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JL | Lt. Merlin, Xue'Daio Nox | "Tempest"

Posted on Wed Aug 22nd, 2018 @ 4:06pm by Xue' Daio Nox & Commander Evan Merlin

Mission: Lacuna

He had eyes like rain and hair like waves and a soul as vast and deep as the ocean. She didn't mind drowning in him. She didn’t mind the fact she’d become attached or the feelings he conjured when he so much as looked or glanced in her direction. What she minded was the inevitable realization that they were two halves of a very strange coin and that space was as fickle as fate… They’d soon be separated by the stars, though still quite close in that they inhabited the same cosmic neighborhood. She dwelled in the artsy, ritzy midtown of a well lit metropolis where he lived in the proverbial hood, lawless and still so very much in need of taming and, dare she say it, gentrification.

Controversy wasn’t exactly foreign to her. Xue had been born to rule to a mother who lead through intimidation and constant threat of destruction. She’d been used as a bargaining chip, forced to figure out a rather unique path in life, and as such she’d been ‘christened’ with a rather unique reputation for her own cruelty and savagery. Neither could be further from the truth. The young Empress was fair and just, just forced to be strong and unyielding in her manner due to the nature of the world she dwelled in. Youth and femininity did not bode well when it came to people understanding and honoring one’s leadership.

But then there had been her otherworldly power. The legends surrounding her albinism, born of the moon and stars… All of it combined and well cemented her place even if the changes to her mother’s policies had left some calling her ‘weak’ and questioning her fortitude.

None wanted to encounter what had been seen.

None wanted to deal with a creature that could not only generate electricity - which all Stenellis could - but throw it, arcing through the air, at a mobile target with the same ease as someone practiced in tossing paper balls into a wastebasket.

Those were her thoughts as she lounged in her nest of pillows, swaddled in a fine silk robe, in the darkness of her living space. Her handmaids and guards had long since disappeared into the shadows, convinced of her safety and security given her surroundings - and in the silence she’d chosen to live… To experiment. Her skin was brightly illuminated, silver and blue like snow, freshly fallen, basking in the light of a full long winter’s moon. The rest of the glow produced came from one cupped palm, lifted in front of her and, held within it, arced a sort of storm. Thunder didn’t roll, but it certainly crackled with the electricity presented within the small collection of airborne dust and particulates that had become charged by her presence and bio-magnetism. Lightning. She could see it. She could more or less smell the ozone that presented as it coiled and rolled, striking her fingertips and palm as it waited further direction.

With a simple flick of her wrist, the rose eyed Empress could send it flying in any direction she pleased, and the destruction and damage to be caused had yet to be seen. She knew that Vokar had taken a decent hit, but he’d been prepared - and since then, she’d been working to ensure that no amount of grounding would prevent or hinder her progress. If Vokar could be ready, others could be as well… It simply wouldn’t do or be permissible and something, some soft sweet nagging, told her that the need to protect herself was building. The need to defend herself would come.

Perhaps it was that lingering sensation of vulnerability that left her so ready to play with ‘magic’ - however biologically and scientifically explainable it may have been. The how, the why… Did it matter? Would it matter? No… In all reality it was likely anxiety driven by the fact that she was about to leave… him.

He was there. She could smell his brand of aftershave, warm like patchouli, hanging faintly in the charged air.

“Do you ever use the front door?” The storm dissipated the moment she became intune with the fact she was no longer alone. A defiant crackle of energy played about her fingers for a second longer before it too was nullified and gone - absorbed back into the starshine woman that had created it.

The Lieutenant was either not aware of her experiments or he simply didn't care - probably the latter. He grinned, running a hand through his wild mop of curls. "Now where would be the fun in that?" he asked. "That's just plain boring. Front doors are for dull people, without any imagination. Except once in awhile, just to keep people on their toes."

It didn't take much for her to see him once her eyes adjusted from the light show in her palm to the darkness that quickly closed in over it. He was hardly sheepish or daft, more amused with the question and probably himself as he answered - that was more his style than to ever be apologetic for his more technological brand of magic. "You? Dull? Boring." Xue's tongue tutted against the roof of her mouth as her head shook, "There'd be a cold day in hell before that happens, Evan, I think we both agree."

"I try, but somehow I only seem to manage on Wednesday nights between two and three AM," the Lieutenant replied blandly. "Much to the annoyance of any Ensign spending time in Central Ops at that hour. I think they're actively fearing it right now. I heard one of them whisper yesterday morning that if he hears me mutter 'I'm bored' he plans to run away as fast as he can. No idea why."

The Empress smirked and shook her head, finally extracting herself from her nest of pillows and various blankets and throws. Her approach was slow and easy enough, but the emotion behind it was not to go unnoticed. It would be one of the last times she did so - and when she reached him, it would be one of the last times she touched him freely... At least for that visit. Her fingers found their place intertwined with his, "I'm afraid your boredom will only grow. I leave tomorrow." Why the hell she opened with that, she'd never know, "And I don't want to, but I must." Drawing their hands up, she pressed a kiss to his knuckles.

And there it was. He slowly released a breath he hadn't realised he'd been holding and nodded. "I understand." There was nothing else he could think of saying. Her people were waiting for her. She had a life waiting for her on her homeworld, a husband and a daughter. Even if he were to hand in his commission and follow her (and it was a thought he had entertained, briefly, before rejecting it), what life would he have there? One in which he could see Xue, if he did at all, from afar.

No. Their time here had been pleasant, and more than that. Their friendship would endure despite the distance between them, of that they had no doubt. And maybe they would meet again in the future.

None of those realisations made this particular moment any easier, though.

"Don't..." She countered, trying to ignore the welling bits of panic and pain rolling through the pit of her belly. She didn't want to leave him, the thought of it was downright maddening, but there was still so much left to do and say and curry into order. The people of Apsha needed her, and San'ra was far too young to assume the throne. It mean compromise and sacrifice that burned her very soul. "Don't think about any of it, Evan, just live in the moment. Please."

He walked forward and touched her hands. "I generally do," he smiled. "Some moments ought to last forever, though."

"They should," She agreed, meeting his fingers with hers and letting them mingle. The darkness made the difference between them even more evident, he eclipsed her where his touch covered her glowing snowy skin - and in many ways complimented it. He was the night sky, and she a star hung within its embrace. Losing him was the worst possible thing she could think of at the moment, but then came the reminder that she wasn't truly losing him. He was but a few light years away in the same patch of space, and most importantly... He was still alive. "And in many ways they will." Some memories weren't designed to fade.

"And even apart, we'll be together." There was still that link which bound them. Part of him wondered how it would behave once they were far apart. He had a feeling that distance would be irrelevant. He would always be aware of her, and she would be aware of him. But the days and night on the station would lose a star.


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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