The Pleasure Houses of the Great and Bountiful Empire
In the Aftermath
Timeline: Mission Day 6 at 2200
[Waverider Shuttle; Holodeck]
[Six Days After Departing Talbeethia]
Timmoz folded away the last of his reclamated and refreshed garments, and tapped the shelving closed. They eased on a whisper back into the flush, vaguely satin grey metal of the bulkhead. With a fluid sweep, the Orion pushed aside the sheer Tholian silk curtain of vibrant- if dark- scheele green. It moved almost like obedient liquid at his gesture and then fell as smoothly back into place. He used it to block out the absurdly minimalist design of the onboard storage- and to add color to the Federation greige.
"So," Timmoz husked with bemusement, "Do you want to assimilate into Courtesan culture and be a Qajaedi, or do you want to be a visiting Dignitary?" Timmoz asked over his shoulder to his friend. "The program comes from Ur'eon Qolaar but I modified it." His eyebrow, wily, rose, "One, you are being pleasured. The other, you are doing the pleasuring." He grinned wider and bobbed his head with an admission, "And spying. And deceit. And being uh... what is the Linguacode word... being a harpy."
Irynya was leaning against the bulkhead watching as Timmoz moved about the space. He'd proposed a holodeck sojourn not long after their return from their time trapped in the space of his memory and she'd eagerly agreed, at the time still struggling with the unresolved limbo of her relationship with Kennedy. She was more relaxed now than she was when he suggested the outing, but just as eager. Her eyes flashed mischief as he described the two options to her and she chewed the inside of her cheek for a moment thinking. "A dignitary, I think," she commented finally. "I could stand for a bit of being pleasured."
Timmoz's incubus smile ticked up on a cheek. "Perhaps... a Vandi Princess. Or the Imperial Scion of a Vandi Empire?" He suggested. His eyebrow, surreptitiously perked, accompanied his reaching for a PADD; he began to tap at it. "You could be from among the Gene-Primii of the M'Tani Chorus."
Pushing off the wall she came over to his side, peering at the PADD he was holding, images of races and attire that she did not recognize flashing across the screen as he moved through. "Not opposed to being a Princess," she commented, "but what were the Gene-Primii?" She turned her head slightly to look up at him before tipping her head over against his shoulder. "And what will you be qash?"
"The M'Tani were ruled by three versions of the same woman, called The Chorus of Perfection," he explained. The PADD swept, with a side-swipe of fingers, to an ancient-looking relief of three alien women. They were humanoid and Near-Human in appearance. Their ears and earlobes were different, as were the strange faceted appearance of their eyes. "One of their colonies becomes what we know as the Oran'Taku," Timmoz said. He pointed at the figures, "Mother-Virgin, Mother Apex, and Mother Wisdom," he said, running from the youngest to the oldest of what looked to be nearly the same woman. "The Gene-Primii were the companions, bodyguards, lookalikes, and lovers of the three." His head bobbed once, "Also near-clones."
Timmoz pinched the screen at her question and then swept. The appearance of a man in a sheer and slinky, knee-length set of layered loincloths over a pair of copper mesh-lined, black harem pants. The costume's midriff was bare and had a brocaded, translucent silk top with a stiff, high band of a collar on a leather shoulder guard. Over one shoulder was a drapery of a waist-length cloak, in glossy black like liquid inky darkness. The costume came with a curved sword. "I will be an Ambassador of the Botchok Satrap."
"Ooooh... We should get some sort of image of you in that to send to Nico..." she commented with a chuckle. "Might keep him... occupied... for weeks." She righted herself then, but not before nudging the tall Orion with her shoulder suggestively. "I'll go with a Gene-Primii. That sounds interesting and nothing wrong with being a lover who is getting some loving themselves. We can call it training to be a better companion to The Chorus."
Timmoz smirked and teased with an eyebrow rise, a shake of his head. "Perhaps," he said noncommittally. "It would take a long time to get back to him, considering." "Computer, recall measurements for Lieutenants Irynya and Timmoz," he stated. "Replicate garments according to these designs," he flicked his fingers at the images and then flicked them toward the garment replicators. "I prefer to keep Nico a little hungry. If he wants fresh meat, he knows where to find it," Timmoz chuckled, vaguely bearing the edge of his canines in his smile.
The Risian raised her eyebrows, a coy grin of amusement lighting her face. "I see," she said simply before stepping toward the replicator to retrieve the replicated attire. She handed Timmoz the bundle of silky black that was his and set hers on the bottom bunk, separating the pieces so she could see what was involved. Not bothering to warn the Orion, she tugged free of her top and her sports bra, lifting the intricate gauzy drape before putting it back on the bed and rummaging for the soft band designed to cover her breasts. The band itself was fitted, covering the vital parts, but offering a sweetheart view of her cleavage. The gauzy drape came next before she bent, shimmying out of her pants, and pulling on the sarong-like cloth that covered the basics, but not much more. An elaborate head covering made up of a lacy intricacy of fine metal links with a singular tear drop gem in a near glowing pale pink that sat at the center of her head, dropping just over her ja'risia.
"Well?" she said expectantly, turning around to face Timmoz with her hands held wide to offer the full effect of the outfit.
Timmoz had changed as well. The dark, almost somber nature of the some of the fabrics seemed counterintuitive to his preference for some splashes of bright color. But the meshes and interweaves of copper harkened back to days frolicking on Risa. The cloak really was almost an act of obtenebration in itself- like it was liquid silk. When Irynya turned he was pinning a Qot- like a Mon- onto the cloak. With a subtle flourish the properly thievish looking rogue-ambassador pushed the drape over his shoulder. He fastened the qajubon arm cuffs over his biceps. The height of the stiff leather collar from the lamellar of leather on his shoulders seemed to accentuate an already long neck.
"You look ready to assume the role of Mother Apex herself," Timmoz said. "Now. Do you want to play the program as an open environment? Or do you want to play the program as it is written?" He asked as he smoothed hands down his sides and then over his butt. "I should warn you that the program is..." he smiled into his cheek, and chuckled, "Very Kolari. Its about pleasure, but paranoia. Intrigue, murder."
Iry twirled slowly, the gossamer fabric of the drape pooling and flowing at her ankles while flashes of tan skin shifted with the swirl of the fabric. Two loops presented themselves as she spun, loose fabric hanging at the sides. She shifted a loop over her middle finger making the soft translucent strip seem to flow down her arm. "Dealer's choice?" She responded. "Which are you in the mood for?"
The lime Incubus smiled into a lean cheek at that. He finished clasped his Qot and then presented himself when he called for, "Mirror." A plane of a holographic reflection rolled down in front of him. He turned to the side, and turned to look over his shoulder at his back. "Kolari fashion..." he muttered. He sighed and turned back around, smoothing hands over his flat belly. "But it will do." He proceeded to the door of the Waverider's sleeping bay and pressed for entry. He glanced back at the Risian with a devious glean of teeth under a raised lip of a smile. "Ready when you are."
It would have been untrue of Irynya to say that she hadn't taken the opportunity to appreciate her friend's appearance while he checked it over in the mirror. She could have blamed it on the pheromones, but realistically she just recognized an attractive physique when she saw one and the exotic-to-her get-up certainly didn't hurt. Putting on the airs of someone used to being bowed and scraped, she held one delicate hand out, shoulders back and head high and proud. The gossamer fabric of the costume undulated down her arm and she waited, with a lifted brow, for Timmoz to take her hand. "Ready, of course," she said with a haughty tone before she winked at him.
Timmoz smiled back at her haughtiness and the assumption of her bearing. He nooked his elbow not obscured in the liquid night of his shoulder cloak, the one bare and sinuous and decorated in its copper Qajubon. "Apex..." He bowed his head and opened his hands in a way sort of similar to the Ferengi action of pleading- but his fingers were open almost like a flower. "Vand-Mother. Your pleasure awaits among the Kolari Courtesans of the Great and Bountiful Empire. May this Takan'shaq of the Satrap of Sirruus-Botchok escort you to the Atrium of Xo-I, though he is unworthy of the Genetic Primii's touch?"
The haughtiness resumed, though her eyes danced. With a slight incline of her head she acquiesced and settled her hand in the crook of his elbow. His skin was smooth and warm and familiar and for a quick moment she tucked both of her lips, pressing them together to suppress the excitement and appreciation. "Lead the way," she said simply. A slight squeeze of her hand as they exited to the corridor was the only other thing to give her away.
It was quite a scene led down toward the Holodeck. A group of Yeomen, talking among one another, slowed to slightly gawk at the two ship's helmspeople and their strange attire. Timmoz glanced sidelong, eyebrow raised, to see if Irynya enjoyed this attention. They passed a couple of Engineers in jumpsuits who also glance their way out of some curiosity.
The Risian did, indeed, appreciate the attention, though it was also not terribly uncommon. In a way, it was nice to have people openly gawk instead of glancing and looking away in an attempt to be polite. She returned Timmoz's look curious if he was also appreciating the stares.
The Orion seemed to be... though under his ever-present Cluros smile it was hard to tell. When they arrived, Timmoz let Irynya go long enough to bring fingers to interface the Holodeck's controls. The panel squealed and chirped at the touches. "Program complete. You may enter when ready," the computer stated. Timmoz looked back to his assistant. "Apex before Satrapy," he said with a gesture at the doors.
The haughty persona returned and Irynya's chin tilted upward. It was hard to look down her nose at Timmoz, who was several inches taller than her, but she tried for the effect anyway only halfway successful. Haughty just wasn't entirely natural to her. Still, it was fun to play a part. The inclination of her head was, again, the only form of an acknowledgment as she stepped forward and the holodeck doors parted with their telltale whoosh. Beyond the doors was only darkness and the Risian broke character long enough to glance back over her shoulder at her friend, curiosity on her features. Then, though, she resituated her shoulders and, as if she were the Mother Apex herself, glided smoothly into the dark.
The doors closed with its metallic crunch and hiss. There was complete darkness- and a breathless, if pregnant, stillness. It was as if even the ship had been suspended and they were standing in nothingness. A soft... oscillation... seemed to rise from their feet. At first, it was more of a hum until the low vibration tickled at the perineum. There was a beat. A light in the shape of a hovering, open lotus appeared near a wall on Irynya's side of the room.
There was movement too- and a waft of scent. It was unmistakably Orion, the spicy blend of tang, sex and oak. Each drumbeat brought a new flicker of a lotus-light around a perimeter. Each drum beat seemed to light almost an ejaculation of stars and with it, a soft modicum of light. The movement was bodies- Orion, nude, svelte. Male and female. They were processing to stand between the lotus lights where they turned in their chiseled nakedness to face the pair.
Throat singing. It seemed to wash from the figures but as one voice. Timmoz was paused and standing with a slightly amused smirk, raising his brow at Irynya with a side glance. "Did I mention the Kolari enjoy their theatrics?" He asked as the throat singing waned and there were soft rasps of drumbeat.
"You did not," she said softly, though her expression was amused, eyes scanning the assembled figures appreciatively. "But I can't say I'm surprised." The throat singing had been almost palpable--a physical presence in its own right--and something about it excited, creating allure and draw. Anticipation. The Risian's eyes darkened slightly and an approving quirk settled on her lips. "Do we... do something or are we waiting for something?" she asked.
"I know you're surrounded by beautiful green bodies but try to control yourself," Timmoz teased the Risian with a sideways, wily glance. The slyness of his smile, a nuance at the corner of his mouth to show an edge of teeth, held with the dance in his eyes. "I'd considered bringing your cadet-pet and Dear Taoji here so they could kiss and make up," Timmoz murmured in private to her. "But I don't think the replicator could keep up with multiple changes of underwear." Timmoz chuckled. His chest rolled with his shoulders and he issued a sigh. "Kolari pageantry..." He muttered with the Orion ennui.
Meanwhile, the bodies had formed a solid and perfectly distanced circle of alternating male and female nude forms, all astounding and svelte in their myriad of different body shapes. It was a chorus in the soft, warm greens of Kolari skin as eyes with epicanthic folds and black eyes gazed at the duo.
"Not a one of those has the delightful familiarity of your pheromones and your particular verdant shade," she quipped back with raised eyebrows. She and Timmoz had never gone beyond the familial familiarity of their cultures, but they'd also never pulled punches on attraction. Mature cultures, as Timmoz liked to describe them, didn't need to be indirect on those fronts. It made it easy for her to comment and still know that he would take it in the way it was intended.
His comment about Kennedy and Noah was true enough as well, though Noah had also seemed distant with her. It was something that tugged at her, feeling as though she'd lost a closeness that she'd only just gained. Something on par with the comfort she felt with the lanky black-clad pilot next to her.
A woman's voice began to speak as the twilight held, cloaking in umbral darkness much of the figures' bodies. "Tukhbiruna 'asatir Qolaar alqadimat 'anah kan hunak faragh wala shay'un."
Timmoz leaned in to translate with a soft husk in Irynya's ear. "The ancients of Kolar tell us that there was nothing."
A woman advanced, seemingly dressed in moonlight, and appeared as both bare-breasted and heavily pregnant. "Ja'at Sumeme 'iilaa alfaragh min alarij watalabt minh 'an yatia. laqad 'aetath alraahatu. 'aetatha Xo-I."
And again Timmoz translated to her, almost playful as puffs of warm breath tickled the shell of her ear. "Sumeme came to the void from outside time and bid it to come in. She gave it comfort. She granted it safety."
"lam yaerif alfaragh ma hia. fdwlyan minha , 'aetaa nafsah alshakla. 'asbah alfaragh har." She continued as the light warmed and the humidity grew. The males of the circle stepped a foot forward.
Timmoz continued, "The void did not know what she was. Curious of her, it gave itself form. Taking form allowed empathy. The void became another."
"Shaear alfaragh ghayr muktamali. lakina Sumeme ra'at ma hawal alfaragh 'an yakuna. 'asbah alfaragh awal Ur'eon." The hologram spoke, opening her arms as the light over the men rose to show nearly their full form save their eyes.
Timmoz smirked slightly, "The void felt incomplete. But Sumeme saw what the void tried to be. The void became the first Ur'eon." His brows rose under his coils of bangs. He put his hands behind his back and clasped them.
""Maha fae lat?" One of the men near Irynya's ten o'clock position said with a look of fear and disdain.
"What have I become?" Timmoz translated, looking at the figure. And as the figure spoke more Timmoz continued. "I have destroyed myself. I no longer feel whole."
"Qal Sumemei: "Taeal maei , wasanasheur mean bialraahati." She responded and extended her hand to the naked Orion. The man took her hand.
"Come with me and we will feel whole together," Timmoz added.
The chorus of women and men spoke as the light rose to a warm and pleasant level. They spoke in unison. "Hadhih hi laenatuk wabarakatuka: Eindama takun mean, takun kamlan. Eindama takun bimufradik, satasheur bimadika."
Timmoz's final translation was, "When you are together, you are whole. When you are alone, you will feel your past self. This is the curse and blessings of being Orion." The group began to disperse, gradually leaving the two pilots to face the single pregnant Orion hologram.
Whether it was the pageantry of the thing or the soft rasp and warm breath as Timmoz spoke near her ear, the delicate hairs on the back of Irynya's neck were standing at attention by the end of it. A delicious sensual shiver of anticipation ran through her and she shot a curious excited glance at her friend. As if on instinct she held out her hand, tucking it in his warmer one. She may have been playing a role, but in that moment what she wanted was the familiarity between qash and kava.
The pregnant woman, eyes like smoldering smoke, stepped forward while another towering woman of exceptional build, lime skin and- strikingly- a head of white hair, stepped up behind her. The pregnant one made a Ferengi-like hand gesture, but her fingers opened more like a flower. "To what does this House of Culture owe the pleasure, with the arrival of a member of the Genetic Primus?" She asked. Her demeanor was formal and so refined as to be almost balletic. "Do you seek enlightenment, pleasure, or a consult with the Qajal?"
Timmoz in his bemusement hung back, standing in a similar position as the platinum ombre Orion near Irynya's side. He studied the blonde who, in turn, studied him back.
Irynya fell into character as if she had been a revered archetype all her life. Her chin lifted, an imperiousness settling on her face. "Pleasure, primarily," she responded in her best approximation of the tone of someone used to being listened to, "but enlightenment is always welcome, particularly if the two can be combined."
She glanced back at Timmoz, then, and gestured demurely at him with a practiced turn of her wrist. "I do not, however, speak for my escort. He may choose differently if he wishes."
The pregnant woman bowed with her lotus-finger gesture and turned to address Timmoz. Timmoz returned the gesture. "Speaker for our Cousins. How may we bring you to Ecstasis as well?"
Timmoz smiled over the spread of his long fingers, "It has been a long journey. Pleasure and the invigoration of the Circle, Kahi Qajali."
The pregnant woman nodded once and again strode groups of nearly nude men and women. Most of them had a strong Kolari look. "Our retinue will take you." She spit on the ground. "Please accept our Xo-I in the Halls of the Lotus." Timmoz touched his armband and then spit on the ground as well.
Irynya looked from the pregnant Orion to Timmoz and back before whispering with a touch of urgency. "Am I supposed to spit?"
Timmoz, amused, nodded his head with a blink of his eyes. "Unless you want to insult her and reject her offer." he whispered back.
With a terse nod, Irynya turned back to their hostess and lobbed a glob of spit in a near-perfect arc at the floor. She straightened then and fixed the other woman with a look. For a moment it looked like she might drop out of character, but her computer returned and she added, "We are honored to accept your Xo-l." She inclined her head slightly, the move accentuating the graceful curve of her neck.
Timmoz followed Irynya while the pregnant woman and her powerful, platinum-haired escort brought them into a lush inner sanctum. Alien plants- some of them seemingly singing or tinkling with tiny bells- formed an elaborate symbol as an open flower that was, unmistakably, vaginal. On the far end a crescent of nudes stood, hands behind their backs, as if there for presentation. "Please, Apex, if you would allow me?" The pregnant one bowed with her lotus gesture. She snapped her fingers and made a weaving gesture with her hand. "Erolic."
A sleek, muscular Orion not of typical Kolari appearance stepped forward. His skin was warm green and his hair fiery red. "Does this one please you?" Erolic said to Irynya. He bowed with a lotus gesture to his fingers.
Irynya stepped forward, placing her hand gently under Erolic's chin for just a moment to indicate he should rise from his bow and then stepped back again. The red-haired Orion. Was taller than she was and she tilted her head upward slightly as she appraised his features before her chin drifted slowly downward along his frame. He was built with more muscle than Timmoz, but their heights were roughly the same and the riot of curly red on his head complimented the warm verdant tone of his skin. She let a small appreciative smile quirk the corner of her mouth before saying. "Yes. You do."
Erolic bent his elbow to take her with him, inviting her to thread her arm inside. Meanwhile, the pregnant Matron bowed again to Timmoz. "And you, Cousin-Traveler?" Timmoz had been studying the grouping with a slightly narrowed eye. he brushed at his chin.
He gestured at two powerfully built Kolari. The Matron gestured and wove her fingers again- each with a different sign that drew Timmoz's attention. "Arestamo. Harrak. Step forward." Timmoz walked around the two. One had lengthy hair, the other was cropped short. Timmoz inspected them, eying the strength in their legs, butts and cores.
"Tatharoc-Qobis." Timmoz stated with an eyebrow lift. The Matron nodded once, eyes half-lidded and blinked once.
Timmoz walked in front of them, "They will do," he agreed.
Irynya had taken the proffered arm, but placed a hand on his bicep to pause him from leading her away until Timmoz had chosen. She was curious who he would pick and, beyond that, curious how to proceed from here without her friend to help her navigate the social niceties. She raised her eyebrows in his direction as Erolic, ever patient, stood by her side.
Timmoz led his two forward, pausing at Irynya and Erolic. "Shouldn't you be getting an oiled bath and a massage?" He asked. "Did you change your mind on your attendant?"
Iry gave her friend am amused look. "No, I am quite happy with Erolic. Just wanted to see who you chose." She fixed Timmoz with a grin that spoke slightly of mischief, before turning back to the man whose arm she held. "Please," she said warmly, back into character right away, "lead the way."
Timmoz watched after her. "I will see you after the match. And after you're bath," Timmoz assured. The followed the two nude brutes as they sauntered in front of him.
The scent was similar too gardenia, albeit with a smoky quality. Its fumes were purplish-white as they wound, lazily, like coiled snake wisps from the incense. The water was warm and perfumed, the bathing vessel made some kind of ivory, with softly undulating roils of water. Flower petals and small, softening seeds and herbs floated in the mix. From the other end of the bath lounged Erolic. His pale green skin was oiled and glossy and deft hands lifted Irynya's calves from the water and began to scrub slowly, attentively, with softeners and exfoliates. He was gentle with her feet, and splayed her toes with his fingers, rubbing her soles and the arch.
"If this one may be bold, what brings an Apex to Qolaar?" he asked with a pleasant rumble.
It was all Irynya could do not to melt into the tub itself. She couldn't remember the last time she had bathed with someone. Well, that wasn't true, she could, but it had been some time. It felt good to be the object of someone's ministrations for a change -- to abdicate the responsibility of knowing the most and guiding to someone else.
"A necessary break from my responsibilities," she purred back at him as the muscles in her calf and feet reported back an intense desire to turn to butter beneath Erolic's practiced care. "My friend recommended your establishment highly and I have never known his tastes to be wrong."
The ministrations of the Orion Red-Haired Erratic, undaunted, kept toward that goal of turning Irynya's muscles into a malleable spread. "The Botchoki Ambassador?" He inquired while her toes were massaged and her arches worked with magical thumbs. His nod was easy, as relaxed as Irynya's muscles were meant to be. "How does an Apex become entwined with our Cousins near the Savage Space of the Quorounosi?"
The Risian, whose eyes had been closed let out a deep rooted sigh of appreciation before tilting her head forward to look at the man. "The Ambassador had the fortune of... navigating a project together to bring our people through several unique circumstances. I have learned a great deal from him and have been glad to call him friend ever since."
Her eyes sharpened slightly as she took in the red curls, now slightly damp against Erolic's nape,. Her fingers itches to play with them, loop them around her own finger, but she held back. "Where do you hail from Erolic?" She asked.
"I was bought by the Qajal from the Xo'a Kulkaadi. Mistress Terandi purchased me," Erolic stated without batting an eye. He was examining Irynya's foot shape and then gently settled it back into the warm water. He rose. His light lime nakedness was dripping and had been immaculately trimmed and shaped of hair without being shaven. He stood and stepped from the bath and retrieved a small strigil and a callous softening oil. "People ask me if I am Vondemi," he gestured in a crescent around his face, "Because of the hair and eyes. Why do you ask?"
Irynya listened attentively, appreciating the rumble and depth to Erolic's voice as he spoke. "Curiosity," she answered honestly, "and I like to know a bit about anyone who is so expertly skilled at their trade." Her warm green-brown gaze traveled his length, chasing water droplets with her eyes along the lines of his musculature. "Particularly when that skill is being used to such effect on me."
She waited for the Orion to return to the water before inquiring further. "Do you have a skill or experience you are particularly proud of?" she asked.
"Room for more?" A voice asked. Erolic's mouth was open for answering but closed as, from the firelight gold and shadows, emerged the lean and swaying shape of Timmoz. "You look busy. I can come back." He looked unchanged from the time that they'd parted in the foyer hall.
Irynya's answering grin was delicious joyfulness "Not so busy that you shouldn't join us," she responded before looking to Erolic. "If Erolic doesn't mind, of course. He was about to tell me what skill or experience he is most proud of." She smiled warmth at her companion before turning the full force of her Risian what's mine is yours ethos on Timmoz, expression coaxing and coy in turns. "Out of your finery and into the water."
Timmoz began to shoulder off his attire, starting with unclasping his Qot and relieving himself of the cloak. Erolic spoke while he re-entered the bath with the strigil. He anointed its smooth edge with a rim of fine oils and then took up irynya's opposite leg. He began to run the copper tool, curving and elegant, about the musculature of her thigh and calf. "Willingness to serve," Erolic answered with a blink and glance up from his bedroom eyes.
"Say more?" Irynya asked. She tilted her head back as Erolic worked on her leg, sighing heavily as yet another muscle group melted beneath the red-haired Orion's ministrations. Willingness to serve was familiar and not unfamiliar on Risa. It was, indeed, a skill, but not one that was often recognized as such. "My own people value that skill highly."
"He's a hologram, Kava," Timmoz chuckled, glancing over to her from the steam of his own tub. "As talented as his fingers might be." In her attention diverted to the Erolic character, Timmoz had dipped his curls into the perfumed waters and was now piling the dripping, sopping, slack tresses off his nape. Meanwhile, the hologram had begun to massage the inside arch of Irynya's other foot, ever-smiling.
The program interpreted Irynya's request within the parameters of a Kolari storyteller's mind. He rose slowly, his strong and chiseled green form over hers. "As in, serve you however you would please, Mistress," he said, husky voice from his lips near hers.
"I stand corrected," Timmoz chuckled. He laid his head back against the tub's rim. He sighed. "Your little Cadet with the forever-legs is giving my back knots."
The confusion of reactions that ran through the Risian was almost annoying. On one hand, there was an extremely attractive, albeit not real, man hovering mere centimeters from her mouth. All she would have to do is acknowledge his point and those lips, and more, would descend. At that particular moment, the idea held an awful lot of sway. Surely, she thought, Kennedy couldn't object to this. Even if they did begin to move quickly towards more intimate engagements it would be some time before he was... adept... at leading the experience.
Timmoz's comment, though, was a bit like a bucket of cold water. She wasn't aware of any reason Timmoz would be spending time with Noah. No. She could think up reasons. Erolic still hung poised over her, gaze expectant, as she pressed a frustrated breath through her teeth.
"What are you and Noah up to?" she asked, even as she brought up a hand to trace lightly along the curve of Erolic's hip.
Timmoz, unblinking from his shuttered eyes, filled his chest again and let it out. "He needs to pass his basic shuttlecraft pilot certification." He glanced at Irynya bemusedly, "Let us hope he never finds his way behind the Helm of a starship, Kava. He may be a talented Engineer... but he lacks the instincts and decision-making skills of a pilot."
Erolic had meanwhile apparently taken on the updated role the program assigned him in the face of Irynya's pause. His touched lips nabbed her finger between his teeth and gave it a soft, squelching moment of his mouth's ability to form a vacuum. And then he released it, Erolic moved to begin kissing down Irynya's neck.
Timmoz chortled and flicked his wrist, tossing a saturated exfoliate sponge onto the terracotta tile floor. "Oops. Dropped my sponge. Erolic will you be so kind as to get me a new one?" He bat his eyes almost coquettishly. The powerful Orion rose, rivulets of water off his abs and thighs.
"Of course," Erolic replied. He bowed, naked, between the tubs.
When Erolic disappeared behind a drapery of silks, the lanky lime green one chuckled again. He set his head back against the tub's copper lip, his black hair a waterfall of straightened rings over the edge. "Somewhere on this little Federation barge, a certain Dear Taoji has a stress nose bleed and doesn't know why." He raised an eyebrow, "Would you like me to adjust the setting sexual content Kava?"
Iry groaned in disappointment when Erolic stepped away. She had just decided to let the program do what it was designed to do when Timmoz had, so conveniently, dropped his sponge. She tilted her head back against the tub, rolling her neck so that she faced Timmoz.
"No," she said simply. "He's not real so I see no need to abstain."
She sighed again and as she did the rest of her friend's words trickled through the haze of desire. And immediately her mind leapt back to finding Noah, frustrated, in the flight simulation. Offering her help. The beach. The kiss that had seemed so right then only to wreck such havoc shortly after. And now Timmoz was helping him?
It was a stupid question. Timmoz had just said as much. Still... her stomach drop and her expression darkened, dipping toward sadness and no small amount of guilt.
When Irynya said nothing, Timmoz peeked open an eye and glanced at her. "Isak for your thoughts."
"He didn't ask me," she said, the guilt and sadness creeping into her tone. "I told Noah I would be glad to help him... With the certification... and then things blew up with Kennedy..." She sighed and slid slightly lower in the tub until her chin dipped just below the water line.
"So talk to him," Timmoz interjected back. "Then he can crash you into Titan for a while." Timmoz put his hands behind his head and issued a slow sigh. "He said something about you being too busy."
"That's not accurate," she said, "but he got stuck in the middle of... things... and it didn't feel fair for me to ask him to hang out with me while all of that was going on." She dipped her head downward, scooching until the water covered her hair before resurfacing and brushing water back from her face and down her locks. "I'll talk to him in the morning," she said, "unless he's still awake when I get back tonight."
"Good pl-" Timmoz began- but then there was an ear-piercing scream that had Timmoz set tensely upright. "Ah. That would be the beginning of the murder mystery portion of our evening."
Irynya, too, had sat up in a rush, one hand wrapped around the corner edge of the tub ready to pull herself from the water almost immediately. At Timmoz's explanation, she turned back to him, eyes wide. "There's a murder mystery portion?"
Timmoz grinned coyly into his cheek while he stood up. A pair of scantily clad Orion attendants scampered past them. Timmoz wrapped his mid-section in a modesty draping. "You did say choose whether to let the program run or not." He head jerked. "Come on. There's murder and revenge out there."
Surprise turned quickly to a grin of anticipation as Irynya stood and carefully stepped out of the tube. A loose, almost gossamer, robe lay nearby and she snagged it, pulling it on, before turning back to Timmoz. Her grin broadened before she said, "Lead the way, Qash. Lead the way."