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Post 34 - A Family Reunion of Sorts

Posted on Tue Apr 13th, 2021 @ 9:53pm by Lieutenant Commander Emni t'Nai & Lieutenant JG Irynya & Captain Björn Kodak & Lieutenant Timmoz & Lieutenant Nico Oliveria & Lieutenant JG Heather Kowal & Lieutenant Kennedy Ryan Walsh & Ensign Ezra Gonzalez & Andrew Munro & Lieutenant Sovaan & Lieutenant Chaali & Ensign Sheila Mulhern & Ensign Tamblem Dravor & Ensign Sheldon Parsons & Ensign Noah Balsam & Debbie Gless

Mission: The Waiting Game
Location: Beachside, Grand Delphinium, Delphi, Risa
Timeline: Mission Day 87 - 01830 Hours

[Grand Delphinium Resort, Delphi, Risa]
[Mission Day 87 - 1830 Hours]

It was an exceptionally beautiful evening, even by Risa's extremely high standards. The twin Risian suns were setting out beyond the open ocean, washing the beach and shorefront buildings in a multitude of oranges, golds, and yellows with just a tinge of purples foreshadowing the oncoming night. The day had been the kind of warm that begs you to sit on the beach and play in the water, but never makes you feel so warm that you find a need to retreat to cooler locales. A light breeze had picked up as the daylight had begun to retreat, cooling warm bodies and making lovers snuggle closer together on shared towels and double seated loungers.

On the beachfront of the Grand Delphinium a section of sand had been marked out. Signs indicating the space was Reserved dotting the pylons that had been driven into the sand and set tastefully on the furniture that was elegantly arranged in the space. A fire ring sat toward the shoreline, ready to be lit, a small table to the side ready to be loaded with a range of tasty fireside treats. Closer to the resort a series of blankets had been laid upon the sand in a large semi-circle. 6 tiki torches had been driven into the ground opposite closing the other half of the circle and giving the impression of a small performance area between the torches and the blankets.

A bartender stood nearby, finishing the final bits of stocking necessary to serve a series of Risian delights along with some of the more common well drinks that Risa served to its multitude of visitors. Next to the bartender was a table laden with finger foods--brightly colored fruits and chunks of vegetables, small pastries, and a range of other hor d'oeuvres filled the space. A small wood table stood ready where the paving met the sand, piled high with dozens of large floral rings.

Emni and Irynya stood at the top of the space, looking down at the beach below and its pristine sand, warm water, and various seating options. The Romulan doctor couldn't help but marvel at the preparation, aware of how little the entirety of their group had been together during the long wait on Risa. Although none had been entirely isolated it had been a long time since they had all been in one place. She felt the light touch of Irynya's emotions at the back of her mind, a mixture of joy and anxiety that was hard to pin down. She was aware that the younger woman had been struggling with some degree of anxiety--no doubt the result of their most recent foray into the Delta Quadrant--but Irynya had not approached her directly with any concerns. No red flags had been thrown during their encounters and Emni suspected that Irynya was dealing with the dissonance in her own way. She, among the rest of the crew, was in the most unique position for dealing with any lingering fallout, being scheduled for shore leave not only on her home planet but in her own hometown.

Irynya couldn't help her own delight at the preparations. She was particularly excited about the idea of having everyone together, as though they were a family coming for a reunion after a long time of separation. And of course, there was the news for Ezra that she knew would be so very welcome and well-received. Few knew this part of the event but in her efforts to help prepare she had been allowed to be privy to it. A small tweak of anxiety streaked through all of her enjoyment, though. Concern about how everyone would be coming back together in this way. They had been so very close-knit upon their arrival from the Delta Quadrant. In the deepest recesses of her mind she worried for a loss of that camaraderie even as she knew how deeply she craved it.

"I think everything is set," Irynya said, the smile on her face echoing in her voice. "And we should have folks arriving any minute."

Emni returned the smile, the younger woman's warmth of emotion impossible to refuse. She suspected that even if she wasn't an empath she would find herself unable to avoid the Risian's enthusiastic energy.

"Let's get this party started, then," she said, waving to a pair of Risians, clad in the traditional flowy and near see-through garments of their kind who had arrived and stationed themselves next to the table of flowers.

After a moment, Ezra slowly strolled in, his eyes wandering in every direction as he tried to take in all the sights, smells, and colors. He smiled shyly at the Risian attendants, then made his way over to the bar. After a couple of sips of his drink, he caught sight of Irynya and Emni and gave them a questioning look.

"Did I get here too early?"

Emni smiled, letting her mental defenses down a bit to let Ezra's mental fingerprint in a bit more clearly. She was glad to see that he seemed well. She had taken to checking in on him since that day when it became evident that he had been struggling with their experience with the Vidiian's, but she was always careful to keep her visits short, not wanting to impede on the younger man's shore leave, but also hoping to make herself available should he need further support.

Briefly her mind flashed to Karim whose mental state had also been a source of concern and attention during her shore leave here. She had debated insisting he accompany her and Irynya to the beach early, but in the end had decided to leave the Vulcan man to his own devices although she had strenuously impressed upon him the importance of his attendance at this event.

"You're right on time," she said by way of reply to Ezra's question as she made her way over to the bar ordering a Risian sunrise for herself.

While the senior cadet had asked his question, a trio of newcomers had arrived. The first was a short woman in her sixties, head adorned with a giant football helmet-esque mass of purple-pink curls. Situated in the nest of festively colored hair was a beautiful flower blossom -- the Risian equivalent of a tiger lily, it's vibrantly saffron petals open so that its stamens could catch and waft in the seaside breeze.

Overly large, hoop-style earrings in gold swayed gracefully from the woman's earlobes, almost-but-not-quite reaching down to her shoulders. She wore a gauzy, see-through blouse in lavender with rose trim, a bathing suit in similar coloring plunging below to disappear behind the line of her sarong. The garment ruffled in the breeze, its flowing shades of moonlit-rose rippling as Debbie Gless bowed her head to receive her lei.

"Thank you," she said, offering a beaming smile before turning back to her companions. "I've been here for five seconds and already got leid!" Debbie guffawed, her gum-smacking as she did so. "That never gets old," she smirked, bobbing her head like a mother hen. "Your turn, boys! Come on, then!" she said, stepping beyond the hosting station and ushering the men who'd accompanied her forward.

Björn Kodak smiled wide, shaking his head at his longtime friend. "Oh Debbie, I hope you'll never change," he chuckled, offering the two Risians a warm wave. Unlike his colorfully bedecked friend, Björn wore a simple cerulean shirt in a tropical print and a pair of tan cargo shorts. Hints of blue weaved through the thongs of his flip flops, which oddly -- for anyone observant enough to notice -- behaved as normal flip flops would, separating from his heels as he stepped forward only to meet them again as he stepped down. Those who'd paid attention to his wearing of similar footwear on prior occasions might notice this oddity; in the past, his footwear stayed firmly planted on his feet when walking. Was he wearing actual flip flops today, rather than shapeshifting a facsimile of them as Björn had before?

"Hello there," the Chameloid greeted the Risians, bowing his own head to them. As a lei was placed around his neck, he found the sensation of its soft petals against his skin gave him goosebumps. "Thank you," he offered before posing them a question. "Do you think I might do him?" he chuckled, chucking his right thumb towards the shorter, balder, and fuzzier man at his side. "I've always wanted to lei a handsome man at a party, you see," Björn smiled softly. The greeters laughed musically -- the melody of their amusement flowing well with that of the steel drums playing in the distance -- and handed a beautiful lei in violet and red over to the Chameloid. "Thank you," he said again, then turned to Andrew.

Gone were the days of being self-conscious of being seen with someone; gone was the fear of having to justify having a companion of his own, even if the need for such justification only existed in Björn's own mind. After months on Risa spent with Andrew, the two men had become rather attached at the hip -- Andrew being a common presence around the resort whenever Captain Kodak encountered members his crew. Several of his Senior Staff and the Second Stringers had grown to know the man and would not be surprised to see him at the luau. And it said something that Björn was comfortable enough to place the lei around the younger man's neck and proudly proclaim, "I just leid you in public, sexy. Fully in view of all these people," he smirked mischievously at Andrew.

"Yes, you did," Andrew grinned as he toyed with the chain of fragrant, brightly colored flowers draped loosely around his neck. The motion shook free a light dusting of pollen from one of the blooms, floating down past his cargo shorts and settling on the dark hairs of his toes, just beyond the thong of his flip flops. His outfit, whilst not identical to Björn's, bore a curious similarity to it.

"You know, when I imagined you putting something around my neck," Andrew paused as he let a wide mischievous grin cross his face. “It wasn’t quite so floral

Timmoz softly cleared his throat to announce his presence at the two burly figures. He'd heard more than he'd meant to when he approached. The verdant one was dressed in what had seemingly become his uniform for his reduced time on Risa- copper metallic high rise swim trunks that looked like dragon scales- the snug kind- and an open-faced gauze-like shirt of black with subtle copper and silver outline of what was probably the usual motif of some party shirts. A lei adorned around his neck. His brows were raised, a sly hint of bemused sarcasm pushing at one of his cheeks. He hummed softly.

"The... Sojourner... has just entered orbit Captain," he nodded at the scientist as well. "With an Admiral Sylus aboard." He nodded his head, "Please. Resume lei-ing," Timmoz added with another smile. He took a few steps back.

"You were expecting something a bit more...heavy-duty?" Björn chuckled to Andrew before looking to Timmoz. "Oh get over here," Björn grinned at The Verdant One as he mock-rolled his eyes. "We're just having a little fun. S'what parties are for, right?" he rasped, his warmth infectious. "And thank you for the update. After being planetside for so long, it's going to be weird to be back on a starship, hmm?" The Chameloid's eyes flicked to Andrew then, including him in the conversation as the foursome moved further away from the Lei stand. "Especially for you, I imagine," Björn regarded his paramour. "You all ready to have a thrumming deck beneath your feet again?"

"Hmmph," Debbie sounded. "I've lived on starships longer than I've ever spent on planets," the 60-something-woman recounted with a faux-frown. "As much as I've loved Risa, I was ready to get back into space about a week into the stay," Debbie bark-laughed, reaching out to snag Timmoz in a tangled hug of limbs. "Sweetie! That suit leaves little to the imagination -- but who wants to imagine when the real deal's right in front of you, am I right?" she laughed, hugging the helmsman tighter. "Not like these two," she back-wagged her thumb between Kodak and Munro. "I told 'em to wear their swimsuits to this thing but they're buttoned up tighter than a virgin in church!"

The entwined verdant one seemed perfectly pleased with both his appearance and Debbie's ensnarement of his lanky greenness. "Modesty is for the tame," Timmoz rumbled, looking back at the pair of bears, "Imagination is free. Touching costs a drink," he chuckled to Debbie. "Except for you Kaheedi. You can touch all you want." His gaze returned to the two, and his smile took on the wicked sharp, double canine bemusement of a full-on Orion, "I'm sure you two are hot under all that... drapery."

"Well don't threaten me with a good time," Debbie laughed, reaching up to more pat-than-rub Timmoz's chest. Despite the sexual charge of the Orion's invitation, the woman's touch was more motherly than anything. The way she hugged Timmoz close suggested that she'd come to care for him very, very much and was quite happy to see the Orion. "Drapery? That's a good word for it," Debbie snarked, eyeing the two men up and down. "What was the point of trying on all those swimsuits when you come in this?!" she said, reaching forward to pinch at Kodak's cargo shorts.

"Debbie," Björn laughed softly, "we've got them on underneath. Don't worry -- when the sun goes down and it's time to swim, I'm sure they'll make an appearance. Until then, I don't know that everyone wants to see their Captain walking around in a skimpy pair of swim briefs," the Chameloid chuckled softly.

"Skimpy?!" Debbie guffawed again, apparently having already been drinking pre-party. "You wore the skimpy ones after all! Guessing it was you who put him up to it, eh?" she eyed Andrew mischievously before turning to Timmoz in explanation. "Before we came over, Björn here wasn't sure what to wear. Made him do a little fashion show for us," the woman smirked, thinking back to sitting beside Andrew on the couch in Kodak's suite, watching the Chameloid model at least seven different pairs of swim trunks. "Had to pretty up before I came over and missed the final selection, though," Debbie tossed her hair dramatically and then placed a hand on her hip like a model, dramatically demonstrating her "pretty up" state.

Truth told, the gesture made the woman look more like a teapot than a model. While Starfleet officers were known to keep fit, leaving the service behind for a civilian life running a bar-and-diner had softened Debbie's body some. She was curvy and plump but her confidence in her own body was brighter than a stellar nursery. "Well alright then," Debbie clucked at Björn, "Lets at least see which color you picked, hmm?"

Rolling his eyes, Björn lowered the left hem of his shorts' waistband, exposing a patch of blue and red-trimmed material tightly stretched across his backside. "I liked the stitching on these. And someone," he smirked at Andrew, "rather enjoyed the idea of me being a little racy at this thing."

"Oh please," Timmoz chuckled, "That's not skimpy. You're hardly...." Timmoz pressed green tongue to a canine tip, his brows popping, "Flossing..."

"They might not be skimpy," Andrew conceded. "But they don't leave anything to the imagination either." He grinned as he recalled what they'd looked like earlier. Encouraging each other to wear less than they'd normally be comfortable with while in public had turned into a kind of game between himself and Björn.

Timmoz looked on, bemused. "Have it your way then," he chuckled. V'draysh and their restrained suspension of their puritanisms. So quaintly Human. "Did anyone visit the Hrymonii Sands?" Timmoz asked. It was a beach that was both noted for being a nude beach, and one with unusual audio characteristics. The coral reefs offshore passed water through them and made a pleasant humming sound that was lulling.

"We, in fact, did," Björn replied, wondering if anyone would be surprised to learn that. He spied Emni, Irynya, and Ezra up the way a bit and waved to them before turning back to Timmoz. "Andrew and I went there to--"

"You WHAT?!" Debbie asked, shock and awe thundering across her face. "You? At a nude beach? I've been trying to get this guy to loosen up for twenty years," she turned to Andrew then, shaking her head. "What the hell is your secret, baby? And you," she turned to Timmoz, still holding him in a one-armed embrace, though her arm had slipped down to his waist. "See anything good there, honey?" she practically chortled. Knowing Timmoz -- himself a bit of a free spirit -- she wanted all the tea and then some.

"My secret?" Andrew grinned and added a sly wink. "Maybe I'm just reaping the benefits of all your hard work."

"You know what they say," Timmoz mused to Debbie, "On Risa, what's theirs is ours? And they have a lot of what's theirs out in the sun down there."

At that moment, several heads turned and then tilted backward as a tall, broad figure approached the lei table, his hands clasped leisurely behind his back. He appeared to be Vulcan, but his eyes, glittering with reflected lights as he surveyed the scene, were solid black, indicating Betazoid ancestry as well. His expression was equal parts amused and intrigued as he scanned the assembled partygoers for his target, then he strolled toward the Chameloid, coming to a stop a respectful short distance from the group.

"Captain Kodak?" he asked, his deep, rich voice carrying a surprisingly gentle tone for someone so physically imposing. "I am Lieutenant Junior Grade Sovaan, sir. I have been assigned to the USS Sojourner to serve as Assistant Chief of Security. Forgive me for interrupting your gathering, sir, but I happened to be near the end of my own shore leave and was told that I could find you here."

"Our gathering, Lieutenant," Kodak looked up at the man, his smile stiffening a bit into something more formal. "You're part of the crew now, after all," he offered the Vulcan-esque man in front of him. "I've read your file -- glad you were available for assignment with us. Let me introduce you," the Chameloid gestured to the woman to his left. "This is Debbie Gless. Former Starfleet crack shot engineer. Now she'll be running theSojo's bar and mess," he offered.

"I'd better see you in there," Debbie's eyes narrowed dangerously. "It's a small ship: I'll know if you're ducking me, mister," she faux frowned before bursting into a bout of chuckles. "I kid, kid," she called the Vulc-azoid. At over 60 years old, it seemed like everyone on the crew was a kid to her. "But it would be nice to get to know you there. You like lemon bars?" Debbie asked, the hawkish look on her face daring Sovaan to say no.

Sovaan chuckled. "As a matter of fact, I do! I will report to you bright and early, then."

Laughing, Kodak gestured then to the green-skinned man at Debbie's side. "Lieutenant Timmoz, helmsman and Second Officer," the Chameloid introduced. "His nimble fingers have gotten us out of many a scrape," Kodak smiled proudly, genuine affection for the Orion shining through his eyes. "And this," he turned then to the pudgy, bear-of-a-man at his own side, "is Doctor Andrew Munro. He's a civilian biologist who'll be joining us on the Sojo to study all that the Delta Quadrant has on offer. He's also my partner," Kodak intoned warmly, his meaning clear.

"A pleasure to meet you Sovaan," Andrew nodded. Unlike a handshake, the gesture couldn't be left awkwardly hanging and felt like a safer choice with non-humans. Eyeing the imposing figure, he added "So you'll be keeping us safe then?"

With a twinkle in his dark eye, Sovaan inclined his head and said, "Indeed I will, Doctor, to the best of my ability. You may rest easy knowing that the monsters under your bed are taken care of," he added, with a wink and another chuckle.

Timmoz nodded with his Cluros smile at the Vulcan in greeting. "Pleasure," he said.

"Mine as well. Ah...I know what you all must be thinking: Vulcans don't laugh, right? As a matter of fact, I did not undergo the Kolinahr ceremony as so many of my people have. Fortunately, your senses of humor will not be lost on me."

Irynya had followed the arrivals from a distance finding herself slightly hesitant although she had encountered many of her fellow crewmates throughout the shore leave. It was both a relief and a source of unexpected tension to see everyone together. The arrival of a tall Vulcanoid that she didn't recognize, however, pulled her out of her reflections. The man had made a beeline for the Captain and while Kodak had seemed very open in his greeting, Irynya was aware that the newcomer had passed the lei table without receiving a wreath of flowers. Skipping quickly over to the two attendants she requested a lei and then made her way down the sand to the cluster of officers.

She cleared her throat, grinning, to get their attention. "It seems you've yet to receive a lei," she said, directing her smile to the newcomer and, without waiting for permission, extending the lei to place around his neck. "There, that's better."

Sovaan swiveled on his heels and ducked his head to receive the lei. "So it seems," he acknowledged with a smile. "Thank you."

Irynya smiled broadly, extending her hand in greeting, "My pleasure," she offered. "Lieutenant Junior Grade, Irynya, Flight Officer," she quipped by way of introduction. "Welcome to the Sojourner and to Risa."

Over at the bar Emni had enjoyed sipping her drink and catching up with Ezra. It was nice to simply sit and chat with little agenda. Unlike her Risian counterpart she had not been physically watching the arrivals, instead noting the appearance of each of her colleagues via their emotional fingerprints. So it was with some surprise that she turned to take in the tall Vulcanoid that was approaching Captain Kodak. His emotional signature was a puzzle to her--both similar to and foreign from what had become familiar to her in Karim and to their Betazoid colleague, Tov, the newcomers signature raised all sorts of metaphorical eyebrows for her.

"Come on," she said, taking Ezra's arm and setting her emptied glass on the bar. "We should say hello to the Captain and I'd like to know who that is," she explained indicating the tall man with her head.

"Oh. Um, okay," said Ezra mid-sip. He flinched ever so slightly at the touch, but otherwise made no complaint as he trundled along beside her.

"Jolan tru, cousin," Sovaan said, acknowledging Emni's arrival before he even turned around. "I was hoping to meet you. Your mind is sharp and unique, as is that of your companion. Hello, my young friend," he added, nodding to Ezra.

"You're even taller up close," Ezra breathed, taking a tiny, subtle step behind Emni.

Emni raised her eyebrow in a near unconscious facsimile of one of Karim's facial expressions, not realizing the mimicry until it was already underway. Where was the counselor anyway? "Jolan tru," she replied as the tall man turned. If it was possible, her eyebrow crept higher. "Cousin on two fronts if I am not mistaken," she noted. "My father was half Betazoid."

"Thank you for the compliment. Your own emotional signature certainly caught my attention. It's not common for a Vulcan signature to be so open," she said, clarifying as she spoke.

Sovaan nodded. "No Kolinahr, in my case. My mental capabilities were expanded because my mixed parentage, so I learned control through practice and study rather than purging. I would be lying if I said I regretted that decision."

He eyed Ezra again. "Not exactly a great speech-giver, I see," he noted with a kind smile. "Autism Spectrum Disorder, yes?" The question was posed to both Emni and Ezra. "I have encountered minds like yours before and have learned to recognize the signature," he added to clarify. Ezra nodded silently.

Happy that his new assistant Security Chief was making friends, the Captain turned back towards Debbie, who'd tugged at his shirt sleeve and started dragging him to the food-laden table. "Alright, alright, I'm coming," Björn laughed lightly, motioning Andrew to follow. Picking up a plate, each of the three picked out an assortment of nibbles to tide them over until something more substantial later on.

Some distance away from the main fire pit, the first whine and glow of the transporter pattern buffer hummed. From the glow came the glitter and falling sprites of blue that was a Federation transporter. Three bodies formed on the sand in Starfleet uniforms: Lieutenant Chaali, Lieutenant Heather Kowal, and Midshipman Noah Balsam. Chaali bore one of her unusual wigs- a series of shaped and connected copper plates reminiscent of an Egyptian headpiece, but the hair underneath was not black, but Andorian white, and as thickly fur-like as Andorian hair as well.

This was not Heather's first visit to Risa but it was the first time she'd ever arrived on the planet wearing a uniform. She looked around and pulled at her uniform jacket slightly wishing they had changed to more appropriate attire before joining what appeared to be a party. She hadn't quite known what to expect when being told they were going to Risa to meet up with the rest of the crew somehow she'd expected something more formal.

"We are clearly overdressed," Heather announced, to her companions.

Noah Balsam grimaced, folding his hyperextendable fingers into one another at his lap level. He hadn't seen this much skin since France. He chomped his bottom lip and looked around the scene.

"That's a lot of skin," Chaali's amused voice lilted. She watched a pair of Ensigns pass by in bathing suits and Leis. "Nice flowers. I wonder where I'd get those?"

"I don't know, but I'm in too," Heather said. "Think we can beam back up for a bikini quick?" She was fond of the beach and comfortable in her skin.

Nico, who had just finished cooling off in one of the nearby pools, happened upon the newcomers. Still soaked from his dip, his smile split his face when he noticed the Bolian, delightfully yelping, "Chaali!" Without another thought, he hugged the young operations officer, transferring some of his dampness. Realizing what he had done, the Vegan chuckled, embarrassed, "Oh, sorry about that. So, um, who are you, friends?" Adding, before she should respond, "I'm Nico, that is, uh, Lieutenant Oliveria."

The hugged Chaali too giggled, holding on to her wig while slinging an arm around the Engineer. "Nico!" She greeted with a chirp. Oh look at you all," she traced a finger down his chest, "All tanned and sun-bleached," she fingered his hair, "And a little shaggy." When she was righted, Chaali straightened her wig. "Introductions. Lieutenant Heather Kowal," she gestured at the platinum blonde. Then she gestured at an awkward stick insect of a boy in Engineer gold, "Midshipman Noah Balsam."

Heather was delighted by the greeting of the two friends she missed her own best friend dearly. "Hi," she said, with a pleasant tone to her voice. "Nice to meet you," she said, holding out her hand to shake.

Nico's grinned as he shook Heather's hand, "You're the new Ops chief, right? Oh, I suppose that means the Sojourner is finally here?"

"Something like that," Heather said, as that was still somewhat to be determined. "But the Sojourner is indeed finally here."

Noah's too wide overbite smile blossomed and he extended a long hand to Nico, "Hey, hi Sir. Lieutenant Oliveria. Sir." He looked like he wasn't sure if he should salute, puff out his chest, relax, or what.

Shifting his hand to the cadet he smirked, "Calm down, Midshipman, I don't bite. Well, that's not entirely true, but whatever." Nico was a touch tipsy by this point in the luau where the drinks had been flowing like water, "I'm looking forward to working with you, and since I'm your boss, that's a good thing." Realizing he was still shaking the cadet's hand, he withdrew it with a chuckle.

"Okay," Noah said almost lyrically- that or he'd hit a spot of puberty. He blinked at the Engineer who'd just hugged Chaali while wet. And he seemed... inebriated. Which wasn't common on a Federation starship but Noah supposed it was on a vacation world.

Irynya had also noticed the beamed in newcomers from across the way where she had been enjoying a brightly colored drink. Seeing Chaali she let out a squeal and half slid half stumbled off of her stool, drink in hand, to rush across the sand.

"Chaali!" she exclaimed by way of greeting ensconcing the woman in yet another hug. She squeezed the Bolian then stood back to provide European-style air kisses to either cheek. "You're damp!" she exclaimed as she pulled back a step to look her friend up and down. Her eyes roved the small group skipping lightly over the two newcomers to rest on Nico who was clearly the culprit of the dampness.

Chaali hugged the Risian back as enthusiastically, swapping the learned kissing motion with her counterpart.

"My room is just off the beach, you can replicate something less... uniform-like... if you'd like," she offered before turning to the other two loose brown locks swirling as she did. "My manners have clearly left me. "Lieutenant Junior Grade Irynya. Flight Officer."

She extended her hand to the other two who had arrived with Chaali, taking in their uniforms as well. "You're welcome to my room and replicator as well if you'd like it," she offered, a blazing Risian smile still lighting her features.

"Heather Kowal," she said, reaching a hand out to Irynya and if it's really no big inconvenience I would really appreciate that offer," she said, excited at the prospect of getting into something much more comfortable than her duty uniform.

Irynya grinned, shaking Heather's hand. "It's nice to meet you Heather. It's not an inconvenience at all," she replied. "I'm just a minute down the way, there." She looked from Chaali to the lanky man who had come with the two women. "How about the two of you?"

Noah was slightly codfishing, blinking between Irynya and Nico. "Um. I-I-I... I'm fine. I've already been to the beach," he said with a pinking to his cheeks. "But oh um," he extended his hand, "Ca- I mean Midshipman Noah Hyman Balsam."

Irynya repressed a giggle at the younger man's reaction to herself and the chief engineer. "Suit yourself," she replied turning back to Chaali and Heather. "Shall we?"

Chaali nodded in agreement, "You're on your own then, Mr. Balsam. Consider yourself off-duty." The young person mouthed an uncertain, "Okay," while looking at the passersby with a modicum of apprehension. He looked like he wanted a ficus to hide behind or, knowing him, a computer terminal.

"Enjoy your downtime when you can, trust me, it's important," Heather advised the midshipman. The group made their way to Irynya's quarters. Heather was very much looking forward to getting into something more comfortable for the beach.

Kennedy normally avoided these sorts of social gatherings prior to his arrival on Risa. He was greeted by two Risians who both placed a lei of an assortment of beautiful flowers native to the area. Kennedy gave a slightly nervous chuckle, “Thank you.” He forced a smile as he was out of his element here.

His prolonged time on Risa had done him good. He would have happily been reading a holo-novel back at his quarters. As he made his way to the rest of his future shipmates, a Risian server brought over a tray of cocktails. He hesitated at first while he picked one, “Thank you.” He smiled lightly as he took a small sip of his drink.

The young Risian had curly brown hair and wideset, almond eyes on mocha skin. He smiled, "Can I get you anything more?" He asked.

Kennedy oblivious to the Risian's pandering shook his head, "No, this is fine for now. Thank you."

The young attendant nodded his head pleasantly, his shadow passing over the man to continue to the next guest in need.

Kennedy watched the attendant leave for the next guest. He took a sip of his drink and started to walk around. The only person he knew at the party was Doctor t'Nai but he didn't see her as of yet. He wasn't paying attention and ran into the back of Parsons, accidentally spilling some of his drink on his back, "I'm so sorry!"

"--which is why...what the hell?!" Parsons stopped and started mid-sentence, the force of Kennedy's collision interrupting his conversation with Ensign Mulhern, who stood smirking nearby. The two engineers had been amicably chatting, Parsons perfectly safe talking to Sheila given that she was dressed rather conservatively for such a party. But with half a drink now dripping down his back, the man turned to regard the source of his liquidy discontent.

Parsons had been prepared to dress down whoever it was, anticipating that it would be someone he knew from the former Adelphi crew. But the sight of a fresh face brought the young engineer up short. And a cute face at that. Over the last several weeks, Parsons had taken his little statue with him everywhere. A gift from Irynya, the little totem had gotten him into several sexual/spiritual situations, even with a member of the crew. And now it, too, faced Kennedy from the crook of Parsons' right arm, cradled against his body.

Noticing Sheldon's mouth hanging open, Sheila reached across to close it for him. "This young man in need of a dry shirt is Sheldon Parsons," her smile was easy and wide. "And I'm Sheila Mulhern," the middle-aged brunette offered, her smirk returning at Sheldon's continued inability to speak. "We both work in the engine room. And you are?" Sheila asked Kennedy, doing the talking for both Parsons and herself.

"I-uh-I, I'm so-ah-sorry, about that," Kennedy said stuttered apologetically. He was embarrassed that he wasn't looking where he was going and ran into the back of one of the Engineering team. He took in a deep breathe as he turned to Sheila, "Doctor Kennedy Ryan Walsh, Assistant Chief Medical Officer."

"Very nice to meet you, Doctor," Sheila smiled kindly, nodding. "I'd heard there were some changes happening with our Sickbay staffing. Glad to have you with us," the woman said, genuinely meaning it. She turned then to Sheldon then, who'd still not said anything. From the expression on his face, Sheila imagined Sheldon must be feeling a little enamored with the new arrival, drink-spilling notwithstanding. With a bump from her hips, she attempted to jumpstart the engineer into actually using his words.

"I...uh," Sheldon seemed startled, closing his eyes and shaking off his surprise for a second, "I'm...right, yes, I'm Sharsons." Sheldon nodded vigorously at this at first but then realized that, once again, his awkwardness had taken hold. "No, Parsons," he corrected, trying to offer a smile. "And well, don't worry about the drink. It's just a shirt. Though it is rather wet and cold now. Kind of like when you're out in a heavy rain and everything is clinging to you? Except it's just one spot -- in a place you can't reach, so maybe it's more like having something hanging on your back?" He was stream-of-consciousnessing at this point, a behavior that always accompanied feelings of anxiety and awkwardness. "Nice to meet you," he finally gulped, offering a hand for the shaking.

Kennedy gave a slight awkward chuckle when Parsons referred to himself as Sharsons, but wondered if he normally was the source of self-deprecating humor. He returned Lieutenant Parsons' smile as the three of them became acquainted by accident, "Nice to meet the both of you."

"I'm very sorry for running into you like that," Kennedy gave a slight nervous laugh while he looked over to Sheila and started to initiate conversation between the three of them, "So, uh, how're you both enjoying your time on Risa?"

"Well, Risa is very beautiful. I've enjoyed the time quite a bit, actually," Sheila mentioned, reaching up to subconsciously scratch at her nose. "I think, though, I've had my fill of sun and sea. Never thought I'd say this," the woman shrugged, "but I think I miss being covered in grease and stuffed between plasma manifolds."

This drew a chuckle from Parsons, who'd forgotten the spilled drink entirely now that conversation was taking them back to safe territory. "You and me both, Sheila," he gave his fellow engineer a cheeky grin that was both somehow charming and alarming -- like he was trying too hard to be likeable. "I'm much more comfortable with a spanner than I am one of these," the ensign held up the little wooden tiki-totem, shaking it in the general direction of Kennedy. "Not that the spanner sparks anything fun...unless you count sealing up panels?"

Kennedy took a step backward as the little tiki-totem pushed towards him as he valued his personal space and he was oblivious if Parsons was making any attempt to make a move on him. He took in a deep breathe before slightly chuckling, "Well, I find fun in treating my patients over a overtly long extended stay on Risa of all places. So whatever you find 'fun', I can drink to that." Kennedy finished what remained of his drink as the cocktail ended up mostly on Parsons than his stomach. "Well, Sheila and Sheldon. I hope you enjoy your evenings. I'm going to go, what the cool kids say 'mingle'. Is that even a thing?" Kennedy trailed off as he started to wander off.

"You smell like grapes," Sheila dryly commented to Parsons after Kennedy had gone, referencing the spilled drink that now permeated his shirt.

"More like sour grapes," Parsons pursed his lips thinly. "Why am I so damned awkward?" he asked, turning to rake the woman with steely eyes. He genuinely wanted to know.

"Because you're a sweet, loving man trapped in the body of a hopeless clutz?" Sheila offered helpfully, sipping her own drink.

"That tracks, yes," Parsons nodded quickly, satisfied by the answer. Taking his cue from Sheila, he followed the woman as she moved towards the table of snacks and sweets, hoping he wouldn't knock it over in the process of choosing something for himself.

=/\= A mission post by =/\=

Captain Bjorn Kodak
Commanding Officer
USS Sojourner

Lieutenant Timmoz
Second Officer
USS Sojourner

Lieutenant Nico Oliveria
Chief Engineering Officer
USS Sojourner

Lieutenant Emni t'Nai
Chief Medical Officer
USS Sojourner

Lieutenant JG Heather Kowal
Chief Operations Officer
USS Sojourner

Lieutenant JG Kennedy Ryan Walsh
Assistant Chief Medical Officer
USS Sojourner

Ensign Ezra Gonzalez
USS Sojourner

Andrew Munro
USS Sojourner

And a veritable bevvy of NPCs including:

Lieutenant JG Irynya (Assistant Chief Flight Officer)
Lieutenant JG Sovaan (Chief Security Officer)
Ensign Tamblem Dravor (Security Officer)
Lieutenant JG Chaali (Assistant Chief Operations Officer)
Ensign Peldon Sharsons (Engineering Officer)
Midshipman Noah Balsam (Computer Systems Specialist)
Debbie Gless (Chef and Hostess Extraordinaire)


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