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If they wanted a look into what they were dealing with instead of going down blind, playing it by ear as Dante suggested was probably the best course of action. Sure, it was just difficult for the two of them to not have a more firmly concreted plan, but that was going to have to be how it was. However, it also meant calling for the aid of another individual. And with the luck they had had, that in and of itself was a gamble.
Rhea shook her head. [+lightcoral “I only have one person I trust enough with the skill set to pull something like this off... But unfortunately, he isn’t a viable option.”] There was more than one reason for that. The first and foremost being that she knew Dante about to have Atlas on his ship. But now was not the time to start on that again. [+lightcoral “Most if not all of my affiliates are going to be on a watchlist. Whomever you have will be our best bet.”] Not to mention most of her contacts were too closely linked with the Termani to be any sort of helpful. That was what she got for working with them for so many years.
Not entirely sure how much more productive this conversation was going to be, the small woman let it pass. They had a basic plan that they were at least moderately happy with. And admittedly, it was better than charging in with nothing more than context clues that the Mother Crystal was down there. That was enough for her, but for Dante it wouldn’t be. He was probably right to be skeptical, but after all her research, there were no other options in her mind.
Still very stressed about the entire thing, and knowing the Captain was in a similar state, Rhea approached him. She stopped just short of where he stood and leaned into him, her arms wrapped tight around his thin form. There wasn’t likely to be a whole lot of time before someone came bounding in, but moments with him were becoming fewer and farther between, so she would take what she could get. Nuzzling in a touch, Rhea brought her face up so that she was looking up at him. [+lightcoral “We still have time for now, so please try to relax just a little, love.”] He was in the midst of recovery, and as worried as she was about the looming mission, she was more worried about him. They could work it out a little more later. [+lightcoral “It can wait till you feel a little better.”] He really was not looking well.
One of her hands started its way up to his forehead to feel for temperature again, but the sound of the door sliding open behind her put an end to that. Immediately she took a step back and turned to see who was joining them. It was Tera. Walking in, she flashed the pair a look, but continued to her seat. The anthro had been informed that they would not be staying here for long, so she wasn’t about to unwind too much. Though, since they were here for something Rhea needed she had half expected their translator to leave the ship, but here she was. [+red “Were you able to run that errand?”] The pink haired woman asked more out of curiosity than to rush her crew mate.
[+lightcoral “It sort of came to me instead.”] Rhea sighed. [+lightcoral “But good news is that we should be able to leave soon.”]
With that being said, the door opened again. This time it revealed Kashia with a number of bags hanging off her shoulders, but she was not alone. She had ahold of Oni and Ino. [+orange “Auntie, look!”] The Shelvi girl held the children up a little higher, Ino seemed to have resigned to the fate, but Oni was still struggling. [+lightcoral “There’s more of you guys!”] Clearly, she was excited about it. [+orange “And they’re-“] She cut off as she caught sight of the pilot. Tangerine eyes flittered between Rhea, the girls, and Tera’s hair before stopping on Dante. [+orange “So… is all the pink on the ladies their preference or some fetish of yours?”] She really wasn’t taking into consideration that the Pyrenians had little to no choice in the matter.
Tera whose immediate reaction to a stranger walking in with the girls was alarm, quickly noticed that no one else made a move to remove her and stayed put. But shortly after making that conscious decision she was reduced to hysteric. Practically cackling in her seat, she was kicking herself for having not noticed this detail sooner. Rhea on the other hand was practically mortified. She didn’t even know where to begin with such a comment, so she chose to ignore it for the time being, instead opting to shake her head. [+lightcoral “Kashia, just put the girls down…”] Her words came out more as a sigh than a demand. [+lightcoral “They are clearly uncomfortable.”]
[+orange “Oh.”] She looked down to the pair and set them back to their feet. [+orange “Sorry about that, I got excited. I’ve never seen little Pyrenians before.”] Kashia was smiling at them, but the two still seemed wary.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat As expected she came back with a concise and to the point response and he discarded the tablet in his hand onto one of the consoles. He had perhaps become lax in his time with the others and felt his intellect outmatched their's to a degree that he did not have to stretch himself to ideas and plans. He was not ever challenged or debated on issues. His word was like law and he had become accustomed to it. Now that Rhea was here he had an equal - though he would be loathe to admit she was of a higher intelligence. It left him frustrated to have his ideas picked apart and his face showed this sunken feeling.
[+royalblue "So we hack their systems. We find out if it is there, where it is located, try and find all the information we can about this thing. Maybe.. I don't know, maybe we can link into the security system and ride off the back of it."] His shoulders rose as if the thought was plucked out of no-where, which is was, his feet moving him slowly back toward his seat.[+royalblue "We don't shut it down though. Just look. Note the guards paths and movement as well as their numbers."] It was all rather standard things to propose though it was a means of diverting the conversation.
She had made it clear that if this was all going to happen then she would be there, front and center. But Dante wanted to avoid it in all possibility. He wanted her out of this as far as possible. If it went wrong at any of these multiple points where it could then the Termani had their woman and this all was pushed back into the shadows. If he was caught, she could escape, find a means of getting the information she needed another way. But explaining that to this stubborn woman would not be easy and his figure dropped down into his seat with a huff.
[+royalblue "How about we just think of this in stages. Before we can go in to get this information we need to know its there; and to do that we need to find ourselves a hacker capable."] Leaning back in his seat, careful to move his tail to his side where it flicked back and forth lazily, he looked across to her as his hands came up to his head and his fingers interlinked.[+royalblue "I have some in mind, but given how resourceful you are of late perhaps you have someone in mind?"] A slender brow rose in her direction.
Initially, Rhea was worried to hear Dante in pain, but it turned out to be something as simple as he sat down wrong. However that one action led on to something much more complicated. A tangent that had her mildly confused at what he was getting at for a little while, but eventually the Tiefling got to his point. He wanted to glean as much information as they could before delving down into Pyreen. It made sense, even if they just got a location for what she was looking for that would save them a lot of time. And the less time spent there the better off they would be.
[+lightcoral "They are pretty tight with their pocketbook and setting up new security measures costs money. If they don't think anyone will be coming in from this angle, especially from within, they may not have updated it in decades. If it is outdated it would be easier for someone to get into..."] The more she thought about it, the better the outlook seemed to sit with her. [+lightcoral "And with raw data I can probably confirm whether or not the Crystal is even down there before starting an expedition."] It would be nice to have more than she was currently going off of, that being hearsay from old texts and a hunch. [+lightcoral "It will not help us with whatever physical security measures they having up, but it will expedite the process."] She still thought it would be pretty light as far as guards went, so maybe it would be okay.
Rhea thought on it a bit more before speaking. She was gathering all the problems she could think of so that they might be able to sort them out now. [+lightcoral "The main grievance I have is that we will have to find a console to get our imaginary tech person to... those are going to be in town. We either need someone we trust to do the task unsupervised, or we will have to split our forces."] The tiny woman was not entirely comfortable with that. Having either or them go into the city hub was unnecessarily dangerous. [+lightcoral "And..."] Her tone was more stern. [+lightcoral "You are not going in alone,"] his intentions had not made it passed her unnoticed. [+lightcoral "I need to be there for documentation purposes. This is my theory, I need to be a part of the expedition that stands as my supporting argument."] Dante was detailed oriented, but that did not mean he knew what to look out for. There was no telling what little things would be important when they actually got down. There was only going to be one chance at this and she did not want to miss a thing.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Dante could see how she felt the cameras would be useful. If they could show the universe just what the Termani were doing and how they were subjugating all of Pyreen, perhaps they could convince some powerful figures to assist them. In Dante’s mind, he could not see the Termani going down without a fight however and he had some worry for those on the planet, though not as much as he had for those on his ship. And with the addition of her cousin he now had more members to worry about. Life was much simpler before all this.
He nodded along to her words.[+royalblue “Don’t worry about her. She does not seem naïve to the universe and what it could hold. And frankly she comes across as very bright and wily. If she can sneak onto Pyreen and off again, she can be of some use.”] He could see her discomfort in placing her family in danger and his hand stopped on hers, only holding onto it now.[+royalblue “We will give her a job, but it will be a less dangerous one than we have to take.”] Looking up at her he offered a light squeeze of her fingers to try and show her his understanding.
It was difficult for the often cold and logical man to express anything through touches and looks. And when it came to brainstorming a plan of action, thus far, he had only offered her complaints and looked to the holes of her ideas. He had one plan in mind but it would sit in the background until absolutely necessary – it was not something he would do lightly.
[+royalblue “I agree,”] he commented as she had been speaking whilst he observed her,[+royalblue “no doubt they will keep things out of sight of cameras and security systems.”] Releasing her hand he let his head drop with the frustration of it all and his fingers slip up to rub at his eyes and a deep sigh left his lips. He was growing weary of this talk and yet like a frustrated child he knew that it had to happen, that they needed a plan. Sitting back into his seat he hissed and pulled forward quickly, his tail whipping forward with him as he had inadvertently sat back and crushed it back on his seat. Soft blue hands grasping the appendage he was close to cursing out loud at his bad luck when a thought struck him.
[+royalblue “That’s it.”] He whispered, turning to Rhea and standing up. He skirted around her, back to the main console and disconnected a tablet from its station. As he began to tap away at the screen the lights of the bridge went down leaving just the slight features of the Tiefling staring at his bright screen. A light whirring sound of something booting up sounded and from the ceiling came a small orb on a pole. In a flash of light it sent out a hologram of a man who stood before them – it was Dante, or rather a more intact, less hurt, blank version of him. Knowing Rhea would be confused he looked up to her.[+royalblue “What about this projection is peculiar?”] He asked aloud, though it was entirely rhetorical and he moved on without her answer.
[+royalblue “Nothing? Wrong.”] He spoke to her as if she had answered him.[+royalblue “Here.”] With a movement of his finger the image turned around, and though at first it looked rather normal, there was indeed a missing tail whilst he pointed out to her after a brief moment.[+royalblue “The tail is gone. But you didn’t realise right? You assumed it’s there, it’s always been there, and there is no reason for it to not be there so why would it be gone?”] The image did look near perfect and on pointing out the missing tail it was quite obvious now. The hologram-Dante disappeared and brought up in its stead was a rough schematic of a building; a castle to be exact, built of white light and imposing atop a cliff.
[+royalblue “Now this represents Pyreen, to be specific, the information we want.”] Glowing red lights dotted about the walls of the castle.[+royalblue “The Termani man the walls, constantly on alert for attacks on their main defences. Someone goes for the gate, the wall itself, anyone within sight of them does anything wrong, and they will know and deal with it.”] Several golden lights moved toward the ‘castle’ as he said this, and indeed the red lights overcame them.[+royalblue “And that makes sense. Defend from the most obvious attacks. Hit them with fire, they have a well,”] a small building popped up as he said this,[+royalblue “try to dig under the walls, they build deeper foundations.”] Again the simulation changed to show this new remark as his fingers worked effortlessly on the tablet. Yet for all he was doing, in the faint glow of the white castle and red figures, he could see Rhea wanted him to get to his point.
[+royalblue “What I’m saying is they are defending against obvious threats and forgetting about the more simper if messy routes into the castle.”] A tap brought the image in on a zoom and moving around behind the castle revealed a grate on a hole in the cliff side.[+royalblue “Their tail.”] He said with a soft grin. Moving themselves inside it followed along for a little way before heading straight up. Following that pathway they emerged into a room and before them was Rhea, stood there in triumph in a resplendent green colour, fist raised in triumph with a camera in hand.[+royalblue “They are so focused on defending from obvious threats like people breaking in and attacking the compound – they aren’t looking at the back entrance; the computer databases themselves.”]
Now as he spoke the hologram would play out his words in basic images of what he said.[+royalblue “They have cameras, guards, guns, they are looking for us to break in and try to forcefully take what we want. And because no-one has ever tried to break into the computer systems – because they are behind all this protection – they don’t think to protect them. Why think of protecting them if they have never been attacked? You wouldn’t check I had a tail if it was always just.. there.”] He returned to the image of the castle with its weak spot shown in a flashing blue light.
[+royalblue “Like you said – the information we need would be somewhere no-one would think to look. But that is because no-one has tried looking before. After a century, they feel the Pyrenians are subdued and so their security will be lax.”] He had that devilish grin on his face again as if he had broken some code that was not obvious to see. Whereas really, what he was saying was quite obvious. Still, he liked to revel in the moment.
[+royalblue “All we have to do is get someone to a computer attached to their database, to the internal system. They will avoid the Termani secret projects, military sites, security systems and go for the pure data alone so we don’t trigger anything, because they won’t have as much protection on this information we want. They will be able to find precisely where your evidence is, whatever it is, and then I can go in and get it.”] There was no we when it came to that part. He knew his plan from earlier would be needed for that part.[+royalblue “If we take down the power, they go on alert. If we take out their cameras, on alert. This is the only way I can think to be in and out as quickly as possible without the fear of them finding out what we are doing. Less danger, less chance to fail.”] He turned to face her now, finished with the tablet as it dropped to his side and looked at her.
[+royalblue “Or am I missing something completely obvious and you're about to tell me how I've jumped to assumptions?”] His smile waned a little, but even if the plan was silly he was just hoping to show her that he was thinking of some options and had not lost hope they could pull this off.
He was struggling, but Rhea was glad Dante remained at least somewhat calm. He called her over and while she was not entirely sure what he wanted, she did as he asked. As he placed his hand lightly on hers, she nodded. [+lightcoral “I know… I know.”] There was so much room for error, especially when there was no way they could know the extent of what was down there to prepare. [+lightcoral “That is why we have to have the cameras on at all times. As soon as we touch down all the way up till we leave. I want absolutely no room for them to twist the truth.”] And once she presented the footage to the world, hopefully she would be given room to speak on her other findings.
[+lightcoral “I am pretty sure there were some body cams with the equipment I gave Kashia. We will know for sure when she gets back.”] That would be the easiest way to do this, so she could alternate between views. It would also give them both free hands if and when the occasion arrived that they needed them. [+lightcoral “Though having Kashia also opens up new avenues for us… no one knows she will be joining the crew, least of all the Termani. It may be safer for her to go into town and cause mischief.”] The girl would draw much less attention than her or Dante, who she was sure had been added to a watch list after they were boarded by that Termani ship. Rhea would not put it passed them to get information on the entire crew.
But even if the chances of her being caught or recognized were lower, the red-eyed woman was still hesitant. [+lightcoral “I don’t know if I can throw her into harms way like that…”] She sighed. Rhea still was not one hundred percent comfortable having her join them at all, but that was already done.
She was quiet for a bit, watching the Tiefling’s expression. He still looked very skeptical of the whole thing, which was fair. Rhea still was not confident with it either. They had over a month left, but it would go quickly. [+lightcoral “I just don’t know what else to do, Dante.”] Sitting back was not an option. It would only draw things out and give them more time to catch her and the others. And if the Termani had managed to keep their secret under wraps for the last hundred and fifty years, she very much doubted they would slip up now.
[+lightcoral “The only other thing I could possible think of is to try and get into their closed circuit security and steal a look around that way…”] It would still require going back to Pyreen, but they could avoid going quite so deep. However, even this had its drawbacks. For it to work they would have to recruit someone for the job. The girls might have been good with computers, but this would be on a whole other level. Even with Rhea’s extensive network, no one with the right skills came to mind. [+lightcoral “I am not sure it is even possible with the level of security they use. Not to mention, what we are looking for is probably on an entirely different circuit from everything else. Not doubt it has been buried somewhere no one would think to look.”] She did not have a brain for that sort of thing, so certainly she wouldn’t know where to start.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Dante did not like having his ideas shot down so easily. Even at the best of times he was a man who liked to make a plan and find no flaws in it first time. Yet the few things he offered up from his tacticians mind were items of an agenda Rhea had thought of long before him and she struck them off in quick succession; from the disguises for her to knocking out the power to the facilities.
And then of course she saw fit to tell him that not only would they be entering a heavily fortified area where should they be spotted they were more likely to be killed on the spot than taken into custody and therefore needed weapons to fight back; but they could not kill.[+royalblue “I understand your reasoning behind it all. From the disguises to the power. But the weapons?”] He showed his frustration then, leaning back in his seat, rubbing his eyes with one hand as the annoyance of it all got to the Tiefling.[+royalblue “You want us to do all we have to do – which I don't have to remind you is quite a lot – and yet atop that we can only tranquillize or sedate or render unconscious, the very people trying to kill you?”]
The incredulity of the situation was something he did not want to deal with right now but it was best they talk this out.[+royalblue “Just.. just look at it from this point of view.”] He took a calming breath, letting the anger at the situation flow away lest he project it on her as he had in her room that night. The last thing either of them needed was to become frustrated at one another. Dante knew their cooperation together was key.[+royalblue “We do as you say. We show we are seeking the truth, harm no-one, pull off the absolutely best mission we can,”] looking across to her, he did not like to see her so fraught with worry as she held her tail in such a shy manner,[+royalblue “what is to stop these people from killing a few guards or staging it as such and framing us?”] Lifting a hand up to her he beckoned her over, taking a hold of her fingers with his thumb brushing the backs in a, hopefully, calming manner.
[+royalblue “They already have made you out as this galaxy renowned criminal. I doubt it would be out of the question for them to frame us all with select footage or re-enacted lies. I will stand by you whatever decision we come upon, but this is not a person or a host with a conscience. From what you say, these are heartless and emotionless people who won't care to destroy the entirety of this crew if it means dealing with you.”]
For the time being Rhea glanced over his comments on defense. She would come back to it, but the other questions were easier to tackle so she decided to start there. [+lightcoral “It would need to be one hell of a disguise. I very much doubt they let any Pyrenians that far into the tunnels… or anyone outside of the Termani military for that matter. Well, aside from Pallas, but that most definitely does not help us.”] She just hoped he wouldn’t already be down there. The Pyrenian man was a war mongering menace, but he was deep enough in the martial ranks that he just might have clearance.
[+lightcoral “Getting you in might not be impossible though…”] It was an idea she would need to explore a little more before choosing either way. Rhea was definitely open to other ideas, anything she could use to build upon and improve the plan she already had was welcome. [+lightcoral “As for generators and the like, most of that is going to be housed within the main city. It is going to be packed for the holiday. There’s going to be a million people and at least twice as many eyes.”] That could be either a help or a hindrance depending on how you looked at it, but for the time being she saw it as another risk. One she was not sure she wanted to take. [+lightcoral “And even if we managed to cut off the power supply there would still be natural light sources. Visibility would be down, but not null, though it would be helpful for whatever technological security measures they have down there.”]
She paused for a bit, not really wanting to go on. [+lightcoral “And about our weaponry…”] her tail came around front to her hands where she sort of wrung at it nervously. Rhea was sort of hoping to avoid the point of artillery for a little longer, but Dante being Dante that was the first place his mind went. She would not be able to avoid it forever. [+lightcoral “They also sort of need to be nonlethal.”] She preemptively grimaced waiting for backlash. It did not come immediately, which she believed to be the calm before the storm, but still she used the time to try and explain. [+lightcoral “The cameras are going to need to be running the entire time so they cannot accuse us of anything more than we actually do… if we kill anyone we will be instantly written off as a terrorist group. I doubt anyone will listen to anything we say.”] Even if it was a necessary violence, it would turn many off to their plea.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat So the rose skinned woman was not just a pretty face and a brilliant mind? She had a plan, and a detailed one at that. Listening to her as she divulged just what she wanted to do he had many points he wanted to butt in and contest; from her plan to use tunnel accesses to wishing to land on the surface of the planet itself. Yet, in an ever surprising twist for Dante, he said nothing of it.
To argue back and forth with Rhea was okay at first and had been a means of frustrating someone who was so hell bent on returning to Pyreen with the notion they would think up a plan once there. Yet since [i that] night a lot of things had changed; notably his displeasure in most of her ideas. He was much more open to letting her explore her options and choosing just what it was they needed to do to achieve her goal. It owed a little to his continuing injury but overall he kept quiet as to his reasons behind being so much more forthcoming with her.
It continued on when he spoke to her.[+royalblue “You speak of needed evidence and of building a case,”] he took a seat, sipping at his drink as he pushed aside a negative reaction and altered his sentence,[+royalblue “then we will need quieter weapons. Lasguns and projectile weaponry are far too loud and even if some of the Termani are drinking they will know danger when they hear it – corridors and tunnels do not exactly retain sound but amplify it.”] He could quite imagine killing a Termani and the shot resonating so far that the entire facility would be locked down and they would be dead or captured not long after.
And that brought him onto his next point as he placed his cup down.[+royalblue “We will also need to find a way of either cloaking ourselves or disguising you and finding credentials to get us through the facility.”] Things would have been so much easier if they could have found a Termani ally or if he had been a Termani – and the later was a thought he considered quite often.
Things would just be so much simpler if she could accept becoming a merchant for a time and allow for waiting until the right moment presented itself. He felt that she was rushing things in her need to get back at the Termani. Her goal was noble but the execution was becoming somewhat frantic and moving too quickly.[+royalblue “You say you know the cave systems fairly well; is there any kind of power generation or security hub we can go to first? I would feel safer knowing we cannot be watched or if we can find a way to control the power grid remotely.”]
And there it was. So he was at least well enough to give her a hard time about her poor choice of words… though she did not much mind. His wandering hand was welcome, but it was the comment that got her face flushing. She wanted to say she would take him up on the offer sometime, but her words caught in her throat when his expression changed. The look did not stay for long, but he clearly was not as all right as he made himself out to be. Rhea desperately wanted to push for the truth, but she doubted he would give it to her. It hurt… a lot. She tried to move on as he jumped abruptly to another topic, or really, back to the original one.
[+lightcoral “Well…”] Even with that soft smile coming her way. Rhea did not look up at Dante as she spoke. [+lightcoral “I want to document everything when I go back. I want concrete proof when I find what I am looking for. Anything less and we won’t have a case.”] Finding the Mother Crystal did not necessarily point to the genocide of her people. It was a motive and nothing more, but it was the only clue she had left and she was gunning for it. Though getting in and out of Pyreen would not be an easy task. The planet had a single port that led to the main hub of civilization. But that hub and everything else, was underground. With the dual star system making it incredibly hot when both suns shined, almost nothing lived on the surface of the rocky satellite. It was all below in an intricate series of tunnels and caves that ranged from thin passageways to grand expanses that had the capacity to house cities. But even with as extensive it was; it was all localized within relatively small percentage of the planet.
[+lightcoral “My plan is to go back, enter the planet through one of the lesser used tunnel accesses,"] preferably one that is close to my desired destination. [+lightcoral "And sneak into the restricted channels. That is where the Termani hide things on planet… I know the layout of our cave systems fairly well, so it should not take me long to get where I need to be.”] Well, she knew the ones that were open to the public, and a little of the more regulated ones. There were times when she was given access for her research, though she was never permitted to go very deep. But with Dante looking for any excuse to keep her away from danger, she needed to make it seem like she knew exactly what she was doing the whole way though. Besides, she had seen blueprints of what it supposedly looked like. So as long as those were not falsified, she were golden.
Unfortunately, there were more problems to deal with than just that. [+lightcoral “We cannot use the port, but there are many crystalline formations on the planet’s surface. We could use those to avoid landing on sand.”] Trying to touch the ship down the middle of a desert did not sound like a good time and Tera was liable to complain if they made her even attempt it. [+lightcoral “… I think that is the gist of it. And with it being the holiday, I do not think there will be many Termani scampering about. They will all be much too drunk for that.”] She rolled her eyes. It was less the alcohol and more the belligerent behavior that she looked on so undesirably.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat It was certainly a good feeling to have her hands grasp at him and pull him all that much closer to her. Given the height difference he was almost looming over her now, his glasses slipping a touch as his fingers slid from her cheek to run though her soft hair and grasp the back of her head. As she had deepened the kiss a part of his mind that had been hammering away that this was a sign to continue was now all he could hear.
It was quite evident to him as perhaps to her that they were just animals close to rutting at that moment, and thankfully one of them had the sense to stop themselves before they went on too far. Though her head pulled away he was not free of her touch and he smiled as his glasses slipped at last, golden eyes free to meet red as she teased him.[+royalblue “I don't exactly plan on getting into trouble all that often..”] He grinned playfully.[+royalblue “Although perhaps I am just trouble personified. Perhaps I need to be taught a lesson.”] A wink of his eye accompanied his crude words.
As her hand rose up to rest against his forehead, he released the back of her head to lift up the glasses, resting them atop his horned protrusions.[+royalblue “I am fine.”] He lied though from the look she gave him as her hand pressed to his often cool skin, she did not believe him.[+royalblue “Okay, still a little groggy. But I have not slept well. Yet given three of my crew died one night without reason or knowing if it will happen again, I have reason. Forgive me?”] He neglected to mention the migraines that would leave him quite debilitated and often had him feeling as if his insides were burning up something fiercely. Many nights had ended with him in his shower unit, sat on the floor in the cool spray of the water. In his mind she had more to worry about – she had her entire race to worry about. His injuries had delayed them enough already.
Her offer of assistance brought a look of intrigue to his face as he considered all the possibilities such an offer entailed.[+royalblue “Anything you say?”] His tone was quizzical and playful in equal measure and the hand at her back did slip slowly down to grasp at her backside, leaning forward to press his lips to the tip of her nose lest he knock her glasses away. His hand remained though he did pull from the brief kiss swiftly as he saw her cheeks darken even just a shade – was she becoming more resilient to his ways or just more accustomed to his wandering hands?
Dante smiled as he leaned in close to her ear.[+royalblue “As you know, I'd love nothing more than to pull you to my chair and show you who your Captain is-”] his eyes fluttered closed a moment as he whispered to her, a mild shock of pain crossing his features,[+royalblue “-but I know we have some more pressing matters to address.”] He recovered swiftly and he let out a soft exasperated sigh, pulling back to look down on her once more.
[+royalblue “We have your family aboard now and with this recording equipment we should be closer to whatever it is you have planned. Which, by the way, you have negated to tell me why we are here to retrieve said equipment in the first place.”] Giving her pert self a soft squeeze and a gentle smile he pulled back and away from her and stepped across to his chair. Ostensibly it was to grab his drink and take a sip but also to ease a tremor that he had felt building in his free hand.
His tendency to put the Pyrenians on the ship above all else was showing again. Dante did end up amending the comment calling for the safety of everyone aboard the ship, but Rhea did not believe that meant he had changed his outlook and that was worrisome. Even with his calming strokes to her cheek, she was not completely at ease. She was concerned that if their wellbeing was all that mattered to him, chances were high that she her plan to return to Pyreen my never come to fruition. Her brow furrowed slightly.
It was not until he pressed his lips to hers that she managed to relax again. The small woman melted into his figure, returning the kiss. All that fretting took a backseat for the moment and what she thought would be a quick happenstance turned into more of an ordeal. Her arms wrapped around his thin figure as his grip tightened at her hip.
Lips dancing playfully over one another’s, the desire for more was welling up. This was obviously neither the time nor place for this, but it was difficult to pull away. She allowed the kiss to go on. Her hands ran up from his lower back to his shoulders, resting there with just enough pressure to pull him in closer, deepening the kiss. After allowing it to go on longer than they should, it was Rhea who pulled away first. [+lightcoral “You know, you will not always be able to get out of trouble like this.”] Eyes meeting, she perked an inquisitive brow at him.
Despite, her words, she did not let go of the man so he could step back. Instead one of her hands came up to his face, lightly running up the side until it came to rest on his forehead. [+lightcoral “Also, how are you feeling?”] His temperature did seem a little high, but that could have very well have been from their mini make out session. The petite woman was just worried. He had been unwell enough to hole himself away in his room for the last few days and allow her and Tera control of his ship. The last part of that was by far the most surprising. [+lightcoral "Anything I can do to help your recovery?"] The question was not meant in a sexual manner, but given the current situation, it could be easily misconstrued. She had thought about that before hand, but chose to speak anyway. If he could tease her about it then surely he was not ailing that badly.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat It was quite interesting to have that tidbit of information about the Shelvi race. It brought some light to the woman's uncanny ability to find them, to know he preferred things to be more regimental than open and to know his act of intimidation was just a show. Perhaps it meant he still had the ability to show some menace despite his injury – he had hoped it would make him look increasingly terrifying. One could hope.
Yet turning on Rhea his mind had wandered a little from their conversation. In an attempt to draw her from her frustrations and feeling that she was being bullied he kept close to her. Her warmth was relaxing to him and his hands clasped behind his back as she retreated and he closed the gap. He worried he may be coming across as overwhelming or even his earlier hope of intimidating her, yet she did not look particularly threatened.
The little dance they had around the central console wore at her until at last she smiled and immediately his only lips turned up.[+royalblue “Not funny? Please, Jax and the girls find me hilarious.”] He commented lifting his hand up now to run along her bare arm, brushing along her smooth skin. Then again, two were children and the other the mind of a child.
Close to her like this it was rather tempting to lock off the bridge to the others and to rather roughly embrace her. But of course the logical nightmare that would arise from the girls trying to enter, and their questions and the whole explanation of things that were too much for their young minds, it made quite certain that he would not proceed with the temptation. Stroking her arm however and having his other hand come to her hip, to say it did not bring great annoyance to him was an understatement.
They stood there for a little time, just watching one another in their silent loving ways, but he did speak up.[+royalblue “I know you hate me rather a lot right now for saying she can stay, but the look in her eyes showed me she would only keep doing this until someone took her. So it is best she is with us and has you nearby.”] He could see she was not overly sold on his words, though Rhea was quite difficult for him to read since their argument. Was she more reserved and submissive? Not particularly; but she seemed to have overcome the love sickness of their first few days together.
[+royalblue “She won't be allowed on dangerous missions, she won't be allowed near weapons unless in exceptional circumstances, and she will not be allowed to go off on her own.”] His hand at hip slid around to above her tail, resting on her back as he drew her to him, simultaneously running his other hand up to her cheek and brushing his thumb across those roseate cheekbones.
[+royalblue “Look at it this way. Having her here means having greater protection for us all. She may not be accurate all the time, but even if just once, it will be worth it. To keep you and the twins safe, keep everyone on this ship safe, is all that matters far and above everything else. I promise.”] He spoke with a softer tone, more humble now. But it was clear how he prioritised things at that moment and not allowing her a moment to think further on it he leaned down and pressed an earnest kiss to her lips.
It had been a little time since he had been in this mindset of feeling so open to her and linked with her or this emotional really. It had been that night the three of them had effectively died and he had lost all of them and felt.. something peculiar, something he was not willing to investigate further. Yet here and now, the emotion poured into that kiss and from a light beginning it had evolved into a much more passionate affair whilst holding her tight to him.
He was not wrong about most, if not all, of the things he brought up. Though she was a little surprised he took notice of the last one so quickly. [+lightcoral “Yes, but it is not just her. The Shelvi as a whole have some of the best intuitions in the universe. I’m convinced it is what has kept them alive as a species…”] Between that and dumb luck, they had made it this long despite having little to no regard for consequences. [+lightcoral “They can read people in an instant and have the uncanny ability to be in the right place at the right time off gut feelings alone. I’d say it works out ninety-five percent of the time, but it isn’t fool proof.”] She’d seen them make what looked like hopelessly stupid and rash decisions and then come out the other side with boons no one could have ever seen coming. It was baffling to say the least. [+lightcoral “… And…”] she hated to admit this. [+lightcoral “It is not uncommon for them to be kept as staff solely for these abilities.”]
It might have actually been a good idea to bring Kashia along, but there was more than one reason Rhea didn’t want her here. The most blatant of these was difficult to bring up, especially to Dante. So the woman remained silent on the matter, continuing to look at him with narrowed eyes as he came closer to her. With that and his uncharacteristic pout, it was very difficult to stay mad at him.
[+lightcoral “Ooooh, why is everyone picking on me today?”] Sure, there were certain contrivances that Rhea was stubborn about, but with things like this, she was a huge pushover. And the fact that he seemed to know that was really harshing the angry vibe she had going on.
He leaned in closer and it took everything in her not to reach up and kiss his stupid face. She knew if she gave in it would be a slippery slope from there. After all, this was coming from a woman who was already wondering if tempting the crew with half an hour off the ship might afford the two of them some free time for their extracurricular activities.
Pushing the thought from her mind, she looked away. [+lightcoral “I suppose intolerable might be a bit stringent.”] With that she was hanging on by a thread. Still not looking up at the man, she took a step back. It was not very long at all before he filled the void, placing himself against her crossed arms once again. She tried again, but the outcome was the same, only quicker. Hoping that persistence might win out, Rhea tried again and again. It got to the point that they were synchronized, stepping around in a large circle in the center of the room. From the outside looking in it would have seemed ridiculous.
After continuing this for a while, the roseate woman broke. Her lips turned up into a faint smile and she looked up at her snowy haired captain. [+lightcoral “You’re not funny, knock it off.”] Her demand might have carried more weight had she not been laughing under her breath.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Whilst Dante was not particularly keen to be called a stick in the mud, a saying he was not accustom to but it did not sound all too flattering, the look on Rhea's face when her niece marched up to her begging for agreement with him was quite priceless. It felt a little relieving to have the burden placed on someone else for once.
The sigh had been her defeated tone and the slight hesitation had all but sealed her decision. Whatever words were said would be lost on the youthful girl who would agree readily to placing her head in a thermal chamber and the temperature lowered to absolute zero if it got her what she wished. He had no doubt that any of her offers of cleaning, cooking and general work about the ship would be forgotten swiftly after leaving when the threat of taking her back subsided to mere words.
Dante could tell from looking into the girls eyes that she was harder to discourage than Rhea. A few empty threats of placing her in the airlock or turning her over to the Termani would keep her straight and true. Perhaps not now, as she would bat those four beautiful eyes at him and he would allow feeling to seep through over logic. But it worked well in the beginning to get the obedience from her he wanted.
With her list of demands met happily, the girl took off back down the route she had taken and a quickly typed message on a screen at his side had Jax brought up to date with their new guest. No doubt the large man would be delighted. It was a shame she had been told to remove the outfit; it looked quite fetching and he could quite imagine Rhea would look wonderful in it.
Yet Dante had the issue of a disgruntled Pyrenian woman to deal with now as he looked up from the screen to have her facing him, arms folded, that sweet and cute disgruntled look on her face.[+royalblue “What? Are you not happy with my decision?”] He asked as if he were offended but the smirk of a mischievous man bore through in the end.
[+royalblue “Oh do lighten up dear, you are much sweeter with a smile than a scowl. Although a damn sight more alluring the other way round.”] His eyes wandered behind the glasses yet travelling up that unique figure he found her disgruntled look had not diluted at all – even if her cheeks had darkened a touch.[+royalblue “Look, you saw how she was. She has offered to be a general hand about this place, and my word do we need a good cleaner.”] He eyed Tera's station and the multitude of empty drink containers, syrup running down their sides.
Shrugging lightly he remained atop the console.[+royalblue “Besides, I thought you may like the company of a family member around.”] Taking a peek back to the woman he found her unmoved. It was never much fun when people discovered when he was not telling the entire truth. Sighing he stood up, approaching her, resting cool hands atop her bare shoulders that resonated warmth.
[+royalblue “Okay, truth time I guess.”] He lowered his tone and the smile fell away.[+royalblue “By the look on your face, you did not expect to see her here. Meaning you did not tell her we were arriving. That leaves three options; she just so happened to come to this ship by sheer chance, she approaches any and every ship that lands with this charade, or – and this is the one I am betting on – she has an uncanny ability to find what she seeks.”] It sounded a little peculiar but he nodded at his choice.[+royalblue “She found this ship, she found you, because she felt something drawing her here. She managed to get into your house on Pyreen, unseen, and retrieve that outfit. She said she can read people and places and all but said she can [i sense] danger, issues and so on. Sounds like a wonderful addition to the crew considering you want to go to the heart of the Termani to find more evidence and confront them.”] A slender brow rose, looking for her reaction to his summation.
[+royalblue “Am I really all that intolerable now?”] He pouted a touch, leaning in closer to her, his chest against her folded arms.
Dante managed to keep the death threats down to a minimum, which Rhea was glad for. What she did not like so much was his answer. Nor did she expect it, but when he turned around and she saw his face it was clear it came from a place of spite. That absolute ass! He might have been ridiculously handsome with that cocky look on his face, but that did not save him from her glare. And her glare did not save her from Kashia as she popped up off the ground and ran over to the short Pyrenian woman.
[+orange "Hear that, Auntie. If that stick in the mud thinks it will be okay, we should be fine."] Normally this would be where she looked up and begged, but that was kind of hard now that she was taller than her aunt. Her excitement would have to be enough on its own.
Rhea still wore a reserved look. She did not need to be endangering any more people with her presence, especially her loved ones. Though, now that she had been aboard this ship as long as she had, she cared about its crew too, so it really was not that different...
Seeing the flash of hesitance, Kashia pounced. [+orange "Pretty please, Auntie. I promise I will behave. And I will help clean and cook whenever it needs done. Durahn even taught me a couple of tricks in the kitchen. And I am really good with that recording equipment now, I know it will be easier for you if you don't have to fiddle with it while you work!"]
Rhea's resolve was crumbling. The only hope she had at standing firm was if she didn't look at the girl, but Kashia was making that ridiculously difficult. [+orange "Plus you know I can tell when people and places check out and are safe. I mean, I made it in and out of Pyreen to go to your house no problem."]
Sighing, Rhea could hardly believe she would admit to doing that in the midst of trying to convince her that she should be allowed aboard. But she also knew there would be no peace until her niece exposed herself in some way or another. [+lightcoral "... Do you really, honestly and truly, feel like this is where you need to be?"]
Kashia nodded emphatically. [+orange "I felt that way even before I knew you were here."]
Rhea was silent for a moment. [+lightcoral "... Fine. But there are going to be some rules."] She could hardly believe she was agreeing to this nonsense. [+lightcoral "You are going to tell your parents what is going on, you are going to listen to Captain Varias without complaint, you are going to be kind and polite to everyone aboard this ship, you are not going to endanger yourself unnecessarily, you will give me my own space and not breath down my neck the entire time, and for crystal sake you will take off that outfit."]
Kashia beamed, she was happy enough to comply to all of those demands. The last one was a little sad, as she liked these clothes, but she could live without them if it meant she was finally getting the adventure she wanted. [+orange "I'll go pack now!"] Skittering from the room she shouted back that she wouldn't forget all the recording gear.
Not long after the bright haired young lady was out the door, Rhea turned back to Dante with arms crossed. [+lightcoral "You are intolerable, you know that?"] Her tone was not as critical as it probably should have been, but she still wasn't entirely happy.
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