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Topic: Day 03 [0800 hrs.] On Solid Ground (Read 353 times) previous topic - next topic

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Day 03 [0800 hrs.] On Solid Ground
"ON SOLID GROUND"

STARDATE 57563.55
MARCH 13, 2381
0800 HRS.

[ CPO Morgan Song | Main Engineering | Deck 25 | Vector 03 | USS Theurgy | Aldea ] attn: @FollowTomorrow

It had been three days since they landed in Aldea, and Morgan's feet hadn't touched the ground since -- literally or metaphorically. The Theurgy had barely limped away from the battle with the Borg, and even before then none of the vectors had been in great health. Even before anyone could begin to think about fixing up the dramatically-lowered warp capabilities, or the drained power systems, or even the damaged shield generators, there were about a million emergency repairs to be made, both small (like messed-up EPS lines) and very much not small (like the several entire holes blown in the side of the ship). Morgan would've been busy even if he hadn't ended up being promoted; as it was, he was worked off his feet. Still, he had a duty to perform, and he was glad to do it. Never mind that he was mostly running on caffeine and determination at this point.

He'd gotten a couple of hours sleep last night, at least, before heading back out. The Theurgy's repairs had been an exercise in prioritisation: with everyone working round the clock, most of the more dramatic emergency work had already been assigned and dealt with, but there were still plenty of smaller jobs to be getting on with. And with Morgan's new role, the small jobs were apparently his bread and butter now.

One such job had called him this morning. The optical phtotoconductor in Transporter Room 3 had been cracked, no doubt in the turbulence of the battle. Thankfully, the officer on duty had noticed before trying to beam anyone down to Aldea. Still, he figured it was worth dunning a diagnostics check on the other transporter rooms -- they'd be seeing more use in the coming days as people started to go on shore leave, and Morgan didn't want to be responsible for someone being turned into strawberry jam before they'd even gotten a holiday.

Rather than traipse all over the entire ship, he headed to Main Engineering to run checks remotely. It was no substitute for sticking his head in a hatch and mucking around with the hardware, but it'd flag up any issues and save him the trouble of navigating the separated vectors unnecessarily.

Main Engineering was quiet when he arrived. Or maybe it just seemed that way: a lot of people had been picking up extra shifts lately, so he had gotten used to seeing Engineering bustling with personnel. Now there were no longer (as many) holes in the hull, it seemed shift requirements were being relaxed, and some people were using the extra time to visit Aldea on the shore leave the captain had promised.

Morgan was not among them. It wasn't that he didn't want to go ashore, necessarily, but he had work to do. And Aldea didn't much appeal to him honestly, it was just another planet, nothing special. He could wait to get down there. What was the rush? No need to run off at the first opportunity. He was fine up here.

Anyway, who needed shore leave when you could sit alone in Engineering and run the same test five times in a row?
  • Last Edit: June 20, 2019, 11:40:03 PM by Auctor Lucan
CPO Morgan Song - Engineering - Chief of Maintenance (V2) [Show/Hide]
Lt Cmdr Hathev - Counselling - Chief Counsellor [Show/Hide]
Ensign Inej 'Avi' Avirim - Security - Investigations Officer [Show/Hide]

Re: SD 57563.55: On Solid Ground
Reply #1
[ Lt. Jg. Suq | Main Engineering | Deck 25 | Vector 03 | USS Theurgy | Aldea ]

There was a certain culture among some engineers that encouraged"leaving your mark"on the ship you serve. This could mean anything, from improvements, patch jobs, modifications, or just carving your name on the back panel in some dead-end jeffries tube. So in some ways, it explained why Suq felt so proud that some of his emergency patches were taking so long to fix. That was a hell of a mark he left on the Theurgy. He wondered if his coolant injection system was taken off yet?

That said, Suq was paying dearly for his mark. Despite having sustained broken ribs, a concussion, and internal bleeding during the battle with the borg, never mind the nightmares every night thereafter, he was still working his tiny ass off. Except today. He's got today off, and he'll be utilizing it to the fullest. In fact, today was going very well. He'd heard that Lorad, the Reman who almost got assimilated while defending the ship's cloaking device, was alright. He had not heard of any death notifications that affected him yet--admittedly, he was avoiding them. He figured he'd find someone he could rope into going to Aldea with him, because going alone would be so boooring.

So here he was, sitting in a jeffries tube, looking down on main engineering for a friend he could convince to come with him. He had considered trying to get Derik to come along, but he felt the impulse to shy away from him. He was sure Ejek couldn't come with, he wasn't sure where Meony even was. It wasn't a big deal either; he was planning multiple trips, and he could take each and every friend eventually. So for right now, he was mostly depending on fate to bring someone along, and lo and behold, the first friend he saw was Morgan.

Suq was looking down on main engineering from an open jeffries tube panel. The EPS conduit and panelling that usually made up the ceiling was gone--just a big, square hole in the tubes. Below, Morgan was accessing a control panel and had his back turned to him. Suq watched for a time. He was running a test, but he kept running it over and over again. He understood the desire for redundancy, but damn. It suggested maybe Morgan needed the break as much as he did.

"Hey Morgs." He called out, and started to push himself up and turn around so he could slide out the tube, feet first. He fell from the ceiling and landed on his feet, seemingly with no issue doing so. He was wearing casual clothes, which apparently, consisted of brighly colored, loose pants that came tight around the ankles, a lovely multicolored scarf around his waist, and...no shirt. Suq was a hairy man, and had no problem sharing this fact with Morgan.

"You should come with me to Aldea, I don't want to go alone." He smiled at him, "and I think last time we talked, we agreed we needed a break, right?"

Re: SD 57563.55: On Solid Ground
Reply #2
[ CPO Morgan Song | Main Engineering | Deck 25 | Vector 03 | USS Theurgy | Aldea ] attn: @FollowTomorrow

Okay, it looked like there weren't any problems with the other transporters. As far as he could tell, anyway. It might be worth going over to check them each anyway, just in case there was something the scans weren't bringing up. In theory they should have flagged up any issues, but tech was no substitute for getting in there and taking a look yourself. After all, better safe than sorry, right?

He just starting to head to the exit when someone called his name. He turned to look, scanning the area -- there was no one nearby, and certainly no one he knew. A slight clattering overhead; something fell from the ceiling, and Morgan found himself face-to-face with a tiny, half-naked Efrosian who'd dropped from above like some kind of tube gremlin. Lieutenant Suq, of course -- who else called him 'Morgz'? -- dressed in civvies, which apparently meant 'shirtless'.

Morgan had to take a moment to get over his surprise. 'Uh, hi,' he said, stupidly, only adding 'sir' when his brain caught up enough to remember ranks existed. He realised he was addressing Suq's chest hair -- which, for the record, was, uh, majestic, and certainly deserving of the honorific he'd accidentally bestowed upon it -- and attempted to drag his eyes up to the Lieutenant's face. This was still below Morgan's natural eyeline, of course, but slightly less so, and certainly less... furry.

It took a real effort of will to concentrate on what Suq was saying and not just allow his gaze to wander back down. It wasn't that he was motivated by anything inappropriate, at all; it was just that he was now hyper-aware of where his eyes landed and nowhere seemed right. Should he just hold Suq's gaze? Or kind of look around beside him? That felt weird. Was that weird? Focus on his nose? That was worse.

The lieutanant was inviting Morgan to join him on shore leave. Morgan blinked, the entire situation feeling surreal. They had joked about a holiday, hadn't they? That felt like a million years ago, now.

'I've got... work to do,' he said, lamely. It sounded weak even to his ears. He was so tired, but there was still so much to be done, and what would it look like to his new subordinates (!) if he took a day off now? He wanted to be a good chief; too bad he hardly knew what that meant in practice.

Suq wanted company, but it didn't sound like it mattered who that company was. The man had plenty of friends who could go with him -- he barely knew Morgan at all. Never mind that they'd actually kind of gotten along, once they were past the initial distrust. No, he was needed here.

Right?

He cracked. 'What... What kind of thing did you have in mind?'
CPO Morgan Song - Engineering - Chief of Maintenance (V2) [Show/Hide]
Lt Cmdr Hathev - Counselling - Chief Counsellor [Show/Hide]
Ensign Inej 'Avi' Avirim - Security - Investigations Officer [Show/Hide]

Re: SD 57563.55: On Solid Ground
Reply #3
[ Lt. Jg. Suq | Main Engineering | Deck 25 | Vector 03 | USS Theurgy | Aldea ] @fiendfall

Suq was all smiles. Morgan had noticed his chest, and Suq saw him looking. He felt himself puffing p in pride a little bit--regardless of whether Morgan saw it as attractive or not, Suq was proud of his body, 'imperfections' and all. Not only that, it felt nice to be flattered a little once in a while.

His mood did not sour at all when Morgan replied that he had work to do. Suq was just as content to find someone else who was less busy, and he could commend Morgan for being worried about his professional image, but self care was just as important. That's why when Morgan continued to ask about Suq's plans, his smile only grew.
"Well," He started, lifting his hands up to his hair. He started to pull it back, as if getting ready to tie it in a ponytail. "I was thinking about a beach. I haven't been to one in ages--getting lost on the Resolve kinda took away all rights to a vacation, you know, and every time we went to a beach, something tried to gore us. I have a couple in mind too..." He grins, "...and depending on your comfort level, some of them could be a no clothes allowed sort of thing, if you know what I mean. No pressure though, you've got the right to choose." He nodded, then continued on, before Morgan could answer.

"I know you're thinking about your position, and that's smart of you. Don't wanna leave your men for vacation. But let me tell you something I've learned about being a leader, alright? When you work hard and don't take breaks, you set an example for your subordinates. You set the example that they shouldn't take breaks either. Then you wind up with an overworked staff, and overworked staff have a hard time getting along. You don't wanna take too many either--nobody likes a lazy boss...but when you're a leader, you need to lead by example. Show people how to take care of themselves, and they will too, and you and your crew will go a lot farther." He finished with his hair. He tossed it around, to be sure it was set up nice and tight, and then placed his hands on his hips.

"Don't take this as me pressuring you to come with me either. You're free to decide whatever you like, but keep that in mind, yeah? Especially now that we have shore leave. You never know when the next chance for a vacation will come by, if it will ever come by."

Re: SD 57563.55: On Solid Ground
Reply #4
[ CPO Morgan Song | Main Engineering | Deck 25 | Vector 03 | USS Theurgy | Aldea ] attn: @FollowTomorrow

The lieutenant's mood was sunny, and it was impossible not to catch some of those rays; Morgan found himself smiling as the other man spoke. A beach did sound good -- perfect, even. Morgan had always loved the sea, fascinated by this massive body of water that had seemed so alien and impossible when he'd been a child, before he'd seen it for himself.

There was something comfortable in Suq's ability to make light of events -- 'every time we went to a beach, something tried to gore us'. Yeah, that sounded about right. The last time the Theurgy beamed anyone down to a planet Morgan had ended up with a hole blown in his chest and a three-month stay in a stasis pod. But who's keeping track?

A lot of stuff on the Theurgy had sucked, no doubt the same was true of the Resolve, but at least now they had a chance to sit on a beach and chuck sand around.

Possibly without clothes.

Morgan's brain hiccuped at the thought; lucky Suq continued on quickly or he might have said something stupid. The suggestion felt surreal. A joke, surely? Although the following reassurances would suggest otherwise...

Generally speaking, Morgan was not one to hop into bed without a second thought. In fact, he did second thoughts very well -- they were something of his speciality. That kind of thing had always meant something to him, even when he knew it didn't to the other person, even when he tried to stop himself. But he just... If he was going to open himself up in that way to someone, he couldn't help opening his heart with it. It was a package deal, and try as he might he couldn't help that.

He was glad Suq changed subject so quickly afterwards; it saved him from having to respond properly. Maybe the issue would just... go away.

(Did he want it to?)

The lieutenant's advice made a lot of sense, and Morgan was grateful for it. He'd been in a position of authority for several years but never something like this -- he'd half assumed he would never be promoted beyond 1st Class, and he would've been fine with that. At this point he'd take all the advice he could get, especially from people he respected.

There was still work to be done, and a lot of it. But part of being a leader meant trusting your team. He didn't have to do everything himself anymore.

And a beach did sound really good.

And really, Suq was right, they never knew when this kind of opportunity would come around again. It felt unfair to take a break when he'd only just been woken up, but this way at least if Morgan ended up in stasis again, he'd have been to a beach first.

The ridiculousness of that thought made him laugh. 'Yeah, I suppose you're right,' he said, smiling somewhat sheepishly. 'Thanks. I'm just new to all this, you know? I want to make sure I get it right. But in the meantime... I guess one beach can't hurt.'

As they made their way out of Engineering, Morgan felt the need to admit that he didn't know really anything about Aldea. 'I haven't read the briefing yet,' he explained. 'Was there some kind of map or are we figuring this out as we go?'
CPO Morgan Song - Engineering - Chief of Maintenance (V2) [Show/Hide]
Lt Cmdr Hathev - Counselling - Chief Counsellor [Show/Hide]
Ensign Inej 'Avi' Avirim - Security - Investigations Officer [Show/Hide]

Re: SD 57563.55: On Solid Ground
Reply #5
[ Lt. Jg. Suq | Main Engineering | Deck 25 | Vector 03 | USS Theurgy | Aldea ]

His smile grew and grew until it felt like it took up his whole face. "Alright, you're coming with then!"
He would get to hang out with--potentially bugged--Morgan. But if he was bugged, he'd be stupid to do anything to Suq on a public beach, especially a nude one. Even more so, Morgan didn't seem too keen on taking the lead, deciding on where to go or what to do. Heck, he didn't even have a map, so if Morgan was bugged, he sure wasn't doing a very good job of going after Suq.

Speaking of, Suq realized he didn't have any real idea of where he was going. He had a few location names, but hadn't actually looked at a map yet.
"There's a map, but I figured we'd find out as we go. Makes it into an adventure, you know?" He walked by Morgan's side, reaching out to loop his arm around the other man's. He'd seen humans do this in movies sometimes. It was harder to pull off, thanks to the height difference, but he didn't mind. Morgan was soft to the touch.

"I guess the next question is what kind of beach would you like?" He began again, just as casual as before. "I should probably let you know beforehand, Efrosians don't really treat nudity and sex as a big deal. Friends have sex all the time. Keeps you warm and kills time, basically." It's also rude not to, but Suq would not elaborate on that. It might prompt Morgan to think he had to do something with Suq. That would be an unacceptable perception to create. Spirits damn whoever takes advantage of people like that.

"So personally I like nude beaches. People's bodies are really interesting, you know? Even from a not-sexual perspective. They're all very different, even within the same species...But I understand if you'd rather not. You're not Efrosian, so it might bother you. So yeah, nude or clothed beach? Honestly, I'm not picky right now." He grinned, leading them towards a transporter room. He figured if Morgan hadn't decided by the time they got there, Suq would choose a clothed beach. Better safe than sorry, but...he'd like to see Morgan without clothes at least once.

Re: SD 57563.55: On Solid Ground
Reply #6
[ CPO Morgan Song | Corridors | Deck 25 | Vector 03 | USS Theurgy | Aldea ] attn: @FollowTomorrow

Oh goodness. The lieutenant really was being serious when he suggested... Oh man. What on earth had he gotten himself into? The casual way in which Suq discussed all of this was almost surreal, as if they really were just discussing where to visit on a new planet and not whether they were going to- to sleep together, or something. On a beach! In public!

'I didn't know that about Efrosians,' he found himself saying, and had to fight the urge to just start babbling. 'Humans are a lot more, um. Well, you know. Doesn't it get tiring?' He bit himself off before he could say something like 'that's probably why you're in such good shape' and then have to throw himself out an airlock from embarrassment.

He hadn't done this in a while, alright? He was out of practice, and by the heavens it showed.

With Suq's current shirt, or lack thereof, Morgan had already seen quite a bit, but that wasn't to say he wouldn't mind seeing... well, a bit more. His own body, though? It was fine. It did its job. You know. It was there. That didn't mean he wanted to go around showing it to everyone, or seeing theirs for that matter. His recent experience was mostly limited to cold, dark corners -- 'keeps you warm', as Suq had said. Not to say that had been ideal, of course it hadn't, but having a spotlight shone in his face was maybe a bit far in the other direction.

That being said, he didn't actually want to say 'no'. Not because he felt pressured -- Suq was being really good about that, actually -- but more because, well. It did kind of sound like it might have the potential to maybe be a little bit fun. Possibly. And it'd be something he hadn't done before, and if taking a phaser blast to the chest had taught him anything it was that you couldn't take it for granted that there would be a 'later' to try stuff out. Sometimes all you had was 'now'.

But equally, heavens. It did feel like a bit of a leap. Maybe baby steps were in order.

'I've never really understood the attraction of something like a- a nude beach,' he said, tentative. 'It all sounds very, um, public. Is there, maybe, a quiet spot? Somewhere more secluded? I'm not sure if I'm up for having naked Aldeans burned into my brain forever.'
CPO Morgan Song - Engineering - Chief of Maintenance (V2) [Show/Hide]
Lt Cmdr Hathev - Counselling - Chief Counsellor [Show/Hide]
Ensign Inej 'Avi' Avirim - Security - Investigations Officer [Show/Hide]

Re: Day 03 [0800 hrs.] On Solid Ground
Reply #7
[ Lt. Jg. Suq | Main Engineering | Deck 25 | Vector 03 | USS Theurgy | Aldea ] @fiendfall

Morgan's response was so familiar. He was not the first human to fluster like this and wouldn't be the last. Suq had long grown out of the childish idea that humans were 'repressed'--just different. Different wasn't bad. Suq had to respect the boundaries that were set, and he'd have to be extra careful to listen to what  Morgan left unsaid.  His comfort mattered.

Thankfully he was still walking with Suq, still stammering over words, still trying to engage in a polite way. He just didn't seem to know how to navigate these waters, which was fine. Everyone was a beginner once. He gave Morgan's arm a gentle squeeze as he lead him to the transporter room...
"Yeah, no problem. I think I know a good beach to go to then. Haven't been there myself, but I researched what Aldea has. There's tons out there."



After a quick wardrobe change and a suspiciously rumbly transport over, they were there, standing In the sand. To their right and left, cliffs surrounded them, their walls different stripes of reddish and orangeish colors as if someone ran by with a paintbrush. Grass sprouted out the sides, sometimes offering bright pink flowers up to the blazing red sun. Behind them, the cliffs became shallower, the grassy carpeting of the land above seeming to fall over like a curtain, offering visitors a way out if they so chose--and shielding away a narrow man-made cave. Before them was the ocean, great and vast. It lapped at the sand and retreated, with the hissing and whispering of life. Suq thought it sounded like breathing.

Next to Morgan, Suq had remained dressed in the pants and bare-chest that he had donned earlier, but he was standing with his face to the late-afternoon sun, eyes closed. He timed his breathing to match the ocean's. His skin seemed much redder in the light here. His face showed an immeasurable, vast peace...

We thank you, Aldea, and we thank your many spirits whose names we do not know. We walk your lands in peace, we offer your waters respect, we heed your winds' wisdom, and we honor your kindred. May we seek the eternal skies here just as we do on Efros...

For a minute after transporting, he stood like this. Silent, still. Praying to the spirits of the world around him, reciting the old song in his heart. And then, when he felt he had offered this planet the respect it deserved, he opened his eyes to see her, and she was beautiful. Suq rubbed his eyes to pre-emptively dry his eyes.

"Damn. It's....it's incredible. I never thought I'd see a friendly planet again for as long as I lived..."

Re: Day 03 [0800 hrs.] On Solid Ground
Reply #8
[ CPO Morgan Song | Unknown Beach | Aldea ] attn: @FollowTomorrow

The journey over had been just long enough for Morgan to get nervous, even though really Suq was being lovely about the whole thing, but he felt his anxieities drain away as they arrived at the beach. It was beautiful. When was the last time he'd stood on solid ground? When was the last time he'd seen the sea? Not the same sea, of course -- these waters were as alien as the burning sky -- but he hadn't joined Starfleet to stay at home. This had been the whole point, hadn't it?

The galaxy suddenly felt very big, stretching into infinity, his sisters half a world away, hurtling through space on a spinning hunk of rock he hadn't seen in years. He'd barely been home since returning to duty. He should've gone back, he should've seen them more. He should never have left.

The air felt thin, was the air thin? He cast around for something to focus on, something to keep his grounded; his gaze alighted on Suq, and he looked so odd it jolted Morgan's mind out of its spiral. A tiny, shirtless man with skin almost burning red in the Aldean sunlight, stood still and peaceful as if he was meditating.

It took Morgan a second to recognise his companion's behaviour as prayer. Morgan wasn't spiritual, not really -- his grandparents had taken him to a shrine a couple of times, and he'd always celebrated new year in his neighbourhood, but that was window-dressing compared to this. He'd never prayed, had never really felt a connection to his ancestors; all that stuff had been just quirks, the related traditions increasingly secularised.

It felt intrusive to watch, almost voyeuristic; Morgan looked away, strangely embarrassed. The sea sparkled and winked at him, inviting him in. And really, why not? He'd skimmed the warnings section of the Aldean brief before they'd travelled over, and the water was safe. Safe, and welcoming.

He stripped off his shoes, hesitating with his trousers before pulling them off too. He was still wearing an Aldean-style tunic which came down to midway above the knee, so he figured the trousers made little difference anyway. He left everything in a little pile, and made his way to the water.

The sea was sunwarmed, and although the first few moments were cold it quickly mellowed out as he became used to the temperature. He stayed in the shallows, feet sinking into the sand, until Suq stirred. He let the man take in their surroundings, only calling out as Suq seemed to get overwhelmed.

'Beautiful, isn't it?' he said with a grin. He held out a hand, beckoning to the shorter man: 'Coming in?'
  • Last Edit: July 01, 2019, 03:09:09 PM by fiendfall
CPO Morgan Song - Engineering - Chief of Maintenance (V2) [Show/Hide]
Lt Cmdr Hathev - Counselling - Chief Counsellor [Show/Hide]
Ensign Inej 'Avi' Avirim - Security - Investigations Officer [Show/Hide]

Re: Day 03 [0800 hrs.] On Solid Ground
Reply #9
[ Lt. Jg. Suq | Main Engineering | Deck 25 | Vector 03 | USS Theurgy | Aldea ] @fiendfall

The moment he shared with Morgan was sacred. Maybe Morgan did not know that, but he didn't have to. All he had to do was be here, with Suq, and that's all the Efrosian needed. He started to peel off his pants and tossed them in a heap on top of Morgan's clothes. There was no underwear.

"Yeah, I'm coming in. It's not cold, is it?" He walked with one foot in front of the other, feeling dry, sunbaked sand sting his skin. It was too hot--he skipped over to the wet sand. It was squishy between his toes, and the ocean water coming in washed away any pain from the hot sand earlier. There was a breeze coming from the ocean. It smelled tasty. He started to walk into the waves, to join Morgan's side.

"Yeah no, this is perfect. Still warm." He grinned. Though he was fully nude, it was as if there was nothing wrong with it at all. "Oh man. Isn't this great? We...don't have to do anything at all. Nothing's gonna break out here. No getting called off on duty. There's nothing to do..." He laughed and kicked the waves as they came back in.

"Nothing at all!" He cried out, his second voice starting to kick in with the force of his joy. It wasn't normally audible when he spoke, he willfully silenced it to make communication easier, but he was excited. He started running out into the waves.

"We're freeee!!"  He sang out. Ankle deep water became shin-deep, and he waded through the water until a strong wave knocked the shorter man back on his bottom. He fell back. The waves washed over his lap and pushed against his chest, but he sat and laughed, despite it all.
"Morgan, do you feel that? That's freeeeedom!" His second voice trilled under his primary. Like a bird of some sort. "Come sit with me! Feel it!"

Re: Day 03 [0800 hrs.] On Solid Ground
Reply #10
[ CPO Morgan Song | Unknown Beach | Aldea ] attn: @FollowTomorrow

The water was warm, lapping gently at Morgan's ankles like soft, playful kisses. A gentle breeze tousled his hair, the wet sand soft beneath his feet. The smile he'd offered Suq was genuine, coming easily to his lips -- more easily than he had expected, it surprised him with its willingness, its eagerness to be seen.

He watched as Suq undressed, not intentionally staring so much as simply not looking away.  The man stripped swiftly and confidently, with a freedom to his movements that Morgan found almost hypnotic. He was only broken from the reverie when the last piece of clothing was thrown off and he realised Suq was completely naked.

Morgan looked away quickly, and when he returned his gaze to the other man he studiously endeavoured to keep his gaze from wandering below the belt. It felt stupid, for nudity to send him blushing and stammering like a teenager -- he wasn't exactly virginal, after all, but you might think it to look at him now. Nor did he really consider himself to be prudish, it was just... Intimacy was something he was used to feeling, not seeing -- running his hands along another's skin, hot and breathy, moving together in the dark and never needing a light by which to navigate because you knew the other's body as you knew your own -- not viewing them from the outside like this. This was intimate in a completely different way, and one he wasn't nearly as experienced in. He felt almost self-conscious in the face of Suq's nakedness, even though he was still mostly clothed.

He offered up a smile he knew was shy. 'It's nice out here. You chose well.'

And to think he'd nearly stayed on the Theurgy like some old curmudgeon. It was nice, not to have to think about his duties -- they'd almost flown clear out of his mind already, dragged away on the tide. To just stand in the water and listen to Suq laugh. And it was a lovely laugh, infectious in its giddy joy. Morgan found himself grinning back at the shorter man, his earlier worries gone.

For a moment as he shouted, Suq's voice sounded strange, like it was being echoed back at itself, like he suddenly had a chorus harmonising with his every word. A wave knocked him over and he fell, and laughed, and sang joyously over to Morgan to join him. Morgan found himself thinking that if all Efrosians sounded like this it was small wonder they had kept their spiritual beliefs.

He laughed at the sight of the small man, white hair shining in the sunlight, and went to join him. The sand sucked at his feet as he moved, pulling him in deep, and he tripped slightly on the way over, landing heavily on his hands a little way behind Suq, the water lapping at his beard. He pushed himself up, dripping and laughing, his tunic clinging where it had been doused.

'I could get used to this,' he said as he reached Suq finally, plopping down into the sand and letting the water -- barely to his thighs, even sitting -- swirl around him. 'Sun, sand, sea... All we're missing is those little drinks with parasols in them.' He grinned sideways at Suq. 'I can't believe we really are getting a holiday, even after everything.'
CPO Morgan Song - Engineering - Chief of Maintenance (V2) [Show/Hide]
Lt Cmdr Hathev - Counselling - Chief Counsellor [Show/Hide]
Ensign Inej 'Avi' Avirim - Security - Investigations Officer [Show/Hide]

Re: Day 03 [0800 hrs.] On Solid Ground
Reply #11
[ Lt. Jg. Suq | Secluded Beach | Aldea ] @fiendfall

He noticed him looking. Morgan kept stealing glances like it was illegal, or like he was...Embarrassed, maybe. Sure enough, Suq was not the pinnacle of beauty. He was hairy in places that one would not reasonably expect to find hair. Sure it was blonde, but there was enough of it that it disconcerted many of the people who saw him fully nude. More than that, he wasn't completely skinny either. He had a little bit of belly. He'd had it ever since the Federation introduced pasta into his life. More than that, his member was not as long as a human man's. It came with the height. Regardless, Suq was not ashamed. He rubbed his belly, in fact, and gave it a happy pat too.
"I can't believe it either. It feels like I'm just having a happy dream." He smiled over at Morgan, watching his face like it was as beautiful as the sunset before them. The ocean water pulled away, a wave came back, Suq felt it beat up against his belly. It felt good--and real. Very real. He watched Morgan's face, the wet shirt clinging to his body. He imagined the form underneath a few times, each one different than the last, and every time he was satisfied with what could be under there. It was Morgan's, which was what made it good.
"...Thank you for coming out. I know it's probably weird, hanging out with a guy like me. But I appreciate it."

Re: Day 03 [0800 hrs.] On Solid Ground
Reply #12
[ CPO Morgan Song | Secluded Beach | Aldea ] attn: @FollowTomorrow

There was a carefree, genuine, infectious beauty to Suq that Morgan had seen before, in snippets, but which was now writ so large over his face that it was reflected in the water, shining in the sleepy sunlight. He was handsome in a way that grew on you, in the kind of way that might be missed if you weren't paying attention, but where every time you looked back at him you noticed something new and lovely about him: the curve of his jaw, the shine to his hair, the softness to his stomach. The confidence with which Suq wore his own skin, the peace he'd found with his body evident as he patted his small belly happily, a smile on his face... That too was beautiful.

Morgan leant back on one hand, running the other through his hair, keeping them both busy so they didn't wander where they willed. The whole world feeling gentle and quiet and peaceful, he smiled across at the other man, crossing the distance between them with his eyes rather than his body. 'If this is a dream, it's a good one.' Better than any he'd had in years.

Suq's next comment had Morgan chuckling slightly, deep in his throat. 'I don't know what that's supposed to mean,' he said. A guy like me. A guy like what? 'But I appreciate the invitation, too. There's... This is nice. I think I needed this.'

He looked back out over the water, pensive. 'I was kind of surprised, to be honest. That you asked me.' He glanced back, half sheepish, half teasing. 'Last time we spoke you took me for a traitor. Is this some kind of test?'

What changed, he wondered, although he left it unsaid, hanging in the air. Did anything change? This was as much a gesture of trust from Suq as it was from him, he realised. The man had been paranoid when they'd met after the battle, and Morgan could hardly blame him. But now... He was like a different person. Maybe danger and fear did that to everyone; he probably appeared differently himself. He'd been like a startled rabbit then, and now... Well. Now he was sitting on a beach, trouser-less, not looking at the nakedness of the attractive man beside him.

Alright, maybe he wasn't so different.

He smiled stupidly at the thought. Heavens, he could be a real idiot.
CPO Morgan Song - Engineering - Chief of Maintenance (V2) [Show/Hide]
Lt Cmdr Hathev - Counselling - Chief Counsellor [Show/Hide]
Ensign Inej 'Avi' Avirim - Security - Investigations Officer [Show/Hide]

Re: Day 03 [0800 hrs.] On Solid Ground
Reply #13
[ Lt. Jg. Suq | Secluded Beach | Aldea ] @fiendfall

Suq's eyes met Morgan's face. He loved the way the sun shined on his cheek just so when he smiled. His eyes twinkled too, reflections of the sparkles on the ocean just beyond them. And Suq saw that Morgan was beautiful too. Timid, in some respects, unsure. Beautiful. How did he ever think he was a traitor?

As he thought about the question, he started to find answers he didn't like very much. His years in hell sector trained him to distrust people. He'd begun to turn a blind eye to their beautiful nature in favor of searching for ugly faults where there were none. How long had he been doing that? Was it safe to let that habit go?

Thinking about right here, right now, it seemed so. All he heard was the roar of the ocean, the hush of the wind. Their breathing. Morgan could have killed or infected him a long time ago. More than that--Morgan was never the danger. Morgan could've never infected him, not while Suq was busy infecting himself with those wicked, sinful thoughts of suspicion and hatred...

He smiled once more, starting to see the light, and gave a quiet, whispered thanks to the spirits for their wisdom.
"I've been doing some prayer." He spoke, finally. "And I've been given some wisdom. That wisdom is that life is too short to suspect everyone around you is secretly evil. And if you want me to be perfectly frank, I think you're pretty attractive and wanted to see you without a shirt on."

Re: Day 03 [0800 hrs.] On Solid Ground
Reply #14
[ CPO Morgan Song | Secluded Beach | Aldea ] attn: @FollowTomorrow

The sun was hot on Morgan's hair, the water warm as it swirled around him. Suq met his gaze with such kind eyes that it turned Morgan's smile shy with surprise. He'd been surprised when Suq suggested Morgan join him, and the realisation that this was an act of trust had been sobering, but he'd also known he was basically interchangable with anyone else Suq could have invited to the beach. Suq had been paranoid of everyone, Morgan hadn't been special in that, and Suq could have sat down here with anyone to keep him company. Morgan just happened to be the first person he'd run into.

But the way Suq looked at him now? It kinda... Well. It felt special, at least.

His smile strengthened, and he grinned back at the man with the gentle gaze.

He hadn't really needed an answer to his question -- he'd been mostly teasing when he asked it, honestly. Clearly something had changed, at least in part, or they wouldn't be here, but what exactly that was didn't really matter. Suq looked so thoughtful, like he was having a conversation deep within himself, and Morgan started to worry he'd accidentally touched on something Suq would rather left alone. He was just about to reassure the man that it didn't really matter when Suq spoke up with honestly the last thing Morgan expected him to say.

It was his turn to have the soft eyes, now.

'I'm glad,' he said, gently. Life was too short, you never knew when it was going to sucker punch you into stasis or jail or a literal nightmare conspiracy theory. If you wasted the time you had worrying about possible futures then what was the point? Or at least, that was what his therapist had drilled into him. Looks like it had worked.

The unspoken weight of the moment, the seriousness, was broken with Suq's next words, and Morgan found himself laughing in surprise. He poked Suq lightly in the ribs, teasing.

'Is that right?' he asked with a grin, trying not to think about how soft Suq's side was, how his hand hadn't quite made its way back to him yet, trailing in the sand between them. 'Can't disappoint you, then, after you came all this way.'

Before he had a chance to overthink anything, he caught his shirt and pulled it over his head, dropping it beside him to billow in the gentle waves. The sun warmed his skin and he stretched before falling back onto one elbow, almost giddy.

'You bring all the boys here or just the tall ones?'
CPO Morgan Song - Engineering - Chief of Maintenance (V2) [Show/Hide]
Lt Cmdr Hathev - Counselling - Chief Counsellor [Show/Hide]
Ensign Inej 'Avi' Avirim - Security - Investigations Officer [Show/Hide]

Re: Day 03 [0800 hrs.] On Solid Ground
Reply #15
[ Lt. Jg. Suq | Secluded Beach | Aldea ] @fiendfall

he poke elicited a squirm from Suq, and more laughter at that. He was ticklish. Squishy and ticklish. The waves washed over him again, splashing his face and in his open mouth. He sputtered and wiped his long hair out of his eyes. When he next glanced up, Morgan was without a shirt. Vulnerable, like him. It took courage to allow such vulnerability, especially around someone that he didn't know too well. Suq's face displayed the level of reverence he had for the act as he took in the sight of Morgan's body.

He reached out to wrap his arm around Morgan's, and to lay his head on Morgan's arm. Suq was gentle, warm, and ready to let him go if he thought for a minute that Morgan was not receptive to being touched right now.

"I bring my boys here if I want to get to know them better." He smiled as he spoke, running his fingers down the other's back. His body was beautiful. It did not matter if there were scars or discoloration, or how much muscle he felt. That Morgan trusted Suq enough to show him what he looked like made Morgan's body a treasure. A sacred thing. Suq was blessed to be spending time with him like this, in the golden sun, and he'd savor every second of this peace.

For a moment Suq did not say anything. He just listened to the waves as they came in, gently tugging on and pushing away their bodies and the surrounding sand. The moment was perfect. They were perfect.

"I want to know you Morgz." He laughed a little as he used his 'nickname'. "I wanna find out what kind of person you are and be your friend. This time, no suspicion from me. I promise."

Re: Day 03 [0800 hrs.] On Solid Ground
Reply #16
[ CPO Morgan Song | Secluded Beach | Aldea ] attn: @FollowTomorrow

If Morgan had been nervous about removing his shirt, he shouldn't have been. Objectively, he knew his body was fine. Maybe some would find parts of it nice, even. He was fit enough, lean and deceptively strong; the scars weren't pretty, of course, but they weren't as bad as some people he'd seen, and they weren't anywhere important -- just a few stripes down his back, and the faded markings round his ankles. Even the redness from his more recent surgery had started to go down, although the lines were still clearly visible.

Okay, actually with all that adding up even being objective about it he knew it wasn't great.

Still, despite all that  Suq reached out to close the distance between them, wrapping himself around Morgan. His hands were all softness, his touch light enough that Morgan could have pulled free with ease if he wanted.

He didn't want.

A warm contentment bubbled up in him, spilling over with every wave that washed over them. Goodness, what a day. What a place to be sat, next to-- next to someone so soft, and sweet. Someone who looked up at him like there was something worth seeing there, Suq's hair tickling the inside of Morgan's arm where the Efrosian's head lay, his eyes smiling. Morgan's own arm found Suq's side, his hand skating along the man's skin gently till it settled in the dimple above his hips.

Suq's fingers traced the length of Morgan's back, and he suppressed a shiver of-- something. It felt nice in a lazy, soft sort of way. They were quiet then, just sat together in the water and the sand and the sun, wrapped around each other, skin on skin; more companionable than anything else, just... He should've been more uncomfortable. He'd expected to be awkward, for it to feel strange. But instead it was just nice.

He found himself smiling foolishly at Suq's silly nickname for him. 'I'd like that,' he said. He knew what it meant for Suq to offer him this; it felt important, somehow, that he get this right. 'I-- Thank you. For trusting me.' He stopped, suddenly shy. 'And-- me too. You... You're pretty interesting, you know?' Was it corny to say he'd not met anyone quite like him? Probably. True, though.

He shook his head at himself; he felt like such a happy idiot. 'I used to come to the beach a lot, when I was a kid,' he said, stretching out his toes in the sand. 'I've missed this.'
CPO Morgan Song - Engineering - Chief of Maintenance (V2) [Show/Hide]
Lt Cmdr Hathev - Counselling - Chief Counsellor [Show/Hide]
Ensign Inej 'Avi' Avirim - Security - Investigations Officer [Show/Hide]

Re: Day 03 [0800 hrs.] On Solid Ground
Reply #17
[ Lt. Jg. Suq | Secluded Beach | Aldea ] @fiendfall

Morgan's hands were soft on his skin. Sure, they were working hands, but the way he touched was soft. Like Morgan appreciated Suq's body. Morgan wasn't afraid of how non-human he was. Suq was hairy and short and stout, and people didn't usually like that. Morgan did not care.

He allowed himself to close his eyes and just feel. Morgan's skin was cooler than Suq's, the waves even cooler still. The waves came and went. The ocean's pulse. Morgan's pulse right beside it. His voice was soothing. No, it wasn't confident. He stopped up on some words, but that's what made listening to him actually interesting. It made him real.

Morgan said Suq was 'pretty interesting'. It made half of his mouth lift in a sort-of smile. Suq knew he seemed interesting to some. Weird was the correct word, but interesting was the polite one. Whether Morgan meant to say weird or not, he didn't mind. He knew who he was, what he was. It was Morgan he wanted to find out more about.

"A beach on Earth? Did you live on a beach then?" He asked, his voice a gentle, dual-toned murmur. He was letting his second voice slip again, but it was alright. He was relaxed, that's all.

Re: Day 03 [0800 hrs.] On Solid Ground
Reply #18
[ CPO Morgan Song | Secluded Beach | Aldea ] attn: @FollowTomorrow

Morgan thought he'd be content to sit in this moment for ever. When was the last time he'd been this calm, this peaceful? He knew he could work himself up into a ball of nerves sometimes -- a lot of the time. He overthought things, terribly; he jumped to conclusions, feared a lot, and expected the worst. So to just... sit. Sit, and be, without any of that getting in the way -- Heavens, he didn't think he'd been this at home since-- not since.

He drew his eyes from the horizon back down to the man entangled around him, Suq's strong (handsome) features directly contrasted with the small, quiet smile on his lips. There was something in that smile, Morgan thought, watching it with something close to fascination. Something he couldn't quite name. He wanted...

He wanted.

Suq spoke before Morgan could do something stupid. The Efrosian's voice sounded twice, like it was harmonising with itself. Morgan had heard it before today but it still surprised him; it was like nothing he'd ever heard. He couldn't imagine what a whole species singing to each other would sound like.

It occurred to him that Suq was further from home, and more alone, than Morgan had ever been. He suddenly felt... almost protective of the small man beside him. Like he wanted to... he didn't know. Look out for him, maybe? Make sure he didn't feel alone, at least as much as was possible.

It was silly. He was being silly. But still.

'I'm from Luna,' he clarified, dragging his mind back to the present to answer the man's question. 'No beaches on the moon. But my father, his family was still in China, and we'd visit them when we could. They lived in the most beautiful city by the sea, buildings that sparkled in the sunlight, soft white sand and sea. I...' he stopped himself suddenly, before continuing almost guiltily: 'I guess, when I think of home, that's where I think of.'

He found himself having to look away, blinking rapidly and swallowing around a sudden lump in his throat. Goodness, he missed that place. Brawling with his cousins, kicking up huge sprays of white sand. Ama calling them home for supper, scolding Kitty for whistling in the house. Eric Wu, two doors down, and the first boy Morgan ever wanted to kiss.

All a lifetime ago, now. But he was still here, still on a beach, warm and comfortable and beside a beautiful boy. There was still good, even here.

He looked back to Suq once more. 'What about you? Your home, what's it like?'
CPO Morgan Song - Engineering - Chief of Maintenance (V2) [Show/Hide]
Lt Cmdr Hathev - Counselling - Chief Counsellor [Show/Hide]
Ensign Inej 'Avi' Avirim - Security - Investigations Officer [Show/Hide]

Re: Day 03 [0800 hrs.] On Solid Ground
Reply #19
[ Lt. Jg. Suq | Secluded Beach | Aldea ] @fiendfall

When he heard Morgan's voice talk about home, he heard the pain. It was the same pain Suq had. He missed his home. Maybe he even wanted to go back. Suq's eyes closed and he rubbed Morgan's back, long, slow circles with the palm of his hand. He wanted to feel those muscles under his skin, soothe the tension out of them. His palm went up his spine, his fingers ran backwards through Morgan's hair. He was a beautiful creature, Suq thought, as he listened.

"...It is cold. And windy. We were landlocked, so I only saw beaches when I came to the Academy. I lived in a village, by human definitions. A few hundred of us, we all knew each other. No sparkling cities or anything, but we'd put up new banners every few seasons and we always made sure they were some bright colors....Me and the boys would spend most of hunting season fooling around with each other, since we knew we didn't really have to bring back enough to feed everyone anymore. It's how I learned to give head for the first time." He chuckled, the memory still fond in his heart. He used to be so clumsy and awkward then, still growing into his limbs.

He started to think about Morgan visiting home. If his family could see Morgan, they would all be so proud of Suq for finding someone so cute. He felt his smile waver as he thought about his mother, his sisters and brothers, his friends and neighbors and everyone who knew him. He didn't want to think about that right now.

He wanted to think about Morgan, the man who looked like a god in the golden light. He turned his face so that it was pressed against Morgan's skin, breathed in his scent, sighed. His other hand went to hold the side of Morgan's face, gently prompting him to look down at Suq. He wanted to see Morgan's dark eyes. He wanted to drown himself in him, so he wouldn't have to think any more than he already did.

"...It's hard to have casual conversation when you're gorgeous, yanno."