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[Back Log] - JL | Lt. Evan Merlin & Xue' Daio Nox | "Time Is A River" Pt. 1/

Posted on Wed Aug 22nd, 2018 @ 4:00pm by Xue' Daio Nox & Commander Evan Merlin

Mission: Lacuna
Location: Cold Station Theta

Time between them was getting short, he knew that. It wouldn't be long before they'd known whether or not Stacker, Shran and Archer had succeeded in their mission, and regardless of the outcome, not much later Xue would go home. She had an Empire to run, and a husband and family waiting at home. The Lieutenant would miss her. He had come to appreciate her bright mind, the many layers within her, the quiet sense of power and that odd blend of fierceness and gentleness within her.

It was evening, station-time, and his shift had technically long ended. He had taken the time to change out of his uniform and into something more comfortable. Not the robes she'd given him once, though those were often his to go-clothes if he wasn't wearing the uniform, but something more generic. Two brief stops along the way and then he headed towards Xue's quarters. No doubt she'd already felt he was on his way.

Quiet as the grave. That was the best way to describe the suite, at least if you discounted the constant hum of electricity keeping the station up and running and supporting life as they knew it. Xue had been content to read, rested well against her sea of cushions, when she first felt his approach and knew that she was on his mind. The smallest and faintest of smiles flourished across her lips and she soon found herself reading the same sentence for the fifth time in a row. And with a good humored shake of her head and a sigh, the Empress set her reading aside and simply waited for his arrival. She'd miss this, him, them.

"Far too quiet," the Lieutenant commented as he entered the suite, a whirlwind in motion. The bond between them was not a telepathic one, but it was a trail of thought which was easy too follow. "Not conductive to healthy thoughts. Lady-" He bowed, his usual elegant bow. Not grovelling like an underling to an Empress, not mocking, more like a knight of old bowing to a noblewoman. Or like the true Merlin of old to his queen. "I came bearing gifts." When he straightened, his hand remained outstretched. On it was a small device, rectangular, a tiny light winking at them both.

"Healthy thoughts need noise?" Xue asked, amused as she watched his graceful movement come to an end and his hand reach out to display his bounty.

She studied the devices, not quite able to place what they were or where they belonged, but knew they were somehow important. "Thank you." She smiled kindly before averting her gaze towards his eyes, "What are they?"

"In this case, yes. Noise and company." He grinned, his sea-coloured eyes sparkled. "Holo-emitters. They can transform you into anything you want. You'd need a scanner to see through them, natural eyes are fooled. So we could go out and have some dinner, without everybody gawking at you or demanding your attention. Or mine, for that matter, though in my case it's not that critical, probably."

Quizzical, the Empress considered the offer. Dinner out and away from the suite - and out from under the gazes of everyone on the Promenade, made sense... A lot of sense. Though there was that niggling reminder that while they'd be 'free' they'd only be shackled by the veil of anonymity and forced to play pretend. "What do you suggest?" She asked, "Human? There seems to be plenty of them around." With time so precious and limited between them, the chance to enjoy a 'normal' moment with him without fear of retribution against him or gawking gazes begged to be realized and pushed into play.

Xue pushed away from her warm reading nest and rose to her feet, waiting for him to do whatever it was that would give them the chance to enjoy such a gift.

"Oh, there are plenty of options," the Lieutenant said, lifting one hand and marking them on his fingers. "There's an excellent Klingon restaurant, but I'm not sure it's to your taste. On the top tier of the Promenade is a place called 'Point Lookout', haven't tried them yet, they're fairly new. Great view of the lower tiers, mainly human cuisine, I think. One level below them is IDIC, Federation fusion cooking. Surprisingly tasty. There's the Temtibi Lagoon, though that's more a bar than an actual restaurant, within a specially designed holosuite so that it resembles the actual lagoon on Risa…" He grinned briefly. "Maybe something for after dinner, though. Need more options?"

The mention of Risa brought a tint of color to the woman's pallid cheeks and a memory of the first time she'd heard of the so called 'pleasure planet'. Young as she was, she'd been been shocked more than intrigued by such a place and left to wonder just who would venture off in search of that form of entertainment. From beneath a thick forest of silvery lashes, she gave the man in front of her a rather baleful look - but the actual question would be saved for later, though she wouldn't doubt that he had sampled such wares.

"Point Lookout sounds rather intriguing," Xue finally responded after gently clearing her throat and finding her voice, "Sounds like a rather nice vantage point to people watch." She smiled softly. Her retinue had often spoke of how they'd see him perched at a cafe, mulling over the same cup of tea or coffee for hours, just watching people go by with the same fascination she often regarded them with. Her weight shifted from one leg to another, and her fingers tangled in her silken skirts, "If I went like this, hologram or not I'd be caught. What do people wear when out together? I'm rather lost and admittedly new at this." The albino admitted most sheepishly.

Again, it wasn't hard to follow the train of thought. "Once," he replied to the unasked question. "Tried it, didn't like it. I look for meaningful connections and though I'm sure they can be found there, it's not as easy to come by as… other things." He shrugged, then folded his hands, index fingers extended. "Outfits, yes. Something you'd ordinarily never wear. I have a few ideas here…" When he brought his hands apart he held a PADD in one of them. "Selected more or less by race, depending on what we'd settle on." He began to scroll briskly through the PADD. "Bolian style didn't really strike me as yours… Klingon, not really either… I didn't even bother to list Ferengi, even though the idea that females are not allowed clothes is no longer an official taboo, it's still traditional in a lot of places, and I…" He shook his head. "Besides, even their clothing wouldn't suit you. Then, you mentioned humans, so I pulled some casual clothing from various cultures." He handed her the PADD.

"Once." She nodded in response as if that explained so very much, and perhaps it did. He was distinctly male after all and the allure of something quick, easy, no frills could be seen as alluring and divine - but not to him according to his admission of so-called 'guilt'. Her ears were hot and thankfully covered by a hefty layer of thick snowy mane allowed, for once, to breathe free of braids and jeweled accessories. So few ever saw his this way, so raw and fresh without everything that made her appear larger than life and as she took the PADD from his hands and began to scroll through it became more and more evident that she'd be even more under dressed. So much so that the warble about naked Ferengis was lost upon her.

"I've seen a few people wear these..." Xue finally said, gesturing with an index finger towards a pair of jeans. The rich indigo stain of the fabric had often caught her eye even if they did appear to cling to the body and leave little open to suggestion, "Is it appropriate?"

"Oh, most definitely!" he exclaimed, nodding. "Culturally accepted all over Earth and various colonies, still very popular as casual clothing, easy to combine and comfortable to wear. Not to mention looking absolutely stunning."

She doubted the stunning part to the point that her lips pressed and brows knitted into a rather dubious expression - but she'd gone along with it. The items had been replicated based on her measurements and it hadn't taken her too terribly long to figure out how to wiggle into the denim pants - a sensation most bizarre for a woman who hadn't ever worn them before. Hell, she couldn't remember whether or not she'd ever worn pants before, let alone jeans, but she didn't complain as he'd explained that she had to button the button before zipping the zipper unless she wanted to be driven crazy.

The blouse they'd chosen was more familiar. I was loose, billowy, and covered her hips in it's silken floral patterned excellence. Either way, these weren't things she'd normally have chosen for herself. Humans were odd. Very very odd. Now that she was done, Xue paused with her arms out to the side, "Well? Does it work?" She asked, canting her head slightly to the right.

The Lieutenant paused from dressing himself – his jeans were already on, but his shirt wasn't – and looked. Then he nodded slowly. The effect of the tight jeans, setting off her slim figure, and the wide blouse which covered it was a different kind of magic. Even with the holo-emitter active, she would be extraordinarily ordinary. Heads would certainly turn, but it would be a different kind of attention than the young Empress was used to. And without the holo-emitter… "Oh yes, it works," he said, smiling. "Most definitely. Stunning indeed." He slipped the shirt over his head and tugged it down. "Go take a look in the mirror," he suggested.

She nodded at his suggestion, "Good call, but I really have no idea what I'm looking at." There was a chuckle that rose as she wandered past him, amused as anything - but once she reached the full length mirror in the bed chambers, Xue could see the difference.

Where the robes hid every and anything about the shape of her body outside of the narrowness of her waist, the jeans accentuated her curves and the blouse played peek-a-boo with the rest. It was almost scandalous, but... Liberating. A half-pivot allowed her to check out her profile and the way the blue denim hugged and accentuated her posterior, the stitch work on the pockets doing little to alleviate the attention to the details of her being. Somehow, though they should have made her feel more masculine, the jeans made the woman of star-shine all the more aware of her femininity. "Ok," she nodded, "I get it." Another appraising look and she was done, walking back to where he was with the rough serenade of denim acting as a herald of her approach, "I have to admit, no one would ever believe it if I told them I wore this."

Meanwhile the Lieutenant had slipped on a light jacket and straightened the cuffs. He smiled again as Xue entered. The sight of her, the unique blend of her alien colours and the commonly found casual clothing, the faint glow of her filled his eyes and mind and hearts. "Then all we need to do is to apply the holo-emitters and we're set. Except for one thing." He extended his hand towards her again, palm open, like before. "Earlier I said 'gifts', plural. Now you only use one holo-emitter, so that's singular, implying there's something more. I hope you like it," he said. This time, a small box rested on the palm of his hand.

"But..." Xue was about to complain about the giving of gifts, tell him that he'd already given her the universe on a string, but there as no use. There in his hand was the box, smiling up at her with quiet, smug satisfaction. The rest of the sentence was released as a gentle sigh and her head dipped in a sheepish sort of simper when she finally accepted it and began to open it, "You really..." The complaint rose again only to be squashed by the sight of the delicate bracelet.

Bands of yellow and white gold spun and spiraled, twisting together and linked by delicate horizontal central strands that made it most notably a helix. The science of it made her smile brightly, the meaning behind it far from lost. In so many ways they were part of one another, never to be forgotten... Linked.

"It's beautiful." She nodded, carefully removing it from it's box, "I love it," She was beaming, really, shining bright with a million mega-watt smile that could have powered a decent sized moon, "Thank you!" Without realizing it, she was in motion - standing on tip toe and wrapping her arms around him in a hug if only because of the fact their height difference made the delivery of a kiss rather difficult without hopping and hoping they didn't smack noses or chins.

"I got the idea when we talked about bondings and links…" he said, his smile growing in radiance at her reaction. Then he was hugged, and the smile turned into a brief grin before being absorbed in a kiss, and a small part of his mind noted the different feeling of jeans against jeans. "You're welcome," he said when he could breathe again. "Shall I fix it around your wrist? I hope it's the right size…"

Out of all the jewels and bits and bobs and elaborate gifts she'd ever been given, the bracelet was beyond compare. It had quickly become her most valued possession, beloved because it was an extension of him that she could, and would, keep with her at all times. Xue's head affirmative head bobbling took the place of intelligible conversation as she rebooted her brain and forced herself to say something, anything, that would have come across as coherent, "Please." The Empress finally answered, holding out both the prized bracelet and her wrist for him to have his way with.

He carefully lifted the bracelet and fastened it around her wrist with a deft movement of his long fingers. Set against her skin, the materials came to life, the silver echoing the creamy whiteness, the gold almost glowing, like a visible representation of a mental bond. And between them, interwoven with the central strands, seemed to be something else, shimmering ghostlike as the light played with the bracelet: a very delicate third strand, thinner than a hair, there one moment, gone the next.

It fit perfectly, to his vast relief.

There was childlike wonder on her end, her large rose eyes watching the way the piece of jewelry clung to her skin and played with the light of her glow. It was vibrant and alive, so much more than a simple bit of cast metal. "It's perfect." She hummed appreciatively, "Positively perfect. I can't... Well... Rather, I don't think there's enough words in either of our languages to show my appreciation." Posh as ever, the woman out of her element resorted to the only manner of communication that seemed proper - even when she was bubbling over with girlish glee and excitement, threatening to display her youth in all its glory. While Evan Merlin was timeless, she was still very very young. Young enough to enjoy dancing in the rain even though the propriety of her title delegated that she not partake. Young enough to feel, and appreciate, the head rush the man gave her each and every time they touched - especially now in such an alien situation while clad in such alien attire.

He gave her one of his courtly bows, which didn't look ridiculous even when he was dressed as casual as she was, and tapped the holo-emitter to activate it. "Then shall we go?"

"We shall." She grinned.


To Be Continued...


Lieutenant Evan Merlin
Executive Officer
Cold Station Theta, SB-1170


Empress Xue'Daio Nox
Queen of Apsha
Ruler of Aleine
Stenellian Ascendancy


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