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Ch 1/5 S [Day1 | 1300] This Isn't Goodbye

[Lt Reika Sh'laan | Airlocks | Deck 16 | Vector 1 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Dumedion

Clad in her EV suit with her Ushan Tor on her left his and her Type II on her right, Reika had a small personal bag slung over her shoulder and a folded, tiny, yet heavy, piece of paper wrapped by her right hand. 

She had been briefed and had read through her assignment.  There was a group that would be leaving on the Erudite.  Reika was among them and her group had been assigned to the Apache which was currently docked inside the Erudite’s hold.  She had about forty minutes to drop her gear and to make her way to the Erudite’s Aerodome for a final briefing.

During the initial briefing, Reika discovered that Kino wasn’t in her group.  She hadn’t expected it, but she couldn’t say that she wasn’t disappointed.  She glanced around at the people making their way toward the airlock.  Not everyone walking that direction was a part of her group though, so Reika’s steps slowed and she looked back down the corridor to see if she recognized anyone heading her direction.  

Every few seconds someone else would turn into the corridor, but she didn’t see her silver-haired Trill among them.  With no one really paying attention to her, the Andorian unfolded the piece of paper and she stared at it, her fingers brushing across it.  Her eyes misted slightly but her mouth wound into a gentle smile.  At the end of their evening with the group on the holodeck, the two, still clad in their respective ostentatious costumes, had someone snap a holo-picture of them.  She had subsequently had Thea deliver it to her using the replicator.  They were smiling like two fools in love, probably because they were.  But the Andorian needed some small remembrance of her girlfriend.  She had no idea what would happen to either or both of them on this mission, and she needed to have Kino close even if only in visage.
Lieutenant Reika Sh’laan, Assistant Chief of Operations (V3) [Show/Hide]
Ensign Sashenka Kreshkova, Unassigned Wolf Trainee [Show/Hide]

Re: Ch 1/5 S [Day1 | 1300] This Isn't Goodbye

Reply #1
[PO2 Kino Jeen | Airlocks | Deck 16 | Vector 1 | USS Theurgy] Attn: @Dree
This is going to be a long – ass – day, Kino sighed to herself as she walked briskly, adjusting the bag on her shoulder. After breakfast, she’d immediately set about the final fabrication and testing to the light cannon, only to be thrown at the Allegiant. Nicander was due to be transferred aboard soon, and while most of the prep-work for his make-shift cell aboard had been completed, Kino still needed to install the cannon mount on top of transferring all of her team’s gear. In all the activity, she had completely forgot her own essentials, which had prompted her to beat feet back to her quarters.

Fuck sakes, this better work, the Trill frowned at herself, trying not to dwell on all the unknowns, and how sideways things could – and probably would – go. By all accounts, it seemed (to her mind, at least) this whole thing would be better suited as a shady covert op by the Intel boys and girls; if it turned loud, well…

I guess that’s where I come in.

Lost in her own thoughts as she rounded a corner, Kino slowed her pace almost instantly as her eyes locked onto Reika. Dark brows knitted at the phaser and blade on her hips, then the loving but obviously concerned look in her sapphire eyes. Fuck, the Trill frowned with a sigh, knowing that Reika had either volunteered or been assigned to one of the away missions; Kino had hoped – in vain, apparently – that the Andorian would remain aboard the relative safety of the Theurgy. Ignoring the throng of other crew making their way to the Erudite, Kino made a beeline for the Andorian, her spotted features softening as she approached.

On the surface, Reika seemed calm and ready; her eyes flicked up from something held in her blue hand, and for the briefest of moments, they simply held each other’s eyes. She wanted to rush into her arms, to beg her not to go, to make her swear to stay safe; but Kino knew better. Her head just tilted slightly with a nod of acceptance as she took a step closer, brows lifted with a small smile.

“Damn, you look ready to kick some ass,” the Trill’s smile grew to a grin, hoping to draw a smile from Reika’s perfectly soft lips. “Sure hope it’s not mine,” Kino chuckled, then slipped her hand into a blue one and pulled her back into the airlock, walking towards the Aerodrome. “It’s not mine, right? I got shit to do,” the Trill laughed, then lifted her chin to Reika as they walked. “I’m glad to see you,” her voice lowered a bit, as Kino chewed her lip. “I was hoping to, before we left; now here you are. So far, off to a good start,” she smirked, ignoring the burning questions and concerns in her mind to focus on the moment; the feel of Reika’s hand – the way her hair flowed, the strands bouncing across her face, around her antenna. The look in her eyes.

“How are you holding up, Legs,” Kino asked, knowing Reika would hear and understand the concern hidden in her voice.

Re: Ch 1/5 S [Day1 | 1300] This Isn't Goodbye

Reply #2
[Lt Reika Sh'laan | Airlocks | Deck 16 | Vector 1 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Dumedion

As Reika’s eyes memorized the various outlines of every spot she could see on the Trill’s face in the picture that she cupped in her hands, she could feel someone’s eyes on her, and she looked up from the likeness.  The pair’s eyes locked and volumes could have been written of the unspoken words that the two exchanged. The Trill looked militant. 

Interestingly enough Reika had never seen Kino in her armor, and there was something The mutual worry, the need to say, ‘be careful’, the desire to just hold each other in their arms, and even the temptation to just go off together.  Of course, neither of them would ever shirk their duty, but that didn’t mean that their hearts didn’t tug in that direction. 

“Damn, you look ready to kick some ass,” Kino smirked at her.

Reika rolled her eyes, but couldn’t keep herself from laughing, but the Trill kept going.

“Sure hope it’s not mine….It’s not mine right?  I got shit to do.”

The Andorian laughed more.  “Well, I’m happy to kiss your ass if you really want, but it will probably need to wait until after the mission…..Oh wait.  You said KICK your ass?  Yeah…no.  I don’t have specific plans do to that - unless you really want me to,” she quipped in return.

But when Kino slipped her hand into Reika’s saying she was glad to see her. Her tone softened greatly and filled with tenderness.  “Me too, Gorgeous.  I figured you’d likely be going, but after breakfast today, I found out that I’d be going as well.”

“How are you holding up, Legs?”

“I’m solid,” Reika nearly whispered.  “I used to be a Tac officer, so this isn’t completely outside of my bailiwick.  Besides, it’s not so much me I’m worried about,” she cast her azure eyes sideways at her girlfriend.  “And it’s not that I think you can’t handle yourself, it’s that I want to make sure that I come back to you…that you come back…...that we come back to each other, cause even just one of us not coming back isn’t an option, Gorgeous.  You know that, right?”

Lieutenant Reika Sh’laan, Assistant Chief of Operations (V3) [Show/Hide]
Ensign Sashenka Kreshkova, Unassigned Wolf Trainee [Show/Hide]

Re: Ch 1/5 S [Day1 | 1300] This Isn't Goodbye

Reply #3
[PO2 Kino Jeen | Airlocks | Deck 16 | Vector 1 | USS Theurgy] Attn: @Dree
Her lips pulled to the side at Reika’s use of ‘bailiwick’; having never heard the term before, but the Trill grasped the contextual meaning easily enough. Her eyes scanned the crowd as they walked, then glanced aside to the idling transports. The Allegiant and Apache both looked wildly out of place in the pristine, predominately white on black alien hangar of the Eurdite. Kino led them to the side, off near a pile of cargo crates marked with the Theurgy delta, seeking a modicum of privacy. The acoustics of the hangar were off, muted somehow; there was nothing natural about the lack of echoes in such a cavernous space.

Kino returned her eyes to Reika’s, nodding at her words as she turned to the Andorian fully. The additional height of her armored boots meant they could almost stand at eye-level, which was slightly amusing. The Trill wondered if Reika noticed, as she drank in the details of her face; knowing she would see it every time she closed her eyes.

Both hands held Reika’s gently as Kino pulled the Andorian closer, knowing what she wanted. Kino wanted the same thing; reassurance, comfort of certainty, of safety. The reality of the situation crashed down on her shoulders, on both of them – but Kino refused to buckle under its weight.

“I know that,” the Trill nodded, brows twitched together in concern. “I also know you’ll do whatever it takes to get the job done, just like I will – and you wont stand here and make promises you can’t keep. I love you, and I’ll fight like hell to get back to you. Never doubt it,” Kino spoke softly, then forced a small smile. “I didn’t make it this far, through so much, to find you only to lose you now. So don’t even think about that.”

A gloved hand gently cupped Reika’s face, thumb trailing across an azure cheek.

“I wish I was going with you,” she bit her lip to keep it from trembling, “but I guess I am, in a way. Just like you’re going with me.” Her mind recalled the brief list of officers detailed for both missions. Kino hadn't been surprised at who had been assigned point to the Apache. "You stick to Valyn's six, okay? She's an absolute beast, and knows her shit. I can't be there watch your back, but I feel a hell of a lot better about this knowing she will be."

Re: Ch 1/5 S [Day1 | 1300] This Isn't Goodbye

Reply #4
[Lt Reika Sh'laan | Airlocks | Deck 16 | Vector 1 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Dumedion

Reika allowed herself to be pulled along one-handed by the beautiful Trill.  With the other hand, she tucked her picture of Kino into her uniform where it would be safely stowed for the next time she needed to look at it.  She mentally cursed the fact that she couldn’t feel Kino’s skin on hers.  But despite that, she was so thankful to have these last moments with her girlfriend before they went their respective ways.  Both of them knew that no returns were guaranteed and she was so in love with this woman that her heart was about to burst.

Reika caught sight of both of the other ships in the Erudite’s cavernous bay.  There sat the Allegiant and the Apache, the ships that would take them in their separate directions.  Both of them were monstrosities on their own, but they quickly disappeared from view as Kino pulled her behind a pile of crates.  As the two stopped Reika faced her girlfriend and a small smile slid across the azure lips.  Interestingly enough, the thickness of her uniform boots put Kino more on Reika’s eye-level.  While the disparity in their heights never bothered the Andorian, this was, in some ways, a nice treat.  Reika looked on in silence as the Trill studied her face, and the blue-skinned woman understood the sentiment.  It was one of the reasons why she was staring at Kino’s picture and tucked in close to her heart.

Reika’s eyes began to glisten ever so slightly at Kino’s words, but she wouldn’t give into the temptation to cry.  She loved the Trill too fiercely to do anything to hold either of them back to to mar this special time with unwanted blubbering, but as Kino cupped her cheek with her gloved hand, the Andorian closed her eyes and pressed her blue skin into Kino’s hand, burning the memory of that moment and its tenderness into her psyche for all times.  It was a moment, she knew that she would never forget.

“You stick to Valyn’s six, okay?”

‘Valyn.’ That was a newer name for the Andorian.  She had seen the name on the roster as the commander of her group aboard the Apache, but it didn’t mean much to her yet.

“Valyn,” this time she said aloud.  “Gotcha.  I’ll do that,” she said with a nod.

After a moment, she slipped her fingers under Kino’s chin using her thumb to brush across those pink lips that she loved to kiss.  Her words were soft and her tone was low, not because she was afraid she would be overheard.  By this time, if someone on board the Theurgy didn’t know that the two were an item, they weren’t leaving their quarters.  Those who hadn’t seen them in action together had most definitely heard the gossip mill which ran 24/7 aboard.  But the Andorian’s tone was low because she was determined to keep her voice under control.  “I love you, Gorgeous.  And while we’re apart, every time you’re overwhelmed or scared or angry or out of control or depressed, I want those words to ring in your ears.  I want them to be a constant reminder that I’m going to do my damndest to come back to you.  That I need you.”  Those last words sounded more choked than Reika had wanted them to.  She had told her girlfriend often that she loved her, but she couldn’t remember one time when she had told the Trill that she needed her, but the need was as real as the air that she breathed in and out.
Lieutenant Reika Sh’laan, Assistant Chief of Operations (V3) [Show/Hide]
Ensign Sashenka Kreshkova, Unassigned Wolf Trainee [Show/Hide]

Re: Ch 1/5 S [Day1 | 1300] This Isn't Goodbye

Reply #5
[PO2 Kino Jeen | Airlocks | Deck 16 | Vector 1 | USS Theurgy] Attn: @Dree
For all her attempts to diffuse the worry and emotions roiling within, Kino had no defense against Reika’s emotive words; here stood – for the first time in Kino's life – everything she wanted, and everything she needed. Her mind reeled in the wake of the wake of the Andorian’s words, her heart hammered in her chest. Kino pulled Reika close as she could, wanting nothing more than to hold her close, but her armor prevented that; so she settled for soft kisses to Reika’s forehead, lips trembling as Kino fought back tears.

“I know, sweetheart,” the Trill whispered in an attempt to reign in her own emotions. Despite it all, Kino couldn’t help but smile as Reika’s antenna curled to brush against her face; a simple, loving embrace – far from ideal, but more than enough. Kino’s lips trembled as she sniffed, eyes closed tight. “Me too. I never knew I needed anyone so much,” she croaked through a smile.

It was true; Reika had changed the rules – altered the game. Before, Kino had lived with the fact that at the end of the day, she only had herself and the person next to her to worry about; while far from cavalier about life and death – there was no one else to answer to, nothing else to lose. Then Jeen happened, and while the symbiote gave her another reason to fight harder and smarter, the worm and its collection of lives only reinforced how Kino felt; for here was a chance, just a chance, at something she knew was integral to a life lived to its full potential: love. Kino had, in her troubled youth, mocked the very idea of it; it had been a myth, something reserved for gentler souls, for those more deserving than her.

Reika had changed all that, almost overnight. The thought of losing her now, or worse, what would happen to her if Kino didn’t make it back, was too much to even consider. I won’t let that happen, Kino shook her head.

“I won’t let it happen,” she growled suddenly, with absolute, almost cold conviction. “I’m coming back, and so are you, and we’re gonna pick up right where we left off. I’ll make you pancakes, and you’ll take me to meet your parents, and we’re gonna live our lives to the hilt – that’s what’s gonna happen,” Kino told her, staring right into the depths of Reika’s abysmal blue eyes. Gloved thumbs brushed away her tears. “We’re gonna make it, Legs.” Kino’s brows knitted as her eyes softened; all her careful preparations and rehearsals for this moment had amounted to nothing.

“You read me, LT,” Kino nodded, then bit her lip as she took a steadying breath. “Say what you need to say now, honey,” her head shook as a single tear flowed down her spotted cheek. “Cause once this shitshow starts, I want you focused on you – okay?”

"What else is there to say," Reika smiled softly as she brushed Kino's tear away. "We have a plan; all that remains is to see it done - so lets get to it, Spots."

Despite the gravitas of the moment, a broad grin split the Trill's features as she barked a laugh. Their foreheads met then, rested against each other. For the longest moment, neither said a word - content to let their senses drown in each other for only a little while longer - yet both knew that it couldn't last. Kino's hands flexed in Reika's, a gentle squeeze that told the Andorian everything she'd already said, and everything she hadn't. It was the signal they both needed, otherwise they wouldn't let go and do what needed to be done.

"I'll see you soon," Kino whispered to her.

"You better," Reika whispered back.

One final nod, then the Trill turned, took a breath to steady herself, and marched to the waiting Allegiant; her face set in a brittle, impassive mask. No matter how hard she wanted to, Kino didn't look back - she packed Reika and everything she felt deep, consolidated in a box in her mind; she had to, because dwelling on Reika from here would only get her killed, or worse. Kino wouldn't let that happen.

She'd make it back.

She'd see her again.

Nothing mattered more.


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