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[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Dante shook his head a little, the cute way she lifted her brow and how her hands and fingers teased him bringing a light smile to his lips.[+royalblue “It's not a one sided thing by any means. But, you did promise that when you came back,”] his own hands ran down her figure and crouching a little he grasped her thighs, lifting her up and wrapping her leg around him.[+royalblue “that we would have – as you put it – the best make up sex ever.”]
That devilish grin returned as he looked up into her deep red eyes and kissed her lips briefly again. It was fleeting but her figure offered that reassuring warmth it always had. The smile only grew further and his hands squeezed affectionately at her figure as he began to walk with her, carrying her off towards her quarters. It was the closest of their rooms conveniently and he wasn't sure bringing her to his room, where he had lay dead not long ago, would be the most romantic of options.
Pausing at her doorway long enough for her to punch in her access code – though he could have overridden it with his master – he kissed at her exposed neck to tease before quickly progressing inside and dropping her playfully down to her bed.[+royalblue “If this really does involve actual cosmetic enhancements, now is the time to tell me.”] Make-up sex? It must have been a Pyrenian colloquialism.
Rhea pushed up to her toes so that she could accept the kiss, though she really did not need to with Dante holding her. The fleeting moment of contact left her wanting more as she came back down to flat feet. That was no different than usual though. [+lightcoral “You make it sound like it is a one sided thing.”] Perking a short brow at him, she let her hands drop a little lower, resting them on the small of his back just above the base of his tail. There she drew small circles with the fingertips of one hand, teasingly just like her words. The woman was confident that this want went both ways.
[+lightcoral “I suppose I am in no condition to refuse such an offer despite it though.”] She had fully expected to wait until they were set to their next destination for anything to happen, but she also did not anticipate the scans to take quite as long as they were set too. The licentious woman did not want to hold off that long, nor did she think she could with him so close and with nothing but ‘menial’ distractions around them.
There was one more big question looming for her. That was whether or not she should drag him from the room they were in now to the closest bedroom or not. Really she did not want to have to show any more restraint than she already had, but what was one quick trip down the hall, really? Mentally debating, a bit of a pout played at her soft features. She hated to be unsure like this, especially when she felt so urgent.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat The happy hum was wonderful to hear, though her voice and the look she gave him showed it was only a fleeting response to being brought in close to him. As her head tipped back to look at him, his fingers slid to rest at her cheek and his thumb brushed over her fair skin. Looking down on her with soft golden eyes he shook his head, white locks swaying frantically.
[+royalblue “You are not a child Rhea, you have had to deal with a child though.”] It was clear he meant himself and not Tera, at least he hoped that was obvious and he bit back on adding that note.[+royalblue “I pushed you away with pathetic reasoning and then went and got myself killed. Couple that with what happened to the twins and the way Tera lashed out at you in her anger with me and I cannot think of anyone who could take that in their stride and continue to be a normal living being.”] Of course he made the distinction of living as opposed to synthetic being. He could quite easily overcome all that simply by erasing their memories and history from his data banks. It was dangerously easy.
[+royalblue “The work I was doing was menial and just a means of doing something than sitting around. If all you want is me then I am yours for whatever you need love.”] Perfectly positioned he lifted her a little on the balls of her feet and placed a short and delicate kiss to her lips before pulling back.
How gently he handled her starkly contrasted the unnatural strength he was previously using to carry around his weighty box of electrical odds and ends. Perhaps it should have made her more aware of what he was capable of. That it wouldn’t take much for him to seriously hurt her, but it never even crossed Rhea’s mind. She simply let her head fall against him and hummed happily at being touched. His soothing hand made it difficult to speak, only because she really did not want him to stop. However, eventually she did despite herself.
[+lightcoral “That’s not true. After acting like a child and moping around useless for days, I feel like I have just barely managed to claw my way out of that pit of pathetic-ness.”] Looking back, she knew she had been pretty awful. Argumentative with everyone, throwing fits when she did not get her way, and initiating what was basically a self induced depression coma for a day to escape having to deal with reality. It was not exactly the pinnacle of maturity and grace. She had only just begun to make up for it all.
Wrapping her arms around him, she finally shifted so that she was looking up at him. [+lightcoral “I’ve sat around enough, so if there is anything I can do, I would like to. But I understand if all that's left are things that are best left to you.”] He understood this ship and its inner workings better than anyone else. Rhea really had no business messing around with anything too complicated, best intentions or not hardware, engineering, and electronics were not her forte.
[+lightcoral “Besides, the only thing I really want to do ‘for me’, is you… but I think that is best left until all our other tasks are done.”]
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Dante watched her and it could not have been a sad sight save for her shedding a lone tear. She had done her best, he was sure. Whether the duo came back or not he would no longer put worry or thought to it. Rhea had taken it upon herself to get them back and for the most part it sounded rather positive. Likely she was just trying to place a good light upon it perhaps to make him feel better as that is just what she often did, she was selfless in that way. The smile was not a believable one and a realisation that she may be putting on a happy or content front had him forming ways to correct that.
Moving around the table when she asked if there was anything for her to do, he swiftly but gently wrapped his arms around her and pulled her to him, placing her head into his chest. With a hand to her back the other lightly brushed her hair and he let out a soft sigh.[+royalblue “You’ve done more than enough to help Rhea, you don’t have to do anything else.”] He spoke in a soothing and calm tone, quiet but enough for her to hear.[+royalblue “There isn’t anything you need to do, you should rest, relax, do something for you, okay?”] His hands ran along her hair and back softly in a manner she had done repeatedly in the past for him. He only hoped it had the same effect.
It was a little embarrassing to be caught standing around by someone who was clearly hard at work getting everything in order so that their trip might be as smooth as possible, but Rhea pushed those feelings to the side. Noting the time the necessary scans would take; she couldn’t help but think it was perfect. Truly, she had no way of telling how long Tera would take with her talk with Jax, but that seemed like a good chunk of time that would be spent waiting on more than just that.
[+lightcoral “It went better than expected, if I am going to be honest. There was minimal yelling, though I do not think we ever saw completely eye to eye.”] Rhea was mostly satisfied with the conversation, even if it did not yield the immediate results she wished to see. [+lightcoral “They need some time… this is a big decision and Tera wanted to talk to Jax about it, understandably without me there to try and sway his opinion.”] It was a smart move on the anthro’s part, even if she did not fully see the scope of her choice. [+lightcoral “I told them we would wait here for their final decision…”] she hesitated a moment to continue, eyes falling down to the floor. [+lightcoral “And that I would be sure to be the one to answer, just in case it really turned out to be too much for them...”] She hated to be so direct about it, especially since it all hinged on Dante and his past, but Rhea had promised the pair it would be just her, so she would stick to it.
Sighing, she tried to let out all those negative feelings and thoughts before she looked back up with a tentative smile. [+lightcoral “I am still hopeful they will come back, but I can’t help but think I failed to live up to my promise.”] She knew that was a possibility from the beginning, but in order to prevent those thoughts from developing into a self fulfilling prophecy, she ignored them and went straight for the best outcome she could imagine. Now that it was through, she allowed herself to see more than one avenue. [+lightcoral “Time will tell I suppose... Until then, is there anything I can do to help while we wait? We can also put Kashia to work if you need it. I am sure she would benefit from having something productive to do with her time.”] Rhea was still sore at her for saying all those unnecessary things to Dante. They would talk about it later though. It wasn't like it was time sensitive; she could lecture her niece any time she pleased.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat The ship was as calm as ever when Rhea returned and nothing seemed out of place, if only a touch cleaner – perhaps more tidy was the correct was of putting it. Things had been reordered on the work top in the kitchen and a number of wall panels were freshly riveted and sat perfectly flush in their respective seating. The monitors shone a touch brighter, the text of their readouts were sharper and more defined and the one annoying chair, with the loose leg that always seemed to threaten to collapse, now sat under the table with the others looking much more stable. The place did not sparkle nor did it look brand new, but it was obvious – once noticed – that the area had been given some much overdue maintenance.
Not long after she entered Dante came passing through on a leisurely stroll, glancing across nonchalantly but quickly halting when he saw Rhea. He had a multi-purpose gun of sorts in one hand and a box of electrical parts in the other. He was dressed much as he was when she left, though his shirt was missing the two uppermost buttons and a belt of attachments sat around his waist.[+royalblue “That was quicker than I expected.”] He sounded genuinely surprised to see her as he moved over to the table and placed down the box. It hit with a thud, showing it was much heavier than it seemed. With his secret out he did not have to think about limiting his capabilities just for show.[+royalblue “The scan is in progress, it’ll be done in two hours fifty four minutes. I thought I would go about checking the electrical system and touching up a few places whilst we waited.”] It made sense to keep active and productive. To just sit back and wait for the scan would not have been in Dante’s thoughts.
Placing down the tool-gun in his other hand he looked at he with a curious expression, eyes briefly flickering to look beyond her and an awkward silence hung for a moment.[+royalblue “How did it go? I guess, given that they aren’t here with you, it did not go well.”] He voice conveyed ambivalence but his golden eyes showed his disappointment. As he had promised, he had back-ups and contingency plans, but her sheer optimism had been quite infectious and he had let himself believe a little too.
The drawn out quiet was a thoughtful one, and that was to be expected. This was a big decision. And not for just one person, Tera had the fate of both her and Jax in her hands. Even when she did open up to speak, it was a request for more time. To this Rhea nodded. [+lightcoral “Of course.”] Somehow they had managed to keep relatively civil through the bulk of this conversation, so she was determined to keep it that way. The petite woman did not wish to burn this bridge they had built together.
Standing, it looked as though Rhea was going to leave it at that, but as her hand hesitated on the table she made one final request. [+lightcoral “Take whatever time you need, but if you would, could you please meet me at the ship with your answer? That way I won’t interrupt your thoughts… I will be sure to get the door, that way you won’t have to see him if you don’t want to.”] This wasn’t meant to be some trap to make this harder for them than it had to be, Rhea had simply already run a huge risk in spending so much time out and about in Fensome.
Thankfully Tera seemed to understand that and agreed to the terms set by the red-eyed woman. So with that, Rhea took her leave as she was asked. The conversation had gone better than expected. Quite frankly she had thought the anthro would be raring for a shouting match, but it ended up being quieter than that… for the most part. There was no way to tell to which side of the fence she would fall with her choice, but at least there was a choice that weighed on her mind now. Rhea had some hope that their strange makeshift family wouldn’t be completely broken. The loss of the girls had already left a glaring crack, the last thing she wanted was for it to shatter entirely.
Rhea wasted no time in getting back to the ship. Once there she finally felt as though she was able to breath easy. There wasn’t a need to constantly look over her shoulder and rush from place to place. It felt like home, where she was safe, and the relief that she hadn’t lost that washed over her all at once. She would take a moment to saver that tranquil and almost happy feeling before she moved on to let the others know what was going on. She and Kashia still needed to have a conversation.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Again and again she was countering her points and in a manner of speaking it was annoying to Tera. At least this time she was not offering solutions, but in understanding and reasoning her wild theories into coherent ones, Rhea was chipping away at the fiery pilots resolve. Small chips, minute dents and superficial damage, but it was something at least. For a long time she would sit there in silence as the very notion that Rhea would ‘take care of it’ was not something she could believe.
This woman had gone and saved Dante. When the expert had found no fault and no way of fixing him, she had done it. She had not given up and taken herself off to self-seclusion or become angry much like Tera. She was the calm one, the smart one, the one who didn’t give up. Rhea would never actively participate in killing the man she had resurrected, but the way she spoke and reacted to her own words, it held some chilling truth to it.
After a while of them sitting and contemplating things, barely a few minutes really, Tera sighed.[+red “Go back to the ship Rhea. Me and Jax will talk about things. I think I need his innocence and simple mindedness to help make all this much easier to understand. We need time. Please.”] It was a plea of sorts, to give them the space they had come to find whilst giving her some faint hope that it may fall in Rhea’s favour. She had done well to talk up her side of the argument but indeed it was now time for.. well, time.
Dante being ‘reactivated’ again was never something that crossed her mind. That must have come across because Tera began to go into more detail She seemed to struggle to do so, but eventually got it out well enough that Rhea followed her basic line of thinking. Maybe that was something to be worried about, but for some reason the Pyrenian woman couldn’t bring herself to be, even if it was a reasonable fear. Was she too trusting? Probably, but it wasn’t something she could do anything about now.
[+lightcoral “I guess that’s just not something I can really imagine happening. I think you are right, it is a possibility, but my mind just won’t wrap around it.”] Dante was just to strong willed and stubborn to be overridden like that. Even if the generation that came before him crawled out of the woodwork, somehow it didn’t feel like they could force him to do anything. It probably wasn’t true, but still Rhea had a hard time with it. [+lightcoral “If Dante found a way to break away from it once, I am confident he can do it again, especially if we are there to help him.”] She doubted he wanted them poking around in his hardware or coding, but they could probably come up with a plan of action if Tera’s worst-case scenario really did happen. [+lightcoral “It might not be impossible to set up a emergency protocol for such a thing. A detailed account of what we would need to do in order to undo such an override. Though, that comes down to him and what he is willing to disclose.”] Rhea wasn’t about to make an empty promise, especially one that leaned so heavily on the choices of another person.
Rhea was quiet for a bit, trying to think if there was anything more to be done or said. Something she herself could do, but there was only one thing that came to mind. And it was not an option she much cared for, though it might be necessary. [+lightcoral “And if not, if that isn’t a possibility, then I suppose I would try to take care of it myself.”] From what she had gathered, Dante held a great number of regrets for the things he had done, maybe not in the fact that he had hurt the Termani, but in the civilian casualties that got caught in the line of fire along the way. He had a conscience and it seemed a delicate piece of him. The Pyrenian wasn’t so sure how much more that fragile morality in him could take. He might prefer to be dead. It was a thought that made her stomach turn, but after these last few days it was clear he was willing to throw himself away for the sake of others. She hated it, but sometimes it was better to end it than go on as some distant shadow of oneself. [+lightcoral “I think he would prefer it that way anyway.”] The resolve was there, although whether she had the skill to back it up was another story altogether.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Tera listened to Rhea. Not a condescending listen where she was set in her own ways and was just humouring the pale skinned girl. She was listening and understanding just what she was trying to get across and in a very passionate manner too. Even through her own anger and resentment at this situation she could see that Rhea was just trying to do what was best, and it did hurt the bright haired woman to be so steadfast in her thoughts and beliefs.
She let the Pyrenian woman finish before she spoke again, not wanting to just reiterate her argument time and time again otherwise they would just go in circles.[+red “What happens if he’s activated again?”] She asked quietly. It was not said in a threatening manner, but one of secrecy. Those who knew about synths like Dante, knew what they had done, were none too happy to let them mingle in their society. Thus the disguise as a harmless Tiefling; they were intelligent beings so his vast memory banks would not come across as suspicious. Yet they were not one of the many hostile races, quite the opposite.[+red “If he’s activated again what is your plan?”]
She saw the slightly bemused look on Rhea’s face and took that to mean she did not know the scope of the question. Perhaps she was just unable to answer the question, but Tera needed an answer and she sighed as she snatched at her drink, finishing it and letting it slide away as she put it down again.[+red “There are rumours that a couple second gen synths got free after everything that went down. They got most of them, say they got them all, but they also denied that third gen like Dante existed too.”] The Termani had a habit of trying to cover things up, the Pyrenians weren’t their first rodeo.[+red “I mean, robots making robots is one thing, but when synths make an improved version of themselves – you don’t want just anybody knowing that, y’know?”] Letting out an exasperated sigh she rubbed at her eyes in frustration at not getting her point across succinctly.[+red “Look, they, the second gen’s, turned that killing machine on. He may have broken a few simple parameters so that he doesn’t just go on a murder spree for all of time, or maybe he is just laying low until a time that he can do more damage than he did the first time.”]
She was right that the teal skinned man could be playing them all for fools, and that any emotion was just a chameleonic response to his surroundings. Blend in, look normal, arouse little suspicion and then strike when the death count can be of the highest number.[+red “But we’ll stick to your theory, that he’s broken his programming and is ‘free’.”] The air quotes were an added effect.[+red “The second gen’s might be able to hack into him, do some.. I dunno, electrical computer shit to him. They can reverse what he’s broken and reset him, make him the same monster who killed those millions years ago. And what if they turn him on another race? Maybe the Termani have had enough, maybe it’s time my people or Jax’s or a whole host of other races are exterminated.”]
Shaking her head her pink locks swayed lightly and her eyes dropped to her empty cup, staring across at it as she let out an exasperated sigh.[+red “It’s too dangerous to trust him.. that thing.. he’s just as likely to kill everyone on Pyreen as save them.. and you don’t seem even the slightest bit scared of that fact..”]
Tera was too upset to see she was practically proving her point with Jax. He called things by exactly what they were. A gun was a machine meant to hurt others. That was its sole function and the anthro seemed to think it was the same with Dante. But that wasn’t so, he was much more complex than that, just like the three of them were. However that was the other problem. While Rhea was still willing to see him as more than a machine with a set function, as a person rather, it seemed her friend across the table was not. It was a stark contrast in moral beliefs, one that wasn’t simply changed over the course of a single conversation, be that with or without a strong drink. That didn’t mean Rhea wouldn’t try though. [+lightcoral “People can be built, or raised, or whatever term you want to use for it here, for one thing and still accomplish other feats. They can go against what was ‘meant’ to be and forge their own paths. Dante may not have started out that way, but I feel he has long since deviated from his creator’s intended purpose. If he hadn’t he would still be raging against the Termani with every move he made and I very much doubt he would still be around for us to have met him.”] They had a talent for finding and snuffing out those who stood in the way of their progress.
As for the numbers, that was harder to get around. She did not have an answer for that, at least not one anyone would find satisfactory. All her reasoning came up short because she didn’t think it was as bad as everyone was making it out to be. Rhea understood that it was an atrocity, but in her mind it was something that had to be separated from a single person. What she didn’t fully realize was that she had been groomed into this line of thinking and to do the same to someone else would take time and skill, neither of which she had, nor would she wish to use if she actually recognized what was going on.
[+lightcoral “I wouldn’t ask him to do something like that. I couldn’t. What happened in the past weighs enough on his heart as it is. I do not want to be the reason that burden grows heavier.”] They both knew it was too late for that, but that was another point entirely. [+lightcoral “I don’t want the Termani eradicated.”] Genocide was not the answer she sought. [+lightcoral “Many of the Termani, if not most, probably don’t even know what transpired on my planet.”] The propaganda was just as rampant within their society as it was in the rest of the galaxy. [+lightcoral “I just want our freedom, that is justice enough for me.”] It was a vague concept. Sure, she would like for those who actively hid this away from the universe to be condemned for it, even if those who actually committed the crime were long since gone, but it was not a necessity for her.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat [+red “That was back when I thought there was some kind of reasoning behind the madness! It was back when I thought he was trustworthy and he had my back and I had his and we were close enough to talk about stuff. Back when I thought he was still a living being! But now I see it was just mindless, senseless, lying, fucking… fucking [i soulless] killing machine! There isn’t any thought, just kill, kill, kill..”] She slapped the table with those final words, driving home her anger and her frustration and again a few around them glanced over. At least for now Tera was keeping things together for the most part. She was not blaming any of this on Rhea, as she had done so before, because all of this was now Dante’s fault.
When the rose-coloured woman tried to appeal to the anthro’s memories, to think of how Dante had acted with her and the twins, it did little but harden her resolve, wanting to shut out the woman’s voice and just dismiss what she was saying. Thankfully she turned on the larger man at her side and she was quick to move forward and steal back her attention.[+red “Leave Jax out of this. He doesn’t understand things like that. He just calls things what he thinks they’re called, he can’t help it. He calls guns 'hurt-machines'..”] She didn’t want to belittle the big man but if it would spare him feeling any remorse, guilt or anything negative she would allow him to feel a little embarrassed. She was there to protect him now and Tera place a hand on his forearm as she said this.
[+red “We’re talking about Cap, what he really is, and that is a synth. A third gen at that. They were made by synths to kill people.”] That was a very basic evaluation of the situation but it was correct in the very basic terms.[+red “You want to say that all those deaths, all those lives lost, were in his past and we should just judge him on how he is now? So those millions of lives ended by him is okay because he was nice to the half-a-dozen he kept on his ship?”] She couldn’t understand how that mathematics made any sense. If it had been a few dozen, hell a few thousand, then Tera would be more inclined to listen and understand why he did the things he did. But once it passed the first million it was no longer a question of balance.[+red “If you aren’t bothered by that then why not let him loose on the Termani again? He’s used to it. He knows how to do it. You could say he’s an expert on them. He’s already killed millions what’s a couple more? Right?”]
[+lightcoral “And yet, until only hours ago, that was all fine by you just as well as it is me. You were there chastising me for abandoning him, for not doing everything in my power to try and revive and save him when he had all but died himself.”] Many of the things Tera mentioned were unintentional. Dante didn’t know that Delia would betray his trust like that and he didn’t know that taking them through that wormhole would have such an effect, no one did. It felt like she was just grasping for whatever sounded worst, but Rhea couldn’t blame her. [+lightcoral “That isn’t all there is to him, Tera. We both know that he can do more than take life. He can teach; you wouldn’t be a pilot today if he couldn’t. And he knows how to care for others. The girls were proof of that... I have seen enough uncared for younglings, be that physically, mentally, or emotionally, to know exactly what it looks like and neither Ino or Oni were being mishandled. They were treated right by someone who loved them as a father.”] Surely it couldn’t be too hard to go through the motions for such a thing, say and do the things expected of a parent. But Rhea couldn’t bring herself to think that someone whose walls were lined with his children’s art was simply going through the motions.
[+lightcoral “He’s not just a machine.”] That statement was softer than the rest of what she had said. [+lightcoral “He has legitimate feelings. Ones that hurt him so bad that he tried to get rid of them…”] He tried to throw them at her instead, but Rhea could barely carry the weight of her own emotions let alone Dante’s on top of that. It was too heavy a burden so she forced them back on him. [+lightcoral “Right, Jax?”] He was clearly checked out, but the red-eyed woman tried to call him back to the conversation. [+lightcoral “That thing, you called it a soul chip, right? You wouldn’t call it that unless it was the same, unless it really was like having a soul in you, would you?”] It probably seemed like a lot of questions, but really it was just the same one repeated with different words. Rhea didn’t know if calling him into this would help, he might disagree with her. Say that he didn’t think it was the same. Then she would be left with little to stand on, but if he did agree, then perhaps Tera could at least come to see Dante as a person. That was important to the pyrenian woman, because quite frankly the law didn't agree and he needed at least the people he cared about on his side.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Jax felt his face warm at the mention of sex. It was not something he thought of often, or indeed wanted for himself. A handful of cookies, a cup of juice and a box of coloured chalk and he would be positively thrilled. So to hear this was very much not of his usual genre and he fixated even more upon his sugary drink as if the swirls and slight froth would unravel the mysteries of time.
Tera for her part was argumentative at the best of times, downright unruly now. She looked at Rhea with indecision as she was not entirely sure if the woman believed her own words.[+red “Isn't the same person? He isn't a person to begin with, he's a fucking [i machine] Rhea. And if you're basing your opinion from meeting him, lets go through that,”] she raised a swaying hand,[+red “he got you drugged by that woman he took you to see,”] a finger flicked up,[+red “he took you out to kill people for money,”] another finger,[+red “he killed you and the twins by dragging us through that fucking wormhole!”] The hand slapped the table though not too loudly.[+red “He doesn't know anything but how to kill! How can you trust that.. that thing?”]
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