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Based off the cold silence and the less than happy stare, Rhea had determined that Hex wasn’t all too excited about being denied. And as much as she would absolutely love to remove herself from the room, she decided to tough it out. Besides, leaving now would be a slippery slope. It would be all too easy to fall into avoiding these two entirely after all this, which she decided was not a good thing. So the Pyrenian stayed put, looking back to the other woman in silence and actively trying not to look intimidated.
Then came Dante to break the silence, however it seemed as though no one was paying him any mind. The quiet persisted despite him and no one looked his way at first. His fears that he might be seen as incompetent were unfounded, at least in the case of Rhea. Both because she did not see a random hiccup in the ships workings as a blemish on him and because she was still rather focused on the golden stare locked with hers. If Hex was anything like Dante, she did not expect that she would stand down from whatever this interaction was just because her pseudo-son walked in. And she was right, because the staring continued. The red-eyed woman wasn’t sure why she didn’t just put an end to it herself, seeing as it was only growing more uncomfortable as time went on, but it was what it was. This unwillingness to be the first one to back out of this strange interaction made answering Dante’s question somewhat difficult. Enough so that Hex was able to completely disregard that as well and continue with her own interests.
[+yellow “Seeing as you feel constricted from speaking on the matter, now that Dante has arrived you can demonstrate for us instead.”] Obviously that would be better. It eliminated the need for secondhand processing of the data.
And that was about it for Rhea. Her face flushed to a color that just about match her eyes. She was lost for words, which was just as well because it was unlikely the Pyrenian would be able find a way to explain why that was impossible Hex would accept. And so, she finally broke contact with the other woman and looked to her beau with an expression that shrieked ‘save me.’
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Golden eyes narrowed on the rose-coloured girl as at last she declined to answer, a touch perturbed to be rebuffed on what was a simple question. The questions had been getting progressively more invasive and the prying would have no end in sight. As much as the anthropologist was dying to learn more about synth and synth-kind – was there a term for the synth race? – the desire for knowledge was more pressing with those before her.
Rhea was hemmed in by societal norms, by basic politeness and through not wishing to come across in a negative or rude manner. Such consideration was commendable, something even Dante had been slowly learning during their time together, not as preoccupied with his own self-indulgence of late. Not such the case for two android-like beings, to whom knowledge was the end goal and woe be to whatever came between them and it.
Enter the man of the hour; Dante. He was running a cloth between his hands as he returned to the others, cleaning his fingers of lubricant and oils, a look of annoyance on his face at the sudden incident arising. To him, it made him look incompetent, that he was not capable of keeping a ship running single-handedly. It was bad enough to him that perhaps Rhea would see this gross ineptitude, but with Hex and Rias here it was hardly a glowing indictment of his skills.
[+royalblue “Well, the hose is repaired, the coolant and hydraulics topped up.”] He reported back, the space mechanic making his observations known to a room that seemed to disregard his entrance. Both parties stared across the table at one another, and a creeping thought that perhaps he shouldn’t have left this trio alone together began to form in the back of his mind.
[+royalblue “Everything okay?”] A simple question but perhaps he wouldn’t like to know the answer. The topic at hand had been a touch delicate after all.
As hard as she had been trying to keep the limelight off her as much as possible, the next question was too direct for that. It called pointedly to her personal experience and feelings. As much as she would rather be talking about almost anything else, there was a relatively tame answer, so she began bumbling through it. [+lightcoral “Well, at one point I suppose I did. When my expectations for my life were a little different... that was a long time ago though. At least, for me it was... We were still figuring all these things out.”] It called back to a struggle she had already moved on from. [+lightcoral “I’ve since come to terms with it, and as time went on, I found that raising a child was not really what I wanted for myself... well, for the most part.”] That brought her to the second part of the question and her face reached a deeper red. [+lightcoral “Considering Dante comes with children... and that I agreed to help raise them when the time comes again, I suppose I would have to say that has changed to some degree. So yes, in some hypothetical universe where it was a possibility, I would be willing to...”] Rhea faded out there. She did not really want to think of it as a donor situation. In fact, she was having a hard time thinking about it at all. She just hoped that line of thought was close enough to the answer that Hex wanted for her to move on.
Unfortunately, it was not. It only threw her into the details of Dante. And while Rhea took a great deal of interest in him and had many a question as to how exactly they managed all this, she did not dare ask. The fear that the synth woman might turn it around back to her again was too great. Instead, the Pyrenian woman just listened. That was until that fear of hers became a reality. It was right back to the matter of their love life and Rhea’s head whirling with how she should answer. There was some silent deliberation before she came to the conclusion that considerate was probably the word she was looking for when it came to Dante, but in the end it would not come out. Her face could not possibly get any hotter than it already was and she was finally forced to put an end to this despite her wishes to remain polite and accommodating. [+lightcoral “I am sorry… that-that’s just too much for me to answer.”] As well as some of the rest of this conversation probably should have been, if only the petite woman would have been able to put her foot down sooner. [+lightcoral “The details of our… encounters are a private matter between myself and Dante. I think it better that it stays that way.”] Not to mention she was still hard pressed to consider Hex Dante’s mother. Despite his saying that there was no real formal attachment or set up between them, to the Pyrenian it still felt wildly inappropriate to even think about disclosing such details to a parent-adjacent figure. Well, to anyone really, but especially Hex and Rias.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Hex tilted her head forward, lips pursing with intrigue as Rhea candidly told her of her species breeding capabilities. At any other time, with any other people, this would have been a very awkward topic to discuss so freely. Shame that Rhea wasn’t dealing with ‘everyday people’.
[+gold “Fascinating. Do you wish you could bear offspring? Would you take Dante as a potential donor?"] She was particularly keen to discuss this aspect of their relationship and was glad to have Rhea openly give her information she was not earlier privy to.
[+gold "We created him with the ability to copulate with a vast number of different species, though given no Synth has ever directly impregnated a species, we are curious as to what the outcome would be. You see-”] She was lost for a time, discussing in very extensive detail on how first and second gen synths were used by the Termani as surrogate mothers and donor fathers. A means of insemination, as she would put it.
She spoke of how Dante was unique in that he had the potential for breeding, but it would be something he controlled, something he would have to activate and use. It was part of what they had been working on before they shifted focus to creating a synth capable of overthrowing its programming and becoming the first, truly freethinking model. If she didn’t speak in such a monotone and dry manner, she may have showed pride in that fact, though it was just an informational dump on the poor girl before them.
[+gold “How often do you and Dante fornicate? Is it to a set manner and style? What kind of ‘lover’ is Dante?”] As if she could not make this any more awkward or outright nausea inducing, here was his ‘mother’ for all intent and purposes asking what her creation was like in bed. Whilst Rhea may have thought this was a ploy of Dante’s, to sit her with such emotionless beings who would analyse her with a critical eye, even he would not have put her through that question.
It felt like quite some time since Rhea had been willfully ignored like this. In one way it was nostalgic, but in a bigger way it was irritating. Her eyes flashed to the camera monitoring the room. She almost wondered if this was some sort of prank Dante was pulling from the bay, but quickly dropped the notion as Hex moved on to her next question. The petit woman’s face lit up.
As far as she could tell, the Synth had no intention to embarrass or mock her with her incredibly intrusive question, but it was a tad difficult to imagine she was asking for any other reason than to provoke mortification. Rhea paused as she tried to think of the best way to answer, and if she should answer at all. It was rather tempting to shut this whole conversation down, but in the end she opted to make this more of a teaching moment. [+lightcoral “Well, to be entirely candid, yes. To both accounts... There really isn’t much other reason for me to engage in sex acts other than pleasure as my species does not reproduce sexually. We lack gametes of any kind despite the rest of the systems being in place.”] It was quite the mystery, one that they probably did not need all these details too, but Rhea was beginning to ramble to combat the awkwardness she was feeling. [+lightcoral “Some time ago there were a series of studies that proved Pyrenians could carry implanted zygotes to term, but it was not satisfactory as the hosts mental health often deteriorated to a point of disrepair before then.”] More useless details to distance herself from the conversation. It was only marginally working.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Rhea was clearly angling toward another topic of conversation, but she failed to account for a synths ability to ignore what it wasn’t interested in. Dante did well to feign interest for social reasons and to play the obliging second to any conversation. Granted, with Rhea, he did find her questions interesting and was more than happy to answer them in a timely fashion, just not moments before they had to complete a dangerous mission. However Hex and Rias were not like him, as she was beginning to learn.
[+gold “Romantic, yes, that is to put it simply.”] She commented as she righted her head and looked directly on the young woman before her – she had no knowledge that the petite woman was actually near two centuries old.[+gold “We observed how you looked at him; pupil dilation increased 34%, breathing and heart rate increased 8%, not to mention the more obvious signs such as the rhythmic movements of your tail or softening of your facial expression.”] They were certainly an observant duo, even if one of them seemed a mute. Hex seemed rather at ease in ignoring the Pyrenian’s hint at wanting to keep the topic off her, perhaps to divert it to the synth before her.
[+gold “Are you two copulating? If so, is it purely for sexual gratification and satisfaction?”] It was asked as easily as if offering a glass of water, no hint of trepidation or concern that she may offend or embarrass the anthropologist. After all, this was what she did, she studied species and races of the Universe, so why would she feel offence in discussing her relationship with Dante?
Rhea was settling into the silence, ready for that to be he norm when it was broken. Hex’s not quite fluid voice filled the air. The conversation began somewhat normal. Simply stating they had not been in contact with Dante in some time. Which made sense, from what she gathered in their short conversation he had a strong sense of independence from these two. However, after that the topic took a turn for the slightly more awkward. She blinked at the woman as she finished her analysis and questioning.
Given the fact that Hex had made it crystal clear that Rhea was the weak point that belayed the fact that there was more going on, there was little use in lying. The Pyrenian knew she was not a very good liar, so she would be caught in any falsehood quickly. That and she saw little reason to lie. As far as she could tell she and Dante were out in the open now. There was no secret to be kept, even if it was strange to be asked so directly.
[+lightcoral “Well, If I had to classify it, I would say it is romantic.] The couple had not really spent time or effort defining what was going on, so she thought that described it aptly enough without putting any words in anyone’s mouth. Either way, it got the point across and confirmed what Hex was trying to get at. Though, in hindsight perhaps Dante had some reasoning to leave this all out. Oh well. If so he should have made sure she was on the same page. [+lightcoral “Beyond that, I act as navigator and translator on the ship, though anthropology is my true calling, as he mentioned.”] And there it was. [+lightcoral “I am very interested to know more about the two of you.”] And by extension, Dante. [+lightcoral “I would love to ask you a few questions later, if you wouldn’t mind, of course.”] Hopefully pushing the focus off onto them and into the future would also move them away from the awkwardness this had started with.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat The lights and Klaxon seemed not to bother the two new crew members, who watched Rhea once Kashia had left on Dante’s request. They watched her with unnerving silence. They were different in appearance, from skin tone to hair to size and even how they sat in their seats, but those shining eyes were as if one and looked on the petite Pyrenian with some interest. For a time, there was nothing to be said, and each party just sat watching the other.
Without any foreword however Hex spoke up, her precise and monotone voice a little unnerving though she did not come across as threatening in any way.
[+gold “We were intrigued to learn of Dante’s continued existence. We have not conversed with him in many Termani-cycles.”] It was evident their manners of speech were not very smooth or free flowing, in stark contrast with Dante’s more easy mannerisms and conversational ability. Rias was more of a mystery for now, choosing to remain silent as Hex went on.
[+gold “What is your relationship to Dante?”] The question was so blunt and to the point it was easy to feel on the back foot.[+gold “He informed us that you were the ships navigator and you have previous experience in anthropological studies and surveys with the Termani, though from how you look at him, we are certain he has not divulged the full details.”] Her head tilted to the side like a curious animal as she watched the rose-skinned woman intently.[+gold "How would you class your relationship?"]
Perhaps a little sooner than she expected, Rias and Hex returned. If Dante did the same, maybe they could leave a little early. Knowing how Kashia was feeling about all this, she would be happier with that. Rhea was hopeful, however, it seemed the captain did not appear at any short length behind them. The four sat in silence, look one another over. It was somewhat odd, though Rhea did not find it overly uncomfortable. That did not seem to be the case with Kashia though, as she soon interjected. Her aunt did not much mind; she was able to glean information from her question. But that too was cut short when the alarm blared.
Filled with fear that something had gone wrong, the Pyrenian woman was glad to hear her beau’s voice over the intercom, confirming that he was fine for the time being, though in need of assistance. Her niece was fast off to help with that and she was left with the others on her own... that might make it a little more difficult to stop herself from spring boarding into the slew of questions she had. Or it would have, if they hadn’t turned on her in such a peculiar way. Were they synched up or was that preplanned? She found the latter unlikely but was unwilling to ask.
The staring went on for a bit longer, Rhea smiling politely at the pair, though wondered what she should say. If she should say anything? Striking up conversation was liable to lead to her starting down the path to cultural studies. And try as she might to think of some topic that would not eventually drive her down that road, it just was not coming to her. The silence persisted between the three of them and in the end she decided to let it be. There was not always a need to speak. Some times called for quiet, so she would let this be one of them. Besides, if they were anything like Dante, it was very unlikely they wanted to participate in idle chitchat.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Dante smirked as she pouted, watching as she was denied further investigation into her new interest, not able to pry out all the information she now wanted. He felt it was fair to leave it for a later date, as they had bigger issues at hand, though the brief tantrum he saw brewing was rather sweet. Her request however drew his interest only for a soft laugh to break free.
[+royalblue “Oh? Well, I suppose one.”] He commented playfully, moving over to her though he did cast a very brief look to Kashia, thinking better on being overly romantic or the like at that time. He offered the roseate woman a brief if loving kiss before turning away and heading off to do his final work whilst the others prepped.
For the next thirty to forty minutes the two women were left alone to talk and discuss anything they wished. None of the synths on board came to disturb them until as a duo Hex and Rias returned to the table, each taking a seat beside one another opposite from Kashia and Rhea. Neither said anything, merely watched the women with some interest, particularly on Rhea. Perhaps sensing this, Kashia did step forward with a light smile.
[+orange “Erm, do you guys want a drink? Do you even drink?”] She was quite blunt in her question, unsure of just what these people were and what that meant. She knew Dante drank and ate, but if these were like a different type of Dante then she wasn’t assured they would do the same. She had her answer swiftly as Hex turned her bright gaze on the girl and shook her head.
[+gold “Whilst we can and do consume nutritional additives it is purely in a social manner. However, we have no need for sustenance beyond recharge packs and occasional supplemental nanite injections.”] Her voice, whilst perfectly legible and coherent, was just that other side of uncanny and unnerving. The lack of inflection or change in tone and the droll, precise manner she spoke was so stark from Dante. For Rhea it would be a little more noticeable, as that is how he had spoken when she had first revived him, but for Kashia she only held up her hands and walked away from the conversation.
It was then that a klaxon began to sound, deep and blaring every few seconds, the lights of the ship dimming and flickering before cutting out entirely. After a second or two the blue emergency lighting came on, several of the tablets on the wall reading out error messages and lines of code began to take over the screens. The klaxon continued for another twenty or so seconds, neither Rias or Hex looking the slightest bit phased by any of it. They seemed to know what was going on and the klaxon soon shut off.
[+royalblue [i “Sorry.”]] A muted Dante said over the intercom system.[+royalblue [i “Just a moment…”]] The sounds of several heavy bangs and some muted curses followed before the blue lights shut off and the main lights returned.[+royalblue [i “Okay, who has the smallest hands? Kashia, how big is your hand? Raise it up to the camera.”]] There was a pause as the young girl looked to her Aunt, frowning in confusion before raising her hand.[+royalblue [i “No, to the left… your other left… hold still…”]] A few seconds of static crackled over the intercom.[+royalblue [i “Right, come down to bay four, I need your help. Apologies everyone, shouldn’t take too long.”]] The click from the system showed he had signed off without a word more. He could be concise when needed.
Kashia sighed as she let her hand drop to her side. Although she liked to help out with things and be useful, and she wanted to learn new things all the time, helping Dante seemed like the last thing she wanted to do – especially as it sounded like all he wanted was her smaller hands. It felt less like being helpful and learning than it did being used as a tool for something. Still, she marched from the room, leaving the duo at the table and her Aunt. The former turned their attention to the small woman in unison in a most disturbing manner.
His comparison was helpful in the way that it cemented the idea that he did not ascribe the common ideas of familyhood to his creation or brief upbringing with Hex and Rias. Given that, as she understood it, the gen twos were created to more closely simulate the behaviors and ticks of organic life she had thought there was a chance that this had trickled down into Dante’s construction, a chance to simulate parenthood as they had previously seen it, but it appeared not. That was no bother though. Rhea’s spirits were in no way dampened. In fact, this only made the situation all the more interesting to her. Her want to uncover the differences in Synth culture pre and post liberation was staggering. By her guess it was likely close to non-existent before Dante. But once there was a touch more freedom involved there was a solid chance something could have developed if they banded together in a community. It was likely a society built on nothing but numbers and logistics. The Pyrenian found it fascinating... even if it was just as probable that no such thing occurred, and Synths continued on in a more solitary manner.
Mouth opening to ask a few more questions directed in this emerging direction, Rhea promptly shut it when he mentioned time. That was a mild downpour on her parade. He was right, of course, but she was not happy about it. This was made obvious enough in the way her nose crinkled in a pout. [+lightcoral “Fine... I suppose it can wait for another time.”] But just as that implied, she would be there hounding him with twenty questions later. She had ideas to spare the other two... for now. If they stuck around, there was a fair chance they would be subjected to something similar. Their accounts would widen the scope of her understanding. Which is what she was always after, but she also wasn’t going to hound them after they just arrived. Even if it was maddening to have to drop the subject. The woman’s curiosity was clawing away at her. She was going to have to find something else to distract her from it. For the time being, Rhea thought her niece would do the job. However, she did have one more thing to ask of Dante. [+lightcoral “I will let you alone to do your thing, but I want something before then.”] While she could have easily just said what she wanted, the woman instead prompted him by looking up and pointing at her lips.
Thankfully, her childish behavior was rewarded. No doubt because the Synth knew it was the fastest way to move on and get to what needed to be done. A matter of efficiency, but Rhea cared little. She grinned giddily after the short kiss and joyfully allowed Dante to move on. The woman watched him go, still a little disappointed at having to quell her drive for knowledge for the time being, but overall not too mortified about it. With Kashia still in the room she was easily able to turn to her to busy herself with that instead.
[+lightcoral “So, how are you feeling about all this?”] She meant the mission, and not the relationship she had just been subjected to. Rhea didn’t really care to hear any of her opinions on that.
The young woman shrugged. [+orange “I don’t want to stay here for very long.”] Kashia had got a glance out to the port and people outside when their new friends came aboard and quite frankly, she did not like the vibes. [+orange “Doesn’t feel dangerous, just... not great.”] Tense would have been a great word for it, but unfortunately Kashia was not particularly great at describing this sort of thing.
The Shelvi girl’s description was not overly alarming. It probably was not a good idea for them to stay in any place for too long. So, Rhea just sort of nodded along. [+lightcoral “Alright, let me or the Captain know if that changes into anything more.”] In her coming here, they had agreed to take her instinct into consideration for the road ahead. It might not have always been right, but they needed any heads up they could get.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat With their meeting at an end, their new colleagues introduced and sent on their way, it was time for Dante to grab equipment and get things going for the mission. Most of it had been thought of prior to the others arrival, but he didn't want to have it all lain out on the table in some imposing manner, a stark reminder of what they were going to do that day. It was not as dangerous as what was to come on Pyreen by any stretch of the imagination, but to get caught here would jeopardise the entirety of their mission ahead.
Having half turned to leave for the small armoury the ship had, kept locked and secured at all times and not required except for their attack on the villa and now, he was stopped by the soft voice of Rhea. Looking back to her he took a moment to manage his calculations; he had time to talk. Returning to stand beside the table he nodded for her to speak her mind. Her questions were inquisitive and rightly so, though was this the time for the discussion? Perhaps not. But it was being asked, so he would oblige.
[+royalblue “You're asking if they are my parental units?”] He tried to put it into words she would understand. He had the Synth version, the one that made logical sense to him and others like him but that would just confuse most others. He felt he was right to not go with this answer though, as she asked about family dynamics in Synth culture.[+royalblue “Well, we don't trend towards traditional organic life given we aren't organic. My conception is the drawing of blueprints, my gestation period is the time it takes to retrieve materials and build me, my birth is when I am initially powered on, my education comes from the uploads given to me. In a way it is a parallel of what you and living beings experience I suppose.”] He offered a meek smile, that he might compare the building and programming of a machine to that of a child being born.
[+royalblue “In a sense, they are my 'parents', if that helps you understand. They conceptualised my physical being, they built me together, they gave me my consciousness and my education.”] It sounded rather simple to him but he could understand, given her anthropology background, that she was looking at him as a new species to be studied. In a manner of speaking, it was rather sweet.[+royalblue “When I was brought online I took a few hours to download all essential programs, though in essence I suppose I was 'on my own'. I required little monitoring beyond initial tests.”] He looked at her with curious golden eyes, interested to see her reaction.
[+royalblue “As for whether it is typical of Synths? No. As far as I understand I was the only Gen 3 of my kind to be given 'life'. There were others, though they were not made operational before I made my move against the Termani, though rumours exist that they were salvaged and brought online at a later date.”] He leaned against the table a little, pondering a few seconds on that thought that he may not be the only one like him alive. But it was quickly forgotten.[+royalblue “As for Gen 2's and Gen 1's they were built en masse, built to templates, so as a whole we do not have a family dynamic. I mean, if you want to go into more detail feel free to ask more questions, though I don't know if this is the time for you to do some research.”] He again smiled, glanced aside to her.
When it came time to meet these new crewmembers Rhea was both excited and anxious. However, she managed to calm herself by repeatedly telling herself it would be fine. She had met new people a million times before; there was basically nothing that could surprise her anymore. There was no reason to be nervous; she could just be excited to have someone new for Kashia to bother. But she was wrong. There was exactly one thing she did not expect and Dante managed to throw it at her: these new faces were what basically constituted as his parents. And their first impression of her was going to be that she was dragging not only their progeny, but also now them, on what could very well be a suicide mission. Great... Truly none of this should have mattered, she was not a child and she did not need validation from anyone other than herself when it came to her relationship. Not to mention she was no stranger to being disliked or even hated by her partner’s family, but it would have been nice to have a little bit of a heads up that this is what was going to happen.
Pushing all that aside, the woman remained calm and somehow got her niece to act like a proper functioning adult for long enough to make it through the introduction. It was a simple nod back, as they had done. Rhea often just mirrored what others did in these situations. It was a habit she had picked up from literal decades of working in her field of anthropology. Had she known anything more about Synths or where these particular ones hailed from, perhaps she would have taken more initiative, but for now she let things flow naturally until they were given orders and left.
Her four red eyes then fell back to her boyfriend just as soon as they were gone. [+lightcoral “I have questions.”] There was no anger in her voice, just a genuine curiosity and a pinch of bewilderment. [+lightcoral “Those two made you, I get that much, but what all does that entail? Was there construction and then you were on your own or was it more of a traditional nuclear situation akin to some organic life?”] Her curiosity was flaring, that much was obvious. But it was beyond just wanting to know about her significant other. This was starting to tread into anthropology territory and she could not help herself. [+lightcoral “Basically what is your family dynamic and is it typical of Synths?”]
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat If only this could be a very simple, very quick business affair that was wrapped up and dealt with as swiftly as she hoped. If only. But no, things had to be complicated. Nothing since meeting her had been straight forward and easy. A lot had to do with the Termani, thus why they were doing all this, but still the point stood that nothing was simple. Dante’s life had changed quite drastically from what it had been before she came along. Jax and Tera were gone, the girls were being reborn, he was all but living openly as a Synth – if it were not for his ship he would feel very much out of his depth.
And that was an odd thing for him to feel. Ever since he had removed and then reintegrated his emotional chip, life had been quite a bit different. From his relationship with Rhea, where he was much more open and obliging with his thoughts and desires, to how he talked with Kashia and did his best to try and accommodate her more extrovert personality. It was not something he had ever dealt with before, preferring to push such things to one side, but now he was giving in to it in an almost… happy, manner. It was most peculiar to the Synth man.
The final distance to the port where the first part of their plans would commence was a short and uneventful one. Kashia had several questions that he happily pushed off onto Rhea to mumble her way through, the trio’s evening meal often ending with her Aunt frustrating the young woman with [i ‘I don’t know’] and [i ‘we will see’].
The moment they landed at the station, offering falsified clearance codes to be given access and hide their real reason for being there of course, Dante made sure to advise Kashia to remain calm and keep herself in check.
[+royalblue “Once we have reached the station and cleared the information, then I will let you have a little time to explore – so long as it is viable.”] If they had to run and were chased back to the ship, then clearly she could not stop to purchase things along the way.[+royalblue “Until then, please try to remain professional and courteous to our guests.”] He couldn’t help but glance to her Aunt on that point, as if to say ‘she is your charge, make sure you keep her in line’. Nodding that his point had come across he sent their location to their two new members and a few minutes later he received notification they had arrived.
Down to the on ramp he went, keeping the others inside as he made initial greetings and then brought the duo onto the ship. Leading them into the mess hall he introduced Rhea and Kashia before turning to his contacts.
[+royalblue “This is Hex. She is a comms specialist and will be assisting with clearing the information from their system.”] Before them was a woman with dark skin, looking not much older than Kashia. Her skin was ebony brown, hair a mousy blonde and tied back in a short ponytail, and her thin figure was covered by a midnight black jumpsuit. Aside from two metallic cases in her hands, she carried little else with her as Dante moved on and nodded to the taller figure beside her.
[+royalblue “This is Rias. He is a level 4 pilot and will help get us in on Pyreen and as close to our landing site as possible to save my internal systems melting.”] He stood just a little shorter than Dante, with a lighter skin tone than the woman, closer to a mahogany shade. His head was devoid of hair and he wore a similar outfit to his partner, save for a few small pouches about his waist. Both inclined their heads on introduction, bright golden eyes looking across to the two women.
[+royalblue “Before you state the obvious, yes, they are both Synths like me, however, they are Gen 2’s.”] This almost sounded like a boast, as if they were simply inferior to him. In a purely comparative manner they were, but he didn’t say so aloud.[+royalblue “I helped them in escaping the Termani research facility after they constructed me.”] Although he said this in such a non-chalant way, this was tantamount to introducing his parents to Rhea and Kashia. They had built him, instilled him with conscience, programmed his initial systems and given him the autonomy needed to overthrow their Termani masters. It was a quick if formal introduction and he took two data-slates from his back pocket handing one to each.[+royalblue “These will show you to your rooms and your subsequent stations. Hex, be ready to go in one hour. Rias, familiarise yourself with the ships controls.”] And with that he stepped aside for them to go make themselves comfortable – as much as Synth could be – in Jax & Tera’s old quarters.
Rhea nodded along as she took in what he said. Made sense to her, and she was glad he took her suggestion. That would be three of them off ship, which seemed a good number, enough to look out for one another without having to worry about being too conspicuous to those around them. Knowing these smaller details made her more comfortable with what was to come. And Dante was right in his points about Kashia. Her safety was priority to the red-eyed woman, but the girl would go stir crazy here soon if not given the chance to spread her wings. Kashia had done almost nothing but clean since she got here, so the break was likely to be appreciated, if not necessary.
[+lightcoral “Sounds good to me. Hopefully it will be a quick stop so we can move on and get this over with.”] As much as the Pyrenian woman was fretting what needed to be done, she very much wanted to get it finished and out of the way. The results of this would determine whether or not they would be able to do anything against the Termani. To her it seemed the last option. If it did not pan out, she would probably be forced to give up until another possible opportunity arose, but who knew how long that would be. The Termani seldom slipped up. So, she was not looking forward to this next week or so, knowing that no matter how quickly they got in and out of the terminal they still had to wait for the holiday. She should have seen this extra time as a blessing; more time to brief the new team and prepare, but unfortunately it was just excess on the countdown for her.
Despite all these worries, the woman was able to remain reasonably calm. This was in large part due to Dante. His light stroking of her back was awfully nice, not to mention soothing. It allowed her to push all the stressful thoughts away for a while and just relax there with him. A peaceful moment between them before things became hectic again. No doubt when the girls finally reformed they would not have much time like this. Rhea was no expert in rearing children, but she did know that took up a great deal of time. Truthfully, she was surprised they had not emerged yet. Generally in the conditions they were being given it only took a week or two. So, something was off there. However, there was nothing they could do but wait, so she did not bother bringing it up. It would happen on their time.
The pair stayed like that for some time. Rhea was content to soak up his attention and admittedly almost fell asleep, which was strange for her. Eventually they did have to part to be productive elsewhere. She took the liberty of telling Kashia the plan for when they stopped at the terminal. The young woman was ecstatic at the news, however this lead to her bothering her aunt for details for the next several days leading up to them finally touching down at port.
It was time to meet these potential new friends.
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