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JL | Lt Merlin, Xue'Daio | "Like A Diamond In The Sky" pt 1

Posted on Wed Nov 29th, 2017 @ 4:19am by Xue'Daio Nox Tr'Verelan & Commander Evan Merlin
Edited on on Sat Dec 2nd, 2017 @ 5:19am

Mission: The Round Table

The arboretum was as had been promised; nothing short of a miraculous wonder of a world hidden within a space station. Standing there in what she widely regarded as a sanctuary, it was easy for her to forget that she was light years from home and trapped in the confines of a great, big, giant revolving machine. Her ears twitched as they strained to pick up anything unnatural... And failed. Only the sound of night's symphony greeted her with crickets playing the strings, the sigh of the sea took up woodwinds, and some unidentifiable species of bird lilting an aria so soft and haunting it could easily have broken her heart if it wasn't for her deep appreciation for all things natural and wonderful.

But of course there would always be something to spoil such wonders, and the lift of the winds signaling a coming storm signaled that it was about time to depart - if only she could beg to tear herself away from the moonlight swatch of turquoise waters and the high grassed knoll she'd made her temporary home.

Night on the station, night in the arboretum, and a far more pleasing place to spend it than wandering around on the Promenade against the backdrop of late-night revelers, often quite intoxicated at this point, forming a nuisance for personnel and Starfleet security. Normally he didn't mind people, but drunk people held little appeal. And he wasn't nursing warm and fuzzy feelings for the crowd after the recent incident with the poor CMO.

The arboretum was a big place, an enormous place, so it could swallow up a lot of people and still make you feel like you had it to yourself. Right now, though, he knew there weren't many people here. Soon there would be even less, judging by the way the wind picked up. Something inside him quickened at the touch, though. Even though he was found in space and 'reborn' (for lack of a better word) on this station, planets always felt special, somehow. And this place, even though it was on the station, still looked and felt enough like a planet for him to be able to deceive himself.

Barefooted, he strolled down to the beach, watched the rolling waters reflecting the moonlight, and spread his arms wide. His wild hair, freed from its daytime confinement, danced with the wind and the spray and the sand. He laughed, delighted, and the rising wind carried the sounds away into the distance.

Laughter... There was the unnatural sound her ears had been waiting for. Laughter didn't come from the wild things living in the arboretum, it came from something far less innocuous; humanoids as a whole. They laughed to express joy, nervousness - but lifting her delicate visage in the direction of the sound. There, at the sea break, danced a man merry in the wonder of the faux sea. He was wild as a sea bird, dipping and twirling, racing the waves as they reached for the shore in ways she hadn't dreamed of since she was a long child. Before long, she found herself trading prairie grass for sand, lured by curiosity to the shore instead of the safety of the innards of the station as the storm continued to build in preparation of hydrating the artificial world, "Some would question your sanity." The albino called, recognizing the sea bird. The wind was harsh, catching her hair just as it caught the spray, sending it skyward and playing its fingers through the snowy tendrils.

The man whirled around, grinned at her with the same delight as with which he greeted the elements. There was no selfconscious smirk, no shock, just pure pleasure. "Actually, most seem to question it," he called back, drifting closer as the wind carried him in her direction. "But that begs the question, what is sane and what is not?"

"One could claim that you most certainly aren't." Xue quickly replied, brushing a bit of blown sand from the sleeve of her robes, "That I'm not much further off the mark seeing as I'm standing it here with you instead of heading back towards a part of the station where it doesn't rain." She sniffed, flipping an errant gesture towards the direction she'd come from. Rain wasn't an inherent worry, she wouldn't melt. However, she realized, that she had no excuse for weaving her way to the sea shore other than curiosity and curiosity simply wasn't enough reason to explain away what would soon be storm clouds and soaking wet clothes.

"But that's just the amazing bit!" the man said, his eyes sparkling. "There's this whole landscape in the middle of a station, with storm clouds and rain, a complete ecosystem. If someone can walk through here and not be delighted by all its aspects, that is what some others might call insane. Or just unimaginingly dull." Thunder began to rumble in the distance and small vortices of sand began to twirl their own pirouettes.

The bright rose of Xue's eyes followed the movements of the sand and sea as the wind did with each element as it pleased. It was perfect, really, as alive as the storms on Apsha and giving to it a perfect feeling of dangerous recklessness like others she'd felt before it. "Yes," she agreed with a quick nod, "it's hard to believe that Starfleet has been able to create something like this, but it leads to question the why more than the how."

"I hope the 'why' will turn out nothing more simple than 'Because.' Because they could. Because they had the room. Because it's a challenge, and because there's room for beauty, and creativity, and a longing for a planetscape – in mid space." The man twirled with the whirlwinds of sand, his arms spread wide as if to embrace the wind and oncoming rain. His face was lit with a childlike wonder, and maybe with a deeper longing buried so deep that he probably wasn't even aware of it himself.

The light of the moon was extinguished, leaving only the shivering light of the captive star standing in the beach to shine and illuminate the coming rain. The first few drops we're almost warm, gentle... Soft. But those comforting feelings were soon gone as the deluge came and washed over them, pouring life back into the arboretum. Her escape, she knew, would need to be made soon unless she wanted her own life depleted while random plants rejoiced under the temperature change. "You'll catch your death out here," she called to him, turning in the sand to leave as the sea's swells began to rise, "good luck." The pursuit of dry warmth became paramount.

"Hasn't happened so far!" he shouted back, happily, but as his next pirouette made him face her again, he saw how her glow diminished as the rain began to drench them in earnest. "But you might," he said, suddenly sobering, and bounded up to her. Seemingly out of nowhere he produced a slender rod which quickly unfolded itself into an umbrella, which he gallantly spread out above her.

When the rain stopped, but the sound shifted, Xue's gait faltered and her head tilted up to bring her eyes to the underside of the umbrella and then to the man holding it, "Thank you," she nodded, picking the pace back up, "I'm not a fan of the cold and it's not a fan of me." She explained, reaching to itch the tip of her nose as drying rain water began to tighten the skin there. The rest of their trip through the storm was taken in silence up until the point they reached the entrance back into the yawn of the station. The assault of noise was almost enough to make her ill, and the albino's ears rang from the transition - begging her chilled body to seek warm silence long enough to rest, recharge, and rebuild her sensibilities. What was comfortable for most, even her when dry, was chilly and biting through the sodden layers of her clothes - and one look over at her companion said that he too would be feeling the bite of the cold... Though, she wondered, perhaps he rather enjoyed it.

"Where does your evening take you?" She asked, brushing away the umbrella to give her better chances at taking him in for who and what he was. Everything but the aesthetic was different to the picture presented to her on the promenade - a cerebral man had been traded for one filled with youthful exuberance and general glee. It should have been considered unfortunate, enough to write him off as ignorant and simple minded - but Xue saw more... Her rose hued eyes picked up more, saw deeper, read between the lines. He was unique, not to be ignored.

"Y'know, I have no idea," the man said cheerfully, shaking some wet curls away from his face. "I tend not to make plans if I can help it. That only adds to the surprise. In your case, though, I'd definitely recommend a change of clothes. Maybe preceded by a hot bath and followed with a warm meal." He smiled, but there was a measure of concern in the way he looked at her. "Come to think of it," he added, glancing down at the puddle of water gathering around his own bare feet, "a change of clothes might be in order for me, too. And I forgot my shoes."

"So you have." Xue blinked as she spoke, taking in the fact that he had, indeed, forgotten his shoes in his haste to follow her from the beach. His role of guardian, shepherding her from the storm, was not to be forgotten and the blame for the indecency would fall to rest squarely on her shoulders should any have questioned his undress. Of course that meant she'd need to play chaperone for at least as long as it took him to replace them. "Come with me, Lieutenant, we'll get that all taken care of." She all but sighed, moving off again. This time, the floor glistened in a combination of sand and water in her wake, as if announcing that a creature bred and born of the stars and sea now resided on the station.

The first thing she did was chase her guardians and maids away, shooing them from the massive suite with hushed tones that demanded she be obeyed and respected, left to her own devices with the dripping Starfleet officer, "We can replicate you a uniform, robes, whatever you prefer." Only when they were gone did she address him again, speaking over her shoulder as she undid the sash of her gowns and disappeared into the darkness of her bedroom.

Since I'm not on duty at the moment, I'm not obliged to wear an uniform," the lieutenant said. "It's been a long time since I wore robes, but I never hated it… So yes, please." He remained standing near the door, to avoid spreading mud and water all over the suite. Even so, he looked around with interest. Though these were the standard grand suites for visiting dignitaries, in the short time since her arrival the Stenellis delegation had managed to put their own, unique stamp on these rooms. Suble changes, such as in lightning, a few small decorative items, a few pillows and drapes, but the results were stunning.

He blew another loose strand of hair away from his face and waited, still dripping and vastly amused at his own wetness, until Xue returned. Drenched by a storm in the middle of a space station. Exhilerating. Awe-inspiring. Wonderful. He couldn't help but grin again.

Warmth returned the moment wet clothes were shucked and the lightest of linen shifts was allowed to settle over her body. Xue could hear him in the other room, talking away, responding to her statements - and as such she followed what little direction he offered that she'd have been interested in taking. She'd clothe him, certainly, and not knowing what it was that his people traditionally wore she found it only suiting to bring out the day robes of a Makta. Soft, supple linens the color of charcoal and sea foam lay draped over her arms as she made her return. In many ways they were almost Vulcan by design, but shorter, coupled with harem-esque pants that allowed for great ease in movement and comfort, "These will be yours," she nodded, resting them over the back of a nearby chair, "consider it a mark of my gratitude, please... Make yourself comfortable. There's warm towels in the other room... Should you need them."

"Oh, I most certainly do, if only to prevent further damage to the carpetry. Thank you." He vanished into the other room, humming softly to himself.

A shiver of silver brought her around a corner, searching for something that would warm them both. Soup sounded like a worthy venture, something heavy and nutrient dense. It clicked, she knew just the thing.

To Be Continued...

Lieutenant Evan Merlin
Special Operations Officer

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


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