast to her fiancé. When the topic moved back to the Infested and their difference to the changelings, Enyd sighed and nodded again.

“I agree. We just try to figure out a way to take out the parasite without destroying the host first. Once we’ve exhausted all avenues of research in that regard, then we may have to resort to drastic measures. Once I would’ve said there’s always hope but,” Enyd shivered and refused to rub at her wrists or scratch at her ankles where she’d purposefully left the shadows of scars from the restraints the Cardassians had used on her, “sometimes there is no hope for a peaceable solution.”

Enyd needed to move. The residual effects of the Klingon coffee aside, the topic at hand had energy coursing through her body and she needed to move to get it out. Standing, she paced around Amarik’s table, taking her time to study all the offerings the woman had laid out before finally choosing more victuals and taking the long way around to resume her seat. She didn’t immediately eat but finished her drink in one go. When the topic changed back to the differences, or similarities, between Vulcans and Romulans, Enyd relaxed again.

“I believe that is something Romulans have in common with humans. The competence of a man, or woman, is measured in the effectiveness of their actions, not the letters in front of or behind their name, or flowing through the veins of their body. That is something to be respected and admired, but there is danger as well. We both know how terrible it can be when a charismatic megalomaniac rises to power.”

Enyd suddenly laughed, though the sound was humorless, “’Bureaucracy will kill us all.’ My grandmother was never a fan of any form of government or bureaucracy and she’d often mumble things like that. In her opinion, that’s what got both my parents killed, and that’s what pulled me away from the ranch.” When Amarik again mentioned Shinzon, and her face conveyed far more than her words, Enyd nodded. “I’ll admit the idealistic side of me that was honed and refined by my training and youthful personality quirks would like to believe that eventually the Empire and the Federation will be allies. However, also produced by my training and also my personal experiences, the pragmatic side of me recognizes the benefit of having a not-exactly-enemy lurking on your borders. It gives you constant incentive to stay vigilant and at the ready, forcing complacency and slothfulness out and bringing to the forefront the resilience and fortitude to face down whatever comes.”

Enyd polished off her snacks and dusted her fingers together as her eyes darted around the room again, her genuine smile returning as she nodded, “This is my first ship posting and I believe I may be spoiled from it from what I’ve heard of other ships, your own confession just now further evidence. Before this, I was always on planet or Starbase, so this has been, thus far, an experience.” She leaned back in her chair and sighed, “I have an old friend who was only ever stationed on ships and the stories he told me of the battles and explorations that these ships can go through has me both excited and trepidatious for what’s coming.”

Leaning forward, Enyd placed her chin on her hands as she braced her elbows on the table. “What sort of advice would you give a greenhorn like myself for ship-life? To keep me this side of the Romulan version of heaven at least, if they have one.” Enyd giggled. "Though of course, I'll be honest, maybe it's the other side I'm bound for."

Re: CH02: S [D02|2300] Notesharing and Nightcaps

Reply #11
[ Lieutenant Valyn Amarik | Quarters | Deck 07 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz
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Valyn kept her eyes locked on Enyd, lost in her own head for a time. Enyd was an interesting human, and evidently not all human at all. Unlike many, if not most Romulans, Enyd seemed relatively open to speaking. Valyn herself was well aware that the knowledge she herself was willing to share was a very shallow pool. Beneath it however, was a trove of information. Enyd didn’t seem to be particularly cagey to her, and was far more open minded than her Romulan cousins as well. Her own prejudice towards the Dominion and Cardassians was one that would be hard to break. She had been imprisoned, tortured, and victimized in their camp, and she wouldn’t forget it. She wouldn’t forget the cruelty that she faced, nor would she forget that it had opened her eyes to her own acts of implementing the same cruelty on others.

“That sounds unpleasant.” She offered in response, her nose upturned. Just imagining the smell turned her stomach sour. “You’ll have to tell me, given your genetics...is your nose as sensitive as mine? Soon as I get the chance I need to get some numbing spray from medical. Obviously left my last posting in something of a hurry and it mighta been a bit suspect if I asked for a good supply to hang on to instead of my usual morning visit to the doc.” She brought her right hand up to scratch the side of her neck. “No offense but humans are pretty strong smellin’. Klingons...and random Andorian ice demons…”, She shuddered. “As for the will to live...I get that.” Her eyes darkened briefly, her vision flooded with two sights, the camp, and the Remans. She didn’t share any stories though. “Anyone can survive anything, given the right incentives and motivation.”

“I had to sleep in a fighter...a Romulan fighter, once, with the life support out. I’ll take the metal Klingon bed any time over a full set of headgear.” She smirked though, as if reminiscing on something. “You should replicate some Romulan sweet cream with your Klingon Coffee, they actually pair together really well.”

“I’m guessin’ they’ve been trying damn hard to figure out how to remove the parasite without killing anyone, but I imagine it’s easier said than done. I’m no Doctor though.” She had some basic understanding of medicine and physiology but she wasn’t going to pretend that she’d have any valuable input for the project, if it existed. “Many times there isn’t another way. As idealistic as Starfleet and Earth like to paint things...violence is a real part of the galaxy and it isn’t going anywhere. There will always be need for a bigger gun, and people who know how to best use ‘em. There’s bigger need for people who know how to talk things down before you have to set it loose though.” If the Dominion War had taught her anything, it was that she shouldn’t dive head first into the fight. Not without some thought, at least.

Valyn watched her pace, though the Romulan still appeared relaxed, and in her element. “They don’t even have to be charismatic. If they have enough of a following from rhetoric, charisma, or even raw military strength...they can bring just as much horror with them.” She paused and thought for a moment. Enyd had gained some trust. They were both here, breaking Federation law to save the very same Federation. She’d opened up to her, so Valyn responded in kind. “I knew Shinzon of Remus. Before...everything. During the war. He was just as frightening then, but he didn’t have the power. After the war the Empire delivered him everything he needed to take control. Then he planned on killing a planet full of people, and he sure as hell wouldn’t have stopped there. If it wasn’t for the balls of Picard or the sense of Donatra we’d be back at Galactic War. The Dominion and the damn Borg changed everything. War became commonplace. Weapons development increased. That’s a hard change to reverse. Makes it easier for people like Shinzon to get some power and bring destruction with them.” She knew she sounded a bit dramatic, but she meant it all.

“The neutral zone has been integral to both Starfleet and the Empire, both of ‘em were inspired to create now tech, try new methods...the fights and battles won’t cease. The war all those years ago made that certain. The Emperor had painted Starfleet as these horrible villains, he was no better. Even the bureaucrats know that it’s mutually beneficial...most o’ the time.” She thought for a moment, “I don’t foresee us ever having a full friendship, but I could see some humans being allowed on Romulus eventually. Humans not being lured there by a madman.” She smirked this time, thinking about her time on the Enterprise. “Always being at the ready creates problems though, it just feeds the fear and prejudice...from both sides.”

“I served on ships with the Romulans...then when I joined Starfleet I got the Enterprise, then a Station...now I’m here. This ship though...she’s impressive.” She reached over to touch the bulkhead near the window and let out a breath of relief, “I was worried at the state of the ship, given everything that's happened.” Theurgy however, far exceeded her expectations. “Ships get boring sometimes, but Starfleet has holodecks, which helps. Don’t worry though. Ships are where it’s at if you want some adventure, or to see new things, or to make a big change. Starbases are alright, depends though. Where’d you serve, anyhow?” She raised an eyebrow.

“As for advice...try to make the most of it. Utilize your downtime, you have less on Starships. Find some good holoprograms. Make some allies. Do your job, and do it well. Oh...and make sure you know how to use a phaser, not just to stun.” It was a brutal truth, but one Valyn felt bound to share. “If someone ever comes aboard the ship, or you’re in a battle...they are there to kill you, and that stun setting sometimes isn’t gonna do the job.”

Re: CH02: S [D02|2300] Notesharing and Nightcaps

Reply #12
[ Lieutenant Enyd Madsen | Quarters | Deck 07 | Vector 1 | USS Theurgy ] attn: @BipSpoon

Enyd snorted at Valyn’s first question as well as her critique of the human scent. “I’ve got to admit Vulcans, Klingons, Tellerites, Denobulans, Andorians,” she held up her hand and used her fingers to count, “Cardassians, Ferengi, and so many other species, all have their own scent. Some are more pleasant than others, but I must protest,” she winked at Amarik to show her good nature, “against humans getting the brunt of Vulcans complaints, and apparently Romulans too! How do WE smell any worse than a Klingon, eh? Though, at least you have admitted to the strong aroma put off by a Klingon.” She laughed then and shook her head. “I’ve yet to meet a species that didn’t have a uniquely strong scent, and although my sense of smell is likely not as strong as yours, so it takes more to tip me over the edge, I appreciate both the pleasant and unpleasant smells. May not be logical,” she again winked at Amarik with her intentionally chosen word, “but the stronger the scent, the easier it is to ‘read’ the person. Scents give away much about a person, about their intent, about their culture even. It reflects their genetics, their food preferences, their grooming habits, their beliefs of beauty, even a reflection on their emotional well-being. I believe if we ever came across a species with no scent whatsoever, even a Vulcan would feel uneasy and almost ‘miss’ the disquieting smell of humanity.”

When Amarik spoke on the will to live, Enyd did not miss the subtle darkening of the woman’s gaze and assumed without asking that she, as with many others, had more stories to tell than she felt comfortable in telling. At least at this present time. Enyd noted the advice about the Romulan cream but still felt leery of going near the Klingon coffee again, and that stuff should come with a warning. Amarik’s comment about bigger guns and the need for talking made Enyd both smile and nod in agreement.

“Diplomacy and the use of Intelligence are indeed both well-honed ‘weapons’ that should be wielded more readily than a gun, I agree.”

Enyd hid her surprise when Amarik opened up by leaning forward to pop another olive into her mouth and busying herself with choosing another item to chew on once she finished the olive. She must’ve said something right or done something right earlier in the evening to have earned this depth of information from the Romulan, and Enyd hoped she didn’t muck it up by saying or doing the wrong thing in response. She already found ready value in Amarik’s insight and feedback and genuinely hoped to call her friend with enough time.

“In every culture, there are predators,” Enyd added when Amark fell silent again. “On Earth, Shinzon reminded me of a historical individual, a Frenchman from ancient France named Napoleon. He wasn’t even truly French, only because the French claimed his island did he call himself French. He rose through the ranks of the military, earning their respect and support until eventually he took over the government and declared himself emperor. After this, the entire Continent around his empire was at risk of invading forces for some time. It took a coalition of used-to-be enemies to defeat him, and even then, he eventually returned to power because the original coalition had been unwilling to execute him for his actions. Amusingly enough, when he was defeated a second time, they still refused to execute him and instead exiled him again.” Enyd shrugged, shaking her head. “I can’t begin to explain the logic of my human ancestors. Much bloodshed and chaos would’ve been avoided if they’d ended him after his first defeat.”

The topic turned to prejudice, and Enyd again smiled good-naturedly. “In my years of diplomacy, I have come to the conclusion that humility is one of the greatest assets in a culture for dissuading ignorance and prejudice. When one is able to recognize and admit when the ‘other’ is right or may have a point worth listening to AND will genuinely listen, that is where true change and alliance can be had. Unlike some diplomats I’ve had to work with in the past, I would not say empathy is key to diplomacy. I can ‘feel’ for you but still think you’re an idiot, and that’s no foundation for change now, is it?”

Enyd watched Amarik touch the bulkhead near the window and listened as she traced through her service record, the summarized notes version, of course.

“I’ve been on Cardassia, Vulcan, and Starbase 84. That’s it. My training in the Academy took place on multiple planets, and I only spent one year on Earth for the last of it, so I have had multiple planet-side postings even as a Cadet.” Enyd laughed at the mentioning of holoprograms. “I’m notoriously helpless with technology, in the sense that I completely forget to use it sometimes. I never used a holodeck in previous postings, never engaged with a holonovel, and completely forget to use computers for personal use.” When Amarik moved to more serious aspects of the ship, Enyd grinned. “Oh, I love shooting, and I’m a crack shot outside of combat situations. No one in Montana may fail at shooting and call themselves a resident of Montana. I just need to keep up my training for combat simulations; otherwise, I’m likely going to have to innovate with my defenses. Although, I am known to be quite innovative.”

Enyd tipped her head back then and gazed in appreciation at Amarik. The woman was talented and considerate, even if she may never categorize herself as the latter personally.

“This may be a strange question, but may I call you by your given name? I try not to presume too much, though I have been called presumptuous.”  Enyd grinned. "I'd like to think by those jealous of my wit and charm."

Re: CH02: S [D02|2300] Notesharing and Nightcaps

Reply #13
[ Lieutenant Valyn Amarik | Quarters | Deck 07 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz
[Show/Hide]
Valyn shook her head, simultaneously wrinkling her nose. Phantom smells of the various humanoids she had encountered filled her nostrils with obvious distaste splattered across her face. “Most Klingons are just victims of shit-poor grooming standards and a lack of sonic showers. Humans just smell...strange.” She shook her head, “Not logical at all, but that isn’t a Romulan thing anyway.” Her sense of smell had been equally as much a blessing as it was a curse though, she had to admit. More than once on a mission or infiltration she’d caught the slightest scent of something that had tipped the scale in her favor. Vulcans, and by extension, Romulans, had not become the apex species of their worlds for no reason at all. Just as humans had developed the ability to utilize tools and developed a cortex quicker than the rest of the creatures on Earth, so had the Vulcanoids. “I’ll give ya that. It’s helped me, but it’s also equally as much been a nuisance, particularly when I’m in a place that smells less than pleasant even to a non-Romulan nose. A Klingon ship, for example.” She smirked. “But...most o’ the time it makes me feel a bit better to just blame their grooming habits instead of their genetics.”

“While I’m all for diplomacy and talkin’ shit out, I’m also a big fan of the ‘my gun is bigger’ approach.” She shrugged and watched the woman’s reaction. She knew it was probably an odd view for a Starfleet officer, but she did believe it. “Sometimes no matter how much talkin’ you try and do, the other guy just wants to throw his fists around. Not saying punch first, but be ready for one coming for your face.” She shrugged and took a quick sip of her drink.

Valyn wasn’t used to opening up...to anyone. At all. Ever. She’d opened up to a handful of humans. Anderson, because she had to and because she wanted to do something with herself besides sit in a penal colony for the rest of her life. Ben, because he’d been the first friend she’d ever had, really, and he’d been human. A few on the Enterprise as well. There weren't many though.

“Napoleon...I feel like I might’ve heard of him before, in some academy class.” Clearly she hadn’t deemed it necessary information to hold onto. “Shinzon was…” She thought for a moment, her eyes glazing slightly over with focused thought. “He was a snake.” She turned her eyes to look Enyd dead on, “He knew what to do. What to say. Who to kill, and he knew how to do it all just quietly enough to stay under the radar. Hus hunger for more power, and more human blood nearly ended every life on Earth, and he would have, if the Romulans hadn’t joined the Enterprise at the rift.” She chortled, “I was there too, felt like kinda a sick joke, I have to tag along as some lowly Ensign to meet the psychopath who-” She paused and shook her head. Clearly, that would have been a bit much information to share. She wasn’t ready for that, “Then I had to fight.” She’d done nothing but fight her entire life. It was what she was good at.

“That was the moment the Federation and the Empire could have used to bring our peoples closer together, and they didn’t. Hence why I’m a bit pessimistic about future peace accords, now that there are equally as bloodthirsty parasites trying to take over the whole damn galaxy.” She just shook her head. “Now I have to fight.” Her time on the station had been a brief reprieve, breaking up small brawls and enforcing merchant permits through a promenade. War, intrigue, and intelligence though, was where she did best. Both as a person, and as an officer.

She let out an audible, truly amused laugh when she even said the world ‘humility’. “Good luck getting a Romulan to humble up. Pride is pretty central to our culture.” She knew what Enyd was trying to say, and she even agreed, but she knew that would be a hard message to try and disseminate on Romulus. The whole culture was based on pride, spying, and competition. There was a very good reason that they were all secretive and cagey. Give too much up, you’d be likely to get stabbed in the back.

“You’re lucky to have been able to see so many other worlds. That’s something I haven’t been able to do yet. I’ve been able to see a few things, when on shore leave or during an academic break. I’ve seen...Vulcan, Andoria, Earth, Luna, Mars, and…” She thought for a moment, “Ah, how could I forget...Risa.” She smirked. “Not to say I haven’t done a couple of away missions here and there, but I’m talking about planets I’ve been able to really see.”

“You should get better with tech. Believe me, you ever get yourself backed into a corner, it might help to know a thing or two. Particularly with all that we’re facing.” She’d had her own training with tech, with the Tal Shiar and then Starfleet basics she’d been required to take at the academy. “Just keep your wits about you in combat...it’s hard, I know I’m just used to it. There’s methods though. I can show you some while we train. We can do some weapons training with the hand-to-hand.”

“Sure can.” She didn’t much care for the title. In the Tal Shiar she may have, but that was all a display of power. Here, she didn’t need to do that. "Oh...what's Montana like? I've never actually been." She had seen the big Cochrane statue in pictures, and even on a holodeck, but never in person.

Re: CH02: S [D02|2300] Notesharing and Nightcaps

Reply #14
[ Lt. Enyd Madsen | Quarters | Deck 07 | Vector 1 | USS Theurgy ] attn: @BipSpoon

Enyd laughed and raised her hand in confession, “We are all guilty of wanting to blame genetics for idiocy.” She laughed again at Valyn’s big gun reference. “You have no idea how many cultures out there require you to throw fists before they’re even willing to talk to you! It is absolutely hilarious to watch a pacifist diplomat get thrown at one of those cultures.” She sobered and wiped her fingers against her eyes. “Perhaps hilarious is not the diplomatically correct term, and perhaps I’m a horrible diplomat in admitting I find such situations amusing to the degree that I do, but it is the truth. So long as in those situations you have someone more willing to get and give a bloody nose to get the bloody job done, then a little chaotic hilarity can actually work in your favor to intensify alliances.”

She finished wiping at her eyes and went back to idly eating and drinking while Valyn spoke more of Shinzon. Enyd knew without having to ask that what Valyn was sharing now was not something she commonly spoke about and so Enyd did not wish to draw attention to the fact by overreacting with glee at the fact that the Romulan was, in fact, opening up to her. Instead, she kept a neutral expression of attention, nodded when it was appropriate, and made an attentive humming noise in her throat whenever Valyn paused, a non-spoken encouragement to continue.

There was a lot of anger and pain behind Valyn’s words, and especially in the words she did not share, but that Enyd could see bubbling under the otherwise collected surface of the woman. Enyd could understand the feelings of futility and frustration. She could empathize, as she too felt such feelings to a degree. Once, she might have countered Valyn’s statements with rosy-eyed proclamations from the propaganda of the Federation textbooks or even from the naive ideologies shared by her civilian professors at the Metternich. But such days of being a mirror to such sentiments were gone, shattered by events on Cardassia.

Enyd sobered her expression with an intentional frown and nod of understanding. “I am a minority in my own department in this belief, no doubt, but there are some cultures and species that the Federation is NOT compatible with and the best option is to negotiate a hands-off policy, not much different from the Neutral Zone. I’m not saying that such cultures cannot change to a state of compatibility, as even the Federation technically can warp and degrade into something terribly incompatible with present or past ideals, especially now that we are contending with the Infested. However, some cultures prefer to remain isolated and those preferences should be respected. Other cultures should be avoided, and that should also be respected. A healthy awareness of potential dangers and cautionary preventative measures is important for maintaining the majority, even if the minority believe the risks worthwhile.”

She had yet to meet her department head or the rest of her colleagues but already knew that her more pragmatic, willing to break noses, or disinterest in force-feeding Federation ideologies was likely to make her someone’s less than favorite person in the department. Enyd hoped it wouldn’t be her department head, as that could prove problematic if and when she wanted a promotion. In truth, she didn’t like being anyone’s less than favorite, but rationally she understood that sometimes being someone’s favorite was actually one of the worst places to be, and so was happy to accept less than favorite if it meant getting the mission accomplished.

Enyd nodded when Valyn commented on her extensive travels and offered a blushing smile. “I recognize that my department allows for a bit more travel than others. If I’m deployed on an away mission, it, hopefully, involves less violence and a slower pace than when you are deployed.” As Valyn turned the conversation towards Montana, Enyd’s smile turned bittersweet and she wasn’t shy about showing the emotional heartstrings being tugged. “Open, vast, wild. Even in this era, there are places you can go where you won’t see anyone, and not even a trace of technology, making you feel as if you’ve stepped into another time altogether. There are still plenty of animals who’d be happy to add you to their lunch menu if you aren’t smart about travel, but mostly, the greatest danger is nature itself. Being unprepared and underestimating the power of the elements still claims lives. But those of us from Montana don’t particularly lament those lives lost as they had to be pretty darn idiotic to take such risks when they’ve been given so many warnings.”

Her eyes took on a far-off look then and after calculating the feel of the moment, Enyd continued.

“I haven’t been in far too long. The family ranch is still in my name and I have an overseer still running things who previously worked for my grandmother. But after Cardassia,” Enyd sighed, “while I was in recovery I found out my grandmother died. She raised me, you see, after I lost both my parents in the line of duty. They are the reason Admiral Anderson has always been involved in my life in some fashion, as they both worked Starfleet Intelligence.” Shaking her head, Enyd leaned back in her chair and loosely crossed her arms over her chest. “My grandmother refused to encourage an interest in Intelligence and that’s how I ended up on the other side of the coin in diplomacy, despite the ‘family business’ feel of the field.” Her good humor returned with a subtle wink. “In any case, I went from Cardassia to Vulcan for my next posting. I could’t handle going home at the time and now,” her eyes traveled around Valyn’s room and she gave a snort, “I don’t know when or if I’ll ever be able to go back. I’d like to think we will win this fight and soon enough we can all freely move about Federation space without looking over our shoulders. However, I’m also quite aware of the odds. Though, don’t worry, I’m not Vulcan enough to calculate and list them for you.”

She shook her head again and leaned back towards the table. “Sorry to have gotten a bit morose there a moment. Suffice to say, and to answer your true question, Montana is lovely, I am biased, of course, and you should visit when this is all over. You’re very welcome to stay at my ranch. We have plenty of room.”

Re: CH02: S [D02|2300] Notesharing and Nightcaps

Reply #15
[ Lieutenant Valyn Amarik | Quarters | Deck 07 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz
[Show/Hide]
“Oh I think I’ve got an idea.” Valyn couldn’t even help but snort in amusement. “My culture’s one of ‘em.” She clearly found that fact amusing though. “We sorta perfected the art of shooting first, and if it doesn’t work out, stab ‘em in the back.” She grinned and tossed back a bit of her drink before letting her face relax and letting out a deep exhale.

“I find a good fight amusing, so don’t judge yourself too harshly.” She crossed her arms and kicked her feet up the long side of the couch, making herself comfortable. She temporarily uncrossed her arms to press into the cushion in various spots, testing the softness of the cushion. “Sometimes people itching for a fight make good diplomats as much as pacifists make good security officers.” She shrugged, fully believing the statement.

She’d seen enough war to know that really, both were needed. Valyn wasn’t much for sharing, but she’d grown used to the idea that that was fairly frequently how humans connected to one another. She’d gotten used to it...eventually. As she spoke though, she took great care to watch Enyd’s reactions. For those that were used to watching for ‘tells’ of those involved in Valyn’s previous line of work, it’d be obvious what she was doing. She wasn’t exactly trying to be clandestine about it.

Valyn hushed, her face twisting into a brooding, doleful visage. “True.” Her words were short. “As much as I hate to admit that.” A fleeting memory crossed her minds eye. The busting streets of Romulus, with vendors lining the agora. She hadn’t gotten much free time when she was with the Tal Shiar, but what little she did have, she enjoyed being among the people. Even then, there was some part of her that had yearned for...contact. For some true camaraderie. She didn’t find it though, until she’d left her entire species behind.  She knew full well that the odds were that she’d never see home again. “Don’t forget about that...grand attitude that some of the Federation blowhards love to spout...all about trying to spread the ways of the Federation to every corner of the galaxy.” She shook her head, clearly disapproving of that methodology. “Until you get those guys in check, conflict will persist. Just like if you have a Romulan hellbent on blowing up Federation ships, there isn’t going to be a real peace. Each side will blame the other for the sins of an individual.”

Valyn was genuinely appreciative of Enyd’s attitude. It was a breath of fresh air, in truth. She hadn’t run into very many diplomats that understood that the galaxy wasn’t as ideal as Earth. Most of them had been Earth born and bred, and didn’t have much experience outside of the homeworld. “When I’m deployed I’m usually getting shot at, standin’ guard, or killin’ someone so.” She japed back at her, with a partial grin. She spoke mostly the truth though.

Montana. All Valyn thought of was a farmhouse on a winding dirt road, with some kid riding a hoverbike up and down the drive. Probably an image from a holonvel or something. “That sounds...as nice as it sounds bizarre.” Valyn was no stranger to the brutality of nature though. Her own eyes grew dark and filled with a look that could only be described as...blank malevolence. She didn’t so much as twitch for a long moment, longer than she’d intended to certainly. Her guard however had been let down, and because of it...another memory took over. She saw her own, small hands, with a bloodied rock. She smelled copper. She cleared her throat and finished off her drink in one swift swallow before perking back up, as if nothing had happened. Though, Enyd’s own pause had nearly matched her own. So Valyn tried to plow right on, trying to draw no attention to either of their reactions.

“I’m sorry to hear that.” It was the polite thing to say. Valyn had a very limited concept of family though. What little family she had, had been other children selected for training. Each of them slowly started to taper off, until there were hardly any at all. After her first posting, she’d never seen them again. Deep loss, like Enyd spoke of, wasn’t a familiar concept for the Romulan. “Andy huh?” She shot at Enyd, trying to break the tension a bit with her private moniker for the admiral. “Saved my ass after the war. Him and a diplomatic officer.” She smiled, this one was warm, genuine. She lit up. “So you ended up a diplomat, and I went the intelligence route...security now.” She wasn’t certain if she’d said too much. She trusted Enyd though. She didn’t imagine her as the sort to gossip about her own personal details, unless they were a threat to the ship.

“We’ll make it back. One way or another, we’ll make it back. I don’t see this ending without us taking the fight back to Earth eventually. If you think like you’re going to lose, then you will. Always win in your head first, then work out the rest.” She poked the side of her head and looked Enyd over once.

“No need to apologize. It’s a morose time...secrets safe with me.” Montana though, sounded nice. “I’d love to. If you want, I can work on a holoprogram of Romulus. Some secret spots.” She shrugged, “Close to the real thing as I can get you to where I’m from, I’m afraid.”

Re: CH02: S [D02|2300] Notesharing and Nightcaps

Reply #16
[ Lt. Enyd Madsen | Quarters | Deck 07 | Vector 1 | USS Theurgy ] attn: @BipSpoon

“’The balance of power is the scale of peace,’ Thomas Paine, an ancient Earth philosopher, wrote that and I believe it matches your concept of gun-toting diplomats and peace-loving security officers. If every security member was a hammer and every diplomat a flower, we’d be in worse shape than we are now.” Enyd giggled then. “Not sure what sort of flower I’d make, but if I could choose what sort of gun, I’d like to be one of the ancient Earth ones. One of those ridiculously long rifles,” she stood up just long enough to mime how tall said weapon could be, “that would obviously not reflect the reality of my size, but it would the strength of my heart.”

She resumed her seat and sobered when Valyn spoke of the blowhards of the Federation. Enyd couldn’t help but sigh at this and nod in full agreement.

“I believe propaganda has decimated more cities, destroyed more starships, and wrecked more civilizations than any other weapon. True hate, or true love, begins with the mind, and a government or a people who wield the weapon of propaganda to turn their people wholly against or for an ideal or the like, well, that is where only a miracle, or a damn good diplomat, can stop a war or bring genocide to an end. I believe it can be done, as it has been done, but I also believe the odds are against the cessation of atrocities far more often than in favor.” She sighed again. “I used to be more like those ‘blowhards,’ in all honesty. I truly believe you’d have politely asked me to leave some time ago if you’d met me pre-Cardassia. Not because I was any more audaciously curious than I am now, but because I was irresponsibly naïve in my belief that I could tap into some good in the heart of everyone that could be coaxed forward in my efforts to bring peace.” She shivered and shook her head. “I have since learned that some people are rotten to the core and enjoy being that way.”

For a spell, Valyn grew still and quiet, the thousand-yard stare of a survivor overtaking her features. Enyd remained quiet and did not speak of it when Valyn returned to herself. The Romulan had been respectful of her own lapse, and Enyd would return the sentiment in kind. When Valyn called Anderson, ‘Andy,’ she couldn’t help the snort. She couldn’t imagine calling him that, to his face or behind his back. He’d always been a larger-than-life figure in her life since childhood, more like a godfather in some respects than a mere family acquaintance.

“I believe Anderson,” she was intentional with shying away from Valyn’s playful term, though she gave Valyn a wink to let her know it was not in judgment, “has had a major role to play in more than a few of our lives here on the ship. Maybe we should rename the ship the USS Anderson once this is over in honor of his part in saving the Federation.” Though Enyd said it in jest, now that she said it, she almost believed that something like that should indeed happen.

At Valyn’s offer of making a holoprogram of Romulus, Enyd quite likely looked like an over-excited puppy with her hips wiggling back and forth in the chair and her eyes widening with an eager nod. There was no doubt about what she thought of the concept.

“I’m no genius with holoprogramming, but I’ll find someone who is, and I’ll ‘pay’ them with pithy witticisms to help me make one of Montana to share with you as well. I’m sure we’ll both need some sort of mental recovery, let alone physical, once this mission with the Klingons is over. Next downtime we have, how about we trade holoprograms? You show me your super secret spots, and I’ll show you my Montana. Though, do you want modern Montana, or Montana during the Wars, or ancient Montana? In some ways, there isn’t a lot of difference, in all honesty.” She laughed, already dreaming up the different things she could show Valyn in each of the suggested time periods.

Re: CH02: S [D02|2300] Notesharing and Nightcaps

Reply #17
[ Lieutenant Valyn Amarik | Quarters | Deck 07 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz [Show/Hide]
“As much as I do love Earth, y’all have a hell of a contradictory history. Bounce between peace and war faster than I can blink.” She offered a quiet, but amused chuckle. “There’s far worse things than gun toting diplomats.” In truth, she couldn’t remember when...or even if, she’d ever played the role of the flower. She’d spent most of her life as a sharp instrument, designed to cut and wound in a precise manner, unlike the masses of the Romulan Navy which in her mind were little more than a well equipped hammer. “A real gun, one of the projectile slingers?” She smirked. “Good choice, I’m still partial to a disruptor pistol though. There’s something remarkably elegant about them. Easy to use, durable. Designed with a purpose that it does well.” She took a breath and corrected herself, “Not to say that I’m really the most elegant creature there is, of course.” She was far from it.

“Propaganda is more destructive than a chemical weapon. You can make antidotes and cures for poisons...can’t for belief. You can fight tooth and nail against an army and win out, but you can’t fight an ideal. You can sure as hell try, but it’s a festering, rotting sickness that’ll take a society down from within, brick by brick, one drop of blood at a time.” She ground her teeth, “How do you think things ended up the way they did on Romulus? A propaganda machine that churned out bullshit faster than a virgin on prom night. The senate wasn’t killed for no reason. A better propaganda machine won.” She popped another olive into her mouth and slowly chewed, mulling over her thoughts with each gnash of her teeth. “You’re right, some people are just...too far gone.” She did pause though, clearly intending to say more. She thought her words over, carefully, before she finally spoke again. “Don’t let that kill every bit of idealism in you though. It’s a rare gift to be able to see the good in things in the face of horrific acts.”

Valyn knew that she owed pretty much everything about her new existence to Anderson. Her nickname for him being little more than a coping mechanism for the horrors she experienced before meeting him. Between Anderson and Ben, her life had been turned upside down, but for the better. Of course, her debriefing had been anything but pleasant, but it hadn’t been unfair. If the roles had been reversed, and it was an Imperial debriefing instead of a Federation one, she knew full well it wouldn’t have been as friendly. Not only that, but she’d have been dead. Anderson had not only kept her alive and out of a penal colony, but he’d given her the chance to serve in the Federation. In truth, she knew, it was clever. She was a far better asset in Starfleet than she’d be welding handrails at some camp.

“He most certainly has. I’m starting to lose track of all the debts I owe him.” She smirked, “I don’t reckon he’d be too keen on having a ship named the USS Anderson though” Hell she could be wrong, but she wouldn’t want a USS Amarik bouncing around the quadrant blowing other ships half to hell. Sounded like a surefire way to make some enemies without even knowing how or why. Maybe that was her Romulan paranoia though.

“I’ll see what I can do.” A holographic Romulus not only sounded like a good way to show her home to others, but for Valyn, it could also serve as a way to abate some of the homesickness that tore through her, almost daily. Hell, she even missed the hellhole she’d spent her youth. She’d hated every last second of it. In the walls of that place, she’d been forced to take part in true horrors. Under their commands she’d been forced to end the life of those she’d considered siblings. Still, at least there she was around her people. She missed taking the lift back to the surface and seeing the sprawling skyline of the Capital, punctuated by the senate building in the middle of the city. She’d only been inside the senate once, and truthfully, it hadn’t been all it was cracked up to be, but still she’d have given anything to spend just a few moments in there.

“I have a few places I can show you. The senate...the beach, the promenade…” She smirked, “Maybe even my old quarters on a warbird.” Valyn really felt at home when she was in the stars. She’d always thought that it was in part due to her place of birth. She knew nothing of her parents, but she assumed it was some other Tal Shiar officer, or maybe even a naval officer. They’d refused to say a word to her about it, and she’d been punished...severely for even asking. She did know where she was born though. In orbit of the homeworld, on a Warship. If that hadn’t been an omen, she didn’t know what else would count.

“Sounds like a deal, as for your home...dealer's choice. Whatever you think I’d like to see best. I’m sure it’ll be interesting either way.” She gave her a playful smirk, “So long as you make sure I can ride a horse in the program.” She pointed at her, putting on a well practiced face of seriousness. There wasn’t a hint of playfulness to her, as if she’d simply...turned it off. A moment later though, her lip curled again, breaking the facade.

Re: CH02: S [D02|2300] Notesharing and Nightcaps

Reply #18
[ Lt. Enyd Madsen | Quarters | Deck 07 | Vector 1 | USS Theurgy ] attn: @BipSpoon

Enyd laughed and shook her head, “The more I study other cultures and meet folks from different worlds, the more Earth becomes just on of thousands. Humans aren’t so unique, you know, in our smells, our histories, our sins. That’s not to justify stupidity or arrogance, mind you, but it can be quite tiring working with people, namely humans but even some ‘human worshipping’ or even ‘human damning’ people, who insist upon putting Earth at the center of all interstellar politics. Of course, in Federation history, Earth did have a lot to do with the formation of the original charter; however, in the years since then, the wisest moments in human history, arguably so, were the moments humans took a backseat and acted as observers and support more than drivers to the Federation. Yet again, these sentiments make me a minority within my department, but just as there’s a time for a pistol, there’s a time for some serious truth resulting in greater clarity on current contexts.”

Enyd grabbed a handful of food off the platter and took to popping the morsels in one at a time while she listened to Valyn talk of the dangers of propaganda. She could read Valyn well enough now to recognize when she held back from fully revealing all it was she was thinking and feeling, and as had become the norm between them so far, she didn’t press. When Valyn threw the curveball of encouraging idealism, Enyd nearly choked on the olive she’d just popped into her mouth.

“Yes,” Enyd had to refill her glass and guzzle a bit to clear her throat of debris before she could reply, her voice impacted by the strain, “I have a pragmatic hope that with enough time and patience, even the greatest of idiots can become a little less idiotic.” Knocking the side of her fist against her chest in a stronger effort to clear things, Enyd added, “Even if all current life ceases to exist as we know it, I do believe that life can reseed and return. So even when things get truly terribly, I believe in inevitable survival, in a fashion, beyond the destruction. Though that may not be the ‘good’ you were hoping for.”

While Valyn commented on the idea of a USS Anderson, Enyd continued to sip at her drink, still working to even out her voice and clear her throat. Valyn’s suggestions for areas she could show Enyd had her smiling despite the slight scratch in her throat. Then with the Romulan woman’s request to ride a horse, voiced in all seriousness but then supported with a smile, Enyd responded with her own mischievous grin.

“Have you had much experience with horses? Like would you want a jumper, a runner, a lollygagger, a tank? What kind of horse are you thinking, because a horse is not just a horse, of course.” Enyd looked around for a chronometer. “I just realized it must be getting rather late, and we both have an early morning.” She laughed. “Though I’m still not in the slightest bit tired, I shouldn’t selfishly demand your time as a form of entertainment if you’d rather call it an evening and pick up another time, perhaps in my quarters where I can host you.”

Enyd would be content to continue the conversation as Valyn was a most intriguing woman and exuded a confident aura that Enyd found almost intoxicating to be around, and yet she really was aware of the fact that not everyone had ingested an unhealthy amount of Klingon coffee. If Valyn wanted an out for ending their time together, Enyd had just gift-wrapped it for her, but if the Romulan was content to socialize some more, well, then there was that option open to her as well. Either way, Enyd was happy to have had this experience and looked forward to a next time, as she was almost certain Valyn would be open to such a notion.

Re: CH02: S [D02|2300] Notesharing and Nightcaps

Reply #19
[ Lieutenant Valyn Amarik | Quarters | Deck 07 | Vector 1 | USS Theurgy ]Attn: @Ellen Fitz
[Show/Hide]
“Fair point there.” She gave her a slow nod. Each culture that Valyn had come into close contact with had had their own ups and down, feeding into their modern cultural identity that set them apart from others. Each of them though, had similarities that if one truly sat to think about it, made them much more similar than they’d likely care to admit. “I think it’s the same in most places, they each think that they’re the center of the damn universe. Be that Romulus...Tellar, Vulcan, or even Earth.” It was a reality that Valyn knew likely wouldn’t change. A degree of selfishness was crucial to survival, and that selfishness had morphed itself into a cultural identity that placed them above all others. “Ain’t nothin’ wrong with bein’ a minority Enyd. Every department needs someone to play the other side of the coin.” She shrugged, throwing her palms to the side in a dramatized version of the act. “Even in my own...past…” She didn’t want to go into too much depth, attempting really not to ruin the moment with callbacks to senseless violence, “Diplomacy has played a big role.” Romulan or not, agents needed to know how to defuse a situation with words, not just disruptor fire and bloodshed.

Valyn’s entire body tensed up slightly as Enyd choked, the worry for another officer evident in her eyes as she sat up a bit, ready to react should the woman need some external assistance with dislodging the olive. However, she seemed to deal with it herself. Valyn’s whole early life, until recently had been devoid of compassion and nurturing...save for a very select few, and she’d been quickly separated from each of them. Her newer instincts to protect and if needed, assist her fellow officers, was clear. While she’d only met the woman recently, she was another officer. An officer chasing to fight the exact same goal as her, and aside from that...she seemed on all levels to be a good woman.

“I mean…” She trailed off and watched the woman for a moment, watched her force the olive-debris down her gullet with booze before she smirked, “You’ve got me here, and I used to be-” She didn’t say much more, but it hung, horribly in the room. She used to be the go to for brutal wetwork for a totalitarian regime, further worsened by the coup brought on by a violent madman that she’d witnessed firsthand. “Life will out.” She said plainly to the woman, “We aren’t going anywhere, these damn fucking monsters taking over the galaxy or not...life will out. It always had, and always will. No matter the origins and evolution behind it, we are biologically adapted to survive the most horrific of circumstances by any means we need to. Life...will...out.  A drowning man, will take the rescuer down with him out of sheer panic for oxygen, his brainstem taking over to survive. We will survive this, by any means that we need to. We aren’t going to do this without believing that simple statement, Enyd. Life. Will. Out.” Valyn had no intention of dying. She would fight down to her last breath, before she rolled over, ready to die by the hands of the threat they faced.

Valyn missed her home. She missed it dearly. She didn't, however, miss the acts she was forced to commit for sheer survival. She knew that she was skilled at that line of work, and in security, she was able to use those skills. However, she didn’t believe there would come a day where she no longer longed for the day she could step foot on Romulus, to see streets lined with Romulan men, women, and children. Children playing the games that she ought to have played as a child. She however, hadn’t been granted that right. She’d only been granted the right and education to spy, kill, and hide. Her home was tainted with the memory of her past, and no matter how much she longed for the companionship of her race, she’d never be able to walk among them in the way she wished. That had been taken from her by the powers that be.

“I didn’t even know there were other kinds of horses than just...horses, so...no.” She grinned at the woman, though her cheeks didn’t flush or anything of the sort. “I’ve seen some images of the uh- The big ones that have hair around their ankles.” She didn’t know what they were called by any means. “Big sons’o bitches though.” Valyn followed her gaze to the chronometer next to her bed, and her eyes widened.

“Shit.” She slowly rose to her feet, “You’re probably right. I’m probably going to take a short walk, then get some rest.” She was a bit tired, likely brought on by the ale, but she knew that she’d be feeling it in the morning if she didn’t get some rest. If she needed to, she’d hit sickbay for a little pharmaceutical assistance. “I’d be glad to come over some time, but I haven’t forgotten about some training. Once we settle in a bit, how about we do that, we can cap off the trainin’ session with a walk around the Senate building?” Just a teaser of the cultural experience that Valyn intended to show her of her own homeworld, and the home of Enyd’s ancestor.

Valyn by no means was throwing her out, nor did she even rise to her feet to attempt to hurry her on her way. “Let me know if you need anything, yea? Gotta watch out for one another.” She gave the woman a nod. After the evening, she considered the woman a friend, and intended to help her however she could, whenever she could. “You get your quarters assigned?” She raised a brow and stood, “If you haven’t been by the quartermaster yet, you can use my couch if you just wanna get some rest.”

Re: CH02: S [D02|2300] Notesharing and Nightcaps

Reply #20
[ Lt. Enyd Madsen | Quarters | Deck 07 | Vector 1 | USS Theurgy ] attn: @BipSpoon

“Well,” Enyd smirked at Valyn, “I know I AM the center of the damn universe, and that’s an important difference to note, even if I am a minority in my department.” She managed to keep the laughter from bubbling from her lips for a few seconds only before she waved away the ridiculous comment. “Sadly, I’ve worked with and known quite a number of individuals who truly felt that way about themselves. And it was exhausting.” She feigned a look of emotional and physical exhaustion. “Exhausting keeping myself from knocking them upside the head with reality or shaking some sense into them.”

By this point in the evening, Enyd didn’t fear that Valyn would question her ability as a diplomat, even with such violence-prone comments. If anything, Enyd believed mirthful comments like that were part of why Valyn had warmed to her as quickly as she had. When she’d fought against the olive, and she’d won, Valyn had seemed genuinely concerned over her well fare. A feature most surprising considering what Enyd knew of Romulans, and for the brief span of time they’d been acquainted, and openly sharing thoughts with one another. A nice surprise, but a surprise nonetheless. Though, glancing at the empty glass on the table in front of her, Enyd wondered if the alcohol had something to do with it as well.

Valyn’s steely voice and the determination to survive reverberating in the room through her words had Enyd shivering. Not out of cold or discomfort, but a strange sense of awe and increased respect. Nodding, Enyd smiled what likely looked to be a lopsided sheepish smile as she felt almost giddy in the face of such Valkryie like beauty and righteous wrath. She believed the same as Valyn and hoped she’d conveyed as much with her earlier shared sentiments and with her present emphatic nods of agreement.

“I would rather die on my feet than live on my knees,” Enyd added, her eyes momentarily losing focus, then refocusing again on Valyn, “a sentiment from an old Earth colony. A sentiment shared by all its people before they rebelled against their mother country and formed a new nation, one born on ideals of freedom, equality, and fraternal sacrifice for the sake of preserving said freedoms.” She shivered again, her hands running up and down her arms. “A sentiment I whole-heartedly agree with.”

When Valyn referred to the hairy-ankled horses, Enyd’s smile again turned lopsided and goofy. “Feathering, that hair around the ankles is called feathering.” She shrugged. “No, horses were never feathered, nor are they related to birds, but that’s what it’s called and I didn’t make the naming rules.” She held up her hands and began to tuck down fingers as she listed breeds, “Friesian, Clydesdales, Shires, Gypsy Vanners, Ardennes, Swedish Norths, Vladimir and Dutch and American Cream and Belgian Drafts,” Enyd realized she’d run out fingers and so opened her hands up a second time and tucked away fingers again, “Australian Draughts, Percherons, Icelandics, Dales and Fells and Shetland and Kerry Bog ponies, Welsh Cobs,” Enyd tipped her head to the side, pondering a moment, then smiled and added, “Vladimir Poles and Cream Kerry Bogs, two more ‘recent’ hybrids.” Dropping her hands to her lap, Enyd gave a half shrug. “Growing up on a ranch, I had more than a thing for horses and cattle. We’d be here till two Christmas’ from now if you wanted me to list to you the names of all my favorite cows over the years. Those are some sweet animals right there, and they can also be ridden too if you care for a more...excitingly boring ride. Of the feathered breeds though, I’d recommend a Friesian or a Swedish North. They’re big sons of bitches, as you said, but they have a smoother ride than most of their counterparts.”

Valyn was on her feet in the next moment after Enyd brought attention to the time. Enyd stood quickly, then immediately regretted the action, her body letting her know that her increasing sense of giddiness had everything to do with the alcohol and not so much to do with the effervescence of Valyn’s presence and acceptance. She swaggered, as walking normally was no longer an option it seemed, towards the door, then stopped and turned to face her new friend.

“I’m not in the least bit tired, and it seems you aren’t either.” Enyd’s eyes darted to the demolished snacks on Valyn’s table. “I am, though, quite hungry. And if my equilibrium is translating right, I need food, or else I’m in for some trouble come morning report.” She leaned forward, too far, and had to grab hold of Valyn’s arms for support before righting herself again, a light blush warming her cheeks. “Care to join me in a midnight raid?”

Re: CH02: S [D02|2300] Notesharing and Nightcaps

Reply #21
[ Lieutenant Valyn Amarik | Quarters | Deck 07 | Vector 1 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz [Show/Hide]
Valyn scoffed and rolled her eyes, “That’s the Romulan in you. Center of the damn-” She chuckled. She enjoyed a moment of amusement before she sighed, thinking for a long moment on many, no, most of her previous associates. “Me too. I had a lot of sex with one of them too.” She shut her eyes and slowly shook her head side to sigh, “Not my finest moment, but when you’re soul crushin’ly desperate for a damn orgasm-” She froze and glanced at the woman, “Sorry.” She shook the remnants of her drink in Enyd’s direction, blaming it for her lack of filter, then tossed it back, setting the cup down on the table in front of her.

Valyn didn’t often let loose as much as she had, and to her, it was a nice break. She knew that the coming days and weeks would be troubling, to say the least, and that with their current mission the odds were that there would be casualties and that she may be one of them. She was certainly going to enjoy herself if she was destined to die at the hands of some extra-corporeal slugs.

Life will out.

The words had reverberated through her soul for years, first being pounded into her memory by the only man who’d shown her a shred of compassion and decency in her youth. His words weren't words that she easily forgot. She paused, and noticed the grin on Enyd’s face, “What?” She too, smirked, the look apparently as contagious as a disease. Valyn clearly approved of Enyd, and even liked her. She hadn’t struggled to make many comrades among her previous postings, the bulk of her problems coming from the very fact that she was a Romulan. A member of the race who had so dangerously toed the line with the Dominion, unsure which side to choose. It was a stance Valyn had never approved of, not for a moment. When they’d finally chosen to side with their own alpha quadrant cousins, she’d been one of the first to volunteer. Only after the Dominion executed Senator Vreenak had she had that chance.

“Good. That’s a good saying’, wish more people lived by it but...self preservation is a powerful force when starin’ death in the face.” She’d seen it more than once. Valyn crossed her arms and took a long, deep breath. Alcohol had absolutely tainted her senses, and likely befouled her breath.

When the woman started on horses, Valyn just...stared. “Well, that’s a whole hell of a lot of horses. I guess there’s just as many damn birds on Romulus.” The birds that their warbirds had been named for, hiding themselves with their own natural cloaking ability. Much of her culture had been based on those simple, beautiful creatures. She’d always wanted one, but pets were an indulgence that she’d never been allowed. It would create a weakness. “Cows?” She furrowed her already pronounced brow. “As in like...milk and cheese, cows?” Cheese was a human food that she’d been so very glad to be able to enjoy. Of course, they had their own variations on Romulus, but a good sharp cheddar? There were few things like that. Which...gave her a thought. “Well, Enyd. You get me on the back of a...Swedish West or whatever, dealers choice, next holodeck time.”

She too was a bit wobbly on her feet, but not too terribly so. Her Romulan metabolism protected her from the worst effects of her overdrinking. “For now though, I want some Mac and Cheese. Let’s go find some. None of the replicated shit either, I want to make some Mac and Cheese.” She held Enyd by the arm and started towards the door, “If I can find a mess hall, that is.” She helped Enyd maintain her gait as much as she could, but given her own unsteadiness, the likelihood was that they were moving like a four legged creature, each of them holding the other straight enough to move.

The turbolift was east enough to find, but once inside, she leaned against the back of the lift. “Uh-” She thought for a moment. This computer was different than other ships, and frankly she wasn’t sure how to address it. “Thea?” She looked around, and the lift lit up. “Holy shit.” She blinked a few times, “Can you help me find a mess hall...please?” The lift began to soar towards deck 13, and the doors hissed open only moments after her request, having planted them rigth in front of the mess. “You’re amazin’.” She pat the lift on the side, as if giving physical thanks to the ship and her computer.

The mess hall was (thankfully) devoid of life besides the two of them. Which, would certainly allow Valyn to continue with her plans, which were certainly not the wisest. “Sit, sit.” She guided Enyd towards a seat, nearest to the fresh food cabinet and a replicator. She pulled out a chair for her, and if she allowed, helped her find her way down so she didn’t fall.

Quickly though, she moved towards the replicator. “Can I have a Starfleet issue survival stove and...a repair kit.” For the time being. Both materialized fairly quickly, and Valyn began to set it up on their table. “Shit.” It was without power. However, she raised a finger in a ‘hold on’ motion to Enyd, and pulled the panel off the wall under the replicator, tying the grid into her makeshift kitchen, which sprang to life with a dull hum and a faint blue light as it connected to the EPS relay. “Reconnecting it will be a little more complicated but I’ll hopefully be more sober by then.” She chuckle-snorted and rolled her eyes before she moved towards the fresh food cabinet, looking for any fresh ingredients that she could. She was able to locate some cheese and some broccoli. “Perfect.” Both of them, were quickly and rather roughly set onto the table.

The replicator was next. “I need a sauce pan, a pot, a spoon, four cups water, some butter, some flour, and last but certainly not least...some noodles. Elbow noodles, please. Oh, and some Dijon mustard, salt, and paprika. And Milk.” One by one, they replicated as she cleared space on the small pad, moving the ingredients over to the table. The plates could wait.

“It’s been a bit since I cooked but I think I remember this one…” She had quite the spread laid out for herself, and the look on her face was content. Slowly, she began to start work on the rous, setting the saucepan on the stove and adding ingredients one by one. “Not the fastest but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t taste better than the replicated kind.”

Her eyes opened wide, “I forgot my booze.”

Re: CH02: S [D02|2300] Notesharing and Nightcaps

Reply #22
[ Lt. Enyd Madsen | Mess Hall | Deck 13 | USS Theurgy ] attn: @BipSpoon

Enyd blushed at the mentioning of sex. Aside from Javec, she’d never been sexually intimate with a man. Of course, she’d kissed and been held by Victor, and a half dozen other men had kissed her over the years, but nothing close to sex as Valyn casually tossed in the air of her quarters. Enyd was far from a prude and had no qualms with taking care of her own pleasure when it became necessary. And, in honest consideration, it would be nice to have someone warm in her bed to hold her, that she could hold, and to seek pleasure with. But Enyd knew herself enough to know she was not made for casual sex, even with the emotional scarring of losing Javec, so she could not relate to Valyn’s implied stories of sexual experience and merely offered a smile in response to the Romulan’s sharing.

Valyn had a nice smile, and Enyd was not shy about saying so, adding an almost girlish giggle to her words, “Badass beauty.” And when Valyn’s stare took on an almost thousand-yard quality at Enyd’s sharing of horses, she couldn’t help but giggle again. Enyd rarely spoke of her extensive ranch-based knowledge, as it rarely factored into her role within the diplomatic corps. But it was a nice change to share. “I’ll be sure to include a few cows for you to try too if you tire of the Swede.” She laughed at Valyn’s responding expression, then eagerly nodded at the woman’s suggestion to find a mess hall and get food. Food would do them both good.

When Valyn showed the same awkward hesitancy as Enyd when addressing the ship’s AI, Enyd giggled again. “It is strange isn’t it?” She also patted the lift door as if in praise before following her new friend down the corridor in search of food and more fun.

Enyd let Valyn seat her at the table and watched in amusement as the Romulan shamelessly pulled a panel off the wall to try the power grip to her survival stove. At Valyn’s justification, Enyd nodded, putting on her best serious face. Her mouth started watering when Valyn listed out the ingredients for her intended dish.

“Have you ever had jack and mac?” Enyd placed her chin on her hand as she watched Valyn work on the food. “Basically same recipe, but you use whiskey to make it boozy.” She threw Valyn a wink. “My grandmother had a wicked way with it in the kitchen. Got our neighbor completed hammered just from eating dinner. Of course, grandmother had included in that meal appetizers that required vodka, drinks laced with gin, and dessert based on bourbon.” Enyd laughed as she shook her head, the memory of that fiasco of a dinner playing out in her head. “If I recall correctly, our neighbor and my grandmother had had some sort of disagreement about whose quilt had won the county fair competition, and my grandmother invited the neighbor over for a congratulatory dinner. Of course, the neighbor thought that meant my grandmother was congratulating her on the win. Only by the end of the evening the neighbor was congratulating my grandmother and couldn’t remember the events of the evening the next day. Grandmother could, though, as she stayed cold-bloodedly sober the entire meal.”

The mess hall filled with the delicious scents of Valyn’s work earning a stomach growl from Enyd. Blushing, Enyd put a hand over her belly. Only then did she remember Valyn’s lament of no booze. Smirking, Enyd stood and made a show of cracking her knuckles before moving to stand before the replicator.

“I may have a few spy tricks up my sleeve,” grinning over her shoulder, “a classmate of mine taught me how to trick the replicator into offering up a fairly close cousin to real booze. Something that suits in a pinch.”

Using the “magic words” her classmate had taught her, Enyd brought a decanter of the amber-colored liquid back to the table, along with two glasses. Pouring a shot’s worth into each glass, Enyd held hers up towards Valyn.

“Probably not going to be the best booze in town, but I offer a toast to the best Romulan mac-and-cheese maker on the ship.” Enyd knocked back the liquid without hesitation but quickly set about coughing at the burn it left down her throat. Her voice was warbled when she spoke again, tears in her eyes and cheeks flushed, “Not smooth.” Pouring more, this time Enyd sipped at it and sighed when the second round soothed the bite of the first, “But not terrible.”

Cradling the glass in her hand, Enyd leaned back in her chair, “So what sort of spy tricks are you going to teach me over dinner?”

Re: CH02: S [D02|2300] Notesharing and Nightcaps

Reply #23
[ Lieutenant Valyn Amarik | Mess Hall | Deck 13 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz [Show/Hide]
As she continued to prepare the meal, and the scents emanated and spread across the room, she heard an audible growl from her stomach. Chortling, she quickly shot a glance of confusion at Enyd, “Cows?” Her accent was sharp, and the word ‘cow’ was one that had it on full and open display for all those looking for a strange curiosity in the stars. She’d already clarified about the cows, but still the concept of riding one for enjoyment escaped her. “I still don’t entirely get the idea of riding a cow, to be honest. I do enjoy a good ribeye though.” She grinned and clarified, “Obviously not one of your cows but-” She shrugged.

“Strange is putting it lightly. Our shipboard computer systems…the Romulans, that is…they’re a lot different. Our AI is rudimentary. Designed to be assigned a task and complete it to exact specifications. Even regular old Starship computers in Starfleet are a bit more complicated. Thea is something else entirely.” The Romulans lacked AI, and it had been that way for as far back as she could remember in her history lessons.

“Jack and mac? Nah.” Her head slowly shook side to side as she thought it over. “It…does sound good though. I’ve had some mean baked beans that had whiskey in ‘em though.” She made a ‘mmm’ sound to denote her approval of the old dish. “Might have to try and toss some together some time, but…with Mac sounds good.” It wasn’t something she’d typically had thought of. “Your gran sounds like my kind of lady. Back at-” She paused again, halting her words, “Where I grew up and was from, once we were finally allowed it, there was no meal complete without a carafe of Romulan Ale.” She grinned, “They didn’t let us get tanked up very often, but when they did we didn’t let the chance go to waste…and if she knew enough about the neighbor to get ‘er twisted beforehand…” Valyn was clearly impressed by the story of the woman. The tales of old Romulan space-badasses had been the lifeblood of her early childhood. They were the only ‘stories’ she’d been allowed. Stories of great victories and the lessons to be learned from them.

As Enyd rose to fiddle with the replicator, Valyn began to plate up a few dishes and grabbed a handful of sauces and condiments from the ‘fresh’ cabinet that had been stowed away in there. “What exactly do you mean by ‘fairly close’.” She held up the mixing spoon she had gripped and stared at her, “So long as it keeps this going then…it’ll do. I never saw the point though in drinkin’ something that tastes like liquor but has none of the pleasant effects of the liquor.” A chortle escaped her lips before she set a spot for Enyd, placing the condiments between the pair of them

For her part, Valyn grabbed the hot sauce and sprayed the top of the Mac with it. As she mixed it into her own bowl of creamy, cheesy noodles, it took on a faint red tinge from the sauce and the smell grew noticeably spicier. She reached for the cup that Enyd had prepared for her and sniffed it, the liquid instantly searing the inside of her nostrils. “Fuckin’ hell, Enyd.” She exclaimed, before knocking the shot back. “Oh shit.” She coughed, nose wrinkling from the taste, her Vulcanoid olfactory senses firing their disapproval. “Not bad. That’s one way to get from zero to fucked pretty quick though.” She took a bite of her Mac and made another ‘mmm’ of approval.

“Over dinner, I dunno.” She grabbed an apple from the table and quickly pulled the Tal Shiar knife from her boot. She rolled the apple towards Enyd. “Throw that, I bet you I can hit it with this.” She grabbed the knife by the blade-end, which clearly showed the engraving, in Romulan.

‘COL. V.A.T. TAL SHIAR’

Re: CH02: S [D02|2300] Notesharing and Nightcaps

Reply #24
[ Lt. Enyd Madsen | Mess Hall | Deck 13 | USS Theurgy ] attn: @BipSpoon

“I’m a brisket babe myself, but ribeye is good. And we butchered our own beef back at Yew Valley Farms. It tastes so much better when you put your own time and effort into rearing it, ensuring its quality.” Enyd laughed before scratching a hand through her hair, further disheveling it from its original tight and tidy braid. “But it can be difficult to eat Charlie or Bertha if you make the mistake of naming the cow before butchering it.”

Enyd licked her lips at the mentioning of whiskey and baked beans. So many memories were associated with that particular food. Her laughter-infused voice broke the silence as she shared one such memory.

“The last time I had baked beans with whiskey was out on a trail ride with a couple of the ranch hands, and for that particular ride, my grandmother came as well.” Enyd leaned back and shook a hand out, a gesture folks back home would do whenever something weighty happened. “So we had the wagon with us, like old fashioned covered wagon of ancient Earth. If you’ve never seen one, I’ll show you later. In any case, grandmother was a passenger, and she made one of the newest greenhorns drive the wagon. Cuthbert was his name. Lewis Cuthbert. I remember that because the entire ride, my grandmother kept finding ways to butcher the poor kid’s name and call out to him in the most annoyingly sing-songy way whenever she wanted him to do something.” Enyd was careful with her next sip of the makeshift booze she’d procured. “And believe me, grandmother made him do EVERYTHING! Bless his heart, he didn’t realize until after the trail ride was over that grandmother was just part of his hazing process into the crew. The foreman saw so much potential in Cuthbert that he asked grandmother if she’d be willing to really lay into him, see what sort of stuff the kid was made of.” Enyd grinned and licked her lips again. “He made it, not to worry, and made some of the best baked beans I’ve ever had. We all got fairly sloshed from them. Including grandmother.”

Enyd took the time to doctor her own noodles, also adding hot sauce and a wee dash of black pepper for the taste, not spice. She laughed at Valyn’s response to the booze, also feeling the strength of it heat its way through her body. She needed food and fast if she was going to be worth much more than slurring drool in the next few minutes. Enyd was quick to take a few bites, smacking her lips with delight at the taste, before Valyn rolled the apple towards Enyd with directions to throw it. While Enyd had every belief in Valyn’s knife throwing abilities, she couldn’t help but wonder how Thea might feel about having a few knife knicks in her carpeting should Valyn miss. Shrugging away any misgivings, Enyd toss the apple into the space beside them, well away from the knife trajectory carrying danger towards either of the room’s occupants.

 
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