They Can Leave You Doubled Over, Burned and Broken

I just found a friend of my brother's. Kaith to be exact. We're currently ferrying him back to a station where he's accused of murder. He insists he didn't do it, which oddly enough, I'm inclined to believe. Not because his story is convincing or anything... simply because Klingons don't tend to lie about that sort of thing much. They take pride in their killing, and the victim is a human which had given Marloth more than enough reason to hate him. Someone like that is more likely to insist that it was perfectly justified, instead of insisting he didn't do it.

I'm a little off my game after our interview with him, though admittedly Svetlana did most of the work on that. His opening remark was to ask if I was Kaith's sister, which I suppose there aren't that many red-headed Klingon-Trill hybrids running around, so it was a pretty safe assumption on his part. From there he called me a traitor over that bull shit between Kaith and I during the Klingon-Fed War. It's hard to be a traitor to people who never accepted you in the first!

Tom seems to think that's mostly what left me unsettled when we left Marloth behind in his holding cell. Not so much. Turns out the fucker is working on the ship I used to share with Travis and Blue. I hadn't expected the old Barracuda would still be kicking around, but apparently there she is, still in service. No one's even bothered to take Blue's dent out of the wall. Next time I talk to him, I suppose I should tell him about that. I guess we get to find out when we get on the station if she's still owned by the same fucker.

Tom says we gotta head out. He told V we'd meet her at 2300, which was about when we were supposed to be arriving at the station. He'd followed me to my quarters when she and I went to prepare for the boarding of the station. Talked me down from my full artillery to a light one. Probably for the better, I'd only be tempted to use it when I get shit from the local wildlife.

I'd almost rather stay here though. Tom let me curl up against him on the couch while I jotted this down, after I told him where I knew the Barracuda from. It's kinda nice to have someone who understands and doesn't try to pry when Travis is mentioned.


Don't You Know That You're a Shooting Star

"I hear she gave the position to you," I heard just behind me in the corridor. Sounded like Decker, so I didn't say anything. It didn't take long for him to catch up with me. His stride's a little shorter than mine, but he kept pace easy enough.

"Yep," I answered when it seemed he wasn't going away. I hadn't quite cared for his tone, but elected to not say anything about it. He silently walked next to me for a minute.

"Kvorash had been grooming me for the position," he finally said. I made a small noise in my throat.

"I didn't come in looking to take anything away from anyone else," I stated and he took a moment to consider this. After giving him this moment, I continued. "I would much rather stay in charge of the fighter wing, truth be told. But it doesn't come across well if I refuse the promotion without good reason."

"What qualifications do you have, besides being Johnson's pet?" he finally asked. I growled as I came to a stop, my hand shooting out to grab his arm.

"That is not an area of discussion you want to go into," I told him forcefully. He met my gaze, even held it a minute.

"So, are you saying you're not qualified?" As he asked this, I slammed him into the wall of the corridor. The computer chirped in question, thinking the impact of his back against the interface indicated we wanted it for something. It only took him a moment to get breath enough to speak again. "I could press charges over that..."

"So I'd sit in the brig, possibly as long as a month, and still likely get the position anyways," I answered as I released my grip on him. He rolled his shoulders as he stepped away from the corridor wall, then rubbed his right shoulder blade, the one that had likely taken the most direct impact. When his eyes met mine again, I could tell he was confused. "I am more than qualified for the position, but I didn't ask for it because I am not as serious about my career as it seems so many others think I should be."

"If you're so qualified, why was there even a debate then?" He looked up as a pair of crewmen in medical blue walked past, and I waited for his attention to come back to me before I responded.

"Because I didn't ask for the position, some of what qualified me occurred during assignments that have unusual security clearances attached to them, and I am new to this crew, where you had been the natural choice given the previous crew complement." As I finished saying this, I sighed and turned away from him. "Do we need to have a proper pissing contest to get this out of your system? I don't want problems in the department..." I could just make out his eyes in the reflection of his face on the computer interface across the corridor, and bit back a smirk at his surprise over my offer, or over my choice to call it a pissing contest, perhaps even both.

"So competition between us would be the way to solve that?" His voice betrayed his skepticism, and I turned back to look him in the eye again.

"It'll give you a chance to work through your anger and frustration, and give me a chance to put your ego in check," I explained, which provoked a laugh from him.

"Have you considered I might be able to beat you at whatever contest you put up?"

"Oh, you're good... I've watched you fly, and I poked through your record once Henriksen told me she was handing me the position." I let myself pause, gave him a moment to consider this comment. "However, I am better."

"And if you're wrong? If I'm better?" He didn't seem to pick up on the implied confidence involved in my complementing him before asserting my superiority.

"Do you seriously want me to go to Henriksen, and tell her that she and Johnson made the wrong choice?" I crossed my arms as I demanded this, and his face hardened.

"You have a reputation for doing that sort of thing already."

"I would have turned down the position when offered, if I felt I couldn't handle it. And if you think it's a good idea telling Henriksen, and the Admiral, that they're wrong based upon the outcome of a pissing contest, especially after I've already accepted the position, you're nowhere near as ready for the position as you think you are." I started walking again and he stood dumbfounded a minute before he ran after me.

"Well, if I win the, er, pissing contest, what will I get of it?"

"A glowing recommendation and guidance on how to be a department head, either whenever the fleet jerks me around again to reassign me, or when you're ready to look at another ship."

"I know what good the recommendation would do me... but if I win our contest, what good would the guidance do me?"

"Good flying is only part of being a department head. I'd think Kvorash would have knocked that into your head by now if he's been grooming you for the position as long as you've implied." Silence was the response he gave me, and I enjoyed it as we finished the walk to the turbolift at the end of the corridor.

"What did you have in mind for the contest? And when?" he asked as I palmed the controls for the turbolift.

"I just got off duty, you're not due on for another few hours, we can do it now," I stated, and the turbolift doors opened. "I've got some programs in the holodeck, been working on them for years to get the physics right. I like smaller, more agile craft, but I'm just as comfortable in the large dreadnoughts. Or if you'd rather, I could try to get us out in the Obama..."

"Must be nice, being the Admiral's pet," he muttered and I growled.

"If you do not drop that topic, I will give you a reason to press charges." With this, I stalked into the turbolift, and he followed as I called for the deck my quarters are on.

"Eh, it wouldn't do any good, he'll just pardon you or something." He crossed his arms and brooded as the turbolift hummed to life.

"I'll kick his ass seven ways to Sunday if he dares any such thing," I insisted. Decker opened his mouth of speak again, but I interrupted before he could say anything. "I do not seek his favoritism, and if he's going to push it that far, I will not hesitate to knock some sense into him."

"The fact that you can even consider that implies something."

"The fact that I've done it before, in a situation where the Admiral in question was not crazy enough to think I'm morbidly fascinating, says that it doesn't matter if he wishes to spoil me or not."

"So that rumor about Admiral Paris when you were in the Academy...?"

"Based on truth. I'd have to hear the current version to know how much of the version you've heard is truthful though." The turbolift came to a stop and opened to my deck. When I walked out of the turbolift, he followed me.

"I'd like a crack at the Obama some time, but I don't know that I'd want it to be competition," he admitted. I cracked a smile. "I'd have to check out your holodeck programs before I could agree to compete in them..."

"I reserved the holodeck for the next couple hours already, but I wanted out of this damn uniform first. I'll meet you over there shortly if you want to start nosing around."

"Uh, okay..." He seemed surprised at how quickly I'd agreed to this, and when I didn't deliver any comment on this surprise, he turned and headed back to the turbolift. Upon arrival back at my quarters, I quickly shed my uniform and changed into something more comfortable, a pair of faded black jeans, a cropped sky blue tank top, and my football jersey Corey and Jack had given me, mostly see through mesh with blue flames, the number 68 and Death Kitten across my shoulder blades. I slipped on a pair of blue camouflage flip flops and made for the holodeck.

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You Should Say What You Mean

The good news is, Noelle's going to recover. She still looks like hell, but at least she's coherent again. It's a start. She's well enough for bunny pajamas, and she asked me to come see her. In the bastard's quarters. She somehow managed to get the fucker to allow her cat into his quarters. Interesting.

The conversation we had was interesting. At first, she was just looking for me to fill in the blanks for her, tell her what had happened while she'd been drugged out of her mind. However, as I told her what I knew, she started to fill in some blanks for me, give me some leads and suspicions to follow up on. It seemed too much of a coincidence that Francis Wilson happened to be the name of someone way up her family tree who'd served in the 18th century United States Revolutionary War on earth; so when she mentioned dreaming about her brother Randy, the gears started turning in my head.

It didn't take me long to hunt down Sharad. Cocky jerk was sitting in the mess, reading something horribly written and horribly trashy. Shouldn't have surprised me, one of the guys I fucked while serving with Delta Force read that sort of shit too. I think he was a spook, but he couldn't or wouldn't admit it, he certainly had a similar personality though. Both of them would drop whatever they're doing if I demanded they join me in my quarters, no matter my tone of voice and no questions asked. I sure as hell wasn't giving Sharad my 'fuck me, hot stuff' voice, yet there he was, a minute earlier than I told him to be.

He was painfully vague, and frustratingly spook-like. This was to be expected, I suppose. Something about the way these people get rewired when they're broken for Intel use just hard wires that instinct into them. When I showed a little trust, admitting to the bugs in my quarters being turned off... (though I didn't admit who did it) he actually had the gall to ask me to turn them back on. Not sure if he was cracking a joke, or what, but after pointing out that I could have him and whoever he works for strung up for it, legally speaking, then driving the point home with a Ben Franklin quote, he went back into his double speak. So I shut him down, blew him off, and told him I just realized I was late for dinner with Enzo. As he left, I made it plainly clear that he would regret it if he betrayed the trust I showed in him by admitting the bugs in my quarters were disabled, and his response made it clear he didn't disagree with my view on them. I'm pretty sure he won't cause me trouble.

I didn't get much information out of the conversation, the double speak was too hard to sort through, but I am pretty sure that Francis Wilson is Randall Connor. Sharad all but confirmed it for me. I might feed this information to Spiegel, and see if he can confirm it for me, but it makes too much sense to not be true at this point. Between what he said when we went to collect Noelle, what Noelle said when I was talking to her, then how Sharad took my question about using Noelle as bait to collect her brother, there is very little room for doubt.

Enzo was pleasantly surprised when I called him up after Sharad left my quarters, and sprung surprise dinner plans on him. I think he was expecting me to desert him for Tom for some reason. I don't get that. Sure, I've been spending a lot of time with Tom lately, but he's a new fling, and oddly enough, there are things about that man which I can relate to. Things I hadn't found in anyone else before. It makes him easier to talk to in some ways. Doesn't mean Enzo interests me any less though. I'll have to remember to be more mindful of my time distribution between my gentleman friends.

d'k tahg

Go and carry on 'til the night is gone, and it's time to go.

I swear, if that man weren't twice my size, he'd be dead right now. And to think I would have fucked him were he not disinclined towards the women folk. As it is, he's lucky he remembered so much of what I taught him when we used to spar all those years ago.

So, things had started out well enough. Ran into Tuck, he volunteered himself to show us around, and then I bought his services as a go between for us and the auction we were supposed to pick up our objective at. He suggested a better method, or at least what had sounded better at the time, and we followed his recommendation of meeting with the gentleman in charge of running the auction. Gentleman is the right word to use, oddly enough. I haven't see anyone take such care to behave so prim and proper, but Mr. Beckett Macmillan was the definition of the word gentleman to the letter. Unfortunately, his taste in women very clearly included Noelle, as he could not take his eyes off her for longer than absolutely necessary to hold polite conversation with the rest of us.

The thing that got Tuck his sound ass kicking was that when Beck asked for some form of collateral when we arrived an agreement on how to proceed with our transaction, the big oaf suggested Noelle. Neither I, nor Noelle, wanted to do this, and the whole way out of the place, after somehow getting talked into this stupid idea, both Tom and Enzo were going on and on at me about how we absolutely could not leave her with him. Tuck was chuckling the whole way back to the street, he found the whole situation downright funny. So I worked the group such that everyone else exited the building before I did, Tuck being the one to come out the door just before me.

When I caught him by the shoulder, and laid a punch across his jaw as I spun him to face me, he stopped like a deer in headlights. Spiegel had been right in front of him, and reacted quickly when I tossed Noelle's messenger bag in his direction as Tuck finally responded to my insult. The whole team stepped back, leaving about a six foot radius of space around us, even as strangers on the street filled in between my team to watch. Beck's men, who had seen fit to escort us to the door when we'd left, stood watching, and Spiegel later told me the two had exchanged a bet on which of us would win the fight.

I don't think Tuck realized the beast he was facing down at first. Whenever we'd sparred I had always been light hearted, joking, teasing and mocking the whole time, even if my skill more than made up for the difference between our sizes, and he had never taken me lightly even though we had been anything but serious. Spiegel had seen me in full fighting force before; the little exchange between Kaith and I during the Klingon war had bared my soul and he had admitted to me once, only once, that I had scared him shitless. Still to this day, he will tell the tale and not even so much as hint how scared he'd been. Tom and Enzo had both been left speechless by the time I walked away from Tuck, I know both understood how lethal of a force I am but there is still a shock in seeing someone in that full on battle rage for the first time, especially when that someone is the hot woman they're involved with. Stace was quiet, he was distracted by conversation he'd heard in the crowd during the fight; when asked about it later he thought it was something involving us, but his grasp of the Ferengi language was rough at best.

I am pretty sure that the way I left Tuck after that fight knocked him down more than a few notches in the rungs of his little slum society. As we had finished, I'd had him on his knees, bloody lip and the start of a good black eye blooming. He started to growl up at me, and I could tell he was about to blurt out my connection to the fleet, so I punched him again and spit in his face. I think the blood from my own split lip simply made it look more impressive to our audience. I managed to force myself into a calm voice, and reminded him that if he said what it sounded like he was going to say, I can and would return the favor in kind. Then I suggested he think long and hard in the future, before fucking with anyone I considered to be a friend again.

I don't think he realized how personally I'd taken his suggestion of Noelle being collateral until that moment. I didn't stick around to see what that epiphany did for him, I turned on heel and stalked off. Tom, Enzo, and Spiegel all fell into step behind me without a word, though I had to grab Stace by the elbow due to the conversation that had distracted him during the fight. The crowd parted for me as if by magic, and there was an unsettling silence around us as we left.

Once I'd snapped Stace's attention back to me, he was able to easily lead us to the place Beck had recommended for our money changing. Mentioning his name got us a pretty good rate, and the exchange was quick. Headed back towards Beck, I'd tried picking Stace's brain on whatever it was he'd heard during the fight, but between how little he knew of the language and the noise of the crowd, he had nothing more than fragments and vague references that were just as likely to be about us as they were to be about anyone else. However, what we found upon returning to Beck, made it clear that what Stace had overheard had been about us.

Beck, and his plush office, had been completely trashed. Noelle was nowhere to be seen, and talk of the Andorian, who'd laid money on me in my fight with Tuck, betraying him were what greeted us upon out return. I was seeing red, finding this, so I don't clearly remember what happened. I do know we got the box, and that Beck was as cooperative as he could possibly have been when I proceeded to demand what the hell had happened. I sent Enzo and Stace out to see if they could find out anything from the crowds, and Spiegel, Tom and I brought the box back to the ship.

Oh, yeah, to add insult to injury? All that was in the box was a small container of saf. We're talking about as much as Blue had used on me during the mission on Andor. Why the fuck would Intel have us chasing down saf? I've shot a subspace message to Sharad, a little more elloquently put, but pretty much could be summarized down to that one question. Haven't heard back from him yet. Am also waiting to hear from Beck as to what he can find out about what happened and who has Noelle.


Ride 'em Cowgirl

The first part of the mission, meet up with our contact and find out where we're going, went pretty well. I also got to add another blue notch to my bedpost. What was funny was that the conquest was our contact, and I had met him before. Never expected to have a roll with Sharad when I first met him, but I suppose I am pretty easy when I'm expected to behave well in a bar. He was a pretty good fuck though.

Before I get into those juicy details, I do need to bitch about one thing. When I'm told to go under cover, to blend in, and I'm given two bone heads that think dressing in civillian clothes is enough to blend in on an unsavory station, it makes me wonder what sort of morons the fleet certifies for these sorts of missions. The bastard could have blended in, if it weren't for his well kept #6 haircut, as I know he'll drink good shit if it is handed to him. Kitty on the other hand? For fuck's sake, she dressed like a soccer mom, to steal an antiquated Earth phrase. Shit. Turtleneck and jeans? And then she wanted to drink Russian piss water, instead of trusting me to get her something that would allow her to better pass for someone who actually belonged in the bar we ended up in. I will bitch about this in my report, there is no fucking excuse for that incompetence.

So, back to Sharad. He approached me while I was at the bar acquiring booze, and the easiest way to get me going in a bar is leave me stuck with an official task and two kill joys on my six. So all he had to do was show up with the cheesiest line known to the universe: "Do those spots go all the way down. Hmm. I think I'd like to find out." and next thing you know, I've got him by the antennae and am trying to get him off. I was well on my way to my intended goal, much to Kitty and the bastard's annoyance, when I realized it was Sharad. He was pretty insistent on us getting out of the bar, and once I realized what he was doing there, I couldn't really argue with him, no matter how hot it would have been to get him off in the middle of that bar.

Between bouts of fucking, he prattled off all the info I needed to get from him. When I had to call the bastard to let him know not to wait up, so to speak, I told him everything should work out tits. I directed him to Spiegel's book for an explanation, even though I know the dork botched the definition of the word. Something about it being in common usage in Nevada? Meh, and it insists it's a synonym for cool, but it's actually more aptly defined as "perfect" as I am hard pressed to find anyone attracted to the female form that would call breasts anything but, thus comparing something to them is the best way to call them perfect. I picked up the term from Travis, and I know I was the one who introduced it to Spiegel... but leave it to the dork to forget what I told him, attempt to refresh his memory by looking it up kahless knows where, and getting it wrong. It'll still got the bastard close enough to the right idea that he managed to not fuck things up.

We're stuck on a private transport for a day long ride, and they still won't tell us where we're going. Based on the information we've had so far, and now the range on the transport we ended up on, I've got an idea of a few places it could be. All of them locations with whore houses Stace has mentioned at some point or another, so we should have a lay of the local area when we arrive without having to pour over maps. The name of the place we're to meet our next contact sounds like one I've heard Stace mention, but I can't remember which settlement he said it was. I'll have to pick his brain on the topic, I know we'll have plenty of time on the ride. Almost everyone's a little antsy at this point, this hurry up and wait aspect of the mission so far is enough to put most people ill at ease. I can also tell that Tom's still questioning my choice to bring Stace, and Spiegel's clearly irritated by the cocky Brit's presence. Noelle's just been making excuses to be elsewhere in the transport compared to wherever Stace happens to be. Giannini seems to be the only one of my team that isn't irritated with Stace. Stace is oblivious to all the stupidity, poking through a PADD with shit for his universal translator project on it, as well as whatever it is he's composing at the moment.

It is probably worth noting that Tom showed up when it was time to leave the Shingen, poured into a pair of black faded wrangler jeans, deliciously skin tight. A flask in his back pocket, his sniper rifle slung across his back, and a lot of other deadly pretty stuck in places I didn't even realize anyone other than myself would actually hide a weapon. It's enough to make a girl swoon if you can see past the cowboy hat and boots, all black like the jeans. I did catch Noelle trying to slyly take a look without getting caught, but I don't think she caught me noticing her attention to him. He certainly didn't notice her paying attention to him, nor did he notice me watching her. While I think he'd be a better match for her than the bastard, I don't see him fucking up the only relief he's had from the bastard's dictatorship by taking away the bastard's fucktoy.


Hot Dog

So it started about a month back. I was in the mess, Spiegel, Stace and Noelle all seemed to be working conflicting shifts, so I was all alone at a table in the corner under the window. Up walked the tall, fair haired, Texas bean pole, and he asked if he could join me. He was easy enough on the eyes, and his pulled pork sandwich smelled good, so I shrugged my shoulders and he sat down. He introduced himself as Tom, and we ended up having a rather animated conversation over the course of our meal. I had assumed that he was just seeking to add himself to my rotation of fuck buddies, but when he excused himself to head back on duty without so much as a "let's fuck", I was perplexed.

That night, Giannini and I met up for our usual, and as we lay in bed afterwards, he expressed awe that I'd been having a conversation with one of the Tactical officers at lunch. I hadn't asked Tom what department he worked in, and he didn't offer it up, so I was surprised to find out. Curiosity got the better of me, and I picked Giannini's brain about the man. So, when about a week later, same shift as last time, Tom showed up at my empty table again and asked to join me, I welcomed him and started asking him all about himself.

He confessed to having been watching me since I arrived on the ship, particularly noting my lack of love for his boss. He managed to convince me to tell the tale of the bastard's betrayal again, taking much amusement when I also continued to tell him of how I told the story to the bastard's clan while on the away mission on Andor. Then it was his turn for a tale of woe and backstabbing; originally it had looked that he was supposed to take over Tactical, but Vasili retired with little warning and the Captain made an upset move by promoting the bastard into the position. We ending up sharing a laugh that we both had reason to hate the bastard.

We had lunch together a couple more weeks after that, just talking and enjoying each others conversation, until yesterday when he asked me if I wanted to join him for dinner. Weirdly enough, because our lunches together had become such a regular thing, and he hadn't made any move before that, his invitation took me quite by surprise. He promised me rare steak, baked potato and a peach cobbler, so even if he was going to be a gentleman and not fuck me on the first date, the meal sounded good enough that I couldn't help but agree. I did surprise him when I leveled with him before lunch was over, and asked to know his intentions. I think part of what surprised him was I had already accepted the invitation before I started down this path of interrogation. I might have even made him uncomfortable when I drilled down until he confessed that he did aim to fuck me, though he did phrase it more delicate than that, which was odd, since until we hit this particular topic, he had been delightfully blunt, sharp witted and sarcastic. I think I made him blush five shades of red when I pointed this out, and he mumbled something about southern manners before excusing himself to head back on duty.

Dinner went well, I dressed to kill and he figured out that he didn't need to be a gentleman. We were on the brink of getting to the fucking, having only teased and taunted thus far, when my evil combadge yelled at me that the Captain wished for me, and the bastard, to join her in the ready room. I assured him I'd be back after whatever this was, was sorted, if he was okay with that, and he told me to give him a call when I was done to see if he was still up, otherwise we could reschedule.

I received a look from the captain when I showed up in her ready room, unashamed, in spike heels and a slinky small midnight blue dress. The bastard wasn't much better presented, a silk bathrobe that implied more taste than I could picture him ever having, and a pair of pajama pants. The exchange I had with the bastard while the captain finished consulting with Sadik for the preliminary briefing did amuse me though. When I was grumbling, and Tom's name came up as to who I'd deserted, the bastard actually had the gall to ask me how he was performing for me, and bragged about adding more of his men's training regimen. He didn't have a response for me when I pointed out that Tom may serve under him, but he wasn't one of his. The briefing itself wasn't anything of interest though, all the important details were on the PADD I was given to take with me. I get to lead an away mission.

Tom was still awake when I was let go, and so I headed back to his quarters. I had remembered him mentioning something about not having been sent on an away mission for nearly a year, but there was nothing to actually prevent him from going on one. Having skimmed the contents of the PADD on the turbolift ride down, I started interrogating him the moment I strode through the door, and while he was disappointed we weren't picking up where we'd left off earlier with the lasso and spurs, once he worked out what my goal was, he was more than happy to answer my questions until I was satisfied he'd be of use on my team. Once that was settled, he let me use him as a sounding board to assemble the rest of the team, even though I'd more or less already put the list together in my head while in the turbolift. He only challenged me on two choices: Spiegel and Stace.

With Spiegel, it was a fairly valid question. The mission outline I had already did lay out the possibility for hostile competition for reaching our prize, and did strongly suggest a high combat rating. Tom had overheard me going back and forth with Spiegel on multiple occasions about his unwillingness to let me teach him the finer points of combat. When I explained to him how I met Spiegel to start with, during the Klingon-Federation war, and how he was my partner for most of the two person sabotage and reconnaissance missions I ran, he relented. Stace seemed to be more of a concern about how annoying he is, as his linguist skills and familiarity with the area more than outweighed any lacking in the combat skills he suffered from. As the only objection he could give me for Stace was how annoying he found the man to be, not an uncommon opinion across the ship I've come to find out, I simply elected to ignore his counsel on the matter, and instead jumped into the sex we were almost at when so inopportunely interrupted by the Captain earlier in the evening.

When we finished with that, I started making calls to get my team informed they needed to report for the briefing in the morning. Oddly enough, Noelle and Stace were both wide awake. Noelle seemed chipper to accept the position on the team, and while Stace seemed confused at this concept of him going on an away mission, once I managed to convinced him that I was not joking, he assured me he'd be there for the meeting in the morning. Giannini and Spiegel both failed to answer their comms, so I had to excuse myself from Tom, despite his request I stay the night, and rouse both boys from their beds to make sure that they'd both be there in the morning. Spiegel grumbled, cursed me for waking him, and set his alarm while I was still standing in his door before crawling back into bed. Giannini was sleeping like the dead when I let myself into his quarters, after he failed to be roused by the door chime. I ended up having to wake him up with a blow job, which only served to really confuse him when he found out that all I wanted was for him to show up at a briefing in the morning, and that I wasn't just in his quarters for an impromptu fuck.

When it was all said and done, it was nearly 0200, so I headed back to my quarters to crash for four hours. Tom called me up about 0645 to invite me to join him for breakfast in the mess before the briefing, so I'll be headed out the door in a few. I suspect that I'll run into most, if not the rest, of my team in the mess when I get there. Might not be bad to make sure everyone knows each other before we hit the briefing.


He wants to have the ol' in-out with me.

Letting this cocky bastard I just met join me in my quarters seemed an odder and odder choice as we went from exchanging conversation about rarity of my natural hair color, why he knows the bastard, and why the bastard is a bastard. I pulled out cheap but drinkable liquor, and he seemed to not care whatever it was I handed him, he just drank from the bottle like I did. He made a great impression with Delilah right off though, which I suppose boded well for the possibility of future conversations.

When the conversation started taking linguistic turns, I started to become somewhat fascinated with with this strange man. We discussed a little the difficulty of translating out of Andorian into other less complex languages, and how this made it harder for a people who already were significantly different in personality from other humanoid races to be understood, as they lost the subtleties of their mother tongue. I was absolutely amazed when he switched over to Klingon and started babbling at me in that. No accent. Even Toby, who's obscenely fluent and has been for years, has a little bit of an accent.

Stace claims to be fluent in more languages than I can count, he insisted on listing off a lot of them for me. As we got deeper into the bottle, I started feeding him phrases and seeing what language he spit them back at me in. The deeper into the bottle we got, the more obscene and offensive I got with what I was offering for him to translate, and the more the two of us were laughing as he'd not only return the translated insult to me, but embellish upon it and explain to me why the universal translator was mangling it so much.

After a while, we did drift off the topic of the language stuff, and I asked him what he did with his free time. He then proceeded to tell me about his guitars. The pride of his collection being a Gibson BB King Lucille, which he easily talked about for a half hour before I insisted that I understood less about his guitar than about all the language stuff he had been talking about earlier. He also told me about his acoustic that he held the most affection for, named after one of the first women he loved. When he told me that she'd been a teaching assistant way back when he was fourteen years old, I suspected it might be a good idea to watch him a while before I decided if he was fuckable, as calling love what should be called a crush implied a potential for disaster.

He did get me to confess to my love of karaoke while we were on the topic of music. I told him tales of various karaoke outings, particularly of the fun that was had with Sky over leave. He was impressed that not only we had a crew mate who'd been involved with her, but that I got up on stage with her and was apparently good enough that she'd even sing Klingon opera with me.

We were pretty far into the bottle by that point, and it didn't take much for us to start singing random songs together until he finally passed out on my couch. I tossed a blanket on him before going to bed myself, but when I woke up in the middle of the night, found him curled up against me, though on top of the covers. When I kicked him out in the morning, so I could get ready for my duty shift, he still hadn't given up hope and propositioned me yet again.


Rest Stop

They told us about the leave so last minute, we didn't really have much time to plan. I apparently got the early warning, as Commander Sevel mentioned it in passing when asking me to get myself up to date on my fighter craft certifications, two days before leave, and two days before she wanted the certifications up to date. That was one hell of a chore, but I managed to get all but one banged out before leave, and I have scheduled time to get the final one taken care of in about an hour, between the recommended check in time at the end of leave, and the absolute last call before we break port.

When I did attempt to track Imaru down to see if she had anything planned for leave, I found out she was offered a last minute gig at the Academy as an instructor, and in light of the frustrations with the bastard and Sharad, she elected to take it. I wished her congratulations, and offered to take her out for a drink to celebrate, but her plate was already full because they hadn't given her much notice and she was taking over for someone who was leaving right away. We agreed to meet up for lunch the next time I was on Earth.

I called Toby the first chance I got after I found out about the leave, but he wasn't around when I called. He called me back less than an hour before I was due to disembark for leave, to tell me he wasn't planet side yet, but he would be by early afternoon, SF local time. This news was fine by me, I was in kind of an introverted mood anyways, so I figured some time brooding on Luna would do me some good. He did say I was welcome to drop Delilah off at his apartment when I told him what the occasion for leave was. He knows how skittish she gets when unfamiliar engineers are crawling around the ship, and since I only had a vague idea of what Spiegel was babbling about when he gave me the quick summary of the shit the shipyard was doing to the ship, I had no idea if they were going to be banging around the jefferies tubes near my quarters or not.

While on Luna, I visited the place that I lived the first ten years of my life. A cute little Bolian family lives there now, only a wife and two husbands so far. I found this out by sitting down and having a cup of coffee with one of the co-husbands, after he invited me in as he noticed me standing out front and looking spaced out. Their wife is pregnant, and they have my old bedroom set up for the expected child. After that I stopped by the church my parents had married in, and was to have been where I married Travis. The wedding that was about to start when I arrived was between a Vulcan and a Human, so I sat in on the bride's side to watch. Pretty little ceremony. Toby called my communicator to tell me he was on Earth again just as I slipped out at the end.

When I finally made it down to San Francisco, Toby and I ended up just walking and talking around the city for the afternoon. We idled in Union Square, swung through the warf, crossed the Golden Gate on foot, basically hit the touristy spots which neither of us had done in a long while. He shook his head and clicked his tongue when I picked up a fresh tourist shirt from the Golden Gate Bridge gift shop. I couldn't resist a long sleeve with thumb holes and the San Fran skyline along the bottom hem, the city in black and white, the golden gate in it's gorgeous orange, and then the sky going from a bright sky blue and fading down to a star splattered black. I ended up wearing it for karaoke on Spiegel's non-birthday, with a black leather mini, solid colored tights and some black platform leather boots.

I managed to convince Toby to come to Valanna's for dinner, despite his issues with Klingon food. He ended up finding something on the menu that was dead enough for his tastes, which is a feat in and of itself in such a good Klingon restaurant, but I suspect management had started catering to Human tastes in an effort to draw them in and slowly teach them about proper food. The traditional dishes were still as good as I remembered them, and I would be a fine hypocrite if I insisted on Klingon purity anyways. After dinner, Toby and I did stop in Union Square again, this time for some lovely public fucking. Followed by more fun back at his place when we finally made it back there.

The next morning, Toby lazed about in bed forever. I eventually got up and made use of his computer terminal to check in with The Met to see if they had any cancellations for their show that night. When I came back to bed with two tickets acquired, fairly nice seats too, and started talking to Toby about getting dinner before the show, he started making excuses for why he couldn't go. After a little fight, I ended up calling Spiegel and bamboozling the dork into joining me for the show. It required promising some good Blood Wine in return for him sitting through the Three Penny Opera with me, but he dressed well and despite running into his friend Trish, who oddly enough I had met before, he was well behaved, save for on the way to the cast party where he took sadistic glee in picking on Trish about her boyfriend in the show. He did a fantastic job, and I know Spiegel agreed with me, but the dork had to rattle Trish a bit, given she'd been dishing him no end of shit from the moment she found us on the way to the show.

So, funny story about Trish. Back when Travis was still alive, one year when we were on Earth to visit his family for Christmas and Blue had come along, we went to New York City. We ended up in line on ticket lotto for Avenue Q, and managed to make friends with this petite little blond in line with us. When I got called for the lotto, and she was called next, she agreed to let Blue be her second ticket, though this did involve getting the chance to fuck him later in the week. I found it funny that I'd met her so long ago, only to find out that she's a friend of one of the more lasting friendships I'd made in the fleet.

Before the opera, I did spend a little more time with Toby, but because he was flaking on me, I told him I was staying in New York that night. He pouted and whined about it a bit while we were out for the afternoon, but I held firm. I was even a bit of a bitch, got all dolled up for the show at his apartment, left Delilah behind to keep him company, and didn't let him fuck me again before I left. Teach him to bail on me when I wanted to go out and do something nice. Spiegel was kind enough to advise me on where to stay once I made it out there, he checked me in at the same hotel he was crashing at so he could avoid his mother. The Thompson Hotel, it apparently has a pretty fancy bar up top called A60. It doesn't surprise me that the dork would select his accommodations based upon the availability of good booze and fancy bar.

After the opera, Trish got us into the cast party, since her boyfriend was on cast. While we were there, I finally got the chance to meet Sky, and found out that Spiegel wasn't exactly her favorite person, due to something stupid he did on account of that bitch Jenni. Can't say I blame Sky, but Trish has made it her mission to get the two of them to make nice again. She insists their chemistry together is amazing, and even not talking much that much was obvious. So I fully supported Trish in her efforts. The party went until 0400, easily, and when I was headed back to the hotel to crash, I noticed that Spiegel and Sky were in a corner talking together. I managed to find out later that he and Sky got breakfast together when they finally cleared the restaurant out that the party had been at.

Promptly at 0900, Toby called me. Giving me between four and four and a half hours sleep that night. That's 0600 in San Francisco, so the first thing out of my mouth was demanding how he could be up at such a horrible hour of the morning. He ignored my complaints, grinning as I'd answered the comm in the nude, and he still is amused by my tendency to not wear clothing if I don't have to. After he got his required leering out of the way, and let me verbally abuse him for the early wake up call, he set into apologizing for bailing on me for opera last night. Conveniently after the show was completely over and therefore he would not be at risk for having to come with me. He wanted to make up by taking me to Mack the Knife. As I'd already been planning on Fly Me to the Moon instead, I talked him into coming out to me instead of me coming back to him. I didn't mention to him that the occasion for Fly Me to the Moon was actually Spiegel's non-birthday, and had already been planned, so when I confessed to him about that after he'd arrived, he said he'd have to send Spiegel's gift with me on my way back to the ship when I picked Delilah up, as he had a bottle of something tucked away he knew the dork would like.

Speaking of Fly Me to the Moon, Trish was absolutely delighted at the idea that I'd convinced Spiegel to let me drag him out for karaoke for his birthday, so I invited her. I also told her she was welcome to invite any of their mutual friends she could get in touch with, if she wanted. She convinced Sky to show up, and Noelle had brought the bastard with her, so we didn't have a half bad turn out for the party.

Having Sky there was pretty fun. As a professional singer, she was willing to do all sorts of ambitious things on the stage with me, even gave me some pointers on how to improve my raw talent. She agreed to a duet from a Klingon opera with me, and we literally brought the house down. As news got around the city she was hanging out at the bar, the place became really packed, and she and I stuck to silly shit. She had arrived when I'd drug Spiegel on stage for the best song from Avenue Q, The Internet is for Porn, and she helped Toby and Trish provide the backing vocals for it. She was amazed I'd convinced Spiegel to get on stage and sing, and she rightly approved of my choice to have him sing Kate Monster's part for the song.

Trish was eying Toby up like a side of beef, it was amusing to see him as the one who was flustered and being pursued for once, given that when I've witnessed him sniffing around for others to fuck when I'm around, usually he's the one coming on strong, and the other person is the one being shy and flattered and embarrassed by the attention. I'm still trying to figure out what Spiegel's opinion of Trish is, he seems to be hostile to her, hell, he called her the village bicycle at one point, but the way the two interact reminds me a lot of how he and I go back and forth at times. Like siblings, kind of. She's certainly acting like an older sister over him and Sky, that much is certain.

The bastard was on amazingly good behavior, kinda following Noelle around like a lovesick puppy. I still don't like him, but he's at least a little easier to put up with this way. Noelle seemed to be enjoying herself, but I could also see in her body language she was still a little reserved. When he got up on stage to sing, much to my surprise the first time, he sang Johnny Cash. Who'd have thought that not only did he know an Earth musician, but he actually could carry it off well enough?

Seeing the stars in her eyes when he sang, I figured I might as well take one for the team, and drag him back up there to sing some more. She either needs to get him out of her system, or she needs to just give in and accept she wants him. Either way, I saw no harm in helping force the issue. The rest of the ship might appreciate him getting fucked regularly too. At any rate, I sang some Nightwish with him, Planet Hell. He surprised me by knowing who Nightwish was, and also agreeing with me that Tarja Turunen was the better female vocalist for the band. If the fucker hadn't shot me in the back, he might have made a decent enough partner in crime. Fucker.

While I had been up on the stage with the bastard, Spiegel had bought a round for the table. I had something sweet, mixed and high proof awaiting me upon my return, and I saw that Noelle had something in hand too. Given that I knew she didn't like to get drunk due to her loss of self control, I was surprised until I got a smell of it, and was sure that whatever it was, Spiegel had gotten it virgin for her. Conversation the next morning, when she called me up for help and advice, told me she didn't realize it was virgin though, and she was trying to blame her actions the night before on it, after she and the bastard tucked out early and went back to her room.

After Noelle and the bastard left for the evening, the rest of us stayed until last call. I know Trish exchanged contact information with Toby, with the understanding that once my leave was over the two of them were going to get together. Given that I know Blue enjoyed himself with her all those years ago, I'm sure Toby will do the same. I left Spiegel in Trish and Sky's care, and Toby headed back to my room at The Thompson with me. As he felt he had to make up for his dodging out on the opera, which I was still giving him shit for, he was amazingly generous with the sexual attentions he paid me when we got back to the room. In recent years, he had been gradually getting more and more selfish, but not in the entertaining and correctable way that Travis had been, but in an annoying manner that I could not work out how to fix. So it was refreshing to have him making the efforts to please me, instead of leaving me to satisfy myself by use of him.

The next morning, I was woken up by a call from Noelle. After getting out of her the reason for the call, and realizing that not only was she my friend, but I had helped contribute to the situation she was poorly reacting to, I agreed to make haste to her hotel room and help her out. Toby politely excused himself, saying he'd see me later when I swung by his place to pick up Delilah, hopefully with more time to spare than it took to convince Delilah to get into her carrier for the trip up to the ship again. After checking out of the hotel, having sent everything I wasn't wearing along with Toby when he left, I made haste to the hotel Noelle had selected that was near Fly Me to the Moon. When I got there, I could see the evidence of her and the bastard's efforts during the night, and she was asking me to help her heal it up.

I hadn't brought my regenerator with me, but I knew all the good hotels have a simple med kit tucked away in the bathroom medicine cabinet, that I assume in her silly overreaction to her activities, hadn't even considered checking for. She wanted me to heal up everything, and I managed to talk her down to just what wouldn't be covered by her normal clothing. Given that she's usually pretty conservative in dress, this wasn't too bad of a compromise, but I still ended up healing up a lot. She was still a little hard to talk to, even with that done, so I convinced her to settle into a bubble bath and talk to me. I probably sat on the closed lid of the toilet for an hour as she babbled on about what happened, their date, and why it all was such a bad idea. I elected to just listen quietly until she ran out of steam, and chocolate laced coffee, before I offered any thoughts. That took another half hour, but by the end of it, I was pretty sure she had come to realize she'd been overreacting to the whole of it.

All that behind us, we decided to go out and wander New York City together. She'd only passed through the city before this visit, so I agreed to show her around some. She expressed interest in China Town in particular, and remembering that she said her chain whip had come from a China Town shop, I felt this was probably a good place to wander with her. She did recommend a little cafe for breakfast first, where I was able to get a sourdough croissant done up as French toast, topped with fresh fruit. It surprised me that a city that seemed to so dislike sourdough actually offered up something so unconventional, but I was very pleased with the results.

Most of the shops we wandered through had touristy crap, and I kinda wandered around quietly behind her as she poked through the clothing racks and considered shot glasses to give to her father. While poking through the clothing, she confessed to me there was a particular shop she wanted to visit, and when she mentioned the cross streets, I knew exactly where it was. I guided her there, and at the last moment, she swung into the shop next door that seemed to be entirely clothing. After not a small amount of time browsing there, she settled on a black and gold outfit that was very much outside of her normal comfort zone. It also left some of her marks from the bastard on display, so I was pretty surprised when she elected to wear it into the shop she'd wanted to go to in the first place. Once she mentioned in passing what it was this shop had, if you knew how to ask, and confessed she wanted to help our negotiations with the shop keeper by playing at being lovers, I was less surprised.

We walked in together, her hand at the small of my back, which felt weird given that the only people previously who had laid their hands there had been people I had fucked. Despite the oddness of this to me, I still presented the picture the shopkeeper was expecting for a pair of women walking into his shop together. We spent a few minutes walking the shop, looking at the touristy trinkets and shitty fashion knock offs before Noelle broke away from me and whispered something to the shopkeeper, surprising him. He quickly stood from the stool he'd been leering at us from, and guided us downstairs.

When I saw the collection of weapons on display in this secret room, I'm surprised I didn't orgasm on the spot. I think the shopkeeper suspected as much, as his smirk widened. He stood, arms crossed, near the door out as Noelle and I flitted from one pretty to the next. We chatted back and forth, and watching her I knew this wasn't the first shopping trip she'd made into a shop like this. She kept making sly looks at the shopkeep, acting like she was trying to not get caught, but I could tell she was intentionally timing them so she would. I didn't need to make any effort to have him eating out of my hand, my normal reactions to weaponry is rather sexual by most people's perspective, and layer that on top of all the best goods being on the lower shelves of the display cases and my short short skirt, he was most happy to watch my browsing.

It started getting fun once she and I had both finished our first circuit of the room. We started talking seriously about the quality of the various toys we had to choose from, and I think the shopkeeper was a little surprised that we both were spouting off such specifics about the craftsmanship and history behind a lot of the weapons we were admiring and considering for purchase. She made a marked note of the four bat'leth on display, mentioning how she'd been meaning to learn how to use one, to which I quickly offered to teach her. This was when she sweetly asked the shopkeeper if we were allowed to touch the weaponry on display. He seemed to hesitate for a moment before he answered, but I laid a hand on the hilt of a blade that was within my arm's reach, stroking it in such a manner that he couldn't help but drool at my actions, and he dumbly nodded.

From there on out, we had what we wanted from him. He watched wide eyed, hard on creating a conspicuous bulge in his pants, as she and I tested the weight on the various goodies we were interested in the shop. She tried out all four bat'leth for feel, and with my advice, she picked out the best one to take back to the Shingen with her. I picked up some new concealable toys made of diamond, a pretty sweet little sword, not unsimilar to my katana I already owned, but collapsible for easy carry, and a proper display for my daishō, then spent almost all of the rest of my time drooling over the pretty piece of Romulan nasty that was in the most prominent display case. It took every last ounce of willpower to not buy it, but I knew that I would not be able to get that through customs without the help of someone who was actually in that branch of the fleet.

When we finally decided we'd picked out enough goodies, we negotiated the prices for what we wanted to take. He was very generous in the discounts he gave us, but he was also absolutely shameless in his attempts to convince us we needed to get a drink with him. Noelle wouldn't hear of it, but I was quiet as he made his case. When she finally left with her new toys all wrapped up for safe and legal transport through customs, she headed outside to wait for me to finish up, and I grinned at the shopkeeper. While I didn't accept his proposal for a drink, I did imply that I'd think about it and stop in next time I was in town if I wanted to take him up on it later. When he asked if I might be able to convince Noelle to join us, I implied rather heavily that she was only interested in the women folk.

She needed to be back at the ship earlier than I did, because the engineering staff needed to be able to help take the ship back from the shipyard people. So we parted ways about then, and I got beamed back to San Fran, arriving just before Toby, since he'd had to take the longer route without access to the fleet's transporter network like I did. After I told Toby of our shopping trip, he fucked me senseless before he made me open up my new toys and show him. He was fascinated my the collapsible sword, and pouted rather horribly when I wouldn't let him play with it since I hadn't had a chance to introduce myself to my new pretty yet. When he finally let me out of his apartment to head back to the Shingen, I only had a little over an hour before my appointment to get the last of my fighter certifications done, so I headed back to the ship as quick as I could to put away my toys.

And as usual, my desire to write about myself preempted more responsible uses of my time, so I'm still in my outfit that made such a pointed impression on the shopkeeper, and I'm going to meet up with probably one of the straightest laced fighter pilots on the ship to get myself recertified. It should prove to be interesting.

delta flyer

You've Got a Friend in Me

Mak did show up at my quarters later, and while a passable fuck, he was most certainly not worth a second go. Even if he had been, he pissed me off in the middle by pausing to tell me that he and Talbin needed to have another interview with me. There are few things that piss me off more than stopping when I'm on the brink of orgasm, which I had been, to tell me something that is not urgent or related to the sex we are having. When I told him that he could either talk to me about that when we were done, or he could get dressed and leave, his eyes grew big and I wasn't sure which he was going to do. He did make the right choice to quietly keep going, and I think he was afraid to actually bring the topic up again when we finished and I unceremoniously kicked him out of my bed.

It sounded like they only wanted to clarify a few points with me, and the interview was scheduled at the end of the day, since I had a duty shift. When I made it up to the bridge, and was stalking towards the briefing room, I heard Commander Sevel say “Lieutenant,” and knew she was addressing me as she was looking directly at me. “When Temporal Investigations has finished with your interview, I would like a moment,” she explained. I nodded and continued on my way, a little slower as I was now pondering what I might have done to attract the Commander's attentions.

Before we even got started, I told Talbin of Mak's tactless manner of informing me of this second interview, which caused the Betazoid to laugh and rib his partner all through the interview. Mak couldn't look me in the eye, and I took a little joy from this. Apparently Brian whined a little about his wake up calls while we'd been visiting, and while Talbin didn't accept that there wasn't a better way to handle it, he did at least acknowledge my reasoning that I did not feel Brian was safe in the bastard and bitch's care. The manner in which he acknowledged it made me pretty sure it was going to be a sour note in the report they filed in the end, as it was pretty clearly implied that if I hadn't been dragging Brian around, somewhat against his will by his report, he likely would not have ended up coming home with us.

Overall, it hadn't gone too bad. I exited the briefing room with a swagger and a grin. Half the bridge crew probably had already heard the rumors of why the temporal spooks wanted to talk to me, Svetlana, the bastard and the Romulan bitch, and those who hadn't already heard were probably digitally soliciting the short hand version as I headed across the bridge. Commander Sevel looked up, and we made eye contact for a moment.

“Kvorash, you have the bridge,” she said. He nodded to her as she stood and moved to meet me at the Turbolift that was the target of my escape trajectory from the bridge. We paused a moment, waiting for a lift to arrive, and were silent until the doors shut behind us.

“Holodeck 2,” I finally said, and the turbolift hummed to life. She looked at me a moment, and I was content to just wait and see what she wanted. Finally she offered me one of the PADDs in her hand. On it was a list of my fighter craft certification ratings, a lot of which had lapsed in the time that I'd been stuck on Milliways, a majority of the lapsed ones were highlighted.

“How much time, and which resources, would you need to bring the highlighted ones current?” she asked me when I looked up. I considered the list a moment before responding.

“Most, if not all, of them would simply be a matter of doing the recertification assessments,” I answered even as I tried to work out what her angle was. “The highlighted ones are all the craft available to the fighter wing we have posted here, aren't they?”

“Subcommander Rhiana Lhaihtrha has put in for transfer off the ship, and both Starfleet and the Romulan Empire have deemed it a prudent move to allow it,” she told me, and I snorted in amusement as this did indirectly provide an answer to my question.

“As I'm sure you know, the recertification assessments need someone who's current on their certification to proctor,” I pointed out, and she nodded. “In order to burn through this list, I'd need to know who on the ship is current in their certification of each, and access to their duty shifts so I could work out a schedule once I've touched bases with everyone I need to work with.”

“I have already compiled the former, it is also on that PADD, and I will arrange for you to have access to the latter as well. How soon can I expect this done?”

“If schedules line up favorably, I can probably do it in a day or two. If there are some serious scheduling conflicts, it could take up to a week.”

“The Subcommander is scheduled to depart within 48 hours, when we reach Earth for our upgrades and leave. If at all possible, I need you current by then. I have already requested Kvorash reallocate your shifts at the helm to allow for this.” As she said this, the turbolift came to a halt and the door opened.

“Yes, ma'am,” I said, and moved to hand the PADD back to her. She waved me off, and I headed out of the turbolift.

“What program?” she asked me, eyebrow raised in the trademark Vulcan style.

“Haven't decided yet, but given our conversation, likely one of my flight simulators to freshen up on some of the craft for certification before I sit down and crunch out the schedule,” I explained. She nodded.

“Bridge,” she directed the turbolift and the doors closed, whisking her away.


Time After Time

Yesterday, during lunch, I'd retreated from the Mess when the bastard showed up and proceeded to plunk his stupid ass down at the table I had been sharing with Spiegel and Noelle. Neither of them seemed put out by it, but neither had been shot in the back by the bastard either, so to each their own. I ended up paying a surprise visit to Giannini while he was stuck in the weapon's locker for his duty shift, and we had an encore of the sex from the night before. He seems a keeper.

At any rate, when I was due to report back to the bridge for the rest of my shift at the helm, we agreed to meet up after our shifts for another rematch. Hell, we'd gotten into it something good, he was really holding out, hitting all the right spots, then the page came for another pow wow in the captain's ready room. At least we were in my quarters this time, so I threw on my silk bathrobe with the dragon on it, and reported in just that. I got more than a few looks on my way, and certainly confused people to find me crossing the bridge such. Oh well.

The bastard was the last to show up, and he was clearly drunk. He was at that stage where he was just drunk enough to think he'd pass for sober. It was actually pretty comical when our interrogators exchanged a look, but no words, before the human declared that the bastard had very kindly volunteered to be interviewed first. This was before they even bothered to introduce themselves or call any sort of meeting to order. The meeting itself was a complete and utter waste of time, more or less we were informed what was expected of us, and we had interview times scheduled. We were all dismissed, and the bastard stayed behind to be interviewed right then and there. It was probably pretty amusing, his drunken interview. My interview was scheduled for mid-morning the next day, on my day off.

In hopes of making it go smoother, I reported early and actually bothered to put on my uniform despite not being explicitly told to do so. My interrogators were waiting for me, the human sitting at the table, and his partner, standing behind him.

"Lieutenant Diziara," Raymond Makinzie said, tapping his index finger on the edge of the PADD in front of him on the table. I sat down across from him. "This one's got a record," he directed at his partner, a Talbin Genastra by name. I gazed at Talbin closer than I'd done last night, during the preliminary briefing. He looked to be Betazoid.

"Not just with us, Mak," he returned, and I grinned. "She thinks she's funny too."

"I am funny," I insisted, and both men leveled their gazes at me. "I left the last pair I talked to in stitches when I finally left the briefing room."

"Your record says that was because they were laughing at the idea that you'd get away with the chaos you caused," Makinzie explained and I grinned again.

"Well, my commission is intact, and I never saw anything come of it but a note on my record. Besides, I want to see you get dumped in the middle of a barracks with a six-foot tall tabby cat, and not need to defend yourself."

"You didn't need to use lethal force."

"You haven't stared down a Luftwaffe pilot, if you can say that." There was silence. "Besides, I was hardly the one who caused the most chaos during that incident. I think the only one who didn't have a higher dead swastika count that me was our cook who was non-lethal by choice."

"It's not our case, Mak, let it rest," Talbin said, laying a hand on his partner's shoulder.

"So, what did I do wrong this time, step on a butterfly?" I asked, crossing my arms as I leaned back in my seat. Talbin chuckled, surprising me, but I grinned wider for it. Makinzie shot a look over his shoulder at his partner, and I actually chuckled a little.

"It was a good reference. Not enough people remember that story these days."

"Based upon what all the reports say," Makinzie directed at me, electing to ignore his partner's comment. "As well as our interview with Lieutenant Commander th'Shan, it appears you took lead once the team realized where and when you were. Care to explain why? You were the lowest ranking officer in the group."

"As far as I knew, I was the only one in the group who knew anything about the time period, and as far as I knew, I was the only one who had traveled through time before."

"So that qualifies you to issue orders to superior officers?"

"I did not issue one order the whole time, I made suggestions and did what I felt would minimize our impact on the time line. Despite the complication that came home with us, I believe that goal was achieved."

"Complication, that's one thing to call Mr. Stone," Makinzie allowed. Talbin's nostril's flared in amusement and I grinned once more. "So explain to us what happened with him."

"From the start, or just the last bit that ended with him here?"

"From the start, if you please, lieutenant."

"The kid stumbled across us only a minute or so after we arrived. I tried to disengage from him, by implying we were just passing through, and looking for a hotel or something." I sighed and Talbin sat down.

"So he caught all of you with your non-human features in plain view?" Talbin prompted me as I paused. I nodded.

"We were lucky, it was a couple days before Halloween, so we had a little flexibility to deny what we really were. The-" I paused, my throat ready to say bastard, but I knew that it would only cause more issue, so I coughed. "The Lieutenant Commander-" Talbin chuckled again.

"Feel free to call him bastard. It's what nearly all the non-coms and a lot of the junior officers call him anyways," he insisted, causing Makinzie to shake his head. I bit my lip to try to keep from grinning, though I doubt I was successful.

"Okay, so the bastard was out biggest liability to blending in, the Romulan bitch and I could hide our defining traits much easier."

"Bitch?" Makinzie asked.

"She hasn't wronged me like the bastard, but she left a bad taste in my mouth," I explained with a shrug.

"We interviewed her earlier, she was a little intense," Talbin allowed.

"She doesn't like you much either," Makinzie added.

"I'm not surprised. She did look good with a beehive though. I managed to tease her hair big enough that I'm surprised it wasn't pulling small objects into orbit."

"You convinced her to let you do that with her hair?" Talbin's eyes widened a little, and I could tell he was trying to bite back a laugh.

"We are wandering away from the topic," Makinzie reminded us even as I drew breath to comment further.

"When I asked about a hotel, Brian told us there wasn't one until Iowa City, but offered his parents' barn for us to spend the night in. I only took the offer because I assumed it would be easier to regroup there and move out with a plan of action, than to try to blindly make our way to a hotel as we were."

"So how did you get from there, to dragging the kid around with you?"

"He overheard our conversation later that night, when he doubled back after he'd wished us a good night. He's a sharp kid, and he reacted pretty sanely. It was either take him under out wing, or try to leave him the dust without any idea what we were doing. We didn't even have transportation yet."

"Speaking of the transportation..." Makinzie said, and I sighed again.

"It was an early fifties Nash Rambler, wasn't it?" Talbin spoke up before Makinzie could actually ask what he'd intended. Makinzie shot Talbin a look.

"Yeah, V and I likely would have tricked her out if we'd gotten stuck long term. I named her the pocket rocket." I beamed with pride.

"And you were able to win an impromptu race with a young man in a better tricked out car, using a Rambler that was pretty much stock?"

"After we're done with this unpleasant business here, you and I are going to have to talk cars over lunch or something," I directed at Talbin, and he grinned.

"Just talk, my wife would get jealous of anything else," he returned, and Makinzie actually growled. "Mak's the one who has the flings, if you're interested." Makinzie's face flushed at his partner's comment, and I giggled.

"Perhaps we should get back on topic before he has a heart attack, and I don't have the chance to size him up and decide if I'm interested," I suggested. Talbin laughed and Makinzie was left silent. The rest of it felt like a casual conversation, now that Mak had been sufficiently tongue tied, and Talbin realized that I was actually pretty comfortable talking about the whole of it if he just asked nicely.

"So Mak," I said, standing up at the end of the interview. Talbin enjoyed a private smile, already knowing what I had in mind. Mak's eyes raised from his PADD, and I winked at him. "It should be easy enough for you to find my quarters, if what Talbin had been saying was on its mark." I turned and walked out before he said anything, but I was pretty sure I'd see him show up before the end of the day.