R & R Part II

Ajani looked around the room uneasily. Flashing lights, moving bodies, people drinking more than what was generally considered safe for them, it was a scene he had never been comfortable in. The music was loud, not bad, but louder than he was used to. The engineer had been talked into going to a club with some of the more party-minded engineers from the Hawking. Why did I come here? he asked himself for the umpteenth time as he nursed one of the brightly colored drinks a waitress had brought him. The drink was mildly alcoholic. I might be able to get a buzz if I consumed twenty of these.. Ajani thought in disgust. He left the table he had been hiding behind and ventured out into the crowd of patrons, determined to find a drink worth drinking.

He dodged a man and a woman who were flailing around like they were injured. Ajani stopped, wondering if the couple required aid then deduced they were dancing and resumed his journey towards the bar. The young man eluded an older Trill woman who tried to fan dance with him then glided beneath the windmilling arms of a Klingon who was slam-dancing as if that area were his private mosh pit. Ajani slid between two women and tried to get the attention of the bartender.

The movement jerked Stephanie's elbow forward and her drink splashed against her shirt. Tatiana watched it with a grin and tossed her jacket over to her companion. "Hey!" Stephanie yelled over the music, while she tapped the man on the shoulder, "an apology would be appreciated."

"Calm down Steph, it's just vodka. I'm sure there are many people here who appreciate Eau de Vodka," Tatiana said to her friend with a shrug. She hadn't seen who had come between them because of the bright lights. She also tapped him and leaned forward, "I apologize for my friend, she's just bitter at the moment." Stephanie glared at her before throwing the jacket back to her. Tatiana caught it and brought it down with a, "What? It's true."

"Oh, I'm terribly sorry," Ajani told the woman whose arm he had accidently jostled. He took some napkins from the bar and began to dry off the woman's blouse, not even realizing that he was making a bad situation worse. "Why are you bitter? Other than because you smell like a drunken old Russian dame.." he said nervously.

Before Stephanie could answer, Tatiana inserted after taking another shot, "Russian women can drink vodka with grace and still come out smelling of roses, you're referring to the sloppy ones. I also don't think my friend appreciates your hands in the places that they are. She can dry off herself, and it looks like you're trying to cop a feel. That's the wrong way to get her to forgive you for ruining her favorite shirt. And to answer your initial question, she's bitter because-"

"Don't you dare," Stephanie snapped, not focused on the man trying to "dry" her off, "I told you, let's restart the game and I'll win."

"Please," Tatiana muttered, "You're in denial, it isn't just a river in Egypt, you know?"

"Bitch," her friend hissed.

"All the time honey, all the time," she said with a laugh.

Ajani jerked his hands away quickly, not wanting the woman named Steph to think he was trying to 'cop a feel'. "Game? Egypt?" Should I just slip away and be glad to get away. "You two ladies seem to have a score to settle with one another. I will gladly buy you a replacement drink though…and I shall buy you a new shirt too of course," the engineer offered. It is only fair..if it is her favorite shirt.

"Egypt means nothing. But the game…you see, we've come down from our ship to grace the clubs with our presence and to play one game. As a man, you could probably help my currently losing friend-"

"-Go to Hell, Tatiana," Stephanie interrupted again.

"Seriously Stephanie? Hell? Do I need to remind you of my background?" Tatiana turned to the male and continued, "Anyway, this game is something we just thought of before we came down from our ship. We made a wager, I won, and now she's upset. But, as I just said, we're going to play again and you can hang around to help her out if you want. If she wins, I promise you that she'll forget the entire drink spilling thing ever happened. And if she really kicks my ass, knowing her, you'll get more than just being forgiven," Tatiana ended nonchalantly.

There was another round of remarks which Ajani had a difficult time following the gist of. He studied the two women wondering if perhaps they had had a few drinks too many. Then the one called Tatiana had explained about a wager over their game. She had also dropped some hints about her friend and how much winning meant to her. "Ah well, thank you but perhaps I could help just to help," Ajani started to say, then turned to Steph, "not that you are unattractive, I just do not..ah, what is the object of the game?" he finally asked, giving up.

Tatiana caught Stephanie's gaze behind the man and they both began to laugh, "That is so cute," Stephanie said between breaths, "You're a gentleman, not exactly what we expected to find in this club. And don't worry, I'm not taking your answer personally. I just have an annoying little friend who finds it funny to tell men that."

"What have I said in the last few minutes that hasn't been true? Nothing at all. The game, uh…I don't think I caught your name," she said and paused, "By the way, just in case you missed it. I'm Tatiana and the red head is Stephanie. The object of the game is to…talk men out of drinks and then crush their egos when they expect more out of it. We didn't come here for that type of fun, well not tonight anyway. So, we mostly target those that think they're prettier than we are and as you've heard the first round was won by me. Any advice you offer her, she would appreciate, especially since we have work related items riding on this. I doubt she wants to spend a week watching me treat trivial cuts."

The game was not at all like chess, backgammon or dabo. "I see," Ajani replied then realized the women had introduced themselves and he had not reciprocated. "I am Ajani Obatu, ensign, from the USS Hawking. I function as an engineer." He looked around the club trying to find the men who were more beautiful than the two women. "I don't understand your game..as far as I can see you two are much prettier than the men in this particular establishment."

"I said they think, that doesn't make it true," Tatiana said and threw back her glass to get that last drop of Vodka, "We know we eclipse any man with our beauty, but when we play into their egos, we will be drowning in whatever drinks we fancy. Afterwards, we count the number of drinks we manage to get from our respective victims and the woman with the most is the victor."

"Tatiana…" Stephanie began.

"What?"

"He said he was from the Hawking. He's one of Costala's people." Stephanie said and swung her stool around to get a better look at the third member of their group. "Ah, I think I've seen you around the ship Ajani. Wait a moment, she'll catch up," she said motioning to the other female. "She's had more drinks, so she's a bit slow on the uptake."

"I just didn't catch his short bio, that is all," Tatiana said said tucked her hair behind her ears, "I haven't seen him, and I never forget a face. Let's play this game, I think I could use more Vodka. I may end up smelling like my babushka, one of those drunken old Russian dames, as you put it."

"Huh, I guess that will lead to the other fun…"

"I doubt it, well we'll see. There was a pretty outstanding looking Bajoran over there," Tatiana commented with a wiggle of her eyebrow, and then looked at Ajani, "I'm just joking."

"What was that about a river in Egypt?" Stephanie shot back.

"Shut up you ass, and let's play! Get ready to give her the pointers Ajani, I already have an advantage. I don't reek of alcohol," Tatiana said with an evil grin.

The women were gregarious, more so than any he had met on the Hawking so far. Not that he had met many women, mainly just the ones he worked with in Engineering and he didn't socialize with them. Ajani went about his duties then relaxed in the lounge with his friends or retired to his quarters. He had ventured to the club only at the behest of some of his co-workers, who needed him to be sober enough to make sure they returned to the ship when their leave was finished.

"This game is a waste of time and seems to be motivated by revenge," the African man commented. "I see no reason to make a joke at their expense no matter how base the intentions of these men are…it is almost as if you are playing a joke on a lesser life-form." Ajani paused, letting his words sink into the alcoholic haze. "I will buy both of you as many drinks as you like tonight..and look for nothing in return, if you will stop this silly game…and if we can find a better club. This one is awful."

"What a buzz killer. Do you-?" Stephanie asked

"Yes, I have it," Tatiana finally swung her stool around to look at the male. "I'm going to not get angry because, this is the first time we've met and you don't know us. I'm a doctor Ajani, I have treated people who have not been the nicest people and I have done it with a smile. I don't believe in revenge because I know I wouldn't get it on anyone. I was sworn to do no harm then I had to kill people who just happened to be born on the wrong planet at the wrong time. I came out to have fun, and get over it as well as forget the not quite normal fascination I have with their ailment. I didn't come out to spread any ill will. Geez!" She exclaimed and turned back to the bar, "Chill out and have fun. You're going to hang with us this leave and learn a few things about fun, because I have the feeling you have murdered many a good feeling."

Ajani, you are a stranger in a strange land. the engineer thought to himself. "I am sorry that you had to have such a terrible experience," he told the woman, "you have a different way of dealing with it. But it seems that neither of us is given to compromise." Ajani motioned to the bartender, who came over, finally. "Two drinks for these ladies," he said, indicating Stephanie and Tatiana, then slid some credits over the bartop. "There," Ajani said, "now you can split me and chalk it up to a fun-killer that left early." Having said what he wanted to and tiring of the club and a scene he would never understand, the engineer turned and made his way towards the exit.

"Tatiana, the Bajoran, he's coming over!"

"Really?" Tatiana said to Stephanie giving the man the once over, "Hmph, it's a shame I've declared that we're going to spend our time teaching Ajani how to live or I'd be so willing to, uh, disappear for a few hours. Hey Ajani!" She called out from her seat at the bar, "We heard there was a club that may be more suited to your liking!"

"You're drunker than I thought, we're in a club, he's not going to hear you," Stephanie said as she stood, and threw back the shot Ajani had purchased, "I'll go get him, meet us outside."

"Yeah…just let me arrange a meeting and I'll be there," she said still looking at the man, "Oh and by the way, I still win. After leave is over, I expect you to be in Sickbay."

"Whatever," Stephanie said and pushed through the crowd, once she exited out the door, she yelled, "Ajani! We're taking you up on your offer."

A JP by the Super Party Soul Sisters [Tatiana and Stephanie] and The Newbie [Ajani (played by the awesome J. Cos)]
Originally Posted by Tatiana Thorne 01-12-2008


USS Hawking
Target Range

Watching Gorsky successfully down seven out of ten mobile targets, Lieutenant Hawthorn felt compelled to check the PADD in her hand to confirm the young scientist’s last series of test scores.

“End program,” she called after, with an admirable simplicity, the human brought down his last three drones. “If I may say, Ensign, your aim has improved,” she held up the PADD, “considerably, in the past six months.”

Alex felt himself flush and bit back the curse that wanted to attend the sensation, “Yeah, well, rooming with Finn… kind of makes a guy want to be more prepared.”

That gave the woman some pause. “How so?”

“Oh,” Gorsky shrugged, “You know… he has all these stories. Battles and stings and operations gone wrong and… ah, stuff,” he realized that Hawthorn was staring. “It just… it’s the kind of thing that made me think I should take more interest in being effective if… you know… we were boarded… or… something?”

Vanona offered a small smile, “Well, I cannot disagree with your motivation, or,” she entered his new scores on the PADD, “the results. I am just… surprised.” She held out her hand and Alex, automatically, put the phaser in her palm.

“Surprised?”

Hawthorn turned to lead the way out of the room, “About Finn’s ‘stories’,” she glanced back at Gorsky, eyes slightly narrowed, “He is not, after all, known for being particularly… talkative… about his past.”

Following the security officer from the room, Alex made no answer beyond the ghosting of a frown in his eyes.

Post featured NPC's Alex Gorsky and Vanona Hawthorn
Originally Posted by Harry Finn 01-13-2008


He stood just behind T'Shaini with one hand on her waist and the other lightly clasping her wrist, "Now what you want to do is draw your arm and wrist back," Javier explained as he moved her arm back. The fishing rod swept back behind them and the worm wiggled on the end of the hook as it swayed at the bottom of the line. "Then find the spot you want to fish," he said looking towards the stream, "and cast the line there." Javier looked down to see that T'Shaini was looking at him and not the water. "What? Is this not what you thought it would be?" he asked, wondering if she found fishing boring or if T'Shaini was one of those people who thought it was cruel to fish.

Having been caught contemplating how interesting it was that natural light brought out gold flecks in Javier's eyes that she had not noticed before, rather than paying attention to the directions she was being given, T'Shaini replayed the last phrase or so in her head before responding. "I had not thought much about fishing at all…" when a thought did occur. "we will not be killing the fish will we?"

"If we want to eat them we can," Javier replied, "if you'd rather not eat them then we could always throw them back. I don't believe the fish care much either way..I've never known any of them that had higher brain functions." He waited then added, "Do you want to cast now?"

"Oh." She adjusted her grip, then paused. "I would prefer to not kill them, higher brain functions or no." Then with more strength than accuracy, flung the rod.

Scrambling forward to pluck it from the edge of the water where it landed after she had lost her grip, T'Shaini looked at Javier. "Perhaps I should watch you do it first."

"Well, it might not be so easy..the reel is still in the water," he said, pointing to the oval shaped compartment that housed the fishing line, which was disappearing into the depths of the stream. Javier sighed. "There are somethings we do very well together..fishing is not one of them." He laughed and took the rod from her. "We commit this to the deep," Javier remarked before he tossed the rod in after the reel. "They should be happy together now," he concluded.

"Now we have to do this 'old school'," Javier said with a sigh as he looked at T'Shaini. "Are you ready?" he asked her.

"Old School?" With no idea what that could mean, yet unwilling to say no to anything since she had lost the means for fishing 'new school' she stepped beside Javier with what she hoped was an open expression on her face. "Certainly."

"Good," he replied while congenially patting her on the back. Javier suddenly propelled T'Shaini forward while saying, "The first part is to get in the water." For a moment he wondered if she would be irritated with him for pushing her in the stream, then there was a splash as T'Shaini fell in. I hope she can swim.. Javier suddenly realized.

With something akin to shock she stumbled forward, lost her footing and plunged into the stream. Never having been fully immersed in anything not meant to cleanse or relax her, the chill of the water came as a bit of a shock. T'Shaini flailed about as if her drowning were imminent before, rather sheepishly, putting her feet down and standing…to discover the stream was only about hip deep. Pulling tangles of wet hair from in front of her eyes, she raised one eyebrow at Javier. "Was I supposed to rise from the waters like Aphrodite, with the exception of having a fish clenched between my teeth?"

"That's the general idea," Javier replied with a grin then added, "sorry about the push; that's a ritual that new fishers go through..first introduction to the deep I think it's called at sea. You did very well, hardly any flailing to speak of and you look rather fetching as a water-soaked goddess." He took off his boots and socks then suddenly stripped off his shirt and pants and jumped in the water in his boxer-briefs. "WOOOO, damn that's cold!" Javier exclaimed as he waded over to where T'Shaini was standing. "Oh..can you swim?"

"Now you ask?" Refusing to be distracted by his attire…or lack thereof, T'Shaini crossed her arms over her chest. "I have never been taught to swim, but how difficult could it be?"

Scott's Ghost! She can't swim! Idiot. Idiot. Idiot. he thought as he smacked his head lightly with his palm. "I am so sorry," Javier said apologetically, "It's not difficult once someone shows you how..but even so.." he stopped in front of her and the hugged her quickly, "I'm an idiot. I assumed you knew how."

"No need for concern, it is not as if something could happen in something this shallow." To emphasis her point she jumped up and down, a tactical error considering the slippery rocks that made up the bed of the stream. Losing her balance, she grabbed hold of Javier as her feet slid from beneath her.

He caught T'Shaini's arms, locked his knees to steady her then pulled her back to where she could regain her footing. "You were saying Miss Murphy?" Javier asked the vulcan woman. Her blank look made him smile. "Murphy's Law? Anything bad that can happen will?" Javier said, giving the abridged version of the proverb. "I want you to stay on the bank while I fish. I can teach you to swim but I don't want you in the water until you learn, okay?"

"And if I prefer to stay and learn how to fish? You have proven an able lifeguard…"

"And a lifeguard takes all necessary precautions so that no accidents occur," he replied as Javier reached down and picked T'Shaini up. He carefully carried her over to the side, reluctantly setting her down on the grassy bank. He forgot how much he liked to carry T'Shaini and the last time he had done so had been on Halcyon. The engineer pushed the bittersweet memory from his mind. "Now, I'll catch the fish and toss them to you," Javier said as he waded back out into the water. The stream was clear and he could see what looked like perch and bream swimming around his ankles. His hands slipped into the water and lingered near the bottom. At first the fish zipped away but once they got use to his hands, they swam around them in lazy circles, flitting in and out of his arms and legs.

With a swift movement Javier brought his hands up and pulled a large perch out of the water, the fish went into a frenzied wiggle, trying to break free of his grasp. "Catch!" he said as he tossed the fish towards T'Shaini.

Her urge to protest counteracted by the chattering of her teeth, T'Shaini allowed herself to be deposited on the bank. She watched with curiosity as Javier crouched in the stream. Catch the fish? With what? Surely he does not intend to…aaAAAHHH Inexplicably she saw a fish come flying towards her. Reflex caused her arms to outstretch…which in turn caused them to be filled with several pounds of wet, slippery and wriggling chordate. Instinct taking over she flung the fish back in the direction from whence it came.

Javier watched as the fish did a somersault over his head then smacked into the water three feet behind him. "Fish-1, Javier and T'Shaini-0," he commented then looked back at T'Shaini. "What was that all about?"

"I…well…you threw a fish at me. It was unexpected."

"Okay..I'm going to do it again though..are you ready?" A sudden growling noise caused Javier to look at his stomach. He didn't feel particularly hungry and yet there it was again..a loud rumble. I bet T'Shaini heard that. The growling grew deeper and louder.

JP Indiana Jones and Lucille Ball
Originally Posted by T'Shaini 01-13-2008


T'Shaini had barely heard a word he was speaking, all of her attention was focused on the very large, very furry, brown thing that was lumbering toward the opposite bank. "I think it would be advisable for the fishing expedition to be at an end…and that you should leave the water immediately." She was struck by the strained quality of her speech. "Please."

The growling wasn't coming from him, so much as behind him. T'Shaini's tone made it sound like something very unpleasant was on his six. Javier began to slowly move towards T'Shaini. How bad can it be? A lost kitty-kat? Maybe someone's dog who got lost and is just a tad unfriendly. he thought as he approached the bank. Yeah, that's it just a lost dog..probably..there aren't any large animals out here..are there? He sneaked a look over his shoulder.

"IT'S A BEAR!" Javier yelled in surprise, all subtlety lost.

The bear replied with a fierce roar and bounded towards them, splashing through the stream.

"Run, run, run," Javier told T'Shaini as he clambered up the bank, grabbed his clothes, abandoned his boots and ran like hell. "Find a tree..a big tree," he instructed.

T'Shaini's feet were moving before the words had a chance to hit her brain, driven by instinct ingrained deep within. "There, over there…but I do not know if I can reach the bottom branch." She shouted over her shoulder as she ran toward said tree. Jumping as high as she could her fingers barely made purchase and her feet scrabbled on the trunk in a fruitless attempt to carry her higher.

Javier unceremoniously grabbed T'Shaini's ass and pushed her up into the tree's lower branches. He dropped his clothes then jumped up and grabbed a branch and pulled himself up into the tree with her. "Climb," he said, waiting for her to move higher then following quickly as the bear reared up and swiped at his legs with it's claws. He felt brush of air as the claws moved just beneath his feet. Then he was gripping the tree, sitting astride a branch just below T'Shaini while the bear loitered beneath them. The animal was grumpy and roared up at them while it circled the tree trunk.

"I wish I had held on to that fish." Now that they were safely out of the bears reach, T'Shaini's sense of the ridiculous was reasserted. "It could well have served as a bribe…" Her words petered out as she watched the animal stop pacing and sniff the air, then lumber off toward their camp. "Oh oh."

"He..she..it is probably angry that we were fishing in it's territory, so a fish might not have soothed it's ire," he replied, breaking off at T'Shaini's exclamation as he watched the animal tear through their camp. "Bastard." he hissed. Their packs and small shelter were destroyed by the rampaging animal. Then the great beast pillaged through the food stores and other supplies, slashing them open with it's sharp claws. "Hey! GO-AWAY!" Javier yelled at the bear, growing angrier by the minute as the animal tore through their camp.

"Son of a bitch!" Javier exclaimed then dropped off the branch he was sitting on and fell to the ground.

"What are you doing!" Incredulous, she watched him leave the relative safety of the tree.

Javier rifled through his pants pocket after dropping beside his clothes lay. His fingers found the handle of the phaser he worked the selector. A furious roar brought his head up and he saw the bear charging toward him. Javier brought his pants up and fired the phaser while it was still in his pocket. The beam of energy burned a hole through the material then struck the bear in the face. It went down, sliding to a halt as it scraped along the earth. The beast slept in its stunned slumber as adrenaline pumped through Javier's system. "Awesome," he said, looking down at the hole he had shot in his pants.

T'Shaini first stared at the bear until she saw the rise and fall of its breathing…not that it would have returned the favor had our positions been reversed, then down at Javier admiring the phasers handiwork. Swinging her feet experimentally her toe barely scraped the branch below. No longer possessed of the urgency that had allowed for the climb she huffed to herself dismay. "I would greatly like to come down and give you a hero's reward…but I am afraid that I cannot. I believe I am stuck."

"Wait a second," Javier said, digging into his other pocket he pulled out his commlink. =^=PO Costala to Transporter Chief.=^=

=^=Chief here, go ahead Javier.=^=

=^=I need you to transport T'Shaini and I to the second destination a little earlier than planned..like now.=^= Javier explained. =^=And have our gear transported to the counselor's quarters.=^=

=^=The transponder signals are coming in loud and clear, stand-by Costala.=^= the TC replied.

=^=Thanks Chief, Javier out.=^= he replied, closing the channel. He looked up into the branches and said, "The plan was to stay here two nights then go somewhere else for our final night…somewhere relaxing." The air began to shimmer as the transporter caught them up. When it let them go, they were standing in the lobby of one of the nicer hotel/spas on the colony. Transported in a sitting position, Javier dropped his pants to catch T'Shaini before she fell to the floor. The move was sudden and caught him off balance sending them both crashing to the floor. It was then Javier realized he was dressed only in his boxer-briefs and he and T'Shaini were in what could be construed as a compromising position.

Nah, no one thinks that.. Several gasps and even an 'oh my' reached his ears. Well maybe they do..

JP by..Holy Snikes, it's a bear!
Originally Posted by Javier Costala 01-13-2008


Paradise Found - Megiddo Colony

It was just possible that the two-and-a-half star hotel's name exaggerated its Eden-esque standing, somewhat but as it stood, the rooms were clean, the rates reasonable and, most importantly, the doors had locks. Now, in this small space, hidden from the looks and the darker cares which accompanied such attention, he could see Kerrin, and only Kerrin. For now, for a time, she was all he wanted to know of the world.

The door closed with a thud and, as if triggered by the sound, so did her throat. Oh god…is this a good idea? Forcing herself to breathe through what felt like the beginning of a mild panic attack she half danced to the other side of the room (which took all of three steps) and heard her voice chattering mindlessly. "Ha, ha, ha…I think my brother had this bedspread when we were kids. Who knew they even still made that pattern. God, I hope it hasn't been here for that long…"

Harry leaned against the wall and allowed the nerves to play out… they were as attractive as any other aspect of the woman he'd seen, thus far. Well, one hand rubbed his jaw in memory, except maybe when she'd slugged him. "You have a brother?" he asked, putting his own nerves on hold, the better to appreciate how difficult this had to be for her… how could it not? In the end, really, what did either of them know of each other, beyond one very, very harsh piece of history, anyway. "Older or younger?"

"Younger…he is the pride of the family. Doctor. Very smart, very reliable, married….three kids. Lives near my parents and talks to them everyday." She rolled her eyes. "I got the annoying genes."

"Independence isn't annoying," he commented, "and that PhD you wear at the end of your name probably doesn't sully the family reunions all that much." He straightened, started to pace the room… which was a short trip, indeed and placed him directly in front of the very distracting bundle of nerves. "If it makes you feel any better," he added, unable to stop himself from brushing her hair aside, "my sister has three kids, my brother has two and they both, along with my mother, live with their families on the same lumber plantation where we grew up."

"Lumber plantation?" Uncontrollably she began to sing. "I'm a lumberjack and I'm okay!" Kerrin lifted up on her toes to peek inside his shirt. "You got a bra on under there?" A laughed tinged with hysteria slipped from her mouth. "Err…Monty Python? Twentieth Century Terran comedy…show…uuhhhh." If there is a god please let him strike me dead.

Lifting her trembling hand into his, Harry leaned over the palm murmuring, "Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition…" before offering up one small kiss.

"Thank god, I was afraid you…would…think…." His lips across her palm sent shivers up her spine and disrupted any thought process she might have had. "Whoa…"

Moving his lips up to the inside of her wrist he paused, enjoying the flutter of her pulse he glanced up, "Whoa as in… stop?"

"Ahh no, 'whoa' as in jesusmaryandjosephholyshitithinkiamgonnaignite."

He'd been traversing the route up her inner arm, enjoying the silken texture of her skin beneath the soft red fabric of her sweater. Hearing the word 'ignite' he froze, only for a moment, before straightening.

"I am sorry…I talk too much when I am nervous." She wanted so badly to kiss him, and couldn't make herself move. What if she had turned him off with her blithering. "Blithering…bad…sorry." She swallowed hard and looked at the floor. "I mean, I understand if you don't want to…"

"I want," he managed, barely, before swallowing and remembering such a thing as language, "I want… very much… but you're right to be nervous… Kerrin, I'm a bad bet… in every way you could imagine. If you… you can change your mind and we can go… I don't know, find a movie or go to the boardwalk," there was a brief pause, "After I take a really long, sub-arctic shower…"

She chuckled softly and laid her head on his chest. "What a mess we are."

Wrapping his arms about her, he put his head down on top of hers, "The Abbot and Costello of romance," he pressed his lips to her hair, oddly relieved to meet someone as inept in the arena as himself. "Who's on first?"

Her response of "I don't know…" was muffled by his chest, then…

"Third base!" erupted from the both of them as the absurdity of the situation caught up and each felt the euphoric rush of shared affinities.

Harry reached down and tilted Kerrin's chin, so that he could drop yet more kisses down on her soft, warm lips, "Third base is a fine destination," he said, between contacts, as one hand moved towards the first of what seemed to be an infinity of tiny buttons running down the front of her sweater, "but I'm given to understand that, really," he moved his attentions down, towards the line of her jaw as he felt the first button come free, "it's all about the journey."

"Hey, hey… what are you looking at?" *Activates 'Do Not Disturb' sign*
Originally Posted by Harry Finn 01-14-2008


:: SS Megiddo ::
:: Administration Wing ::

Commander Killings followed Captain Benjamin back into the reception area following the brief meeting. Nils followed closely behind them both.

“I’m glad I could get this straightened out for you, Captain. I know what it’s like to endure a reshuffling of bridge crew,” Killings said gruffly. The graying man was severe in appearance, but had a demeanor that engendered trust.

Nils caught a glimpse of Ensign Rosenstangle boiling behind his desk. The young officer did his best to look busy, and Nils couldn’t help but enjoy that fact.

“Thanks for your time,” Captain Benjamin chimed casually. “And now I’ve got places to be, so…”

“Of course,” Killings said turning to face Nils. “Good luck Lieutenant.”

“Thank you very much Commander. You too,” he said without thinking. You too? That doesn’t make sense. The Commander didn’t seem to notice his blunder and retreated to his office. “And thanks to you too, Captain. I owe you.”

“No big deal,” the teenage Captain said heading to the exit. “I’ll catch up with you on the ship. I gotta see about a girl.” And he was gone.

Nils stood stock still until Ensign Rosenstangle relented and gave him his eye. “Thank you as well, ensign,” he said, his tone serious. He tossed the PADD with the orders for the Amur onto the desktop. “May wanna dole that one out to someone else. I’m busy.” With that he followed the path that Captain Benjamin had taken out into the corridor.

Immediately upon exit, he ran directly into a brick wall of a man and almost fell back into the Admin office on his ass. Thankfully, the man reached out and grabbed him, stabilizing his balance before it was lost completely.

“Lincoln!” Nils voice practically squealed. He felt the need to rub his eyes to make sure it was actually the Human/Vulcan hybrid standing before him.

“Heya kid,” Lincoln beamed.

A very awkward and brief silence passed between them before Lincoln held out his hand. “A very distinct pleasure to see you, Lieutenant.”

“Very,” Nils answered quickly. He gripped Lincoln’s hand with both of his and shook it excitedly. “What are you doing here? Is the Sentinel here?”

“Sentinel crew’s been disbanded,” he said with no apparent emotion on the topic. “But the team from Sentinel has been reassigned…as of now.” A slow and steady smile built with and kept pace with his words. “As soon as we heard you were on the Hawking we all applied for positions on board. Well…Koz, Dana, and I that is…”

The stunned Bajoran could only stare as he allowed comprehension to occur. “You’re coming to the Hawking…but…” He shook his head, still confused.

Lincoln’s smile reached apex. “We figured you’d need us. I mean, the science you got down and we trust you to get the job done over there. But face it kid, you’re no fun to work with. Without us you’d get pretty lonely.”

Torrik Nils laughed.

“Dalluk retired from barbering, and has taken up pouring drinks. Man’s more stubborn than you. I have no idea how, but he’s been assigned as a lounge worker on Hawking as well,” Lincoln said with a shrug. “I know you liked the guy.”

“So it’ll be like Sentinel,” Nils said. His words didn’t reveal the truth of the statement fully. What he meant was It will be like home. It had taken months aboard Sentinel to build relationships. But in the end he had. The affinity he felt for his science team and one time barber was as close to familial as he’d ever come. And although Koz tended to annoy him more than anything else the affection he felt for them all filled a spot that had been empty since his brother died.

“It will be like Hawking,” Lincoln corrected. “Letting go of the past is vital for moving into a profitable future.” Ever the sage, Lincoln nodded slightly at his one time Chief.

“Where were you when I needed you,” Nils said, considering his own consistent inability to get the hell over it. With it being any manner of compounded crisis from childhood onward. “This is fantastic,” the science officer continued, coming as close to actually beaming as he ever had. “You know Jillian’s on board, right,” he continued as they started down the hall together. Nils had plenty to catch his friend up on. “And wait until you meet Harry Finn…wound tighter than me… You’ll love him. Then there’s Costala. Prophets, where do I begin with him? Well, we live together in a shuttlecraft…”

Lincoln lifted an eyebrow in fascination as they ambled slowly down the corridor towards their new, official assignment.

Featuring NPC Lincoln Purcell
Lincoln1.png
Originally Posted by Torrik Nils 01-15-2008


Paradise Found - Megiddo Colony

Must brush teeth…must brush teeth. It was that thought that normally propelled Kerrin out of bed in the morning and this morning was no different…but the night before was…was it? She looked next to her before moving and sure enough, not a dream. Heeee! Resisting the urge to plant a kiss on the bare shoulder that was poking from the covers, lord knew he slept little enough…leave him alone, she crept out of bed and to the bathroom. Peeking out from the bathroom, newly minty fresh, she checked that he was still sleeping. Not wanting to disturb him, and wide awake herself, Kerrin curled up on the chair by the window, and tucking her knees beneath her chin, watched as he slept.

There had been heat, yes, but not the kind that burned. This had been the heat of life and the woman and it had brought him home from a long cold journey and after, so warmed, he had slept… deeply and free from the escalating taunts which had been following him aboard the Hawking.

There may have been dreams but, as he came slowly to waking, Harry was pleased to remember none of them. His hand slid over the hollow where she'd been sleeping…

In the blink of an eye it was over. One moment she was happily contemplating what she would kiss first when he awoke, next thing she knew she had slammed her head on the wall behind her trying to back away from the crazy man that had clearly possessed Harry's body and launched forward to point a phaser (that he must have pulled out of his ass) directly at her.

"AAAHHHHHH!"

But he was already falling back on the bed, the weapon powered down and a look of horrified regret infusing his features. "I'm sorry," he looked quickly away, lest she see just how afraid he'd been… "You were gone… I thought you were gone…" he was talking to the bedding, now, "I thought they…" a painful breath shuddered through his frame, "I thought they'd taken you…"

It was as if all the oxygen had been sucked out of the room…god. Then in another blink of an eye she had made it across the room to wrap herself around him. "I am sorry..sosososorry. I was up early and didn't want to disturb you. I should have thought…"

"No, don't…" one arm snaked around her waist as his head fell to her shoulder, "don't apologize for being normal… it's me. It's them, it's…" he couldn't go on - it was too stupid and it was too real.

"…something that having heard the story, I should have thought about." She finished. Leaning her cheek on top of his head she gathered him closer. Eep, inappropriate tingling… regardless of the emotional mood, Kerrin's body had ideas of its own, shush. "I am sorry..no wait, I am sorry that you have had experiences that make you react with such ferocity…and sorry that no matter what I want, I can't erase them for you."

She'd come close, though. Damn close to making him forget how much could be taken, and how fast. As she melted into him… shifting softly against his chest… her nearness, the scent of her, brought on an entirely new concern and his hand fisted in the thin cotton of the t-shirt she'd thrown on; his shirt and somehow, the knowledge that she was wearing his clothing only made her that much more desirable… that much more his… oh god.

And now there was burning… born of fear and need and hopelessness and he pulled her closer still and this time his kisses weren't slow or tender but desperate and frenetic and his hands were tearing at the shirt to find the flesh beneath, the softness he should never have allowed himself to touch.

It was madness, of a sort but if so it was a shared madness because now her hands were reaching, her teeth scraping and Harry felt her nails dig new scores over old scars and it made him burn that much more and in a heartbeat he had her trapped beneath him and, tangled in the bedding they moved in a rhythm so ancient and yet so new… every time so new…

_______

An undefinable amount of time later Kerrin stretched, then abruptly curled back into Harry as she felt a muscle *ping* in response. "Oh yeah…that is gonna leave a mark." That sense of euphoria that only blossoms in the wake of intense, intense pleasure shone from the smile she turned up at Harry. Her finger traced the barest hint of a smile that was curving his lips as she felt laughter begin to shake her body. Release of an entirely different form, it consumed her until the husky, intemperate sound filled the room.

He'd been a bit worried that he might have damaged her but, as Kerrin's deep, provocative laugh rolled over him, Harry realized that, whatever the woman might be suffering from, it wasn't pain. "You know, you shouldn't hold back so much," he told the giddy siren, "you might get ulcers."

Snuffling weakly as her laughter died down she made a face up at him. "Yeah, yeah, yeah…I was once told that I only have 'big emotions'…" a mischevious smile crossed her face, "and that is the only warning you get."

Sensing a challenge, his own smile grew somewhat… well, wicked might have been the best way to describe it but, "Noted," was all he said. Shifting slightly, to settle her more securely in his arms, Harry paused, frowned, and reached under Kerrin's back.

"Hey, hey, hey…whatcha digging for Tex?"

"I'm from Pennsylvania," he corrected. "Annnd, voila!" magician-like, he withdrew the Type I he'd dropped during their… previous activities. "No wonder you felt bruised," he added, sliding the weapon back beneath the pillow. Then he recalled, in humiliating detail, how it had come to be in his hand in the first place… "I'm so…."

Stopping his mouth with her own Kerrin hummed with pleasure for a moment then pulled away. "Don't apologize…not saying I would like to repeat the incident," She paused and reflected on what had followed. "well, maybe just the second half…and I am pretty sure you could do that without you pointing a phaser at me first."

About a hundred questionable phaser jokes flashed through his head but he didn't voice any of them. Looking down at Kerrin's face, seeing the combination of acceptance and glee and… he hoped… satisfaction, left him a little breathless.

Kerrin watched as a myriad things flashed across his face…she had never seen him so unguarded. Touched beyond measure she opened her mouth to try to put words to her feelings when the most horrifyingly unladylike noise came rumbling from her stomach. Beet red, she looked up sheepishly. "Ummm…maybe we should think about getting breakfast?"

Harry had the distinct sense that they'd just been saved from a revelation for which neither of them could possibly be prepared. Certainly he wasn't. Not yet. Possibly not ever, if he were being honest with himself. It was a bitter realization and one he refused to entertain. For now… well, he'd just have to hope 'for now' would be enough… for the both of them. And that being the case, he checked the chronometer for the local time and winced, "I think, technically, we're looking at lunch," he told her, sliding out of bed and offering a hand up, "and maybe a shower, first," he added then, "and you know… I hear they're very big on water conservation, down here on the Colony…"

Remember, conservation is everybody's business…
Originally Posted by Harry Finn 01-15-2008


Looking up from the tangle of limbs that they had found themselves, T'Shaini took a quick intake of breath. "Oh how lovely." Cool marble and lush greens and browns created a spectacular first impression. She leaned down to drop a kiss onto Javier's mouth. "It was extremely thoughtful of you." She was about to emphasize her point with another kiss when the murmuring of the other patrons began to reach her ears.

"Mmmmh," Javier replied during the kiss. Lovely indeed. he thought as his lips pressed against T'Shaini's. Their lips were not the only parts of their bodies touching and he began to feel a sudden light-headedness engulf him. "You're welcome.." he managed to say before he heard the distinct sound of someone clearing their throat. This was a noise that someone wanting to be heard had made. Javier turned his head and found himself looking at a pair of well-polished black dress shoes. It was a military shine and for the moment Javier wondered what the Gunny was doing at their hotel.

The person cleared their throat once more, purposely louder the second time, and Javier followed the shoes up to the dark uniform pants to the jacket and finally the face. The face looked unhappy. "Sir, the Barker Suites has a dress code for visitors. Even if you are here to make use of the spa you must dress appropriately and adhere to all our rules for guests." The tone of the concierge was borderline smarmy.

"I'm sorry, I had to leave my clothes as I was being chased by a bear. I still have my pants though," Javier pointed out as he held up his pants victoriously, then noticed the medium-sized hole that the phaser had burned through his pocket, "but they do have a burn in a rather embarassing place."

"Quite," the man replied as he looked at the two distastefully. "Please remove yourselves from the premises or I will have to call the guard."

"We have reservations," Javier stated. He would have risen from the floor and spoken directly to the man but he wasn't wearing much and T'Shaini was covering up the beginnings of what could be a potentially embarassing situation.

T'Shaini began to stand to address the gentleman in front of them, there was no way she was going to let anyone ruin his surprise, when Javier's hand to the back of her pants arrested the movement. Draping herself in hauteur as only a Vulcan can she raised one eyebrow and looked the concierge up and down. "You heard the gentleman, we have reservations. Now you can either rectify the situation by arranging for someone to take us to our room or you can call your manager and I am certain he will be able to assist us. Your coat." She held out her hand. "Sir, hand me your coat." She had often found that if you do not ask they cannot say no. The dumbfounded man dropped his coat into T'Shaini's waiting hand. Sliding it behind her for Javier to put on she gave him a moment, then stood. "Now, if you would be so kind…."

He wrestled with the coat, luckily it was of a longer variety, he slid it over his shoulders and sighed as it covered his unmentionables. "I could use a drink of water..spring water, sparkling if you please," Javier said as if he were giving an order as he stood to his feet. "We've had a trying afternoon.." he looked at the badge on the front of the jacket he was wearing, "Perkins. There's a good man," he said assuming the speech patterns of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, his favorite holodeck novel feature. The concierge gave him an odd look then led them over to the check-in desk.


Nobu…where else would you be expected to dress in your finest, then sit on tatami mats on the floor. T'Shaini was fascinated by the incongruity, and also had heard that they had a spectacular vegetarian tasting menu, so was gratified when Javier acquiesced to her suggestion. Handsome in a newly replicated, dark gray suit she watched as Javier negotiated how he was going to arrange his legs. Having chosen a dress that would accommodate the lack of chairs, T'Shaini knelt gracefully in front of the low table and folded her hands waiting for Javier.

Another chopstick place… Javier thought, wondering if T'Shaini was hinting that he needed to go on a diet. It is a good way not to get food into your mouth. The tables were very short and would have been perfect for a person who was Pev's height but for Javier they were something of a trial, particularly since he was wearing a suit. They had made him take off his shoes at the door..or rather at the sliding screen and now Javier removed his jacket and laid it to the side. Then the engineer unfastened his belt, slipped off his pants and folded them at the crease placing them beside his coat before sitting down beside T'Shaini in his boxers, socks and shirt-tails.

"Nice little tables," he remarked, "I think Miss Katie has some like this in her classroom."

T'Shaini felt her mouth drop open…always the unexpected, and surreptitiously looked around the restaurant to see if their departure was imminent. She was unsure if it was the presence of the bamboo screen that afforded some measure of privacy or that the cliental in this breed of establishment was so jaded that a man in his briefs was beneath their notice. T'Shaini ran her hand over the smooth wood table. "You may be right, are you comfortable?"

"In the words of Perkins..'quite'." Javier looked at the table and then bounced on the cushion he was sitting on. "Comfortable. Now for some food, I will of course let you order since Asian cuisine is more your specialty than mine. Although I'd like some beef, some real meat for a change, even targ would be welcome." He picked up the tiny cup in front of him as their waiter arrived. "Sake it to me," he told the woman.

Wow, like a real date…totally
Originally Posted by T'Shaini 01-15-2008


While the woman brought Javier his sake, T'Shaini informed another server that they would let the chef choose a tasting menu for them, one vegetarian for her and one decidedly not for him. Over the next several hours a dizzying array of tiny jewel like dishes arrived, each one more intoxicating in texture and flavor than the other. As was the seemingly never ending bottle of sake that Chihiro (for that was her name) kept refilling Javier's cup with.

"Yes I have no pants," Javier told the friendly waitress as she refilled his cup, "and to tell the truth..I don't miss them all that much." He turned and clinked his cup against T'Shaini's. "Bottoms up..or down if you prefer that," he said before snickering then emptying the cup into his mouth. Javier set down the cup and picked up his arch-nemesis, the chopsticks, from beside the platter in front of him and began to try and stab the nearest piece of grilled flesh with the dull end of the utensils. "I'll get you, you cow," he threatened, stabbing at the meat.

T'Shaini had tried the sake and not found it to her liking, so had left it for Javier. Far more logical that in an unfamiliar place, one of them should stay coherent enough to bring them back to their room. Truthfully, there was something about watching him this evening that hearkened back to their first meeting. Leaning forward she deftly scooped up the offending steak with her chopsticks and deposited it in his mouth. She then reached out and clasped his free hand remembering how unsettling she had first found his touch and hoped that soon she would be able to feel that again.

There was a reason she was squeezing his hand..a very good reason. What is it? Did I forget something? The show.. Javier glanced at his chronometer. It was kind of blurry but clear enough for him to see that they were running late. "We have to go! The..the thing..the thing with the people who act like the other people..it's starting!" he blurted as he jumped up and began to try and pull his pants on while hopping around on one leg. Miss. Miss. Hit..and snag. Retract. Miss. Miss. Hit and through. "Yes!" Javier exclaimed as he managed to get his leg into the pants. Then there was the problem of getting the other leg on. Javier did a crazy one-legged pants dance around the table. His foot struck the edge of the table and he fell forward. The floor was not soft but lying horizontally aided him in getting his other pant's leg on. The fasteners and the belt were easy after the pant's leg debacle. He grabbed his coat and shrugged it on as he stood up. "Ready?" Javier asked T'Shaini.

"Ready." Which she was, having taken care of the bill during the trouser gyrations. "I must confess I had forgotten about the play." They made their way to the door without further incident, graciously ushered out by the staff. Luckily in close proximity was the arts complex that housed Megiddo Shakespeare. Tucking her arm in his T'Shaini whispered on their way in. "Thank you, I have never seen a live performance. This should prove to be quite an experience." The tradition of raising the curtain (which of course was no longer a true curtain) eight after the hour enabled them to reach their seats before the play commenced.

"WHY IS EVERYONE SO QUIET?!" Javier whispered or thought he whispered. The man in the seat in front of him turned and gave Javier the 'stinkeye'. "THAT GUY DOESN'T LIKE ME." he 'whispered' again to T'Shaini. "Shhhhh," somebody hissed at him. Javier ignored them and watched some guys prance around on the stage and act like they were going to fight. "THAT BIG GUY IS GOING TO KICK THAT LITTLE ANNOYING GUY'S ASS…"

The play had started, the fight with the Capulet and Montague's servants was thankfully quite loud…but not loud enough to drown out Javier. T'Shaini put her hand, in what she hoped was a soothing manner, on his thigh, and leaned in to whisper in his ear. "It is customary to not speak while watching a play…the actors can hear you, they will think you are not enjoying yourself."

"THEY CAN..they can hear me?" he asked, blinking at T'Shaini.

She nodded at him and turned back to watch the stage.

Javier stood up and yelled, "HEY BIG GUY, DON'T TAKE THAT SMACK FROM THAT LITTLE ANNOYING GUY!! KICK THAT GUY'S ASS! OOH-RAH!" The next he knew Javier's elbow was being plucked by some guy in an odd suit and he was being pulled out of the theatre. "BIG GUY..HEY BIG GUY..BENFOLDIO..DRINKS ON ME..BITING YOUR THUMB LOOKS RETARDED LITTLE GUY…YEAH I SAID IT..WANT TO MAKE SOMETHING OF IT? YEAH YOU BETTER WALK AWAY..I'VE GOT YOUR BACK BENFOLDIO..WEST SIIIDE!"

Resigned to having to wait a little longer to see her first live performance, T'Shaini silently apologized to the surrounding audience and slipped out of her seat to follow Javier up the aisle. Finding him outside she once again looped her arm through his and began to walk back towards the hotel. "Just as well, I would rather reserve something that is reputed to be as emotionally evocative as Romeo and Juliet for when I can truly experience it."

"Yeah that Benfoldio is cool," he agreed.

"Benvolio."

"Who's he?"

Poor Shakespeare..I believe he rolls still.
Originally Posted by Javier COstala 01-15-2008


:: USS Hawking ::
:: Transporter Room ::

Nils paced expectantly around the transporter room. “Any word?” His question didn’t interrupt the rut he was making in the deck flooring.

“Not yet, sir,” the young female manning the transporter said impatiently.

Still mid pace, Nils sighed. He was eager to meet his friends when they beamed aboard. But his nerves threatened to put him on the run. Granted, he was a new Torrik Nils than the cadet who’d first stepped foot on the Sentinel as a team scientist. His inability to look another being in the eye had faded with time, and he could almost carry on a full conversation with a total stranger.

The most profound change, however, included a renewed ability to allow people to care for him. The need to push others away no longer dominated him. There were times of course, under stress in when backed against the wall that his baser nature would manifest. But today was not that day.

“I’m receiving their signal, Lieutenant,” the transporter operator said as her hands glided over the controls.

“Good,” the Bajoran said smiling. He froze in place and stood at ease. The glowing lines of transport and the familiar hum of the machinery preceded the new crewmen onto the ship. Then the familiar glow and particulate coagulated into beings.

A hearty laugh rebounded off the walls. “I thought perhaps Lincoln’s description of you was misguided,” Koz’s sing songy and highly accented voice cried out. He came off the transporter in a virtual tumble, followed by Lincoln and Dana. “But he was right… He was right… Your pheromonal presence is much more secure.” The Deltan wrapped his arms around Nils and squeezed him tight.

Nils did his best not to swoon. The Deltan’s own “pheromonal presence” had diminished none since the last time he’d seen him. The Bajoran shifted uneasily in the embrace and awkwardly patted the bald man on the back.

“Nils…” Dana’s sweet voice brought a sense of joy to the science officer. He’d missed her sweet spirit the most. “I am so glad to see you,” she said pressing her way into the embrace. “The Sentinel was not the same without you. Lincoln, show him what we brought.”

“Here ya go, kid,” the elder man said stepping forward. In his hands, he bore a flowering plant unlike anything Nils had seen before. A brilliant purple and yellow hand-sized flower sat atop a bright red stem. The petals moved as if they were under water, undulating so slowly that they appeared caught in some other time. “It’s called Erasthius. It’s a rare ever-bloom plant we bought on the station after you… after we thought you…”

Dana reached out and took the plant from Lincoln then handed it to Nils. “We put it in Main Science when we thought you’d been killed,” she said warmly. “I thought it fitting. See, it never loses its bloom. Like you,” she added sweetly.

Nils was touched. A warm heady feeling came over him. He wasn’t sure exactly what the Sentinel crew had determined as Vespucci’s fate, but he could imagine. “Thank you,” he said overwhelmed. “Thank you very much.”

“I can’t believe it’s really you,” Dana said again wrapping Nils up in one more hug. He hugged her tightly in return.

“Well…let’s get you settled,” Nils said, ready to put the exhausting emotions of reunion to rest and move on with the normal pace of life. “I’ll put the Erasthius on the Vespucci after I’ve showed you to your quarters.”

“So it’s true then,” Koz chided. “You live on a damned shuttle? I thought our dear Mr. Purcell here was misguided about that as well.”

“Long story,” Nils said smiling. “And we can fill each other in tonight at dinner. Let’s meet in the lounge at sixteen hundred and… Hey where is Dalluk?”

“Always to his own drum, my friend,” Koz answered.

Dana nodded. “He sortuv vanished when we got back to Megiddo space. He’ll turn up though. I don’t think we could get rid of him if we wanted,” she said through a laugh.

Nils couldn’t help but notice that Lincoln seemed to brighten every time Dana spoke. And her laugh positively had him beaming. The young man guessed that the two must have sparked up some kind of relationship following his departure.

“Well, welcome aboard,” Nils said finally as he surveyed his former and now present crewmates. “I thought I’d lost something that I never knew I’d miss,” he said awkwardly. “I mean…” he chuckled at his own inability to express. “I mean, I’m very glad you’re all here.”

A moment of smiles and appreciative looks passed around the assembled group.

“Come on,” Nils said, breaking out of that moment. “You’ve got to see this ship…”

And the four exited the Transporter room, conversations ablaze.

Featuring NPCs:
Koz Rotaran Koz1.png
Dana Grissom Dana1.png
Lincoln Purcell Lincoln1.png

Originally Posted by Torrik Nils 01-16-2008


Stardust Diner - Megiddo Colony

"More coffee?"

Kerrin looked up and marveled that no matter what race, culture or planet, there seemed to be the ubiquitous 'diner waitress'. This specimen was of the Teplan race, rather short, rather squat, of indeterminate age and possessed of a motherly demeanor. Just as a diner waitress should be. Kerrin smiled brightly up at her. "Yes of course…what a silly question." Once she had refilled their mugs and waddled away Kerrin lightly dipped her finger in her coffee and flicked it at Harry, who was staring out the window. "Good god, only two days and you are already bored with me…I am going to have to pull out some feminine wiles," She paused and her brow furrowed. "I wonder if you can buy feminine wiles."

"You don't need wiles," he came back, absently brushing the caffeinated drops from the front of his shirt, "you don't need anything… you're…" he fell silent again, unwilling or unable to go further down a dangerous path. Instead, he picked up his coffee, stared at it, put it down again, "About… about the ship…"

"You are lucky you didn't finish that sentence, because then I would know you are full of it." She stuck her tongue out at him then sipped from her coffee thoughtfully. "What about the ship?" Putting the mug down, her mouth suddenly formed into a little O. "Ohhhh," She looked down at the swirl of cream in her coffee. "I understand, you would rather not anyone know."

"I'd rather not," he confessed, plowing through the guilt to get to the truth, "but the thing is… I'm not that good an actor - ask my great-aunt Sadie. No," he looked away from her, quickly downing a gulp of coffee before continuing, "I don't think we can hide… what's here. Besides," he glanced back up, then down again, "given the whole 'anatomically correct chocolate heart' incident…"

"…someone already knows, or suspects." Kerrin kicked one foot against the table leg as she thought. "Well, what do you want to do about it?"

"I want you to take a leave of absence and go see your family…" he began.

"Not gonna happen."

"… but that's obviously not going to happen," he continued, pretending the exercise in obstinance had never occurred. "Not that it wouldn't be smart… the agent is on the Hawking, if you're off the Hawking he can't get to you… but, fine," he reached into his shirt pocket and withdrew something… too small for Kerrin to identify. "That being the case you can start carrying this all the time," and he pushed the item across the table, "Since obviously you aren't carrying the phaser I gave you… and why aren't you carrying it, by the way?"

Kerrin was mid reach, fascinated by the teeny tiny weapon when his question stopped her. Reddening in confusion she stammered out a reply. "I er…well, it is shore leave…and I didn't think of…where was I supposed to put it?"

She was so cute when she was flummoxed.. focus. "Right," Harry put on his 'security' face. "In future, start carrying a… one of those girly things… you put stuff in it… women need to carry stuff, right?" Okay, this wasn't going the way he'd intended… "Whatever. This is a special make, from the guy who runs that store I dragged you to." He picked up the micro-phaser, "It's a limited use, one-setting phaser. It has enough charge for three fires, then it needs a new power cell, I have some in my duffel," he explained. "It can only stun, which I think will make you happy. Just don't waste the cell shooting Gorsky because he's hogging the L-CARS."

"Awww, you are no fun." Not being a 'girly' kinda chick, Kerrin slid the phaser into the pocket of her pants. "That it? Or are there some other instructions, Captain Paranoid?" Seeing Harry's face shut down she raised her hand to forestall the avalanche of 'don't be an idiot' that was about to fall on her head. "No, no…I know you are not being paranoid. I however, am being flippant…it is how I deal."

"The thing is," he said, "you've never dealt with anything, anyone, like this. And as much as I appreciate your sense of humor, it's not going to be enough to stop him if he comes after you…" When the voice in his head added, when he comes after her. He shook it off… if she were terrified, she'd be less able to 'deal'. "I'm going after this tool," he told her, "but until I bring him, her or it down, you have got to be ready to do whatever it takes to defend yourself. Can you do that?" Or do I ask Nechayev to haul your shapely ass of the ship? Could he ask…?

"I can do that." Right? Right, I can do that. Sitting up a bit straighter as if to emphasize her readiness she nodded at Harry. "Push comes to shove I don't really have a choice do I?"

He reached out to her at that, one hand covering both of hers where they lay folded on the cool table, "I pity the idiot who tries to shove you anywhere," all the while pushing down at the images of fire which threatened to overwhelm him.

Seeing that pinch around the edge of his eyes that she had begun to associate with unpleasant memories, Kerrin bounced his hand up and down on the table. "Now that we have been fed…I want ENTERTAINMENT!" She thought frantically for something to follow that statement. "FERRIS WHEEL! The one Pev climbed down!" She dragged him to his feet and kissed him soundly before half dancing out the door.

"What?" What? "Hey…" throwing way too many credits onto the table, Harry felt himself grinning as Kerrin pulled him outside. "You know, I don't think I've ever made out with a girl on a ferris wheel…"

Did you know if you pay the Ferris Wheel guy a little extra, he'll keep your car up top for an extra ten minutes!
Originally Posted by Harry Finn 1-17-2008


:: USS Hawking ::
:: Astrometrics ::

SmokinginAstrometrics.png

Twin pillars of swirling smoke rose gently from the two men propping their legs up on the console. The main cartography display glowed with a three dimensional representation of surrounding space. They couldn’t have had a better view unless they were sitting on the saucer section of the hull.

“Dinner was good…” Lincoln said casually. “Nice of Jillian to join us.”

Nils smiled at the mention of her name. “Yes…indeed.” The younger man let his head lean back on the padded chair and relaxed as the worlds, suns and stars passed by - not noticing them at all. “And this is called a cigar,” he asked examining the earthy brown cylinder he’d been puffing on.

“Mmmhmm,” answered Lincoln as he took a puff of his own cigar. “My father sent them to me from Earth many years ago, before he died. We had a tradition in my family of lighting one up on special occasions.”

“Special occasions…” Nils repeated with a grin. The thick smoke had taken a small bit of getting used to, but in the end he found it a simple matter of self-control. The smoke was not for breathing…it was for savoring.

“Probably against regulations of some kind isn’t it?” the elder man queried, apparently unaffected.

“Probably,” answered Nils with an arch to his eyebrow. “But I clicked up the environmental controls in the lab. Plus I’ll flood the place with baryon radiation when we leave to give her a good cleansing…” He paused and looked over to his friend. “So… Are you going to tell me what is going on with you and Dana? Or do I have to theorize?”

Lincoln chuckled. “Always the perfect observer…” he mused.

“Not entirely perfect,” the Bajoran said with a smile.

“Well…” The Vulcan/human hybrid took a moment to gather his thoughts before continuing. “When you vanished the science department was in a shambles. But don’t let it go to your head. Things went undone and what with our being a “rogue” vessel… Let’s just say times were hard.”

“Unfortunate,” Nils commented.

“But hard times tend to bring people together. And Dana and I…came together… There really isn’t much more to it than that. We spent time together. And…I fell in love…” Lincoln’s lips stretched into a smile. “I’ve never been in love before.”

“It’s a bitch, isn’t it,” Nils quipped seriously. Thoughts of he and Jillian’s relationship and the rocky history they had shared together played in his mind like an old Terran movie.

“Hmmm,” Lincoln nodded, again puffing on his cigar. “Especially when they aren’t sure what they want,” he added, his tone grim. “When we returned to Megiddo space she… I don’t know… She changed her mind I guess. She wants to slow down and really examine where we are going.”

Silence was Nils' only response. As the instigator of slow and steady and often times all-stop in his own relationship, he felt it inappropriate for him to comment. It also gave him a severe guilt trip concerning his treatment of Jillian since they’d left the Sentinel.

“I’m at a loss at this point,” Lincoln shrugged.

“I think…” the younger man paused, not wanting to overstep his place. “I think I don’t understand women…”

After a moment of shared silence the two men chuckled. Their chuckle continued until it eventually became full out laughter.

“It’s ironic isn’t it…” Lincoln said struggling to gain composure. “Between the two of us we could probably quantify the exact dimensions of the universe and determine a breakdown by percentage of its matter based on various physical criterion… But women leave us baffled.”

Nils laughed until tears began forming in the corner of his eyes. “Unfortunately, I don’t think it is ironic,” he struggled to say. “I think that is within the parameters of normalcy.”

After enjoying themselves a bit longer they eventually settled into a comfortable silence. Still the cosmos spun slowly by. Still the smoke rose lazily upward.

“I hope it works out for you,” Nils eventually said. “For the both of you.”

Lincoln nodded. “Yeah… Me too.”

Featuring NPC:
LincolnSig.png
Originally Posted by Torrik Nils 1-17-2008


USS Hawking
Sick Bay

L’mek groaned and rubbed his eyes. He had been the lab checking PADDs and running diagnostics all night. He only stopped to have a nurse bring him food. He was looking tired too with his haggard appearance and five o’ clock shadow. But he wanted to make all traces of the virus where destroyed. Even though in theory it was a stroke of medical genus. But the aftermath was to much even for study. It had to be destroyed.

After about 15 hours after his second shift had ended and trailed into his third Nurse Bramley finally spoke up. “ Dr. L’mek I think you need to rest. If not for yourself and the sake of professionalism then do it for the sake of the crew and hygiene. You look and smell terrible.”

L’mek stared at him for a few seconds and blinked twice. Then without a word he nodded his head and left. He made it down the corridors and went into the civilian bay. Then he got undressed and hopped into the sonic shower. He grumbled to himself and remembered how much better the water in the CMO room he was in however so briefly felt. After the shower he got dressed and hopped into bed.
Originally Posted by L'Mek 1-17-2008


Dark Matter - Megiddo Colony

Having seen Kerrin back to the Hawking from the Colony’s main transport, Harry returned to the city. He had one small task yet to perform. While it had been true that he’d planned to avoid his full leave, he would have had to come planetside briefly.

He had to see a man about a book.

Entering the storefront bearing the dubious designation ‘Dark Matter’, he waved at the employee covering the register, “He in?”

“Back office,” came the disinterested reply. Finn knew for a fact that the Rigellian was far from disinterested in anyone that entered the small, dingy store.

Harry slid past the lone customer, a Denobulan studying one of the PADD’s with wide-eyed curiosity and tapped the sill of the locked-open office.

“Mollin,” he called.

Mollin, the Bolian who ran the ‘store’ looked up from his terminal, eyes crinkled, “Finn,” he greeted, waving Harry further into the room, “Heard you were dead.”

“I get that a lot,” Harry responded, activating the door’s systems. Once it had closed, he approached the desk.

“Take a seat,” Mollin offered as he opened his desk drawer and started digging through the assorted collection of PADD’s and chips.

Harry cast a glance at the worn chair, placed with it’s back to a tatty green curtain, “No thanks,” he said. “So, what have you got for me?”

“I’m getting it… I’m… ahh,” the broad blue face cracked into a grin, “Here we go,” he passed the isolinear chip to Harry, “One transmission, straight from the boss lady. Came in about ten days after Hawking re-established comms.”

Finn winced as he accepted the chip… both at the casual treatment of confidential material and the equally casual reference to a Fleet Admiral. “One?” he asked, “I’ve been out for seven months and this is it?”

“Don’t hate the messenger,” Mollin leaned back in his chair, hands held up in mock surrender.

“Right,” Finn tossed the chip in the palm of his hand, “So, what’s it say?”

“You know I’m not cleared for the code…”

“Yeah, yeah, blah blah blah… what’s it say?”

“‘It’s not my fault’.”

Harry sighed, “I get that - you’re a natural ice breaker…”

“No, Finn, that’s the message, ‘It’s not my fault’.”

Ohh-kay… “What’s not her fault?”

“Beat’s me. Hey, maybe there’s more data under the main…”

“That you wouldn’t have seen?” Harry shrugged, accepted that Nechayev had to have some reason for the vagueness. “Anyway, here’s mine,” he handed over the data chip he’d brought along for delivery. “And Mollin,” he kept his grip on the intel, “if I hear a syllable of this report on the wind, I’m gonna come looking.” Then he released his hold on the chip.

Taking the offered data, “You won’t,” and for the first time the blue expression was serious. “Willet was a friend… we worked together before the Acker op… no one’s going to hear a thing from me.”

Harry replied with a brief nod. Close to three years, you could still find ripples of loss from the disaster. “Don’t know when I’ll be back,” he said, opening the door once again.

“I’ll be sure to ignore any further rumors of your demise,” Mollin said in farewell.

“That’s a comfort,” Harry responded before ducking out of the small office. Bursting out onto the street he took a deep breath and shook off the clandestine fust that always seemed to cling after these encounters. Time to get back to the ship, back to his job, back to at least the pretense of being just another guy. His thoughts homed in on the memory Kerrin Schaeffer’s laugh and then the feel of her skin and for a moment he forgot how to breathe.

Just another guy.
Originally Posted by Harry Finn 1-18-2008


Relaxation. He could finally tell someone he knew the true meaning of the word. His body seemed almost weightless; it was completely stress-free and all of the tension in his muscles had been released by the massage therapist at the spa. Javier was reclining in the soft fabric of one of the deck chairs that sat in a small cabana near the pool. He was dressed in shorts and a plush spa bathrobe, the later's front was open and the cords of the robe touched the ground on either side of him. The breeze that caused the fabric walls of the cabana to flutter and sway might have left him feeling cool if T'Shaini had not been laying on him. Curled up in her own white robe, the counselor drifted in and out of sleep as Javier held her, her head resting on his shoulder.

I don't want to go back to the Hawking. he thought, Why can't we have a few more days leave? He managed to catch the attention of a waiter through the open curtains of the cabana. The man came over and Javier ordered some more fruit juice. He was enjoying the ease with which the colony could obtain certain items and was going to order as much freshly squeezed orange juice as he could consume before they had to return to the ship.

"T'Shaini," he said softly, trying to wake her.

She shifted in her sleep. "zmmm..turn fish and meet thy death." She then flung her arm wildly and curled into a tight ball.

Javier stifled a laugh and recognized the futility of trying to wake T'Shaini and have her coherrent enough to place a drink order. "We'll have two glasses of orange juice," he told the waiter who turned and walked back towards the outdoor bar and refreshments area. "Turn fish and meet thy death," he repeated. What does that mean? Perhaps she doesn't like to fish anymore after the bear incident..maybe a different tactic will work?

"Counselor, your next appointment is here," he said in an even tone.

"BEAR!" Jolted out of sleep she leaped to her feet and swayed as she attempted to ascertain where she was, and why she was yelling.

Laying under the collapsed deck chair, Javier could only blink and wonder what the hell had just happened. One second he was enjoying a peaceful, relaxing rest and now he was entangled in a deck chair that was trying to suffocate him with it's boa constrictor-like fulcrum. "A little help here.." he said loudly. The waiter entered the cabana and set their drinks down then helped Javier extricate himself from the chair which had suffered a fatal flaw in its design. The waiter removed the damaged and somewhat deadly chair and Javier found himself looking at the culprit.

"Bad dreams?"

Outside…pool…fluffy robe…Javier…SPA. In a futile bid to regain some dignity T'Shaini re-tied the belt on her robe. "Dreams?" She watched the waiter walk away with the remains of what Javier had been seated upon. "What happened to your chair?"

"You and it had a misunderstanding..and you won. I was collateral damage," he said as he limped over to one of the couches in the cabana and stretched out on it. "Now I'm starting to feel like we're on the ship again. Everything seems so normal. There's a disagreement, we look into it, I get hurt, we relax..that chair fiasco could have been one of our missions," he said, ending with a chuckle then a sigh as he reclined on the couch. "I'm not ready to go back," he groaned.

T'Shaini shifted almost imperceptibly from foot to foot, unsure of what he was referring to. "Disagreement?" A crease appeared between her brows. "As to the not wanting to return…I understand. But I suppose even paradise would become monotonous after a while. Perhaps it is better to have in small increments so we truly appreciate it."

"Maybe, or maybe Starfleet thinks if we stay planetside for too long we'll never want to go back to space," he said, not fully agreeing with T'Shaini's line of thought. He moved further back into the couch. "There's a T'Shaini-sized space here," Javier hinted, indicating the place, "I can promise you it's bear-free too."

She slid down beside him and folded her legs under her body. "Is it simply the beauty of the day, or do you truly not want to return to space?"

He thought for a moment, even as his arms moved around her waist, holding her closer to him. "I think it's been the quality of life that you and I have enjoyed since we arrived on the colony. The days were fuller because you were with me." Javier thought back to their camping trip and the moments they had shared. "Even though we had some mishaps..our time here seemed more normal than anything that has happened since I joined the Hawking."

"When I left the marines I thought I was leaving that 'fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants' life behind," he explained. "I wanted something normal..even boring. But I didn't find that, granted I found you and you are one of the best things to ever happen to me." Javier paused long enough to kiss T'Shaini's neck softly. "I'm just saying I want to be an engineer..just an engineer and nothing else. I like the ship and I want to go back to space but I want to be regular old Javier, simple and uncomplicated."

T'Shaini thought for a moment, she had joined Starfleet for the opposite reason. She assumed it was going to consistently challenge her and bring her into contact with new races. Of course, I was never a marine. "Are you ever other than yourself? I find that perhaps the most refreshing thing about you…your 'Javiness'. And if that is unchanging, then perhaps what you wish for is the ability to direct external influences…and no one has that." She reached out to brush her fingers through his hair. "I am of two minds in this situation, there was something Albert Einstein said…'Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.'" T'Shaini brushed her lips across his for a gentle kiss before continuing. "And that, no matter what, I am always grateful that you are around when things become 'complicated'."

Every engineer was familiar with Einstein, I wonder if Uncle Albert was ever infected by a virus like the one on Halcyon..or if he ever met a being like Q. If he had I bet he would have placed a higher value on simplicity. he thought as he pressed forward after T'Shaini finished speaking, kissing her again. His lips left her mouth after a few minutes. "I'll always be there for you when things get complicated," he said before his lips moved to her earlobe.

USS Hawking

Transporter Room 3

The hour of departure had finally arrived and they had said goodbye to fresh juice, plush bathrobes and the luxury of the cloistered cabana. In a second Javier and T'Shaini were transported back to the ship. The engineer sighed as the familiar surroundings came into view. R&R is over..damn. he thought. Since all of their gear had been transported back to the ship when they had left the campsite, and their evening wear had been replicated, the two had very little luggage. The bathrobe was Javier's though. He had convinced the concierge that it was now property of Javier T. Costala and was not leaving his person. In fact, he was wearing it at that very moment.

"Home again," he stated, trying to be positive and not hold the transporter chief responsible for the end of their leave.

More conservatively attired in a sun dress and a vaguely silly floppy hat, T'Shaini looked at the familiar surroundings and let out a sigh of contentment. "Home again."

JP Arthur Dent and Trillian
Originally Posted by T'Shaini 1-18-2008


SS Megiddo
Temporary Crew Quarters

Jenny looked at the bag into which she was supposed to cram her entire life, then at the life she was supposed to cram into the bag.

“It fit when I left home,” she told the empty room. The room had nothing to say to that so Jen just huffed and started the packing process again.

For, oh, the gazillionth time.

Humming an old tune as she stuffed the stuff, the girl’s mind wandered from how to smash down the sneakers just another three centimeters to how distracting a crooked grin on the right face could be.

A crooked grin and hair just messy enough (once the cap came off) and… “Let it go,” she told herself, “He was nice… he was more than nice… he was… slammin’ but shit,” internally she winced (her Mom hated when she swore… her Dad hadn’t been too keen on it either… only Uncle Harry got how important it was to vent), “it was one day… one… and you’re never gonna see him, again… sooo you should be thinking about how you’re gonna do the job and impress your new CO… not how drool-worthy some guy on the promenade was…”

The empty room agreed.

“I should’ve kissed him,” she declared, feeling a bit put out at… someone. “I mean, so what if we never see each other again… maybe that’s when you’re supposed to…” she thought back to all the vids she’d seen but, since most of those featured explosions and killer robots, the romantic element had been skimmed over, at best.

And then there was her mother popping into the picture with the trademark warning… be careful around the boys in uniform.

“Well, hells, he wasn’t in uniform was he?” And he’d been buying a gift for his little brother. And he hadn’t made any moves on her, either time they’d met….

Wait, why hadn’t he made any moves on her either time they’d met? Sitting down on the bunk with a fwump, Jenny bit her lip… maybe… maybe the hottitude only went one way? But he’d been soooo…

“Gahhhh!” she threw herself back on the bunk. It was worse than having that crush on the hand-to-hand instructor back at the Academy… Dirk had been completely off-limits so getting hot and bothered over him sort of bordered on fun.

But this guy, he was real and a possibility…

No, not a possibility, not unless she was ready to do the deed for the first time a couple hours before shipping out. And now she reached out, grabbed the pillow and shoved it over her furiously blushing face.

Some thoughts even an empty room shouldn’t witness.

Post featuring NPC Crewman Jenny Anderson
photo105-1.jpg
Originally Posted by Harry Finn 1-18-2008


Stephanie had pushed through the thick crowd of people to reach the exit. Once the feel and smell of the outside air touched her senses, she took a deep breath. She had realized how intense the smell of sweat and alcohol had been in the club. She looked around, searching for Ajani and she spotted him walking to the right. Stephanie was sure if it was the alcohol or not, but she yelled out, ""Ajani! We're taking you up on your offer!"

The tall African man stopped in his tracks and turned to find the one that had yelled at him. It took a few minutes of searching to find a familiar face among the crowd of people at the entrance of the club. Finally Ajani saw the woman named Stephanie. He smiled, comforted by the thought that they didn't think he was a total buzz-kill, and that the women knew how to enjoy themselves in another way besides using players to get booze. Yes, now they'll use you for drinks. he thought to himself. Inwardly, he shrugged, he had credits that needed to be spent. It was all very capitalistic when one put everything into perspective, in return for buying the women drinks they would provide him with entertainment.

He waited then walked back and met Stephanie halfway. "You said 'we', is your friend coming along too?" he asked, looking down at the red-head.

Stephanie grinned and nodded, "Yeah, she's uh taking care of something. She'll be out in a few, if that's okay." Stephanie shrugged and joined her hands behind her back. She shifted her weight between her feet, and looked down at the invisible thing on the floor. She had absolutely no idea what to say.

Ajani nodded also while wondering if Tatiana was having a drink for the road. He looked around then back down at Stephanie who seemed to be preoccupied with something on the sidewalk. "This is enough awkward silence, can I kiss you now?" Ajani joked with a look of deadly seriousness on his face, then his features broke into a smile. "I mean we've had our moment of awkwardness together so…what do you do on the Hawking?"

Stephanie straightened and looked at Ajani in surprise. She took a step closer to him intending to asking him to repeat himself before she saw his smile. She began laughing herself, "Good one Ajani. But to answer your question, I'm a sensor technician and my job is pretty much all I do."

"Ah so you are in Operations..or is that Science?" Ajani asked, beyond Engineering he wasn't familiar with what the other departments were responsible for on the ship. "Operations is the one that is sort of like House-keeping isn't it?"

"You're right, but I'm Science. We're the brains behind everything. What about you engineers? The bright eyed men and women who never grew out of their childhood love of picking things apart. I-"

"Steph!" Stephanie heard a voice yell from behind her. She turned around and saw a smiling Tatiana coming their way, "And here comes our final member! I guess we can decide where we're going."

"Which is up to you two, I'm just buying the drinks remember?" Ajani smiled in Tatiana's direction then lowered his voice and added, "Engineers are the ones who want to know how everything works and keep them in good working condition. I think that makes us the most valuable crew aboard the ship, wouldn't you say so?"

Stephanie gave a nonchalant wave of her hand, "That's how you interpret Engineers, I interpret it as something different. But, valuable, only to an extent. We all pull our weight equally. But I still think the Scientists are better though," she ended and stuck her tongue out.

"Very mature Stephanie," Tatiana said as she finally joined the group to witness Stephanie's reaction. "So, I'm ready! I'm thinking something mellow this time."

Stephanie looked suspiciously at her neck and said nothing. She pulled down Tatiana's jacket collar. She felt a slap on her hand and pulled back with a laugh, "You did more than talk, I see."

"Obviously," Tatiana muttered and fixed her collar. She gave Stephanie a pained smile and said, "And it was bad, really really bad, which is such a shame because he was a beautiful man. So I'm ready to just settle with hanging with you guys. How about that mellow location?"

"Then let's see what the colony has to offer," Ajani suggested as he spotted an information/comm booth on a corner across the street. He indicated the booth then ventured over to it and looked at the clubs listed. "They have jazz clubs, strip clubs, karaoke clubs, comedy clubs, cigar clubs, a punk-rock/underground club, disco clubs, salsa dancing clubs, dabo and casino clubs and last but not least an S&M club." He looked at the two women with wide eyes. "I'm not going to that last one."

"Neither are we, although we'd look good in the leather," Tatiana said and Stephanie gave an agreeing nod to her left. She turned the list over in her mind, "We did the punk-rock thing, disco is still dead to us, smoking is bad for our health, jazz is mellow, karaoke is fun and salsa is…"

"Something for the next R&R," Stephanie inserted, "I think Jazz or Karaoke sounds fun. I do worry about the damage our voices will do on the people. We may be in possession of limitless beauty, but our voices could scare away a Dominion fleet."

"I wish I could claim she was lying, but I can't," Tatiana said with a disgusted shake of her head.

"No strip club?" he asked innocently, then chuckled and said, "Let's go try the karaoke club first, if all else fails we can laugh at the people who are trying to impress us with their stunning vocals. Then maybe a music club..jazz would be fine. I bet they have a good bar."

"Sounds good, we can feel better about ourselves having no singing talent to speak of, then chill out in the jazz club. That sounds really good." Stephanie said, "And next R&R is the the strip club after the Salsa dancing."

"So that one will be Hot and Spicy and this one will be ..something and Smooth.." Ajani commented, not really knowing how to describe karaoke. "Droll? Noisy?..it has to be better than the flesh-pot across the street." He looked at the commbooth then activated the comm beside the list of venues.

<>Megiddo Colony Services<> a happy female voice intoned.
Originally Posted by Tatiana Thorne 1-18-2008


"Three to beam over to Kanji's Karaoke Club," he replied. In a few minutes the three of them were transported to the atrium of the club, as they entered its interior which was built to resemble a Japanese bar replete with large viewing screens and flashing strobes Ajani could tell this was unlike any karaoke bar he had ever been in. The music was good, so good in fact that people were dancing on a large space in the center of the club. The bar ran along the radius of the room and was only split by the stage at the front of the room. Ajani stared at the band then grabbed a nearby attendant.

"Is this the karaoke bar?" he asked over the music.

"Yes, it's different from what you expected right?"

"Yeah, where's the horrible sounding amateur singers?" Ajani asked.

"The singer is an amateur but the band is not. We're selective about who we let sing onstage," the club worker said, he turned an admiring eye to Stephanie and Tatiana. "Do either of you two sing?"

"She does!" Stephanie said and pushed Tatiana forward. When she saw the murderous glint to her friend's eyes, she smirked and mouthed, "Payback." She looked to the worker, smiled, and said in a sickening sweet voice, "Oh, she's great at old Earth pop hits circa 1999. Try something called either "Hit Me Baby One More Time" or "Genie In A Bottle". And afterwards do something called "I'm A Bitch" she kills it everytime."

"You…you mother-!" Tatiana shrieked as she was being pulled to the stage to participate in her own embarassment.

"Watch this, this is going to be good," Stephanie told Ajani.

"I don't know.." he replied as Tatiana mouthed curse words back at them, their sound lost in the booming music. "She looks upset," Ajani added then realized he and Stephanie were alone together again. "Do you want to dance..or..get a drink or do both? I think Tatiana will have to wait until this song is over.." On the stage two young women were singing a song about all the things they had said running through each other's head. Both women appeared to be wrapped up in the song and each other pretty well.

"A drink would be nice," she said with a grin and turned towards the bar, "Maybe a water though, I've hit my limit."

Ajani followed Stephanie through the press of club patrons and reached the bar, which was an easy thing considering how long it was. He ordered for them and paid, bottled water for her and a shot of tequila for himself. He sipped the drink, suspicious of what brand the club might serve but found it to be blue agave and the tossed the shot back and ordered another. "Have you known Tatiana long?" he asked Stephanie.

She nodded, "Since she came on the Hawking a few months ago. We clicked instantly, similar sense of humor and ideals, I guess. Despite what you may think about the game we were playing earlier, we're good people who only act like this in extreme cases…"

"I've heard her excuse, what's yours?" he inquired before downing a second shot of tequila. He winced at the biting sensation but that was what Ajani liked about tequila, the bite.

"Well you'll find that she sincerely believes hers and had I'd given you my reason you'd see that it was bullshit, so I'll give it to you straight. I enjoy it. Every once in a while I enjoy knowing I'm the best looking woman in the room. It's not my normal practice, but it happens, so when Tatiana proposed the game, I went along with it."

"But you lost," Ajani pointed out, then said, "but if I had been playing you would have won or been disqualified because I wouldn't have stopped buying you drinks to try and get to talk to you." He smiled at Stephanie then said, "Tequilla makes me honest..embarrassingly so." The young African ordered another shot but didn't get the chance to drink it. The singers finished their song and Tatiana's turn had come.

"Well, you have your chance now," she said, ignoring the reminder that she had lost and looked down at her bottle. Her head shot up when she heard Tatiana announced under her drunken alias, Anastacia. The less than heavy beat of "Hit Me Baby One More Time" started and Stephanie spied her friend, throwing up her middle finger in her direction, taking a deep breath, before badly singing, "Oh baby baby, how was I supposed to know that something wasn't right here?"

"She's not..she's..is the song supposed to sound like that? I am not familiar with it.." he was interrupted by a screech as Tatiana's mic was cut off and then watched as the woman was hustled off the stage. "Ah I think we should have a drink ready for her when she comes back," Ajani suggested. A man took the stage, he looked oddly familiar, and started to sing about how he was 'bringing sexy back'. Not all by yourself I hope…because that would be a sad crusade. Ajani thought.

"I f***ing hate you," Tatiana said with a push to Stephanie's shoulder as she rejoined the group. "Give me a coffee, that experience just brought me down."

"It wasn't too bad," Ajani said, "at least no one boo-ed..and they pulled you off before you really embarrassed yourself." He noticed the look on Tatiana's face. "I will just refrain from speaking about it." He drank from the shot glass he was holding. The guy who was singing was suddenly cut off and hauled off the stage too. "Look you are not the only one that is terrib..to get pulled off during mid-performance."

Tatiana's eyebrow rose at Ajani's near slip up with the word terrible, "Look at you, free with your words. I guess Stephanie and the alcohol has loosened up your tongue."

Stephanie straighted at the comment and narrowed her eyes at her friend, "Now, now child, let's not be mean because you had a bad performance. You'll redeem yourself when you get the chance to dance." She looked at Ajani and said, "Whatever "Anastacia" lacks in voice, she makes up for in grace. She's a pretty good dancer."

"Thank you for that complement Judas," Tatiana sneered, "And on that note, I think I can take another shot. When is the jazz club coming up on the agenda?"

"Soon by the look of things," Ajani said as he noticed the attendant he had first spoken with making his way towards them.

"Hey, you can't sing at all," the man said harshly, "was this some type of stunt? Do you think that was amusing? Well I hope you find the outcome just as amusing, you three are getting the boot, start walking."

Tatiana stood up quickly and was ready to argue with the man before she caught herself. She gave a tight smile and nodded, "Let's go." As she walked past the man, she looked at him and muttered, "Asshole."

"Bit.." was as far as the guy got before Ajani let fly with a right cross. The club employee dropped like he had been hit with a shovel. "We are leaving," Ajani stated, taking Stephanie by the arm and maneuvering her towards the door, "but there is no need for impoliteness." Club security moved in as they left. Outside in the atrium, Ajani released Stephanie's arm. "I think the jazz club would be a perfect place to end this night."

"We don't disagree," Stephanie said and pulled Tatiana back to walk at her side. She kept her hold on her arm, and asked in a low voice, "You okay?"

Tatiana looked at the taller woman and gave a small smile, "I've been called worse by more important people, I'm okay. What I'm not okay with is the pushing me towards the stage. I don't handle embarrassment well, please don't do that again."

"You got it, now let's enjoy ourselves at this last place and just calm down. Hopefully your voice won't get us thrown out again," she teased.

"Hardy har har, everybody's a comedian," Tatiana said with an eyeroll before letting a full-fledged smile make its appearance. She looked over at Ajani, the smile still present, "Thanks for earlier, with the bouncer, that was kind of you."

Ajani simply nodded and said: "He was being a jerk."

"True. Anyway, here's the booth."

The three of them stepped in and Stephanie read the name of the club, "Rhythm and Beats." They were transported to a smoke-filled building that was packed full of people that were either sitting at the bar watching the entertainment or crammed at small round tables spattered in an oval shape to make room for those who wanted to dance. Her eyes searched the floor for a free table when she spotted one close to the stage.

"There!" She called to her companions and rushed towards the table, hoping to prevent anyone else from getting there first.

The music that wafted through the club was excellent and the band was expertly laying down 'Lazy River' as Ajani took Tatiana's hand and motioned towards the dance floor. "Perhaps you can show me some of the graceful moves that Stephanie claims you possess?" he asked her.

"I, uh, dance mostly ballet, so I probably wouldn't be too good," She stammered. She swept her hair back and focused steadily on the band.

"Oh don't be modest lady, we went to a club on the holodeck and she's good," Stephanie said, "She's just nervous, which is a curious thing coming from her. That must mean that she likes you now, and you have reached friend status. Congratulations, you have gone where few men have gone before."

"Just relax, it is a dance between friends," Ajani said with a smile as he gave her hand a tug and led Tatiana out on the floor. Once out with the others the song changed to a slower one. It was an Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong number. Ajani placed his hand lightly on Tatiana's waist and kept her hand in his, only changing the way he held it. Then he pulled her closer and felt some resistance. "Like I said..just friends," he re-assured her.

She found herself slowly smiling and she allowed him to bring her closer for the dance. It was a slow jam, beginning with a trumpet solo that enamored her and she moved in rhythm with the song. The woman, who had been announced as Ella Fitzgerald, sang of summertime and easy living. It wasn't an overtly sexy song, but the music told another story and it suddenly meant more to her than just appeasing a friend. She began to feel the music, and the dance came easy. She was having fun, and the gleeful laugh that escaped her was testament to her current feelings.

Ajani felt Tatiana ease into the movements of the dance as she glided in rhythm with the slow song. He could sense that her mood was becoming lighter and the laugh that broke from her mouth caused him to pull back and glance at her with feigned surprise. "Did you just laugh? Or was that someone else?" he teased, before Ajani smiled brilliantly and complimented her by saying, "You dance very well, I can tell you have a 'feel' for the music."

Part Two of the Second Adventure of the Super Party Soul Sisters and Ajani
Originally Posted by Tatiana Thorne 1-18-2008


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