That's No Moon...
Location: Kare Moiraborn's Quarters
Timeline: Prior to the Yellow Alert
Their first meeting was memorable. For her to say she'd remember it forever was a given, considering her curse: The Mind That Can't Let Go. She recalled every aspect of the first time they sat together, sometimes to a dizzying degree: His taste in clothing, his beverage of choice, the song playing in the background, the clacking of heels on the floor. Everything.
She took a breath to try to push all the flood of memories to the back of her mindscape, and then took another breath to steady herself. Before her was a door. A very big door, tailored to a very big sentient being. She hadn't seen him around on her modified patrols around the ship, tailored to specifically pass by him on certain times as she went about on routine maintenance passes.
She was concerned, but for the past few days she felt that any problems of his were not her concern yet. Though finally, she worked up the resolve, and she gave a tap on the announcer chime.
"Enter!" Kare called out.
His quarters were normal for an officer of his rank and position, but seemed almost small for someone of his size. The furniture was extra large and extra sturdy, but less in number. the walls were mostly bare, except for a few pictures of an alien world, nature scapes that seemed just a bit different - not unexpected of course.
But most interestingly, the most common type of artifact in Kare's chambers were wooden statues. Some large, some small, all very tastefully done - perhaps not by a master's hand, but certainly a capable one. And all of animals and creatures from a world alien to Ichicko's eyes.
Speaking of Ichiko's eyes, they would very quickly be drawn to Kare's enormous form, clad only in his pants - his torso bare, showing just the fur. He was sitting at a remarkably sturdy looking table, upon which sat a partially carved block of wood, slowly taking the rough shape of some kind of deer-like being. Around him, wood chips. In his hands, a hammer and a chisel. On his features, a look of surprise.
"Ichiko! Oh. Uhm. Sorry, I didn't know you'd be coming by. If I had I'd have dressed more appropriately. My apologies." And with that he stood up to his full height.
Her glance lingered on his form for a moment longer than simply a cursory glance, before she turned to give him a moment. "It's my fault. I should have checked. I hadn't seen you around, and I heard you were in Sickbay. I was concerned." she cited, her ears drooped a little.
"I wanted to check in, see if you were alright." she offered, waiting for the all clear before she looked back. Even such a quick glance though, would be burned into her memory forever.
"You don't have to look away, Ichiko. I am not ashamed of my body." He offered, a soft gentleness to his basso profondo voice. As he turned around she would see - should she choose to look - his back heavily scarred by old burns across the most of it, spreading to his upper arms. A portion of the back of his left shoulder was bandaged.
"Yeah I was in sickbay. Had an accident. Broke my arm. Got it set. Took the day off, the painkillers you see." He explained as he lumbered into his bedroom area, coming back out a moment or two later wearing a formfitting black t-shirt.
She did indeed turn to look, when given clearance and grace to do so. "It's not a matter of shame, just forwardness. The last time we were in casual conversation was a marvelous date."
1920's Earth. Jazz. Mary Pickford. French 75. Speakeasy. Dancing.
"I'm curious what in this cluster could break your arm, though I'm glad you're doing better." she offered as she watched him lumber to his bedroom. Ears perked as she listened to the motions. Drawer open, something shuffled. Something shuffled again. Motion. Then he returned. Apparently the black shirt he was wearing wasn't his first option. Probably just a color preference.
"I have to be careful with painkillers beyond a certain threshold. I don't like the side effects." she paused, and offered him a soft smirk, "I get to remember how loopy I get." and at that, she giggled. "You... ARE doing better, yes?"
A smile, though careful not to flash dagger-sized fangs at her. Predator species vs prey species, after all. Instincts were very hard to get out of a species' system, especially deeply rooted ones.
"I tripped, fell and landed on a raised edge. So the answer to the question of what could break a Sirran's arm is, a Sirran's mass." he flicked an ear. "I'm better, yes. Still slightly woozy from the painkiller, but better, thank you. Can I get you anything to drink? Or eat?"
She gave a nod, a smile accompanying it. Soft, like the texture of smoke, but it was there. "That makes a certain amount of sense. One of our more renowned physicists stated......"
Physicist Mao Sugong, page fifty seven, paragraph two. Parables of Intrinsic Design. Theoretical design and construction. Year five. Blue book, white letters.
"...... that in any closed system containing at least one object, the object itself is the likeliest source of the failure of that object. Or, in other words... you're your own vulnerability." she offered, that smile held through. "I'd love a drink, and something to eat, but I'm intruding on your recovery time, inadvertent as it may be. The least I can do to make amends is to treat you to a meal. You're in no condition to prepare a proper meal with your injury."
Nevermind replicators were voice activated, and Federation decadence was second only to the Dalacari. Surprisingly, they never thought to simply transport calories directly into their bodies.
Where would be the fun in that?
He smiled, shook his head a bit. "I insist. I'd be a bad host otherwise. As for intruding on recovery time, I prefer your company over that I normally keep." He motioned broadly at his collection of carved wooden statues. Animals, mostly. Alien. Likely from his world. Every animal seemed to be build either for raw strength, or sheer speed. His was a world of extremes.
She gave a nod, "As a guest, I accept your hospitality. Tea, and whatever the menu suggest for something to eat." she offered, holding that same smile. She turned to look at the carvings, gently running her hand over one of them. "Memories from home, I presume? They're amazing." she knelt down to 'look' one of the more predatory carvings in the 'eye'. "It's far more visceral than the art back home. We have art in our writing, art in our brushstrokes, all the way up to actual carvings similar to these. The way you capture the look, it reminds me of......."
Come look what I drew for you, oneechian!
"... one of my favorite artists. My sister, back home. She used to draw the most fantastic things with little more than colored wax and paper. She has such a mind. I hope it's nothing like mine." she still held that smile, despite the sour turn the topic took. "I remember the day she was born. She was so tiny, but she grew so quick. Mother had to almost race to buy clothes that would fit her." Ichiko said with a giggle.
"Memories, yes. Of a sort. We Sirran consider ourselves an artisanic people. We're encouraged to cultivate a creative side." A slight pause. "I'm sorry, I neglected to mention this last we talk about hobbies and the like. I don't see this as a hobby, just as my artisan pursuit, tradition for our people." He explained as he went about collecting some drinks and some food.
"A sirran week is eight days. Four of those we work, two we devote to our creative efforts and then we have two days off." he continued, coming back with a simple plate with simple glasses of simple drinks. One apple juice, one orange juice. He motioned for her to pick one. The rest of the plate had Sirran sandwiches, though one might argue that 'two slices of bread with something in between' was a universal constant. There were cheese sandwiches, ham sandwiches, other assorted types.
"What a Sirran creates on his artisanic days he donates to his local government building, which then distributes it among the poor. I must admit that carvings of Sirran wild life are perhaps a bit less useful than, say, clothes or food, but the theory is that all the things that Sirran in a position to do so create help off set poverty and provide a certain standard of living among the - less fortunate." He mused, sitting down, unceremoniously wiping some wood carvings off the table to make space for the plate, drinks and his massive arms.
She claimed the orange juice for herself and listened. She could appreciate the simplicity of it all: work for others, work for the state, work for the self.
"It's similar on Ts'usu. See, we don't live on the homeworld, but rather her moons so gauging a standard concept of a Day got tricky. So instead we operate on something similar to your weekly layout, except daily. Eight hours in the service of the family and the self, eight hours of rest, and eight hours in service to the Empire, as it were. Be it an occupation, helping the less fortunate, or even tidying up the neighborhood." she offered with a smirk.
"On the outer world colonies, we live on the worlds and the moons. Out there, we work with the local planet's time but we still split the time. Time for the self and others, time to rest, time for the Empire."
She collected a sandwich, and gave a few nibbles before giving a nod of approval. "Ham. A favorite i picked up after leaving the boundaries of the Empire."
"I like ham with Janessa sauce. It's similar to Federation mustard, but a bit fruitier. Not sure you'd like it, so I figured I'd leave things as simple as I could." he smiled, tail giving a slight, involuntary wag. He enjoyed her company. And, since about five seconds ago, also a cheese sandwich.
As she explained about the eight hour division of the Ts'usugi day he listened with rapt attention. His father, Kiaro, had always taught him that a conversation was more about the art of listening than that of speaking. Anyone could speak, but only the patient could listen, he'd always say.
"I've heard such arrangements described as communist. As socialism. And they made it sound like it was a bad thing." He flicked an ear, tilting his head a bit. "I don't get it. Isn't it a person's duty to help take care of his neighbor in need? Isn't there where a people gets its strength from, unity and social duty?"
"It shouldn't be a duty, it should simply be something that one wants to do. You shouldn't need to be rewarded for helping those less able or for maintaining the beauty and safety of your cities, but... as I've come to realize from my time outside of the Empire and mostly around humanity..." she paused to take another nibble.
"Humans are weird."
She paused to reflect. "A fruity mustard? I'd be interested in trying it someday." she said with an honest smile. "But for the moment, simple is best." she took a sip of her orange juice, and found it to her liking. "Land-based beef and meat is something of a delicacy back home. Space is very important, so what space isn't for use for housing, commerce, and industry is zoned for farming. We grow our staple crop across as much of the home moons as we can to sustain our populace, so we rely heavily on fishing to supplement the rest. With the expansion of the Empire, we're a little more relaxed, with freighters shipping food and resources to every corner of the Empire. Still, it takes a lot to actually get to each a real steak." she mused.
"Starfleet has that advantage. I mean, fabricated steak is still nice, but that's the reason a lot of us post to Dalacari assignments too. Their fabrication technology is just a shade better than the Federation's. The difference, of course, is the conversation." she smirked, "Were I on a Dalacari posting, I'd be having this conversation with a drone."
"I've honestly never had the pleasure, but I don't think many Dalacari drones are programmed to be excellent conversationalists." Then a slight pause. "Oh but where are my manners." his basso profondo rumbled. "How have you been since last we spoke? You're looking good today. I like the clothes, the color goes well together and complements your fur. And nice shoes too."
She smiled softly, and brought her choice of footwear up to 'join' in the conversation. "Thank you. As a Daughter of Ts'usu, finding shoes that fit comfortably is difficult enough. Finding them that fit and look like something I'd want to be seen in is a gift." she gave a giggle, "But, I'm glad you like them."
Kare Moiraborn likes these shoes. Remember that.
Her choice of off-duty wear was simple, but the color did indeed go well with her fur. Though it was more a choice of comfort than color. She'd note it for later. "Personally, things have been well. Busy, but I like being occupied. It keeps my mind busy." she paused, "Aside from your injury, how have you been?"
"I've been fine. Can't complain." He offered a smile and a slight wag of his tail. "Adjusting to life on the station. I like it here. It's bigger than the ship, but the decks are also taller. I don't bang my head on doorframes nearly as much as before." a soft chuckle. "Plus, building fond memories with newfound friends. Nope, can't complain."
"It's much more spacious. My ears don't brush against all the doorframes." she giggled, "Hardly the same issue you have, but common ground is common ground." she took another look at his arm, "How long until you're fully recovered?"
"I'm physically ok. Well, apart from the patch on my shoulders. I'm sure you saw and remember." he flicks an ear, offers a soft smile. "I asked the doctor if should could lessen by old burn scars. She's attempting a treatment on part of my shoulder. But I'm off duty mostly because of the painkillers, I'm still a little bit light headed. Should be fine tomorrow."
"I think the scars add character." Ichiko said with a ghost of a smile. "Most of mine are invisible. My parents didn't want me showing scars. I know where they all are, though." she offered with a smirk.
"Nowhere exciting, I assure you. Soles of the feet, hands and shoulders. Typical places children hurt themselves. Nothing exciting. Space princesses, star pirates, I believe there was an alien invasion at one point in time." she struck the most curious face, feigning to struggle remembering events. It almost looked adorable.
"Do you need any help with the day to day events under the effects of your meds? I'm off shift for the remainder of the day if you think you'll need help getting things off the high shelves." she offered.
"No, thank you, I'm - " A pause, large eyes blink, then a low rumbling chuckle. " ... slow on the up take, I think. I blame the painkillers." A warm smile, as a particularly large, powerful and surprisingly gentle Sirran paw reached out to rest on her hand, dwarfing it. "I would greatly welcome the company, and feel honored that you'd offer." he smiled softly.
"Tell you what. I'll go clean up this mess a little bit and maybe pick out a movie we could watch. Meantime why don't you look around and tell me which statue you like." He motioned broadly around. "Any one you like, I'll tell you about what it is, maybe show you some footage of the actual thing, and then I'd be honored if you'd take it with you. Little piece of Sirran nature. See it as a cultural exchange, if you want."
"I certainly don't blame you. I blame the medication." she smirked, echoing his musing as her hand vanished under his. "I enjoy your company, so I give my time freely." there was a protocol there. Maybe that's how Ts'usugi treated a second date. Was this even a second date?
"A cultural exchange then? Hmmmm..." she looked around the room at the various sculptures, and motioned to one of the smaller ones. "Tell me that one's story."
He chuckled when he saw which one she'd picked, and, after cleaning up the wood chips from his current work, set the one she'd chosen on the table. It was a statuette of a Sirran, standing tall and proud, regal almost, wearing robes. But the strange thing was that it was not entirely clear at first glance whether this was a male or a female figure.
"Would figure you'd pick that one, the one with the most story out of all of them." Kare mused, sitting down again. "This is The Great Migrator, the main deity in the most common religion on my planet. This, the first living being, this ur-soul traveled the universe, seeding lifeless planets with little parts of itself, bestowing them with life, diminishing a little with every planet he left a part of himself on. Until, eventually, the very last part of him landed on our world, Sirrah, and became us. I say 'him', but the Migrator is genderless."
"It is said that the very last Sirran to live, will become the next Great Migrator, upon dying." Kare concluded. "I was raised to believe all this, but ... I don't know. The science doesn't add up. How did the old Sirrans know about other planets, at a time where they were still clinging to religions to explain the heavens?"
She listened, rapt attention as he told the story of the Great Migrator. Etching into record a story that would last her entire life. At his query at the end, though, she pondered for a moment before offering a possibility. "Perhaps post-enlightenment revisionism?" she offered. "Do you have access to any records that exist prior to the discovery of extraterrestrial societies?"
"It's a wondrous story. Thank you for sharing it." she said with a nod, "The questions it raises remind me of our how own origins are mired in mystery and double talk."
"Our own history speaks of war and bloodshed. We warred with everything we could find, and when we ran of our enemies, we warred with each other. We were savage, ruthless, and then along came the first Emperor." she said with all the conviction of someone who didn't believe a word of it.
"Naturally, he educated us against our warlord ways, and then he commanded us to abandon our home world and live on the moons. Then, he lifted off of the ground and flew to the heavens to await our arrival." she smirked. "And naturally, the ancient warlords abandoned their war against each other and found the way to follow up to the moons." she paused for a moment, "A little doubt is healthy." she offered with a wink.
Sirran ears wilted a bit at the mention of great wars. Less expressive than a Ts'usugi's, they still did well to indicate mood and reactions. "We know war. About one hundred years ago there was a civil war. Well, nothing civil about it." He heaved a deep sigh. "You can imagine what a people built like this - " he flexed his arm muscles and showed his massive claws. " - can do to each other in the name of politics. Fortunately it was long before my time, but there are Sirran alive who lived it. Including the ambassador on this station."
"That emperor though, the one who ended your wars and told you to go live on a moon." He perked up a little again. "It's a wonderful story, a single hero uniting the people, ending the violence. And him flying up into the skies adds a little magical touch to it. I wonder how much of that story is true, based on truth, and fabrication."
"They say every story has a grain of truth." Ichiko offered. "I enjoyed the tale of the Great Migrator, only if because it's the story of brotherhood and belonging before even meeting. The prospect of a soul mate among the stars." she smirked softly, "I'm certain the Dalacari would make the notion that he visited Dalacari twice."
"Or that he visited Quonos from a distance." she added with a thought. "Though, as said, it's an interesting story." she didn't have the same doubt in her voice about the Sirran Invisible Friend as she did about the Ts'usugi Great Liberator.
"You mentioned a movie? Should I prepare some snacks?"
"You know, I never really thought about it that way. Looks like we're all brothers and sisters, in the end." A smile, which then slowly faded into a look of horror. "Makes dating awkward though." He chuckled, tail giving a lazy wag, ears pricked up at the thought of a movie.
"Snacks would be good, yes. Any preference for a type of movie?" a smile as he rose to his feet and offered her a hand up as well. "Your call, anything goes."
She hadn't thought of that, and when he mentioned it, she gave a giggle. Pure and unrestrained. "Oh, that was terrifying." she collected herself, before giving his question some thought. "You know what, you mentioned a genre of movie before in the speakeasy that had me intrigued. Superheroes?" she questioned. "I think I'd like to see something like that, if that is acceptable?"
She rose to her feet with his 'help', springing to her feet with a little bounce. "I'd almost say the terran standard movie fare of popcorn would suffice, but I don't know how keen you are on picking kernels out from your teeth."
"I mentioned superhero movies? Well, you'd remember." a chuckle. "I think I can come up with something. As for snacks, well, Sirran are primarily carnivores, but we can handle plant based seasoning. I'm sure you can find something in the replicator." as he lumbered towards his front room.
"Movie ... Superhero movie." he mused. "Hmmmm. How about Wolfman III, Revenge of the catpeople? It deals with the the duality of the hidden identity, its effects on the psyche and themes of redemption while beating up on bad guys."
Ichiko took his hand in her's, and as he lumbered by she tightened her grip. Her attempt to stop him would be hilarious, but she didn't intend to force him to stop. "Want to see something?" she offered, then hooked the corner of her mouth with her free hand and pulled back and opened her mouth. What was there was something that no rabbit should have.
Teeth. Pointed and sharp. Minor canines, the prominent incisors, pointy teeth for gripping and tearing, and molars in the back for mashing.
"I'n arrirt ri..." she let her mouth relax, "I'm alright with carnivore stock. We have a lot of fish on the moons." she offered, "And, the movie sounds perfect."
He flicked an ear. Then again. Then the other. "I did not expect those. They look very functional." Then a grin, showing his own dagger-like and almost dagger sized canines. "I approve."