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EPI: S [D03|1930] Two Moons

[ Lt. Cmdr. Rutherford | Main Sickbay | Deck 11 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] attn: @Swift
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As Samantha had descended from the keep of King Arthur’s realm, leaving the knights of the round table behind, to venture into the caverns beneath the high castle, she couldn’t help but feel the comforting, yet hurtful ping of dark mementos spring to live as she set foot into the busy sickbay. Granted, it was not the exact same place, but rather a few decks down, and it wasn’t by far as busy, as when the Spearhead Lounge had just gone up in flames, days prior. It still felt as if with the memory came the lingering scent of ash and cinder, still in the cracks and corners of the ship’s veneers. Be it from that specific instance, or any of the ones that came after, where sparks and smoke filled the corridors. The main patient’s ward was busy, yet not turbulent. Everyone knew what they had to do and were under no pressure to do so more swiftly than what was required by medical ethics. No omnipotent force pummeling down on the world around them, but rather a momentary sense of calm creeping in, that one could only appreciate in the aftermath of a grand storm.

Following the almost ethereal form of a surgeon in white garbs, as the fabric flowed through the air like liquid, the blonde’s azure retinas focused in on the far side eventually. There, sitting on the last bio-bed, awoken from the dead, it seemed … was Andrew Fisher. And it was in that moment that it felt like past and present were converging in this very instance. Time slowing down to a crawl as it fought to entangle the concoction of memories and impressions, what was real and what wasn’t. Thuds of ethereal mechanisms in her chest pacing to an almost halt, as the sentiment stretched into oblivion. Even though conscious design had drawn her to this very moment in time, this very place, it belied a far deeper connection, which seemed to transcend such mortal considerations, pulling her back like an elastic tether through space and time, into reality.

It was as their eyes met, sage falling upon frozen diamonds, that the nature of said tether became more clear, as it manifested physically in their longing glances. A moment that had been pushed off in favor of protocol and duty, to the very precipice of what was humanly bearable. There had never been a true sense of being in the now, whenever Sam’s visited a sickbay post Dominion War. When every bed and every console had become synonymous with loss and despair. But now, many years later, there was a golden glimmer of hope that such daemons could be replaced with the angels of opportunity and fortune, which Andrew seemed to be rather adept in tricking. The man that seemed to have more lives than a Caitian. The man that seemingly would always come out of any situation unscathed, because some kind of grander scheme was not done with him yet. For better or worse.

Passing the threshold between them, across the vast ward, the past was blown from the woman’s slender physique by the sheer means of her momentum. Falling off her shoulders like autumn leaves, as a gentle smile of resolution dawned on those plump rose petals of hers. After all the new day of the present dawned on her and with it the revelation that this was different. Different from searching every sickbay for her husband, after the last battle of the war had ended. Different from finding him after the bombing of the Spearhead Lounge. Because by now the man’s persistence had manifested itself as a reassuring pillar in the woman’s life. A rock in the stormy seas they all had to navigate. And quintessentially so, they were for each other, it seemed. And if there was even just the slightest hope that death let Drew slip off his shovel so he could find salvation before the eternal realm, then it was her privilege to help him do that. An absolution for the both of them.

“We really have to stop meeting like that.” Samantha mused softly, slipping into the void between his bed and the next. Moving one hand to gently cup his jaws, plush lips placed an almost whispered kiss on the furrowed pleads of his forehead. Lingering there a little more than she had intended, soaking in the casual fragrance of comfort and security. No matter how obscured it was by cinder and antiseptics. Letting her hand brush through the thick of his hair, before resting it into the crook of his neck, dainty fingertips dancing across the skin on the back, for the first moment she let herself walk through the succession of events since they had come back.

When she’d been so preoccupied by getting the diplomatic data and away team debriefed, that she had not noticed Andrew being transported away until the first aid team and his hover cot had almost vanished through the shuttle bay doors. Then Yeoman Henshaw had ordered all senior staff to the bridge. And the sentiment of going back to that moment where it all began was postponed in favor of duty. It was until the wildfire had been ignited once more with the spark of his sage orbs.

And now, at this point, it felt like it would be hard to put it out again.

Re: EPI: S [D03|1930] Two Moons

Reply #1
[ Lt. Cmdr. Andrew Fisher | Intensive Care Unit | Main Sickbay | Deck 11 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @stardust

About to write a private communique to Lieutenant Alana Pierce, the Officer he’d select to serve as his new second, and who he’d intended to rely upon over the course of the next twenty-four hours while he was laid up in sickbay, Fisher’s gaze shifted away from the PADD held in his hands to a figure who’d only an instant earlier stepped into the Intensive Care Unit.

“Sam.” The whispering of her name barely audible as it had escaped his lips more as an exhale, than an actual spoken word.

Immediately, a litany of thoughts and emotions surged forth from the periphery of his mind and the depths of his subconscious, like an overwhelmed storm levy that had given into inevitability. Was she real? Was any of this real? Where had Hurley gone? Questions besieged and battered his conscious thinking, daring him to loosen the tenuous grasp of reality he’d managed, so that he might be swept away in a torrent of absolute confusion, floundering into an abyssal he’d might never re-emerge from. Yet when his eyes found those of azure, any lingering doubt as to the veracity of the moment seemed to fade; this was real, and more importantly, she was real. The relief of knowing this fundamental was enormous, and suddenly the deluge that had befallen him seemed only to ease his mind, rather than further confound, and contort it. Assuaged of his doubts, at least for the moment, he set the PADD face down on the bio-bed beside him and began to shift his position so that he might sit in a more upright position for her approach, and their eventual coalescence. Sure enough, the star he’d imagined during their night of passion flared into brilliance in the back of his mind as she finally stood beside him, and the tenderness of her lips touched his forehead.

Exhaling deeply, for the first time in what felt like an eternity, he was at ease once more.

As before, this incredible woman had acted as an anchor for him, keeping him at bay amidst the veritable hurricane of fate which seemed to batter and bruise him at every possible turn. Her steadfastness in the face of her own adversity, never waning as she had not only remained poised during the siege of Theurgy but had also coordinated and overseen the mission to rescue his unfortunate hide. Whereas others might have faltered under such a barrage, their ability to forge ahead so stoically having been compromised, she had seemed to be beyond such reproach. Fisher wondered for the faintest of moments, if that trait of hers was due in part of her upbringing, so surrounded by a family of prominent Federation Diplomats, or rather her Vulcan heritage peaking through; or both. Regardless, he had so quickly come to understand that she was as unflappable as any he’d ever before met, and as long as she was in his life, he could trust in her to tether him to a better aspect of who he was, and he would always strive to be the man she’d seemingly come to admire, whoever that might have well been.

“Yeah. There are better ways to appease my addiction for the smell of Sickbay antiseptic.” He mused, a broad teasing smile crossing his face, the swollenness of which had finally come down, thanks to some cursory attention given him by the Medical staff so far.

An odd realization soon came to Fisher as he let his head rest gently against a comforting forearm, the scruff of his gradually regrowing facial hair brushing gently against the back of her wrist as he almost nuzzled into her; while he knew that it was important to remain actively cognizant of where he was, and to be locked in the here and now, he so desperately wanted to let himself go and be washed away into the sea that was her blue gaze. The thought however, served as a stark reminder of how dangerously he was perched upon a precipice of sanity. After all, Hurley had been there just a few scant seconds earlier, and he could still detect the stinging scent of burnt tobacco on the inside of his nostrils, tainting the lovely aroma of his pleasant and very real companion. “I guess I owe you something of an apology.” Deflecting away from the very real consequences he was currently faced with. It was obvious he wanted to steer clear of any of the important aspects of his capture and subsequent interrogation. “I guess I also owe you a thanks too, for the whole, rescue thing. Should make a list of all the things I owe you for now that I think about it.” He nodded in an over-the-top affirmation, narrowing eyelids around sage orbs as he glared at her teasingly.

“Commander. Commander.” Announced a Nurse as she inched closer, intruding upon their moment for just an instant to get an updated reading from the bio scanner before she spun round on heel and politely left them be.

“They uh, have to do some kind of surgical repair for my ribs and lung.” He began to explain. “Same side as the piece of shrapnel from the other day; right side of me is starting to feel neglected.” His left hand touched gingerly against that side of his exposed abdomen, where there was an obvious hint of bruising from the ‘treatment’ he’d received from his Klingon friends. “Doesn’t hurt too bad, now.” There was an obvious sentiment of male bravado not so well hidden in his voice, all part of that charm he turned on whenever Sam was around. Lifting his head slightly as if to allude to Rutherford’s own untreated injury, he had noticed the small bit of dried crimson that hugged at the periphery of her forehead when she drew nearer. “Maybe you should get that checked on while you’re here. Give them something serious to take care of. I think they’re starting to get a little bored with me.” Winking wryly, he winced as a sudden pang sprang up throughout his abdomen; a muscle spasm that came and went with some regularity and which was starting to really grate on his nerves.

“Mmmh-mmmh... yeah, she’s nice alright.”

Blinking, Fisher’s attention shifted as he caught sight of Hurley standing at the end of his bio-bed, lit cigarette in his lips, and a disgusting look in his face as he looked Rutherford up and down as though she were a piece of meat. Fists clenched tightly as the spy took a deep breath, trying to dispel what he was seeing, and latch back onto the reality he had been in. Realizing how obvious his demeanor had suddenly changed, he shuffled uncomfortably in bed and cleared his throat in an attempt to further deflect attention. “I caught the Captain’s discussion with Martok and the Oneida. Was nice to see the kid reunited with his Grandfather.” At the same time, Hurley took a few steps over to stand beside where Sam stood in actuality, the gaze of his former mentor having returned to Fisher again. The sight pricked at the back of his neck, causing an obvious twitch at his temple as he fought the urge to yell at the hallucination. “Has your department started in on an approach for Donatra and her supporters yet?” Genuinely, this was one of the threads he’d wanted to pull on with Rutherford, for obvious reasons, but it likely would have been clairvoyant to the Chief Diplomat what Fisher was doing at this point.

“Oh come on, introduce us already! She’ll love me!”

Ignoring Hurley was getting difficult; the floodwaters threatening him and his slight grasp on sanity, but Fisher refused to give up on the idea that eventually the manifestations would dissipate like a receding tide when the last of the drug had been cleared from his system. It was just a matter of time. He was totally convinced of it, and with Sam here and now he knew the struggle to ignore that which threatened his grasp of reality would be lessened.

Re: EPI: S [D03|1930] Two Moons

Reply #2
[ Lt. Cmdr. Rutherford | Main Sickbay | Deck 11 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] attn: @Swift
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The true irony of strength, in its essence, was that it wasn’t born from the absence of fear, but rather an acceptance over things that could not be changed. Over one’s own limitations and mortality, and going on despite of it, rather than in absence of it. Just like light could not exist without darkness, strength could not exist without the matching fear to support it. Something that was very much true for the blonde diplomat, whose fortitude had grown in equal measure to her fear. So, one could surmise from how strong she seemed, on the outside, how much trepidation and insecurity there was to warrant such strength. An equilibrium held in check in no small part thanks to her Vulcan upbringing, heritage and teachings. Which acted as a catalyst, to level the scales of power, within her slender frame. A mechanism that threatened to fall out of balance, whenever she touched Andrew’s body, triggering a biochemical reaction, that equaled a wrench being thrown into a well-oiled machine. Which both calmed and worried her. But the submission seemed to win more and more often than not, which was an alarming trend, had her conscience not gone down with the tantalizing fog of ignorance as well, that challenged her free will whenever he was around.

Watching his pate dip into the soft dune of her warming arm, like a weary traveler, Samantha let her thumb flick up through the scruff on his chin, before delicately tracing the precipice of his lips, as her wrist ever so smoothly turned in his possessive ministrations. A distinct discharge of protons prevalent between the fine ridges in her fingertip, where her nervous system terminated, and the plush delicateness of his own beginning. A curious sensation deepening, as a measure of the man’s emotional state seemed to be come ore into focus than it had been seconds prior. A notion, heralding back to the night of their reticence’s undoing, when they fused into one sentiment of ethereal bliss. Which only now, under the scrutiny of logical thought, seemed as more than just a poetic memento, symbolic of their congruous chemistry. Calling more from a memory of shared conscience, than mutual sympathies, which the commander had experienced only once or twice before.

“I am sure they could give you some rubbing-alcohol to go.” Samantha replied coyly, the faint glow of rouge playing at her cheeks like the violets and orange hues across the sky of a rising day. All the while her shoulders delicately shimmied left and right, as her pate dipped with plump lips curved mischievously, belying the audacity of her thoughts behind them. A small indecency that quickly succumbed to the professionalism of her grander nature, yet it would forever be a notch carved into the brimstone of time. A fleeting glimmer of devotion. A similar notion of affection and rapture still prevalent, albeit in a more comely manner, overcasting the first indications of a shadow looming, in the connection they shared through tender touch. So, all that remained on the forefront of her attention, was how gingerly he venerated her extended hand, as if it was the very token of his salvation. Though a brief a notion of confusion, washed over her radiant features, at the mentions of an apology, her mind did not immediately hone in on what that would’ve pertained to. He owed her nothing.

The way Andrew worded his subsequent exculpation, however, brought back the whisper of amusement, to her rosy petals, which made her icy diamonds pop like sparkles in the sea. “Worse things to imagine than your forever devotion.” She whispered quietly, not faltering in her unwavering attention as the insipid nurse intervened as if she was here to sell the daily newspaper. Though it did require a good measure of that good old Vulcan self-control. She merely nodded, as he continued, letting her hand fall together with his, to the supple dunes of his cozy blanket, where she could idly stroke the back of his with her delicate thumb. Keeping that spark alive, that tied them together so vividly, like a psychedelic drug. “I am sure you’ll be as good as new.” Sam replied confidently shaking back a wave of golden strands that tenderly curled down the side of her peach cheek, fine lines appearing as if out of thin air, beneath her blue eyes, just for a second, as plump lips inched upward just a little more. Letting his concern wash over her with a subtle shake of her head, sending curly tresses into an uproar, there was no way she’d even just take as much as an analgesic ointment away from his recovery.

Er face, however, froze in motion ever so gently, as she heard a voice that didn’t seem to have left his lips. It was, however, coming distinctly from the man’s direction, yet so quietly she couldn’t tell if it had been his voice. The ocean in her eyes dying down to a frozen plane for a moment, broken up by frostwork of concern. “Who is?” she asked quietly, voice barely but a raspy whisper, as her blue eyes moved around the immediate pasture of their being. Brows inching closer ever so slightly, over the sculpted bridge of her nose, dipping alabaster skin into vague turmoil. Catching the flicker of his eyelids, as dark lashes cleared away some semblance of illusion, sage eyes had shifted to the end of Andrew’s bio-bed. Following the notion with her own crystal orbs, she could discern naught but a faint feeling of dread, manifesting in the approximate vicinity. Looking back at the man with concern marking her flowery features, the diplomats mind staggering over the ensuing attempts at diversion, all the while trying to keep a stable connection with the more covert subtones of his aura.

And then she stumbled, falling over the obstacles he had laid out for her, in the shape of diverging sentiments. Her mind wrapping around the ideas posed, weighed by the added gravity of duty, that compelled her to pursue this avenue first. “Yeah, of course.” The diplomat replied momentarily, before her thought process had fully caught up to the sudden shift in momentum. “I mean, no … I have a department debrief in an hour.” The blonde instantly corrected, shaking her head with abject confusion. Something had stirred in her mind, and it was hard to get back to the one true path. Then there it was again, that cutting whisper, making her body shiver with a sudden sense of gloom. A voice that was so distinct from Andrew’s warm baritone, yet no logical avenue would allow a different rationale that it was indeed the handsome intelligence chief. “Who are you talking to?” she queried in gentle contempt, that invaded her own perception like poison. Pulling her hand back as if through a subconscious need, she rubbed the extent of it into her other, as if she had been stung by the thorn of a cursed rose. Yet the haze like slumber lifted, after the deed, instead of intensifying. Only proving that fairy tales weren’t always true.

Re: EPI: S [D03|1930] Two Moons

Reply #3
[ Lt. Cmdr. Andrew Fisher | Intensive Care Unit | Main Sickbay | Deck 11 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @stardust

Fisher’s assumption that time would lead to silence in regard to Hurley and the other recurring hallucinations he’d had been experience, was one born purely of a personal desperation rather than any kind of advisement made by members of Theurgy’s medical staff. There had in fact been no advisement at all regarding the things he was seeing, due to his not having divulged their existence to anyone; as far as all of the Doctors and Nurses knew, Fisher’s ailments were entirely of the physical kind. Sure, they knew he’d been administered some kind of an advanced chemical agent geared toward interrogation, but on all neuro-scans that they had conducted so far, nothing had seemed to be overtly out of order. It was a dangerous thing to keep such an admission to himself, but Fisher had little to no interest in revealing the potential damage done to his psyche, as he knew it would mean an extended stay from duty, or worse. It also would’ve meant an all but mandatory session sitting opposite a Counseling Officer, and there were seldom few people Fisher disliked more than them. The thought of being ordered to put the whole of his thoughts and emotions on a proverbial slab to be dissected by Commander Hathev was about as alluring as an evening spent under the guide and care of his Klingon captors, and he might well have legitimately opted for the latter over the former.

“Would be nice to finally add some hint of a personal touch to my quarters.” He followed in on her coy reply, the muscles, and tendons in his face tensioning in just the right way as the already broad grin across his face broadened further.

No, it was bad enough that he’d be under constant medical supervision and observation for the foreseeable future, deprived of the chance to coordinate and lead his department in advance of Theurgy’s next move to meet with Donatra and her allies. It was safe to say, Fisher was itching at the opportunity due to his recent and extended past involved with the Romulan Star Empire and their internal matters of state. All of that would technically need to wait for him to be given the okay to return to active duty. Or at least, some of it would. If anyone thought he’d be laid up in Sickbay without any say or input in the matter of overseeing the running of his Department, they had another thing coming. He would acquiesce to the orders of his superiors, within reason, but he absolutely would not allow his Operation to suffer because of a few broken ribs and a mildly annoying case of overactive memories. That was what he was trying to convince himself they were, in the sincere hope that it might hasten their eventual disappearance.

If it was indeed an eventuality. He hoped.

“More like you’re making an ass out of you and me.” Hurley interjected, the burning cigarette bobbling up and down as it was still perched at the corner of his lips as he spoke. Fisher chose to continue to ignore him, though it didn’t seem to make much of a difference in said hallucinations persistence, or the annoyingly smug look in his face.

And then there was Sam, who he was feeling a stronger connection and dependence to with each passing interaction, and whom he knew would invariably want to know more of his thoughts and feelings as they grew closer. To an extent the idea scared him, as he worried that he’d in turn scare her off if she got to better understand him on a deeper level too hastily. Thus far, they had certainly shared and professed an interest in one another that had gone beyond mere physical attraction, and Fisher had already settled into a modest level of emotional comfort whenever she was with him. But at the same time, he knew it would’ve been entirely unfair of himself to hide from her who he was, and what he thought. He’d owed her that much, and end some given all that she had done for him in their short time together. But if he was unwilling to share the knowledge of his current predicament with Doctors and Nurses, did it really make any sense for him to share it with her? What would her reaction to such a revelation mean, and how would it affect his status within her mind? Tilting the pate of his head slightly in opposition of her, so that he might better peer up into those azure pools of hers, the sway of his internal debate was dipping in her favor.

“Forever devotion? Doesn’t sound too bad at all.” Sensing and seizing on an opportunity to turn on the playful charm he tended to exude, Fisher deliberately shifted the tone of his voice to a flirtatiously teasing one, while a deft hand stealthily slipped down to gently pinch at her thigh. Were he in better physical condition, he imagined he might’ve acted on the mounting base need he felt when in Sam’s presence.

“Hopefully sooner rather than later.” He winked.

Blinking as the pleasant moment made an odd turn, Sam reacting to something that wasn’t there, at least not for her, Fisher’s brow furrowed in joint confusion, all while the shit-eating grin on the persistently annoying man he actually could see intensified. A moment passed, and while a part of him considered asking her for an explanation, Fisher decided to just let it pass as little more than an isolated mistake, distraction, or loss of concentration on her part. After all, it had been just as taxing, if not more so for Sam over the course of the previous twenty-four hours, and it was entirely reasonable if she’d thought she heard something that simply wasn’t there. Maybe she needed rest as much as he did. Whatever it was, it didn’t seem of paramount importance to investigate. Pressing on, he’d asked her about the preparations her Department was likely making, and whether or not she’d had a chance to meet with them. Indeed he wanted to know what she was planning, because they would have to coordinate their efforts closely, just as they had during the rescue of M’Ven, even if that had been somewhat cobbled together on the fly. Once more though, Fisher ignored Hurley as he tauntingly plead for himself to be introduced. Instead he nodded in acknowledgement of her apparent scheduled meeting, the idea inspiring him to consider scheduling one of his own with the remainder of his department and the new people that would be picking up vital roles therein.

He would have to reach out to Lieutenant Pierce, and from the sound of it Lieutenant Amarik too, since she was supposed to also be assigned-- Wait a second, was she talking to him?

“What?” he asked her aloud, seemingly as confused as she was.

“Uhh-ohh! She’s just as crazy as you are, bud!” Hurley piped up, narrowing his eyes as he took a step closer to her, his face quite literally an inch or so from hers, and evidently examining her for something. “Yeah. That’s what you get whenever you mix in any of that pointy-eared logician DNA.” Bringing a hand to his lips to retrieve the burning cigarette, he disrespectfully exhaled smoke right into Sam’s face, and the thought near boiled Fisher’s blood. “Guess her old man added one drop too many during the crafting process.” As Fisher’s fists clenched again, knuckles popping quite audibly so as he did, the manifestation of Hurley turned his attention back to him. “Unless your crazy is contagious, and she caught it just by being near you.” Recoiling away in another mocking motion, Hurley checked his hands for cleanliness. “I didn’t touch you, did I?” The seriousness in his voice betrayed by a chortle of laughter that escaped him a second later. “Nah! I’m just fucking with you!” Subconsciously Fisher’s mind was trying to make sense of his and her shared confusion, an explanation of which, however haphazard it might well have been, was relayed to him via his hallucination, though understandably so, he was reticent to believe it. There was no way, that Sam was hearing Hurley, that is, if she was really Sam and not another lifelike manifestation of his mind.

His heart stopped for a moment in reaction to the thought that he might have mistaken a fake for the real thing, and soon after a wave of panic began to hit him, his vitals visibly spiking on the monitor behind his head on the monitor.

“Sam?” he swallowed hard, sitting up straighter in his bed, very clearly worried.

“You’re... you’re not real?” he asked.



OOC: Tagging writer's who's characters were also mentioned: @P.C. Haring @Pierce @BipSpoon

Re: EPI: S [D03|1930] Two Moons

Reply #4
[ Lt. Cmdr. Rutherford | Main Sickbay | Deck 11 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] attn: @Swift
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Upon the tapestry of Andrew’s countenance, within the delicate wrinkles that spread like cracks on oil paint, to signify the years and years of wear and tear, taking its toll on the masterpiece, every line adding meaning and character, Samantha could see the inner discord that was so delineative to his very being. But she could also feel it beneath the cover, like a pulsating ripple through the framework of molecules, giving his spirit a shape and form as it manifested in this reality. On the surface, the struggle between an expression of joy and relief, fighting the pain it caused, in correlation with his physical ailments. The willful movements to remain closer with her, feel her tender skin, at the expense of his ribs and bruises aching, like the bulkheads of an old battleship, victoriously turning into harbor after a fierce fight. But also, upon a torn soul, courageously longing for that sense of home and comfort, even across the dark chasm that threatened to swallow everyone daring to cross it. Yet not all these battles decided in his favor, she also surmised. Though as of late, the winning streak seemed to be almost foreshadowing a bitter end, if one were to have an entirely pessimistic outlook on it. Which wasn’t too hard for someone who had stood at the precipice of eternal bliss, when the world crumbled away, in one sudden flash.

It was a harsh reality of both their pasts, like a force of nature binding them together, as two moons circling the same planet. And even as that world slowly faded into oblivion, sending them into the abyss of space, the same force that tied them to tragedy, also held them together. Spinning around one another, hurtling bravely through the dark, until their centrifugal momentum turned into the warm comfort of each other’s embrace, and they would fuse together to become one, in the shared gravity of their connection. A single mutual core, igniting with the passion of the act, warming the newly formed union form within, for eons to come, amid the cold of the void. But even through the cosmic scale of their destiny, there resided a light-hearted poetry, which danced across their interactions like a coy fairy, sprinkling its enchanting dust into the cracks that would’ve otherwise made them stumble. Smoothing out the dark corners and empty spaces, as good as it could, with its ethereal levity. And that fairy was the humorous back and forth, that had transpired from innocent chicken calls to the more loaded implications, a shared history started to provide. Which only added to their overall impact.

Smiling gently, shifting the angle of her slender shoulders in respect to their perspective towards Andrew, a gentle glimmer of pink brushed past the blonde’s skin, as if touched by a ruby red rose. “I think your quarters have gotten enough personal touch for the time being.” A gentle comment which, as it left her lips like a lyrical train, drew many potential meanings into the clear blue sky, like the smoke puffs of a steam engine. May it be their time shared together there, in the warm embrace of each other, or the damage it had surely taken in the ensuing events. Not limited to their resounding passion, but also the struggles of the past days as a whole. This whole ship, in a way, with every loose bolt and every scorched bulkhead, as well as ruffled sheets and disheveled pillows, had become a memorial to their blossoming relationship. And within its beaten hull and weakened shields, it contained the frail amber of compassion growing, until it was mature enough to burn on as a fire of its own. Which, of course, did not preclude the danger of assailants from within. Inner saboteurs and seemingly benevolent notions, trying to undermine their respective sentiments in hiding, like covert operatives chipping away at foreign governments. Bit by bit.

So no, despite what humor and passion made you believe, this ship was not set for smooth sailings. It was in their DNA, their history, imprinted upon the tapestry of their memories. The code to their undoing. But at the same time, as history went, the capacity to learn from the past and change for the future. Which was the crossroads they were at, currently, wasn’t it. Giving into the notion to cut one’s losses and walk away, while the dices were still falling. Trusting that voice calling out to be reasonable and not expect a miracle. Alas, that was not what either of them was doing, as their limbs were fused together by ominous forces, their minds as one. Albeit unconsciously. Trusting into the very human notion of hoping for change, in a beaten and twisted path, that fate had laid out before them through the years. Giving added weight to the notion of braving hardship together. That shared pain was pain halved. What an ironic concept to behold, in the eye of that mutual perception between them, the figments of Andrew’s imagination. Ghosts becoming almost reality, at the assurance of two people acknowledging them equally.  For a solitary illusion was a mirage of the mind – whereas shared illusions became something else entirely - a manifestation of fears and wants.

Following the winding road of the man’s temperament, letting him guide her through the pastures of his troubled mind, albeit involuntarily, Samantha sat along for the ride. Taking in the blossoming meadows devoted to her, as much as the dark valleys of the shadow of death. Feeling their endless void and cold embrace more real than the warm sunlight breaking through lush trees, reflecting off of white petals and glimmering dew. Inclined to believe the sad reality over the enchanting prospect of a better life. Which wasn’t really an idiosyncrasy of her own – despite not really being considered Misses Positivity – but rather a notion spilling over from whatever this was, that established between them like a busy motorway. His one-word longing for reassurance cutting through the veil of perception like a Bat’leth, peeling her out of the ever-evolving cocoon of telepathy, that drew her back in with such vigor, she felt her body jolt. A sensation as if loosing grip, at the precipice of falling asleep, causing her muscles to tension. A distinct smell of cinder, mixing in with the jumble of words, phrased by a voice unknown, echoing from a deep dark crevice in reality. A world beyond.

A cold shiver ran down the blonde’s spine, as she felt the presence of something almost demonic near her. The cold hands of despair almost touching her skin from within, like imprisoned hell spawn, trying to escape the mortal shell. Leaving not much more but a wrinkle in the skin beneath her brows, on the surface, but much more elaborate cracks in the flesh beneath. And it was in that moment of inner conflict, that Sam felt as if drifting away from Andrew’s physical form, like two astronauts in the void of space, despite their bodies still being connected. Her touch and feel growing numb and nothing but a mere memory, as her conscience separated from its physical form, presiding beyond the two of them, like some ethereal shape of the afterlife. It was so cold and detached, she couldn’t help but feel like a ghost, that wasn’t any more real than the voices on the wind. Questioning her own reality, at the sight of her own body next to the bed, without realizing it was not how she saw herself, in that moment, but rather what Drew believed her to be.

The blonde winced, slightly, at the insinuation that she wasn’t real, as if being called out for something uncomfortable. But her body didn’t even move, which made the whole sensation just that more unreal. “I … I am!” she contested defiantly, though her voice was a mere whisper, and her lips didn’t move. Yet the resounding echo of her words reverberated between them, like the fear and confusion, that enveloped her spiritual manifestation like a hazy robe, floating in the suspended force of weightlessness. A desperation growing, from seemingly not being heard, being regarded as imagination, being caught on this ethereal plane beyond her control. “I AM REAL!” she yelled out, a radial shockwave of golden particles, ejecting from her spirit like a supernova, burning every other imaginary being in its vicinity to scattered dust across the void, before slowly settling back into her physical form. Now panting with the beating heart of a hummingbird, gasping with the rejuvenated vigor of life. Feeling her grip on Fisher’s hand tightened, more real than ever, as the moisture of tense heat transpired between their skins, like liquid silver.

And it was silent, for a moment. The people, the machines, the ship … reality was under their command now, which only made it feel that much more true. The voices, if only for the time being, seemed to have subsided, and with them had changed the entire aura of the physical realm. The moment of being lead through this life by the firm hand of shadows had passed, and back was the light they shone on their own path, one stretch at a time.

“I am here …”

Re: EPI: S [D03|1930] Two Moons

Reply #5
[ Lt. Cmdr. Andrew Fisher | Intensive Care Unit | Main Sickbay | Deck 11 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @stardust

How could he have been so wrong?

Panic, or something akin to what most people would have described as a panic began to settle in at the foundations of Fisher’s conscious thought, seeking to knock him free from the place of calming refuge wherein he had been so safely anchored. The revelation that he had somehow managed to hallucinate such a convincing approximation of someone he’d come to care for, had felt like a rogue tidal wave smashing against the broadside of a rickety old life raft he had so desperately clung to amidst a storm. What little confidence that had been building within him, reassuring him that he’d been through the worst of it, only to find the reprieve of still waters had snapped away, the chain tying him and his lifeboat down giving way as he was washed back into the raging waters of his troubled psyche. The serene moment he had so despairingly allowed himself to be enraptured in, felt now like nothing more than a lie; the eye of hurricane which had so deftly lured him into a false sense of hope. He was left only with a notion of supreme despondency, a very visceral sensation of which was now painfully palpable in the pit of his stomach. He wanted to turn away from ‘her’, and to hide his immense shame at having been so mentally corrupted that he had been duped into believing another one of his manifestations to be real.

It was a disservice of the worst kind. A slight made against someone who was so very above him in every imaginable way.

Yet, ‘she’ had persisted in her presence, long after he had realized his mistake. Why?

“You...” the word had barely seeped free from his lips in abject shock of how she had so vehemently reacted to his protestation of her falseness, internal conflict reclaiming its utter dominance of his perception of thought. There was so little he had been sure of, and with each passing moment even less. Questions of the most harrowing nature were assailing him with no afforded opportunity to address them in any kind of realistic timetable and interlaced with those were some errant realizations that were gradually popping up, most of which he couldn’t appropriately comprehend as jumbled as his thoughts were. One which he did manage to capture and ponder over, was just how insidious the drug running throughout his system had been, and how incredibly effective it had been working against him, tearing apart any conceived notions of cohesive thought. Cognitive attrition by a thousand contradictory thoughts, spurned on by an insanity driven overactive subconscious. The Obsidian Order deserved all the disreputable recognition the Universe could muster for this little trick, and to a degree, Fisher found himself rather envious of their ability to so deftly undo a subject. Sure, it had been the Klingons who had co-opted the drug, and who had administered it to him, but they weren’t the Mad Doctor behind this particular Frankenstein.

On top of all that, it bothered him, how Hurley had once warned him of the existence of this gift of the Cardassian people years earlier, and how he had ignored it as though it were a kind of boogeyman, meant to scare young operatives enough that they did every they could in order to avoid capture.

How wrong he had been.

“...are real?” brought back from the whirlpool of misdirected attention he had been sucked down into, Fisher and his little raft were thrown back into the squall that was now interrupting him mid-sentence with tangents of wandering considerations. As his eyes dilated in wavering confusion, their focus shifting from one feature of Sam’s beautiful face to another in staccato tempo, it became increasingly evident just how tenuous his grasp of the real was.

Again though, for the insignificant instance of time he was able to actually focus his attention on the woman standing beside him, trying to steer him through the wayward tempest that was his mind, he could feel his heart skip a beat, a sensation which reaffirmed his belief in the veracity of her existence. There was simply no way that he could have conjured her in this state, in all of her glorious perfection and imperfection. The way she had and could steel him away from whatever it was nagging at him, bringing to surface the better elements that made him who he was. No chemical concoction, regardless of how diligently and skillfully it had been crafted by the most brilliant and devious minds could have coerced him into such a precise manifestation. A visual representation was one thing, and convincing dialogue was another, but the intangible manner which had tied him to her in an other-worldly plane was something he couldn’t explain. Nor could he have replicated such an inexplicable sensation even if he had tried with all the cognitive capability of his mind. Simply put, she was too real to be anything but, and whenever he found himself absorbed into those piercing azure pools that could reach the depths of him, he found his wavering convictions restored with near absolution.

And as he took short breaths through his nose, quickened by a dawning consciousness, her insistence as to the authenticity of herself reached a supernova like explosion that shone brightly across from a distant horizon in his mind. In an instant, the rough waters he had been tossed and turned about in went as placid as the stillest lake, and the dark confounding clouds that had muddled his ability to focus were dissipated.

Physically, Fisher jumped as though he had been struck by something, his sage green eyes which had been glassed over by confusion were obscured for a faint moment as he reveled in the sensation of true revelation. This was real. She was real. She was Sam. Gone, without any lingering annoyance was Hurley, and any of the other falsities he had been envisioning. A silence permeated between them that could’ve been as prolonged as an eternity, or as brief as a bolt of lightning, the perception of which was as individual as anything he might have ever experienced, but when it passed Fisher found himself gravitationally drawn into the metaphysical embrace of another consciousness. “Sam!” he exhaled her name as though a great burden of weight had been freed from his shoulders, a salve of restorative clarity wresting him back from the brink of whatever insanity had plagued him. Whatever she had done to him, it had worked, alleviating him of the myriad demons that had haunted him. “I’m sorry I doubted you.” He soon added, the heartbeat in his chest steady for the first time in what felt like days, or even weeks. She was there. It was no longer a question that harangued him; one of few he had definitive answers to, but arguably the most important one he had faced since being brought back to Theurgy.

Eyelids opening, he breathed deeply as he leaned into her, his hand holding firm unto hers as though he would be swept back asunder if he let go.

“They, they wouldn’t leave me alone.” He began to explain, knowing it was his compelling duty to do so, not because of any Starfleet mandates, or anything so official as that, but rather because he trusted in her to a measure, he’d not afforded anyone else in many years. “Hurley. You. I saw, and could hear them. They were like ghosts. But they weren’t at the same time. Some kind of, manifestation of my subconscious, meant to stir my mind into a typhoon of disconcertment.” Taking another breath, he looked away from her as he recalled another ghostly visage he had witnessed in the last minutes of his imprisonment. One who was so deeply intertwined with her past, and whom he knew could shake her to her very core if he confessed to knowing. But he couldn’t deny her any detail, regardless of how troubling a revelation it surely could have been, his life was an enigma of lies, but with her, if he denied her the truth, he knew he would damn himself worse than ever before. “And there was, another...” Clearing his throat audibly, he was about to say the name they shared from their past, one he’d seen ascribed within her personnel dossier and whom he couldn’t believe the coincidental nature of but had concealed from her out of guilt.

“Excuse me. Commander Fisher. Umm... hello, Commander?” interrupted a diminutive, asymmetrically blonde-haired woman. The exotic hue of her eyes flaring as they caught in the overhead lights, she held a silver tumbler in one hand as she stepped around to the opposite of the bio-bed as Rutherford. She had a stark weariness to her face as she seemed interested in the sharply elevated vitals that the computer systems had just detected.

“Ahem. Yes?” Fisher responded, more than a little annoyed at the sudden appearance of whom he assumed to be another prodding Doctor.

“I’m, umm... I’m Doctor Foster. I actually treated you when you were first brought in.” She introduced herself, yawning deeply after having spoken as she pressed at a few controls on the console at Fisher’s head. “Sorry for umm... for interrupting, but the bio-scanners detected some kind of strange neural activity from you a moment ago. But umm... Don’t umm, don’t mind me, I’m just checking the calibration of the instruments. We’re still trying to understand the specifics of what the Klingons did to--.” Casting a wayward glance at Rutherford, it was clear that Doctor Foster could detect some tension at having so rudely barged in on them, her face going a shade paler. “I umm... I’ll leave you be. Sorry.” She held up an apologetic hand and just as quickly as she had come, she was gone, not looking back even once as she hastily exited the ICU.

With an exhale, Fisher shook his head and returned his gaze to Sam.

“Damned Doctors.”

Re: EPI: S [D03|1930] Two Moons

Reply #6
[ Lt. Cmdr. Rutherford | Main Sickbay | Deck 11 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] attn: @Swift
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In the traditions of many civilizations, there was the common theme of an ethereal deity, forming the world and the realm beyond, long before its inhabitants ever cast off the shackles of their homeworld, to explore their superior’s creation. A process involving all the love and skill, this being could convey, flowing into not only the conception of a planet and its surrounding universe, but the people as well. And with all the doting and caring, for this masterpiece, came a plethora of expectations and concepts of destiny and fate, that were not always in the creator’s intent. As it was also common in myth, when this happened, a mystical event came to wipe the sin and the misdemeanor, off the face of the physical realm. A great flood, to cleans the visage of reality, like a shockwave reverberating through all layers of being. Making way for the fertile fields of volcanic ash in the aftermath, that would become the breeding ground for new prosperity to grow, like poppies and violets, in lush meadows of hope. Ushering in a new era of history, whereas the old would serve as a testament, a reminder, to never make the same mistakes again.

In a similar fashion, Andrew’s mind had been perverted by the figments of intelligence, harvested for the dark arts of coercion and deceit, to break his vow of duty. A sentiment that did not only defy any concept of benevolence and respect, but also the very foundations of Klingon faith. That was built on violence and conquest, indeed, but about doing so upfront and honorably. Not by way of a Cardassian war crime. And in that regard, the cesspool of iniquity in the man’s mind needed to be rid of the dark shadows and malignant manifestations. Despite Sam not really knowing what ailed him, in regards to the drugs in his veins, or even fathoming any concept of remedy towards it, she somehow had managed to send that golden shock of cascading waves, rippling through the meadows of his mind, eliminating the thorny barriers and demonic vanguards, making way for the seeds of the man’s essence to spring forth once more, as lush green leaves sprung from the burned soil immediately thereafter. A lively forest, hesitantly growing, where a jungle had been before.

And with it came the ability to judge whichever phantom that plagued him, in the depth of the opera house that was his mind, and cast it out, in favor of all things real and palpable, prevalent outside these gilded halls and brickwork caverns. When the siren song from the deep subsided, in favor of the bright light, breaking through the stained-glass windows of his soul. She just stood there, on the outside looking in, marveling at the magnificence of what had just happened. Never not shocked over the awe with which she admired his strength of character and resilience, first and foremost to the jackals of his own undoing. To that end it almost served as a welcome change in pace, to cast out the demons of foreign intervention, rather than brushing those under rug that were entirely of one’s own making. Even though they had still wielded their masked pate’s and caped bodies in the process, as a measure of using them against their creator. An outside assailant using your own fears and insecurities, like surgical tools, to peel away the skin and the flesh, until greedy fingers could touch raw at your nerves, applying pressure when needed, until resistance melted away.

But he had not gone there yet.

He was still here, holding her hand, and it became the anchor that would bind them not only together, but to reality as well. Pulled from the realm of emotions and dreams, the mementos of the experiences still lingered on, like an echo in a dark forest. A memory which, in part, felt as real as the experience of having walked the corridors of Theurgy to come here, to this place, yet also so far away and removed from conscious thought, that it could almost be considered myth. Which was why the man’s apology in this world, was almost confusing and seemingly unwarranted, considering on what level of existence he had doubted her on.  Which threw the blonde, at first, fine lines between her immaculately groomed brows ever present, as topaz crystals betrothed him with such a warmth, that their glacial hue would readily belie. Even though there was a revelation buried beneath the experiences gleamed from the man’s mind, that had not quite revealed itself, like a budding flower, beneath the long-fallen leaves of his spring awakening. He spoke of the shadows and inner demons, that had been brought forth by the Obsidian concoction. Dragging his own perception along the line of outward elucidation, in order to wrap conscious thought around the wayward ramblings of an intoxicated psyche.

A name that rung true, in the most abhorrent of senses, ushering in the tidbits of information retained from the former spy’s resume. The use of plural terms still eluding the true depth of his ramblings. Casting an undeliberate haze over deeper revelations, harsher winters, that the frail scions of his new awakening could not yet brave. Laying a blanket of warm obscurity, to protect the budding recovery, of all things broken and tainted. Another … there was another. A revelation that did not yet come forth, hiding in the shadows of allusion, like a panther at the edge of a jungle, waiting to pounce into the field like a wraith. But the scenery of natural power and progress was harshly broken by the echo of an outside influence, a female’s voice, who only reluctantly pried the diplomat’s attention away from the bearded man’s pleading trepidations. Blonde curls bopping around a visage frozen in time, as it sprung to life with the invigorated twist of a dainty neck, glacial depth casting an uncertain light on her, as she unknowingly broke the moment of healing, with her techno babble. The lopsided hair-job irking her Vulcan sense of geometry and balance to endless extent.

Ultimately marrying Fisher too with an inadvertent blizzard from azure diamonds, as he entertained the doctor’s intrusions, the blonde brushed her lips together in abject repentance, over letting the harsh reality of her personality, show so unabashedly towards the recovering intelligence chief, she had grown so boundlessly fond of. Almost bathing in the turmoil and terror of moments such as these, to validate the depth of her own feelings, in the absence of regret and fear, over what was and what was going to be there. Letting long lashes ultimately cast twilight over lavender seas, the commander drew in a breath of inner peace, letting her Vulcan logic plead its case against an outwardly rude and dismissive response, her human – and more precisely human female - genealogy was bound to concoct. “Yeah?” she ultimately spoke, a single word succinct from plush lips, lined with the venom of countenance, hiding passions restrained. “What kind of 'strange neural activity' are you getting from me right now?” The gentle voice not doing the beautiful woman’s deadpan expression any justice, as it lingered in stark contrast to it. Larimar orbs conveying all the regret the other woman should’ve been feeling but was only now coming to realize.

Validating the woman’s remorse with the emotional sensibility of an ice-cube, resisting the urge to tell her to weigh such considerations beforehand the next time, thin brows rose ever so momentarily, in gratitude towards her immediate withdrawal. Switching her attention back to the man eventually, though gaze lowered to the precipice of their physical connection, slender shoulders shrugged ever so slightly at his way of making light in the situation. “Well, if you knew how to stick to a plan, we wouldn’t need them.” Samantha uttered prematurely, though no measure of regret casting over dainty features, as blue eyes met his sage ponds once more. For while this truth was inherent and unwavering, it was not the whole story. A small smile growing on rose petals, like morning dew, signified an added sense of levity to the words, albeit painted over after the fact. Hiding a faint sense of logical judgment, which belied her emotional affection for him deeply. Significant of the ongoing internal struggle. “Then again …” she added warmly, watching her thumb stroke over the firm texture of Andrew’s thick skin, on the back of his hand in hers. “… we wouldn’t need much of anything, would we.” It was a somber revelation, yet in its essence not intended to vie for remorse, or pity. The kind of ugly truth best accepted, rather than questioned.

Though as azure hues met their viridescent mirrors once more, the sensibility conveyed was indeed a gloomier one. Touching down on the basis of mortality and fleeting moments, interspersed through her memory like pearls on a string. A measure of history threatening to repeat itself, ever so teasingly, without any ability to stop it from happening, or to guard herself from the ramifications. Necessarily begging the question whether she even wanted it to. Eventually vying for a measure of distraction, her eyes fell on the small nook in the bulkhead just behind Andrew’s bed, where white light broke through a grated bottom. A new dawn breaking through plump pillows once more, as the blue sky of glimmering orbs emblazoned with the thrilling excitement of brighter pastures, heralded in a new beginning, of sorts. “Computer.” the blonde alerted, her voice carrying over the breadth of the bed with ease. “Two glasses of Cabernet, 2355 vintage, and two servings of Farfalle Primavera.” she ordered, as consideration fell back on the handsome man. “And put it on Commander Fisher’s tab … he owes me one.” An addendum which the computer ignored, obviously, because it was somehow intelligent now. And instead, the dinner was momentarily manifested in a haze of blue sparks and glimmer. Luscious scents and vapors invading the ward, like no care in the world.

And there truly wasn’t.

Re: EPI: S [D03|1930] Two Moons

Reply #7
[ Lt. Cmdr. Andrew Fisher | Intensive Care Unit | Main Sickbay | Deck 11 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @stardust

Low pressure systems, the movement of a moon and the effect it’s gravity might have on the tides; a deluge here, and a subsidence there, all of these elements and thousands more came together to dictate that which could be described as the weather. Anyone who truly claimed to understand it’s function, would have understood the intricacies inherent, just as a truly skilled Diplomat would have been able to dissect someone down to the baseline measurable affairs of their past: a stint on this world, witness to a tragedy on another, all of this built the character of someone, and informed their biases. It was those biases which they would then call upon when the right time came, and which they could use to the benefit of whatever cause, they were working on behalf of. In this, it became increasingly clear that Rutherford could so deftly discern the recipe of someone’s psyche by observation of their temperament, the manner in which they spoke, and the emphasis they placed on certain aspects of life. She could in turn know intuitively the master strokes necessary to make in order to manipulate them into the place of her desire, and in this case, how to so steer Fisher back from the brink of being lost in the swelling waters of his subconscious.

She had rightly predicted the tempest like storm that threatened to consume him, and accordingly corrected the course he’d been on.

Others might’ve thought this sort of manipulation to be underhanded, but that would’ve been a gross misunderstanding, as the intention had seemingly been one born of a genuine want to help someone so desperately in need of steadied waters. Naturally, as someone who had so closely worked with people like Sam in the past, Fisher recognized how she could so effectively lead him into whatever port of call she wished, but not out of absolute powerlessness. Ignorance was not something which could comfort him, nor could he confide in it, instead he could only allow himself to be so directed out of a notion of implicit trust. The sort of trust he’d not affording anyone in quite some time, though he now offered it so completely to her for reasons he’d not yet wanted to come to believe out of a fear of losing it. Regardless, he held unto the line he’d cast asunder into the bleakness of his psyche, which had somehow found anchor, and which had brought him out of the misery of an overactive subconscious working against his every thought.

Once assured that he was safe and sound in her very real presence, Fisher’s unease had been subsumed into an unveiling of those haunting images which had persisted in his mind ever since his imprisonment on Qo’noS. If he could’ve, he would’ve invited her into the very vestibule of his mind and allowed her to witness all which he had, but in absence of such a finer connection, he’d opted to describe it.

Or rather, he’d attempted to.

Though he had been spared any further visits from the ghostly apparitions of his past, in no small part due to the beacon like light she had shined through the mist, a lighthouse to guide him back to sturdy shores, the fog had not yet lifted from his perception. Only time would eventually avail him of the right frame of consciousness that he could completely, and intricately explain to her what he had been through. What he had seen, heard, and even felt. And while his cursory attempt to impart a vague understanding to the one person who had somehow managed to bridge the gap between illusion and reality had strayed, and even stalled thanks to the abrupt intrusion of a meddling Doctor, he knew that in time, he would indeed share with her the link that existed between them through sheer happenstance, that being their mutual personal history with one Brody Miller. To her, a loving husband who had made the ultimate sacrifice in order to save her, and the lives of his ship. To him, an old acquaintance he’d known only as ‘Mason’, but who had similarly acted with selflessness in order to save Fisher’s own life, and effect positive change in the outcome of a harrowing war.

Smirking as Sam afforded the intruding blonde Doctor an appropriate measure of barbed vocal tone, perhaps bordering a tad extreme, Fisher couldn’t help but appreciate that side of her personality. The balance, or maybe imbalance of her humanity reaching to the surface of her persona from time-to-time, knocking the stoic and logically inclined Vulcan from the precipice of dominance. It was a quirk. A flaw even. But to him, it was shining example of who she was, and displayed perfectly how unashamed she was of herself, her mind, or her outward perception. Then again, she didn’t necessarily need to, or want to. Whereas Fisher’s game demanded a healthy degree of obfuscation and misdirection, hers demanded a far greater show of openness. It was typical of any politician, but what wasn’t so typical was how brazen and confident she was in the hand she held unto. She felt no reason to hide her cards, because they were simply the best anyone could possibly field, because she had worked so diligently to ensure they would be. She didn’t need to bluff herself to victory, because she knew her play would stand on it’s own, and in the end, she would win all the same.

Once the Doctor scurried away, an obvious measure of panic and regret evident in the weary expression present on her face, Fisher let a good bout of laughter escape, a pointed index-finger finding Sam’s shoulder as way of playfully admonishing her over the fire she’d spat.

“That poor girl’s going to have nightmares thanks to you.” He commented amusedly.

Then the attention turned back to him, a modicum of accusation lobbied at him, rightfully so, though the levity of the moment helped to ease the severe amount of tension that had been harbored within. Leant back against the upright of the bio-bed, sage-green orbs rolled akin to marbles as he let an exceedingly sarcastic sigh rush out in response to the barbed remarks regarding his failure to keep to a plan. “Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know. But you know how it goes, one minute you’re planning a nice romantic dinner for two; fine wine, candles, some decent food, the next thing you know, you find yourself stuck in some random holding-cell in a basement on the Klingon home world, contending with a self-manifest Algonquin roundtable of snappy repartee.” Her hand still held in his, the softness of her digits contrasted by the utilitarian and firmness of his own, reminded him of the developing bond they shared, and how absolutely resplendent a sensation it was to return to someone like her in the wake of such an unpleasant experience. “But you’re not wrong.” He conceded, a thumb tracing gently along the subtle lines of tendons to the base of her wrist in sign of affection he’d not afford anyone but her.

Reverent in the short moment wherein they could just exist for one another, the rejoining of sage and azure pools, all other matters in the Universe and existence seemed to fade to a distant echo of forgotten noise. The guarantee of a tomorrow was one that he intrinsically knew to be nothing but a cosmic lie, but for now, he felt oddly resigned to believe in it, and to allow such a foundationless belief to alleviate any notion of worry and or concern.

“2355? I was just about eleven-years-old.” He commented as she placed the order with the replicator, shifting so that he could sit a little more comfortably, pangs of soreness emanating throughout his abdomen, prompting him to place a hand against the exposed flesh as reinforcement. “Let’s see...” he said gruffly, exhaling deeply through his nostrils a second later. “...in 2355, I was on Earth, back in Boston, cleaning dishes in my Mother’s Kitchen.” The memory of their family’s quaint brewery in the south of the Fens neighborhood, stirred up plenty of positive emotions that he was more than willing to indulge in. “I hated cleaning dishes.” He winked to Sam, extending a hand to accept one of the two wine glasses the replimat had conjured from out of thin air. “But Mom felt like it was akin to cheating if we let the replicators recycle the dishes into the system. Said...” he shifted again. “...said it robbed them of character, and of distinction.” With narrowed eyelids he held up the wineglass to Sam, a general token of salute and formality for them to share at least a clinking. “Not sure I quite understood it then. Not even sure if I understand it now, to be honest. But I guess you gotta do what your Mom tells you to at that age.”

Taking a sip of the 2355 vintage, he allowed the dryness of the aged wine settle into his palate.

“I wonder, what was a...” playfully over-emphasizing the ‘difficult’ math of discerning her age he hesitated a moment. “...six-year-old, Samantha Rutherford up to back in fifty-five? I bet she was already getting into and out of arguments with her parents, wasn’t she? Yeah, no cleaning of dishes for that six-year-old. I could have used you in conducting negotiations with my Mother over the distribution of chores between Benny and I.”

A wry wink coming from one sage-green eye as Fisher moved around atop the bio-bed to afford Sam a place to sit if she were so inclined.

Re: EPI: S [D03|1930] Two Moons

Reply #8
[ Lt. Cmdr. Rutherford | Main Sickbay | Deck 11 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] attn: @Swift
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Kuv du aitlun tor poprah wuh tan t' ozhika, tan-tor ish-veh wuh'rak – or as a similar human idiom went: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Which, in essence, was a means of fostering prosperous relationships, as it was to justify contentious ones. In any case, it was a mantra Samantha had lived by ever since her childhood years in Paris. Interpreting the equilibrium of all things in the universe into a set of ambiguous personal guidelines that could be inferred in one direction or another on a whim, as were the tools of diplomacy. Every force needed a counter force, tuned just as finely to counteract the original power in a way so the net effect was zero. Or at least a mirage of the same. For even the laws of nature where - due to the simple manner in which individuals perceived it – a measure of interpretation and, to an extent, illusion. A reality born from chemical reactions to outside stimuli, sometimes no more palpable than ghosts and demons, but far more seductive.

What the plucky doctor had needed was a push to set her in her place, at this moment in time. Like an ethereal force righting the balance in the universe. Merely speaking through the blonde diplomat as a vessel. A simple keystroke in the aria that was culminating in a manner of predetermination what the tangerine-eyed officer’s destiny was concerned. Because what Sam had learned predominantly from her Vulcan teachings was not as much the vantage to be gained in suppressing one’s feelings in favor of logic, but rather that in the absence thereof, there was no sense in fighting an inclination, an urge, as the purest form of expression. It had taught her to guard her emotions and squelch them, if necessary, but at the same time, accepting her own wisdom to know when not to. As well as understanding the difference. Because there was no merit in either succumbing to the restrictive rules of logic, nor the overwhelming torrent of passions. Yet rather the best of both worlds, which few managed to explore successfully.

But just as a thunderstorm, came in another force that intended to preserve some sort of equilibrium in judgment. A poking finger, humorous words. Belying any sincerity in an obvious manner, the blonde bid defiance to Andrew’s allegations in a similar fashion as he would to hers, in just a measure of seconds, further down the rivulet of time. Despite the initial defiance, however, there lingered a gentle smile, sparked from the man’s succinct historical context to play his argument up against, like a sharp racket ball. Yet in all seriousness, and without any offense intended, she had her apprehensions that the commander’s delirious subconscious – paired with a Cardassian venom, administered by Klingons, no less - was able to conjure up any figments comparable to some of human literature’s great, in terms of wit and savvy, to trade barbs with. Yet in this particular equilibrium, she felt oddly apprehensive towards balancing the scales. Instead, with little margin, the man did it for her. Which may have been the intention behind her initial silence all along.

More could be said in the absence of words, than in all the literary works of all species combined. And beneath her larimar sunshine, sometimes comforting and serene, sometimes fierce and oppressive, the hardest of stones would eventually crack, by a mere measure of patience and calm, that rivaled the volume of eons. Yet there was also a measure of bliss to be had, in such resilient silence, when a sort of spiritual bond – too forged in the furnace of time – acted like a piece of ragged string, two cups tied to each end, like a makeshift telegraph. Sending tiny imperceptible vibrations back and forth that resonated within either of them so in tune with their own being that it was barely imperceptible from telepathy. An utterly illogical assumption, granted, but one her Vulcan side had long accepted as human instinct and faith. And in a universe of impulsive, passionate individuals, reason only got you so far.

Reaching out beyond the glimmer of blue sparks, into the alcove of magic, Samantha received two plates and handed them to the shifting man, as he erected himself further against the headspace of his bunk, freeing up her hand to precariously balance the swirls of ruby ambrosia in cups of glass towards him. Slipping up onto the opposite side of the bed effortlessly, the blonde settled her slender frame into the bearded officer’s side like a loyal pet would to its master. “So, you didn’t try it back then, I take it.” the diplomat mused, curling her slices of peach into a sweet smile, dripping with the nectar of her saccharin charm. Handing him a translucent goblet, elven blood drawing evanescent church arches against the glass walls, as it lapped back and forth, she exchanged it for a plate of savory treats with a pleasant nod. Right at the cusp of sliding down memory lane, like water poured into a smoothed out riverbed, through lush ticket of green.

“Well, she DID rob the replicator system of valuable resources …” the Vulcan modicum of being reasserted itself, aided by the good-hearted lightness of its human counterpart. It was that part of her which understood sentimentality and the holding on to outworn shibboleth. There was an undeniable comfort in the tried and trusted, even if it contradicted any sense of logic and practicality. Technology and progress weren’t the enemies, those that used it wrongly were. So, in that capacity she assumed she understood the idea a little better. Approaching technology with caution and reservation. Which was still a far leap, given they currently floated through space in a metallic bubble, capable of travelling faster than light itself. In conclusion, Sam simply shrugged her slender shoulder against Drew’s muscular deltoid, dipping her head in quiet reason, against his last statement. Not exactly able to remember how many times she had done her mother’s – or grandmother’s – bidding. Likely less often than not. Authority had always come as a veneration earned, to the woman, rather than an inherent gift.

Slipping a gentle measure of pasta in between her plush rose blossom, the commander gently ground her jaws against the delicate food, in an almost mesmerizing and cathartic motion. Cheeks pulling at the corners of her full lips as the man spoke once more, beautiful visage turning to face his halfway, as he awkwardly jumped through the hoops of doing the math, in his mind. A gentle breath of vibrating molecules expulsed from delicate nostrils, like flower petals, at his words. It was rare that she heard the man talk about his brother, or his childhood, for that matter … if she could even recall a single instance other than this. Which she didn’t. So, the notion felt all the more personal, not only because their bodies became fused together long-side in the comfortable warmth of touch. Azure ponds glimmering beneath tree branches of long lashes, shading their sacred depths, while miniscule fractures stretched around their shores. Fine lines of bliss and joy, tracking across alabaster skin to the gently pinkish tip of her nose, as it quivered like a rabbit’s kisser, in response to his charming twinkle.

“Let me think …” she contemplated, readjusting her hips beside him as she did the memento in her mind, behind faraway hues of heaven. “… in ‘55 we were at a transit camp on the planet Lyshan, where Bajoran refugees were processed before granting them asylum in the Federation.” the blonde mused, shaping her lips into a pensive knot. Not letting a single sentiment, one way or another, sway her unwavering grace. Like a reporter, covering a tragedy far detached. “There weren’t any replicators, really. Energy too precious for such a luxury. Bajorans preparing incredible feasts in communal kitchens from what the people could forage … I remember gifting my Bolognese ration-packs for generous servings of spicy Hasperat and how it tasted so delicious if only by the sense of generosity and community that came with it.” she eventually concluded with an almost sentimental curve to her plush cushions of savory flesh.

“Can’t really say I ever had to talk my way out of doing the dishes though.” Samantha chuckled, diverting larimar hues to revel in their sage counterparts once more, mingling in each other’s reflections as an ethereal measure of turquoise. Who knew, maybe that had been the inadvertent start of her diplomatic inclinations, being able to shape fortune in a way that didn’t even require verbal cues. Much like most of the relationship with one Andrew Fisher had evolved in the silence between the words, more so than through them. Like weed growing persistently in the cracks of stone and pavement, no matter how hard you fought it. Some things in live always found a way … the always had.

"Did your mother ever prepare dishes without the aid of a replicator, when you were kids? Family recipes, perhaps?"

Re: EPI: S [D03|1930] Two Moons

Reply #9
[ Lt. Cmdr. Andrew Fisher | Main Sickbay | Deck 11 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @stardust

When considering the somewhat ethereal connection that had developed and was developing between himself and his counterpart from the Diplomatic department, the Chief Intelligence Officer felt a modicum of concern as to whether or not his defenses had been compromised due to an inherent weakness he’d not previously known of, or if they’d been whittled down from time, or if maybe it was simply a matter of them having shared an innate chemistry with one another. Another time, and or place he might’ve given the consideration an increased bout of attention, but as it was, he pushed the thought from the apex of his conscious and deep into the well of his subconscious where it would stay. For now, he simply wanted to enjoy whatever this was, and share in the company of someone he’d so quickly grown to appreciate, and dare he think it, trust so implicitly. A rarity for someone in his line of work, it felt like an all-encompassing salve which could alleviate the burn of all those years of built-up mistrust, and the requisite pangs of loneliness therein to belonging.

To a degree, it might’ve been considered somewhat selfish of him to allow himself to ease up, and let his guard down, given all that was at stake, but he’d played the role of dutiful soldier long enough. He had more than earned this moment of purity, of respite from a world gone so dark on him, when he could just relax and bask in the fondness of her presence. A presence which had proven itself decidedly real just moments earlier, assuaging any lingering concerns as to the veracity of the experience they were sharing with one another. To say Fisher had needed this, would’ve been a grave understatement of where he existed both mentally, and emotionally, and if there was anyone aboard this stricken starship, who was truly capable of seeing him through whatever plight he was currently mired within, it was Sam. With deftness which he would’ve normally ascribed to someone in his line of work, she’d managed to pierce the veil of his exterior, and get a glance of the man hidden behind the dual shields of humor and sarcasm.

It was almost befitting once more, that the port of call which had brought them together in this moment of reflection was sickbay, though this time it was the main facility rather than one of the adjunct smaller offerings aboard the other vectors. Still, trying events had tested his resolve, and thus far she’d been there both times to help rebolster it.

The process had already worked miracles, the sort usually reserved for those in history that had lied and pretended to offer a healing which extended beyond the realm of feasibility and or reality. Yet, the results were evidenced in the manner of which he’d already reacted to her mustering of pleasantries in the wake of so much unpleasantness. Vital signs displayed on monitors surrounding the bio-bed in which he lay had all fallen back to nominal standards, a reflection of the internal peace brought to his psyche by being able to enjoy something, anything really. But the truth depth of restorative medicine at work within him was of a sort which could not be so easily measured by sensor, rather it could only be witnessed by the expression of content in the features of his face as his sage-green eyes followed her every movement. A fathomable interest in her which went deeper than mere fascination or interest, piercing into the cold abyssal of his soul, and threatening to drive him inexorably over the edge of a cliff from which he would plummet at any moment.

As crimson, aged ichor which had been manifest into existence not an instant earlier assailed the senses of his palate once more, he set the wineglass down on a bedside counter to his left just prior to her joining him where he was leant up, the warmth of her presence transcending throughout him with utter totality, rending any still lingering bodily discomfort innocuous and unknown to his conscious thought. Immediately, the scent of fermented grapes was replaced by one far more delicate, and difficult to detect, but which he recognized all the same as decidedly hers. “Oh, Benny and I tried all the time. Sneaking what we could into the replimat, to be quickly recycled before she could even notice, but somehow, she always did.” Letting the plate of food rest against his lap, he less focused on eating than he was in being with her. “I’m pretty sure she couldn’t necessarily tell the difference between the old plates, and the new, but boy-oh-boy could she tell the difference between the truth, and our attempted deception.” Grinning at the fondness of the memory, Fisher tried not to let the bitterness of more recent ones sneak in and spoil it.

Swaying his head from side-to-side, the broadness of grin across his face increasing noticeably, he playfully shifted his body ever so slightly in an effort to tease her about the comment of replicator resources. He imagined for a moment he might’ve stood a far better chance of talking his way out of cleaning the dishes, had this logic-minded individual at his side been there to argue on his behalf. Though, he also imagined that in the end, somehow his mother and Sam would come to some sort of an understanding which put him at a disadvantage, and he’d still end up cleaning those dishes. It’d been a few years since he’d had any kind of contact with his mother, and he’d only really just started to know Sam in a deeper sense, but he felt confident that if they were to ever meet, they’d end up fast friends. It was a sentiment which seemed silly to envision, given how far from Earth they were, and the dire circumstances which quite literally stood between them and that idyllic world, but in this moment of calm, he couldn’t help but entertain it even to a modest degree.

A moment later, Sam stepped up to the proverbial easel so that she too might paint a picture of her life, offering an anecdote which would allow him a chance to peer into her past and fill in some of the blank pieces of canvas that still existed in the portrait of her which hung on the walls of his conscious thought.

The image soon conjured was one of a slight girl, blonde lengths of hair kempt clean and brushed about the delicate features of her youthful visage as azure-orbs gazed out upon the huddled masses of Bajoran refugees, displaced by their Cardassian overlords, and brought to this wholly other world out of necessity before they could be resettled someplace else in the reaches of Federation space. And though the initial sentiment shared had fostered images of great sadness in his mind, they shifted thereafter as she regaled him with memories of the Bajorans sharing feasts of exotic food, or at least, exotic to someone who wasn’t of Bajoran descent. The transitory method in which she imparted her memory, starting off so cool and calm, as someone of Vulcan origin might’ve done, only to shift into a tone of explicit fondness, and genuine empathic warmth which he could so easily detect triggered within him a similar sentiment of fondness. It was a beautiful memory he concluded, one of many he surmised must’ve existed within Sam’s mind, and it left him wanting to hear more, and discover more about her.

“They sound like a lovely people, regardless of the difficulty they’d been through.” He said simply.

The teasing comment made about not having had to clean dishes though, brought him back to this moment, and elicited a hearty yet brief bout of laughter before he’d suppressed it out of the physical discomfort it caused to his recently mended ribcage and lung. His gaze trailing down to cast a wayward yet wry glance, he caught glimpse of those blue-ponds that sought to steal the very breath from his core and quicken the heart beating within his chest. And though the tempt to give into a tender urge suddenly spurned within, like being trapped in the inescapable gravitational pull of a black hole upon which you’ve traversed too closely, Fisher refrained, for now, intent to just enjoy the simpler nature of their current interaction. Were it not for her follow-up question, he doubted he would’ve been able to do so for very long, and internally felt a measure of gratitude that she’d righted the course of their current travel together.

Clearing his throat audibly, he retrieved the fork from where it had lay on the plate of pasta and began poking it into the food that he might take a bite. “Swore by it, actually. Most, if not all the food she’d prepared for me and my brother, and even the restaurant was made by hand and sourced from local growers. It was quite an operation. I don’t know how she managed it, all while raising Benny and I at the same time.” Bringing a few bits of pasta and vegetable to his lips, he chewed for just a moment before resuming. “The craziest thing was the brewery out back of the restaurant, where she and my Uncles, from scratch, would brew various beers and ales. You could smell the malted barley and hops from blocks away. People came from all over to check it out, and once inside, her food, specifically her braised beef and beer stew, kept them coming back.” Sighing heavily, he shook his head reverently before concluding. “I miss that place. Those smells. That food. The atmosphere.”

“All the more reason to get this over with, so I can.” Tilting the pate of his head slightly, he looked to her once more before amending his statement. “So we can.”

Re: EPI: S [D03|1930] Two Moons

Reply #10
[ Lt. Cmdr. Rutherford | Main Sickbay | Deck 11 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] attn: @Swift
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And as they wandered down memory lane, skipping hand in hand like children at the cusp of naïve love, through fields of corn flower and poppy, they could take warm refuge in the rays of their mutual reminiscence. It was a risky endeavor, however, as the past was a fickle friend. Sometimes serene and calming, grounded in a sense of security from situations panning out favorably, but also choppy and treacherous, in the shadows of mementos poisoned with the ether of loss. Like a magical forest with spots of emerald moss, glistening where the bright sun broke through a lush canopy, dewdrops sparkling like diamonds and butterflies like paper facsimiles. But there were also the dark nooks beneath ancient roots, covered in moss and poison ivy, where the creatures of the dark lurked. Spirits of the underworld. And while this path seemed easy enough to navigate with her Vulcan training and decade long distance from the worst of it, the wending trail was easiest traversed in two, under the guiding light of passion’s lantern. For if one strayed too far from the sunnier climes, the other could pull them back … and they always did.

It had already seemed as if the initial barrier between them, a dark hedge of phthalo green thorns, erected by either insecurities and histories, withered away in the summer of their ever growing affection for one another. The shadows of doubt and reservation making room to a new dawn of trust and security. Creeping away behind large pines and sturdy oaks, surviving on nothing more than the hope for an eventual dusk, which seemed like the only certainty looming over the folly of any human endeavor. But for now, they relished in the burgeoning vigor of a new era, seemingly starting every new day further into the Helios’ track across the sky. Simmering towards the sun disk’s zenith and the culmination of their efforts in letting their destinies voluntarily float down the river of fate. Denying themselves the concept of an eve, to their prospective journey, knowing fair well that it was as certain as the nightfall of every day. And certainty was a concept the romanticized notion of love did not want to entertain. An intriguing concept it was indeed … love. A word with no definitive meaning, yet more gravity than the most massive of stars. Four letters, lingering on the back of Samantha’s tongue, at the mere prospect of having to answer her own question: Where this was going.

But just as much as the demons of uncertainty, those of definitive measure should equally be avoided, the part Vulcan officer was inclined to believe. Especially since in her experience both were extremely closely related. Like two Ferengi brothers running the same business together. Committed to nothing else but their own best interest, and a hefty profit. This was not the kind of mindset she could trust. And it turned out almost ironic, as Andrew touched upon her mother potentially not being able to tell the difference between the old plates and the new ones, replicated in near perfect similarity. But that it was the mere notion of truth and a lie, that differentiated one from another. When once upon a time, Sam had felt the kind of love for a man that she thought to be unique, epic, the kind that only came along once in one’s fleeting blip on the universe’s existence. But what if by allowing herself to perfectly replicate that emotion, with someone else, she inadvertently proofed that fate was playing games with her, by just letting her past passions of porcelain perfection dissolve into energy, back into the universal system of renewal, only to replace it with a new and better one. What would it say about her ability to judge her own convictions? What would it say about the pain and regret she was carrying around with her ever since realizing that plate had broken.

The blonde constricted her plush lips contemplatively, peach slices pressed for the vigor of sweet nectar, invading her senses like saccharine poison. Larimar gems dipping beneath the lush branches of dark lashes, as her wandering gaze met the valleys and mounds of the sheets gathered between them. The taste of her last bite fading from the ruby velvet of her tongue with every heartbeat ticking on. “Sounds like you couldn’t put one over her.” the diplomat replied, ginger voice rolling across the threshold of her blush meadows like evening fog. Almost talking to herself, in the hopes for it to be true, in the grander scheme of her spiritual association with the tale Andrew presented. It’s use as a metaphor, to touch upon more contemporary plights. Which wasn’t quite fair on the importance of his memories. As such, a glimmer of compassion rippled across azure ponds, as they rose to meet his wells of sage once more. Rose petals curving into a gentle smile under the sun’s wandering caress. No intent to encumber the moment with personal sentiments of insecurity.

It was far easier, in that context, to dive headfirst into charted waters, she knew inside out. Her own memories a well explored maze of hurdles and pitfalls. No hidden meaning behind any corner, or any intersection uncontemplated on their potential meaning in the grander scheme. The canvas of Sam’s past splayed out like woven silk, in all its vigorous shine and shadow, smooth and ruffled. And when Andrew judged the protagonists of her narrations to sound like lovely people, for a moment, the blonde wasn’t entirely sure whether he meant the Bajorans, or her parents by extension, as it seemed that had been the tenor of the memorial repartee between them. But either way, she would’ve considered him to be right in his assumption. And in veneration of that sentiment, she sought it most fitting to touch upon them in a unifying measure. “I remember that my parents always tried to hide the vast difference between the privilege they came from, and the plight of the people they were volunteering to help. Placing me somewhere in the middle. It’s when I realized that happiness is forged by the whetstone of hardship, like light is created by shadow.”

Letting the words float in the room for a moment, like a puff of smoke, the commander eventually shrugged her slender shoulders, pate dipping into a grin of abject shame. “Oh man, that just sounded so pretentious.” she chuckled, sounds bubbling from her tongue like chicklets poured into a coop lined with hay. A welcome reprieve from the hot flash to her ears came when Drew recounted the answer to her question. Perking up carefully, blue eyes following the plotline of his narrations with renewed vigor, the blonde crossed her legs at the shin, lowering the plate of food onto her thighs for the time being. She had not consciously known that his family had owned a restaurant on earth, though it could’ve been in his personnel file. Which she hadn’t read initially past the summary. And then later it had almost felt like an invasion of privacy if she would. It was far more personal to hear the man himself recount the milestones of his life to her. A solemn nod followed, as he described the place in such mouthwatering detail. Certainly a one of a kind, in a day and age that had reduced food to a commodity judged more in energy consumption than passion. One of the many joys that had fallen almost entirely to the wayside of technological advancement.

Having let aquamarine considerations fallen back to the barely there measure of space between them for a moment, sparkling vigor once more eclipsed over his meadow of fern, as he readjusted his sentimental tidings with a more personal invitation, Mere split seconds after Samantha had pictured herself in such a place, with such lovely company. A gentle huff of air escaped her nostrils at the almost prophetic timing of his alteration. Followed by a gentle nod of her striking pate. Blonde waves moving like a golden kelp forest in gentle tides. “To be fair, your recent interpretation of ‘let’s get this over with’ wouldn’t be very conducive to ‘both’ of us visiting earth.” the officer gently teased her bed-buddy. “More like me delivering your uniform and a collection of alien bottle caps.” And even though it was conveyed with a measure of levity, the message withheld a discernible sense of urgency. Not only to this unique instance whereas his living presence would’ve been beneficial, but rather this reality as a whole.

Because Sam had never in her life shied away from a challenge, and now wanted to see if she could tell these two plates apart, after all.

Re: EPI: S [D03|1930] Two Moons

Reply #11
[ Lt. Cmdr. Andrew Fisher | Main Sickbay | Deck 11 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @stardust

The opportunity to indulge in a bit of fond reverie was a welcome distraction in which to lose himself, given all the woes and worries of a Galaxy seemingly gone mad. A little chance to poke his head up from the depths of the sea in which he had been cast away so long ago, his tidings refreshed much like burning lungs desperate to expel noxious gases and breathe unhindered once more. Of course he’d wished there were more such moments wherein he could let his guard down, and just enjoy the finer company of another, as he was fit to do so now. Yet the state of affairs surrounding him was often a limiting factor, as it had been in the past, and as a result he often felt that he’d been cheated of cherished memories he could’ve and should’ve created. But here and now, with Sam at his side both literally and figuratively, he’d decided to damn the considerations of circumstance, and allow himself the chance to be selfish. Not necessarily selfish only for himself, he thought, but also selfish for her as well.

After all, both he and she had admitted to a somewhat troublesome past with regard to situations like the one they’d found themselves mired in, acting, and behaving in a manner which they thought would best serve others and the greater cause, almost always to their own deficit of self-soul.

He could in-turn sense that she was having a similar realization; that if she didn’t occasionally stop to take care of herself, choosing instead to focus only on the mission at hand, then her life would be of little merit in the balance of struggle. Why fight on when there was nothing for her to fight for? It was a question as old as time itself, and one that he imagined many of the members of Theurgy’s crew were often confounded by, though especially so tonight. The meaning of the consideration went even further than the crew of course, extending beyond to the grander spectra of Galactic Civilization which almost always seemed inexorably poised at the edge of the abyss, ready to tumble over an edge and spiral ever down into absolute oblivion. In a way, it was easy to cast away all personal connections and focus solely on staving off annihilation, as the ‘Nameless Darkness’ so represented, but to do so would in effect surrender any meaning which might’ve come from a continued existence.

That alone was a capitulation upon which Fisher was utterly disposed against, and with perpetuity he was resolved to strive to maintain some reason for his life, wherever he could find it. Be it in maintaining a hope of someday returning home to Earth to take up the simplicity of operating the family pub, or his deeply-held desire to have and cultivate a family of his own, Fisher was determined to keep those aspirations alive in whatever way he possibly could. He knew they added a facet to his being without which he would ultimately collapse, rendered truly alone in shadows and darkness where the very worst parts of him would fester unhindered. And in the end, he would wind up every bit the true successor to a man who had tried so very hard to manufacture him into the ultimate clandestine weapon. He would become a far deadlier and effective Hurley than that man could’ve ever dreamt of being.

Yet for Fisher, death was a preferable option to such a fate.

Though, even more preferable was living for something, or someone.  Call it defiance on his part, or just sheer stubbornness, but Fisher was dead set upon striving to be something more than who was and had been, a goal he’d been committed to for longer than he could remember. But his will to remain so loyal to his personal convictions had been worn down over the course of years of painful loss and anguish, for even in victory, he had still bore witness to the heavy cost paid and had contributed to the pool of tears rent in its name. However, that will which had been so diminished was now gradually being restored within him ever since he’d come to Theurgy; a ludicrous assertion, given the intense gravity of the situation this ship was mired in, but he was becoming certain that the cause for his lifted spirit lay simply in a connection he’d begun to forge between himself, and the wondrously beautiful person currently sat upon the bio-bed next to him.

Occasionally training wayward glances oft from the plate of food delicately balanced upon his blanketed lap to marvel in her steadfast allure; viridian beacons cast asunder into an azure fathom from which he’d never hoped to emerge, he felt radiant in her resplendent presence as the healing of his body was hastily surpassed by that which she made unto his toiled and torn mind. Again, were their surroundings of a more private and intimate sort, he had little doubt he’d have lost all sense of control and modesty regarding an outward showing of due affection for her. Yet, despite that deeply held longing, Fisher found himself oddly content to enjoy the simplicity of a meal in her company, the regaling of past life experiences and fond memories shared all the entertainment he could’ve possibly ever need, though a base desire would have still likely persisted beyond, which he could for the moment suppress.

Stabbing at another few bits of the pasta with his fork, the spy rolled his head from side-to-side in mock admission of his boyish failure to obfuscate on a level which would’ve passed the muster of his paternal matriarch back on Earth. “Truth be told, I doubt I could put one over her even now. She’d probably see right through me.”

Contentment continued to pour over him like an all-encompassing salve as he listened intently to Sam’s imparted further understanding of her parents and their dealings. The broader portrait in his mind of who she was, and how she had come to be this person was starting to become ever clearer. Lines which had been previously drafted during prior conversations and interactions were now filling in with color as his knowledge of her, mentally, physically, and most importantly, emotionally drew closer to comprehensive. Though, Fisher wasn’t so naïve as to believe he might ever have the full picture, and he wasn’t at all disappointed. That is, after all, part of the adventure that is romantic coupling. Ever journeying beside another, discovering a Universe together, and ultimately, each other until time would ultimately run it’s course and bring an end to that endearing trek.

A moment of levity later, coming in the form of some self-deprecation of her offered words, Fisher enjoined in a bout of tempered laughter, his reverie interrupted in a manner in which he’d never complain about. “Not at all.” He reassured her with a wry smirk, taking note of the subtlety of a blush encroaching upon the sharp lines of her jaw and neck. Pastures upon which he had so recently treaded with abject passion, and which beckoned in him a resurgent wish to do so now. Instead he once more let his hand trail gently along the periphery of her right shoulder as she remained nestled against him, her warmth a comfort in which he’d have had trouble appropriately describing in words. “Besides, I’m kind of a sucker for a good bit of pretentious poeticism.” He soon added, reaching with his left hand for the goblet of sanguine ichor, the dryness of synthehol laced replicated wine wetting his whistle all the same.

Again, the spy lulled his head as the gentle accusatory tone returned, pointing out his persistent penchant for pushing the limits of fate in end some. “You’re not wrong.” He acknowledged, before she made mention of completing a proffered will of estate. Immediately, another habit sparked to mind, in which he knew he didn’t necessarily have to restrain. “Whoa, whoa, whoa!” He objected, leaning away in order to feign a misunderstanding, however ridiculously concocted it was about to be. “That collection of bottle caps is priceless. If anything, they belong in a museum somewhere.” His gaze narrowing in faux contemplation of the matter, he continued an instant later. “In fact... I should imagine an entire wing of some reliquary of important ancient history will be named after me for them having been so donated.” Nodding succinctly as if to emphasize his point, he took a second long swig of wine as he struggled to withhold the broad grin begging to spread across his so serious exterior expression.

“Then again, I’m not even entirely sure which of my past monikers that collection is stored under. Bishop? Bourne? Bond maybe? Wait, was it a ‘B’ name I was using at the time?” With a shrug, he seemed to digress back from the teasing bout of remembering he’d so embarked upon.

“Too many covers to recall. Actually, which one am I using right now?” he teasingly asked her.

 

Re: EPI: S [D03|1930] Two Moons

Reply #12
[ Lt. Cmdr. Rutherford | Main Sickbay | Deck 11 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] attn: @Swift
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Indulging in this intimate ribbon dance of silken revelations with Andrew was a measure of innocent reprieve Samantha was swaddled in like a cozy blanket. A privilege she surmised wasn’t extended often, by the cautious spy, if ever. A mere measure of rarity turning an unsightly yellowish metal into a sought-after treasure. A tipper full of gems, dug up from the depth of a dark abyss, fortified by eons of erosion and tectonic shifts, the very powers that had shaped coal into diamonds, pain into strength. No doubt they were similarly burdened with the shackles of history, tied down by a fear of repeating it, fueled by the molten core of vulnerability. A delicate ballet of pressure and passion, forging glimmering veins of character, through the dark rock of blunted affect. One not able to exist without the other. Like shadow and light.

In that regard it was an honor, to strap on the headlamp and carry the canary cage into the deep tunnels of the man’s history mine. Guided by a waft of fresh air through the warren of traps and pitfalls, skillfully placed against unauthorized access. Exploring the underside as a complete mirror image of what the man displayed on the surface. A maze of insecurities and considerations that could be described as mawkish. Notions that had no place in the cold light of day - under the scrutiny of an unrelenting star - and instead drew back into the impregnable stronghold of winding corridors and deftly placed dead ends. A measure driven by choice, at least in one’s own conception, but equally - if not more – fueled by a sheer necessity. Like the oxygen necessary to keep a bird alive deep beneath.

And it was in that moment of delicate admission, that Sam realized for the first time how their dynamic had shifted, as if a sail in an unrelenting gale. However, not a change akin to turning the boat back to shore, but rather into a new direction over that unexplored marine they were cruising over. Taking with them all the vistas and impressions from the previous course. Settling into a gentle breeze that was more familiar, more comforting, than the equally enjoyable blaze of passion, that had driven them away from shore on this trajectory just a few days ago. A notion of easy understanding, more akin to a level of friendship, than that of unbridled passion, though it existed on beneath the calming waves, like a school of pilotfish, following the shade of their valiant sloop. A union of current and wind, which worked together to guide their journey forward. For a steadfast dinghy could not ferry on one or the other alone, if they did not align.

“I know the type …” the lithe blonde replied suavely, her voice dancing over the implications like an adroit ballerina. Doubting at this very moment that Drew could even put one over her, if he truly wanted to. An impression forged in equal parts by experience and confidence, both measures of aging. Maybe it had been forward to assume as much, downright foolish, but the gratification that came with assuming it to be true, justified any play with fire. But just as much as groomed poise guided her judgment, so did the mementos of exuding a similar authority over someone before, in the past. And being subject to the same, in return. There hadn’t been a secret in the universe Brody would’ve been able to keep from her, as much as her soul splayed open like a book to him in return, whenever dark chestnut moons fell on verdant meadows. And it was in that memory that her heart validated the assumption like a wax seal on an ethereal contract.

Andrew’s reassurance eased the profound sting of embarrassment, by speaking her mind like a character from a Brontë novel. A measure of flowery prose jumping from the pages of her inspiration, and over slices of juicy peach, into the critical realm of reality. Words like sweet marmalade, spread on a slice of crusty bread, seeping into the pores and cracks with saccharine vigor. A measure of levity that had little place in a truth bound by the gravity of their actions. But the fact that seeds of poesy fell on fertile pastures ignited a pollen drift of golden dust throughout the mucosae of her perception which drowned out any aroma of self-doubt or shame. His procession of words almost obscured by the dark woods of his gentle ministrations, of tender knuckles brushing against the fabric of her last remaining parapet. Larimar hues gingerly followed the flow of rufescent vigor, as it lapped around the abattis of Andrew’s scruff. Sacrificing droplets of glimmer like bodies against a chevaux de frise.

Yet even more sanguine than the artificial ambrosia was the graceful gratification of his voluntary admission. A notion that drew the woman’s slender frame to writhe like an eel, as petals of rose wound into a delicate smile of content triumph. A display that did not even immediately subside as his outrageous indignation blurred the lines between pretense and reality. Turning a presumably invented figment into a matter of possibility, no matter how implausible it had originally registered on the blonde’s mind. A furrowed brow, however, like a caterpillar recoiling from oleander foliage, betrothed the man with a measure of mystified curiosity, at the actual capacity, of him putting one over her … like an embarrassing imaginary collection of punched tin cupcake liner.

At the end, however, reprieve came by a subtle shift in the man’s serious demeanor, unearthing a mocking undertone, like the roots of a tree. Humor acting as a smoke screen to the readjustment of approach, readying a deft blow from a different angle. Samantha, however, nestled into the warmth of their proximity as much as the assured franchise towards his skilled advances. Focusing on the delicate ministration of her fork against the mound of pasta, Sam shrugged idly, poking the hidden dragon of the man’s ego. “The charmingly obnoxious one.” she replied succinctly, her pate flipping with the turn of a coin, tender smile alleviating any sting from the hornet swarm that her reply had been intended to be. Raising her arm, an expertly trapped bow shaped pasta on her fork, rising slowly to the perimeter of Andrew’s scruff lined lips.

“Why B though, hmmm … because it comes after A?”

Re: EPI: S [D03|1930] Two Moons

Reply #13
[ Lt. Cmdr. Andrew Fisher | Main Sickbay | Deck 11 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @stardust

Indeed, Fisher’s act of delicately balancing himself as both charming slayer of hearts and raven-esque reaper of the shadows often left him something of an enigma among his fellows, at least the real him which Sam was now starting to peer upon. It was a rarity for anyone to be given such unfettered access to his deeper thoughts, however heavily cloaked in sardonic humor they at times were. Yet, he could feel his defenses, battered and beaten yet stalwart all the same, starting to willfully wither away in response to her recurring presence in both the forefront and rearmost recesses of his mind. Sure, he was aware of her innate skill as an apex predator to match and even succeed his own similar capabilities, but in her he couldn’t detect any semblance of wayward ire which might’ve precipitated caution. Instead, he could feel only warmth, not of the physical sort which he certainly could given her proximity, but more so of a spiritual sense that pierced beyond the exterior veil of his armor and found home within.

It was in a manner, an undoing of near everything he’d worked so hard to become, his status as an unyielding hierophant of the shadowy underworld that is Intelligence was dwindling and ultimately surpassed by, she who instead stood defiantly in the light as a beacon of the promises made by their mutual master.

He wouldn’t have had it any other way, he realized.

Living at the fringes of what was real, what was a lie, and ultimately in the gray malaise which was precariously nestled in between was utterly sapping of the soul, and it was there that Fisher most preferred to preside. Or rather, it was where he found himself most effective in undoing the nefarious machinations of rival masters. He did after all, have a role to play as part of the razor-sharp edge of duality that was Federation diplomacy, though it was not always the most overtly known facet of said intergalactic power. Of course, generally speaking, the mission was one of peace and prosperity, but if a threat persisted beyond the point of reasonability, then other means of ensuring safety would be employed, and not necessarily in a form which necessitated being forthright in nature. As it was, Fisher had long since found a notion of peace in his role as an instrument of peace through inflicting harm, but after a while, and given the string of recent tragedies that had befallen the Federation, his resolve had begun to waiver.

Yet, like the soft waves of a moonlit tide gently cascading ashore, her continued presence would see many blemishes of his weary spirit gradually washed away clean until the sands were resiliently restored to their pristineness. She would in effect unmake, and then remake him all the more zealous in his steadfastness.

A debt he doubted he could ever truly repay, though he was determined to try.

“I bet.” He quipped simply; the wry smirk of bemusement still evident upon the scruff-lined features of his face. In fact he was all but certain that in some instances, his mother and Sam were cut of the same cloth, and as such would know instinctively anytime he attempted to foist one over on either of them. The challenge of course loomed almost immediately, piquing a point of interest he wondered about championing at some point, though obviously at another juncture. Still, casting a measuring glance over the resplendent veneer of his dulcet companion, he internally gauged his chances at taking the bank in a game of poker opposite her, and somehow knew with absolution that he would inevitably lose such a showdown. The memory of his failed replimat prank on her had yet to be resolved, and though he had to a degree grown less vitriolic in his reactions to the beverage he’d since been effectively relegated in consuming, he still found the warm and rapturous serenity of ginger tea and ginseng to be entirely insidious.

Wholly befitting of a most cunning diplomat.

Hence, he immediately knew that his deliberately playful ploy of absentminded subterfuge would be so unceremoniously defused, and more than likely turned round back at him. Naturally in fact, an instantaneously fulfilled self-prophecy which elicited yet another humble bout of laughter, as she so markedly yet just as playfully struck back in clever rebuke. The tilt of his head dipping ever so slightly in acceptance of the admonishment he more than deserved but had genuinely also desired. Years ago, he’d been described as frustratingly cheeky by a fellow operative; a reputation he’d happily worn like a badge, and now he would add her chosen words as another. “Oh, right! That one! I like that one.” He teased as though he had returned a volley, adding a physical emphasis to his words as he jilted a sudden shift in his posture opposite of how she had so nestled against him, ensuring that their uniquely firm and soft features coalesced more completely, and more comfortably.

“Yep. I’ve gone through so many cover identities at this point, it’s hard to keep track.” Surprised at how just hungry he’d found himself to be in the moment, he didn’t abate for an instant when she effectively offered a bit of her own helping of primavera. Instead, as though this had been a tried and practiced habit they shared in, which it wasn’t, he pressed his head forward just enough to bite the ridged tubules of flavorful starched wheat from the fork upon which they’d been skewered. And, as he chewed, he exhaled deeply from nostrils before once more breathing in deep of the myriad blissful scent of food and her alluringly sweet perfume. “I am not looking forward to the next name on the list.” Interjecting for a moment to wet his whistle and wash clean his gullet, he returned the stemmed wine glass to where it was perched a second earlier. “Oscar. Oscar Goldman.” Again, so as to emphasize and make clear his emotions on the matter, Fisher let a purposefully exaggerated shudder reverberate throughout his body.

“I mean... do I really look like I could pull off a name like Oscar?” He shook his head and grinned more broadly in an obvious failure to maintain any semblance of serious composure.

“Actually, don’t answer that.” He said, his eyes narrowing in direct challenge.

Re: EPI: S [D03|1930] Two Moons

Reply #14
[ Lt. Cmdr. Rutherford | Main Sickbay | Deck 11 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] attn: @Swift
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There was a term in nature, coined for the cunning adaption to hiding in plain sight, called mimicry. A species that had wholly – or in part – evolved to mimic the appearance and demeanor of a different genus, in order to provide a selective advantage to the mimic. A brilliant guise that did not stop at imitating other living things, but even extended to the imitation of inanimate objects in their surroundings, like earth’s stick insects, which hid in plain sight with the appearance of a twig. Andorian stinger flies, which mirrored the flight and look of snowflakes. Or, at the apex of such evolutions, the changeling species, who had evolved to pose as any object, or living thing, they desired. But that measure of cunning deception was not exclusive to the animal kingdom, or certain select genera of intelligence, as an evolutionary adaption. But at a similar level to any intelligent species as a whole, as a measure of situational adaption. But under very similar prerequisites.

The ability to lie, as such an adjustment, designed to evade danger or uncomfortable situations … or even as a means to tip the balance of power. A trait prevalent in almost all known intelligent species. Yet, much like mimicry in nature, this situational deception was often times involuntary and functioned without the explicit intent of the mimic. It too could become second nature, akin to an evolutionary trait. A gentle smile as much a defense mechanism as sharp spikes of poisonous skin. An outgoing personality as much a deterrent as colorful feathers and aggressive poses. All intended to bend the opponent’s attention around the individual like light in a cloaking device. To make them untouchable, forgettable, sleek. A habitual advantage Samantha knew was very much handpicked and groomed in the intelligence circles of Starfleet, and other civilizations. Many of which making it a cultural – and technological - artform, such as the Romulans.

But just as Andrew had fallen to the evolutionary siren call of mimicry, shaped and sharpened at the whetstone of his occupation, the diplomat herself had become innately attuned to the empirical giveaways of such mechanisms, through her own work of detecting deceit, over the years. And as such, one could surmise their attraction to one another was as poetically perfect as it bore the recipe for disaster. Luckily, however, it would be within either’s measure of self-determination, which way it was to go. After all, growing up, making experiences and learning from them, was a measure of fast-moving evolution in its own. Even one that could be passed on to following generations, through acts of matter and weight. A sort of autonomous growth, exclusive to the more developed intelligence of self-aware species, that drove their mutual progress. A process that could as easily be perverted, as it could become a religion of peace and prosperity.

Listening to the man speak about his identities, as if they were costumes in a theatre changing room, Sam couldn’t help but subconsciously sift the sandy measure of dread from the majority of grief, hidden beneath the gentle glimmer of quartz. Cocking a brow skillfully, like a meercat detecting oncoming danger, the blonde wallowed in a brief sprinkle of contemplation. Soon dipping into a deluge of incredulous bedlam, as the next identity change was christened. One that didn’t make her want to wait for the curtain to rise. “How?” she wondered dynamically. “HOW is it Oscar? You jumped like ten perfectly fine letters.” The blonde added with a humorous sense of mock frustration, making the cutlery on the brim of her plate jingle with her animate contest. “Why not …” delicate pate angled at the bright ceiling with beautiful thought, seeking a divine afflatus of sorts, before larimar gems fell back to earth with the reignited vigor of revelation.

“Cesar Sal … azar.” Samantha proposed, pretty features contorting halfway through realizing she had been thinking of food still. Clearly, she wasn’t groomed for this particular area of creative license at work. As a contrary matter of fact, her real name and standing usually were an asset in her negotiations, rather than a liability. Waving of any potential rebuttal to her poor performance, as well as Andrew’s request to not pursue this twilight avenue any further, the blonde gladly settled in the untouched poppy fields of new pastures, as the horizon opened up new perspectives to venture into. New tangents to pursue. And as such, the lithe woman picked up the hem of her flowing dress and skipped towards the next hill, sunlight glimmering in her tresses like gold spun by a fairytale imp. Still feeling the warmth and glow on her skin, from basking in the bright allure of the man’s charisma and charm. A gleaming orb of liquid amber that made it hard to peer behind the veil of mimicry, that had become second nature to him, like colorful stripes or contrasting dots.

“You know …” she started out gingerly, peering behind the next ridge of unexplored hills. “… I am curious what’s hiding beneath all of this.” Flat hand following the lines of an imaginary cocoon of thin air around Drew’s torso, as a means of illustrating the invisible act. An armor that had broken and shattered in places, patched up in others, still allowing for a little bit of light to shine through on the vulnerable vestiges beneath. Which made her wonder if she would ever see the whole picture, or whether there even still was one, or if the core of who he was too had shattered as much as the intermediate layer he pretended was the core of his being when – in fact – it seemed like just another defense. And it probably was as clear to see for the perceptive blonde not only because of her own experiences with people of his trade, but because a measure of it was true for herself as well. A rather significant measure.

And as such, she had learned, only the precise blade, could penetrate the shell. “Even all that charm and confidence … could be construed as a form of deflection, at least in my experience.” she pondered, not only for herself, but as a mutual sentiment between them. “Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying you’re not really charming.” the jester in her added calmly. Breathing just that delicate measure of levity into the conversation, that had faired so well with Andrew, when discussing more serious matters previously. “But I have to say it feels, at times, like you’re leading people up the garden path. Deliberately or not.” And just then, Sam gingerly cringed at the barebones honesty she proposed just then in such a slightly judgmental manner. “I mean … every time you smile at me, or look at me sort of provocatively …” a gentle glimmer of periwinkle hues cast sideways, hiding their own bout of insecurities beneath long lashes, the commander slightly shuffled in her seat. “I wonder if I am getting too close to something, triggering some sort of defense, or if you’re actually letting it all go for the real you to shine through.”

Another gentle shrug of dainty shoulders, the blonde knew what she was talking about. Maybe not specifically so in regards to Drew, but in general. Brody and she had been exceptionally open and vocal about their respective feelings and trepidations. That’s how such an unlikely relationship had blossomed and thrived. And as such, this would serve as a pivotal moment in this one. To figure out whether both were ready to entertain that kind of – sometimes painful – dialogue. As such, azure hope drifted back to sage meadows, peeling away protective clouds of soft cotton, hoping to find the warm sunlight once again.

 
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