Aliens with WI_

By Loxi

Enduring Odyssey Crewmen:
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LoxiRhea   6y ago

The room that Rhea sat in was dimly lit. Bioluminescent stones were embedded deeply into the walls and they served as her only source of light. As a natural inhabitant of the planet Pyreen it did not bother her, although many areas of complex system of tunnels and caves had now been fitted with other illumination. It created a more habitable environment for those who came from other sectors of the galaxy.

Rhea adjusted her spectacles as she attempted to make heads or tails from the book in front of her. At this point she was assuming it was a diary of some sort, because of the terrible handwriting. Even after studying linguistics for years, her old pyrenian was spotty at best. There just were not enough reliable resources to be sure of herself. Just as she was about to throw the book aside for good, something caught her attention. It was a hastily drawn symbol. It was a marking that anyone on this planet knew. It was the Termani government sigil. She found it strange. So much so that her interest in the volume was perked again. This time she took much more care, trying to string together the words she could pick out. Among those were a few that gave her an eerie feeling.

As her nose was plastered firmly to the pages, Rhea did not notice her coworker come in. The sound of the other woman’s voice startled her.

“How are things going?”

It was a simple and common question. Rhea assumed it was asked so much because the Termani wanted to retract the interim government and go home. This was unlikely to happen if her people were still in the dark about what happened so long ago. “Interestingly. I found this book a while back. It is saying some weird stuff. Almost sounds like there was some sort of culling going on. The Termani are mentioned as well, but I can’t make much of it.” Her fingers flipped forward a few pages, “see here is says something along the lines of social death. That makes me think of an execution. It keeps coming up though so it kind of sounds like it is a part of something big.” Her four eyes flickered up and met a grim expression.

Nothing came after that. Her colleague left and an ominous silence hung thick in the air. Rhea began to feel more and more uneasy the longer it went on. Eventually, when she could take it no more, she took the book and left the room. Something was off about everything. The terrible things in the diary and the reaction to hearing it, it was suspect at the very least. The look on her face had almost seemed… guilty. When the thought passed through her mind, a sense of dread set in. She walked more hurriedly through the passageways.

Exiting the administration hall seemed to take an eon. Her tail twitched to and fro nervously as she caught sight of a pair of officials headed her way. Panic set in, and Rhea turned on her heel and made a beeline for the port station. There was no place to hide as long as she remained on Pyreen. The streets became more and more crowded the closer she got to the station. When it got busy enough she would have to try and slip away. Until then they were gaining on her and with a closer look she could tell they didn’t want to just talk about her research findings.

Her mind was whirling as she examined her routes to freedom. Just another minute or two and she would duck down. Much to her surprise and glee, she was able to lose sight of them quickly. It probably had to do with natural camouflage. Once she was confident that she had lost them, Rhea sneaked onto the first departing ship she could find. Her only hope was that wherever they were headed was somewhere she would find help.

Sitting amongst the cargo was rather uncomfortable, especially when the ship took off. She feared something might fall over on her. It took a while before she was able to calm down. This was by far the most anxiety inducing, down right awful day she had ever experienced. Although in hindsight, she had been quite lucky to get away. She wondered if things would continue to go smoothly. It was not long after that that she heard footsteps nearby.

A crewman came into view. Rhea cursed under her breath as he came over. She wondered if she could reason with him. That flew right out the window when he began speaking in some language she didn’t know. It mildly surprised her that she couldn’t even recognize it. The Pyrenian knew her fair share of foreign tongues.

He had ahold of her by the forearm before she could say much of anything. Rhea let him struggle to try and move her for a while before she decided to just come along. It wasn’t like she could just hide again. Hopefully whoever she met next would at least let her have a word in edgewise.
WI_     6y ago

[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat [b "Oh for the love of.. Jax! Jax! I want you to move it over.. no, take it over there! There you lumbering oaf!"] The mans voice was strained, the vocal cords fraying from constant yelling at the augmented giant that stared back with a look of innocence, pointing to a corner in a questioning manner.[b "Fine. Yes. Put it there. Just get the rest of the stock on board already!"] A cerulean tinged hand with palm of silver slapped exasperatedly at the side of his ship as he left the being to it's task, stomping his way back up the metal ramp and through the exterior entrance.

Once inside he passed through the airlock and dropped down into a seat in the dining area. Around him panels flashed in patterns of colour and displays read of several pages of text, most of it unintelligible to the common being. Given the spaceport's clientele however, what constituted a common being these days? He had not seen a fellow tiefling in months. The sight of Pyrenian commoners and Termani officials was beginning to grind at his waning mind and fingers pressed in a soothing fashion either side of the two cobalt horns rising from his forehead.

It was always the same, a crushing pain just on one side of his head that came and went in a pattern. It made him want to pace about, he couldn't sit, couldn't lie down or relax. One eye would water on the painful side and his foot would tap incessantly against the grates beneath despite any attempt to still it. He loathed it. It was the same as his Master used to get and he remembered just how little empathy he'd had for him.[i 'It comes with the ship'] he had retorted, and foolishly been scoffed at. Now the blue creature rose stiffly from his seat to a panel, clearing the screen and tapping quickly at a keyboard. It chimed denial and he expelled distaste at being denied before re-typing in his command. It took some time before it chimed acceptance of the order and a small door beneath pinged open. Inside was a cup of green bubbling liquid, though as he lifted it he felt the icy chill of the cup.

[+red "Cap?"] The ships intercom crackled into life and he closed his eyes, raising the cup to his lips.[+red "Cap! You there? Hellooo? Cap? The computer says you're in the galley Cap."] This female voice continued for several seconds, a heavy metal inspired music playing in the background. The cup hovering at his lips before he placed it down, sloshing some of the liquid onto the table where it instantly congealed into a black gelatinous mess. Slamming his hand against the speaker he leaned close.
[b "What is it Yera?"] His voice was tense and he leaned against the wall, absent minded as he twisted several wires back together and stuffed in into the wall, clicking the panel shut. He'd have Jax come by later to fix it all.
[+red "Station says we have twenty minutes to get out or they're gonna seize the ship Cap."] The message was of little concern to him, as the Termani had never been a faction to offer any sympathy to merchants like himself. Purely business.[+red "Well, they said it a little more rough than that. But I cut that out for ya Cap."]
[b "Alright, that'll do Yera, thanks. Start the engines and have the twins run diagnostics on the Kellurian lasers and the warp drive."] He hesitated a moment before pressing the speaker again.[b "You have two minutes before I want that noise turned off too."]
[+red "Aww, come on Cap!"]
[b "Fine, five minutes."]
[+red "Yeah! Will do Cap!"] The intercom crackled to silence and a few seconds later the ship began to hum and vibrate as the engines flickered into life. At a stationary setting they were merely lit and ready to burn without expending much if any fuel. He took up the cup again as he walked back through the two doors and began down the ramp, spotting Jax at the cargo door trying to jostle a final crate into the hold.

[b "Last one Jax! Finish that one and start securing them down!"] He called out but the cyborg merely nodded vigorously and continued to drag the crate into place. The Captain walked over to a man who stood gesticulating at several three-foot tall green men who collectively were arguing amongst themselves.[b "Okay, we're taking off."] The Termani official turned to the tiefling a moment before he waved off the green dwarfs.
[+green "What? But you have thirteen crate to load! You can't leave until all crate are on ship. That was deal!"]
[b "Then firstly, you should have assigned more of your people to loading the stock. And secondly, you should have spoken to the station authority because they're threatening to take my ship if I don't leave now."] The green liquid in his cup still bubbled in a furious eruption and he let out a content sigh as it slid over his tongue.
[+green "You are big liar! I want seventy-six crates moved. You say you move them. They you leave me with thirteen?"] He was incredulous at the circumstances and his arms flailed wildly.
[b "Well you can take payment for sixty-three or I'll just fly off with them and note it down as a donation on your kind behalf. What will it be?"] When the man had continued to argue, the tiefling turned on his heel, beginning to walk away and sipping his drink.
[+green "Fine! Fine! I take payment for sixty-three. Leech!"] He lifted up a data-pad and taped angrily at it, reducing the quantity being sold before turning it over to the blue individual. Looking over the screen he made note of the fee and involved and raised a credit stick from his pocket, sliding it across the top to authorise his payment.
[b "Pleasure doing business."] Pointless to say anything really, as the man had turned and was striding off, shouting at someone else already. The golden eyed male had spotted Jax come walking down the ramp happily and he rushed over, jabbing at his chest.[b "No! No more Jax! Back on the ship come on. We're leaving."] The lumbering oaf looked at him and nodded, turning merrily and stomping his way back up the ramp.

The two made their way through several corridors to the cockpit. As the door slid to one side, slotting into the wall itself, the music blared wildly and the Captain slowed. Tera, a busty woman with a full figure covered in brown fur, a white patch around her eye that ran down into her cleavage, was thrashing her head back and forth, pink hair swinging wildly around her. Her clothing was black and figure hugging despite her plump being. To one side, two pink beings no taller than four feet high were jumping up and down in their seats mock-playing instruments. They did not look older than children - and they weren't. Merely ten years of age they were very young, impressionable, and at times as insufferable as the rest of his crew.

Stepping up to Tera he grasped her wild wrist and she looked up in shock. He leant forward, tapping at her control panel and the music ended immediately. However now the room filled with the wild nonsensical chanting of the twins, one catching on quicker to the music ending than the other who was swiftly brought to an understanding.
[b "Your music choices may enthrall Oni and Ino, but do try to keep the volume down in future. I want them to keep their hearing at least until they reach adulthood."] Tera nodded with a grin, two sharp fangs poking out as she brushed a soft cheek against his hand and he pulled it away sharply. She knew how to push at his triggers at times. But she was still of use to him.

[b "Okay lets get going. Close the cargo hold, retract the ramp and inform station of our departure."] He took a step away before returning quickly.[b "Remember, use your professional voice. Thank you dear."] He patted her head and walked over to take his seat, tapping at a few displays built into the armrest.

[b "Oni, did you finish your diagnostics?"] The young girl nodded vigorously, dropping in her seat and a moment later the report was sent to him.[b "Good girl. Ino, did you finish your homework?"] The other little girl looked at him sheepishly, looking down at the ground and shaking her head slowly as she stepped off the seat.[b "Come here."] She shook her head again, not moving.[b "Ino, come here."] He finished the last dregs of his cup, placing it aside as he leaned forward and beckoned her forth. Reluctantly she slithered her way over to him and he drew her face up by her chin.[b "Did you understand it?"] She winced slightly and shrugged.[b "Did you understand some of it?"] She quickly nodded this time.[b "Okay, I'll come help you with it later. For now, I want you to run a cargo check then send it to me. I know you can do that."] She nodded again, a smile now tugging on her lips and brushed his hand over her cheek, his own faint smile in return as he nodded for her to return to her seat.

With things in place to take off, he gave the order and the ship rumbled into life as several thrusters eased them up and away from the port, turning them away and towards the planetary exit. They flew toward their designated spot to be inspected, though Jax looked across from his large seat to the Captain on his left.
[+gold "Uh.. Cappy?"] A deep and gruff voice, it was clear intelligence didn't lie in speech for him. Thankfully he was a natural with electronics and could carry alot. He was a robot with a mind.
[b "Yes Jax, what is it?"] The tiefling was looking at his displays and checking off messages he had received since landing.
[+gold "Uh.. Jax not fix boxes. Well. Not all boxes."]
[b "You mean you didn't secure the cargo like I told you?"] He looked up and brushed a hand through his hair with a sigh. Jax nodded meekly.[b "Then go secure it now Jax."] He sighed and there deck shoot gently as the man nodded with vigor and jumped from his seat, turning and striding out toward the cargo deck. Several minutes went by before Jax returned, grunting as he strode in.[b "Jax, have you been eating those Mixian cookies again? You know you're only allowed a box a day."] His eyes were back to scanning the panel.
[+gold "Uh.. no. Jax not eat cookie. Jax found something."]
[b "If it's another bolt, add it to your collection and take a seat."]
[+gold "No. Jax found something bigger. Woman. Pink woman."] The being in question was pushed forward gently as the tiefling turned, expecting to find a drawing one of the twins had drawn. They were often sketching one another, leaving them all around the ship. However when he saw a woman stood before him, he narrowed his eyes.
[b "Jax.. did you take her?"] He was cautious with his wording with the lower intelligence male, who shook his head from side to side.[b "Tell me exactly where you found her then."] He pointed down the corridor he had come from.
[+gold "Box room Cappy."]

There is a small silence as everyone in the room has now turned to focus on the woman. The twins were whispering nonsense to themselves, pointing excitedly at the woman who looked just like them. Tera was eyeing her suspiciously, gaze flickering from her to the Captain.
[+blue [i "Merchant's ship Enduring Odyssey, this is Termani Inspector ship number seven. Please lower your shields and prepare for scanning."]] And at once all eyes turned to the Captain.
[+red "Cap, they're gonna scan us! They'll know we've got one more of 'em on the ship! We can smuggle people!"] Tera was voicing his own concerns and he dropped his head into his hand.
[b "Oh, we're going to get fucked.."] He closed his eyes as he attempted to form a plan for how they would get around the scan. They couldn't turn back, and to find another body on board when they had declared only five would have them turned back. It was not a situation he needed.
LoxiRhea   6y ago

The ogre led Rhea through a series of rooms until they entered one that was inhabited by other people. He switched languages when he spoke to them. It was clearly not his first tongue. No one seemed too interested in what he had to say at first. That did not take long to change. Soon all eyes were on her. It made her incredibly uncomfortable, like she was being scrutinized. Well, she was a stowaway, so it was warranted. At least a little bit she thought.

As she opened her mouth to try and give her best I really, really, really need to get off the planet speech, the intercom went off. The Termani were going to scan the ship! Panic set in her chest, but she was not the only one. The others in the room were voicing concerns. Rhea feared she might have condemned them all. Perhaps if she turned herself over they would be spared.

The man she assumed was the captain had a contemplative look on his face. She knew the look well. Rhea wracked her brain as well. Was there a way out of this that did not involve her being reset? It was hard when she didn’t know what resources were on the ship. It was frustrating.

While all the adults were trying to figure out what to do, the twins bounced ideas off one another. The whispering became louder and more excited until one of them spoke up. “We can just hack into the data system and fudge the numbers!”

“That would be great, but there is no way we are going to be able to pull that one off. No matter how good ya girls are there just isn’t enough time to run an algorithm.” It was the other woman in the room that had responded with a melancholy tone. “Cap is right on this one, we are f-“

Rhea cut in, “It could work if they didn’t have to run the passcode generator though, right?”

The twin who had not spoken before did now. “Yeah, the only slow part is getting the code to bring down the firewall.”

“The departure scans are a level 3 security priority in section omega of the precautions and defense branch.” She spoke softly to herself trying to remember what password was used for that. When it hit her she nearly shouted, “it should be IGNITUSSENTARI all in caps!” So long as they had not changed any of their security measures yet there was a chance that she could escape.

As she began to feel a little relieved, the voice sounded again. “Scan will proceed in 5… 4…” The countdown halted Rhea’s mind. She had no idea what to do.

The Captain barked at the man who had dragged her there. “Get her to the back of the ship, now! Oni, Ino, you have 90 seconds, get to it.”

Jax grabbed at Rhea’s arm again, but she pulled it away. “I can follow on my own.” He seemed fine with it, because he ran through the same doorway as they had come. She was surprised how spry he was with such a clunky body. Keeping up was not a problem, but it amazed her nonetheless. Within 30 seconds they had made it to the farthest possible corner they could get to. There was silence now and it was haunting. Time dragged. All the worst possible scenarios came into Rhea’s head. She cursed her negativity.

Then like a bolt from the blue, “Scan complete, vessel cleared for departure.” Sitting in a state of disbelief, Rhea stared at the cyborg next to her. When it finally sunk in that she had escaped the Termani for now, she released a long sigh of relief. That was all she could feel for the moment. She knew she should probably be anxious to meet the crew of this ship again. There was no way they could be happy about a stowaway, but this respite was too consuming to care. She allowed herself to close her eyes for a while, savoring it. It did not seem long enough when she opened them again.

“Alright,” she whispered to herself then made her way back with Jax so that she could face the music. She was mentally prepared to beg or barter away what little she had with her to get some help.
WI_     6y ago

[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat The Captain anguished groan reverberated about the cockpit as the order to lower shield was reiterated. His mind scrambled with any plausible possibility that he could finagle a way out of this for him and his crew.
[+red "We can outrun 'em Cap. Trust me!"] Tera had shifted uncomfortably in her seat, gazing back with hope and determination. However the cobalt horns sway from side to side in denial of her request.
[b "We can't outrun a Mark Three Termani ship. Even if we eject the cargo bay right now."] Puffing out his cheeks with revulsion at their predicament.[b "Tera, prepare to lower the shields."] The sound of defeat is evident and despite his authority over her, the woman stared back in disbelief, the reality that they were going to be arrested disconcerting.[b "Tera. Now. Please."] A flare of anger at the failure to carry out his order.

She nodded meekly, turning back in her seat and tapping away to find the shields and turn them off. As she turned back the twins were bouncing around excitedly. They had been talking animatedly to one another, their whispers growing until finally Oni jumped up in the seat.
[+blue "We can just hack into the data system and fudge the numbers!"] It was rare for the girls to talk, usually content with nods of the head or hushed whispers. The idea was their brainchild and they were delighted to share it with the others, looking at them with expectant faces.

Tera tore through the idea immediately, cutting off any hope it might give them. She beat the Captain, who had turned to inform them just the same. He raised a hand to his pilot in thanks for her answering first. A deft shrug of his shoulders as if it was [i now] truly out of his hands. As Captain it was his decision to take responsibility, the act of smuggling and it's consequences squarely placed upon his shoulders. If he was lucky he could buy his own freedom and at least those around him would have theirs.
[+red "Cap is right on this one, we're f-"]
[+green "It could work if they didn’t have to run the passcode generator though, right?"] The cause of their distress interjected into the conversation, taking a step forward as she spoke her mind. Jax stepped up behind her but a calming hand from the Captain stayed any action. He turned to thank her for her input, though it was not for her to interrupt them, but little Ino spoke up and he shifted back again to stare at the twin perplexed.

There was a look that both the younger and older Pyrenian females gave him in turn; [i 'what have we got to lose?']. The familiar authoritarian voice came back over their comm's and one again, all eyes focused on their Captain for guidance. There were so many things that could go wrong. The passcode could be a means to alert the authorities that she was in trouble. Perhaps it would detonate something aboard the vessel. Or perhaps she was genuinely keen to get away. A last look at her reaffirmed his decision. As the countdown began the Captain turned to Jax.
[b "Get her to the back of the ship, now!"] His order was barked out in frustration and the man nodded multiple times, going for her arm but she pulled away. She chastised him for trying to grab her and without restraint they turned to leave. A flick of his hand at Tera to lower the shield, the Captain turned back to the twins, pointing to the console before them.[b "Oni, Ino, you have 90 seconds, get to it."] They jumped down into their seat in unison, muttering between themselves as normal and leaning over now and again to tap at the others panel.

Pulling himself upright, he circled around Tera, folded his arms over his chest and stroked his smooth chin in thought. He had full confidence in the twins. They were excellent together and to hack a system once past the firewalls would be relatively easy work. However working with a time constraint was a worry and he stared anxiously at his pilot, the anthro looking back at him with worry, her ears pressed down to her head. She peered over to the two girls working feverishly at their station.
[b "Come on girls, time to hurry it up."] His encouragement was met with a Ino's tongue darting out at him. Their animosity at his tone was evident and he kept silent from then on, simply willing them to hurry up. A minute passed by and he walked over to their chair, standing behind and watching their smalls hands move swiftly around, screens flashing for seconds at a time before they were replaced, expanded, thrown aside or passed to the other to work at.

The duo's hands froze at the same time, lifting from the screens as they their bright crimson eyes looked to him with hope. It was not the look he had wanted, rather he wished he saw confidence and happiness. It was a long silence between the four. It seemed to stretch an eternity. But then, as the Captain considered how much he would stand to lose, the comm's crackled back into life and they were cleared to leave. It was a moment of relief and the twins clapped their hands with one another, the tiefling leaning down quickly to press his lips to the top of their heads in his thanks.

With the release of tension he propped himself against their seat. It had been an unsettling experience at best. Turning back to Tera she looked up at him, feigning sadness and pouting her lips at him having seen him kiss the twins' crowns. He rolled his eyes and pointed to her controls as he approached.
[b "Tera, please, not now. Get the ship moving before they do a deeper scan. I want us away from this place now or I swear that-"]
[+red "Oh, I do love it when ye order me about Cap. So strong. Very masculine."] She winked at him playfully, blowing a kiss as she brought the ship about and took them away from the port, out towards orbit. It wasn't long after that Jax returned with the woman and he settled back into his seat with a faint child-like smile. It was a wonder if the man even knew what had happened. The Captain ordered them out, sending them back to their quarters and instructing them to stay there until relieved. Though they wined to themselves they obliged his request and walked by the woman, staring up at her in some fascination before Ino knocked Oni and darted out, the latter chasing after her twin with a laugh.

[b "So, stowaway."] Those shining golden eyes ran their assessment over her, taking in her appearance and how she held herself. A lot could be told from body language alone. Whether the person was timid and meek, strong and confrontational, panicked or angered and ready to attack. She looked to fit into the first two categories and he felt comfortable that she would not strike out at him. Granted, given her build and the clothing, she did not come across as a natural fighter to begin with. And with Jax and Tera still in the room, the former sat not far behind her, there was little chance she would be foolhardy and make a move.

[b "Luckily for you your plan worked. Yet you are the cause of the issue to begin with. So I won't have you pushed out the airlock immediately in return."] Furious tones littered his speech as he took calm and precise steps toward her. When he had moved closer to her, standing perhaps uncomfortably close, he met her red gaze and stood unblinking before her.[b "Now, answer me these questions; why are you on my ship, why do you know the password to the Termani security system, and what is stopping me from going ahead with my aforementioned plan to eject you out of the airlock."] With each query a finger pressed at the red mark in the middle of her chest in an accusatory manner.
[+gold "Jax think we should keep her. Jax think she's pretty. And she got brains too."] A blue hand waves off the augmented ogre in a dismissive nature.
[b "She is not a pet Jax!"]
[+red "I dunno Cap, Jax has a point. She did get us outta that pinch then."] Tera had set them onto an autopilot course and was now leaning on her seat to watch in fascination.[+red "And she's no me, but she's got spunk alright."]
[b "When did I ask for anyone's opinion in this?"] His head swiveled on the anthro and glared accusingly at her, but she merely shrugged her shoulders.[b "Then everyone keep their opinions to themselves and remain silent. Or they can be the first out of the lock."] Golden gaze returned to the blush skinned woman, awaiting her response now the others had been ordered silent.
LoxiRhea   6y ago

Getting to see the two youngling’s celebrating at their success made Rhea smile. Clearly they were a clever pair to be able to get into the defense system as quick as they did. She was impressed. It was a little disappointing to see them go. The lack of children in the room put butterflies in her belly. Things did not bode well for her if the conversation was not for the ears of little ones.

At the man’s first utterance of a syllable she could tell he was outstandingly angry. One look into his piercing eyes let her know he was sizing her up. Doing her best to hold her ground, she steeled herself. Rhea committed to keeping eye contact. A sinking feeling told her he could tell it was for show, but she was determined all the same. Their eyes were locked as he menacingly moved in on her. The urge to back away and hide away someplace was real. Almost tangible even. Only when she felt his finger pressing into her chest did her resolve waver. While her secondary set of eyes stayed fast to his, her main pair followed down to his hand. It felt as though he was prodding into her very being. The discomfort this brought was distracting, making it hard to form coherent lines of thought. And she most definitely did not have time to be lost for words.

As her mouth opened to sputter poorly worded excuses, the huge guy behind her chimed into the conversation. After that the anthro gal did as well. It was a tad embarrassing, but extremely touching. The azure fellow did not find it as endearing. His snapped at his crewmates; it gave the Pyrenian some crucial time to compose herself once more.

When he turned back to Rhea, his expectant gaze told her that she was to be truthful. Lest he keep his word and have her expelled from his ship. The hush hung in the air as her mind worked out her story properly this time. She found her voice again moments later.

“Do I need to answer them in that exact order?” It was not her intention to be a smart ass, but it was being taken that way. Tera’s stifled laughter was the only reason Rhea realized her near fatal mistake. “Ah,” She let out an exasperated noise and covered her face with her hands briefly. “That came out wrong. I mean, it would be a little easier if I could start with the passcode question…” A few moments ago she had believed the tiefling was as livid as he could be, but that was not the case. She was pretty sure now he was as mad as he could get. At least without her being tossed out the air lock.

Rhea began to answer his questions hastily. It caused her to fumble over her words. “I work for the government on Pyreen. Well, I did… You see; I am an anthropologist. It is my job to try and figure out more about my people. This was given high priority so I essentially had access to whatever I wanted.” It was a nice perk to be able to do whatever she wanted whenever she wanted. Good thing too cause apparently the job came with some big risks. Including but not limited to being hunted down when you discovered the wrong thing. “While working, I stumbled onto some sensitive information. So far I don’t know how deep it goes, but it is clear that they don’t want me to find out. In order to get away I boarded the soonest departing ship I could find. It just happened to be yours.” That answered both how she knew what she did and how she had gotten where she was. The only thing left was why she should stay. That was the most difficult by far.

“To be honest, I am not sure there is a very good reason for you not to just be done with me here and now. None of this affects you.” Rhea paused yet again. While waiting for the verdict another thought came to her. One that might save her neck, “…but it might affect those girls.” It was not a lie necessarily. She did not have anything to back it up, but there was also nothing refuting it. “And if you do chose to let me stay, I promise I will do whatever you ask of me so long as it is in my capabilities.” That was it. That was all she could do. Her fate was in the hands of the fierce captain before her. If the idea of helping a stranger did not sit well with him, she prayed that those two Pyrenian girls were important enough to sway him.

For what felt like the millionth time that day, no one made a sound. She felt the two spectators eyes flicker from her to their captain. It was apparent the woman wanted to put her two cents in once again, but the direct order for her silence held her tongue fast.
WI_     6y ago

[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat [+red "Do I need to answer them in that exact order?"] His look changed from anger to incredulous shock at her response. Was she mocking him? Did she think her safety was so guaranteed that she could openly ridicule his questions? His temper flared and the Captain grasped his hands tightly by his side, looming closer to her she covered her face with her hands and Tera stifled her laugh, averting her gaze to the floor when the Captain had looked over at her. Turning back the red skinned woman finally spoke some sense.

Working for the Termani made sense for her level of access in their systems. As an anthropologist she would be left alone, keen to remain hidden and her nose firmly placed within the folds of a book. And to run when she had discovered something unsavoury to the Termani image was highly likely; they were a stubbornly proud group. To have smuggled herself on was simple enough. Jax had not secured the ramp before it was closed and it was with luck they hadn't lost any cargo to thieves. Yet to have a being sneak aboard made a mockery of him as a Captain, unable to control whom came on or left his ship. Well if her answer for his third question was not satisfactory, then he would remedy the problem with a visit to the air lock.

Granted he didn't feel like he could go through with it. Likely he would scare her and then have her bound until they reached the nearest system to offload her. Yet to go lightly on her and show her any passiveness in dealing with her would backfire with stupendous results. There was still cause for concern as she worked for the Termani and may be lying simply to catch him out at a later date. But he would have to take that chance.

Her reason to be allowed to stay was humourous; because she didn't have one. She was close to literally asking to be ejected. And he stared at her in mild confusion, his face conveying naught more than distaste for her, as it had for most of his interrogation of her. When she mentioned the twins he felt his body bristle at the implied notion that she knew those two young Pyrenians. Regardless of what else she said he leaned in closer, their warm breaths intermingling between them.
[b "No matter what happens, you will not speak a word to those girls. They may be from your race, but you do not know them nor their background. If I catch you speaking to them, I will do a lot worse to you than simply dropping you out into that that cold, dark expanse out there."] The hushed volume, severity of his tone, it would not be lost on her that he was displeased by her comment. Though truth be told the two girls would be unhappy to lose someone of their own race so quickly, he could not afford to allow them to grow close if she did turn at some point and reveal her original plan. If they ended up in some jail because of her they would never be the same again.

A silence between them grew and she sensed it was not a time for her to speak, merely nod at this tieflings words with haste. There was no waver in his gaze and when she did look away, she felt drawn to look back at him. The short distance between them was uncomfortable to say the least. But after great inner monologue and deliberation, he raised a hand up to her face, deft fingers brushing across her cheek before sweeping up and brushing through her hair. Had it not been an anxious situation between them, one may take the movement as a show of sexual intent, lust, emotional interest. Yet he merely nodded, body relaxing and the same hand falling back to brush along his right horn.
[b "No slave mark. So you are not a runaway. Therefore I'll believe your story for now and you will be allowed to stay. That is Tera our pilot. The man behind you, Jax our engineer. The twins are Oni and Ino, our computer and systems specialists. And I am your Captain, Dante Varias. Welcome aboard the Enduring Odyssey."] He took a single cautious step back, though still faced her. The other two in the room relaxed immediately and Jax sprung to his feet, patting the woman on the back heartily with a large grin stretching over his face.
[+gold "Jax pleased to meet lady. Gonna be good to have lady on ship. Tera scares Jax."] Immediately the pilot jumped to her feet in defense of her own character and she stepped over, waving sweetly before clasping her hands behind her back.
[+red "Jax is an idiot. He thinks I'm after his bolt collection."] There is a worried look on the mans face at the mere mentioning of his collection.[+red "And I'll get it one day!"]
[+gold "No! Jax not let you take his bolts. Bolts belong to Jax. Jax found them! Cappy tell Tera to leave Jax bolts alone!"] By now Dante had turned away, sulking back to his seat where he threw himself down and rubbed at his temple. Today was not his day and he waved off the others dismissively.
[b "Tera, leave him be. Jax, no-one wants your bolt collection. And you.. woman."] He looked over to her though now there was only weariness in his gaze. It had been a tiring hour and he had little need for those two to begin bickering worse than the twins.[b "I want your name. I don't fancy called you woman for your foreseeable stay with us."] He rested his chin atop his hand, before speaking up a final time.[b "And as a anthropologist you won't be much use to me. I am in no mood to attempt at thinking what you can possibly do. So tell me some things that you believe will adhere you to me and this ship."]
LoxiRhea   6y ago

It was genuinely surprising when the tiefling came closer into her. Something she said set him off yet again. Now, she was not generally a real articulate person when it came to sensitive situations like this one, but it astonished her how she was able to say just the wrong thing at every chance she received. If she kept it up she could put it on her resume: expert destroyer of all hope in a life or death situations.

As long as she stayed quiet things started to look up. Although, those moments did not last long until she had to give answer. Noticing the trend, Rhea chose to nod instead. It pained her to promise to stay away from those girls. Younglings were so rare. There was seldom the chance to study this part of the Pyrenian life cycle. Alas this would not be hers. Hopefully now that she had given her word, she would live to see others.

His hot breath on her was oddly calming. It reminded her of her desert home. As the berating of cold words came to an end, her gaze came back to his bottomless golden eyes. Even when he reached out, letting his dry hand graze across her smooth marble skin she was able to hold composure. It was such a gentle display form such a fierce man. The contrast was mesmerizing, hypnotic even. Another long moment later, he backed away and announced she would be allowed to stay. This was followed by rapid-fire introductions. The atmosphere had changed in the blink of an eye. She gave a shallow bow to each person in the room as their name was given. Taking in each of their features more carefully she put their faces and names to memory. The people here would serve as her saviors in a great time of need regardless of whether they wanted the title or not. “Thank you, Captain Vari-“ her heartfelt gratitude was interrupted by Jax’s large hand on her back. The action nearly toppled her over. It was quite the feat. Pyrenians were a dense people. Practically made of stone, so there were not too many with the strength to accidentally send them over themselves. “A pleasure to meet you as well, Jax.”

The other woman, Tera came into the conversation naturally. The teasing tone she had made Rhea feel as though the people in front of her had been together for a very long time. It was a close-knit group. A tired, but humored smile came upon her face. Apparently Dante served as guardian to the mismatched family. Once he was done refereeing the other two, Rhea received a stern reminder of her own rudeness. “Oh, sorry for the delay. My name is Rhea and I think I could be a useful translator if you need one."

-

Rhea spent most of her time either by herself or with Jax or Tera. When she was alone, all her attention was to the diary she constantly carried with her. In order to not miss anything she started from the beginning. There were many entries, most of which were of no use to her. But she would not know when the confrontations started if she jumped to where she had previously been. It was tedious to say the least. The others acted as de-stressors of sorts. When in their company, there was never a dull moment. Although though she had fun, Tera gave off the distinct feeling that Rhea was her new plaything. Much like Jax, she was constantly pestered. It did not bother her though. She found it more endearing than anything. While she was always happy to be near the engineer and pilot, Rhea spent a great deal of her time avoiding the other inhabitants of the Enduring Odyssey.

With time, Rhea understood how she had offended the captain on that day. It was clear he was very partial to Ori and Ino. Her audacity to use them as a reason to be kept in the ship was low. In hindsight it was obvious and now she felt the need to apologize. It took a while to build the courage to speak with Dante, but eventually she came across him sitting by himself. She decided to initiate the conversation.

“Excuse me, Captain.” Her voice was naturally soft, but it was even quieter now. “If you have a minute, I wanted to speak with you.” As usual he seemed disinterested in her, but he gave small hints that she had his attention. “I would like to apologize for my boldness when we first met... It was not my intention to act as though I knew those little ones.” Regret showed on her face. She could feel it in her stomach as well. Truly she had been worried for their wellbeing, but it was still brass of her to bring children into it. “You have done so much for me. It pains me to think that I may be held in incredulously low regard because of a careless comment on my part. I just wanted to let you know I am reflecting on it.” After mentally rehearsing for this moment over and over, it had come out nothing as planned. “Anyway, that was all I wanted to say. Sorry to take up your time.” Rhea practically ran from the room once she had finished with what she had to say.

Although it had not been as eloquent as she had initially planned, Rhea felt better after blurting the whole mess out to Dante. Honestly, it may not have helped him see her in a better light, but now there was hope that he might not hate her. She was able to relax more when he was in the room. There was still some avoidance, but she was much less nervous.

-

It was an exciting day when Rhea discovered they would be taking port. Not that space travel was terrible, but she really did like a break every now and again. Visiting new places and seeing how they functioned was a great love of hers. Not to mention it was free. The Pyrenian had not checked, but she assumed her credit account and other assets had all been frozen. Not that she was stupid enough to try and use the inter-galactic money transfer system. That would only act as a beacon to the Termani.

There were orders to stay on ship until the shipment had been dropped off. And so Rhea stayed by the doors as crates were removed from the ship. The fresh air licked through the open cargo hold. The atmosphere on this planet was thick with water. Humidity was not her favorite, seeing as she was used to an arid desert. It would not take long to grow used to the mugginess. Acclimation was always the worst part though.

After Dante had thoroughly intimidated all those who had tried to scam him in some way or another, the work was done and it was time to play. Rhea wanted to run off and do her own thing, but that came with a possibility of being left behind if she were to become lost. Instead she tagged along with Tera. That came with the perk that she looked like she would be useful if anything happened. More likely than not, Tera would be starting trouble, but at least she would finish it. Who knew, it could be fun.

As they made there way through the town, Rhea oo’d and ah’d at the small things. Anything particularly interesting behaviors she saw led to her spouting tidbits of information. “That man there, he is of the Morantz race. They slouch like that because their ancestors had tails to balance themselves. After a rather detrimental, but dominant mutation they lost the tails. It worked out alright in the end because they tend to be sweet in disposition.” Smiling brightly, she waved at the man.

“Yer just full of all sorts of info, ain’t ya?” Tera laughed like she always did, but then smirked. “Too bad you draw so much attention.”

The comment confused Rhea. Now that her attention was on it, there were a couple of people with their eyes on her. Ranging from full on stares to sideways glances, it was beginning to make her feel uneasy. She was beginning to have inkling to what was going on. Rhea removed her glasses and undid her hair clips. The fringe came down to cover her secondary eyes. Still there was a man that came up to the pair.

“Hey little lady, what might your name be?” He was a greasy sort of fellow. The type that made you uneasy just being in the same space as him.

Tera spoke up for Rhea, putting her arm around her. “This here is my friend, Artemia.” Her smile was abrasive. The kind that tells you to leave her the hell alone or there will be a problem. “What’s it to ya, bud?” Her tactic worked surprisingly well. The man backed off, glaring the whole time.

They didn’t walk a hundred steps more before they saw it. Outside of one of the local hot spots there was a board donning the faces of those with outstanding bounties. Rhea’s eyes met her own face. Even without her spectacles she could see it was hers. After a moment of silence, Tera whistled, impressed. “Ya musta stumbled on somethin’ real sensitive if the tight ass’ are willing to part with 5 mil just to get their hands on ya.” Then she tore off the piece of paper, folded it, and stuffed it in her cleavage.

“I think I should go back to the ship.” Rhea’s face had drained of color as her companion nodded in agreement.

The anthro pulled out a communicator. Hitting a single button she was through, “Cap, we’ve got a problem.”
WI_     6y ago

[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat A translator would have their uses in the future. At the mere mention of the profession he is conjuring up ideas for how best to utilise her skill. Having an unassuming female on the ship would be useful too. But not in this system where a common tongue was spoken. She would help him to take cargo further afield and not be swindled by the local traders. He kept a golden eye on her as she mingled with the other two. It was disquieting to him that they took so quickly to her. Those two took to anyone hastily however. Dante felt she was being coy and deceptive with her soft voice and shy body language. She would have to be watched. Closely.

----

Their warp drive was currently non-functional, so they would have to travel at max drive to the next port. It was two weeks of travel away and would give time for the crew to relax and Dante to think over the woman's fate. He had given her a reprieve but to accept her as a crew member meant so much more. Not least she would be entitled to a share of the profits. His profits specifically.

During their short trip she became endeared to Tera and Jax like they had been old friends. She took to Tera's teasing and playful nature well and Jax was always happy to have someone whom he could play games with, share his bolt collection with, and repeat jokes long since considered old material. And she took it in good humour. Dante could see she was fitting well with them. The twins however were constantly badgering at him to be allowed to talk to Rhea. They complained, whined, threw tantrums and devolved to holding their breath or ignoring him for minutes at a time. Whenever they were all together, he kept their heads down, focused on something else though they would push their look at times. Despite his attempts to maintain control over the situation, he could see something would give soon. He couldn't keep them apart always.

Dante was sitting in the cockpit, his head propped up with a hand, taking a little time to himself. The night previous, or what passed for night on the ship, he had barely gained any sleep. Oni and Ino had been sickly the day before and he suspected it was down to a spoiled provision. Though there had been no vomiting, thankfully, the girls would retch weakly and had been close to tears at times. He had spent the night sat beside their bunk, keeping a watchful eye on them. They woke frequently and he was often up by their side pressing a cool hand to their foreheads or letting them hold onto his hand. It made little sense to him but their entire race was a mystery to him. He was learning on the job so to speak.

When she entered and spoke to him, his fingers fluttered in the air to imply she continue. She had bought his ear with her soft tone which brought him closer to sleep. It was singsong and gentle. Likely it would have soothed the twins during their troubled sleep. It helped to set a relaxing tone as she apologised for taking his kindness for granted. He had to concede that the twins were already fond of the woman simply for her matching race and that they would be sad for her to leave, even though they had yet to meet her formally.

His head lifted at her pleasant words and as golden eyes gazed over toward her she was gone, a tail whipping around behind her trailing form. She seemed intent to be away and leave him be and his lips curled ever so slightly. He left it alone, preferring to sink into the silence in the room and be lost to a light slumber..

----

As they pulled into the port Dante left Tera to request landing permissions and take them in. He in turn stepped out and into his quarters to change. When he returned, he wore pristine and radiant white clothing. The pants were figure conforming up to the knee though up to his waist they were of a looser weave. Across his waist a smoky grey belt sat, more for style than any practical use. His upper half is covered with a tight shirt which leaves little of the contours of his torso to the imagination. The sleeves tapered off just after the elbow, the collar an inch or two below his jawline. The white contrasted starkly with his brilliant cerulean skin and from a fold at the back a blue tail swished about lazily.

As he stepped out, Tera let out a low whistle, laughing gently before her elbow nudged into Rhea's side. The Pyrenian looked up in curiosity at the woman's reaction, though a little intrigued at the change in clothing.
[+red "Cap doesn't like to change clothing all that often. But when he does.. well, let's just saying he's being conservative today."] A devilish smile turns her lips.[+red "I remember one time, I swear you could see the outline of-"] Dante turned sharply on the duo, particular Tera, but she winked playfully at him in return.
[b "I was going to give you two some credits to go about the port with. I thought you deserved some relaxation. Clearly you are content enough already, so you can remain on the ship until the cargo is sold."] His eyebrows rose as if imploring either of them to complain or take issue, yet neither did and he nodded his approval of their choice. Taking a data pad he sauntered out of the ship, taking a deep breath of the fresh air. Recycled was fine for health, but could never beat the fresh stuff.

They were a mixture of races waiting at the end of the cargo ramp, some who's names he couldn't fathom though their appearance was familiar. As local buyers they knew each other rather well and a cheery mood shrouded them all. Approaching an electronic stand to one side, Dante connected his tablet to it briefly and transferred across his itinerary. The ship name flashed up in bold letters before the contents began to flash on sale in quick succession. At once there was a heady clamour to see what was for sale, several leaving quickly when they saw nothing they wanted.

Satisfied they had had enough time, he tapped at the pad. It was a form of quick sell auction. Prospective buyers would link wirelessly to the stand and bid for chosen goods. No matter their chosen dialect, his itinerary would be translated for them. It lasted only five minutes before the tiefling nodded his head calmly and turned back to the doorway. Dante waved his hands for Rhea and Tera to go ahead and go about their business. Jax stood at the end of the cargo ramp, standing in the way of the unloading crews of the buyers. The twins were in the cargo hold, watching everything with fascination. They were always keen to see new races and new planets.

It was going rather swimmingly, up until the moment Tera buzzed him on his communicator. He sighed deeply and pressed at his ear to activate it. At the mention of a problem he inquired if it involved their recent acquisition. When it was confirmed, he didn't hesitate and changed his channel.
[b "Ino, come down here please."] Walking away from the buyers the little girl came bundling down excitedly, stopping when she reached Dante who took a knee before her.[b "Here."] He handed her the tablet.[b "You've done invoicing before. I need you to finish up here whilst I deal with a problem. Can you do that for me?"] She nodded vigorously, his hand brushing her cheek softly. Tugging at Jax's leg, the giant turned to look down. A large dumb smile spread over his face.
[+gold "Hi Ino. Ino want up?"] She nodded again and up she went, lifted to sit on his shoulder. Leaving them be Dante calmly walked back up onto his vessel, changing back his communication channel.
[b "Bring her back to the ship now Tera. And keep her head down. I don't want people seeing her board."] He was surprisingly calm, though worried that what had gone wrong would cause him to lose reputation. If she had started an argument, caused offence to an elder, broken something. It didn't bother guessing blindly at.

Twenty minutes of fretting over outcomes went by before Rhea and Tera returned, a large brimmed hat pulled over the former's head to hide her face. Immediately he pointed for the gentle speaking Pyrenian to take a seat at the galley table. She humbly did so, head bowed a fraction, and he turned to Tera.
[b "What did she do?"]
[+red "Well Cap, it's less what she did. More what she done."] Delving into her cleavage brought a bemused look from the tiefling male before the piece of paper was eventually fished out.[i 'It's a wonder she found it at all in that bosom.'] Handing it over he took it with a hesitation. It [i had] been pressed against her being.[+red "Seems our lil' girl here is a proper genuine crook Cap."] She smiled as if she were proud, folding her arms under her chest which only pushed them up and made them more prominent. Dante couldn't help but notice and a light red hue brushed over his cheeks. Turning away to unfold the paper he read it over, eyes scanning over it several times. When he finished, he fell into a seat opposite of Rhea and his fingers ran lose in his white tufts of hair.
[b "Why?"] It was soft. Not demanding. He looked up at her with a pained expression. He looked into her only visible eyes. It irked him that her hair had come down. The quad-optical appearance was much more appealing. Pushing the paper toward her he sighed.[b "Five million. Five. [i Million]. Not hundred, not thousand, not hundred thousand. But [i million]."] He closed his eyes, letting out a moan in discomfort as he sunk down and let his forehead rest against the table for a moment. It rose immediately.[b "You know what I made today? What all that cargo got me? One hundred thousand credits. And that's only because the Utilian wine sold well. At a rough guess; minus running costs, Tera and Jax's fee and the twins' share, that leaves me with barely ten thousand. Ten thousand Rhea, for a whole shipment. And yet here I was, transporting something worth five million!"]

Still there is no anger.

It was rare for Dante to remain so calm, yet the look in his eyes as he stared across at her was filled with discomfort. He was clearly holding a lot in and the woman remained silent. She seemed not keen to irk him more by interjecting in his talk. She simply folded her hands together and sat meekly before his gaze. A hand slapped against the table abruptly. Not hard, but enough to frighten Tera who stepped forward and placed a hand on his shoulder, perhaps to stem him striking out. He shrugged it off hastily.
[b "Why did you lie to me? You tell me you're wanted because you read something you perhaps shouldn't have. A misdemeanour crime. Something I was going to put down as you overreacting, taking out of context, fearing the absolute worse and running from shadows. A mistake. A fault. I can accept faults. I'm very reasonable, I have my own faults and I know that. Everyone here has them."] Tera nodded in agreement, stood at his shoulder. His voice dropped to a whisper.[b "But simply reading something you shouldn't have? Let me tell you something, perhaps you're naive or just innocent to the world at large, but that? That's not worth a five million credit bounty."] A sneer tugs on his lips as he reaches quickly across the table and grasped the back of her neck, pulling her forward so they are once again mere inches apart, as it had been a few days prior.
[+red "Cap! Stop it! Don't hurt the girl!"] Tera's worry for the girl stems no further than words, keeping her hands to herself though she leans forward. He heeds her words, his grip loosening minutely.
[b "Rhea. I want one, single, perfect, believable reason for why I shouldn't turn you in. Because I have five million reasons why I should."]
LoxiRhea   6y ago

All the terror she had felt but weeks ago returned in one solid wave. It was so much money. They wanted her that badly. With a bounty of that size, there was no place safe for her. Nowhere to hide. The paper stated she was to be alive, but she knew if she went back her life would be forfeit after they had the journal. Tera had the two of them stop by a shop, purchasing an overly large hat. It covered her well. Most of the looks stopped. The ones that persisted were due to the strange outfit she was in. Overall it had been nearly half an hour before they made it back to the ship. There was a small sense of solace there, but not enough to bring the color back to her face. Dante waited for the pair.

Following the motions, Rhea sat when told and listened to the man across from her intently. It was a little hard to focus, between the crushing weight of her impending death and the pained look on his face. She had hurt him with this. Perhaps she’d been very wrong in thinking that he had disliked her so much. He spoke of her over reacting, and being naive. It was not entirely wrong. She was often told she was too innocent when it came to her thinking of the world. She knew she was, but it helped her through life, keeping optimism that she might succeed in her life’s work one day.

She was already nearly on the verge of tears when Tera came to her aid trying to keep the captain from becoming fully enraged. The anthro really was too sweet. Trusting her to such an extent, even with something this large loomed over them all. Although Tera had tried to prevent it, he snapped. There was a searing pain at the nape of her neck as she was once again uncomfortably close to Mr. Varias. The water welling in her eyes was threatening to spill over. Rhea struggled to hold it back. If she cried it would only look as though she was trying to play off the little sympathy in the room.

Somehow, Tera brought him back to his senses enough that his grip loosened. The pain faded. Once again, she was required to put everything on the table. This time, in more detail. There would be no slipping by with vagueness. “I-i-it wasn’t a plague.” Her blundered speech had returned. On top of that there was the fact that it was just so hard to say it out loud. It made it all the more real. “It is commonly known that the Pyrenians were blighted with a terrible plague, killing everyone. The Termani took us in, raising us as we regenerated, but everything was lost. There was no knowledge of our species fundamentals, the culture, and the language all gone in one fell swoop.” Tension grew that told her that she was taking too long to get to the point, but this was the only way she could do it properly.

“I swear; I never lied to you. What I came across was evidence that this was all a farce. There was no plague.” Her stomach was turning; she felt sick. “It was genocide. The Termani systematically rounded up all 10,000 Pyrenians and executed us 150 years ago. I can only imagine it was too install the current government they have in place and have power over our planet and people, but beyond that I have no idea why…” Now if she died, someone else in the universe at least knew the truth. It was an empty consolation.

Dante’s hand fell from her neckline, dragging down her collar as it came to the table. Once again she was able to sit in her seat appropriately. His movements were slow as he moved back, as if he were taking in the information, processing it to see if he believed it.

She allowed herself a pause. Rhea was struggling to go on, but she forced herself to keep level. Staring into his soothing golden eyes helped a bit. “Genocide is an S class offence, and without just cause interfering with a planet that has yet to develop interplanetary transport is an A class offense. If this gets out, the Termani are going to lose a lot. Allegiances will be broken and they will be shunned form many parts of this galaxy. In order to keep this under wraps, 5 million credits must seem very small to them.” It was a little far fetched. One of the farthest reaching and well-known groups of people in galaxy, allied with at least one planet in every star system, were behind something so atrocious. Even if the common Termani citizens were not privy to it, the reprimand would be heavy on their leaders. The hammer would come down on the entire race.

“If I am taken back there is no doubt in my mind that I will die. With my death around 120 years of research will be gone. I am the leading expert, of very few, on old Pyreen. Even with this it has taken me a hundred years to decode enough of Pyrenian writing to be able to understand it at an elementary level.” After that she was quiet and allowed her central eyes to leave the tieflings. They stared down at her shaking hands as she waited for the horrific silence to end.

Rhea mentally prepared for what was to come. If the money was too enticing a prize, she had decided beg for him to take the diary and her notes. That way it may be given to another linguist at the very least. There would still be hope that this might be brought to light even if her current self would not see it.
WI_     6y ago

[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat His hand had left her mid-way through her ramble, the woman eloquent enough that even the throwaway details were brought into consideration. Dante kept her gaze, watching her intently as he was, due to not fully trusting in what she could be hinting at. She was calm and quiet as she had always been, though she started in a faint tremor and he put this down to his own actions.

When she finished and looked away, he sat back in his seat, mouth hanging ajar at all she had said. His hand slid off the table, interlacing atop his head as he stared across to the timid woman. The full scope of things lain before him was troubling and it required him to come to a resolution immediately. He was not yet in too deep with this. Likely, he could claim plausible deniability that he knew the woman. Merely taking a passenger with him. Not knowing she was a criminal in hiding. A five million credit reward would pave a golden path into the future for him. He could afford to buy a completely new ship. A larger ship. Capable of taking more cargo on board and travel further and therefore increasing his profit for every trip.

He could play into the reward, Jax and the twins would be disheartened only a short time. He could convince them it was right to do. A good deed. But the trouble with that is Tera had heard every single word of the Pyrenian's speech. She had heard it all and he turned to gauge her reaction. Immediately he was regretful for looking. She looked as worried as the Rhea and her ears had folded down flat to her head, her body language turned inward as if she were trying to make herself smaller. She could not be trusted to follow his lead or accept credit payment to stay quiet. She was outspoken. Even if she did not intend it, Tera would inevitably blurt out what had been said.

His mind raced through several options, darting between each and applying reasonable theory to each. Everything had to be considered however and he came up with things that were outlandish to even consider. Things such as handing her over and in turn being arrested, disposed of as an accomplice. Perhaps they would rig his ship to detonate so that they would not have to pay the reward fee and be absolutely sure what she had found had not been passed on - such as in the diary she kept. His mistrusting nature was put to straining point.

With an exasperated sigh his hands fell limp at his side, eyes returning to the table so that he could once more gaze on the unimposing woman opposite him. It was several minutes of silent deliberation before a hand reached up and gently took a hold of the paper between them. Lifting it up he gritted his teeth a moment.
[b "Five million credits is life changing money."] He muttered aloud though to no-one in particular. For a brief moment a blue finger ran across the number, as if caressing the credits themselves. Yet the paper is folded over and consequently torn into several pieces. With each tear the pilot at his side smiled a little more hopefully and looked at him as he dropped the shredded remnants onto the table.[b "Please don't make me regret this Rhea."] Observing her closely, she remained silent, opening her mouth but it snapped shut immediately when he stood abruptly.

Tera had been hovering close and as he stood she leapt forward, wrapping her arms around him tightly and drawing herself up close to him. His tail froze at the touch and he quickly batted at her hands, cheeks flushed as he pulled away from her and stepped over to a dispenser, facing her again.
[b "We can't afford to stay here. We need to leave immediately. Tera go get Jax, he should be done with the traders. Get provisions for a fortnights journey and have the refilling crew start immediately."] He took an empty credit stick and connected it into a screen. Transferring across funds he handed it over to her.
[+red "Ten thousand Cap?"] She looked incredulously at the stick in her hand. Roughly twice the amount needed to buy food and drink for their journey.
[b "I want you to purchase new clothing for Rhea and whatever Pyrenian's desire. Whatever she says, get the same again for the twins."] He turned on the red-skinned woman at that.[b "I'm not an expert like you on Pyrenian culture. Tell her what your people prefer to eat and drink. And give her a list of things that will make your quarters more hospitable for you."] His hand rose to brush over his face, rubbing at his eyes as he considered what he was agreeing to. Seeing the look of confusion on her face at his order, he rolled his eyes.

[b "You are going to be with us a while longer and therefore a part of my crew now. As such, I would rather have my crew in a content and relaxed mood."] Tera nodded in agreement.[b "You will be tutoring the twins too. For which we will discuss later. But I want them to embrace their culture and so would rather you did so with the correct literature and supplies."] Puffing out his cheeks he had wandered during his talk and now stood on the opposite side of the room. Patting the doorway he stood before he looked over the ship as if he were about to lose it forever.[b "Have the twins close up the cargo hold before you leave and come to the bridge. I'll be plotting our course."] He left the two to hash out what exactly she would like to eat, drink, how to decorate her room and how she would go about tutoring the twins. Dante only paused at the drink dispenser to retrieve a strong alcoholic beverage, taking it with him to begin his calculations.
LoxiRhea   6y ago

Silence, for the longest while of her life, that was all there was. Not even Tera spoke. When Rhea looked at her she appeared perturbed. Dante on the other hand looked calculating. If he was sympathetic at all it did not show. Along with him no longer looking her in the eyes, things did not look like they would be going in her favor. It was like in a courtroom, the jury never looked at a person they condemned after the decision had been made. Breathing deeply, her hands grabbed at the end of her tail. Wrapping around the appendage tightly, her knuckles were white.

Watching the man who held her delicate fate in his hands was too much. All four of her eyes dropped to the table between them. Eventually she closed them. She was tired of how bright everything was. They stayed this way until he commented on the money again. Seeing the poster in his, she watched as he tore it to pieces. Her eyes widened. She would live a short while longer. Her confidence in much more than that had been broken. Just because he was this generous did not mean others would be.

Rhea was about to thank him when he stood. Her mouth closed again. She would do it another time, when he had come to accept his decision more thoroughly. At the time being he looked as though it was eating away at him, so she let it be. Tera looked as though she was giving him more thanks than he wanted anyway. It was funny to see him shy away from her like he did, but Rhea did not laugh.

Shortly he gave orders to her overjoyed friend. They would be leaving as soon as possible. It was in her best interest. Rhea felt bad, she was still practically a stranger. The feeling did not last long as she heard Tera exclaim the amount. She was correct, that was entirely too much for two weeks journey. The Pyrenian was mildly concerned until the captain began to explain. Her brain was still foggy from all that was going on. His intentions were not reaching her. Apparently it was not hard for him to tell. She thought she must have had a terribly stupid look on her face to make him roll his eyes so.

Eyes widening at his declaration, Rhea was stunned. In a matter of minutes she had gone from nearly priceless cargo to an official crewmember. Why was he so difficult to follow? Not that she was going to complain about the development. This was more than she could ever have asked for and far more than she would ever be able to repay.

Captain Varias made himself scarce, leaving the two ladies to figure out the rest. Tera pulled a seat next to her rose-colored crewmate and wrapped an arm around her. It was uplifting. There was not much time however so the moment was short. Rhea made a short list of things she needed or wanted. It comprised of a desk and chair, writing supplies, a bookcase, any book that pertained to Pyreen or the star system it was in, a large hooded cloak, loose fitting clothes, and Pyrenian centipede flakes. In her state of mind, it was all Rhea could think that she would need.

Tera left quickly after the list had been compiled. This left Rhea alone, to replay everything that had happened in the last forty minutes in her head. There was so much. Finally the magnitude of it all caught up with her and she wept. They were tears of both fear for her future and relief for the now. A hard combination to stomach.

By the time everything was in place to depart, Tera had returned. Most of the things Rhea ordered were stowed in her living area. She would figure where she wanted them at a later time, but for the time being she would change. The clothes were perfect for their function, though they did nothing for Rhea’s figure. The shirt had long sleeves in order to cover as much of her as possible. It was long, making more of a tunic than a shirt. It worked nicely so that she could wrap her tail around her waist and torso to hide it. She would only have to do this outside of the ship, but it was important all the same. The pants were tighter fitted. Clearly more Tera’s taste than her own. There were also boots. Rhea had a great dislike for shoes, but once again she would only have to wear them when leaving the safety of the ship. Lastly there was a light gray cloak, just as she had requested it had an overly large hood. While the monochrome color scheme was drab, she didn’t mind. With everything on, she could barely tell she was a woman let along a Pyrenian. Now knowing that everything fit fine, she kicked off the shoes, let her tail free, and pushed the hood back.

She fixed her hair and glasses on the way down to the bridge. Just about everyone was there when she made it. Rhea smiled pleasantly at the girls for the first time. It would be wonderful getting to actually speak with them. Not to mention she now had someone who would be forced to listen to her ramblings about Pyreen and all the theories on menial things about Pyrenians. She already knew what her first lesson would be.

There was a lot going on, Rhea stayed out of the way so that everyone could continue to be productive. Quietly letting everyone do their thing. She didn’t really have the skill to be supportive in this situation. It was mildly disheartening, a tutor and translator was not necessary here.

Exodus of planet was complete and the Enduring Odyssey was on its way. Rhea was itching to go and talk to the twins, but she thought it might be best to wait for the captain to make the introduction. She was not sure if he had told them the news yet. Tera, who looked back at her from her seat as the pilot laughed. Rhea was unsure if it was because of the outfit or her anxious shifting from one foot to the other.
WI_     6y ago

[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat It took some time to get the provisions for the ship, the supplies Rhea had requested and for Dante to input their destination into the ship's system. Several days travel called for greater planning and calculating the cost of the journey he surmised it would wipe all most of his profit from this journey, not to mention the ten thousand credits spent on simply stocking the Pyrenian's room with a few personal touches. When the credit stick had been returned before leaving, it was surprisingly close to empty. Unsurprisingly, Tera had bought some clothing for herself which had not been part of the agreement. However if it kept her bosom covered then he didn't mind all that much.

Taking them out into space he sent Tera the coordinates at last and she looked at him a little curious, though without a word she input the course and set them going taking it up to max drive. With all of it settled, Dante looked to his side to see Rhea dancing from foot to foot. A rather humourous act.
[b "Do you require the lavatory or is that an ancient Pyrenian dance?"] It brought a laugh from Jax, more so because he enjoyed dancing than he understood the intent or irony of his comment. The man laughed at most anything truly. The ship rattled wildly for a few moments as the engines were engaged to their maximum and exited the atmosphere. It was always a worrying moment as it could easily shake loose some wiring or system in the old ship and leave them having to quickly reattach equipment.

Thankfully this time it didn't and with the ship set Tera swiveled out of seat with a bounce in her step. She ruffled Dante's hair as she passed and gave Rhea a wink as she set off for her quarters, likely to change and check the fitting of her new clothing. Her action drew a scowl from Dante who shook his head lightly and averted his gaze from her, lest he be caught watching her being swaying lazily. Whilst unfocused, Jax had turned and rushed for the door.
[b "Jax."] Authoritative and commanding it stays the man leaving, the large being looking over.
[+gold "Yes Cappy?"]
[b "Where are you going?"]
[+gold "To eating room Cappy."] A finger pointed out the door.
[b "Are you going for your cookies?"] A restrained look on the man's face as he nodded guiltily, caught out in his plan.[b "Just remember, one box. And only after you fix the lighting glitch in Rhea's room."] The lumbering man sighed, a little downcast but nodding nevertheless. After all, if he controlled his greed he would have cookies for much longer.
[+gold "Oh-kay Cappy."] He nodded and left the Pyrenian trio alone with the Captain.

Sighing softly Dante left the comfort of his seat and stretched out, arms reaching up for the ceiling panels and rolling his head as he let out a groan. He was rather tall for a tiefling and there were subtle touches to him that gave the impression he had been altered from a typical being of his race. His stomach rippled under the conforming shirt before he turned and stepped toward the Rhea. Grasping her arm, albeit lightly, he pulled her closer to him though his golden eyes observed the two girls.
[b "I will give you an introduction now. Then you will take them for a short lesson. perhaps the very basics to your joint culture. Likely they will bombard you with questions and feel free to answer what you like. However, refrain from talk of why you are here. Make up whatever excuse you deem appropriate but do not bring suspicion on yourself."] It was perhaps a given she would not want others to know the reason for her being on the ship.[b "These girls mean a great deal to me. Do not become disheartened if they fight your teachings at first. They are rebellious in spirit though if they become too much then call for me immediately and I will come to calm and focus them."] His hand remained on her arm a few seconds longer, hovering almost as he considered whether it was right to allow her to tutor the girls. She could easily lead them towards anarchic teachings or give them the education he had been unable to give them. Teaching mechanics and systems was simple and straight forward but languages, culture, philosophy and the arts where out of his domain. Looking to Rhea they met eyes once more, it was a common thing lately. He felt he could trust her judgement.

[b "Pyrenian Cohort! Attention!"] Not loud, more barked like a military instructor and he stepped forward a foot or so, the girls like his charges and quickly turning and jumping up in their long seat; specifically lengthened to allow them to sit and work side by side. Turning and saluting at him with warm little smiles. Seeing the woman stood not far behind him they quickly took one another hands, a faint look of worry at what was about to happen.[b "At ease girls, you're not in trouble."] A further step brought him before them and he moved to one side of the duo, raising a hand to Rhea who stepped forward shyly.[b "I've decided that our new crew mate will be tutoring you both for the foreseeable future. Oni. Ino. This is Rhea."]

The two looked at Dante with skepticism at first but it was set aside as they waved shyly at the woman they had been so adamant in wanting to meet for the last few days.
[b "Now, be respectful of Rhea and learn all you can from her. She will be a much better teacher than I. Go to your quarters, I had Tera get you some supplies for your lessons. Rhea will be along shortly."] They were still for a moment but edged down off their seat and with a deft wave they walked off, continually looking back until the door closed behind them. Dante watched them closely, hands coming to rest on his hips once they had left. Looking over at Rhea he only now just noticed her clothing and frowned a fraction, though a smile tugged at the corners.[b "A shame you had to change."] Walking around her he made for his own quarters.[b "I found your old outfit rather fetching."] He called back over his shoulder just before leaving.
LoxiRhea   6y ago

Rhea ceased her anxious action, with a slightly pouting look on her face. Now everyone was laughing at her. Being an official part of the crew apparently meant she would be taking mock scrutiny from all sides now. It would no longer be just Tera giving her a hard time. Well, that was most definitely better than the suspicion she had been under before. She hoped to adjust quickly, but it was likely going to take time to get used to Dante treating her so differently.

When all was stable on the ship, people began to leave. Tera was first; she seemed to be feeling jaunty and determined to let everyone know that she was. The captain didn’t seem all that pleased with her persistence to touch him so much today. But he let her get away with tussling his hair. Rhea just thought it was funny that she would take the effort to press her luck so much. Before she managed to leave the floor, she directed a wink over toward the older Pyrenian in the room. She in turn blushed lightly. What a silly person.

Following on Tera’s tail was Jax. He was dead set on something. Dante made quick work of keeping him in line. Though, his large disheartened figure did pull at Rhea’s heartstrings. She was very ready for the light to be fixed though.

That left Rhea alone with the three crewmembers that she knew the least about. She watched the captain stand and stretch. His lean figure appealed to her, but she looked away as to not not be caught staring and embarrass herself. As he came her way, she held her breath. Though it was not on purpose. He more or less towered over her. She wasn’t very tall, even for a Pyrenian who only reached 6 foot at the maximum. It wasn’t until he gently has ahold of her arm that she exhaled. How long would it take for the fear that he would change his mind about her to dissipate?

Rhea listened closely to the Tiefling. Some of what he had to say she already knew from observation, but still the warning was not unwelcome. She had experience in teaching, just not with children. It was good to know she would be able to get help if things got too out of hand. Honestly, she hoped bribing them with something tasty might work until she could establish a proper relationship with the two.

When he was through, Rhea nodded in agreement. She was unsure he saw with his eyes still set on the younglings. His hand lingered on her person, and she wondered what he was pondering behind his thoughtful expression. More likely than not it was concern for the girls. She smiled; he was more kindhearted than he first let on. His eyes fell to hers again and her countenance shifted to something more reassuring. Once again she nodded; letting him know she would do as he asked.

The young Pyrenians were quick to react to their captain’s call. Clearly they were unsure what he wanted. This set the seed of worry in them, but he quelled it shortly. Her introduction was to the point. When Dante sidestep as to reveal her, she bowed her head, “Nice to finally meet you both.” Her own excitement shone through as she beamed. The little ones on the other hand looked as though they were about to stare a hole right through the man at her side. Their eight scrutinizing eyes watched him; trying to catch any sign of a trick or trap. When they thought they were in the clear their attention moved to her, but they were not given long before Dante waved them off to prepare for learning.

Then there were two, but not for long. The cerulean gentleman was on his way out as he commented on her appearance. It took a moment to sink in. What he had said just didn’t seem to make sense for a bit. When it clicked her face was bright red and hot as could be. Was he resolved to have her flustered her entire stay on his ship? She had just finally gotten over finding him completely nerve wracking. Now this was going to be at the back of her mind whenever she was near him. Maybe it was karma for her ogling him a bit earlier. She sighed as she tried to level her head and return her normal complexion.

Feeling like she was in the clear, Rhea went back to her room to grab what she needed for the first lesson. It was going to be an easy day. Mainly to get to know each other and let them know a few basics. Tera had managed to find a few books, but she wanted to look through them to check for inaccuracies before she had the girls look at them at all. So today would just be her brain and the Pyrenian centipede flakes to keep them interested.

Making way to the younglings’ room, Rhea thought about the order she would do things in. In the end she thought it might be best to let things flow naturally and not plan too meticulously. At the doorway, she knocked before entering. Finding the two with their new tools, she was glad they were ready for her.

“Alright, ladies, let’s get to work.” She grinned. This was actually going to be a learning experience for all of them. While Rhea had taught before, it was more lectures and seminars. These classes were with adults and usually many of them. This was going to be more hands on. “Firstly, is there anything you two want to know?” If she could find out what interested them it would be much easier to tool her instruction to them. She only hoped they might be interested in different things, so they could motivate one another.

They started with very basic questions. To these they received generic answers if there was one. It was not long till they asked why so little was known. Rhea was forced to give the textbook answer of a plague in order to abide by the rules of her speaking with them.

Ino was the first one to not be happy with the answer, but not for a reason that would get Rhea in any trouble. “If a plague killed everyone, why are we still here? That doesn’t make any sense.” Her arms were crossed and she was looking over her elder skeptically. Oni nodded in agreement after it had been brought up.

Rhea wasn’t entirely surprised that they didn’t know. The two did not seem to know very many other Pyrenians. “Well, we regenerated.” Gaging Ino and Oni’s reaction, she went on. “Inside every Pyrenian there is a core crystal.” She placed her hand on her chest, letting them know where it was. “When we receive a fatal blow, get too sick, or just die in general, our corporeal selves fade away but the core is left over.” It was a rare occurrence. They were a pretty hardy people. Their longevity was impressive as well. It had been 150 years and they still had no idea what the natural life expectancy of a Pyrenian was. “After a few weeks, the crystal will enter a growth phase and redevelop a body around it. The initial creation happens within minutes and ends with a small but fully functioning Pyrenian. The growth phase continues for another 20-30 years when we reach full maturity.” There was still some debate on how long it actually took to reach adulthood. “So far, this hasn’t happened a whole lot. The two of you are rather rare.” Later she would have to get some data on the girls, but that could wait a day or two.

Although, the Pyrenian life cycle was something that Rhea personally found fascinating the girls looked somewhat sullen. She wondered if it was something they had not understood. “What is the matter?”

The two looked at one another then back at their tutor. It took a bit but Oni spoke up. “So, we are only alive now because of someone else’s misfortune?”

The question caught Rhea off guard. She had not thought they would look that far into it. These girls were sharp to be sure. “Not necessarily.” Her answer was slow. She would have to put more thought into this answer for two reasons. The first being she did not want to upset them anymore than she already had and the second that there was no real answer to the next topic. Not one that had enough backing to even be considered a real theory. “Now this is not widely held as truth, it comes from what I have seen and is what I personally believe to be true.” She gave out a disclaimer so that they knew to take this with a grain of salt. “New Pyrenians take on the same features and many personality traits of their former selves. I like to think of it as less a misfortune of dying and more a blessing to have another chance at life. We don’t retain the memories of our past lives, but those who knew us do. They can lead us to the things we once thought were important and we can find ourselves quicker the next time around.” A more optimistic view of things left the twins with contemplative expressions.

Rhea let them have a moment of silence to take or leave what she had to say. After that she would move on to something more concrete. What remained of the first lesson went smoothly. The girls hadn’t been too rowdy, but the older woman saw the potential for it. She could see that her being new made them behave a little better than they would for someone they were closely acquainted with. The novelty would wear off soon and she might need to take up Dante on his offer to calm them.

“Okay, I have one more thing, but we need to go to the kitchen.” At some point, Rhea had sat don with the girls on the floor. Getting up, she felt stiff. How long had she gone on? Next time she should pay a little more attention to the clock. She was slow going to the kitchen, allowing the girls to run off ahead smiling as they bantered back and forth.

In the food storage area Rhea asked the girls to each pick out a snack of their choice. Somewhere along the walk there Tera had found them and tagged along. Apparently she wanted to be a part of the fun and followed the Pyrenian’s directive as well. Once everyone had their food of choice, Rhea took out the Pyrenian centipede flakes. She sprinkled a light dusting over the girl’s food, skipping over Tera.

“Aren’t ya forgetting someone?” Tera held out her hand with her item in it.

“Nope, you won’t like it.” That was mainly an assumption, but Rhea would be amazed if Tera could stomach it. The small bits of bug were the spiciest substance in this half of the galaxy. Pyrenians’ mouths, however, did not react to capsaicin; in fact they had taste receptors specifically for the stuff. They probably developed it just to be able to eat these critters, which are common on Pyreen. “Alright, girls, give it a go.”

Neither of them seemed that excited to eat whatever it was Rhea just put on their food. Ino ultimately went first and her eyes widened. She was all but stuffing the rest of what was left in her mouth. Oni who saw this followed her example. The reaction was much the same.

After seeing how the twins took to the mystery spice, Tera was somewhat determined to get some herself. While Rhea was busy answering the girl’s questions about what they had been fed, the anthro sneaked in closer and grabbed the small container from Rhea’s hand.

A chase ensued. Rhea not being a very athletic creature was not making any progress on her friend. She would have to resort to reasoning with her from afar. “Tera, please bring that back.” Her words were airy as she was breathing hard from the sprinting. “It is very spicy. I don’t want you to hurt yourself!”

Looking back at the slow Pyrenian, Tera chuckled. She was having more fun making a ruckus than anything else. “Come on, if the girls can handle it I can too. 'Sides, I like spicy food.” Her eyes went back in front of her as she rounded a corner. The busty woman barely had time to evade the captain who had come out to see what in the hell was going on. He watched as his pilot ran by, not entirely sure what was going on. There was not much time to think about it before Rhea ran headlong into him as she came around the same blind corner. Clearly she did not possess the same catlike reflexes as Tera.
WI_     6y ago

[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Heading down the hallway Dante slowed a moment to see Jax greedily scoffing down a handful of cookies with one large hand, the other tucking a large metallic toolbox under his arm. He was a simple being. Sweet but simple. It always paid to keep on positive ground with the large man as he had prior experience of how hard he could strike. There was a brief nod of gratitude from the Tiefling, happy knowing he still held authority that his orders were obliged and carried out.

Ducking into his room he waits for the door to close behind before tapping at the touch pad to one side and the locks slide into place securely. His eyes close over as he expels a deep breath and weary hands run up and through his hair, brushing at the protruding horns. The room contained a small single bed, neatly made, two straight-backed chairs tucked under a plain desk,
a shelving unit with multiple tablets connected to it and a cupboard for his clothing. A washroom lies off to the side, through a separate door. There was very little in the way of decoration save for one wall where close to the floor it was littered with scrawling and bright, vibrant etchings. The higher the drawings reached the more detailed they became though they were still crude at best. Children's work.

Seating himself at the desk he takes down a tablet and begins to pick through multiple files. Tapping and swiping with incredible speed he sifts through reports and manifests on the prices of commodities and the shifting of strength in certain sectors. As a trader his livelihood came from these figures and his knowledge of them could bring a hefty windfall or obliterate several months if not years worth of profits.

His mind was preoccupied and his concentration on the reports waned swiftly. Dropping the pad before him he sat motionless for several minutes. He swiveled in the rigid seat, golden eyes looking at the vivid designs off to one side. Some invoked poignant memories and he chewed his lower lip in contemplation. Tentative fingers retrieved the device and retrieved a specific folder. Several images flashed up and he began to scan through them in quick succession, though it slowed and he began to observe them with silent remorse. Pulling the tablet to his chest he held it tightly and embraced the electronic gadget like a living being, lids falling shut as he drifted into the past.

It was sometime before the patter of two excited beings ran past his door and he caught sound of the girls talking amongst themselves. Brought from his emotional daze he stared at the door, expectant of several knocks yet they passed without stopping. His gaze dropped once more to the tablet and his thumb brushed across the shining screen before he was once more distracted by those outside. Being so close to the kitchen had it's downsides with the rate of foot traffic it brought. Distracted now he threw the tablet down onto the desk, discarded with annoyance as he rose from the seat with a faint groan of discomfort.

Unlocking and exiting his room he stepped into the center of the hall and peered down each way. Hearing the commotion from the kitchen coming closer he remained in place, a clearly joyful Tera tearing around the corner and pirouetting around the blue skinned male in surprise. He had half turned to follow her when he was struck in the chest by a moving figure. Looking down he saw the Pyrenian woman staring up at him wide-eyed, hands placed to his chest from where she had tried to mitigate the effect of knocking into him. His look was of surprise, stepping back from her hands which slid from his being. The look of shock was quickly replaced by fury and his shining eyes turned back and forth between the Pyrenian and the anthromorph who had stopped to watch with a light pant.
[b "What is going on here?! This is a trade vessel not a place to run amok."] The woman stared down at his feet, the container of centipede flakes continually traded between her hands.[b "Why are you chasing her?"] He snarled as he turned back on the fiery skinned woman who gave him the general idea of what had happened and nodded to Tera in response. Raising a hand at the pilot he snapped his fingers at her and beckoned her closer, holding it out to her for the as-mentioned flakes.

With a sheepish look on her face she slowly shuffled closer and guiltily handed over the container to Dante, hand snatched back to her chest as she continued to look at her feet. Taking on the wrath of the Captain was something she had dealt with before and knew better than to say anything in retort.
[b "Go to the engine room and make your maintenance inspection. Then I want you to break down and rebuild the number three Billirian generator."] Her head rose a fraction, eyes looking at him in a pleading fashion though he stepped forward immediately, chest almost brushing with hers. It was a moment of primal challenge as he tested whether she would complain verbally though she seemed to change her mind swiftly and turned away in silence.

Returning to the snow haired woman who had been chasing after his pilot he approached close to her, leaning down a fraction to reach eye level with her. Holding up the container between them he observed it for a few moments.
[b "As for you, what happened to teaching the twins? I gave you a very simple agenda and yet here you are chasing after my pilot like you have no care in the galaxy? Is this all a game for you? Because I would love to play along. My favourite game to play is [i 'eject the Pyrenian outlaw out the airlock'], though it ends far too quickly."] He spoke softly, keen for the two girls not to overhear him berate the woman and threaten to have her sent away so easily.[b "Perhaps it is my fault. Perhaps I was too easy on you earlier. I try to be forthcoming and understanding and in return you insult my authority and turn my ship into a playground."] Pushing the container into her chest she lifted her hand to accept the flakes once more though he held onto them a little longer.[b "Stop fooling around, stop being a delinquent, act like an adult and do as your told Rhea. You are a part of this crew now and I do not tolerate insubordination. Do I make myself perfectly understood?"]
LoxiRhea   6y ago

It was no surprise to Rhea that the captain’s demeanor became one of irritation. She had after all ran into him and the commotion the two women had caused was probably the only reason he left his quarters in the first place. There was no improvement in his face as she explained the situation. They were definitely in for it now. Dante came down on Tera first. Rhea was not entirely sure what he had sent her to do, but it sounded time consuming. The anthropomorphic woman had taken up the tactic that Rhea thought worked best with dealing with irate Dante. Silence. She left their company looking unhappy, but still made no comment.

Her turn came too quickly in Rhea’s opinion. Then again she would have put off this lecture as long as possible if she had a choice. But of course she did not. At first he seemed more interested in the deep red pieces in his hand. Her eyes strayed to the vial as well for a moment. All four snapped back to him as he nearly whispered to her. The quietness drew her in even more. She had to listen more actively. Each word would hit her harder.

Normally having her life threatened would cause her greater distress. In this case it was comforting. Dante was a smart man. If he were through with her, or even actually considering it, he would pressure her with returning her to the Termani. There was no way he would eject 5 million credits out his airlock. The fear she had been feeling was gone, but its place was filled with shame. She could not remember the last time she had been talked to this way. And as far as her memory went back nobody had ever called her a delinquent before. Well, he wasn’t entirely wrong. It was unexpectedly easy to be pulled into Tera’s childish games.

The pressure of the container on her chest was only a mild discomfort. All the same she lifted her hand to take it. Her hand brushed against his as she took ahold of it. The contact continued passed the time he finished talking. Keeping quiet would not be enough like it had been with Tera.

“Utterly and completely, captain.” Her breathing pattern had nearly returned to normal by that point. The words were not disjointed, as her previous ones had been when she explained the situation. Another moment passed and he relinquished the seasoning to her. The stare down was finally done with and he straightened himself. Once again Rhea had to look up to him. She assumed this meant he was through with her. It would be in her best interest to depart from the general vicinity, but first she had to inform the girls of what she wanted of them.

Turning back the way she had come, Rhea found the girls listening in around the corner. The Tiefling had been right to keep quiet. They were nosy little things. “The lesson is concluded with what I told you in the kitchen. Before we meet again, please think of any more questions you have. We will start with more structured lessons next time.” Although she was not in the best of moods, Rhea made sure to smile at the children. It was not there fault so she would regret it if her ill feelings affected them. Finished with her business there, the older Pyrenian bee lined for her room. She was going to have her hands full reading the books Tera had brought her for inaccuracies.

Rhea managed to be mostly inconspicuous for the next few days. At least enough so that she didn’t find herself in any more trouble. This might have been due to giving Tera the cold shoulder. She had already forgiven the woman, but she wanted to let her know that she was not happy with her. Who knew if it would actually provoke any change in her behavior. Probably not.

As for the books she pulled an "all nighter" and got through them. Something she had done pretty regularly back on Pyreen. One of volumes was completely useless. The other few were fine after the removal of a few pages. It hurt her to damage the tomes, but she was determined to give the twins as accurate information as possible. This meant the exclusion of the ‘plague’ in its entirety. There was no way she could tell them the truth, so avoiding the deeply ingrained lie was her best shot.

As predicted, the girls became more used to having Rhea around in no time. Enough so, that they would readily pout and bargain their homework load. Her theory was that if she stood her ground sufficiently they would give up on it all together, but it difficult all the same. The two of them were stubborn. Rhea could not [i fathom] where they had picked that up on this ship. With all the grief they were giving her, she was managing to handle them. Captain Varias had predicted she would need assistance keeping them in line. She was resolved to do it herself. Even if it went unacknowledged by her crewmates, it would prove to her that she was indeed competent enough to accomplish the single task she had been assigned. Something she had been questioning after recent events.

Her patience won out at the end of the day. Ino and Oni’s demanding became less frequent. She was well aware it was never disappear, but the most challenging part was through. They were much cuter when they were not constantly questioning her capability to teach them. She could see why Dante was so fond of the pair.
WI_     6y ago

[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat The female anthro whistled contently as she strolled on into the bridge of the vessel. The last few days had been spent avoiding Dante and his wrath, keeping to her assigned roles and doing very little outside of that. It was something she had learned in her time with the Tiefling and from his stern warning she had known he was close to the end of his tether. Often it only required a few hours for the man to return to his brooding self.

On entering she immediately noticed her Captain and felt intrepid about approaching him. However given what she had come to discuss, it buoyed her confidence. He was laying prone on his back within a work station. The day before Jax had knocked over his drink which had burned through several fuses and taken their short range scanners offline. It was not a vital system, thus why it had been left alone until now, but not trusting anyone else to do the job Dante had taken it on himself. Being an older model it was clunky and chaotic inside, calling on him to pull on cables and crawl within. Now he lay atop the station, his torso and head deep inside the computer.

[b "Flux coupler and wrench."] His voice carried it's usual authoritarian tone and a tool box set up nearby pinged in response before sifting through it's compliment of tools to lift up the requested items. His hand reached out toward them though Tera stepped ahead and grasped them, handing them over into a waiting blue hand. Looking down his being he sees the busty female who has leaned down to look in at him.[b "Thank you. Now why are you here?"]

There was a little trepidation at his response but Tera quickly rebuffed.
[+red "I was unaware I had been barred from the bridge. When did this happen?"] A faint smile tugged at her lips as she stood upright, casually looking over the male splayed out before her.
[b "When you are not requested to do anything you spend your time blaring out whatever it is you call music in your quarters, taunting Jax over childish matters or attempting to cause some other disturbance aboard my ship. Given your quiet demeanour over the last few days, I find it highly suspicious that you are here without purpose. Now tell me what it is."] There is a slight rasp of anger growing in his voice.
[+red "Well, if you must know, I was getting curious if you had told Rhea yet about the thing."] She calmly stepped forward, sliding between his legs which only draws a sigh of indifference before he stretches upwards for a burned out cord.
[b "The thing? For once could we not dance about a topic like timid beings and simply reach the point of the matter."]
[+red "The thing! You know.. told her about us.."]

It was at that moment she ran her hands over his thighs, moving them in a suggestive manner inside and running them up dangerously close to his manhood. The moment she had lain a hand on him he had frozen still, cheeks shading a deep purple in embarassment. As the hands moved up he sat up in shock. His head rebounded off of a metal bracked with a dull thud, falling back prone for a few moments. As his mind cleared from the impact his hands grasped at the panel and he attempted to pull himself free and push at the woman at the same time but to no avail. She blocked his path and his legs thrashed helplessly.
[b "Tera get out of my way now!"] The anthro was simply laughing at his hopeless movements, shaking her head as she grasped his hands in her own.
[+red "Okay, I'm sorry, I'm sorry! It was simply too good not to say, I'm sorry Cap."] His writhing falters and ends quickly, seeing that he could not escape and could only pull his hands from her grasp to cover his face, feeling the heat emanating from his cheeks.
[b "There is nothing between [i 'us'] and therefore nothing to discuss. You have been told this several dozen times Tera-"]
[+red "Yeah, I know! Now calm down will you, I'm just having some fun."]
[b "It is not humourous whatsoever. Now you have ten seconds to tell me why you are here before I upgrade this infraction to a severe punishment."] Anger bubbled in his voice quick vividly now.
[+red "Oh, is Cap going to punish me?"] Her voice had dropped to an alluring pitch.
[b "Tera!"] A violent growl follows her name and his hands shook with fury though she only laughed playfully, her teasing at an end.
[+red "Sorry, sorry, sorry!"] It takes a few seconds for him to calm down, a deep sigh as he finds some peace. Though it doesn't last long, one of her fingers running circles around his thigh. His cheeks flushed a deeper shade.[+red "Have you told her about the twins or where we're going?"]
[b "She will know of our destination before we arrive, but no I have not told her yet."]
[+red "And the twins? Have you told her about them?"]
[b "No. She does not need to know anymore about them than what has been divulged. Especially [i that]; which I would advise you continue to keep to yourself. That is if you still value your employment here."]
[+red "Oh come on Cap, if she's teaching them then she deserves to know who she is tutoring. You can't keep something like that from her."]
[b "But for Delia and yourself I have kept it from the whole universe. And even that is too many. Like I say, she does not need to know. It is not relevant to anything. And I want to hear no more on it."] The wrench is placed to one side, his hand extended as he requests another tool to continue his work. Instead Tera's warm fingers envelope around his own, holding his hand softly. He chews his lower lip to prevent a hail of expletives, his severe distaste in being manhandled or touched was being tested sorely.
[+red "Look here, if you decide to keep her around then she may find out one day for herself. If she finds out that way then she may tell the twins."] There is a faint flinch in the hand she holds, clutching onto her soft appendages tightly.
[b "She would not dare."]
[+red "They are all Pyrenians Dante, she holds no loyalty to you. But to those girls they are the same race. That's something."]
[b "I hold no allegiance to her either. Should she find out and should she inform the twins, then I will personally deliver her into the hands of the Termani with not one ounce of regret."] There was a faint and short intake of breath from Tera, more surprised by the threat than any belief he would go through with it.
[+red "I doubt that it's in you to do Cap, but just think over what I said."] Her hand released his, placing the requested tool in it's stead. Patting his calf affectionately she retreats away, saying nothing more as she left him to ponder and at length return to his work fixing the panel.

----

They traveled for several more days as the had the previous few. It was done in relative silence in Dante's case, the Captain keeping his distance from Rhea. The times that he had been forced to interact with any of the crew he would talk in quick and concise sentences, a few words to get his point across to them. It was nothing substantial and the mood on the ship had become rather solemn.

When they were only a day's travel from their destination, there was a formal request made over the tannoy for Rhea to join him on the bridge. He was quiet before nodding to the others and sent them on their way. Tera gave him a worried look though Jax was glad to be off and would seek out one of his few remaining boxes of cookies. Once Rhea entered he indicated for her to head with him over to two seats. One was the twins seat, the other Rheas. She had been situated at the communications array which was a means to keep her out of the way but within relative eyesight whenever he took the helm. Seating himself in the twins seat he preoccupied his hands with a disassembled power core. It was something he'd been teaching the twins to dismantle and rebuild to expand their muscle memory.

Having seated herself, looking at him expectantly of why she had been summoned, his gaze remained focused upon the small contraption.
[b "We will be landing at our destination tomorrow. I have purposefully without our heading from you for good reason."] The small pieces were clicking together, turned here and there and snapped into place.[b "We are docking with the Lothrian Sub-station, in orbit around Lothrian Beta-Prime, if you did not know."] He continues to finish rebuilding the core.[b "There is someone there that I wish to discuss our situation with and for you to meet. It has been a decade since I last spoke to them, but they know much of the Pyrenian culture and language. And it is my intention to have them read that book of yours and confirm everything you have said to me previously."] Dropping the item off to one side he swept forwar in his seat, knees grazing against hers as his dazzling golden eyes stared across at her.[b "What they say will decide your fate, for I trust them far and above yourself. Unless.."] There is a pause as he shuffled further, to the edge of his seat, hands pressing onto the chair either side of her legs.

[b "Is there anything else you wish to tell me or offer up in your defense?"]
LoxiRhea   6y ago

The days passed somewhat slowly with so little going on. It gave her more time to look into the diary. Nothing it held was pleasant. Tucked into the book she had a paper with all her notes. It had lines of incomplete theories mixed in with anything she though might possible be important. It would look erratic to anyone else who saw it. To her it felt more like a puzzle with infinitesimal pieces and she just couldn’t figure out how they fit together.

The fabricated nights were far worse than the days. Rhea’s insomnia had flared up worse than ever. She had always had a hard time sleeping, but with all that had happened it was nearly impossible to sleep for more than a short spurt. This was not the first time it had been like this so she knew how to live with it. But, staying put in her room the whole time was killing her. Walking would help ease her mind, but it also ran the risk of waking whoever else was sleeping at that time. So instead, this time went to trivial things. In it, she decided she looked entirely too frumpy. This caused her to switch up her outfit some. All she could really do was lose the cloak while on the ship and tuck her shirt in. At least that way she retained some of her figure. It was not a lot, but she took small pleasure in it.

It was rare for Rhea’s presence to be requested anywhere. That being an understatement as it had never happened before. She was mildly confused as to what he could need from her. The woman was in the middle of her only job. Instructing the twins to get a head start on their homework while she was gone, she went to the bridge.

On the way there she passed Tera and Jax. She smiled at them as they went. It was a nervous smile, but it relayed her fondness for them all the same. The nervousness on the other hand was for Captain Varias. It was odd for the two of them to be alone. Usually Tera was around. Regardless of what she thought he might want, Rhea was going to find out shortly.

Walking onto the bridge, it felt cold. The normal brightness brought on by her fellow crewmen was not there. Only Dante stood in the space. He did not appear to be angered by anything. Good, she must have not done anything wrong this time. The Pyrenian went to her seat as his movement instructed. At first he didn’t seem all too concerned with her being there. Just the machinery lying out in front of him. After watching him, waiting, her eyes eventually went to his hands. He worked quickly and with ease. She thought he must be practiced. Her gaze stayed on his hands as he updated her. Without the tones of antagonism, his voice was actually quite pleasing to the ear.

Dante’s plan was a good one. It would put to rest any fears that he had. As long as this friend was as capable as he thought them to be, it should be put to bed for good. Rhea was confident they would translate it just the same as she had. After all, anyone who knew any Pyrenian either learned it by her side as a colleague or from her at one of her conference lectures. There was little dispute about what they had translated thus far.

As he placed the completed core to the side, her eyes followed up his arms to see that his eyes were now on her. The words he spoke had a ring of finality. This was his attempt to give her one last chance to come clean with anything else she had kept from him. Once he leaned in, trapping her in her chair, she thought it strange that she was growing so accustom to being so near to him. It barely fazed her at this point, even though his beautiful irises still mesmerized her. Maybe it was because he wasn’t pissed off this time?

Her own hands came down hesitantly from her lap. Gently she placed them on top of the Tiefling's. “I’ve told you everything, I promise,” there really was nothing more she could say. Rhea thought and thought for more words that might convince him further, but they did not come to her. Instead she let her hands linger there on his. Hopefully it would convey her want to put him at ease and let him know he was making the right decision.

The humming of all the instruments that kept the ship on track could be heard in the stillness. When he finally pulled back some, Rhea removed her hands. She stayed in her seat until she was dismissed to return to her work with the girls.

-

Having an idea of what the next day held for her both comforted Rhea and filled her with anxiety. More the former than the latter, but she was uneasy enough that the day came quickly. As they docked at the station she completed her ensemble that was meant to conceal her identity. The shoes bothered her the most, but she would tolerate it as long as she needed to. The last thing she grabbed was the diary. The night before she had removed her notes and put tabs on all the key points. It would be much faster if the other translator did not have to fumble about the pages like she had originally done.

On the way down to the boarding ramp, her path crossed with Dante’s. A Jax was already there when they made it. It was another minute or two before the rest of the crew joined them. With everyone present, Dante made it clear that only the two of them would leave the ship until he gave further notice. There were a couple of disappointed faces in the crowd, but they all complied.

The Lothrian sub-station was not an entirely busy one. The planet was the kind of place someone went if they wanted to get away for a while, so the station reflected that. Rhea kept close to Dante who looked as though he knew where he was going. She was just glad that she was not receiving strange looks from the people they passed. It felt like the getup she was in would attract more attention, but it was not the case.

The pair had not traveled far when they stopped at a door. Rhea watched as the slender man knocked. There was a pause, before he rapped on the surface again. Shortly after that the entrance slid open to reveal a woman who invited them in with an elegant smile.

Inside, she had a better look at the woman. She was definitely familiar. The Pyrenian was pretty sure she had seen her face before, but it was no one she knew by name. At first glance she had assumed the other red hued woman was Pyrenian as well, but that was not the case. The resemblance was uncanny. The real telltale sign was her lack of crystal like formations on her body. Rhea had actually written her thesis on the similarities between the two species and how it could possibly lead to a better understanding of Old Pyreen. In hindsight, it was somewhat humiliating how optimistic she had been, although she had not entirely lost the trait.

Dante talked with the woman. He did not go into detail, just that he needed her help translating something in Pyrenian.

“As you know, I am a very busy woman, but I guess I can do it for you, Dante.” When she spoke she exuded grace. She was the type of person Rhea thought could get whatever she wanted with charm alone. It was quite intimidating.

Expectantly she held out her hand. Rhea took that as a queue to hand over the journal. It was difficult, but a second opinion never hurt. Plus if Dante trusted her, that was enough for her. She came forward, relinquishing the tome. As she did so, the taller woman tilted her head in interest, “And who are you?”

When the conversation became directed toward her, the Pyrenian looked back to the Captain before she made a move. He had said that he wanted them to meet, but she was not sure this was exactly what he meant. He silently but visibly sighed. Nodding, he gave her permission to go ahead.

Pushing down the cloth that covered her head, Rhea opened her mouth to introduce herself. However, before she could the other party chuckled with amusement.

“I don’t know why you think you need me,” the tickled expression stayed on her face as she looked back to the cerulean Tiefling. “You’ve practically got a walking encyclopedia on Pyreen right here.”

It was both flattering and embarrassing that she had been recognized so quickly. Rhea really wasn’t that well known. Except in circles that, like her, were interested in the lost Pyrenian history.
WI_     6y ago

[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Again Dante was forced to show his great resolve in not reacting to her hands moving atop his own. To instill the severity of the situation he could not be petty and flinch like a young boy still afraid of girls getting remotely close to him. It was a quite ridiculous trait for a grown male to possess but nevertheless it remained.

She spoke softly, her larger red eyes meeting his own and there is a moment where nothing needed to be said nor anything done. The warmth of her soft hands atop his dry leathery skin was rather enticing to the Tiefling. A typically cold being, akin somewhat to a reptile, any source of warmth was comforting and he relaxed marginally in her touch. However that familiar tick in his mind restored normal order and his hands slid away from beneath hers, body sinking back into his seat.

The humming of the machinery and computers around was the only sound between them as he stared across silently. With a flick of his hand the chair swiveled back to the twin's station.
[b "You may leave."] A typical cold response, though once she had nodded and left, he ran deft fingers across the backs of his hands and allowed his head to sink towards the console in quiet resignation.

----

Having instructed Tera for a particular docking platform Dante had left the others to their own devices as he talked candidly with one of the workers of the station. Although it was predominantly a tourist destination, those unable to afford a stay on the planet itself were instead shunted to the station for their stay where the prices were drastically lower, but also the experience. It was akin to going camping but instead of sleeping in a new atmosphere and traversing different planets, you threw a few covers over the kitchen table and slept underneath it.

Given the drastic diversity of those aboard the station further eased his worries about taking Rhea with him. The many races and species about would afford them greater anonymity and help them reach their destination with few wandering eyes watching them. Anything that would aid them in their excursion was greatly appreciated as his worry for any repercussions in transporting a known criminal kept him awake most simulated nights.

He had dressed particularly casual for that day, though casual for the Tiefling was a dazzling gold high collared jacket atop a pair of black form hugging trousers. His dress sense was rather intriguing and Tera voiced as such when she and the twins eventually met the others at the boarding ramp.

[b "Your opinion is noted and duly ignored. Now, whilst myself and Rhea are gone I want you all to remain on board."] As ever there were complaints but seeing him hold his morose expression they soon fell sullenly quiet.[b "We shouldn't be here too long so I want you all prepped to move to Lothrian Delta. We'll restock and refuel there."] Tera and Jax nodded and headed off giving Dante a moment to crouch before the twins and whisper a few words to them. He took one of their hands in each of his as he spoke before they nodded in unison and gave Rhea a small wave as she left.

The journey to his contacts house was dull and it suited him. Few people paid them any attention and those that did would quickly move on to leer at the next couple to pass by. He made sure to keep his stride even to her own, sticking to her side and at times guiding her with a deft touch of her elbow to steer her. Though he didn't hold her hand or offer any semblance of romantic intent toward her, it was easy to assume they were a couple.

At the home in question he rapped several times before it slid open, the elegant woman inside giving them a warm smile as she recognised the male and invited the duo in.
[+gold "It was a surprise to receive your request for a meeting Dante. It's been many years since we last spoke."]
[b "You are the only being I know of that reads and understands Pyrenian."]
[+gold "It's true, I know the language very well. Speaking of which how are the girls?"] The mentioning of the twins prickles the Tiefling who faces up to the red skinned woman.
[b "They are fine."] His tone is final, bringing such a topic swiftly to a close.[b "I need you to translate a diary."]
[+gold "As you know, I am a very busy woman, but I guess I can do it for you, Dante."] Her hand outstretched toward him in expectation of the book though he indicated to Rhea to step forward, a deft nod of his head for her to hand it over.[+gold "And who are you?"] It was a question he had been keen to avoid yet had some expectation that she would be inquisitive of Rhea.

There is a moment of worry as the Pyrenian looks to him for permission. Either she shares his concern in showing her face or she is beginning to finally show obedience to him. It was without doubt the former. He sighed quietly and nodded for her to reveal herself to the faint heavenly laughter of the other woman.
[+gold "I don’t know why you think you need me, you’ve practically got a walking encyclopedia on Pyreen right here."] She smiles as she turns to him, amusement dancing in her eyes. His hand reaches out to her arm, taking her by the elbow and leading her a few steps away from the Pyrenian.
[b "I need you to confirm whatever it says in that book. I need to know that what she has told me is not a lie and that I have not been fooled."]
[+gold "Dante, my dear, you fear you will be deceived by a Pyrenian? They are truthful beings of which you should know very well. And her-"] They both turn their gaze on her, though she has taken a seat and folded her hands over in her lap.[+gold "I doubt she has the capacity to lie. She is Rhea, one of the most respected theologians of Pyreen history."] There is a pleading look in his eye as he turns back on her however.[+gold "But, as I said, I will do this for you."]

The Tiefling gave a small bow of thanks before he took a seat to the side of Rhea, sitting upright with remarkably great posture. The book was placed on a small table before them as the woman left to retrieve some beverages for them. Once she had left, Dante shuffled quickly across to Rhea, whispering to her.
[b "I understand this may not be comfortable for you but this is entirely needed. I have trusted you this far and she thinks highly of you, yet it is only what it says in the book which I care about."] There is faint fear fluttering in her eyes though she hides it well in her facial expression. A tentative hand rises above hers, hovering momentarily above it before dropping back to his lap.[b "Regardless what she confirms or denies, you have my word that you will not be given to the Termani."] He had shifted back to his original position just in time for their host to return carrying a tray of drinks.

Given her affinity for different cultures she possessed a great many different ingredients to make them bespoke drinks befitting their races, a few choice snacks lain out to one side of their drinks. The Tiefling raised an eyebrow in curiosity of the pleasantries, eyeing the bubbling green liquid for a moment, though he bowed his head in thanks to her.
[b "You remain the gracious host as ever Delia."] That heavenly smile tugs at her lips once more as she seats herself opposite them, a hand taking up the book as she did so.
[+gold "It is my pleasure Dante. Now, let's get down to the purpose of why we are here."] Raising the book up before them she smiles and opens it up.
[+blue "I have placed tabs on the parts I believe are key parts to read. The red tabs especially."] The bespectacled woman spoke up though it is soft and gentle, alluring in an oddly specific manner to the blue skinned male. He makes no comment of it however and instead takes a handful of small bauble's from a bowl to chew absently.

She gives a nod of thanks for the notes and begins to flicker through the book. Turning through it first she reads through it quickly before scanning back through. At times she will lean across to Rhea, asking for guidance on pieces and duly instructed where one piece of the puzzle fits in with the others. How one page will lead on into others and recall back to other moments that had seemed insignificant without hindsight of other sections.

Throughout their exchange Dante had busied himself with a small tablet, remaining in silence and only giving them the occasional look. After a few hours of discussing points and gaining clarity on particular wording from the other woman, Delia had sat back, closing the book over in her lap though her eyes remained fixated upon in.
[+gold "It's.. that's unbelievable."] Dante sat forward a touch unable to contain himself.
[b "Is it true? Does the book confirm what she implied?"] There is a moment where Delia shakes herself from her trance like state, looking from the book to Dante to Rhea and back in a roundabout fashion. Eventually she nodded slowly.
[+gold "As we had theorised Dante, this book and your friends words confirm that the Pyrenian race was exterminated by the Termani a century and a half ago."] There is a look of concern from Rhea who turns on the Captain.
[+blue "You knew about the purge? You knew they did all this all along and yet still didn't believe me?"] He could not tell if she was hurt by the mistrust but his gaze remained on Delia.
[b "We had an idea. A thought. A guess that we didn't wish to consider. We saw no way that someone cover up such a genocide, and of a whole race no less."] His hands writhe together unable to keep still and he is somewhat visibly distraught at the confirmation of the content of the book.
[+gold "In our defence dear, we are not scholars of your race like yourself. I may know of Pyreen history and culture but only what is widely available to the masses. Much as I know the same of Tiefling like Dante or dozens of other races. We have a vested interest yes but nothing more than a passive intrigue, and our baseless guesses were simply that; wild assumptions. To have it confirmed,"] She held the book in her hands firmly, lowering it to rest on the table.[+gold "You must understand we are feeling what must have befell you when you first found out."]

A faint beeping off from a separate room drew Delia's attention and she stood up immediately, leaning toward the tray.
[+gold "My apologies, I placed food on to cook earlier. I had no expected you to bring company, but there should be enough. If you'll excuse me, I will retrieve it and refill your drinks."] It left the two guests alone, Dante falling back into his seat, arm stretched out over the back as the other rapped aimlessly against the back of the tablet. He was silent, as was the room, only reverberating with the soft hum of a cooling unit and the noise of Delia preparing a meal.
LoxiRhea   6y ago

Once the comment on her capability had been made, Dante intervened. He pulled the woman away from Rhea, making the conversation more private. She had entirely no idea what he thought he needed to keep amongst just the two of them. But since she was being left out, the Pyrenian decided to make herself comfortable on the booth-like chair nearby. Folding her hands over one another in her lap, she would wait until she was invited back into the chat. For the time being she watched the others converse. Every once in a while their eyes were come back to her. Apparently they were talking about her. She only hoped it was at least moderately positive.

It was somewhat surprising that the Captain decided to sit next to her after the conversation ended. There were plenty of other places to sit. Delia was not lacking in accommodations for her guests. As soon as their hostess left the room, Rhea discovered his reasons for the location. Dante reduced the distance between them considerably so that his quiet words could be heard.

From what he had to say, Delia must have praised her. While kind of her, Rhea became incredibly self-conscious. The feeling did not last long as his comment of only caring about diary concerned her. After he confirmed that she had indeed been truthful, what was going to happen? Her fears had been so rooted in the present she had not stopped to think about the future. Most outcomes that came to mind didn’t end well for anyone involved. The dreadful thought entertained her mind until his hand caught her eye. Although he never touched her, she could sense that he was making attempt to comfort her. Much like she had tried for him the day before. The Pyrenian found it sweet. Along with his promise, she did feel a bit better.

A solemn smile played at her lips. “At least there is that.”

Dalia returned right as the Tiefling pulled back from her. She came bearing refreshments. Each glass was tailored for its recipient. It seemed that she did nothing half-heartedly. Rhea made sure to thank her before taking her intended drink.

It was officially time to get to work. Once noting that she had tagged the key points, Rhea sat back in her seat and enjoyed the spread of snacks laid out. Eventually Delia pulled her in to help her through some tough passages. It made the Pyrenian a tad tense. Interfering could sway how she translated it, but if Delia couldn’t fully understand the diary her second opinion would be worthless. Dante appeared to show no concern on the matter. So, as it became more in depth Rhea discussed what it could all mean freely while trying her best to let Delia come to her own conclusions. Admittedly, the petite woman was having a good time deliberating it with someone else. A second set of eyes was bringing forth new details she had overlooked. Eventually she left her seat to join Delia on the other side of the table.

The conversation slowed after a prolonged time, although Rhea was unsure just how long. It hadn’t felt too extensive, but she was a terrible judge of these things when she worked. The conclusion that the pair had found was as expected. From what Rhea could see it was beginning to sink in for the woman across the table. Her comment prompted the man who had previously remained silent to ask for absolute confirmation. With time he had his answer and the scholar was horrified to discover that it was no great surprise to either of them.

“You knew about the purge?” Her red eyes rested on the Tiefling’s sedentary figure. “You knew they did this all along and yet still did not believe me?” She could not tell what was turning her stomach more, his insistence that she had been lying, or the fact that deep down he knew it was true and still he casually made threats to her life.

The other’s eyes stayed locked as they answered her rather accusatory questions. Neither answer really satisfied her. If there is a theory one should go out and try to find evidence to refute or prove it. To her it seemed they had sat on their hands. She was livid, but the captain’s distressed fidgeting reminded her how big the situation really was. Getting upset would help nothing. Rhea could not entirely abate the ire, but at the very least she would try not to take it out on the two before her. Despite their fault they had done much for her.

Rhea stayed standing for a while. Delia hurried out of he room to tend to the meal she was preparing. Attention back on the table the two had been working at; the Pyrenian rested her hand on the book that lay closed there. Its pages contained the single most important discover of her career. A diary kept by a stranger over a century ago had altered the course of her life. She thought it unlikely she would survive to see the end results of the sequence of events to come from its discovery. Still, she would do it all again if it meant the truth would come from it.

Taking the tome in hand, she tucked it close to her body. Then she turned to return to the seat she had previously claimed. For what felt like the first time in a long time, Rhea had words to fill the silence.

“When I first put this all together I did not have the luxury of time.” While she talked, her eyes stared off at nothing in particular. Recalling the chaotic day she had left Pyreen, she kept her words soft, softer than normal. “Offhandedly I mentioned the peculiar things in the journal to someone who came by my office. It wasn’t until after I spoke I realized my mistake. The look on her face was what really brought me to understand what I had found.” Rhea shook her head at the grievous misstep. “I absolutely could not let this be buried. I fled immediately. You know where I ended up from there, of course.” When her reverie came to its close, Rhea removed her spectacles to clear them of dust. The tired lines beneath her eyes were plainly visible while they were gone.

As she returned the glasses, she shifted in her seat so that she was properly looking at the man to her side. “Now that you know everything for certain, what will you do?” Ever so slightly her head tilted, expressing her interest. “Will you go back to the way things were and try to forget it all, or will you continue to aid me in exposing this atrocity?” Rhea’s questions stemmed from the intense curiosity to know what path her future would take. They were not intended to inspire guilt. “Unlike me, you have time to decide.”

Even though there were times he had been cruel, Rhea still considered Dante her deliverer. Every part of her wanted him to stay her savior, to stay the person who harbors her from the terrors that were out for her head. To be alone was a terrible fate, but the path she chose was dangerous. There was no guarantee that anyone would be willing to come with her. Especially someone with so much to lose. The Pyrenian did not expect an answer anytime soon.

The quiet overtook the room until Delia returned with the food as promised. Her cheerful demeanor had been affected, but it did not touch her hospitality. The food looked absolutely delightful, although Rhea was not very hungry. She took only a small portion after thanking the chef yet again. It was as delicious as it looked. The thought that Delia might be naturally perfect floated around in her head.

Rhea finished eating before she went back to business. “My next step is to find out why. There had to be a reason the Termani did this.” Gaining control of the desert planet did not seem a large enough compensation for the crime committed. There were less troublesome ways to do that. “So far I haven’t found any information in the book as to the invaders demands. The language barrier between the writer and the Termani makes it difficult to know if there were any at all.” For this Rhea had no inkling. It had to be in the book, but there were so many parts that were unclear to her. “Was there anything that stood out to you?”

A contemplative look graced Delia’s angelic features. “I cannot say I noticed anything that resembled a motive. Of course, I was unable to go through the entirety of the novel.” She seemed regretful that she couldn’t be of more help.

Rhea nodded. It made sense, but it was still a little disappointing. “I am sure it will come to light with time. I will just need to collect more cross reference materials for the time being, I guess.”

“That I can help with.” Standing from her empty plate, Delia went to one of the multiple bookcases in the room. She pulled a small armload of hardbacks from their places. Carrying them back to the table she set them in front of Rhea. “Hopefully these can be of use. You will need them more than I.”

Inspecting the stack, the Pyrenian was delighted to see materials she could recognize. “This is amazing.” Even if she knew a lot by heart, it was impossible to recall everything without help. “I cannot thank you enough.”

It wasn’t long before Delia collected all the dishes to take to the kitchen. Rhea could feel that their visit would be drawing to an end soon. Her eyes gravitated to Dante. How much longer would she be welcome on his ship?
WI_     6y ago

[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Though a unpleasant silence hung between the two, the mind of the Tiefling is sparking and sputtering as ideas come and go fleetingly, not enough time to fully consider them in entirety. Hands grasp the tablet when it flashes at his side and in a moment his eyes close as if in resignation. Her movements go unnoticed due to the distraction. When she shatters the silence with her retelling of the tale of how she came to board his ship, his gaze drifts over to her still figure.

The tired eyes, hunched torso, fingers clasping the book so tightly; she is close to broken over the situation presented before her yet even now he does not see reason to indulging her and he turns away as she resettles her glasses. In his peripheral he can see her shift toward him and she takes on an inquisitive tone. She may not mean for it to sound as such but he cannot dismiss the accusatory tinge to her voice as she questions his next move. Her wording is heavy leaning, a marked decision between addressing an [i 'attrocity'] or flat out [i 'ignoring'] it leaves him in no doubt of what she wants him to do. As if for good measure, she adds;

[+red "Unlike me, you have time to decide."]

His mood darkens and vision snaps back to her with a devilish glint in his eye as the words play over and over, mocking him, laughing, taunting at his inability to act and make a choice. To be a man, an adult, a responsible-

Delia stepped back into the room and his mood shifted entirely to passiveness. He waves away the food, even when offered up eagerly on a plate for him by their host.
[b "I am not hungry."] He comments in a cold manner, turning aside his head.
[+gold "Not hungry? That is quite unlike you Dante. I have not seen you turn down my cooking before."] It was a modest attempt at humour, though she was noticeably a little shocked.
[b "I have been sickly for several days. And before you proffer your assistance, I am taking medication already."] He had cut off her response and she smiled hesitantly.
[+gold "Well, that is certainly good to hear at least. May I inquire what you are taking? Perhaps with my knowledge of Tiefling physiology I can recommend something more suitable."] She had spooned out a half a bowl for him regardless, leaving the tantalising meal in front of him on the table. He makes a point of staring across at her, tight lipped as he takes several slow and purposeful breaths.
[b "Utonazine."] At the words mentioning the other woman takes a quick and nervous look at Rhea, who continues to eat rather oblivious. Delia nods quickly and smiles a little.
[+gold "Oh, utonazine. Yes.. t-that would be perfect. Just right for you."] The conversation died then, Dante staring across at her in silence and in contemplation.

As the meal winds to a close, the two women eating without a word uttered between them, Rhea sparked up the conversation back towards their primary topic of the evening. When there was mention of referencing materials, Dante nodded toward the bookcase lining the far wall. The movement was subtle enough for Delia to take note of and she hurriedly rose and fetched several tomes, anything she had that dwelt upon the Pyrenian race in any aspect. The bespectacled girl seemed delighted by the chance procurement of so much reading material, thanking the other woman.

Staying stood, Delia swept up the bowls and made for the kitchen, though as she did Dante was already tucking away his tablet. Rhea was looking toward him as he stood, fixing his golden jacket with a few deft brushes and waving his hand for the woman to follow him who quickly flicks up the hood to hide her pleasing features.
[b "We must be leaving Delia."] He called out and the sound of cleaning abruptly ended, the woman rushing out and catching herself at the doorway to her kitchen.
[+gold "You're leaving?"] It sounded panicked though she recovered quickly.[+gold "B-but I had thought perhaps you would stay the evening and regale me with what you have done since I last saw you. It has been awfully long Dante, and I ha-"] A single shake of his snowy locks and he motioned Rhea to follow him.
[b "We cannot stay. I have a delivery for Sempar that I must finish and this lengthy stopover has already delayed me."] He turns toward the entrance, opening it without a word though Rhea turned to the woman, smiling as she gave a short bow. Her hands were filled with the books and she could not extend one in thanks for her help.
[+red "Thank you very much for having me Delia. You're the perfect host and have helped me more than you could ever imagine. I hope we can talk against very soon."] Her opposite number's cheeks flush - if that is even possible for a red-hued being - at the compliment and she bows humbly back.[+gold "And to you Rhea. I sincerely hope you can find peace with your knowledge and wish you the best in whatever you choose to do."] The response is of a warm tone and she smiled sweetly as she spoke. Rhea turned away, stepping past a stern Dante who moves to follow after her though his hand is seized upon.

There is no usual tremor to his body, rather he seems to relax in her hold as she steps close and wraps her arms around his being. It takes a moment or two before he responds in kindness, his own arms encircling the woman, a hand brushing through the hair at the back of her head as the other wraps about her waist. Her forehead rests upon his shoulder for a few seconds before he shifts away a touch, her gaze lifting. Something is whispered and her eyes widen with an emotion akin to fear. She nods repeatedly as he pulls away and ushers the Pyrenian away from the door, leading her back the way they had come.

As they head toward the ship he keeps a close eye on the woman, watching her steps as she looks about in interest at their surroundings. They are a few turns from the dockyard when she noticeably shortens her stride and he withdraws his tablet, tapping out a hasty message. To her she will feel weaker suddenly as if her body is beginning to shut down on her. Her limbs will begin to feel numb, mind cloud and vision blur. His arm is about her waist at a moments notice. His other hand sweeps the books from her hold.

[b "Come on, put your arm around me."] He comments softly to her, pulling her close to his side. She loosely puts an arm around him though more in surprise and worry at what is happening.[b "Really hold onto me now okay?"] He looked at her closely, hand grasping her waist tightly.[b "Just hold onto me, we'll get you back to the ship and get you fixed up. Okay? Rhea? Can you hear me?"] There is scant response from her and he growls in disgust at the situation more so than her blank gaze. Pressing the books against her stomach she reacts more keenly to the tomes, staring down in fascination at what they are. It allows him the time needed to sweep a hand behind her knees, lifting her up in a quick and fluid motion.

Cradling the Pyrenian, books nesting on her stomach and head against his shoulder, he continues their route back to the ship. As they walk he remains quiet though repeatedly looks down on her with a faintly concerned look upon his face. The knowledge that she's not in a life threatening condition eases him, though he is not so adept with Pyrenian physiology as he would like.
LoxiRhea   6y ago

Replacing her hood atop her head, Rhea stood from her seat. The books filled her arms and she felt bad she would not be able to extend a hand to the magnificent woman before her. So instead she went ahead and thanked her again. She was sincere in hoping that they would have the chance to meet again. Perhaps if this all worked out it could be so. Rhea was not entirely willing to look that far into the future at the moment.

Seeing Dalia humbled by the comment only confirmed what the Pyrenian had thought. She was naturally disposed to flawlessness. With that she turned to leave. Having to go around a rather severe looking Dante. Probably not thrilled with her wasting even more of his time.

Out the door a few steps, she did not hear Dante’s footfall behind her. Strange since seconds ago he had been overly eager to return to the ship. Looking back to see what had happened Rhea felt as though she was intruding on a very intimate moment. Her gaze stayed on the pair. Just what sort of history did they have? It really wasn’t any of her business so she did not dwell on it. However her eyes caught the twinge of fear on Delia’s face form Dante’s words. More whispering that Rhea would probably never be filled in on.

Soon he is back with her, guiding her to the port. Rhea paid more attention to their surroundings this time. The station may not have been incredibly busy at first glance but there were many behind the scenes workings that pulled at her attention. As the mechanics of the city transformed to be suited to a dock, the red colored woman began to feel off. It felt as though what little energy she had was finally running dry. All the excitement of what had just occurred had taken it out of her. It was now taking all her focus to continue walking.

The unresponsiveness crawled up her limbs slowly, but still made it difficult to keep going on. It must have been obvious at that point because the Captain came her aid. Not having the books in arm gave her one less thing to worry about. Normally she would have been relieved however she was not in a normal state of mind. The pressure of his hand on her waist mildly confused her. Her surroundings were beginning to become hazy and Dante’s words felt far away.

“Come on, put your arm around me.”

Oh, that was what was on her midsection. He was holding her and wanted her to do the same. Her arm was deadweight. This made it extraordinarily arduous to get it up to the lanky Tiefling’s side. When she had competed the task Rhea found she could do little more than hold her arm there. The numbness rendered her hand useless in gripping.

Again she could tell he was speaking, but only bits would make it through to her. “…hold onto…” The force on her waist grew some, standing was less challenging for a moment. “… Just hold…. Get you fixed… hear me?” Turning her head upward, all she could make out was a blue and gold silhouette. Any facial expressions were currently lost on her.

Something hard pressed into her tummy. It held her attention only as long as she was on her own two feet. The floating sensation let her know he was carrying her. The Pyrenian was sure she could not feel more burdensome then sure currently did. She would probably hear about it later.

Exhaustion won the day and she quit worrying about everything. Letting her head fall to the side, it rested comfortably on Dante’s shoulder. Hardly aware of this, Rhea nestled her cheek into the soft material of his jacket. Finally her eyes closed. In the dark the last thought she had was how soothing his scent was.

On the ship Tera was waiting for them. A look of unease on her face, she had gotten the Captain’s vague message that something was wrong, but she had not been expecting him to be carrying Rhea back onboard. “What happened?” The anthro was worried it might have to do with Delia’s translation.

The woman followed the Tiefling into the inner parts of the ship. As they went along, he explained what had happened. Neither one had any idea what triggered Rhea’s condition. The twins happened upon the trio as they made headway to the older Pyrenian’s room. They were quickly shooed away. For the time being her condition seemed stable. She appeared to be sleeping, but they could not be sure and if something were to change and the last thing they needed was to alarm the girls.

The light flickered on when they made it to Rhea’s quarters. The illumination revealed a lived in room. Nothing was exceptionally messy except her workspace. Papers lay askew across the desk, some tucked into an open book. Others were adhered to the wall adjacent to the table. Everything else was clean but not pristine. That was, except for the bed. It looked untouched. She had of course used it, but in fits of both frustration and concede she had fixed it to be flawless before moving on. These were times when she found little sleep, or none at all.

Once the rose skinned woman had been placed in her bed, she would stay there unconscious for a great length of time. When she awoke, she was disoriented. She wondered just how long she had been asleep. A new tired feeling set in; it was the sluggishness of oversleeping.

Not remembering how she had gotten back to the ship, Rhea sat up and looked about to see a blurry room. Bringing her hand up to her face, someone had removed her glasses. Groping round, she recovered them from the nightstand. As she had though, she was in her room. An empty chair sat beside her bed.

Taking some time to go over the events leading up to her being here, Rhea remembered it bit by bit. Her embarrassment mounted with each detail that returned to her. Had she really collapsed from exhaustion on the Captain? Yes, yes she had.

As she lied mortified, the door shifted open. Jax’s hulking figure graced her doorway. He shoveled a small handful of baked goods into his mouth. When he saw her, a childish grin ran across his face. He finished chewing before exclaiming, “Miss Rhea! You woke up.”

Smiling back, the woman nodded. Although her face was still discolored from the humiliating thought of what she had done, her countenance mirrored the giant man’s. Something about the big oaf’s happiness was contagious.

“Gotta tell Cappy.” He seemed proud that he would be the one to relay the information.

Rhea felt dread. She had a suspicion that Dante would not be pleased when he found out all that trouble had come from her not being able to sleep properly. The Pyrenian was going to have to do something about her stress induced insomnia before this happened again.

Jax had not been gone more than two minutes before the girls came barreling into the room. The energy they had seemed to bottle up when they made it through the door, they were trying to be considerate of an ill person.

Giving the two a reassuring smile, the older Pyrenian spoke softly. “You don’t have to be too careful. I am doing much better now.” She wondered if they would use their worry about her health as an excuse to push off their homework for another day or two.
WI_     6y ago

[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat It was a moment of concern and tribulation that she lost conscience. Though it made her condition harder to read and manage his expectations of her health, yet it kept her still and quiet against him and negated any fear she may squirm from his hold. Thankfully Tera met him at the end of the boarding ramp, following close by to him as he shook his head at her question. She didn't need to know the true cause and he made his way through the ship for Rhea's room, growling out for the twins to return to their quarters when they had drifted into the corridor.

Into her room neither of the duo made comment on the overall state. The bed was neatly made and in stark comparison to the chaos atop her desk, something he may come to comment on at a later date. For now however he held the sleeping Pyrenian securely to him whilst Tera pulled back on the covers. Laying her down gently, hands slipping from beneath her figure and grasping at the tomes she had been presented, he barked out an order.
[b "Fetch me the medical sc-"] The anthro had preempted his command based upon his earlier message and a small handheld implement was passed to him in a trade for the books which were hastily stacked over on the desk.[b "Thank you. Now go and retrieve Jax and the twins and wait for me on the bridge."] That familiar cold tinge to his voice, similar to how he had spoken to her after her juvenile moment with Rhea days before. There is a moment where she considers ignoring him, gaze fixated upon the dozing rose coloured being in the bed. But she relents and backs out slowly.

---

The next two days were spent in serene monitoring of the Pyrenian. Dante had spoken to them all as a group and informed them it was merely a reaction to the food, something Delia had made note to him of only too late. His scan had been positive and a few days respite would see her awaken without any long lasting effects. They had visibly relaxed once this had been divulged. To preoccupy their minds he had Tera course them a path away from the station to a nearby barren moon and to maintain an orbit in it's shadow. Jax had been given care of the twins and had delighted in childish games of imagination and jovial goodwill. The twins had been most pleased to not have any further homework, their Pyrenian tutor rather taxing on them.

Dante had not slept since returning and spent his time waiting at the bedside of the woman. Her glasses had been removed in the first night, the covers drawn over her sleeping figure. Tera had made a nuisance of herself constantly checking in on not only her ill crew mate but on the Tiefling too. A natural worrier over the smallest of things, she had become rather matronly in her duties. A small tray of food and drink had been brought for him yet he had gone without despite her hushed threats of violence.

So came the second day and only with the interjection of Jax had he been [i 'convinced'] to leave the room to relieve his bladder, wash and change his clothing, his tablet left upon the ground by his seat. The anthro had accompanied him to his quarters and sat on the edge of the bed whilst he had gone about his cleansing. He was sluggish as he stepped through the door and made no comment to her despite his relative lack of clothing, only in his underwear for the moment.
[+red "Hm, so this is how I get you out those clothes? If only I'd known sooner."] Her attempt at a joke was as usual met with silence, though it seemed both were in solemn mood as he took a seat beside her. His head dipped into his hands, brushing across the horned protrusions and sweeping back snow white hair.[+red "She'll be fine Dante."] She took a hold of his hand and nestled it between both of hers. Golden eyes smoldered and stared straight ahead. The ears of the female flopped down.[+red "What did Delia say?"]
[b "She confirmed what Rhea had theorised."] The response is immediate but his voice is crackling and broken, rasping.
[+red "The Termani really did kill off the Pyrenians?"] The look of surprise at confirmation is rather akin to his own reaction days before. He nods in response and his head drops minutely. She leans across, resting her head on his shoulder and again he made little to no reaction at her close proximity.[+red "What will you do now?"]
[b "I don't know Tera!"] He growls and tenses beside her.[b "I don't want to believe that it is true and yet I cannot ignore this atrocity. But what will a single being do against a world, an empire like the Termani? I do not have the wealth to throw at the issue and if they have kept this secret from the rest of the galaxy then there is little chance of gathering enough evidence to take it to the Federation. And they would do nothing! They would likely impose sanctions and trade blockades than seek the heads of those responsible."] His fingers interlocked with her and she felt him tighten his grasp.

Seeing him in such a pent up state, her head turned toward him, she lifted away her other hand and cupped his rough cheek. Cooing softly to him she drew him into her and pressed a delicate kiss against his cheek. She continued to mutter calming phrases to him, [+red [i 'it's okay']],[+red [i 'shh, calm down']], whilst continuing to hold him close. Again she pressed against his cheek, a moment of contemplation before repeating it though this one brushed the edge of his lips. Drawing back fractionally their heads come to rest against one another and she can see the pain and suffering in his downward cast gaze. Her cooing, pained in seeing her Captain in such a condition, continues soothingly trying to sate his frustration. Yet it is only in a moment that she allows her lips to graze over his in the most fleeting of seconds. Without denial, with him remaining still against her, she takes it as an encouraging sign and her mind compels her to press forward with a more defined embrace, a hunger to her kiss that he matches and her eyes flutter.

Perhaps fittingly for the situation there is a growing thunder of stomps from the corridor outside and Dante draws away, standing up in anticipation of the lumbering lummox that is Jax who on cue knocks and steps in the moment the door slides open. Ignoring the state of undress of the Captain he is rather giddy.
[+gold "Cappy! Cappy! Pink woman is awake! Jax see pink woman wake up and Jax come tell Cappy!"] His brutish hands smack together joyfully and he dances from one foot to the other. The Tiefling dresses in a hurry pulling on whatever pants and shirt are to hand. Pushing by the dancing man he makes haste down the corridor.

He arrived not too long after the twins, panting faintly as he looked down to them then across to Rhea who had sat up and retrieved her glasses. There is still worry dancing in his gaze, something she may perceive, though it is gone as he looks down at the girls.
[b "I told you she would be fine didn't I?"] They nodded meekly, holding hands as ever and he stepped inside whilst turning his back to Rhea.[b "Please wait outside for just a minute girls. I need to have a small talk with Rhea and check she is all better first, okay?"] The reaction was off. Usually he commanded them to do what he said and though they may complain they would obey. Yet here he was rather close to pleading with them. They could sense his urgency for them to leave and without a word they walked out, the door closing behind them before he tapped at the pad and locked it shut.

Turning back to the woman in her bed he steps over to the chair that had been his home the last few days. In silence he reaches beyond her for the nightstand, taking up the medical scanner that had seen more use than ever before. Attaching a suction pad to the back of her hand he gently lifted it and with a soft touch places a finger over a blinking red light. Watching the results that continually update they sit in relative silence for a few minutes. Yet he is the one to speak first, licking dry lips tentatively.
[b "I cannot apologise enough for taking you to meet Delia."] Dante is quiet, contemplative. Like he had been the day before they had arrived when he spoke to her on the bridge. Before she can query why he would be sorry he is already clarifying himself.[b "The reason you passed out is that she had placed a concoction of drugs into the food when she realised whom you were. I had kept a scanner open on my tablet to ensure no-one was listening in on us, yet it picked up on her making a transmission when she had gone out to retrieve the food."]

He lowers the scanner for a moment so that he may turn and retrieve his tablet from the floor, lifting it up into her lap and in a few swift taps shows her the log. A flick of the wrist brings up a scrolling text that shows everything said in the call.
[b "She had called the Termani, intent on claiming the reward money for herself I believe. They offered her an additional one hundred thousand if she kept you alive, thus why she only rendered you unconscious."] He lets her read through the entire transcript, his hand still holding hers though he lowers it onto the bed and removes the medical scanner.[b "That is why I cannot apologise enough for taking you to her. Despite what she knew, what you told her and educated both of us about the Termani, she let her lust for wealth cloud any judgement."] He brushed his hand up through his hair, still damp from the shower, and it slicked back.[b "I informed the rest of the crew that it was simply an allergic reaction to the food so as not to stoke their concerns nor call into doubt my judgement. In the end it is all I have that keeps this ship in tact."] His gaze lifts from staring down and those shining eyes catch hers, gazing through her glasses.[b "Miss Rhea, I hope you can forgive me for my lack of judgement. I had thought she was someone of integrity. That she could be trusted. I counted her as a friend. And I feel such a deluded fool for being conned at your expense."] His voice dropped an octave at the last sentence and he took a deep calming breath to retain his resolve.
LoxiRhea   6y ago

Surprised at just how quickly Dante had made it to the room, Rhea took notice of the concerned expression that flashed across his features. She also saw the subtle heaving of his chest. He was visibly disheveled. It was the first time she had ever seen him in such a state. Normally he was a bit of a dandy, looking en pointe. The girls were not fazed by this whatsoever. They only listened to his reassuring comment. To Rhea it sounded like he hadn’t been sure of the words himself till that moment. As if he was also trying to convince himself that she was going to be fine. Her conscience ran rampant and she was filled with guilt. This could have been avoided if only she had warned them that this was liable to happen.

The Captain took an unfamiliar tone as he requested, not demanded, that the younglings leave the room. It put Rhea on edge. The girls stayed quiet as they left and he locked the door behind them. The Pyrenian shifted in her bed, antsy. The silence was maddening as he took the seat by her side and proceeded to hook her to the scanner. Dante touched her as if she were made of glass. She scrutinized his every move. Something was not right.

When she was about to tell him that this wasn’t really necessary and confess to her folly, he beat her to the punch. The apology takes her back. The residual grogginess must have been completely muddling her brain up. Why would he be pleading for forgiveness? There was no time to question before he explained what had happened. The news was shocking. She could scarce believe it. Had he not backed it up with the transcription, she might not have believed him. It turned out Delia was too good to be true.

The man before her was perceptibly shaken by the events. How he held onto her and spoke to her both attested to it. Rhea understood it to some extent. The betrayal dazed her as well, although not in the same way it did with Dante. Greed was an ugly thing, but it seemed to be one of the leading causes of action in the universe. To put it plainly it got things done.

Rhea did not find her voice; she could only listen to the Tiefling as he repeatedly apologized to her. Her eyes followed his other hand reach up to touch his hair. By now she knew this as one of his many ticks. This time the hoary tufts of his stayed in place, pushed back against his scalp.

He went on to give the cover story he had fed to the others aboard the ship. It put her off to know she would have to deceive them as well to keep this farce up. The pink woman wanted to speak out against it, but the man before her looked to be on the brink of breaking. It would not be her place to undermine him with the condition they were in. Their eyes met through her wide brimmed spectacles and her core felt as though it faltered in her chest when she heard his voice drop. She wanted to be able to fix him. If it were not for her, a stowaway he had met by chance merely weeks ago, his life would still be the same as it ever was. Safe with his crew and connected to his friend.

When she managed to speak, she wasn’t entirely sure what to say. It caused her to ramble some. “I… I had really thought it was my fault.” In a way she wished that that had been the case. Her gaze dropped from his, down to their hands. Even though his had been on hers for so long it still felt cool. His light, dry touch kept her grounded, reminding her that this was really happening.

Her voice was timid. “I do not blame you, you only had the best interest of your crew in mind. But it helps you consider yourself already forgiven.” There was no way she could fault him for any of this, but the terror started to sneak into her again. A tremble ran through her. The Termani knew whom she was with. It was much more difficult to hide an entire merchant ship and crew than a single person. The Enduring Odyssey would come under fire and it was no longer just her life at stake. Dante no longer had a choice. Delia had set him against the Termani nation. The only way to fix that was to finish it as soon as possible. Seeing as she was too much of a coward to come forward and sacrifice herself in order to save everyone else, she needed to move and get to the bottom of this.

Taking her shaking hand back, Rhea used her arms to turn herself. Her legs dangled over the side of the bed. She then took the liberty of kicking off the boots she hated so much. The cloak went with them. When she stood, she stumbled. The full function of her legs had not completely come back, something she had not taken notice of while bedridden. Using the nightstand to stable herself Dante looked as though he was about to jump out of his seat.

“What do you think you are doing?” His voice was still lower than normal. She had not looked at him in the face to see if his eyes held any of the relief she hoped they would.

The Pyrenian moved from the table to the back of the Tiefling’s chair. Now that she was expecting the numbness it was less challenging. She was confident she would make it to the desk on her own. That was if he didn’t stop her first. With that thought, she felt his hand wrap around her upper arm. Her four red eyes met his at the same level. They demanded an answer from her.

“I am inadequate.” While they got her point across, the words were awkward and didn’t quite portray what she was trying to say. “I mean there isn’t a lot I can do. I don’t have a lot of skills; I can’t even sleep right. To top it all off, I am clumsy and naive.” She was painfully aware of many of her faults. Recently they had come out more than usual. “Right now this,” she motioned to her desk, “is all I can do to help you.” Perhaps this was only an illusion of grandeur; maybe there was absolutely nothing that she could do. But if Rhea didn’t try she would regret it for the rest of her life. And that was something she could not bear however short that time might be.

Speaking out so fervently left her astonished with herself and incredibly embarrassed. It was starting to happen more and more. Something about seeing him so dejected had pulled it out of her this time. How badly she wanted to crawl back into bed and cover her head until he went away.
WI_     6y ago

[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat She accepted his apology with such ease it left him incredulous to her words. She is rotating out of the bed before he can fathom a meaning behind her words. Perhaps she felt forced to forgive him in return for having taken her away from certain capture? Or that she was silently brooding on a true response whilst luring him into a false sense of comfort? He was not a particularly intelligent man when trying to solve the riddle that were women.

It had been many years since he had lain with anyone and the memory of their quirks and small personal qualities was not sufficient knowledge on how this beautiful yet oft bewildering gender functioned. If she was simple palming him a sweet nothing response, he had to simply take it and move on. Usually he would not have given it a second thought yet his mind was in tatters over every action and syllable coming from the petite stowaway. The deception he felt at Delia's hands was deeply felt and he felt mistrusting of everything she did, even down to her removing cloak and boots. Though he knew being cautious to this innocent woman was pathetic, a desire to not be wrong could take a person deep down the wrong rabbit hole.

Dante had not felt it appropriate to remove any articles of her clothing as she had slumbered. There was the initial concern of simply having to touch another body; an aspect of his personality he had come to loathe. To feel another's touch left him in shivers and he could only imagine how she would have felt knowing his hands had caressed along her figure.

Next was the inappropriate nature of the task. Undressing someone of the opposite sex was something left to loved ones and the closest of friends. Not a irate self-loathing Tiefling stranger. He had kept all movements down to her one hand, constantly testing and retesting her with the scanner, and even then he felt like he had violated her personal space. He felt sleazy.

And finally, what if she had awoken part-way through and assumed he was about to have his way with her? Or had his hand grazed across an intimate area, come across private markings or any other unknown element. It would be mortifying to the man, his ego more important than her state of being it seemed.
[b "What do you think you are doing?"] The words spurt forth without him really considering them, drawn from his trance of internal monologue as she pulled herself upright next to him. She dodges the question and moves behind his seat but he pushes up and takes a firm hold of her arm. He reasons to himself that it is to help her retain her balance, but it is to assert dominance and demand a reply.

[+red "I am inadequate."]

It is so final. It is a matter of fact. There can be no argument in her voice and she talks to him like he has to accept it of her and agree. But a pang of disagreement grasps at his chest, drawing him short of breath, body tensing though his hand remains relatively loose on her arm.[+red "Right now this, is all I can do to help you."] His gaze drifts across to the desk at her motioning and he stares blankly at it, a deft drop of his brow in confusion. There is a few long seconds of silence before he steps around the chair to stand before her and he looks over her in inspection. His fingers slither away from her arm and she supports herself with the help of the chair.
[b "You are part of my crew. Is that not so?"] The tone is more controlled this time and it holds steady. She gives a nod in agreement.[b "Then you will return to your bed until deemed healthy enough to return to your duties."] His greater height aids him in stating his order, though she surprises him with a look of defiance in return. She stares up at him and her soft features rotate from side to side.
[+green "I must help Captain Dante. I will not sit around and feel.. feel useless! I am the reason that you and Tera and Jax and the twins are in danger now and I cannot sit by idle. Not anymore!"] The intensity of her words and the trembling of her figure due to the manner in which she speaks shocks them both. It is almost as if she has watched a playback of her words and notes how out of character it is for her. She keeps her eyes focused on his however, hand clenched by her side.
[b "I will not repeat myself Rhea."] He says in a cold and unnerving voice, stepping toward her and pushing aside the chair which grates against the floor. Taking a hold of her arm his other hovers at her back and he forcefully guides her back to the bed. Though she struggles at first, pulling away from him, her generally weakened state plays against her and he eases her to sit down on the edge.

Her chin drops to her chest, staring down at her folded hands in her lap and he can only feel a small amount of pity for her. The whole situation feels foreign to him. There is no logical means to progress in this narrative yet he feels it is his duty to say something, to ease her mind and be the leader he claims to be. If he cannot assist his crew then he is merely an authoritarian. That thought alone brings him to crouch down before her, her bed low enough that he is still at eye level with her regardless. His hands stretch out and press down either side of her, mimicking the gesture in the bridge days before. His tongue darts out to lick at dry lips before speaking.
[b "How will you help me if you remain weak and tired? How can you help me if you never start off at a hundred percent? What use is a crew member who can only work to half her capability because she refuses to rest?"] Looking at her as he talks there is a sparkle of genuine concern somewhere in his golden gaze.[b "You are this ships translator, my linguist, my-"] He falters, as if catching himself from saying something.[b "You are the tutor to the twins and have endeared yourself to this crew in such a short time. Yet you sit here and tell me you are clumsy and naive. That you have few skills. Listen closely Rhea when I say no-one on this ship started off perfectly. Myself included. Jax did not know how to open a panel without using his fist and Tera almost steered the ship into the same sun no less than three times in her first week."] He had a tone of incredulousness which brought a faint smile from the woman.[b "And they went through exactly what you're thinking right now. [i What is the point? I am not useful. I can not do this.'] But they saw I was understanding. That I take my time with my crew to become accustomed. Because to continually replace members is more costly and destructive to overall efficiently than giving you time to show how useful you can be, of which I have no doubt you will excel."] He looked away at the door, checking it was still shut and locked and taking a slow breath in.

[b "Everyone out there, this ship, myself,"] a hand is placed atop both of hers,[b "you,"] he is looking back into her larger red eyes,[b "we are entwined in the same fate now. I have had nothing but time to think it over and there is no other option. Knowing what I do now about the Termani and considering the twins past, I cannot in good conscience let you take them on alone."] Reaching around her being, chest brushing against her legs, he draws back the covers more and fixes the pillows in an upright fashion. Wrapping an arm around her legs he lifts them up and into the bed, pulling the covers back over her lower half as her back comes to rest against the pillow.

Using the bed to ease himself upright again he strolls across to the desk, brushing his hands over her tomes Delia had handed them and looking at their titles. He had no knowledge at all on their value or which were of more use from one to the next. Therefore he swept up the pile and carried them across to her bed, placing them onto the nightstand.
[b "I know if I leave you will only get out to retrieve them, as everyone on this ship seems to revel in disobeying me, so here they are."] He fixed them into a neat stack.[b "I will have the twins fetch you some food and drink, hopefully they will have learned from your teachings and bring you something you will enjoy. Though I will attempt to keep the entire crew busy it is perhaps inevitable they will come in to converse with you at some stage."] Back across to the chair he lifts it up and replaces it before her desk.[b "Take time to relax and rest Rhea. Now I know that you feel you are not being productive I will think through some more chores and jobs for you to do."] There is a deft curve to his lips as if he has made a joke, stood at the end to her bed and hands clasped behind his back.

Watching her for a few seconds more he turns away to the door, tapping at the keypad and having two small Pyrenian's fall in against him though they scramble back embarrassed. They are immediately sent off to fetch their tutor her food and drink, conversing amongst themselves candidly. As he leaves he sees Tera walking in the opposite direction and there is a moment of silent acknowledgement between the two. There will be a time where they must talk of the incident earlier, but now is not it. Instead he heads for the bridge.
LoxiRhea   6y ago

The azure man stood before her after a short stillness. Rhea watched as his eyes ran over her. They were golden windows into his mind. He was not contented with what she had explained. That in itself told her he didn’t really grasp what she had meant by it all. It didn’t bother her. One day he might understand it, but for now she would hear his rebuttal.

It began with a display of dominance, stating facts and using them to his advantage. She was mildly annoyed that he left out the bit where she was only a part of the crew so she could be watched more carefully. When he ordered her back to her bed, she thought it must be his guilty conscience that gave him such great concern for her health. The Pyrenian was not about to let his pity stop her.

Deliberately she shook her head, eyes held fierce to his. “I must help, Captain Dante.” She put an emphasis on his title. If he was going to hold it over her, she would do the same. “I will not sit here and feel… feel useless!” Too much of her life had been spent doing just that when she could have been productive. Now was a dire hour, there was no time for hesitation or to worry over trivial things. “I am the reason that you and Tera and Jax and the twins are in danger now and I cannot sit idle.” Their lives had become too precious to her. Bonds between people were fickle things. They were created and destroyed in an instant. “Not anymore!” The final two words were discreet but filled with a determination she had lacked for a long time. It caught her off guard, but she would keep her gaze locked with her captain’s. If only she could halt the trembling that tore through her, she might actually be taken seriously.

All of this was ineffective. “I will not repeat myself, Rhea.” The return of his sternness told her that there would be no arguing. The screech of the chairs legs across the floor aggravated her ears. The loss of the seat shook her balance, but Dante had ahold of her before anything could come of it. Regardless she held her feet in place. When that failed she attempted to push him away from her. Being unwaveringly obstinate was not in her nature; she gave up part way through. This allowed the man to take her gently back to her bedside. She sat there crestfallen. Her hands became very interesting as she was overwhelmed by her inability to do anything at all.

The pouting did not last long after he came down to her level. Her eyes met his through thick lashes. The pressure of his hands on the mattress shifted her even closer toward him. Oddly, she was becoming accustomed to his exceptionally near presence. Although, she could not help but wonder if he was like this with everyone. Rhea had yet to see it, then again no one else was consistently pressing his patience in the same way she was.

Again he brought logic to the forefront of the conversation, but a trace of sincere concern seeped through the front he put up. That small bit of emotion left her unable to fight him on the matter anymore. She would stay put, at least for a while longer, but he would go on passed this point. His words became noticeably possessive until he faltered. From then on he moved on to the others on his ship. When he added the bit about Tera her sulked lips turned to a smile. Knowing her, by the third time she was doing it on purpose.

“I have no doubt you will excel.” Dante’s words suggested he held unswerving faith in her. The red-eyed woman was not sure if it was well invested.

His eyes flickered back to the entryway. It was not till after this that his hand came to hers. He admitted their futures, whatever they may be and for many reasons, were now hitched to one another. The knowledge was bittersweet. Rhea would not have to go on alone, but the price to pay for mistakes was greater. Much greater.

Although his motions were unhurried, it seemed sudden when the Tiefling moved in closer to her. Behind her sitting form he prepped the bed for her to be contented. She wondered just how long he planned on confining her to it. Too long and it would be torturous. This particular piece of furniture was not her friend.

Gently he positioned her against the setting he had made. Rhea thought it odd that she, a grown woman, was being tucked into bed. He really was not letting her do anything herself. Once she got over that it was actually a somewhat enjoyable experience. She caught herself thinking it might be nice for him to stay close a while longer. A though she would keep to herself.

He left her side soon after that and went to her workspace. Rhea thought he might be confiscating her things so that she would not be tempted to leave her bed again. Instead he brought them to her, placing them within reach for her. His reasoning for this action was sound. The Pyrenian nodded. She would have eventually gotten up, although it would have taken a while before she worked up the nerve to do it. Especially if her crewmates did stop in to see her.

His last words were a mixture of advice and an attempt to lighten the mood. Rhea could not tell if he was entirely teasing when he said he would find her new things to do. The smirk on his face was mischievously attractive, but hard to read. She burst into restrained laughter. “Sorry,” she covered her face with one hand and held the other out as if to say she was not finished. “I just can’t imagine what you could be thinking with that look on your face.” When she settled some, she gave him one request. “Just don’t make me cook anything, alright?”

After this encounter, Rhea felt closer to Dante than she had felt with another person in a very long time. There was a strong sense of solace in it, a sense of trust. Looking back it had been growing for a while, but it wasn’t until now that it hit her. The Pyrenian took a while to just look over him, as he did the same to her. The residual smile lingered.

With how nosy those children were, Rhea was not surprised when they nearly came tumbling into Dante on route to leave. He made quick work of sending them on their way to cater to their teacher. When they returned the older woman was going to have to look into their homework status.

The door slid open too soon for it be the girls. Instead Tera stood in the doorway. The light red Pyrenian wondered if there was a line outside waiting to see here. Would Jax be coming back next as soon as Tera left?

A smile flashed on the anthro’s face, “ya can’t get on this ship without causing a commotion can ya?”

She was not wrong. Rhea shrugged shyly. Maybe one day she could walk on without things going to hell. “It’s just a small food allergy. The Captain is completely over reacting.” For now she would have to push the idea that that was all that had happened. Although, she did believe that he had overreacted to some extent.

Tera came in to stand next to her friend. “Well, ya didn’t wake up for two days, so I think it is warranted.”

Rhea had been unaware that it had been quite that long, but it did help put things in perspective. “I guess.” Her eyes fell to her hands that he had touched so tenderly and she sighed. “But I better understand why you follow him so completely now.” He was not nearly as stone hearted as he had first led her to believe.

A conflicted look crossed Tera’s face for a second. Her counterpart did not look up in time to see it. They would chat until the twins returned from their mission. The busty woman took the opportunity to excuse herself. She feared too much commotion could be detrimental to their recovering linguist.

It was another two days before Captain Varias would allow her on her feet. She found it excessive. He kept his word and for the most part kept the others out of her room. While it helped her keep on task, it cut off her information to what was happening on the bridge. Both this and the confinement made her stir crazy. Once she official had permission to leave, Rhea spent a good chunk of time walking about the ship. The details of her room were seared into her brain, seeing different settings refreshed her even if they were similar. This newness would allow her to clear her mind and come back to the problem she had been pondering from new angles.

Pyreen had very few commodities. There was its people and its iron. Iron was not scarce; it was not worth the chance of being caught with the blood of a nation on your hands. So what did the old Pyrenian’s have that anyone could possible want? It must have been something that her people had valued or else they could have just taken it without killing everyone. Most sentient races document things that are highly treasured by their society. The only thing that she had consistently seen pictured was their senseless religion. They had literally been worshipping the bioluminescent rocks in their cave systems. While these crystals were a marvel, as no one had figured out exactly why they glow, they were not worth adulating. That was where her trail went cold.

Rhea gave the girls a break for once. Lightening their workload. They met regularly for lessons still, but instead of making them memorize or learn anything new when they disbanded. She asked them thought provoking questions that they could struggle with until the next time they met. They were the type of inquires that did not have a singular answer. Not only would it improve their critical thinking skills, it was helpful to Rhea as well. She would be able to analyze their thought processes and apply it to her own way of thinking.

Dante’s plan to simply keep the ship out of sight until things died down some was working well for its intended purpose. It would not work forever though. Eventually they would have to make port. The problem there seemed to lie with the Termani allegiances being so wide reaching. And with the bounty out, even those who were not fond of them would be on the lookout. Delia had not explicitly told the Termani with whom Rhea was traveling in her transmission, but to be safe they would have to assume she was later bribed into leaking that information as well.

It was confirmed when they made contact with another ship. The Captain had called the crew to the bridge. At last he had come up with a course of action that seemed safe enough for them to move from their current location. At least that was the only reason she could fathom he would call them.

Rhea took her seat at the head of communication. She had not bothered with the headset at that time, discerning she would not need it. As she had dismissed the equipment a light on her display began to blink. There was an incoming transmission. Hurriedly, she fit the piece on her head and played the recording. Her eyes widened and darted to Dante. “Captain, I am going to patch something through to you.”

Dexterously her fingers dragged across the display to include his earpiece. Dragging it back, she replayed the message for him. “Enduring Odyssey, this is the S.C. Immortal. You are in our sights. Relinquish the Pyrenian, Rhea, and no harm will come to your ship or crew.”
WI_     6y ago

[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Her leaving comment on not having her cook anything had dashed his hopes of them ever eating a well prepared meal. Tera was adequate with what she knew but to have a dedicated being who knew how to bring their taste buds alive or prepare a feast in celebration of something would have done wonders to morale at times.

The thought of a personal meal was not to be ignored either, the memories of so long ago rushing back. It dampened his spirits a touch, his smile had lost a touch of it's luster as he left her be. Heading back to his quarters he had enough common sense to drop a message to Tera and Jax that he would sleeping and they would be excused duties for the rest of the day.

---

Two days later the scans had come up fine for the fourth time and with a defeated look in his eye he had excused the Pyrenian from her bed, allowing her to regain her freedom to roam. It had been somewhat peaceful knowing where she was and he had stopped in once or twice on her tutoring of the twins. Not to spy on her and her curriculum, but rather to just listen to all three animated voices and know there was some joy to be had aboard his vessel.

Though Tera had quite obviously been keen for the two to speak and talk over any outstanding concerns, it was Dante who continuously fobbed her off with a story or lie that he was busy. There had been a few heated but hushed exchanges between the two that had hastily broken down into staring at one another in the hopes of intimidating the other.

Yet Dante held the luxury of being Captain, and time and again he would walk away from her and sequester himself from the others. There was a faint hope she would drop the subject entirely and focus elsewhere, but when hiding and sitting put it was inevitable she would want to air out the problems between them.

It was with sinister thanks that after a few days they were contacted by a passing ship and hailed to open communications with them. He had been sat alone on the bridge when it had occurred and had immediately sent a directive for everyone to join him at their stations immediately. It took a few minutes for them to arrive, his rather calm voice over the comm's simply not portraying the emergency he deemed this to be. A rudimentary scan of the opposing ship made it clear what was likely to happen.

Taking his seat he perched on the edge and his thoughts ran rampant as his hands busied themselves. It belied any calm indifference he was trying to give off. The incoming message stopped at Rhea's station and the twins had to stop themselves from rushing over, having been in control of that area for so long. When the older woman looked at him, a mixture of fear and shock obvious in her gaze, he stared back glumly.
[+green "Captain, I am going to patch something through to you."] Her hands moved swiftly and there was a faint admiration that she had taken to her controls with ease. It wasn't overly difficult but regardless he felt a touch of pride.

As the message replayed to him he continue to look across to her though he felt the eyes of everyone upon him. He listened in silence, watching the bespectacled woman intently as the message played over to him. Licking his dry lips to rid them of their tackiness he nodded slowly and sat back into his seat. His fingers tapped away at a console to his side and there was a faint cough from in front of him.
[+red "Cap? Whats going on?"] Tera's gaze flickered from the blue male to their linguist quickly.
[+gold "Something wrong Cappy?"] Jax was sat with his hands resting on his knees, looking around innocently. In return Dante held up a finger on his free hand and continued to type.
[+green "Captain, what should I do? They are repeating their message and demanding a response."] Rhea's voice held firm and he nodded as he finished on his console.
[b "Everyone will follow the orders I have sent to them without a word. Go about your duties and things will run smoothly."] On all their screens popped up a small message symbol in unison. Turning back they each read their own messages, the twins together, and as the more swift reader of the lot Tera turned to look at him. She looked doubtful but he only inclined his head for her to know he meant what was said. The twins quickly exited the room together, scurrying past Rhea without a word to her. Jax followed not long after, nodding vigourously at Dante and giving a thumbs up to further show he understood.

It was Rhea who took the longest to turn back to him and she looked rather shaken at what she had read.
[+green "You want me to invite them aboard? But.. but Dante that means-"] He held a hand up toward her to stem her.
[b "Are you saying you refuse to follow your orders Rhea?"] It was said so simply, so matter of fact. As if there was no concern for her. When she continued to stare at him, mouth slackened and partly agape, he pushed from his seat and strode confidently over to her. Pushing her back into her own seat and leaned across her to begin setting his own order in motion.[b "S.C. Immortal this is the Enduring Odyssey. We will agree to your demands under the stipulation no more than four guards come aboard and no rifles are to be brought aboard to ensure the safety of my crew. Do you agree to my terms?"] Looking across to Rhea, his hand still pressed just above her crystal embedded into her chest, he heard nothing for a few seconds.
[+blue [b "We will agree to your request. Coming in for boarding."]]

Turning off the link to the other ship he pulled away, standing upright before her. There was little expression to him though he could see the look of hurt in her eyes that he was giving her up at the first instance. She said nothing and he backed away, nodding to Tera for her to go about her work and taking a place with folded arms watching the doorway.

It was several minutes for the other ship to come down, take its place beside them and line up their airlocks, to step through and be directed by Jax on what direction to take. Dante could feel the four eyes of the Pyrenian burrowing into the back of his head as he waited and at length the door slid open. Stepping through first came three individuals in matching uniforms though in places they differed, such as the curve of the clothing or shape of the items attached to their belts. They wore full helmets made of an opaque black material that obscured any discernible traits about them.

Following in close behind was the unmistakable captain of their vessel, a Termani no less. He stepped inside with a scowl though upon seeing Rhea, his head swiveling around wildly in search for her, a sickening smile crossed his lips as a hand toyed at a pistol resting on his hip.
[+blue [b "Ah, there she is. Fits the description well. Though I had hardly thought she would be as beautiful as this."]] It is a pathetic attempt at flattery and if as an afterthought he comes to look upon Dante. Stepping past his three crew members he flicks a wrist toward the Pyrenian woman.[+blue [b "Go get our prize, now."]] The three beings seem flustered at the sudden demand and quickly stride forwards as the Termani male stops beside Dante, looking over to the bespectacled woman who's reaction was blocked from sight.[+blue [b "Many thanks for being so cooperative."]]
[b "You have my thanks also Sir."] There is a look of curiosity dancing about the other mans eyes at what he could be thanked for.[b "You let your greed become your own downfall."] The insult barely has time to register in the feeble mans mind before Dante has snatched a hand forward, withdrawn the mans pistol from it's holder and brought it with force across the others temple. He is unconscious before he touches the floor.

The sound of the man grunting from the hit and slumping to the floor drew the attention of the other beings who turned back. Two flashes of light darted across the room in an instant as Dante fired with the utmost precision and two of the other ships crew fell down immediately. The time to aim and fire had given the third the few seconds needed in such a moment to draw his own weapon, yet he fired rather wildly. Regardless Dante cried out and collapsed onto his knees, clutching at his side as he gritted his teeth tightly against the pain. The one who had shot him didn't last much longer however, Tera turning in her seat and in three shots had struck the beings leg, side and smashed the helmet with the third attempt.

[b "Jax! Do it now!"] Dante cried out into his headset and fell forward to lay on his good side, hands clasped about his side where blood was trickling through his fingers very slowly. Tera, fighting back her concern for the Captain, slapped her hand down hard against her terminal. With no ceremony the ship lurched forward. The other ship was decoupled rather easily and with a slow hum the warp drives began activating. There was nothing for a few seconds before the ship rumbled and shook violently. It pushed Tera back into her seat as the shock wave of an explosion rippled through them all. Everyone had been instructed to buckle in within their orders, all bar Rhea and Tera had enough time to shout for her to do so as the engines sprung to life.
[+red "Get strapped in Rhea!"] She shouted frantically to her, turning her seat more to look down at Dante who was curled up holding himself tightly. Looking up at the anthro he shook his head as she reached for her straps.
[b "Don't fucking dare! Get us out of here now. Follow your orders."] It was clearly said with discomfort yet anger gripped his heart. He would not have someone risk themselves being injured when he was already in such pain, especially when the pilot needed to be at her controls to keep the ship moving. And thankfully she saw his point, most likely in the fierce rage in golden eyes. When they were ready, they enter warp and escaped the S.C. Immortal.
LoxiRhea   6y ago

All four of her eyes stayed plastered to Dante as he listened to the transmission. The man said nothing as it replayed in his ear. All those on board began to question what was happening. She wondered what answer he would give, but when none came she had to question as well.

“Captain, what should I do? They are repeating their message and demanding a response.” It kept coming. For the moment they were not threatening to open fire, but it would not be long before they would.

When he spoke out, Dante’s words rang loud for all to hear. Within seconds the message containing her orders appeared on her screen. She sat in utter disbelief. Rhea could not look away from the words that commanded her to set in motion a plan that ended with her capture. What had it all been for? All the words of solidarity Dante had fed her and she had eaten up. She felt like a fool, and what was more she felt worse than that because after this direct betrayal she still wanted to put her faith in him.

Half of the crewmen exited the bridge, the half unaware to her being wanted. Once she heard the shuffling of footsteps no more, Rhea looked up from her screen. The captain’s eyes were on her, like he had been waiting for her.

Making attempts to steel herself, the effort only made it to her voice. “You want me to invite them aboard? But…” There was no fault in his countenance. He had not mistyped. “But Dante, that means...” She was unable to finish the sentence before cut her off with a gesture of his hand.

“Are you saying you won’t follow your orders, Rhea?” The Tiefling said it so coldly; it was as if he had no care in the world for what he was doing. Still, she wanted to listen to him, but she could not. If she tried to relay any sort of message her voice would give. It was likely there would be tears as well. Before she could compose herself to say anything in response he was coming toward her.

A leathery, cool hand, pinned her back to her chair. The thin man took control of her station with no resistance from the Pyrenian. The conditions were clearly relayed to the opposing ship. There was no emotion in his voice. In that moment, Rhea thought everything about Dante was arctic, from his voice to his touch. That was until she saw his eyes. It was all ice, except those shimmering pools. In them she could tell there was more beneath the surface than he was letting on. It calmed her. She took a deep breath of hesitant relief, but she was still hurt that he would not trust her to know what his true scheme was.

The S.C Immortal’s comply rang in her ear. Once they had confirmed, Dante disconnected and walked away. The three of them waited. It seemed like an eternity before the door opened to reveal the Immortal’s crewmen. The uniforms were not those that she could recognize, the captain however was Termani. His smile made her skin crawl and after his sleazy commendation Rhea visibly shivered. He was not the type of man she would want to be left alone with.

The trio of lackeys hardly made it to the Pyrenian before a loud crack was heard. By the time the following thud could be heard, Rhea’s eyes snapped to the pair of Captains. The shady man was blacked out on the floor. Two more fell within the second, but the third took aim. Once again her eyes were adhered to the cerulean Tiefling. As he fell to the floor, she stood from her seat.

Tera made quick work of the final man standing. When there was no one left, Dante barked his orders to the giant of a man at the other end of the ship. Rhea stumbled, but caught herself on the back of her chair. She seemed to be doing that a lot recently. As she stood straight everything came together in her head. Tera screamed from the helm for her to strap in, but all she could think of was the injured male in the middle of the room. The hyper jump would not be life threatening, but there was no way he would come out of it without some serious damage. With no more thought than that, she was running toward his fallen figure.

Thank goodness his sights were set on the pilot, because the Pyrenian probably would have turned around if he yelled at her like that. For the time being, she had no orders to be seated, just a friendly suggestion from Tera. When she made it to his side, he was not happy, but Rhea did not give him time to speak. Fitting herself under his arm, she tried to pull him up. She was not strong enough to do it all on her own though, “Move!” Surprisingly he went along with it.

Her chair was the closest option, so the rose colored woman lead him towards that. Dante was hesitant, but went with her. If he didn’t, they were both going to be in a world of pain. At the communications desk, she pretty much pushed him into the seat. Hopefully he was able to buckle himself, because she did not have time. She turned on her heel and broke off in a dead sprint to the back wall. There was barely enough time for her to brace herself there before they made the jump.

The great force of acceleration held Rhea to the wall. The bodies on the ground rag dolled and hit it as well. Luckily nowhere near her. Incredibly nervous, the Pyrenian waited for the right time to initiate her idea. She was about to do something she promised herself she never would. When the accelerations influence lessened, she began to run again, but to the other side of the bridge. As she went, the direction of the change in velocity began to switch. With it she gained speed. She hit the opposite wall hard, she would definitely be sore, but it was not hard enough to really hurt her. All the force that had been pressing everything to the back now flew it to the front as the ship returned back to regular speed.

All the left over adrenaline caused Rhea to tremble fiercely. Her knees wobbled as she made her way back to her seat where Dante was. Tera joined her. “I have heard of Hyper running, but I ain’t ever seen anybody dumb enough to do it.” The comment way made with a smile and a slap on the back. The anthro seemed elated that everyone came out relatively unscathed.

Nearly toppling forward, the Pyrenian had to fix her glasses. “Yeah, I spent a lot of time with this one stupid crazy friend back before I went to college. She would do anything just to say she had.” Her voice was flat; Rhea remembered being horrified when she had to watch her hyper run. It was something that she had never ever wanted to do, but desperate times called for desperate measures.

For the first time in a while, Rhea laid eyes on Dante. He still did not look pleased. She wondered if it was for the stunt, or the fact that he was in pain. Tera moved in to try and administer first aid. The ship did not have a proper medic, but at least they had a couple of people who knew what to do in emergency situations. She wanted to ask if he was going to be okay. She also wanted to apologize, because one again this all stemmed from her being here. But none of these things would be helpful, so she stayed quiet.

The nagging sense that the girls might return to the bridge ate at the older Pyrenian. She made herself scarce and went to guard the door so she could turn away the twins if they did come. The pair did not need to see Dante in this state. If they grew insistent she could threaten them with homework. That usually got them out of her hair.

Separating herself from the situation also allowed Rhea to come down from the high she had received. It cleared her mind so that she could think. It was official. The universe knew where she was and this ship was not made for daring escapes. They had completely lucked out this time. Someone who could help came to mind, but she wondered if it would be worth the risk. They hadn’t been on good terms the last time they parted. Sitting cross-legged in front of the door she weighted the pros and cons. Things would likely be fine, but in the end it would not be her choice. She would have to tell the Captain. At the time being he was in the best of condition. The woman opted to wait to bring up her contact till things calmed down a bit. The stress of a big choice right now was not what he needed.
WI_     6y ago

[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Pain sears through his abdomen better than a branding iron and his mind conceded to the torment, unable to bring a thought to completion. Without meaning to the males body curls into something fetal. The pain was increasing in waves, the small lulls giving false hope of an end. Each peak robbed him of his ability to speak and all he can muster is the occasional gasp of air.

When Rhea flashed into his view he had reached out to grasp at her arm, holding it like a vice as his teeth ground against one another. Though internally he begged for her to leave him be, to find safety in her seat and take the thought of injury coming to his crew out of his mind. However all he could muster was a scowl of discontent as she drew his arm around her svelte figure.

Feeling her tug uselessly on him he knew his concerns were well founded. He was far too heavy for her to heave up and over to a seat. However she took on a familiar look of authority; perhaps something she had picked up from watching him. Screaming an order for him to move his legs slid forward and did as he was ordered, pushing upright until he was stood at her side though still hunched over. Her diminutive height didn't help matters and he was bent over just to keep level with her. He had been hesitant to move but again she found the strength to pull him along to her own seat, depositing him with a grunt of effort from both of them.

She was gone in a flash, leaving him be to grasp onto a strap and wrap it several times around his hand not clamped over the wound. It would have to do as he judged the sound of the engine and, after years of listening to it, he knew when it was ready to jump. Tera wasted no time in taking them to warp and in no time at all he felt his body thrown forward as they came back out. It had been half a minute, no more, yet for Dante it was a second or two at most.

It was only a few seconds longer before the deep muffled voices of Tera and Rhea hummed in his ears and he looked up to see the duo towering above him. Death was written across his slight features. Not in the physical sense, it was not a deadly shot and likely it had only cut through flesh and fat and muscle, no organ, it was all purely metaphorical. The feeling of the warm blood still dripping through his fingers focused his mind and his hand unraveled from the strap. He rotated onto his side and with a gentle hand Tera began to address the wound. Pulling his hand away she clicked her tongue across the roof of her mouth and grasped at his shirt, pushing it up and away to clear her view and assess it more.

For the next ten minutes there were occasional groans and hissing and a plethora of curses directed to Tera, though she knew to not take it as personal. The plasma burn wasn't too severe but with a few days of careful management would see him begin to mend.
[+red "It'll scar nicely Cap but otherwise just keep changing the patch every twelve hours and you'll be fine."] She was rather formal in how she talked with him, tying off a thin strip of cloth that was much more for show than any use. Without a dedicated medic or a medical station, having to rely on the crew around them was all they could hope for. And so the solutions and remedies to injuries were just as basic and simplified.
[b "Thank you."] A hand extended out to her, taking a hold of hand gingerly and squeezing ever so slightly to show his truly appreciative nature.[b "Check in on the twins for me and have Jax come up to the bridge to remove the bodies. We'll have to move off in a few hours but for now just make sure everyone is okay."] The anthro female gave him a soft smile and nodded, stepping over to Rhea and slid around her. Not a simple task for the ample woman.

Left alone with the Pyrenian woman once more he swiveled in his seat to face toward her. One hand, having been cleaned off by Tera, rested at his side just above his hip and grazing along the patch placed over his wound. The other extended out to her and with a gentle roll of his eyes he beckoned her toward him to show he wanted her to come closer. When the rose coloured female finally grasped his intent she came to his side and he let his hand drop to his thigh.

[b "First of all, I wish to inform you that insubordination on my ship is not tolerated. You have your orders and you follow them out. Whether I tell you to eject yourself from the air lock or to strip down to your undergarments, I expect my orders to be carried out."] He drew in a deep breath, eyes fluttering as a wave of pain overcame him for a moment, but he refocused on her quickly.[b "Second, you should have remained in your seat and done as Tera told you. To risk injuring yourself is beyond foolish. I am the Captain, I can take care of myself."] Their eyes met and as ever there was little but ferocity in his golden iris.[b "Lastly, a hyper run is not only idiotic but entirely dangerous to attempt, you are lucky to have survived unscathed."] A quick and sharp comment, spoken at a higher pitch as his hand pressed down hard on the wound. He was attempting to numb the area but it would take time.

[b "However,"] his hand reached up once more but this time grasped her hand, his thumb running across the backs of her fingers,[b "although you went against my orders and you risked yourself to assist me and then risked injuring yourself in performing a hyper run.. I am indebted to you Rhea. As I said to you days ago, I knew you would excel. Perhaps this is not how you expected to show it,"] a gentle laugh as he nodded over to the bodies strewn about,[b "but I knew if it came to it you would show your usefulness."] His thumb had continued to brush against her fingers as he simply looked up at her.

There is a part of him not wishing to let go of her whilst another louder voice tells him the negative outcomes that may happen should he not release her. Jax would be along shortly to retrieve the bodies, to remove anything of use or value and expel them into space. And then there was the conundrum that the unconscious Termani posed him. Yet in that moment, there is simply her hand in his and the silence of the bridge.
LoxiRhea   6y ago

Having been lost in though, Rhea did not notice when the pilot neared to leave the area. It wasn’t till she placed a hand on her shoulder to brush past, that she came to. “Sorry,” she spoke as she quickly stood and took a step back. By that time Tera had already made it passed. The anthro smiled at her in response, but did not speak. Rhea wondered what she was off to do. Her eyes trailed over to the Captain. He must be all right if she was leaving him now.

Her red eyes lingered on his sitting form. She was still peeved he hadn’t kept her informed. This all could have gone so much better if she didn’t have to be surprised by it. There was the hint of a scowl on her face when he beckoned for her. Rhea really did not feel like obliging him at the time. Sighing she strode over to him, ready for whatever it was he needed of her. At first she was thrown off by his sitting. Seldom, if ever, did she have to look down to meet his gaze.

As expected there was a lecture waiting for her. Her line of sight stayed on the ground until his comment about her stripping. At that her eyes snapped up, just in time to catch him wincing in pain. The intensity her expression held faltered at that. There was no way she could continue to be angry with him in his condition. Taking in a deep breath, she released it slowly and with it went most of her irritation. She listened carefully to what he said. Although she did not agree with everything, she nodded letting him know she was hearing what he had to say.

Rhea winced as she watched Dante’s hand dig into his side. Her first instinct was to grab it and stop him from exasperating it further. Tensing she managed to keep her hands to herself, but he did not. Her eyes dropped for a moment at the feeling of his leathery digit on hers. When she looked back to his face, it had softened some. The level of praise she was receiving was too much, she thought.

His placid laugh rang in her ears as she also looked around at the carnage. A place that she had previously felt safe was blood splattered and littered with unconscious bodies. He was correct, this was not how she expected to show him she was capable. This was not anything she had expected at all. Nor was it something she wanted to have to have to show her use in again.

The Pyrenian tried to gather all the things she wanted to say. Often times she had difficulties with this task when her words were important. Her voice was quiet when she put together what she would say. “You don’t owe me anything.” The notion that he was indebted to her for anything was not something she could comprehend. It was her own selfishness of not wanting to see him in any more agony than he already was going to be. In hindsight it was also best for the ship. Without their Captain the ship would undoubtedly descend into chaos, but this hadn’t crossed her mind when she ran to help. She just wanted him to be safe. “I just did what I knew I would regret less.”

There was a moment absent of sound. In it, she took in the cool constant impression of his touch. She would soon be the one to break the silence again. “I wish…” Rhea was unsure she even had a right to voice her insecurity. Her hand pulled away from his for a second, pausing briefly, then tightly grasped it again. “I just wish you trusted me.” Her expression was pained, but in a different way than his. “I understand, I struggle following blindly after you, even if I can feel deep inside myself that you will do what is best for me.“ Feeling vulnerable, she was not sure how much more she would say on the matter. “Any bit of insight as to what you are thinking in times like this, please just give me something to hold steady to until I learn to rely on you fully.” She was unsure if it was too much to ask of him, but she hoped he could assuage her, even if it was only for a short while.

With that out on the table, she stopped. Rhea would wait for another time to try and tell him about the possibility of a safe space for the crew to regroup. There was a lot to get done with the state of the bridge being what it was. Once it was all taken care of and he got the chance to rest she would let him know.

As the sound of the door moving on its tracks could be heard, their hands disconnected. The faint cool remained on her smooth skin. Jax probably would not have noticed the motion and if he had, it was unlikely he would think anything of it.

The lumbering man got straight to work. With his strength he was able to take them all into his arms and upon his shoulders at once. Rhea uncomfortably watched as the Termani Captain shifted some in his captor’s arms. Even though she knew he posed her no threat in his current position, he still unnerved her. Her tail twitched nervously and her eyes stayed on him as if to make sure he didn’t do anything unexpected.

From his seat, Dante gave Jax instruction. She pondered if he considered dealing with the intruders to be the first priority or if he might detain those who had survived the encounter in order to rest. He had been adamant that she kept bed ridden when she was unwell. Rhea thought it likely he would not hold himself to the same standard.
WI_     6y ago

[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Her residual warmth remains as she pulls away, the arrival of Jax drawing their quiet moment to a close. He watched her a few seconds longer before nodding meekly and shuffling in the seat to turn toward the large male. He collected bodies from the floor like he was tidying away plates after a meal, throwing one over each shoulder and hauling up the third by it's belt. Looking across he saw Rhea and Dante watching him and smiled that casual goofy way he had.

[+gold "Jax clean up!"] Seeing the faint look of discomfort on Dante's face however he frowned and dropped the body in his hand, walking over.[+gold "Cappy okay?"] He asked and pointed at the wrapping, visible through the hole in his clothing.
[b "Yes Jax, I will be fine with time, though thanks to Rhea here I managed to forgo any further injury when we went to warp."] He waved off the man's concerns though there was intrigue at hearing Rhea had helped. Dante was not one to shy away from praise where it was due, and he could see that the young woman warranted such.[b "She performed a hyper run without injury."]
[+gold "Ohh! Jax not quick to do dat. Jax slow. Strong but slow. Yeah. Jax knew it good to have pink lady here."] A beaming smile for the rose coloured female as he shifted the weight of the bodies on his shoulders.
[b "Are you okay Jax?"] His golden eyes dart around the mans physique but it was rather difficult to ever tell if the man was hurt.
[+gold "Yes Cappy. Jax did what Cappy told him."] He nods his head repeatedly and turns to retrieve the other body.
[b "The explosion was rather large."] There was a hesitation in the mans movement.[b "Did you perhaps use additional detonators? More so than what I told you to use Jax?"] It was not said with an accusatory tone, rather he was simply inquiring. When the man looked back to the duo he looked down to the grown guiltily before a small smile tugged on his lips.
[+gold "Jax use two booms Cappy."] Like a child caught with his hand in the cookie jar he stared at his feet.
[b "And, [i why] did you use two?"] Again his curiosity was pronounced.
[+gold "Jax see Term.. Ter-Ter.. dat man!"] Unable to enunciate himself adequately he pointed with the body in his hand over to the unconscious man.[+gold "Jax remember Cappy hate dem guys. Hate dem lots. Jax make sure ship make big boom. Dat mans ship gone."] The logic was simplified and a delighted smile accompanied it. There was a brief prayer of thanks from the Tiefling that the bumbling fool had not divulged any more details. The Pyrenian's aboard the ship did not need to know of his distaste for Termani and he quickly changed the conversation away to avert attention.

[b "Yes, well you did an excellent job Jax. Take all of them to the air lock. Remove any credit sticks and weaponry before you eject them."] None were wearing any particularly expensive or interesting clothing or armour that he could perhaps recycle for the others.
[+gold "And dis one Cappy?"] His foot struck the mans side and even in his unconscious state he cried out in pain, curling up. The golden eyes flash over to Rhea momentarily in thought for what he wished to do as opposed to what was more sensible. Though he would have liked to take time to extract any information from the man and in the process cause him a good deal of pain, he knew it was a leap down the wrong path.
[b "Remove everything from him including his clothing. Place him in the air lock with the others and eject them all at once. If possible.. I want him awake when it happens."] His vindictive tone slid so seamlessly into place at the end and there was a solemn nod of understanding from the hulking giant. Without a thought he bent to his task and whisked off the bodies.

Sighing deeply he shimmied his way to the edge of his seat and brushed his free hand up past his horns, fingertips grazing across the extrusions. Any adrenaline had at last died away, his body sagging forward and his eyes closing over. It was not a particularly comfortable position and he hissed as he sat upright.
[b "You want my trust?"] He spoke softly and looked up at her with a stern expression, partly from suppressing the pain.[b "Then you will keep what you just heard to yourself and do not under any circumstance inform either the twins or Tera."] He could read the look of wonder on her face at such a request.[b "Jax is simple minded. He does not understand social constructs or why someone can come to despise another race. He does not let such things concern him. But Tera, Oni and Ino do understand. They know right from wrong in the broader sense of the word."]

Swallowing a lump in his throat he shook his head softly. It was not easy for the usually reserved man to speak openly. But she had heard enough that her inquisitive nature would no doubt best her and she would only torment him for an answer at length. From what he believed he understood of her, she was highly intelligent and not ashamed to seek out the truth if her curiosity was not sated. Thus how she came to be in this predicament in the first place.
[b "I need their compliance. I need their respect, Rhea. I need them to see me as someone to follow and listen to. Someone to trust absolutely. To put their faith and therefore their lives in my hands each day and know I will do the utmost to see them through. And if they think I am some mindless savage then that belief is shaken. They begin to query what I say. They begin to question my orders. They do as they wish and.. and they.. die.."] His voice broke like a pre-pubescent boy and his hand grasped his throat, turning away from her as he blinked furiously. Memories surged forth in rapid succession leaving him closer to breaking forth of the thick casing about his being. And with a minute or so, taking deep breaths and repeatedly running his hand up through his hair, he found calm once more.

A jittery hand rose up to her and grasped onto her forearm tightly.[b "Help me to my quarters. I will rest for a few hours, by then I should know what to do next."]
LoxiRhea   6y ago

Rhea found it fascinating how the two men interacted. Dante made things simple enough for the giant of a cybernetic man, but he did it in a way that was less condescending than you would expect. Her attention was temporarily taken from the Termani man as the Captain praised her again. It was embarrassing, but she bore with it. Apparently he was just that impressed with her actions. Jax seemed to be as well. While he was not an intelligent man, she was glad to know he knew himself well enough that he wouldn’t try anything outside of his physical capabilities. Although, she could not imagine there were many things on that list.

It was clear the Tiefling could see straight through Jax’s vague attempt to deceive him. Well it was less deceit and more of an omission of the whole truth. Either way, Dante got right to the point and coaxed the reason out of his electrical engineer. While he had a hard time forming his words, it was clear what the ogre was getting at. The topic was gone in a flash. Almost hastily the slender male directed the conversation to what was to be done. Rhea was rather curious to hear what he would come up with. Not entirely to her surprise, he went with what could have easily been her fate weeks before. The airlock was finally getting some use. The maliciousness in his voice and command was unusual. While he was generally cold and calculating, this was a new edge in his tone. She did not care for it.

The childish fellow left without any thought to it. He must have either already understood the motivation or just not entirely grasped the situation. In the end, no matter the reason, it was probably for the best.

Again she was alone with Dante. She watched him intently. After sorely shifting around, he continued their dialog from before Jax had come. His question was rhetorical, but she nodded all the same. The look on his face continued to express his physical suffering. He gave her instruction to keep the men’s conversation confidential. She saw little reason why she could not oblige him, however he went on to explain why. The farther into he went the more discomposed he appeared. The Pyrenian was getting to see farther beneath the surface than she imagined he would ever let her.

By the time he concluded, the atmosphere was heavy. Her stomach was in knots seeing him so close to the brink. Bottling this all away had clearly taken its toll on him. There was nothing she could say or do that would change this, nothing that would ever truly give him relief in whatever traumatic events had made him this way. Still, she would not leave him for the silence to devour. “I understand.” Her voice reflected how his confidence in her had left her shaken. “I mean that in the I follow your reasoning kind of way, not the I have seen the same struggles as you way.” She had her own list of regrets that panged her, but they would never be perfectly similar and therefore she would never fully understand. “But please remember, no one can keep all the agony inside forever, Dante. The dead leave behind a heavy burden, more than any single person can carry. Don’t let it consume you, lest you destroy yourself in the process.” Rhea did not expect her words to impact him, but she cautioned him all the same.

When his hand found her, she replaced it around her as she had when she moved him before the jump. This way he could put more of his weight on her. He directed her to get him to his room. It was much easier when they were not rushing against the clock. They had barely made it off the bridge when she remembered she needed to talk to him.

“Um, about your plan… I have an option for you to consider.” Rhea was not entirely sure he would go for it. “I know someone who could definitely help us. He is a mechanical engineer. I could probably cut a deal with him to upgrade the ship. At the very least get us some parts to make things easier.” There was absolutely no question in her mind that Atlas would be an asset. “Also, he hermit-ed himself out on an otherwise uninhabited planet in the Dolorosa star system. So there would be almost no chance anyone would find us there in the meanwhile.” Before they had made the jump they were not far from the system, but she was not sure exactly where they were now. “However, like any course of action there is some risk.” She paused a moment to focus on walking a bit. It was a quick reminder on where they were going. If her mind wandered too much she could end up taking him on a very unnecessary detour.

“The last time we spoke, we were not on very good terms and it has been fifty years since then.” That left a lot of time for things to either stew or improve. “But, even if he hates me, I am confident he hates the Termani more.” Who knew, maybe the two would bond over their distain for the species. “Ultimately it is your choice, but I wanted the option to be on the table.”

Rhea wavered slightly at the entrance to Dante’s chamber. She had never been in his living space before. It was not long before she stepped closer to the door with the Tiefling, it slid open. Inside was neat and sparsely furnished. While the bed was in plain view from inside, it was positioned so that it could not be seen from outside the door. On the walk there she caught sight of the countless doodles on his wall and smiled. He must have been particularly fond of them to keep them so openly displayed. Her eyes took in all the simple details before they finally made it to the well-kept bed.

Pulling back the blanket, the Pyrenian made space for her Captain. It was a combined effort to lower him to a sitting position; she hoped he would be able to rest properly before he pushed himself to get up. While she could not completely put him in place, she did pull up his comforter and tuck it around him when he made himself comfortable.

Standing up from leaning to over him, the roseate woman smiled gently. “I believe being shot is right up next to poisoning, so I don’t want to see you up for a while. A few days would probably do you some good.” There was a light tone of humor in her soft voice. But the glint of drollness was fleeting.

Though she kept her content look, an odd concoction of emotions for the man in front of her boiled up within her. They ranged from concern to fondness and were dangerously mixed with somatic attraction. She brought up her hand to run through his hair. Something she had seen him often do it to calm himself. Perhaps it would have the same effect when she did it. “Just don’t push yourself too hard, okay?”

Leaving his side was more difficult than she thought it would be. Away from the distraction he provided, the opportunity to mentally review what had occurred arrived. The graveness of it all was overwhelming. The twins were most definitely going to want some answers to why they had been boarded by another ship. Unfortunately, Rhea would have to leave that for Dante to handle. She fervently hoped they would not make the connection between their tutor’s appearance and the abnormal event.
WI_     6y ago

[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Her mutterings on death and the need to vent every so often gave him thought to ponder on. Not at that moment, as he was hastily reforming his stoic image and laying an arm about her slender shoulders whilst she supported his waist. It was not the easiest position given their differing heights but regardless the need for her being at his side remained.

His head dipped in assent for her to go on about her idea, not a man too proud to hear another's thoughts. Often he would disregard it with a polite response. Yet it was the sign of a good leader to hear out his subordinates. He couldn't cover all aspects and from what she was saying him, the parts he picked out between waves of pain washing over him, it sounded rather promising. They had paused at his chambers entrance as he clumsily tapped at the pad.
[b "I suppose it is an option. We are not likely to be operating as a merchant vessel for much longer."] That was self evident from their encounter. He could not travel from port to port with cargo knowing they were being hunted down, the weight of the ship playing into the hands of their would be captors.

There was a moment of hesitation in allowing her into his quarters, not least when he caught her gaze drifting over the countless little etchings and coloured marks across one wall. The personal touch was a stark contrast to both his character and personality, but also to the rest of the room with it's neat and orderly design. Had it not been for the drawings it could have passed for a room in a tourist destination, created a thousand times over for simplicity and little cost. Gratefully she made no comment on it and instead helped to ease him onto the bed, drawing back his covers to assist him further.

Dante held a hand out to her to hold her at bay and with some amount of time, a few curses under his breath, he eased under the comforter. She proceeded in tucking him like a mother to her child though he quickly removed his arms, not one for being trapped within bedding. Though there was a touch of animosity in his gaze as he looked up to her, her soft spoken jovial words brought a wry and rare smile from him. It was more for how awful it had been to hear his own words repeated back to him. He could well understand how she would have felt hearing him say it to her days before, though he hoped she saw his reasoning.
[b "That may be so, but you are not a Captain, and therefore can afford to take time to rest."] He heard himself and how insanely formal he made things, how he had to make sure a touch of respect remained in everything.[b "But thank you."] A small concession to her kind nature. Yet she may have taken it in a different manner as she ran her delicate fingers between his horned extremities and proceeded running them through his hair. It was peculiar. Not because of their strained connection they had to one another. It was that it calmed his nerves, eased any fears he held and the tension of his mind seemed to melt away with each passing.

A hand flitted out subconsciously, without much warning to himself, and came to rest against her leg just above the knee. Her desire for him to relax was returned with a minuscule amount of pressure on her being, no words coming forth as he simply basked in her touch and his eyes began to feel heavy. She pulled away in time, though he made a guttural noise to regain her attention.
[b "Have Tera plot a route to this gentleman you know. Regardless of his use, it will do no harm to our cause to gain an ally."] His voice was drifting, a mixture of painkillers from the patch taking effect and fatigue from the past fortnight.[b "Thank you.. Rhea.."] His hand brushed down her leg before dropping limp along the side of the bed and his head rolling to one side.

---

The ship ran itself for a few days as the Captain remained out of sorts and bed-bound by a quite demanding nurse Tera. She had ignored any amount of cursing, promises of death and plea for leniency that the Tiefling could off up to her. Nothing mattered but having him in his bed, sleeping or relaxing. If ever she found him out the bed, sitting at his desk reading through scans and checking on a myriad of systems for example, she would berate him with a long speech of how he was essential to the ship and needed to return fully healed.

It began to grate on his nerves after the first day so much so that he only left his bed to wash or take care of his bodily functions. On the former, Tera had been next to adamant that she accompany him so that he didn't fall and that she help him with washing. Dante had been forced into locking himself into the washroom when she had stepped in with his thumbs hooked into his underwear and close to stripping fully.

But at last, he stepped out of his quarters and out onto the bridge in a taut white sweater and figure conforming black pants.
[+gold "Ah, Cappy is up!"] A delighted Jax clapped his hands at the sight of the blue skinned male, more delighted for having spotted him first than for seeing Dante up and about. The twins rushed across to him and wrapped tiny arms about his legs, resting heads against his hip as a hand resting on each of their backs. Tera was sat in her seat close to fuming and launching into a tirade at how he had defied her and left his room.
[b "Before you say a word Tera, are we close to the destination Rhea gave you?"] To which the anthro rolled her eyes theatrically and nodded before turning back to her station. He could not see the older Pyrenian woman, surmising she was either in her own quarters or in the canteen area. At this, a frown tugged at his lips though on Dante it was not an uncommon sight to see.
LoxiRhea   6y ago

Rhea had to track down the pilot in order to relay the orders from the top. She explained to her that they would be meeting one of her acquaintances and where she would need to go. Tera got right to setting the course. The anthro seemed to be relieved that there was a plan and that it involved taking refuge out of the open. Normally she didn’t seem the type to stray from excitement, but with Dante injured her stance had changed. At least she could read the atmosphere in that regard.

Over the course of the next few days the Pyrenian silently questioned if Tera was more of a help or a hindrance. Dante’s shouting could be heard halfway across the ship when it was particularly bad. His diaphragm couldn’t hurt that bad if he could still roar like that. Rhea was confident he was going to be just fine. Still, she checked in on him from time to time. He had done the same with her. Usually it was just long enough to see if he needed anything. Generally he didn’t but there were a few times she would sneak him his tablet pad back from where Tera stuck it away. The man needed rest not complete boredom.

Most of her time still went to decoding the mysteries of the journal. While new horrific details came out, nothing that was really useful for a motive behind it all. Every lead dropped her right back to the rhodolite crystals. She was hesitant to reconsider her stance on the old Pyrenian’s crackpot gem reverence, but that was all there was. After much deliberation with herself, she decided to take another look into it.

On the day Tera had projected their arrival to be, Ino came running into her room. “Miss Rhea, Tera says she needs you now.” Her words snapped Rhea out of her state of concentration. “Also, Captain Dante is up!” The girl seemed much more excited about that news than what she had been asked to relay.

“That is wonderful to hear. I will be out in a moment, tell Tera not to do anything without me.” The woman smiled at the youngling then finished up the passage she had been reading just so she would have a better place to come back to at a later time.

The young Pyrenian lingered at her tutor’s side. Rhea thought it odd that her other half had not tagged along. She must have been sent on a separate errand. Ino didn’t look entirely contented to be alone which was probably why she took an extra moment before leaving again to head to the bridge. By the time she left, the older Pyrenian was not far behind. It defeated her purpose of sending a message with the girl, but she was by no means upset.

It was a quick trip to the control room. All the same, there was an air of impatience when the two arrived. “Finally,” Tera’s tone was more flippant than anything else. “We are in orbit. What now?”

Rhea had asked to be contacted when they got to this point. It was likely Atlas had put some sort of shield or defense system up. That and she was not entire sure where he was on planet. “I need to contact him now. Hopefully he is near his radio.” The tech was archaic, but using the regular transmitter was risky. It was likely someone would tap into it. That was much harder to do with radio waves. There were too many variables.

Moving to her seat, she set up the transistor. She had been mildly surprised there was still one onboard, but the datedness of the ship would help them this time around. “This could potentially take a while.” Once she set the frequency, everything was ready to go.

Drawing in a deep breath, she slowly exhaled. It was nerve wracking. Who knew what would happen if this didn’t pan out. Calm enough to go on, Rhea began. She chose to speak in their common first language, Termani. He would best recognize her voice that way, and with any luck she would not have to use her name at all. There was minimal danger with this setup, but she would avoid it if she had the choice.

“Requesting the location of Pyrenian Atlas and permission to land on Dolorosa 413.” While waiting for a response, Rhea looked around. She wasn’t sure if anyone aboard spoke Termani. There was generally little need to learn languages other than your own peoples and the common language that had been established forever ago. It was popular enough that you could go nearly anywhere and find someone who spoke it to get you by.

After a few minutes, she repeated the message. This process continued for a while. At times when she became frustrated at the quiet on the other end of the receiver, she threw in some variance to the dispatch. As she was about to give up and try again later, Rhea threw out one more plea. “Atlas, this is important. I need you to answer, please.”

A familiar voice rang loud in her ear. “Rhea?!”

She flinched and pulled the earpiece away. “Ow, sh.” When she thought he might have actually listened she replaced it. “Calm down. We need to land, can I get your location.”

The Pyrenian on the other end of the receiver quickly gave the coordinates. Rhea passed them on to Tera who had been growing even more impatient than she had. She was actually shocked she stayed for the whole process.

“Alright, we should touch down in no time.” Her energy seemed to be rejuvenated from the prospect of getting off ship even if it was on some densely wooded planet with no people in the middle of nowhere.

Finding the position that had been given to them, she was thankful to see it was cleared out and paved. There was no official docking port, but it was better than trees everywhere. Rhea had been half expecting to have to crash land in the forest because Atlas was too paranoid to have a landing sight on planet.

The Enduring Odyssey came down without a problem. Once Tera gave the signal, Dante sent orders to Jax to power everything off. The Pyrenian was out of her seat in as soon as they touched the ground. Her long time friend was probably already on the way to them now. She had mixed feelings about seeing him now, but it was happening no matter how she felt.

Still she was not in a huge hurry to get off the ship. Tera was adamant about tagging along with her and Dante this time. After all that had happened she was worried something else was going to go wrong. The captain permitted it, but everyone else was staying put. Rhea was sure it was to get her to stop fussing so much.

When the trio came off the ship, Rhea looked around. The orange and yellow leaves on the trees rustled in the wind. She had expected the forest to be more still, but it almost seemed alive with how it danced. There was a path that led through the foliage to a large building in the distance. It was Atlas’ shop. Her gaze hovered there until she saw the large door move. A red figure came running down the hillside.

The male Pyrenian came into focus curtly. He didn’t slow until he got closer to the group. Rhea was afraid he was going to run into her, but he managed to stop just short. His Termani words strung together as he wrapped his arms around her and pulled her into his embrace. It caught her off guard for a moment. A smile of relief formed on her features. She spoke quietly back to him for a while. When she noticed he didn’t seem all that intent on letting her go, so she wiggled out of his arms to finish the conversation. His expression went through several fazes. Starting at elated it became frustrated, thoughtful, and eventually compliant. There was a lot more she needed to say, but Rhea didn’t feel there was time at that exact moment. She had given him the basics that he needed to understand the situation so far and what they needed.

As soon as she could, she transitioned back to common tongue and turned to her crewmates. “These are some of the people helping me.” She gestured to the pair. “Tera here is the pilot and Dante the Captain.” Turning back to the new man she formally introduces him as well. “Dante, Tera, this is Atlas.”

The taller Pyrenian stepped forward with a smile. “Thank you so much, it is a pleasure to meet you.” His words were thickly accented, but easygoing. “Rhea here says you need some renovations.” Atlas looked over the ship quickly. “By the looks of it, quite a few of them. Do you think you could give me a tour so I can see the extent of it?”
WI_     6y ago

[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Nothing was needed of the Tiefling for a long time. When the Pyrenian had entered the bridge there was a tensity that crackled in the air like the precursor to thunder. Dante as per usual was in his foul mood stoked by the discomfort in his side. Having removed the patch in favour of a light bandage that morning, the regulated air of the ship a light comfort on the quivering wound, his fingers dipped under the edge and caressed the inflamed skin. Akin to a hernia any pressure eased the pain and he shuddered softly, eyes closing gently, as the unease trickled away.

Tera had been unhappy from the moment he had been shot and her mood was not much better that day. Patience was a virtue she did not possess and dealing with the Pyrenian being in control of their arrival was a sign of her losing some semblance of power. Whether she saw herself as a Vice Captain or next in line of authority, to be left waiting on bent knee for the rose coloured woman's directions frustrated her to no end.

Indeed, when Rhea had informed them that it would take some time to reach the reclusive man it had only exacerbated things for the disgruntled due. Whilst the twins and Jax amused themselves, via stories and video games respectively, the anthro busied herself inspecting Dante and conversing in soft voices. Constantly her hands would reach out to take hold of his own and often push it aside to brush at the injury. He would compare her to a tending dame though begrudgingly he had to admit her cool touch helped. They sat awaiting some form of confirmation from the bespectacled woman and when it came, via a flinch and small cry, Tera's hand was removed regretfully and she returned to her seat in eagerness.

The landing was smooth as ever and a look in their exterior cameras showed a well cleared and paved area perfect for them to land on. Dante was up before the landing gear had fixed into place and steadily making his way toward the gangway to leave. He was keen to view this man and assess him for what he was worth in the manner that he carried himself. An individual was easy to read if you looked for the right ticks. However as he fixed his clothing and retrieved a jacket Tera entered.
[+red "I'm coming along."] She stated adamantly and folded her arms across her ample chest.
[b "I would not have it any other way."] There is no defiance in his voice as he fixed the zipper, easing it up over the shirt so as not to catch it. There is a stutter from the anthro who had expected objection and came prepared.
[+red "Wh-.. really? Is this because of-"] Her confusion was quite evident.
[b "Regardless of my injury,"] He stemmed her question immediately, an icy glare accompanied his ill tone, [b "I do not trust meeting this man. He is a stranger and not only a danger to ourselves but Rhea also."] There is a subtle undertone to his words though Tera did not show if she read it. Her silence he took as agreement and pressing against a small compartment he retrieved a small weapon. Turning it over in his hand he stepped over to her and pressed it into soft fingers that curled about the piece aswell as his own fingers.[b "I want you to keep this close to hand. He is a hermit, a recluse, therefore he is likely startled easily. And despite Rhea's presence I do not wish to be ill prepared for any eventuality."]

The weapon was taken with a nod of understanding and tucked away in her waistband, her small waistcoat covering it just as Rhea stepped in to meet the duo. The twins and Jax were accustomed to remaining behind though as the door opened to permit the trio to leave he did consider it an area they could explore; even if it was within a limited radius from the ship.

They were out in the cool breeze and sound of rustling trees and had made it several meters down the path before the red figure had emerged from his humble dwellings. At the speed he moved it was not long before he was coming to a stumbling halt and arms wrapping about his kindred race. There was a muttered Tiefling curse and arms folded tightly across the blue males chest in distaste of both the act and the man himself. So engrossed in his simmering rage it was only when the man approached him with a sickeningly sweet and unassuming smile.
[b "I do not profess to know why you are thanking me nor do I frankly give a damn you worthless excuse of a life form."] Not the most diplomatic of starts though his Termani was quite fluent.[b "Let us get one thing clear; I despise your kind and had Miss Rhea informed me of whom you were I would have had second thoughts on agreeing to come here. You Pyrenian men are nothing but a blight on your race."] The man looked truly startled and looked back to Rhea somewhat incredulously.
[+green "Is this man serious?"] A firm hand grasped his shoulder and turning back he was met with a withering golden gaze.
[b "I am the Captain, she is my crew, and you will address only myself. Do you comprehend what I am telling you? You are here for a job and nothing more so do not settle into friendly tones for we will be here only as long as needed."] The man looked at him with incredulity but slowly his head nodded. Dante allowed his voice to drop to a whisper, stepping closer to the man and staring down with a snarl.[b "There are two Pyrenian girls aboard and if you so much as look in their direction I will take personal satisfaction in making your last few days ones of protracted torture. Do we have an understanding?"]

The step toward him had caught the man off guard and he seemed to be perplexed at how to respond. There was no response at all and Dante only took it as a means of his acceptance. He had set out to intimidate the man and he felt that had been accomplished. Turning back to Tera he nodded for her.
[b "Show him the systems. He is not to be permitted access to any of the quarters. Have Jax accompany you, the girls can come out with their bags."] She nodded slowly, attempting to maintain some semblance of authority so that this man would not try to take advantage of the situation.[b "And keep a very close eye on him."] She nodded again as she waved for the man to follow after her. He gave a look of surprise to Rhea before following obediently after the anthro.

Dante could feel the stern gaze of the rose coloured woman burrowing into him as he stared side on at the retreated male. His fists clenched tightly across his chest as the discomfort of allowing the man aboard coursed through his being and he felt a shiver run up his spine. With his gaze still turned he addressed her.
[b "Why did you not inform me he was a male Pyrenian?"] Staring up the ramp long after they had ducked from sight though at length he did turn toward her.[b "Let us put to one side the fact they are vile and twisted beings. But considering our current predicament and past actions you saw fit to take us to another Pyrenian? You say you left in less than acrimonious circumstances. Not hard to believe considering [i what] he is."] He was bubbling with anger and distaste, his body shaking lightly. Previously when distressed he would show an air of calmness and resolute anger. Yet this was hard to suppress and he had come very close to striking the man outright. Never could it be said that Dante was a easy to understand man.
LoxiRhea   6y ago

Rhea had a sinking feeling in her stomach as soon as she saw Dante’s posture. This was not going to go well. When he opened his mouth, it went far worse than she could have imagined. It was inevitable that he would make attempts to intimidate Atlas, but this was too far. Naturally her friend was baffled, when he turned to her all she could offer was an expression that reflected her sorrow and regret for bringing this upon him. There was not much time to relay the feelings before he was pulled back to the Captain’s attention.

The Tiefling’s voice went low and Rhea could no longer hear him. Whatever he was saying she was sure it was terrible and brilliantly destroying their chances to get what she had come here for. She continued to watch in silence. As expected, Atlas had submitted to the hostile attitude. Now he would back down and do the very minimum to get the threat to vacate his planet. This entire trip would be wasted.

Tera lead Atlas onto the ship as ordered, but Rhea’s gaze fell to Dante. She had thought he was better than this. At the very least willing to let a person show his merit before hastily judging them. She had made exception for the Termani due to the circumstances, but this time it was much more personal. Still, she was filled with a sick unnerving feeling. His composure was slipping again and it scared her. Although more for his wellbeing rather than her own.

The shock of discovering that he vehemently hated half of her species sunk in. It was hard to swallow. There was a huge piece of her cultural identity that he was rejecting. It hurt.

“I apologize…” Her voice quivered at first. “Had I have known that you felt this way I would never have even suggested coming here.” Her now apparent mistake had her stomach turning and hands shaking. The idea that this might disintegrate the conviction that not only Dante had in her, but also Atlas made her feel ill. He would not abandon her now, but anxiety still filled her. She wanted to try and make him understand why she had brought him here.

“I don’t know if you know this, but many Pyrenian’s do not care for the Termani.” Living under constant marginalization was a fact of life for Pyrenians on Pyreen, but it was only conferred behind closed doors. To speak out against the injustice was to speak out against the saviors of their species. “We are treated as second-class citizens on our own planet.”

Of course there were the exceptions. If you were deemed useful, you would be treated with a façade of respect and compensated. It kept the few influential Pyrenians on their side. Rhea had been a part of this group, but politics were not her game. As long as she was allowed to continue her research she had been willing to deal with just about anything, so their attempts to placate her were pointless.

“Considering these circumstances I thought a Pyrenian would be the best person to contact. There is very little threat that any Pyrenian off home planet will be a threat.” All the loyalists tend to stay on Pyreen so it was not likely they would run into one way out here. On top of that she had known Atlas his entire life. There was no way he would bring the Termani into this. “And more than anyone else they deserve to know what has happened.”

The reasoning behind the second accusation was harder to communicate. “As for mine and Atlas’ parting, the altercation comes down to the same issues.” The Termani seemed to be at the root of everything. “The last time we spoke was when he decided to leave Pyreen. He was fed up with the disparagement and constant demands.”

Memories of the day were unpleasant. She had not handled it delicately. “He wanted me to come with him, but I refused.” She remembered the pleading expression on his had been hard to deny, but her motivation won out in the end. “I was not willing to leave my work; the position benefited my research too much.” She paused as the half a century old conversation ran verbatim in her head. “We said some awful things to one other, but it went both ways.” Their entire relationship had been complicated, but it was that moment that ate at her still.

She hadn’t expected him to come to trust Atlas, but she hoped he would put his faith in her. “I need you…” For a second she lost her words. Her eyes just hovered over Dante for that moment. She took a few steps in closer to the Tiefling. His intense gaze was locked with hers. Her mouth was dry from a combination of talking and being nervous. “I need you to give him a chance.” Once again she found herself asking too much of the man.

Her hands moved up defensively, and she tried to get her words out before he could get any angrier than he already was. “I am not asking you to forget or forgive whatever it was that made you feel the way you do, but Atlas will not respond well to the method you are using.” Right now they were no better than the Termani. Coming in and demanding he work for them like this was exactly what he had absconded from in the first place.

“You don’t have to be his friend or even pretend to be, but if you don’t at give him some respect as a person, he won’t do anything worthwhile for us.” She watched his face to see if he would give her anything to read. His hand ran through his snowy hair and she knew he at least trying to calm himself down. She worried that perhaps he was pushing himself to hard both physically and mentally.

Sighing, the roseate woman was tired. “Look, I am confident I can get him to fit us with solar sails.” The name was misleading as the technology was more of a film to go on the ship than a sail, but it described what it did perfectly. The material could be used to collect the photons emitted by stars. The energy gathered was then used to run the ship and fill an energy reserve. Conventional fuel could be saved for an emergency backup.

They had been advertising the tech for a while now, but it had not hit the community market. “Atlas is one of the developers working on the sails. I know he doesn’t start promoting his stuff until it is fully functioning.” They were probably just trying to work on making the product pretty now. That was usually what the last year or two went into it. “I have to be able to freely speak with him, it won’t work if you have to relay everything as an in-between. You can mediate if you like, but without him knowing what is actually coming from me there is no way he will go along with it.”

The urge to reach out to touch and comfort him was real, but she held back. She had just forced a bunch of logic down his throat. The opposite of what he needed when he was so caught up in strong emotion that he clearly needed to let out. Rhea wanted to help him, but she didn’t know how without compromising the objective. All she could offer was her compliance. “I won’t talk to him unless you give me permission. So please don’t worry about that.” Her head fell and she spoke again. “Again, I didn’t know how you felt, I am sorry. If there is anything I can do to make things easier on you while we are here, please let me know.”
WI_     6y ago

[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat There is a short and sharp moment where he wants nothing more than to scream out his anger and his fists clench tightly, cheeks puff out, tongue runs over dry lips as a means to stem this wave of emotional rage. It had been a sudden shift in his emotional state and had shocked himself as much as Rhea.

Dante looked at her as she spoke. Fiery red and shining gold eyes met and tranquility began to seep into him. Her words, spoken in a manner akin to how they had conversed at his bedside, were soothing and had the desired effect of forgoing any physical response to his thoughts. He knew of Pyreen history regarding the Termani, as had been revealed with his passing knowledge of the culling, yet he allowed her to repeat such droll facts once more. However she paused.

[i "I need you…"]

It had thrown him for the few seconds she had gone silent and stepped with some intent toward him. His heartbeat hastened and a tremble ran through his being. It was down to confusion. Or perhaps fear. The Tiefling was not to know what his own mind was thinking in that one phrase as she continued on. He released a held breath and a faint laugh both at the misunderstood meaning and her true intent. Hands run through his hair and he intakes several times as she finishes speaking of solar sails and how Atlas was a key component in their design and manufacturing.

Once she has finished, her head bowed to him in a vague offer of capitulation to his authority, he stares down upon her with regret. He can see that his words were harsh and his tone bitter. Dante is the first to point out his negative traits and his temper was his deepest folly. A tentative hand reaches out to her shoulder, grasping her firmly and squeezing the fabric.
[b "You have been the proverbial thorn in my paw these last few weeks. Perhaps it was fate that brought you to sneak onto my ship particularly."] He sighed heavily, hand remaining on her shoulder for a moment longer though it slid away to his side.[b "But I do not believe in fate. I am a man of values and I am not here to pander to an autistic man-child who does not take well to orders. Regardless of what you may think I have already paid my debt to servitude,"] he swallowed and his face tightened with a look of despair and sorrow,[b "and I will not bow to another being or prostrate myself to gain his acceptance."]

He sways to one side of her, feet trailing with his weary figure and hands clasping tight behind his back to stem any nerves. A thought crosses his mind and in an instant he grasps onto it and builds intensively upon it. It is not something he is keen to go forward with on a personal note, yet logically it is the best option. Her eyes follow him, having looked up when he pressed on her shoulder. Looking across at her he nods somewhat solemnly.

[b "However, given your prior relation to this degenerate and given the relative obscurity of this planet,"] a brief pause to accentuate the calm about them,[b "I see a perfect solution to our quandary."] He turns away to run a hand across his side, pain flaring as if his body were trying to talk him out of his idea. Contemplating his words in silence it is long enough he hears her footsteps toward him to draw him from his own mind and he nods in silent agreement with himself.[b "We will leave you here. To live out your existence alongside your accomplice."] He continues nodding as if attempting to convince himself of the validity in his own idea. He partially turns back toward her.[b "You refused to leave Pyreen due to your research and commitment to deciphering your texts. Given the situation you will likely not be returning and regardless, nothing will come of it. You have nothing holding the two of you back from continuing whatever relations you previously held."]

As ever the twins had exceptional timing and came bundling out of the ship and down the walkway with bags clutched to their chests. They looked about in merriment, pointing out certain trees and plant life to the other before losing attention and finding something else that drew their wonder. They made their way over to Dante and Rhea and it seemed the blue male was much more at ease and a false smile creased his lips.
[b "Now, you can explore around the landing area but you are not to leave my sight. If you cannot see me then I cannot see you, use that as a rule of thumb."] They nodded and were beginning to turn and run for the nearest vegetation.[b "Girls!"] They stopped to look back.[b "You have your art materials yes?"] Vigorous nodding.[b "I would very much like a drawing from each of you then. You may choose whatever you like to draw. The best will receive a prize."] At the mere mentioning of a competition each girl grinned and glared at one another like dueling enemies set to fight. He waved them off and watched them as they skittered around to investigate. They would eventually get to drawing.

[b "I intend to inform your accomplice immediately of my intentions. I am sure he will be happy to supply me with some rudimentary materials and equipment to maintain the ship to have me leave as swiftly as possible."] Shining iris' turn on her once more.[b "Unless there are any objections?"]
Loxi     6y ago

Dante’s hand on her shoulder surprised her. Mainly because she hadn’t been watching him. That changed as soon as she felt the pressure of his palm. It was calming for the moment it was there.

His reminders that she had been nothing but a burden made Rhea feel even smaller than she was. Her stomach tightened as he rejected her request. He seemed to be under the impression that treating Atlas with any level of decency would be considered prostrating himself. Whatever had broken the man in front of her must have been terrible to damage him this greatly. The aggrieved expression that graced his features attested to that.

As the cerulean male moved bout, Rhea could almost see the wheels turning in his mind. He was putting something together. Perhaps it had found a better solution that would suit everyone. It was a tremendously optimistic thought.

His eyes would come back to hers before spoke again. It was brief and he turned away. To Rhea it was unclear what he was trying to say, but it gave her a bad feeling. She waited for him to go on. There was nothing. Taking a couple of steps closer once more, she wanted to know what this ‘perfect’ solution was. She had not made it to his line of sight when he continued. Dante’s words stopped her in her tracks. Her eyes widened in disbelief. He was trying to pawn her off. After everything, he wanted to leave her here.

The Pyrenian searched for anything on his face that resembled him struggling with what he was saying. Had the girls not have come she would have found it. The two rushed excitedly from the ship and instantly had the captain’s attention. An unusual smile came across his face as he directed the twins. Something was not right, but the woman hadn’t a clue what it was. There were too many things going on to accurately narrow it down.

Dante really knew how to direct the little ones so that he could keep business running smoothly. She really enjoyed watching him interact with them. It was another facet of him and he didn’t let slip often. It hurt to think that she wouldn’t be seeing it anymore. That emotions it brought up rested plainly on her face.

The younglings were swiftly off to the competition that had been laid out for them. It took him no time at all to jump back to where he had left off once the girls were preoccupied. “I intend to inform your accomplice immediately to my intentions. I am sure he will be happy to supply me with some rudimentary materials and equipment to maintain the ship to have me leave as swiftly as possible.”

Rhea was devastated, but his last outreach called out to her. “Unless there are any objections?” She was torn. Being stuck on this planet was not what she wanted, but it would be much safer for everyone. It would be selfish to object. Dante wouldn’t be saying any of this if he didn’t think it was the best option. And yet, in the end, she couldn’t go along with it.

Her weight shifted from one foot to the other as she tried to search for her words. “No.” She was still floundering too much to realize he would take this as an answer to his question rather than how she meant it.

It dawned on her when he turned toward the ship, intent to carry out his proposal. She panicked, running to catch up to him and grabbing ahold of his arm. “I said no!” The volume of her voice caught her off guard and by the look in his beautiful golden eyes it had done the same to Dante.

Rhea’s whole body was shaking, but her speech came back down to a more acceptable level. “No, I don’t want to stay here.” It almost felt like she was pleading with him with the tone she took, but that transformed to intensity as she persisted. “I can’t abandon this now. I’ve given up everything for my research. I have to find out who we are, who we used to be. I can’t let it all be for nothing. I would rather be dead than know I relinquished my dreams for this.” She halted when she felt the self-loathing begin to bubble up. It was an old acquaintance she thought she had cut out of her life.

Able to repress the antipathy quickly, the rosy skinned woman pushed on. “And what Atlas and I had was created out of a necessity that has long since passed. There was never anything there that could be rekindled for me.” She hadn’t ever really come to reciprocate his feelings. The idea that Dante was misinterpreting this squeezed at her chest. The sensation was one that she hadn’t felt in a very long time. While she knew what it meant, Rhea was not ready to come to terms with it.

Looking up into Dante’s eyes, she saw a glimmer of relief. Just what she had been searching for. Letting loose an airy, tired laugh, the woman rested her head where she had ahold of his arm. “You are going to have to deal with this thorn a while longer.”

Not allowing herself to keep the cool comfort of him for long, Rhea pulled back, putting a casual distance between the two. After all the little ones were within sight. Who knew what kind of rumors they would spread if they noticed their tutor being oddly familiar with the captain. There was already enough discord in their lives at the moment. She would refrain from adding to it any more if at all possible.

Unfortunately this left the Tiefling with the task of coming up with another idea. One that involved the translator keeping her position on the Enduring Odyssey. Had she not already given him a bunch of inadequate advice and tramped his latest plan, Rhea would have been more gung-ho to pitch in.
WI_     6y ago

[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat [i "No."]

She had agreed to his plans and with a solemn bow of his head in agreement the proposal was all but signed in his eyes. It was not exactly a thrilling moment to know she would be staying behind, yet the Tiefling knew it was for her safety above all else, that they could not keep her from harm travelling about in the random fashion that they had.
[b "Very well."] His voice was quiet and soft. Turning from her he moved for the walkway, heading for the station at the top where he would contact for Tera to bring Atlas to him. It was brought to his attention at that moment that his side was particularly painful and spikes of agony ran up his spine. All the more reason to seen out Tera.

Yet his arm was caught and delicate fingers slid down to ensnare his wrist, his leaden arm lifted up behind him. Despite her petite physique she was able to stall him and he looked back in wonder at what she could possibly want, mind diverted from pain.
[i "I said no!"] The brass on this girl! She repeated her answer all the louder and he was still as perplexed as to why she had stopped him, rather sure he had caught her response clearly before. An eyebrow rose with curiosity. He didn't speak. There was little need, she knew she had to explain such a response and duly she obliged.

She held onto him as she spoke, detailing in a passionate plea why she didn't wish to be left behind and how she cared little for her past acquaintance. The mentioning of death had the male pursing his lips. His idea had been to keep her alive and she was openly asking for death over assured safety, no matter how boring it was. It was nonsensical and illogical. Stupid and moronic. Yet he could hardly hold back the look of relief in his eyes at this knowledge, his facial features losing their tensity.

That sweet airy laugh broke the air between them and the deft curvature of her lips brought a mirrored response from him, though his smile was almost non-existent as always. It was not so much that he never smiled but that he didn't particularly know how to. With the girls it was easy to perceive his smile as fake. Yet with Rhea it was softer, more subtle and perhaps more genuine. Regardless she pulled away and with it the warm touch of her smooth skin, a like for like opposite to his own cold and coarse skin. He recalled at that moment how someone had once quipped that he was quite reptilian with such skin. It had not made much sense until then.

His hand caught hers as it left his wrist and he stepped toward her almost in step with her pulling away. Slender hands wrapped tenderly around the smaller woman. The hug was a simple enough gesture - affectionate, perhaps the fragile beginnings of some heady sentiment. The arms that held her were soft, yet, as ever with Dante, there was a subtle strength not far off. The feel of her body so close to his soothed him more than he had expected. But within seconds he gaze was drawn over to the two girls yelling in utmost joy off to one side. His mind swam not with the heady excitement of a new relationship blossoming but the same thought that had drawn the rosy skinned woman away from him - their reaction to seeing Captain and tutor embracing one another.
[b "My apologies."] He commented as he pulled back, regret rather clear across soft features.[b "Now is not the best time for this. Perhaps-"] His idea came to nothing as the door of the ship slid open and with little decorum came Atlas with Tera and Jax following in tow. He wasted no time in getting his opinion across.

[+green "Well, I can mend one of your engines and you can leave within the hour."] He was terse and rude but given the Captains response earlier it had to be expected.[+green "I trust this meets with your approval and you can leave in earnest My Liege?"] The thick sarcasm dripped from his words like syrup and brought a disapproving glare from the blue skinned male. His hands had clasped at his back once more and he did his best to regard the smaller man with something less than open hostility. A brief glance to the Pyrenian woman he saw the hope in her eyes and a belated sigh left his lips.
[b "After further conversation with my communications officer I have decided she will be the one to continue talks with yourself. Her prior history with you will likely prove more pivotal than if I took them on personally. And I have a ship to maintain and a crew to guide and cannot lose any time in squabbling with the likes of you."] It was horrendously worded yet he looked at her as if he had accomplished some diplomatic feat. Even Atlas snickered at the man and shrugged, his mood changing by the moment.
[+green "Hm, so be it blue-boy."] It was intentionally provoking however the Tiefling sighed and stepped away from him.
[b "Rhea, just.. deal with him. Thank you."] He waved for Tera and Jax to follow him back toward the ramp and the trio moved off from the red-skinned duo.

The bigger man was first to speak, looking around like the twins had with awe and wonder about their setting. It was as wild and peculiar to his simple mind as anything he'd ever seen. Only when they paused at the end of the ramp in a huddle facing toward the two girls did he speak however.
[+gold "Cappy?"]
[b "Jax?"]
[+gold "Jax wanna go.. err.. look at trees."]
[b "You mean you want to go play with the twins?"]
[+gold "No-no-no. Not like that Cappy. Jax keep twins safe."] Even Tera looked at the larger man with skepticism.
[b "Jax. You can go [i protect] them in a minute. Right now I want you to retrieve refreshments from the canteen including that awful Pyrenian drink Rhea seems to enjoy."] Jax nodded and turned off without further need of detail and headed back up the ramp giddily. The quicker he brought back the drinks the quicker he could go pla- protect the girls.
[+red "Easy enough to keep him distracted, huh?"] Tera responded as she looked across to him.
[b "Hm. Yes."] His attention was divided between watching the two girls, now beginning to settle and withdraw their art materials, and the two Pyrenian adults who had been left alone.
[+red "So what's with the sudden change of heart with the hermit?"]
[b "Rhea informs me he can fit the ship with solar sails."] Rather succinct response.
[+red "They don't even sell 'em yet, I call bull."]
[b "Apparently he is a lead designer on the technology."] There is pessimism in her gaze as she turns to him.[b "Yes I had the same thought myself. I offered to leave her here with her acquaintance to save her from any harm but she was particularly insistent in staying with the ship."] A tense hand rose to his side to massage at the damaged skin, golden eyes flashing for a moment before his lids fell shut.
[+red "You doin' alright Cap'?"] She reached across and lifted his arm, pulling up his clothing to inspect the wound once more. The bandage was stained heavily. However it was not it's usual red colour, more a night black and quite viscous. It seemed to twinkle in the light when she pulled back at the bandage but thankfully it had yet to permeate the cloth and reach the pristine white sweater.
[b "Do not say a word."] His voice was purely anger and authority now as he allowed her to inspect him.
[+red "B-but Cap, this isn't good!"] She said in a harsh whisper.
[b "I do not care!"] Fire burned in his gaze as he stared down at her pensively and she backed down immediately.
[+red "I need to get this bandaged again. If the wound gets infected-"]
[b "I will deal with this myself."]
[+red "O-okay Cap.. but what do I say if someone asks where you went?"]
[b "If they question you just tell them I have gone to run system bio's and run a full diagnostic of the ship."] He released a quiet groan with his staggered breath and brought his sweater down sharply. He took several laboured breaths before turning away and making his way back up the ramp, careful to maintain his footing whilst showing no outward sign of his discomfort. Jax came bundling out the door, several varieties of drinks in a small crate tucked under one arm. Stopping at Dante he held out a bottle of green tea, something he drank often.
[+gold "Here you go Cappy!"] He said with a joyful grin.
[b "Thank you Jax."] There is a pause as he takes the drink swiftly.[b "If you like, the twins are having a competition for whom can draw the best picture. Perhaps you can join them - of course that would be alongside your protection detail."] A deft nod of understanding with the man who winked back as if brought in on some hidden knowledge. He continued down to hand out the drinks and head off to enjoy some arts and crafts with the girls, the Captain disappearing off inside to tend to himself.
LoxiRhea   5y ago

The smile on the Captain’s face, though faint, was devilishly charming. She wondered what it was about him that was so appealing to her. Not that it was important, only something that made her curious as always.

It was dance-like how Dante moved in sync with her. Had she not been so engrossed in the moment, Rhea would have found it funny. The Tiefling didn’t come off as a dancer. However his solid arms came around her and the thought never crossed her mind, as she hadn’t expected this turn of events. She was not entirely sure how to react at first. In the end she gave in. She would allow herself the moment to enjoy the simple contact he was offering her.

Considering the height difference, it was strange how well their bodies melded together. As she had come to anticipate, his azure figure was cool against her. The difference in temperature made the Pyrenian overly conscious of how warm her face was becoming. They had been in close proximity of one another many times, but this felt different, more intimate somehow. A darker red dusted her cheeks and she was thankful he couldn’t see her expression with her pressed into him.

When Dante retreated, she felt like she could breath again. The flush on her face was still present, and so she didn’t look up to him. It was only a brief embrace and yet she was in such a state. It was embarrassing, but she had forgotten how nice it was to be held so affectionately.

Eyes flickering up as she nodded in agreement, Rhea was greatly disappointed when the Tiefling was cut short. Perhaps what? Instead of letting it get her in a tizzy, the rose colored woman sighed silently. If it were important she was sure it would come up at another time. Her red gaze lingered on Dante before it went to Atlas. Now he was making an ass of himself. Something about this place was devoid of all reason. When he was done with his melodrama, all she could do was look to Dante and with the hope he wouldn’t kill her friend.

It was disheartening to see the Captain with such a defeated look. His words were uncharacteristically lackluster, but she was rather delighted when he conceded to let her deal with negotiations. A confident smile turned on her face. The ball was in her court now.

Rhea’s elated expression remained through Atlas’ childish comment, “understood, Captain.” If she could keep her Pyrenian counterpart busy and away from Dante there shouldn’t be a problem with staying here for however long it would take.

The rest of the crew headed back to the ship. They paused at the entryway, but the Pyrenian’s could only hear the faint mumblings of their chatter. Rhea was quick to cut to the chase in her own task. “I have a lot to talk to you about.” With it just being the two of them she slipped back into the Termani tongue. It was truth in the saying old habits die hard.

“I figured as much, you wouldn’t be here if something hadn’t gone catastrophically wrong.” The man crossed his arms, but a smile touched his lips. “I am still just glad you are alive. When I saw that bounty I thought you were already done for. I do wish you would have found some better company though.” His secondary eyes flashed back to Dante for a moment.

He was right. Even though she had forgiven him ages ago, Rhea would not have come here if things were not as abysmal as they were. “He isn’t that bad.” His comment on the Tiefling had Rhea coming to Dante’s defense. “It’s all the stress; he has had to deal with a lot these passed few weeks. I derailed his entire life,” she felt that was an understatement. “On top of that he was recently shot keeping me safe, so cut him some slack.”

Atlas let out a slow sound of understanding. “So that indignant look isn’t an aesthetic thing.” His tone was still prodding. Rhea responded with a look of incredulity. All four of the man’s eyes rolled. “Fine, just stop with the eyes… It’s ridiculous how you manage to make me feel so juvenile when he started it.”

She shook her head. “Speaking of ridiculous. I have a request.” The man looked less than enthused by her sudden switch to business. But before she could go on Jax came by with his crate.

Holding out a small bottle to the anthropologist, Jax explained himself. “Here, Miss Rhea. Cappy said get drinks.” The imposing man looked down at what he was carrying and back to Atlas multiple times. It was clear he hadn’t thought about the additional person.

“Thank you!” the woman took the container from the giant. “Don’t worry about him, he doesn’t want any.” Her comment abated Jax’s worried expression and he was swiftly off to the twins on the other end of the clearing.

“Anyway, where was I?” Her mood improved slightly after seeing Jax. Something about him usually put a smile on her face. “Ah, yes. I have a huge favor to ask of you.” She made attempts to keep the light-hearted feeling up, but it faded faster than she would have liked. “I need you to actually re-outfit the ship. I want it to be something you would feel safe on if you were in my position, this includes the sails.” Rhea trusted his standard above anyone else’s when it came to this sort of thing. She hoped he would oblige her.

Atlas’ face didn’t display an ounce of shock. The woman had already asked for his help with the spacecraft, he assumed this was not far behind. “Alright.” The answer was abrupt. “But I have two conditions.” Her skepticism was apparent, but he continued on anyway. “First, I get some time with you. We need to catch up and I want to know everything that lead up to you getting here with this motley bunch.” He held up his fingers as he listed off his requirements. “Second, you have to forgive me for everything.”

The bespectacled woman had thought it was going to be much more convoluted than this. It was almost too good to be true. “Is that really all you want?” At the very least she was expecting to promise to shell out some cash when everything got sorted out, if everything got sorted out.

He perked a brow, “are you willing to give me more?”

“No, I suppose not.” Rhea was not particularly keen on getting dragged into what he was implying.

The male’s smiled softened out some. “Didn’t think so, besides, just knowing you are going to be safe out there is a pretty decent motivator on its own.”

“Okay then, let’s get to work.” She had decided to try and speed up the process by helping however she could. “You said that engine needed some fixing up?”

-----

By the end of the first day Atlas had gotten through his checklist of minor tune up details and getting the engine fully functioning again. He said they shouldn’t have a problem with its starter anymore, but Rhea didn’t know if that was a problem they were having in the first place. Either way she took it down so that she could relay it properly to Dante later on. He had disappeared shortly after giving her permission to go through with all this. It was not an uncommon occurrence with him, so she didn’t worry too much.

It was that first night that Rhea took the time to come up to the shop on the hill. Throughout the day she had mentally prepared herself to recant the happenings that led to her coming here. The visit turned out to be more pleasant than she had expected. Atlas listened intently to her. For the most part he didn’t interrupt with any needless witty comments. The pair ended up talking late into the night catching up. It confirmed that she had missed him; she just didn’t miss being with him. Their time concluded with Atlas bringing out a box. It contained some of her things that he had not given back after their parting. She was excited to have another outfit or two that she actually cared for. Running around in this getup was not something she enjoyed. Underneath the clothes were two more important things. The first being a vial of Tetrador root powder, a sleep aid she found worked well for her. The prospect of getting a full nights rest was exciting. The second item was a silver arm bangle.

A complex series of emotions came from seeing it, the frontrunner of the concoction being rage. Before she could say anything, Atlas reminded her that she had promised to forgive him. The realization that this is what me had meant sluggishly sunk in. Pouring all her self-restraint into not freaking out, it did not work. The next day she was walking around with bruised knuckles and he had one hell of a black eye. But she could officially call them even.

Rhea felt refreshed after getting some sleep and changing into an ensemble she had worn in a very long time. A snow-white shirt wrapped around her torso and a pink sash highlighting her waist. Her slim tailored shorts stopped just above her knee. This freed her legs some which she preferred greatly to the pants she had been in before. She decided she would only be wearing them in times when she needed to be in public. Something that would be happening much less from here on out. The final touch was the bangle on her left arm. It was elegant but simple with the way it swirled around her arm.

The last three projects that Atlas had mapped out were going to take a few days. Rhea didn’t think it was entirely unreasonable. When she was able to track down Dante he was not thrilled with the news. One more time she assured him it would be worth it. He seemed to be assuaging his temper toward the other male better now. That or he was just making a point to do so in front of her. She was not entirely sure which it was.

A heat gun had to be used to conform the sail to the ships surface. This meant there had to be breaks in between small sections of work lest he damage the film. These disruptions went to riveting it down and replacing the thrusters with modern models. They would have increased power rate and energy efficiency. It was strange to Rhea that a few years could change technology so completely.

The red-eyed woman made a point of picking up one of the bolts that were used to adhere to sails. Perhaps she could bribe Jax into helping out when they needed to start on the wiring for the battery. She thought it might put Dante at ease to know someone he trusted was working on the renovations.

When there were times when she couldn’t do anything, which were often with how little she knew about mechanics, Rhea took time to lay out in the dense leafy vegetation that covered the planets surface. It matched the orange in the trees, but was incredibly comfortable. She wouldn’t mind coming back to this place one day.

It was in lulls like that that she made herself scarce to give the girls a brief lesson. The sporadic-ness of it would have the additional benefit of keeping them on their toes.

The last thing Atlas had in store for the Enduring Odyssey was to put in place a military grade force shield and cloaking device. It would be by the far the most intricate thing he would have to do. Its network needed to run the length of the ship starting from the command panel of the bridge.
WI_     5y ago

[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat All pretense of normality ended with the door sliding closed behind him, his shoulders slump forward, eyes ball tightly shut, an agonized groan following the cerulean male as he fell against a panel and his body convulsed, a hand pressed tightly to his side. Pain flares with every shuddering breath, trying to suppress the desire to strike out at anything and focus the pain elsewhere.

The sweater is pulled off as soon as he enters the room, the thin wrap about his mid-rift cast aside hastily, the black liquid slick to the touch yet gritty in nature like a fine tar paste. Dropping to his knees aside his bed a shaking hand grasps at a box underneath and slides it out, swinging himself around to sit beside it as he threw back the lid. Inside was a multitude of tools, pushed aside in his haste to reach the bottom and recover a blue tinted syringe, similar in style to an epipen, containing a similar coloured liquid to that leaking from his wound.

He grits his teeth as his hand comes away slick with the charcoal secretion, staring down at the smearing across his being. The same hand begins to grasp desperately about his chest, clutching at the skin in places in search of something within himself. It is a frantic search as his fingers push hard at the skin, press against bone and muscle and sinew, his memory flickering about the location of what he seeks.

As he presses hard just below where his rib cage would end, there is resistance, and like a spark his mind remembers this is the location. With no hesitation he thrust the syringe into his skin, pushing down on the plunger, and a yell born of distress and agony reverberated down the hallway.

---

It was a few hours before Dante stepped out of his room, freshly changed, looking a touch pale despite his coloured skin. At times he grasped the wall to steady himself, clutching the drink Jax had brought him to his stomach. He headed toward the bridge, slumping down into his seat with a sigh of relief. He takes a little time to relax, sipping at the bitter green liquid and taking deep breaths. But at length, he taps at his panel to one side, sending a message for Jax and the twins to join him, bringing along their paintings.

When they arrived he couldn't help a deft smile tugging at his lips, Jax proudly carrying a piece of paper daintily in his hands as he followed after the two girls, their bags dropped off to one side.
[b "I see your security detail went well Jax."]
[+gold "Girls safe with Jax."] He nodded happily, not one to understand the sarcasm dripping from the Captains words. Waving for them to come all to come over he had each of them present their drawing with a short description. After talking with each of them in turn he sunk back further into his seat, stroking at his smooth chin in contemplation.
[b "As I see it, there is no outright winner. Each has their own unique touch. So I will declare you all winners."] From Ino and Jax there were large smiles of delight, yet Oni for a moment looked angered, before noting her their expressions and mimicking them. Reaching to beside his chair, groaning softly as it placed pressure on his side, he retrieved three boxes. The first was quite evident and Jax's eyes gaped at a rather large box of Mixian cookies. To the other two, he handed each a box. Crouching down they pried open the lids in curiosity.

Within each ornate box was a set of clothing, bespoke to their personal tastes and tailored a touch bigger than their current size - something they could wear now and also grow into. For Ino, a flowing and vibrant turquoise dress, and for Oni, a gold and crimson shorts and shirt combination. Each seemed particularly delighted with their present and held them aloft to the other for inspection. Nodding for them to return to their boxes, inside was a data stick each.
[b "I asked Tera what else to get you, and she suggested music. As such she went on to pick out several hours worth for you to listen to. I expect you to listen to it at an appropriate level and thank Tera when you see her."] They stuffed the clothing back inside and Oni dove toward him, wrapping her arms about his torso tightly. He sucked in a deep breath, withholding a cry of discomfort. Sitting upright he wrapped an arm about her small figure, the other placing his drink aside and reaching out for Ino. Grasping her hand he drew her to him and pressed drawn lips to the tops of each of their heads.[b "You can all go now, but drop off your pictures outside my quarters before you do anything else."]

They began filing out in an orderly fashion, yet he caught Jax's eye and gave him a further request that he prepare for a meal that night to be cooked outside. Given the multitude of issues that had plagued them of late he wanted nothing more than to give everyone a chance to relax. He nodded obediently though there was a twinkle in his eye that Dante knew well; he would enjoy the cookies before he did anything else.

There was silence in the bridge again, leaving Dante alone to gaze about his ship reflectively. His mind was off elsewhere, eyes glazed over when Tera stepped into view before him. Looking up he saw her lips move but heard only muffled sounds, a skeptic look on his face forcing her to repeat her question.
[+red "Is your side okay Cap?"] She needn't have asked, a hand waved non-chelantly at her to dismiss her concerns as he changed topic.
[b "Where is Rhea?"] He asks off cuff.
[+red "Off with Atlas, they are over at his home."]
[b "Hm, I can guess why."] He rolled his eyes dismissively.
[+red "Dont be mean Cap."] She says with shaking her head, crossing arms beneath her chest whilst only pushed them up.
[b "It is not said through cruelty. I have no issue with it. Let them fornicate and lust after one anothers bodies, as primitive beings are prone to do."] His words hit a nerve in her, brows furrowing in distress.
[+red "Am I a primitive being for what happened in your room then, after Delia?"]
[b We are not discussing that."] Against a flick of the wrist dismisses her question and he shifts in his seat to stand.
[+red "No, we are."] She stands her ground, shows a pittance of defiance to him.
[b "Tera, step aside. There is nothing to discuss."] He remains seated though glares intently up at her.
[+red "Yes there is. What happened-"]
[b "Was a mistake."] Dejection is written across her slight features at the final word.[b "You caught me out Tera. At a time when my mind was distracted by other things, by Delia's betrayal, by Rhea being injured, by having to escape that station before the Termani arrived."]
[+red "Do you like her?"] He openly scoffed at such a question, falling back into the seat. Her tone had cried desperation.[+red "Is that why you say it was a mistake? If it's that simple just say so."] His fingers drum against the arm of the seat, his own gaze meeting her shimmering eyes and he shook his head slowly, tight lipped, holding back on spewing forth nonsense. He takes the time to calm and remain contemplative.
[b "Not that it concerns you but no, I am not attracted to her. But I have to say I am shocked, that after all these years you do not know that I stray from any relationship, avoid it outright."] He is bitter, feelings threatened and attacked by her accusing words.
[+red "Then why all this secret talking alone with her?"] It seemed she was playing her card, the reason behind her concerns; jealousy.
[b "Again, as Captain I need not explain myself to you. But to sate your appetite and stop these ridiculous accusations, I am trying to find a way out of this dilemma for us all. I do not particularly want to spend the rest of my life looking over my shoulder. Therefore I am trying to get as much information from her as possible. Is that a satisfactory answer?"] He looked up questioningly, brow arched with curiosity.
[+red "N-No. You spend so much time alone with her Cap. Why can't you discuss that with me?"] She shook gingerly.
[b "Because I am not here to play diplomat between everyone. I am here to run a ship. For the last time Tera, I do not need anyones affection or apathy and I believe it is beginning to bely the notion that you can carry out your assigned duties competently."]
[+red "What? You mean you're just gonna get rid of me? Like you tried with Rhea?"] He swung up from his seat at that comment, pressing her back a few steps as he took advantage of her fear.
[b "I am indeed painfully close to abandoning not just yourself but Rhea aswell, and leaving with Jax and the twins. At least they follow orders. They listen to what I tell them. They do not infer emotions or meaning where there is none. I am growing weary of these constant attacks against my judgement Tera."]
[+red "Cap, you know I only do my best for you."]
[b "Then what is with this obscure desire for me? Have I given you means to assume I would reciprocate your lust?"] His voice sounded desperate for a concise answer yet she gave naught but a shrug of indecision and looked glumly to the floor.[b "Then why are you projecting attraction and feeling when it is non-existent? Why are you giving me this much hassle over your own insecurities? I do not want a relationship with anyone. I do not want relations with anyone. I am not attracted to anyone. My only [i desire] as it were, is to keep this ship intact and this crew alive. It may not sit well with you but if this nonsense continues to be an issue I will be forced to make arrangements for your departure. Am I perfectly clear?"] She was silent, a sign he took as compliance, and with a snarl of contempt for the situation he had been forced into she is brushed aside and he leaves.

Heading down corridor to his room, the flame of anger burning brightly in his eyes, he passed by the twins quarters and the noise that constituted music to the duo. They were quite content to shout along to the vague voice in the background struggling to be heard over the instruments. At least someone was enjoying themselves.

---

Stand beside Jax looking off down the path toward Atlas' home, the lights of the ship illuminating them in the deft warmth of the night as the planet fell to darkness. Behind them, Tera and the twins sat at a portable table, waiting for their meals to finish cooking and talking amongst themselves.
[+gold "Miss Rhea not eat with us Cappy?"]
[b "No Jax. It seems Miss Rhea and her accomplice have some unfinished business they wish to attend to."]
[+gold "Oh."] He did not understand the implied nature of his words.[+gold "Jax bring Miss Rhea food?"]
[b "No Jax, that will not be necessary either. I am sure Mr Atlas will see to her needs. You go back and serve the food."]
[+gold "Cappy not eat food?"]
[b "I am quite fine Jax. I have lost my appetite of late with this damned wound. Now go ahead, I will come sit with you all shortly."] The big man hesitates but nods his head and retreats, leaving the Tiefling to stare at the far off home of a man he loathes despite knowing him for less than a day. Regardless of what he says to placate Tera, he knows his own thoughts and feelings and as he stares at the building off in the distance, a few lights inside flickering as shadows pass in front, he can only feel contempt and hatred rise.

Fighting back on such devilish thoughts of violence, eyes closing, deep breathing, hand rushing through white locks, he begins walking backwards to the table before turning, the two girls watching him closely and he offers up a false smile to bring them some ease.

---

[+blue "He needs access to the main console in order to install the shield and cloaking device."] Her voice was gentle, looking at him from behind her spectacles as a hand deftly played with the bangle about her arm. It was a begrudgingly beautiful piece, even by his non-existent standards, though he knew she had received it from [i that] individual. His eyes had been drawn to it as she had stepped onto the bridge, having only been able to view it from afar or in glimpses of seeing her.

The last few days had been spent on his back under every console and secondary system that would be charged by the new solar sail, changing over numerous parts to accept a higher charge and connect a myriad of sensors along with the swapping out. It was a large downside to new equipment, that they were much more sensitive and therefore had to be monitored more closely.

[b "I am not keen on allowing someone to mess with the command panel. It is the heart of the ship, and one mistake when landing or performing a maneuver could mean our ends."] His hand ran along the the touch screen at his side. Connected directly to the command panel it was like caressing the physical embodiment of his ship. He was connected to his vessel via this station and to allow that thing to come in and tear it all up, regardless of what shield or cloaking device he wanted to install, was something that weighed heavy on the Tiefling.

Looking away from her crimson gaze, feeling rather meek in her eyes, for the umpteenth time he found himself openly looking upon her with interest. The clothing was something he had not seen her wear before and could only come to the conclusion her liaison with her fellow Pyrenian was the answer to it's appearance. The sash about her waist accentuated curves in her physique that had been long hidden under the baggy clothing Tera had found for her, the shorts revealing long legs. These were things he had seen before, assuredly, but it seemed only now to hold his attention or that his mind made note of them.

[b "I know what you will say. That I should trust your judgement of this man. To put faith in you, not him. And for the solar sail, the engine upgrades, everything else - I trusted you, I hope you would agree."] Sitting back into his seat his hand came to rest atop the mark where his wound had been, running two fingers in concentric circles around it. He had kept Tera away from seeing it since the incident days before. He pursed his lips, golden eyes dropping to the panel at his side and his free hand idly taps at the screen several times.

[b "I do not like the thought of him playing around inside my ship like this,"] the words are wrapped in honesty,[b "but I will grant you this one last request for leniency and allow him access."] The concession was rather hollow, echoing between the silence that continually built when they spoke. His fingers tap incessantly at the screen, tongue ran over dry lips, foot tapped without rhythm on the floor, all nervous ticks to occupy a mind that would not be sated easily, all a means of halting himself from reneging on his word immediately.

A lingering question comes to the forefront, one that has played like the sickly tones of a catchy jingle on his mind for days, though he cannot bring his gilded iris to rise up, to shake free of its bonds within fear, the fear that she will see the guilt hidden away. The curiosity bests him however and in a dull and low tones, he asks.

[b "Why did you allow your research to come before your love for this man?"]
LoxiRhea   5y ago

Rhea had not been looking forward to asking Dante’s approval for the final task. It was why she had put it off until the last second. When she finally got up the gall to do it, he responded much like she thought he would, with hesitation. However, he seemed have caught on to the trend of her using trust as a motivator. When he said it aloud, she felt somewhat manipulative, but he was right. It was exactly what she was going to say. So instead she was quiet as he went on. And somehow, that worked. It took absolutely no effort on her part to get his permission this time. She found it strange that things were going so easily.

“Thank you.” She would try to make it her last request, if she could get away with it. At the very least it would be the last in regard to Atlas. It shouldn’t be difficult as they were not likely to spend very much longer on the planet.

While Rhea would have liked to leave immediately so that things could get moving again, Dante was letting off just about every possible sign he had to display his discomfort. She feared he might recant his decision. Yet another reason to hurry out, but she stuck around. If he did change his mind then she would have to fight him on it until he swayed back to her line of thought. But the question that came out of him was not anything she imagined it would be.

“Well…” There was a short answer to the question, but she had the feeling it wasn’t what he wanted. She sighed, either way it was where she would start. “To put it simply, it is because I never loved him. At least in the way you are thinking.” Her love for him was one of friendship, not passion.

When she looked at Dante, he seemed uncomfortable. Perhaps he regretted asking. Rhea didn’t particularly feel like letting him out of it now, so she went on. “We got together in a time when I needed him and was afraid that if I rejected his feelings he would abandon me.” Rhea had never told the story before. There were those who knew because they had been a part of it, but she had never put the whole thing in words. “You see, before Atlas there was Sephora.”

A gentle smile graced her face at the thought of the woman, and her hand came up to touch the ornament on her arm. “She was my everything,” for the most part her eyes strayed from Dante as she spoke. “We traveled the galaxy together until I couldn’t take it anymore. I had this unsubstantiated sense of guilt. I couldn’t go on seeing all these societies and sights, while my own Pyrenian culture was a mystery. We stayed together; it just became a long distance relationship of sorts. Her voyage stories practically got me through graduate school.” Her voice held a lighthearted tone with the last line.

“Anyway, the point is, I sacrificed the life I wanted to get to the bottom of this mystery, and it was a mistake. While she got old, I stayed the same.” Most of this Rhea had emotionally dealt with, but it was still saddening to think about her first love’s passing. “I made certain we spent her last years together, but when she died I was left knowing I had wasted all the time I could’ve been with her on my research. I didn’t have a healthy way to cope with that… And then came Atlas. He was my stabilizer while I mourned and hated myself.” They had been long time friends before, but nothing more. It wasn’t until late after Sephora’s passing that she recognized he held a flame for her. “When I could stand on my own feet again I focused on trying to love him back, but I couldn’t. Even when he wanted to leave Pyreen and I was losing him, I couldn’t.” The woman had felt terrible about that for a long time as well, but in hindsight he had taken advantage of her vulnerable state, so he very much deserved what he got. Thinking about that her eyes were drawn to her still slightly discolored hand.

“Giving up on my research would mean that I truly did squander my time. I couldn’t live with that then and I won’t now, especially when I am so close.” To Rhea, finally having answers would somewhat justify her decisions. At the very least, the years would be worth something more than a random string of facts.

The roseate woman felt a smidge cruel for unloading all of this on the already stressed Tiefling. “Sorry, I am guessing that is a lot more than you bargained for.” It was quite the narrative, but it was better than having to come back to it again because she had been too vague. “I thought it would be best to lay it all out on the table so that there wouldn’t be any more confusion or curiosity.” She smiled at the Captain, an attempt to let him know that she was fine. This was going to magically send her into some sort of relapse. She had had more than enough time grieve.
WI_     5y ago

[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Each word, each detail she brings forth deepens the look of consternation on his face and his being visibly slumps into the seat.

When she had made note, from the beginning, that there was no love in her for Atlas, it had made him flush with self hatred. He had jumped rashly at conclusions quicker than a rat deserts a sinking ship, his accusations thrown back hastily and despite her calm and gentile tone, they cut at his very being. He prided himself on details and coming to sane and sensible observations, yet allowing [i feelings] to come into his judgement had belied a core of his personality.

His eyes had lingered on hers and she could read the regret in his gaze, but she continued on regardless and in turn mentioned a woman's name. The curve to her lips as she delved into memories, a hand brushing over the ornamental jewelry on her arm, he can tell that this being meant so much to her, even before she went into some detail on their life together.

Dante felt more disgust for himself as envy rose for this deceased woman who had captivated Rhea so. The jealousy is fleeting but replaced in a moment by contempt for himself and they both look away from one another, though for different reasons. His eyes glance the discolouration in her hand, but there will be no questioning how it happened having already jumped at the shadows once.

[b "You.. by no means what so ever, should apologise."] It's quiet, his gilded eyes stare pointedly down at the floor, the smile she proffers is missed, it would not have brought him any comfort.[b "I am the one who must beg your forgiveness for asking such a intrusive question."] Several times he inhales as if to say something further but as before, he seems indecisive of whether to say more, to further this topic of conversation. He steels himself a moment and nods to the internal monologue he is having.

[b "I am sorry for your loss. That Sephora is not here today. She comes across as a very intelligent and astute woman."] Eyes glance across to the panel at his side, a distraction to avoid looking up to her.[b "I understand your loss. I understand the pain in watching someone you love wither away before your eyes, helpless to stop it."] Dante hears her hold her breath, looking up briefly to her and a hollow laugh escapes him when he catches the brief look of surprise flash across her face.[b "I understand that reaction, I do not exactly come across as a being capable of loving someone."] A mirthless smile lingers on his lips and a hand raises up to stay her when she inhales to speak.

[b "It is okay, I know you mean no ill will, like I said I understand surprise at hearing that this cold and shallow being can feel anything but contempt and disdain. But love and care are.. fragile. Fragile but strong."] His hand leaves the panel and brushed quickly through his hair until his arm is left resting atop his head. It is a very lax pose, informal and something he does not do often.

[b "What I mean by that, is love is such a precious and personal thing that we shelter it, we protect it like offspring, it is innocent, it is without defense and must be nurtured. And if anyone attacks that, they come up against something that can at times transcend a persons response to being personally attacked. Someone attacks the one you love and you will not stop until they are.. dead.."] He trails off and eyes glaze over, losing their lustre, lost in a memory and his brow furrows at the sight he recalls, lips pulled taut and hands clench tightly.

Dante returns to the conversation in earnest without recognition of what he had seen, a covering smile to placate any fears she may have.
[b "I find that love is too strong an emotion and not one that can be controlled, and if it cannot be controlled then it is a liability. It is something that can strike out through jealousy, fear, anger, care. Those with the best of intentions can become the most potent killing machines because of love."] Sighing heavily he watches her for a moment, lost to other topics he wish he could bring up without fear of coming across in a harsh light.

[b "I hope I did not bring up unsavoury memories, and apologise profusely for even bringing up this topic."]
LoxiRhea   5y ago

Rhea watched as Dante internally debated. She would stay quiet and let him have time to figure out what he wanted to say, if he wanted to say anything at all. It was not a long pause until he came out with it. The woman had to hold back laughter when he commented on Sephora. She had been neither of those things. It was more likely a reflection of whom he thought would best suit her, so once again she said nothing. Maybe one day she would have a chance to tell him more about her, but for now he was going to share about himself.

Although she had had an inkling that something of the sort must have happened, she was still shocked by his outright disclosure. He misunderstood her reaction, taking it for disbelief in his ability to love another. The Pyrenian wanted to clear it up, but he was set to keep going. Her brow furrowed as he cut her off with a motion of his hand. A seed of pain grew in her stomach at the desolate look on his face. He was smiling, but it was superficial. The expression didn’t reach his eyes the way she had seen it before.

As the Tiefling went on, Rhea tried to follow his line of thought. It was warped, but from where he was coming from it made perfect sense. She nodded. Any strong emotion that could overwhelm a person so fully was indeed a risk. Love just happened to be the one that was easiest to lose control of.

Her eyes stayed on Dante, taking in his every movement and expression. Reading his temperament was not hard. But regardless of whether she could tell how he was feeling or even understand it, there was not a whole lot that could be done about it. The man was bogged down in his cynical way of thinking. After the horrors he had experienced, it was a deeply ingrained part of him. Still, she wished he could have some semblance of light in his life. Even a small spark of hope, that he could be happy again. Albeit a different happiness than the one he had known before, because nothing would ever be exactly the same.

Again he wore a false grin, trying to diffuse the situation. Taking in a long breath, she held onto it for a while, only releasing when she was ready to speak. “You are right, love is a huge liability.” The Pyrenian had lost count of the many reckless things had she done while intoxicated by the honey sweet sensation. “But some risks are worth taking, without them life is menial.”

“You needn’t apologize either. I don’t mind talking about it, there are many more good memories than there are bitter ones. Besides, it is payback for me coercing you into letting me do as I like with your ship.” The conversation having come full circle, Rhea was ready to inform Atlas that he could go ahead with the final adjustment.

Headed out, Rhea paused in the doorway. Partially turning back to the Captain, she called back. “And Dante, if I thought you were some unfeeling monster incapable of compassion, I wouldn’t be staying on this ship. Nor would I think nearly as highly of you as I do.” With any luck he would keep that in mind when he reflected on himself next.

Rhea found Atlas hauling down the stuff to install the defense system. Perking a brow, she wondered why he had been so sure that Dante was going to say yes. Upon seeing her face he commented that if the Captain were going to refuse her, he would have stuck to it in the beginning when he threw his fit. For that, she didn’t really have much of a retort. The woman just rolled her eyes.

When they made it back to the bridge, Dante was no longer there. It was disappointing. She hadn’t seen much of him recently, but it was probably for the best if he and Atlas kept their distance. Sighing, she received a look from her fellow Pyrenian.

-----

Two days passed and everything was finally in place. Rhea was ready to leave. It wasn’t like she knew where they would be going next, but she was still ready to get moving again. Being stagnant made her stir crazy. Not to mention she had been so focused on keeping an eye on Atlas she had neglected her work with the diary. That was probably for the better though. Sometimes one needed to take a break and then come back to a puzzle before they could make progress again. She wasn’t sure if it was one of those moments, or if she was just going to need more information before any headway could be made.

The male Pyrenian was rerunning over everything he thought might be important to know about all the new equipment. His female counterpart made sure to double check she had everything down in writing as he went through it all. At some point or another most everything had been taken down in her notes. Still, she was glad to confirm it was all there in neat lettering. Rhea would be able to go over everything with the crew without the fear of forgetting anything.

“Now, all I need is to speak with his royal highness, and you all can be off.” Atlas took a cheeky tone as he took steps toward the bridge.

Rhea had no idea what he could possibly want with Dante now that everything was through with. “I really do not think that is necessary.” She also had no idea if he was in the control room or not. There was a good chance that he was still avoiding the pair.

Upon making it to the bridge, the petite female was relieved to see her Captain was not there. It was probably the first time in a while she had been thankful he wasn’t around. The respite was short-lived. Atlas made a beeline to the intercom. He had ahold of it before it clicked in her head what he was about to do.

The man’s voice came through clear over the speaker system. “This is your interim mechanic speaking, I am pleased to announce that all modifications have been officially completed and you are free to lift off just as soon as I have a word with your Captain. Thank you for stopping by, and have a wonderful evening.” Through his accented voice you could tell he wore a wicked grin.

Rhea brought two of her fingertips to her forehead and pressed them tightly there. She sighed. Nothing could go simply. After all her hard work to make this as pleasant as possible it was going to blow up at the last second.

When Dante came into the control room, to say he didn’t look pleased would be a gross understatement. The woman was not going to apologize for her acquaintance this time. He could deal with it on his own. She was done.

Sometime between playing on the loudspeaker and the Tiefling’s arrival Atlas lost his good-humored look and a more solemn expression came across his features. As soon as the cerulean hued man was in earshot he spoke. “If anything should happen to Rhea while you are gallivanting across the galaxy, bring her back here.” There were no breaks in his words. Apparently his plan was to not let Dante have a word in edgewise until he was finished with his piece. “I have the feeling the Termani will not be satisfied with just resetting her. It won’t be over once she has died, crystal forbid it come to that. But if it does, get her back here and I will make absolutely certain no one comes within a light year of this place.”

The linguist was taken aback by the sudden serious topic. While she had thought long and hard about how this would likely lead to her demise, she hadn’t gone any farther. What would happen after that? Atlas was right to worry with how sadistic the Termani could get.
WI_     5y ago

[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat The male had sighed and his figure slid in his seat when she left the bridge, leaving him to his darkening thoughts and troubled expressions. He mulled over her wording however, and as if a eureka moment had struck he had taken after the woman only a few seconds behind.

Yet stepping through the doorway he was confronted by the two Pyreen conversing, his momentary look of surprise wiped away and his lips pursing tightly. Caught in a patch of darkness they had not seen him and he slipped into a doorway during a moment of distraction, the duo passing him by without a word spoken.

Stepping back out, a glance to the bridge, Rhea was illuminated for but a few seconds before the door came sliding out of the wall and she was gone. His hands clenched repeatedly at his side but regardless of whatever went through his mind he thought better, turned away, and strode off for his quarters.

---

The next two days were similar to the last few on this mans desolate planet. When he was not supervising Jax and the twins activities, he was conversing with a glum and lacklustre Tera. Rhea had her time eaten up by keeping Atlas in check and assisting with the installation of the final systems. When Dante had offered Tera's services to make it go quicker, the rebuff was curt, if only softened by Rhea's gentile tone and diffusing wordplay.

They had all gathered in the canteen for a meal, leaving the Pyrenian's to go about their business, the crew of the Enduring Odyssey seeing themselves as separate to their guests. It was not something Dante was keen to embolden in everyone's demeanour, but for that moment he was happy to be away from them both and fool his conscience into believing his life had not changed at all.

Then the intercom crackled to life. And that insipid man demanded his presence.

[+gold "We leave soon?"] Jax looked to the Captain glumly, happy to enjoy his days frolicking on the planet surface and enjoy so much free time. The twins mirrored his reaction.
[b "We will leave immediately once I have seen to this jester's query. Ensure everything is in order. Tera, the coordinates of our destination will be at your station when you arrive."] The anthro looked up momentarily from her frothing beverage.
[+red "Cap."] The Tiefling had turned to leave but hesitated and looked back questioningly.
[b "Yes?"] She hesitated, looking down with a solemn nod.
[+red "Understood Cap."] She propped her head up on her palm, the blue male nodding in return and heading toward the bridge.

Stepping inside something close to fury was brewing in his gaze and he clasped his hands together behind his back, lest he show any more hostility to the male before him. There was only the briefest of acknowledgements to Rhea, who stepped aside and behind Dante.

For a moment, it looked like the other man matched his expression, but when the words finally came forth and the meaning of his summoning to his own bridge was told, Dante could read beneath the outer surface emotion. His eyes narrowed, a snarl pulled at his lips and one hand actively held the wrist of the other, stemming any physical assault of the red skinned male. It was a struggle to remain civil and he could quite happily have knocked the man from his feet. But he constrained himself; for now.

[b "I had thought by now you would learn that I do not respond well to threats. Especially from the likes of egotistical, flamboyant fools with a diadem of self-righteousness such as yourself."] Such words oozed contempt and the rather restrained mistrust he had of the man was allowed to flow without constraint in his voice. The proverbial floodgates had been opened, let forth the torrent of a well bitten tongue.

[b "You speak of me gallivanting about this universe? This from the insipid hermit who fled inspection and having to conform to others demands, all to live out his days alone? You speak as if from a place of authority and yet,"] His hands outstretched to his side, head turning about in mockery of the man,[b "where is your power? Where are those you lead? I see nothing but a weak and pathetic specimen of life before me."] Without a word he stepped toward the four eyed male and their chests brushed one another. There was a slight height disparity, the Tiefling half a head taller, allowing to stare down at his would be adversary.

[b "Should anything happen out there, you will be at the back of a very long list of people I would entrust with her life. Pyreen males want nothing more than to control and order their women about like slaves and I will not stand by as another being is sold into servitude. She rejected your advances once before, and rather humorously, I proffered to leave her here when we first landed. She rejected you. Again. Perhaps it is because she can see what a miserable excuse for a male you are."]

His two golden eyes visibly flashed, brightening to a searing white that forced the other male to look away, turning his head and glaring down at the floor. With Rhea behind him, Dante was less concerned she would see, instead maintaining his proximity to the other male, his voice dropping to a whisper, the machines about whirring away and making any chance of her hearing him slight - but not impossible.

[b "I have killed hundreds of beings in the dozens of careers I have had in my lifetime, which has led to me acquiring a particular artistry in making others suffer. And if she were not here right now I would have no issue in ending your deplorable existence in the most despicable way I know. So don't you ever dare [i think], let alone [i attempt], to con me into doing your bidding. I see through your superficial shell. Now get off my ship before I reconsider letting you leave unharmed."]

His eyes returned to a dull golden hue as he turned away, stepping over to Tera's seat to begin imputing the direction to their next location. He pointedly avoided looking across to Rhea to gauge her reaction, assured she would speak her mind or retort if she felt the need. She was not one to shy away from confronting him or showing her opinion, that much he had learnt from their numerous interactions.
LoxiRhea   5y ago

Quad optic eyes closely watched the Captain. She caught the tremor that ran through him. At least he was restraining himself to some extent. Although she wasn’t sure how long it would last with Atlas’ brashness. The idea that this might boil down to one big pissing contest flashed in her mind and she sighed. The woman was not particularly in the mood to hear them go back and forth. However it did not come to that. Dante had a lot to say. All the restraint he had show this passed few days seemed to melt away and he let everything out. Rhea almost felt back for her friend who was on the receiving end. There were a few low blows among his commentaries. Some of which she winced at, because she had been the one to arm Dante with the information behind them.

Rhea didn’t think there was much more the cerulean male could say before things went quiet. It made her anxious not being able to hear what was going on. The feeling intensified when Atlas looked away. The woman strained to catch the mumbled words. All that came of it was a stray syllable here and there. Not enough to grasp the topic, but the intensity was another story. The toxicity that came off of Dante was nearly tangible. Still she did not interfere.

With his piece said and done the Tiefling moved away, leaving Atlas looking to the floor with an expression of disgust on his face. The male did not hesitate to head for the door, but he stopped at Rhea. The farewell was short and sweet. The man assured her that she would always be welcome, just not to bring her company again. His eyes flickered over to the pilot’s station as he spoke. This making it explicitly clear that his comment only applied to the man across the room.

Even though Atlas’ words were optimistic, the glint she caught in his eye relayed that her fellow Pyrenian sincerely believed he would never see her again. At least as she was now. The sentiment put a bitter look on her face when he turned to leave. As his footsteps became less prominent, the door closed dampening them completely. Although she was downcast to see him go, she was also relieved that she would no longer need to facilitate the communication between the two stubborn men. The constant worry that they would try and kill each other while she wasn’t looking subsided as well.

Red eyes resting on Dante’s back, she waited for him to turn to her now that Atlas was gone. When it didn’t happen the woman felt uneasy. There was only a mute stillness and she could not gather what he was thinking from this angle. The longer she stayed with her eyes on his form, the stronger the urge to reach out and touch him was. Body moving on its own, she came in closer. Rhea was a few feet from him, before she came to her senses and stopped. Instead she would talk. It was the safer option. “Dante?”

A moment passed, but eventually he at least looked at her. The tension he had previously been exerting had lessened greatly. Perhaps that was all he was waiting for, a clear head. If it were so she would be glad. “Is everyone ready to leave?”

The man seemed to have not anticipated her question. It was then she realized what he had been waiting for. Biting her lip, she suppressed snickering. “It is fine, I am not going to get on your case.” She really didn’t think it was worth it at this point. “You were wrong about a lot of things. But I doubt you will ever see Atlas again, so it would be a waste of my breath and your time to try and convince you otherwise.” For the moment, she did not feel like picking up another futile battle. Rhea had enough on her plate.

“Oh,” She had nearly forgotten about one more important thing. “You probably already know a lot of this, but I took down everything that we are going to need to know for the updated systems.” Extending the small notebook to him, she had been sure to write especially meticulously so that it would be easy for him to read.

It wasn’t much longer before the sound of the opening door caught her attention. The Pyrenian could only pray that her friend had not come back for some reason. Her head snapped to the entryway to be certain. Rather than red she saw brown, Tera announced that preparations for their departure were complete. This answered Rhea’s previously unanswered inquiry. It looked as though they would be leaving immediately.

It had been quite a while since the rose colored female had seen the anthro. She smiled brightly, but the response was not reciprocated. Her grin fell and concern replaced it on her face. Tera was always the first in line to put on a happy face and raise everyone’s spirits. While she very much wanted to know what was going on, Rhea knew it wasn’t the time. The busty female had a job to do, and their Captain probably would not appreciate her distracting the person driving his ship. So instead she readied herself for take off.

-----

Rhea had forgotten to ask just where they were headed next. It wasn’t likely to be of much consequence to her, so she did not fret over it. If it started to bother her, she could always ask. Although it seemed like she was seeing very little of Dante since they left Dolorosa. Between the twins and Tera, the woman was finding herself rather busy. Rhea was just glad the hot pink haired woman seemed to cheer up a little, even if she could tell things were not completely back to the way they had been.

When she had a moment to herself, she found her mind wandering. The series of intimate conversations she and Dante shared often distracted her from the seemingly fruitless dissecting of the journal. It was mildly problematic, because it reminded her of the last time she felt this way, in her adolescence. That in turn made her feel old and that was an issue for her albeit not a serious one.
WI_     5y ago

[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Dante was awaiting her approach at the pilots station, her gentle voice barely audible and he was hesitant to turn around lest she hadn't actually spoken. But four red eyes stared at him as he looked back and she was much closer. She was quiet on her feet. [i 'I will need to put a bell around her neck'] he thought quickly.

His brow rose a fraction at her query, having suspected her to lambaste his remarks toward Atlas or chastise his preconceptions about the man. But she continued and eased his nerves with deft wording and avoided a confrontation that didn't need to happen. Instead she offered him a book, a journal of sorts, explaining it contained information on everything Atlas had installed into the ship and in detail he would find easy to digest. He would have to read it later, as for now he cast it over to his seat and returned to feeding information into the panel before him.

Tera entered not long after and with a few curt words ordered her to take them to their destination. She gave a respectful bow of her head and took her seat, a bemused Pyrenian woman watching the duo for a second longer before she turned off for her own seat and they made to leave.

---

It was only two days journey to their destination. With the tweaks to the engine, the access to multiple tools which helped Dante to fix and mend particular sections of his ship, and the introduction of more modern technology, the ship was quicker and more nimble.

Tera was given some time to run the ship through some maneuvers and particularly given focus on using the sail and the shielding, though the later was assigned to Oni and Ino to run in unison, Jax given ownership of a large robust button that activated the cloaking. It was not likely to be used often and given the drain on the engines, not something they would test much either. It made the man feel important without giving him too much responsibility.

For the moment he held off giving any further tasks to Rhea, instead having her join the twins in learning about the shields, about how they worked and functioned and how to repair them should the need arise. It kept everyone busy and focused elsewhere than on their destination.

The space station they docked into was not reputable in any sense of the word. It was a place for back hand trades in black market goods. Drug distribution. Prostitution - of all races and ages. Illegal currency manufacturing and transaction. People trafficking. The procurement and sale of 'bush meat'; that is to say the flesh of endangered intelligent species, a common practice in more primitive civilizations that had spread to some elite circles that enjoyed feasting on rare delicacies.

Yet he had brought them there for another reason, and as they landed the twins and Jax stood gawking at the scene before them. It was akin to a shanty town, with buildings of multiple materials springing up where space allowed it. Now and again there would be a robust and towering structure that stood out from the rest. But by and large this was a mass of illegal homes and businesses that thrived on the lawlessness of the port. Dante deftly took a hold of Rhea's elbow, guiding her away from the group toward his seat to converse in whispered words.

[b "This is Barataria Station; not exactly the most idyllic place to visit but we have a need that can be sated here. We will be finding work from these people, dangerous work, work that you may not like to be a part of. But it is vital to secure funds to keep us alive."] Tera had turned back, watching them converse with a faint look of concern on her face. Dante noted it and gave her a curt nod before against guiding Rhea to follow him and leading her through to the canteen area.

When they entered, on the table were two masks and two jackets. One of the masks was silver sporting a particularly ornate face. It was akin to an ancient Roman design with golden bands running around the cheek guards and brim and though it was neither masculine nor feminine, the addition of two smaller eye holes decreed it was to be Rhea's.

The other was shining onyx in colour, with sharp and clear lines cut through it that gave the appearance of a skull, less the skin, and with only two eye holes as opposed to four. Again it had been tailored, this time to include two holes toward the top, specifically made to fit about Dante's horns. Each mask was but half and with a swift lesson he showed her how to place the mask on, covering his face and pressing at a switch close to his ear. This extended two straps around the back of his head and like a liquid the metal poured around his head to encase it fully, settling with a shimmer into place before hardening.
[b "It will not harm you, I assure you that."] He mentioned, his voice a touch dimmer behind the teeth of his design though his golden eyes shone through just the same, perhaps accentuated by the mask.

He reached out for a jacket that was short in design, just reaching his waist and rather figure hugging. It was similar to his golden number though it was in a plain white fabric. The other more closely resembled a trench-coat, though had been shortened to end above Rhea's knee and was coloured black with a silver trim to it - Dante was very fashion conscious for such a cold-hearted individual.

Once they had taken up their respective clothing items, beneath lay a pistol each, and without a thought Dante was lifting and tucking his into his waistband.
[b "It is better you are prepared to fight, though tell me, have you ever fired a weapon before?"] As he asked this he retracted the mask, the metal turned to liquid once more and he the straps retracted, his gentle blue skinned features coming back into view.[b "I highly doubt you will be required to use it just yet, but it is best I know now before we leave."]
LoxiRhea   5y ago

Having made port, things quickly became busy aboard the Enduring Odyssey. Soon Rhea was pulled aside to speak with the Captain. When he informed her where they had stopped, she started to feel anxious. His logic was sound. They would not be going anywhere if they ran out of money. Still she was worried things would turn sour if they were not incredibly careful in this place.

The Pyrenian kept pace with Dante as he led her to the canteen. Upon seeing the items laid out for them on the table, it took a moment for her to realize he planned to have her accompany him off ship. It was not altogether shocking, as the translator her duties were deeply intertwined with groundwork, but still she consideration it rather risky. She was sure he had thought this through carefully so she did her best to keep the hesitant look from her face.

Her eyes stayed on the man as he demonstrated how the masks would work. The woman found them fascinating. She had heard of the tech but she had never seen it in person. The interest helped her push out the fact that she found the design rather intimidating. More likely than not, that was what the man was going for. His comment on how the device would not hurt her was amusing. At this point, she was rather confident that Dante would never intentionally do anything to hurt her. But still, the Pyrenian found herself smiling that he felt the need to reassure her.

Rhea inspected her own mask, finding it more appealing than the other, then set it aside to take up the rest of the ensemble first. She was surprised how well the jacket fit. It got her wondering how the Tiefling had gotten ahold of her measurements, or if it was just dumb luck that it happened to fit so well. Seeing as it didn’t really matter she did not ask.

The final thing waiting for her was a firearm. Rhea was somewhat tentative to pick up the piece, but she did. It was heavy in her hand. As she was inspecting it to make sure everything was in place she heard Dante’s inquire. Half way through his statement, the muffle of his voice disappeared. When her eyes came up to his features, the mask no longer shielded them. The more familiar appearance was comforting for the time being.

“Yes, I have.” The roseate female’s answer was short and to the point, but there was no curtness in her voice. It did not take long her attention to go back to the pistol in her hand. When she was finished looking it over, Rhea mimicked Dante by fitting it into her waistband. The buttoning on the coat was wide, so it was not difficult to slip her hand through. With that, she would be ready to mask up and leave whenever Dante wanted.
WI_     5y ago

[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Her swift response was disconcerting and reassuring in equal measure. She could handle herself around weaponry, yet the manner in which she said it spoke of some hidden story to be picked at later if needed. For now he was satisfied that she knew what to do and a calming hand brushed up through his snowy locks in his trademark fashion.

The sanity of his plan to bring her along is not sound, rather fractured and marked with easy to see issues. She was quite naive. Rather aloof to threats and dangers. Not exactly the most intimidating of beings. He idled for the duration of such thoughts, toying with the mask though it was quite perfect for him. She stared at him throughout, or at the very least looked his way when he looked hers, blindly optimistic in the face of what they were about to step out into.

[i 'It is better to wet her head now. Control how the situation unfolds. Do not let outside circumstances dictate how things play out.']

Nodding to her he lifted the mask and with a last brush of his hair back he fitted it into place over his face, the straps extending, the liquid encasing his head and hardening, and the mask settled into place. Giving her a moment to affix her own mask he stepped forward when she took no more than a second too long for his liking, knocking back her own hands as he took a hold of it. A cold finger ran a long her cheek as he made a quick measurement and made a few adjustments to the mask before her.

Dante brushed back her hair a little before easing the mask onto her face and activating the gel covering that began encasing her head.
[b "I am told it is a strange feeling your first time."] He mentioned in regards to the mask.[b "But it will hide your appearance and guard against attack rather well - which I believe makes any discomfort negligible."] He remained close to her, chest brushing against her arm as he molded the gel to cover her head before it could set. It would better remember her shape if he did this now.

Satisfied it was fitted correctly he looked down into her eyes, hesitating a moment as gold and red iris' met. It was a touch perplexing to be met with a blank metallic face but such lively eyes, the alluring nature of her gaze more pronounced in that fleeting moment before he pulled away and stepped over to the doorway.
[b "Try not to stare at anything too long, keep your lips sealed and your opinions to yourself. These are rather irritable and angry individuals who love nothing more than a fight."] And with that warning he led her outside, onto the extended ramp and down to the dock.

They had landed off to the edge of the docking bays, pressed up close to a metal sheet wall that protected them from the perils of space debris. The shield that encapsulated the station, allowing them to inhale the foul odours emitted from the deeper confines of this place, brought a steady hum that played in the background of the general din of life. Saws and drills whirred, metal clanged as it was struck, voices of a hundred races shouted and swore in greater volume than the last and the general baying of animals and children would peak before one or the other was struck by master or mother respectively.

Immediately he weaved a path through the crowd toward a particular establishment he had in mind. Dodging around static individuals and slow moving groups was a mock skill in such places. Any hand that attempted to draw him toward their particular shack with promises of sexual gratification, all manners of weaponry or, as was particularly prevalent, the offer of enslaved persons, was swiftly removed and the being thrust aside from his path.

It was difficult not to turn back repeatedly to ensure Rhea's progress remained unperturbed. However he couldn't be seen to coddle her, for that would mark her as weak and a possible target. It was a means of testing her mettle and would give him a platform for which to judge her on.

Ten or so minutes from leaving the ship he cut sharply off the main thoroughfare and into a narrower and less thickly populated alley. It was rather dark out of the glare of the main stalls and businesses, but it was just about visible to see down. About half way down he paused at a doorway, a rather burly and intimidating individual standing to one side of it with arms folded across his chest. He was more imposing than Jax, a face only a mother could love. But he was to keep the general peace, and paid Dante no heed above a dismissive grunt as he passed by and inside.

The Tiefling was well aware of the particular premises and in the dark box room inside he shuffled through to a metallic bar, a large barely clothed woman stood behind it glumly. She was missing half her hair, in its place a quite unappealing burn scar that marred her pock marked orange skin even further. She had attempted to cover this over with decorative tattoo's though it only accentuated it in Dante's eyes. Tapping on the bar to attain her attention she looked at him dubiously.
[+green [b "What d'you want?"]] Quite the bartender. She had the personality down to a fine art.
[b "Two Dellins."] He replied succinctly.
[+green [b "Nah, don't sell none of that stuff."]] She shrugged off his request with little change in expression.
[b "I have it on good authority that you do [i 'sell that stuff'], so go get it."] His voice remained leveled as the woman leaned on the metal surface and toward him.
[+green [b "Yeh? Who says dat huh?"]]
[b "Mr Deleras."] As she narrowed her eyes at the name a hand began to slide off the counter, though Dante's moved quicker and his grasped her throat in a vice like grip. In such a cramped environment the act was ignored by the majority who continued to drink heavily or converse amongst themselves.

[b "I suggest you leave that where it is and fetch my order. Or I can give you another tattoo, though it may not be of your liking."] The devilish delight dancing in his shining eyes was understood immediately by the woman who pulled away from him. The tight grip on her throat loosened and she was quick to move through a side entrance into a back area.

The pause in proceedings allowed him time to gaze around the unkempt room with it's unruly patrons. It was as he recalled it in his memory, though with years more filth built up every surface and much more unsavoury staff. Thankfully, calming his uneasiness and any fears, Rhea entered through the doorway and, once she had a moment to look about to find him, moved over to him hastily.

[b "Just in time."] He muttered as he stood upright beside her and motioned to an individual that had left through a large doorway, snaked over to them, and promptly stopped before Dante.
[b [+grey "Come on, this way."]] He was of a similar build to Dante though more human in look and nature, dressed in a crisp black suit. There was no argument from Dante, having fully expected this and indeed seeking out such a response. All he did was motion for Rhea to follow along, which the man seemed fine with, and he led her through the back entrance and down a corridor.

It was more refined here. Well kept and properly cleaned - a faint aroma of wild flowers was a stark contrast to the metallic sulphur smell from outside. Without an order Dante moved through a door to their right and stepped to one side to allow Rhea to enter in behind him. Behind an ornate desk in a plush chair sat a finely dressed human, short in height but quite rotund. In the light that hung from the ceiling his spherical head gleamed brightly and looking at the two guests, a lit cigar pinned between his teeth, he smiled brightly.

The guard who had escorted them was waved off, the door closed curtly and two chairs before the duo offered toward the duo.
[b [+crimson "My my, quite the little disguise you have there Dante. Had Maria not described those horns of yours I may have let her throw your body through the airlock."]] There was little need for the mask anymore, and dutifully it was removed and settled into his lap as golden eyes turned on the bald individual before him.
[b "Still smoking Elias. I had thought your wife would put a stop to that."] There was a cackle of laughter from the other man who shook his head and put the cigar down into a silver ashtray.
[b [+crimson "Yeah, well my smoking out lasted that marriage, so I can do as I please."]] He settled himself back into his seat, looking across to Rhea.[b [+crimson "Who is this? Whats with the masks? Take it off."]] A cerulean hand darted across, encasing her own hand for a moment.
[b "Leave it on."] He looked at her briefly.[b "This is my translator come bodyguard. I think it best their identity remain hidden for now - for obvious reasons."] Another snorted scoff of derision.
[b [+crimson "A bodyguard? Ha!"]] His hand snatched at a decanted and poured himself a drink of a black fluid.[b [+crimson "Since when does the [i 'Azul Diablo'] need protection? It's others who need protection from you! Ha!"]] He cast back his drink in one mouthful as Dante's hand slithered away from Rhea's.
[b "That is the past, now let us discuss the present."]
[b [+crimson "Oh yeah? Fine, who owns you now then Dante? Who's holding that leash of yours, huh?"]] He was fixing a second drink for himself when he sensed a tensing of his old accomplice and looked up with interest.
[b "No-one owns me anymore Elias. In fact, I came down here on [i my] ship. With [i my] crew. To find [i my] own work."] The volume of his voice did not increase in anger, but the frustration was evident in the tone and delivery.
[b [+crimson "Hm. So someone let the mutt loose then. Interesting."]] A single eyebrow rose with his words but he sighed and knocked back his new drink.[b [+crimson "Fuck it, I'll bite. What kind of work are you looking for?"]] Dante shifted to the edge of his seat in anticipation.
[b "You know my particular-"] He glanced side on at Rhea, hesitating but a moment,[b "skill set. I need something quick. Something easy. Something that pays well."] The other man smiled with each sentence until he was positively beaming with joy.
[b [+crimson "Oh, I have just the job in mind for a discerning chap such as yourself. Though I hope you and your.. translator, don't mind a little rough play."]]
LoxiRhea   5y ago

Dante raising his mask once more was her queue to do the same. She fumbled with it a second. The idea of being enclosed in it without her glasses made her anxious. Still it didn’t completely deter her, but it seemed the twinge of hesitation was too much for the Captain and he came to her aid. While he was gentle in pushing away her hands with his own, Rhea felt like a child as he adjusted the metal disguise for her. It crossed her mind that the man might find her utterly incompetent in that moment. That idea sat in the pit of her stomach for a bit before he spoke again. The words were intended to oblige her nerves, still she couldn’t shake the feeling he was testing her for some reason.

When the gel like substance had fully encased her head and cast itself to her shape, Rhea nodded in understanding. It was moderately uncomfortable. The constraining feeling made her antsy at first, but as Dante had said it would be worth it. And she believed him.

With that taken care of, he didn’t move away and she just looked into his gorgeous golden eyes as he looked back into her own. The nearly glowing iris’ were blurred by her handicapped vision, but it wasn’t enough for her to be seriously disadvantaged. The world just wasn’t as clear as it should be. It would take time to acclimate to it, but she would live with it as long as need be.

Eventually he moved back, and she listened carefully to his words of warning. “Yes, sir,” was all she said in reply. Practice for keeping to herself as she would have to for the duration of their time off the ship.

On planet was much as she expected. This played to their advantage because Rhea would not be distracted by the atmosphere and conglomeration of life. Instead her focus could stay on following Dante. For once her small stature came in handy. It made it easier to weave through pushy crowds. Still she was not as skilled at this as the Tiefling. Gradually the gap between them became greater. If it were not for how tall he was she would have lost him completely. The Pyrenian just barely saw him turn onto a backstreet, before a hand halted her. The pressure on her arm immediately brought her eyes up to meet a triad of dull gray ones. The man attached was a stocky one. He stood only half a head taller than her and had a determined look on his face. The only thing about him she found threatening was the fact that he was touching her. Rhea soon remedied that by pulling her arm from his now loosened grip. Her glare was ineffective. While it would likely be the case without the mask as well, it blocked anyone from seeing her expression beneath.

His wide mouth, nearly spanning the length of his face, babbled on about some nonsense. Rhea ignored it. The first few sentences were enough to tell her he was attempting to scam her for something or other. The joke was on him, because she didn’t have anything of value to begin with. Still he was persistent. The con man followed her, continuing to talk her ear off as she slipped through the groups of people.

Making it to the alley that Dante had disappeared to, she breathed a sigh of relief. It was a dead end. Had it continued too far she really would have been lost. Stepping into the narrower path, her arm was caught again. Letting out an irritated sound, she swiftly swung back around to see the color had drained from her would be scammer’s face. The false air of confidence had dropped and he simple looked at her and shook his head. A plead for her not to continue on. And for the first time since arriving on this planet, Rhea was genuinely frightened to find out just where Dante was leading her.

The woman wavered but a moment before she lightly brushed the man’s hand away once again. Liberated, she continued deeper into the alleyway. This time he did not follow. The roseate woman walked until she came to the door watched by a hulking guardian. She could not imagine the Captain could have gone anywhere other than this. Glancing at the burly man, she entered glad he did not stop her. Her tail twitched nervously under her coat as she searched for Dante in the swarming establishment.

Nearly as soon as she spotted him, she was at the captain’s side. His presence calmed her nerves, but she did wonder what would have happened had she been any later than she already was. Her mind did not go bright places.

The smartly dressed man that came for them stood out like a sore thumb. Though they did not stay in this environment long enough for it to matter. And while the drastic change in scenery was bewildering, their guide blended in much better here.

It was clear Dante knew where he was going when he stopped at a needlessly gaudy door without prompting. Rhea shadowed him closely. Not wanting to be left behind, she slipped in with him and was thankful when no one brought any attention to her. Seated, she relaxed some, content listening to the men’s banter. They seemed to have known each other some time. At least that was the impression she got from the situation.

Things were going well, until Elias demanded she remove the mask. His tone was the sort that made Rhea move without thinking. However, Dante’s hand stopped hers before it could come off her lap. Her eyes stayed pasted to him even when his left her. It wasn’t till he mentioned her being a bodyguard that the look became one of disbelief. The heavy man across the desk seemed to believe the lie about as much as she wanted to stay on this planet. That being not at all.

It was then that some more interesting information came out. Rhea’s attention flickered between the two as they went back and forth. While particulars never came out, she felt as though she was learning something that she wasn’t meant to. Dante’s annoyance flared before too much of his past could be laid out and that was the end of it. While she was curious, the woman was glad he put a stop to it. Of course she wanted to know more about him, but she also wanted him to tell her himself.

Things deescalated quickly. Apparently there was plenty to be done, because Elias took no time at all to have a job lined up for them. His final comment about playing rough made her think the job might not be to her liking, but she didn’t have much of a choice at this point. Beggars couldn’t be choosers, and she was willing to do almost anything in order to survive.

There was little pause before Elias went on. “You see there has been a certain thorn in my side for a while that I would like taken care of.” The squat man pressed a button on a device on his desk and barked an order. It was seconds before the slender suited man was back in their presence. He carried a thin stack of papers. “As you know, I like to keep everything in writing, just in case.” The smile he wore was toad-like.

Apparently this was so every day for the man that he had papers drawn out before hand. Motioning with a vaguely amused expression the bookkeeping was handed over to Dante. The butler of a man’s face was devoid of expression. Rhea was curious if it was a learned habit or a defect in his DNA.

There was quiet as Dante read over the specifics of the job. The Pyrenian wanted to see as well, but she was afraid this was one of those times that she would get no say in what they were picking up. It hadn’t been long before the cerulean man flipped back to the first page. It didn’t take any more than that for Elias to start up again.

“So do we have a deal?” To Rhea the words seemed to echo through the room with the saccharine smell of his cigar. It was somewhat sickening, but she waited it out to see what Dante would do.

They had not come all this way for nothing, so after a short, but deliberate pause the Captain agreed. Rhea’s mind impulsively went to wondering whose name and face were on those documents. There was a chance in a billion she might know them, but still she didn’t like the odds.

The Tiefling stood, towering over the plump human man, hand outstretched. And it was at this point the woman began to wonder why she had come along at all. So far there had been nothing for her to do. Nothing to translate and no one for her to attempt to intimidate as a “bodyguard.” If he only wanted back up, Tera would have filled the role better than she. Caught between feeling useless and being furious he would endanger her this way she noticed something. Although he made attempts to be discreet, Elias was signing to his employee.

Reaching out, Rhea stopped Dante’s hand as he went to sign the papers and make it all official. When his eyes were on her, she shook her head hoping it would be enough for him to listen to her. While he didn’t look altogether happy, he halted what he was doing and the woman turned to their would-be employer. Her hands moved deftly as she called him out. The woman was careful not to come across as accusatory as she did so. She merely let him know she understood what he had been saying and that she would appreciate it if he would pay them what they were owed for their work.

Surprisingly, the man did not look angry. His face was more one of shock that he had been caught in his boasting. Beady eyes shifting to the finely dressed man, and he nodded. This resulted to him leaving their company once again.

“Well damn, seems I can’t pull one over on you with that one around.” He made attempts to play off what he had been doing with a smile before Rhea could out him to Dante. “Seems my man brought out some old papers. The numbers on them were all wrong, I sent him to get the updated ones.”

She scowled at his cool composure, but it was better this way in the long run. They would still be getting the work, just with a better incentive.

Everything moved quickly from there. Dante reread over the new paperwork and signed them without delay. She noticed the human now kept his hands still with her watching. The formalities came to a close and the pair was shown out with a memo of all the vital information.

Somehow Rhea was able to keep silent for the duration of her time off the ship, but she was sure she would be hearing it when they got back. She had the feeling that while she had followed his rules, her little caveat would not be appreciated even if it worked out in their favor this time.
WI_     5y ago

[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat The mentioning of a thorn in the plump man's side sparked a mildly amusing thought of him bursting like an over inflated tire. It momentarily tugged a corner of his thin lips though all eyes shifted to the lackey that had returned from seeking out said paperwork.

It was overtly clear they knew Dante would be seeking employment, and that he could be turned as a weapon against their own targets. As the paperwork was passed into his hands he knew and understood the routine and dutifully began to scan over the details of the job offer. That is all it was. It was not murder. It was not an act of violence. It was simply a new case. A task to be completed. A fee to be collected for a job well completed.

[b [+crimson "So we have a deal?"]] It was so matter of fact. A person's life was ended abruptly, a flame extinguished, in such a succinct manner. And Dante was perfectly fine with it all.
[b "I will assume this comes with the usual proviso."] Elias knew he had Dante with that. It was carefully phrased and he smiled devilishly whilst nodding in agreement. A silence between the two extended for several long seconds, but in the end, there was an agreement, and Dante stood looming over Elias with outstretched hand to shake the scheming individuals sweaty appendage.

A pen, it looked like a relic of some years, was offered to him and he leaned forward onto the table to sign against his assigned markings. As his hand came down to sign however, the other was taken by Rhea and his concentration broken as he looked across to the blank mask, her eyes full of life and staring back at him. His thumb instinctively curled around her fingers and he watched her in confusion as her head shook from side to side. His eyes narrowed but he paid heed to her interruption and stood upright, releasing her hand as she began to sign to Elias.

The gestures between them were lost on Dante, having not learnt this particular language of hand motions and flicks of fingers here and there. He knew other languages of this nature, but like a spoken language this had it's nuances and individual differences that he was lost as they conversed hastily.

With a flick of his wobbling chin, Elias sent his footman off out the room and Dante was left turning from one to the other, almost spinning around as he sought some form of answer to what was going on. Thankfully Elias obliged him with the poorly hidden reasoning of incorrect papers, and Dante played the role of humble guest and merely nodded, taking the new papers when they arrived and scanning over them again. The fee now was much higher than before and he clicked his tongue against the roof of his mouth in irritation.

Regardless however he signed on the dotted line, pausing to glance side on at Rhea for any further sign he was being duped. But she seemed satisfied this time and he handed over the complete work to Elias who snatched at it with his usual charming smile. Business was concluded with swiftness and another deft nod of the head from Elias had his servant lift up a case that had been waiting close to the door when they had stepped inside. Yet another sign that this was all simply going as planned.

With the case in hand, Dante led Rhea out and paused to quickly re-affix his mask. Silence between the duo prevailed as they moved with speed back toward the ship. There was nothing here worth purchasing, the majority of it cheap imitations, and they now had a job to complete.

Led back on to the ship he paused to scan the duo inside, allowing her to enter first before turning and scanning the crowd passing by. He was wary of being watched but it was almost inevitable his presence and location had been tracked. With the door locked behind him he stepped into the canteen area and looked across at Rhea, though he remained silent in his observation of her. The brief pause ended when he reached up and removed the mask, in turn taking the pistol from his waist-band and placing both onto the table.

[b "Thank you, Rhea."] It was as genuine as his tone could get and quite similar to their time in his quarters post wounding.[b "That man is quite insufferable and in my haste to have you away from his vicinity I was willing to sell our services for less than they are worth. I will make sure to reflect that in your share once we have completed."] The case he had been handed was lifted up and placed on the table, lain down flat, a dull metallic ring echoing down the silent hallways.

[b "As for this task; I feel it is in the best interest of everyone that only I take it on."] His fingers danced across the case delicately as a hand brushed up through his hair once more. However his shining gaze fell upon her still.[b "I can only give my personal and profession insight on this however, as you are not like the others. You keep your own opinion and speak your own mind, and I would rather not fill my ship with agreeable beings."] Dante went silent then, leaving the floor open for her to state her desire. Whatever her decision, they would be leaving soon - he had other contacts he wished to converse with.

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