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Once the comment on her capability had been made, Dante intervened. He pulled the woman away from Rhea, making the conversation more private. She had entirely no idea what he thought he needed to keep amongst just the two of them. But since she was being left out, the Pyrenian decided to make herself comfortable on the booth-like chair nearby. Folding her hands over one another in her lap, she would wait until she was invited back into the chat. For the time being she watched the others converse. Every once in a while their eyes were come back to her. Apparently they were talking about her. She only hoped it was at least moderately positive.
It was somewhat surprising that the Captain decided to sit next to her after the conversation ended. There were plenty of other places to sit. Delia was not lacking in accommodations for her guests. As soon as their hostess left the room, Rhea discovered his reasons for the location. Dante reduced the distance between them considerably so that his quiet words could be heard.
From what he had to say, Delia must have praised her. While kind of her, Rhea became incredibly self-conscious. The feeling did not last long as his comment of only caring about diary concerned her. After he confirmed that she had indeed been truthful, what was going to happen? Her fears had been so rooted in the present she had not stopped to think about the future. Most outcomes that came to mind didn’t end well for anyone involved. The dreadful thought entertained her mind until his hand caught her eye. Although he never touched her, she could sense that he was making attempt to comfort her. Much like she had tried for him the day before. The Pyrenian found it sweet. Along with his promise, she did feel a bit better.
A solemn smile played at her lips. “At least there is that.”
Dalia returned right as the Tiefling pulled back from her. She came bearing refreshments. Each glass was tailored for its recipient. It seemed that she did nothing half-heartedly. Rhea made sure to thank her before taking her intended drink.
It was officially time to get to work. Once noting that she had tagged the key points, Rhea sat back in her seat and enjoyed the spread of snacks laid out. Eventually Delia pulled her in to help her through some tough passages. It made the Pyrenian a tad tense. Interfering could sway how she translated it, but if Delia couldn’t fully understand the diary her second opinion would be worthless. Dante appeared to show no concern on the matter. So, as it became more in depth Rhea discussed what it could all mean freely while trying her best to let Delia come to her own conclusions. Admittedly, the petite woman was having a good time deliberating it with someone else. A second set of eyes was bringing forth new details she had overlooked. Eventually she left her seat to join Delia on the other side of the table.
The conversation slowed after a prolonged time, although Rhea was unsure just how long. It hadn’t felt too extensive, but she was a terrible judge of these things when she worked. The conclusion that the pair had found was as expected. From what Rhea could see it was beginning to sink in for the woman across the table. Her comment prompted the man who had previously remained silent to ask for absolute confirmation. With time he had his answer and the scholar was horrified to discover that it was no great surprise to either of them.
“You knew about the purge?” Her red eyes rested on the Tiefling’s sedentary figure. “You knew they did this all along and yet still did not believe me?” She could not tell what was turning her stomach more, his insistence that she had been lying, or the fact that deep down he knew it was true and still he casually made threats to her life.
The other’s eyes stayed locked as they answered her rather accusatory questions. Neither answer really satisfied her. If there is a theory one should go out and try to find evidence to refute or prove it. To her it seemed they had sat on their hands. She was livid, but the captain’s distressed fidgeting reminded her how big the situation really was. Getting upset would help nothing. Rhea could not entirely abate the ire, but at the very least she would try not to take it out on the two before her. Despite their fault they had done much for her.
Rhea stayed standing for a while. Delia hurried out of he room to tend to the meal she was preparing. Attention back on the table the two had been working at; the Pyrenian rested her hand on the book that lay closed there. Its pages contained the single most important discover of her career. A diary kept by a stranger over a century ago had altered the course of her life. She thought it unlikely she would survive to see the end results of the sequence of events to come from its discovery. Still, she would do it all again if it meant the truth would come from it.
Taking the tome in hand, she tucked it close to her body. Then she turned to return to the seat she had previously claimed. For what felt like the first time in a long time, Rhea had words to fill the silence.
“When I first put this all together I did not have the luxury of time.” While she talked, her eyes stared off at nothing in particular. Recalling the chaotic day she had left Pyreen, she kept her words soft, softer than normal. “Offhandedly I mentioned the peculiar things in the journal to someone who came by my office. It wasn’t until after I spoke I realized my mistake. The look on her face was what really brought me to understand what I had found.” Rhea shook her head at the grievous misstep. “I absolutely could not let this be buried. I fled immediately. You know where I ended up from there, of course.” When her reverie came to its close, Rhea removed her spectacles to clear them of dust. The tired lines beneath her eyes were plainly visible while they were gone.
As she returned the glasses, she shifted in her seat so that she was properly looking at the man to her side. “Now that you know everything for certain, what will you do?” Ever so slightly her head tilted, expressing her interest. “Will you go back to the way things were and try to forget it all, or will you continue to aid me in exposing this atrocity?” Rhea’s questions stemmed from the intense curiosity to know what path her future would take. They were not intended to inspire guilt. “Unlike me, you have time to decide.”
Even though there were times he had been cruel, Rhea still considered Dante her deliverer. Every part of her wanted him to stay her savior, to stay the person who harbors her from the terrors that were out for her head. To be alone was a terrible fate, but the path she chose was dangerous. There was no guarantee that anyone would be willing to come with her. Especially someone with so much to lose. The Pyrenian did not expect an answer anytime soon.
The quiet overtook the room until Delia returned with the food as promised. Her cheerful demeanor had been affected, but it did not touch her hospitality. The food looked absolutely delightful, although Rhea was not very hungry. She took only a small portion after thanking the chef yet again. It was as delicious as it looked. The thought that Delia might be naturally perfect floated around in her head.
Rhea finished eating before she went back to business. “My next step is to find out why. There had to be a reason the Termani did this.” Gaining control of the desert planet did not seem a large enough compensation for the crime committed. There were less troublesome ways to do that. “So far I haven’t found any information in the book as to the invaders demands. The language barrier between the writer and the Termani makes it difficult to know if there were any at all.” For this Rhea had no inkling. It had to be in the book, but there were so many parts that were unclear to her. “Was there anything that stood out to you?”
A contemplative look graced Delia’s angelic features. “I cannot say I noticed anything that resembled a motive. Of course, I was unable to go through the entirety of the novel.” She seemed regretful that she couldn’t be of more help.
Rhea nodded. It made sense, but it was still a little disappointing. “I am sure it will come to light with time. I will just need to collect more cross reference materials for the time being, I guess.”
“That I can help with.” Standing from her empty plate, Delia went to one of the multiple bookcases in the room. She pulled a small armload of hardbacks from their places. Carrying them back to the table she set them in front of Rhea. “Hopefully these can be of use. You will need them more than I.”
Inspecting the stack, the Pyrenian was delighted to see materials she could recognize. “This is amazing.” Even if she knew a lot by heart, it was impossible to recall everything without help. “I cannot thank you enough.”
It wasn’t long before Delia collected all the dishes to take to the kitchen. Rhea could feel that their visit would be drawing to an end soon. Her eyes gravitated to Dante. How much longer would she be welcome on his ship?
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Again Dante was forced to show his great resolve in not reacting to her hands moving atop his own. To instill the severity of the situation he could not be petty and flinch like a young boy still afraid of girls getting remotely close to him. It was a quite ridiculous trait for a grown male to possess but nevertheless it remained.
She spoke softly, her larger red eyes meeting his own and there is a moment where nothing needed to be said nor anything done. The warmth of her soft hands atop his dry leathery skin was rather enticing to the Tiefling. A typically cold being, akin somewhat to a reptile, any source of warmth was comforting and he relaxed marginally in her touch. However that familiar tick in his mind restored normal order and his hands slid away from beneath hers, body sinking back into his seat.
The humming of the machinery and computers around was the only sound between them as he stared across silently. With a flick of his hand the chair swiveled back to the twin's station.
[b "You may leave."] A typical cold response, though once she had nodded and left, he ran deft fingers across the backs of his hands and allowed his head to sink towards the console in quiet resignation.
Having instructed Tera for a particular docking platform Dante had left the others to their own devices as he talked candidly with one of the workers of the station. Although it was predominantly a tourist destination, those unable to afford a stay on the planet itself were instead shunted to the station for their stay where the prices were drastically lower, but also the experience. It was akin to going camping but instead of sleeping in a new atmosphere and traversing different planets, you threw a few covers over the kitchen table and slept underneath it.
Given the drastic diversity of those aboard the station further eased his worries about taking Rhea with him. The many races and species about would afford them greater anonymity and help them reach their destination with few wandering eyes watching them. Anything that would aid them in their excursion was greatly appreciated as his worry for any repercussions in transporting a known criminal kept him awake most simulated nights.
He had dressed particularly casual for that day, though casual for the Tiefling was a dazzling gold high collared jacket atop a pair of black form hugging trousers. His dress sense was rather intriguing and Tera voiced as such when she and the twins eventually met the others at the boarding ramp.
[b "Your opinion is noted and duly ignored. Now, whilst myself and Rhea are gone I want you all to remain on board."] As ever there were complaints but seeing him hold his morose expression they soon fell sullenly quiet.[b "We shouldn't be here too long so I want you all prepped to move to Lothrian Delta. We'll restock and refuel there."] Tera and Jax nodded and headed off giving Dante a moment to crouch before the twins and whisper a few words to them. He took one of their hands in each of his as he spoke before they nodded in unison and gave Rhea a small wave as she left.
The journey to his contacts house was dull and it suited him. Few people paid them any attention and those that did would quickly move on to leer at the next couple to pass by. He made sure to keep his stride even to her own, sticking to her side and at times guiding her with a deft touch of her elbow to steer her. Though he didn't hold her hand or offer any semblance of romantic intent toward her, it was easy to assume they were a couple.
At the home in question he rapped several times before it slid open, the elegant woman inside giving them a warm smile as she recognised the male and invited the duo in.
[+gold "It was a surprise to receive your request for a meeting Dante. It's been many years since we last spoke."]
[b "You are the only being I know of that reads and understands Pyrenian."]
[+gold "It's true, I know the language very well. Speaking of which how are the girls?"] The mentioning of the twins prickles the Tiefling who faces up to the red skinned woman.
[b "They are fine."] His tone is final, bringing such a topic swiftly to a close.[b "I need you to translate a diary."]
[+gold "As you know, I am a very busy woman, but I guess I can do it for you, Dante."] Her hand outstretched toward him in expectation of the book though he indicated to Rhea to step forward, a deft nod of his head for her to hand it over.[+gold "And who are you?"] It was a question he had been keen to avoid yet had some expectation that she would be inquisitive of Rhea.
There is a moment of worry as the Pyrenian looks to him for permission. Either she shares his concern in showing her face or she is beginning to finally show obedience to him. It was without doubt the former. He sighed quietly and nodded for her to reveal herself to the faint heavenly laughter of the other woman.
[+gold "I don’t know why you think you need me, you’ve practically got a walking encyclopedia on Pyreen right here."] She smiles as she turns to him, amusement dancing in her eyes. His hand reaches out to her arm, taking her by the elbow and leading her a few steps away from the Pyrenian.
[b "I need you to confirm whatever it says in that book. I need to know that what she has told me is not a lie and that I have not been fooled."]
[+gold "Dante, my dear, you fear you will be deceived by a Pyrenian? They are truthful beings of which you should know very well. And her-"] They both turn their gaze on her, though she has taken a seat and folded her hands over in her lap.[+gold "I doubt she has the capacity to lie. She is Rhea, one of the most respected theologians of Pyreen history."] There is a pleading look in his eye as he turns back on her however.[+gold "But, as I said, I will do this for you."]
The Tiefling gave a small bow of thanks before he took a seat to the side of Rhea, sitting upright with remarkably great posture. The book was placed on a small table before them as the woman left to retrieve some beverages for them. Once she had left, Dante shuffled quickly across to Rhea, whispering to her.
[b "I understand this may not be comfortable for you but this is entirely needed. I have trusted you this far and she thinks highly of you, yet it is only what it says in the book which I care about."] There is faint fear fluttering in her eyes though she hides it well in her facial expression. A tentative hand rises above hers, hovering momentarily above it before dropping back to his lap.[b "Regardless what she confirms or denies, you have my word that you will not be given to the Termani."] He had shifted back to his original position just in time for their host to return carrying a tray of drinks.
Given her affinity for different cultures she possessed a great many different ingredients to make them bespoke drinks befitting their races, a few choice snacks lain out to one side of their drinks. The Tiefling raised an eyebrow in curiosity of the pleasantries, eyeing the bubbling green liquid for a moment, though he bowed his head in thanks to her.
[b "You remain the gracious host as ever Delia."] That heavenly smile tugs at her lips once more as she seats herself opposite them, a hand taking up the book as she did so.
[+gold "It is my pleasure Dante. Now, let's get down to the purpose of why we are here."] Raising the book up before them she smiles and opens it up.
[+blue "I have placed tabs on the parts I believe are key parts to read. The red tabs especially."] The bespectacled woman spoke up though it is soft and gentle, alluring in an oddly specific manner to the blue skinned male. He makes no comment of it however and instead takes a handful of small bauble's from a bowl to chew absently.
She gives a nod of thanks for the notes and begins to flicker through the book. Turning through it first she reads through it quickly before scanning back through. At times she will lean across to Rhea, asking for guidance on pieces and duly instructed where one piece of the puzzle fits in with the others. How one page will lead on into others and recall back to other moments that had seemed insignificant without hindsight of other sections.
Throughout their exchange Dante had busied himself with a small tablet, remaining in silence and only giving them the occasional look. After a few hours of discussing points and gaining clarity on particular wording from the other woman, Delia had sat back, closing the book over in her lap though her eyes remained fixated upon in.
[+gold "It's.. that's unbelievable."] Dante sat forward a touch unable to contain himself.
[b "Is it true? Does the book confirm what she implied?"] There is a moment where Delia shakes herself from her trance like state, looking from the book to Dante to Rhea and back in a roundabout fashion. Eventually she nodded slowly.
[+gold "As we had theorised Dante, this book and your friends words confirm that the Pyrenian race was exterminated by the Termani a century and a half ago."] There is a look of concern from Rhea who turns on the Captain.
[+blue "You knew about the purge? You knew they did all this all along and yet still didn't believe me?"] He could not tell if she was hurt by the mistrust but his gaze remained on Delia.
[b "We had an idea. A thought. A guess that we didn't wish to consider. We saw no way that someone cover up such a genocide, and of a whole race no less."] His hands writhe together unable to keep still and he is somewhat visibly distraught at the confirmation of the content of the book.
[+gold "In our defence dear, we are not scholars of your race like yourself. I may know of Pyreen history and culture but only what is widely available to the masses. Much as I know the same of Tiefling like Dante or dozens of other races. We have a vested interest yes but nothing more than a passive intrigue, and our baseless guesses were simply that; wild assumptions. To have it confirmed,"] She held the book in her hands firmly, lowering it to rest on the table.[+gold "You must understand we are feeling what must have befell you when you first found out."]
A faint beeping off from a separate room drew Delia's attention and she stood up immediately, leaning toward the tray.
[+gold "My apologies, I placed food on to cook earlier. I had no expected you to bring company, but there should be enough. If you'll excuse me, I will retrieve it and refill your drinks."] It left the two guests alone, Dante falling back into his seat, arm stretched out over the back as the other rapped aimlessly against the back of the tablet. He was silent, as was the room, only reverberating with the soft hum of a cooling unit and the noise of Delia preparing a meal.
The days passed somewhat slowly with so little going on. It gave her more time to look into the diary. Nothing it held was pleasant. Tucked into the book she had a paper with all her notes. It had lines of incomplete theories mixed in with anything she though might possible be important. It would look erratic to anyone else who saw it. To her it felt more like a puzzle with infinitesimal pieces and she just couldn’t figure out how they fit together.
The fabricated nights were far worse than the days. Rhea’s insomnia had flared up worse than ever. She had always had a hard time sleeping, but with all that had happened it was nearly impossible to sleep for more than a short spurt. This was not the first time it had been like this so she knew how to live with it. But, staying put in her room the whole time was killing her. Walking would help ease her mind, but it also ran the risk of waking whoever else was sleeping at that time. So instead, this time went to trivial things. In it, she decided she looked entirely too frumpy. This caused her to switch up her outfit some. All she could really do was lose the cloak while on the ship and tuck her shirt in. At least that way she retained some of her figure. It was not a lot, but she took small pleasure in it.
It was rare for Rhea’s presence to be requested anywhere. That being an understatement as it had never happened before. She was mildly confused as to what he could need from her. The woman was in the middle of her only job. Instructing the twins to get a head start on their homework while she was gone, she went to the bridge.
On the way there she passed Tera and Jax. She smiled at them as they went. It was a nervous smile, but it relayed her fondness for them all the same. The nervousness on the other hand was for Captain Varias. It was odd for the two of them to be alone. Usually Tera was around. Regardless of what she thought he might want, Rhea was going to find out shortly.
Walking onto the bridge, it felt cold. The normal brightness brought on by her fellow crewmen was not there. Only Dante stood in the space. He did not appear to be angered by anything. Good, she must have not done anything wrong this time. The Pyrenian went to her seat as his movement instructed. At first he didn’t seem all too concerned with her being there. Just the machinery lying out in front of him. After watching him, waiting, her eyes eventually went to his hands. He worked quickly and with ease. She thought he must be practiced. Her gaze stayed on his hands as he updated her. Without the tones of antagonism, his voice was actually quite pleasing to the ear.
Dante’s plan was a good one. It would put to rest any fears that he had. As long as this friend was as capable as he thought them to be, it should be put to bed for good. Rhea was confident they would translate it just the same as she had. After all, anyone who knew any Pyrenian either learned it by her side as a colleague or from her at one of her conference lectures. There was little dispute about what they had translated thus far.
As he placed the completed core to the side, her eyes followed up his arms to see that his eyes were now on her. The words he spoke had a ring of finality. This was his attempt to give her one last chance to come clean with anything else she had kept from him. Once he leaned in, trapping her in her chair, she thought it strange that she was growing so accustom to being so near to him. It barely fazed her at this point, even though his beautiful irises still mesmerized her. Maybe it was because he wasn’t pissed off this time?
Her own hands came down hesitantly from her lap. Gently she placed them on top of the Tiefling's. “I’ve told you everything, I promise,” there really was nothing more she could say. Rhea thought and thought for more words that might convince him further, but they did not come to her. Instead she let her hands linger there on his. Hopefully it would convey her want to put him at ease and let him know he was making the right decision.
The humming of all the instruments that kept the ship on track could be heard in the stillness. When he finally pulled back some, Rhea removed her hands. She stayed in her seat until she was dismissed to return to her work with the girls.
Having an idea of what the next day held for her both comforted Rhea and filled her with anxiety. More the former than the latter, but she was uneasy enough that the day came quickly. As they docked at the station she completed her ensemble that was meant to conceal her identity. The shoes bothered her the most, but she would tolerate it as long as she needed to. The last thing she grabbed was the diary. The night before she had removed her notes and put tabs on all the key points. It would be much faster if the other translator did not have to fumble about the pages like she had originally done.
On the way down to the boarding ramp, her path crossed with Dante’s. A Jax was already there when they made it. It was another minute or two before the rest of the crew joined them. With everyone present, Dante made it clear that only the two of them would leave the ship until he gave further notice. There were a couple of disappointed faces in the crowd, but they all complied.
The Lothrian sub-station was not an entirely busy one. The planet was the kind of place someone went if they wanted to get away for a while, so the station reflected that. Rhea kept close to Dante who looked as though he knew where he was going. She was just glad that she was not receiving strange looks from the people they passed. It felt like the getup she was in would attract more attention, but it was not the case.
The pair had not traveled far when they stopped at a door. Rhea watched as the slender man knocked. There was a pause, before he rapped on the surface again. Shortly after that the entrance slid open to reveal a woman who invited them in with an elegant smile.
Inside, she had a better look at the woman. She was definitely familiar. The Pyrenian was pretty sure she had seen her face before, but it was no one she knew by name. At first glance she had assumed the other red hued woman was Pyrenian as well, but that was not the case. The resemblance was uncanny. The real telltale sign was her lack of crystal like formations on her body. Rhea had actually written her thesis on the similarities between the two species and how it could possibly lead to a better understanding of Old Pyreen. In hindsight, it was somewhat humiliating how optimistic she had been, although she had not entirely lost the trait.
Dante talked with the woman. He did not go into detail, just that he needed her help translating something in Pyrenian.
“As you know, I am a very busy woman, but I guess I can do it for you, Dante.” When she spoke she exuded grace. She was the type of person Rhea thought could get whatever she wanted with charm alone. It was quite intimidating.
Expectantly she held out her hand. Rhea took that as a queue to hand over the journal. It was difficult, but a second opinion never hurt. Plus if Dante trusted her, that was enough for her. She came forward, relinquishing the tome. As she did so, the taller woman tilted her head in interest, “And who are you?”
When the conversation became directed toward her, the Pyrenian looked back to the Captain before she made a move. He had said that he wanted them to meet, but she was not sure this was exactly what he meant. He silently but visibly sighed. Nodding, he gave her permission to go ahead.
Pushing down the cloth that covered her head, Rhea opened her mouth to introduce herself. However, before she could the other party chuckled with amusement.
“I don’t know why you think you need me,” the tickled expression stayed on her face as she looked back to the cerulean Tiefling. “You’ve practically got a walking encyclopedia on Pyreen right here.”
It was both flattering and embarrassing that she had been recognized so quickly. Rhea really wasn’t that well known. Except in circles that, like her, were interested in the lost Pyrenian history.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat The female anthro whistled contently as she strolled on into the bridge of the vessel. The last few days had been spent avoiding Dante and his wrath, keeping to her assigned roles and doing very little outside of that. It was something she had learned in her time with the Tiefling and from his stern warning she had known he was close to the end of his tether. Often it only required a few hours for the man to return to his brooding self.
On entering she immediately noticed her Captain and felt intrepid about approaching him. However given what she had come to discuss, it buoyed her confidence. He was laying prone on his back within a work station. The day before Jax had knocked over his drink which had burned through several fuses and taken their short range scanners offline. It was not a vital system, thus why it had been left alone until now, but not trusting anyone else to do the job Dante had taken it on himself. Being an older model it was clunky and chaotic inside, calling on him to pull on cables and crawl within. Now he lay atop the station, his torso and head deep inside the computer.
[b "Flux coupler and wrench."] His voice carried it's usual authoritarian tone and a tool box set up nearby pinged in response before sifting through it's compliment of tools to lift up the requested items. His hand reached out toward them though Tera stepped ahead and grasped them, handing them over into a waiting blue hand. Looking down his being he sees the busty female who has leaned down to look in at him.[b "Thank you. Now why are you here?"]
There was a little trepidation at his response but Tera quickly rebuffed.
[+red "I was unaware I had been barred from the bridge. When did this happen?"] A faint smile tugged at her lips as she stood upright, casually looking over the male splayed out before her.
[b "When you are not requested to do anything you spend your time blaring out whatever it is you call music in your quarters, taunting Jax over childish matters or attempting to cause some other disturbance aboard my ship. Given your quiet demeanour over the last few days, I find it highly suspicious that you are here without purpose. Now tell me what it is."] There is a slight rasp of anger growing in his voice.
[+red "Well, if you must know, I was getting curious if you had told Rhea yet about the thing."] She calmly stepped forward, sliding between his legs which only draws a sigh of indifference before he stretches upwards for a burned out cord.
[b "The thing? For once could we not dance about a topic like timid beings and simply reach the point of the matter."]
[+red "The thing! You know.. told her about us.."]
It was at that moment she ran her hands over his thighs, moving them in a suggestive manner inside and running them up dangerously close to his manhood. The moment she had lain a hand on him he had frozen still, cheeks shading a deep purple in embarassment. As the hands moved up he sat up in shock. His head rebounded off of a metal bracked with a dull thud, falling back prone for a few moments. As his mind cleared from the impact his hands grasped at the panel and he attempted to pull himself free and push at the woman at the same time but to no avail. She blocked his path and his legs thrashed helplessly.
[b "Tera get out of my way now!"] The anthro was simply laughing at his hopeless movements, shaking her head as she grasped his hands in her own.
[+red "Okay, I'm sorry, I'm sorry! It was simply too good not to say, I'm sorry Cap."] His writhing falters and ends quickly, seeing that he could not escape and could only pull his hands from her grasp to cover his face, feeling the heat emanating from his cheeks.
[b "There is nothing between [i 'us'] and therefore nothing to discuss. You have been told this several dozen times Tera-"]
[+red "Yeah, I know! Now calm down will you, I'm just having some fun."]
[b "It is not humourous whatsoever. Now you have ten seconds to tell me why you are here before I upgrade this infraction to a severe punishment."] Anger bubbled in his voice quick vividly now.
[+red "Oh, is Cap going to punish me?"] Her voice had dropped to an alluring pitch.
[b "Tera!"] A violent growl follows her name and his hands shook with fury though she only laughed playfully, her teasing at an end.
[+red "Sorry, sorry, sorry!"] It takes a few seconds for him to calm down, a deep sigh as he finds some peace. Though it doesn't last long, one of her fingers running circles around his thigh. His cheeks flushed a deeper shade.[+red "Have you told her about the twins or where we're going?"]
[b "She will know of our destination before we arrive, but no I have not told her yet."]
[+red "And the twins? Have you told her about them?"]
[b "No. She does not need to know anymore about them than what has been divulged. Especially [i that]; which I would advise you continue to keep to yourself. That is if you still value your employment here."]
[+red "Oh come on Cap, if she's teaching them then she deserves to know who she is tutoring. You can't keep something like that from her."]
[b "But for Delia and yourself I have kept it from the whole universe. And even that is too many. Like I say, she does not need to know. It is not relevant to anything. And I want to hear no more on it."] The wrench is placed to one side, his hand extended as he requests another tool to continue his work. Instead Tera's warm fingers envelope around his own, holding his hand softly. He chews his lower lip to prevent a hail of expletives, his severe distaste in being manhandled or touched was being tested sorely.
[+red "Look here, if you decide to keep her around then she may find out one day for herself. If she finds out that way then she may tell the twins."] There is a faint flinch in the hand she holds, clutching onto her soft appendages tightly.
[b "She would not dare."]
[+red "They are all Pyrenians Dante, she holds no loyalty to you. But to those girls they are the same race. That's something."]
[b "I hold no allegiance to her either. Should she find out and should she inform the twins, then I will personally deliver her into the hands of the Termani with not one ounce of regret."] There was a faint and short intake of breath from Tera, more surprised by the threat than any belief he would go through with it.
[+red "I doubt that it's in you to do Cap, but just think over what I said."] Her hand released his, placing the requested tool in it's stead. Patting his calf affectionately she retreats away, saying nothing more as she left him to ponder and at length return to his work fixing the panel.
They traveled for several more days as the had the previous few. It was done in relative silence in Dante's case, the Captain keeping his distance from Rhea. The times that he had been forced to interact with any of the crew he would talk in quick and concise sentences, a few words to get his point across to them. It was nothing substantial and the mood on the ship had become rather solemn.
When they were only a day's travel from their destination, there was a formal request made over the tannoy for Rhea to join him on the bridge. He was quiet before nodding to the others and sent them on their way. Tera gave him a worried look though Jax was glad to be off and would seek out one of his few remaining boxes of cookies. Once Rhea entered he indicated for her to head with him over to two seats. One was the twins seat, the other Rheas. She had been situated at the communications array which was a means to keep her out of the way but within relative eyesight whenever he took the helm. Seating himself in the twins seat he preoccupied his hands with a disassembled power core. It was something he'd been teaching the twins to dismantle and rebuild to expand their muscle memory.
Having seated herself, looking at him expectantly of why she had been summoned, his gaze remained focused upon the small contraption.
[b "We will be landing at our destination tomorrow. I have purposefully without our heading from you for good reason."] The small pieces were clicking together, turned here and there and snapped into place.[b "We are docking with the Lothrian Sub-station, in orbit around Lothrian Beta-Prime, if you did not know."] He continues to finish rebuilding the core.[b "There is someone there that I wish to discuss our situation with and for you to meet. It has been a decade since I last spoke to them, but they know much of the Pyrenian culture and language. And it is my intention to have them read that book of yours and confirm everything you have said to me previously."] Dropping the item off to one side he swept forwar in his seat, knees grazing against hers as his dazzling golden eyes stared across at her.[b "What they say will decide your fate, for I trust them far and above yourself. Unless.."] There is a pause as he shuffled further, to the edge of his seat, hands pressing onto the chair either side of her legs.
[b "Is there anything else you wish to tell me or offer up in your defense?"]
It was no surprise to Rhea that the captain’s demeanor became one of irritation. She had after all ran into him and the commotion the two women had caused was probably the only reason he left his quarters in the first place. There was no improvement in his face as she explained the situation. They were definitely in for it now. Dante came down on Tera first. Rhea was not entirely sure what he had sent her to do, but it sounded time consuming. The anthropomorphic woman had taken up the tactic that Rhea thought worked best with dealing with irate Dante. Silence. She left their company looking unhappy, but still made no comment.
Her turn came too quickly in Rhea’s opinion. Then again she would have put off this lecture as long as possible if she had a choice. But of course she did not. At first he seemed more interested in the deep red pieces in his hand. Her eyes strayed to the vial as well for a moment. All four snapped back to him as he nearly whispered to her. The quietness drew her in even more. She had to listen more actively. Each word would hit her harder.
Normally having her life threatened would cause her greater distress. In this case it was comforting. Dante was a smart man. If he were through with her, or even actually considering it, he would pressure her with returning her to the Termani. There was no way he would eject 5 million credits out his airlock. The fear she had been feeling was gone, but its place was filled with shame. She could not remember the last time she had been talked to this way. And as far as her memory went back nobody had ever called her a delinquent before. Well, he wasn’t entirely wrong. It was unexpectedly easy to be pulled into Tera’s childish games.
The pressure of the container on her chest was only a mild discomfort. All the same she lifted her hand to take it. Her hand brushed against his as she took ahold of it. The contact continued passed the time he finished talking. Keeping quiet would not be enough like it had been with Tera.
“Utterly and completely, captain.” Her breathing pattern had nearly returned to normal by that point. The words were not disjointed, as her previous ones had been when she explained the situation. Another moment passed and he relinquished the seasoning to her. The stare down was finally done with and he straightened himself. Once again Rhea had to look up to him. She assumed this meant he was through with her. It would be in her best interest to depart from the general vicinity, but first she had to inform the girls of what she wanted of them.
Turning back the way she had come, Rhea found the girls listening in around the corner. The Tiefling had been right to keep quiet. They were nosy little things. “The lesson is concluded with what I told you in the kitchen. Before we meet again, please think of any more questions you have. We will start with more structured lessons next time.” Although she was not in the best of moods, Rhea made sure to smile at the children. It was not there fault so she would regret it if her ill feelings affected them. Finished with her business there, the older Pyrenian bee lined for her room. She was going to have her hands full reading the books Tera had brought her for inaccuracies.
Rhea managed to be mostly inconspicuous for the next few days. At least enough so that she didn’t find herself in any more trouble. This might have been due to giving Tera the cold shoulder. She had already forgiven the woman, but she wanted to let her know that she was not happy with her. Who knew if it would actually provoke any change in her behavior. Probably not.
As for the books she pulled an "all nighter" and got through them. Something she had done pretty regularly back on Pyreen. One of volumes was completely useless. The other few were fine after the removal of a few pages. It hurt her to damage the tomes, but she was determined to give the twins as accurate information as possible. This meant the exclusion of the ‘plague’ in its entirety. There was no way she could tell them the truth, so avoiding the deeply ingrained lie was her best shot.
As predicted, the girls became more used to having Rhea around in no time. Enough so, that they would readily pout and bargain their homework load. Her theory was that if she stood her ground sufficiently they would give up on it all together, but it difficult all the same. The two of them were stubborn. Rhea could not [i fathom] where they had picked that up on this ship. With all the grief they were giving her, she was managing to handle them. Captain Varias had predicted she would need assistance keeping them in line. She was resolved to do it herself. Even if it went unacknowledged by her crewmates, it would prove to her that she was indeed competent enough to accomplish the single task she had been assigned. Something she had been questioning after recent events.
Her patience won out at the end of the day. Ino and Oni’s demanding became less frequent. She was well aware it was never disappear, but the most challenging part was through. They were much cuter when they were not constantly questioning her capability to teach them. She could see why Dante was so fond of the pair.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Heading down the hallway Dante slowed a moment to see Jax greedily scoffing down a handful of cookies with one large hand, the other tucking a large metallic toolbox under his arm. He was a simple being. Sweet but simple. It always paid to keep on positive ground with the large man as he had prior experience of how hard he could strike. There was a brief nod of gratitude from the Tiefling, happy knowing he still held authority that his orders were obliged and carried out.
Ducking into his room he waits for the door to close behind before tapping at the touch pad to one side and the locks slide into place securely. His eyes close over as he expels a deep breath and weary hands run up and through his hair, brushing at the protruding horns. The room contained a small single bed, neatly made, two straight-backed chairs tucked under a plain desk,
a shelving unit with multiple tablets connected to it and a cupboard for his clothing. A washroom lies off to the side, through a separate door. There was very little in the way of decoration save for one wall where close to the floor it was littered with scrawling and bright, vibrant etchings. The higher the drawings reached the more detailed they became though they were still crude at best. Children's work.
Seating himself at the desk he takes down a tablet and begins to pick through multiple files. Tapping and swiping with incredible speed he sifts through reports and manifests on the prices of commodities and the shifting of strength in certain sectors. As a trader his livelihood came from these figures and his knowledge of them could bring a hefty windfall or obliterate several months if not years worth of profits.
His mind was preoccupied and his concentration on the reports waned swiftly. Dropping the pad before him he sat motionless for several minutes. He swiveled in the rigid seat, golden eyes looking at the vivid designs off to one side. Some invoked poignant memories and he chewed his lower lip in contemplation. Tentative fingers retrieved the device and retrieved a specific folder. Several images flashed up and he began to scan through them in quick succession, though it slowed and he began to observe them with silent remorse. Pulling the tablet to his chest he held it tightly and embraced the electronic gadget like a living being, lids falling shut as he drifted into the past.
It was sometime before the patter of two excited beings ran past his door and he caught sound of the girls talking amongst themselves. Brought from his emotional daze he stared at the door, expectant of several knocks yet they passed without stopping. His gaze dropped once more to the tablet and his thumb brushed across the shining screen before he was once more distracted by those outside. Being so close to the kitchen had it's downsides with the rate of foot traffic it brought. Distracted now he threw the tablet down onto the desk, discarded with annoyance as he rose from the seat with a faint groan of discomfort.
Unlocking and exiting his room he stepped into the center of the hall and peered down each way. Hearing the commotion from the kitchen coming closer he remained in place, a clearly joyful Tera tearing around the corner and pirouetting around the blue skinned male in surprise. He had half turned to follow her when he was struck in the chest by a moving figure. Looking down he saw the Pyrenian woman staring up at him wide-eyed, hands placed to his chest from where she had tried to mitigate the effect of knocking into him. His look was of surprise, stepping back from her hands which slid from his being. The look of shock was quickly replaced by fury and his shining eyes turned back and forth between the Pyrenian and the anthromorph who had stopped to watch with a light pant.
[b "What is going on here?! This is a trade vessel not a place to run amok."] The woman stared down at his feet, the container of centipede flakes continually traded between her hands.[b "Why are you chasing her?"] He snarled as he turned back on the fiery skinned woman who gave him the general idea of what had happened and nodded to Tera in response. Raising a hand at the pilot he snapped his fingers at her and beckoned her closer, holding it out to her for the as-mentioned flakes.
With a sheepish look on her face she slowly shuffled closer and guiltily handed over the container to Dante, hand snatched back to her chest as she continued to look at her feet. Taking on the wrath of the Captain was something she had dealt with before and knew better than to say anything in retort.
[b "Go to the engine room and make your maintenance inspection. Then I want you to break down and rebuild the number three Billirian generator."] Her head rose a fraction, eyes looking at him in a pleading fashion though he stepped forward immediately, chest almost brushing with hers. It was a moment of primal challenge as he tested whether she would complain verbally though she seemed to change her mind swiftly and turned away in silence.
Returning to the snow haired woman who had been chasing after his pilot he approached close to her, leaning down a fraction to reach eye level with her. Holding up the container between them he observed it for a few moments.
[b "As for you, what happened to teaching the twins? I gave you a very simple agenda and yet here you are chasing after my pilot like you have no care in the galaxy? Is this all a game for you? Because I would love to play along. My favourite game to play is [i 'eject the Pyrenian outlaw out the airlock'], though it ends far too quickly."] He spoke softly, keen for the two girls not to overhear him berate the woman and threaten to have her sent away so easily.[b "Perhaps it is my fault. Perhaps I was too easy on you earlier. I try to be forthcoming and understanding and in return you insult my authority and turn my ship into a playground."] Pushing the container into her chest she lifted her hand to accept the flakes once more though he held onto them a little longer.[b "Stop fooling around, stop being a delinquent, act like an adult and do as your told Rhea. You are a part of this crew now and I do not tolerate insubordination. Do I make myself perfectly understood?"]
Rhea ceased her anxious action, with a slightly pouting look on her face. Now everyone was laughing at her. Being an official part of the crew apparently meant she would be taking mock scrutiny from all sides now. It would no longer be just Tera giving her a hard time. Well, that was most definitely better than the suspicion she had been under before. She hoped to adjust quickly, but it was likely going to take time to get used to Dante treating her so differently.
When all was stable on the ship, people began to leave. Tera was first; she seemed to be feeling jaunty and determined to let everyone know that she was. The captain didn’t seem all that pleased with her persistence to touch him so much today. But he let her get away with tussling his hair. Rhea just thought it was funny that she would take the effort to press her luck so much. Before she managed to leave the floor, she directed a wink over toward the older Pyrenian in the room. She in turn blushed lightly. What a silly person.
Following on Tera’s tail was Jax. He was dead set on something. Dante made quick work of keeping him in line. Though, his large disheartened figure did pull at Rhea’s heartstrings. She was very ready for the light to be fixed though.
That left Rhea alone with the three crewmembers that she knew the least about. She watched the captain stand and stretch. His lean figure appealed to her, but she looked away as to not not be caught staring and embarrass herself. As he came her way, she held her breath. Though it was not on purpose. He more or less towered over her. She wasn’t very tall, even for a Pyrenian who only reached 6 foot at the maximum. It wasn’t until he gently has ahold of her arm that she exhaled. How long would it take for the fear that he would change his mind about her to dissipate?
Rhea listened closely to the Tiefling. Some of what he had to say she already knew from observation, but still the warning was not unwelcome. She had experience in teaching, just not with children. It was good to know she would be able to get help if things got too out of hand. Honestly, she hoped bribing them with something tasty might work until she could establish a proper relationship with the two.
When he was through, Rhea nodded in agreement. She was unsure he saw with his eyes still set on the younglings. His hand lingered on her person, and she wondered what he was pondering behind his thoughtful expression. More likely than not it was concern for the girls. She smiled; he was more kindhearted than he first let on. His eyes fell to hers again and her countenance shifted to something more reassuring. Once again she nodded; letting him know she would do as he asked.
The young Pyrenians were quick to react to their captain’s call. Clearly they were unsure what he wanted. This set the seed of worry in them, but he quelled it shortly. Her introduction was to the point. When Dante sidestep as to reveal her, she bowed her head, “Nice to finally meet you both.” Her own excitement shone through as she beamed. The little ones on the other hand looked as though they were about to stare a hole right through the man at her side. Their eight scrutinizing eyes watched him; trying to catch any sign of a trick or trap. When they thought they were in the clear their attention moved to her, but they were not given long before Dante waved them off to prepare for learning.
Then there were two, but not for long. The cerulean gentleman was on his way out as he commented on her appearance. It took a moment to sink in. What he had said just didn’t seem to make sense for a bit. When it clicked her face was bright red and hot as could be. Was he resolved to have her flustered her entire stay on his ship? She had just finally gotten over finding him completely nerve wracking. Now this was going to be at the back of her mind whenever she was near him. Maybe it was karma for her ogling him a bit earlier. She sighed as she tried to level her head and return her normal complexion.
Feeling like she was in the clear, Rhea went back to her room to grab what she needed for the first lesson. It was going to be an easy day. Mainly to get to know each other and let them know a few basics. Tera had managed to find a few books, but she wanted to look through them to check for inaccuracies before she had the girls look at them at all. So today would just be her brain and the Pyrenian centipede flakes to keep them interested.
Making way to the younglings’ room, Rhea thought about the order she would do things in. In the end she thought it might be best to let things flow naturally and not plan too meticulously. At the doorway, she knocked before entering. Finding the two with their new tools, she was glad they were ready for her.
“Alright, ladies, let’s get to work.” She grinned. This was actually going to be a learning experience for all of them. While Rhea had taught before, it was more lectures and seminars. These classes were with adults and usually many of them. This was going to be more hands on. “Firstly, is there anything you two want to know?” If she could find out what interested them it would be much easier to tool her instruction to them. She only hoped they might be interested in different things, so they could motivate one another.
They started with very basic questions. To these they received generic answers if there was one. It was not long till they asked why so little was known. Rhea was forced to give the textbook answer of a plague in order to abide by the rules of her speaking with them.
Ino was the first one to not be happy with the answer, but not for a reason that would get Rhea in any trouble. “If a plague killed everyone, why are we still here? That doesn’t make any sense.” Her arms were crossed and she was looking over her elder skeptically. Oni nodded in agreement after it had been brought up.
Rhea wasn’t entirely surprised that they didn’t know. The two did not seem to know very many other Pyrenians. “Well, we regenerated.” Gaging Ino and Oni’s reaction, she went on. “Inside every Pyrenian there is a core crystal.” She placed her hand on her chest, letting them know where it was. “When we receive a fatal blow, get too sick, or just die in general, our corporeal selves fade away but the core is left over.” It was a rare occurrence. They were a pretty hardy people. Their longevity was impressive as well. It had been 150 years and they still had no idea what the natural life expectancy of a Pyrenian was. “After a few weeks, the crystal will enter a growth phase and redevelop a body around it. The initial creation happens within minutes and ends with a small but fully functioning Pyrenian. The growth phase continues for another 20-30 years when we reach full maturity.” There was still some debate on how long it actually took to reach adulthood. “So far, this hasn’t happened a whole lot. The two of you are rather rare.” Later she would have to get some data on the girls, but that could wait a day or two.
Although, the Pyrenian life cycle was something that Rhea personally found fascinating the girls looked somewhat sullen. She wondered if it was something they had not understood. “What is the matter?”
The two looked at one another then back at their tutor. It took a bit but Oni spoke up. “So, we are only alive now because of someone else’s misfortune?”
The question caught Rhea off guard. She had not thought they would look that far into it. These girls were sharp to be sure. “Not necessarily.” Her answer was slow. She would have to put more thought into this answer for two reasons. The first being she did not want to upset them anymore than she already had and the second that there was no real answer to the next topic. Not one that had enough backing to even be considered a real theory. “Now this is not widely held as truth, it comes from what I have seen and is what I personally believe to be true.” She gave out a disclaimer so that they knew to take this with a grain of salt. “New Pyrenians take on the same features and many personality traits of their former selves. I like to think of it as less a misfortune of dying and more a blessing to have another chance at life. We don’t retain the memories of our past lives, but those who knew us do. They can lead us to the things we once thought were important and we can find ourselves quicker the next time around.” A more optimistic view of things left the twins with contemplative expressions.
Rhea let them have a moment of silence to take or leave what she had to say. After that she would move on to something more concrete. What remained of the first lesson went smoothly. The girls hadn’t been too rowdy, but the older woman saw the potential for it. She could see that her being new made them behave a little better than they would for someone they were closely acquainted with. The novelty would wear off soon and she might need to take up Dante on his offer to calm them.
“Okay, I have one more thing, but we need to go to the kitchen.” At some point, Rhea had sat don with the girls on the floor. Getting up, she felt stiff. How long had she gone on? Next time she should pay a little more attention to the clock. She was slow going to the kitchen, allowing the girls to run off ahead smiling as they bantered back and forth.
In the food storage area Rhea asked the girls to each pick out a snack of their choice. Somewhere along the walk there Tera had found them and tagged along. Apparently she wanted to be a part of the fun and followed the Pyrenian’s directive as well. Once everyone had their food of choice, Rhea took out the Pyrenian centipede flakes. She sprinkled a light dusting over the girl’s food, skipping over Tera.
“Aren’t ya forgetting someone?” Tera held out her hand with her item in it.
“Nope, you won’t like it.” That was mainly an assumption, but Rhea would be amazed if Tera could stomach it. The small bits of bug were the spiciest substance in this half of the galaxy. Pyrenians’ mouths, however, did not react to capsaicin; in fact they had taste receptors specifically for the stuff. They probably developed it just to be able to eat these critters, which are common on Pyreen. “Alright, girls, give it a go.”
Neither of them seemed that excited to eat whatever it was Rhea just put on their food. Ino ultimately went first and her eyes widened. She was all but stuffing the rest of what was left in her mouth. Oni who saw this followed her example. The reaction was much the same.
After seeing how the twins took to the mystery spice, Tera was somewhat determined to get some herself. While Rhea was busy answering the girl’s questions about what they had been fed, the anthro sneaked in closer and grabbed the small container from Rhea’s hand.
A chase ensued. Rhea not being a very athletic creature was not making any progress on her friend. She would have to resort to reasoning with her from afar. “Tera, please bring that back.” Her words were airy as she was breathing hard from the sprinting. “It is very spicy. I don’t want you to hurt yourself!”
Looking back at the slow Pyrenian, Tera chuckled. She was having more fun making a ruckus than anything else. “Come on, if the girls can handle it I can too. 'Sides, I like spicy food.” Her eyes went back in front of her as she rounded a corner. The busty woman barely had time to evade the captain who had come out to see what in the hell was going on. He watched as his pilot ran by, not entirely sure what was going on. There was not much time to think about it before Rhea ran headlong into him as she came around the same blind corner. Clearly she did not possess the same catlike reflexes as Tera.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat It took some time to get the provisions for the ship, the supplies Rhea had requested and for Dante to input their destination into the ship's system. Several days travel called for greater planning and calculating the cost of the journey he surmised it would wipe all most of his profit from this journey, not to mention the ten thousand credits spent on simply stocking the Pyrenian's room with a few personal touches. When the credit stick had been returned before leaving, it was surprisingly close to empty. Unsurprisingly, Tera had bought some clothing for herself which had not been part of the agreement. However if it kept her bosom covered then he didn't mind all that much.
Taking them out into space he sent Tera the coordinates at last and she looked at him a little curious, though without a word she input the course and set them going taking it up to max drive. With all of it settled, Dante looked to his side to see Rhea dancing from foot to foot. A rather humourous act.
[b "Do you require the lavatory or is that an ancient Pyrenian dance?"] It brought a laugh from Jax, more so because he enjoyed dancing than he understood the intent or irony of his comment. The man laughed at most anything truly. The ship rattled wildly for a few moments as the engines were engaged to their maximum and exited the atmosphere. It was always a worrying moment as it could easily shake loose some wiring or system in the old ship and leave them having to quickly reattach equipment.
Thankfully this time it didn't and with the ship set Tera swiveled out of seat with a bounce in her step. She ruffled Dante's hair as she passed and gave Rhea a wink as she set off for her quarters, likely to change and check the fitting of her new clothing. Her action drew a scowl from Dante who shook his head lightly and averted his gaze from her, lest he be caught watching her being swaying lazily. Whilst unfocused, Jax had turned and rushed for the door.
[b "Jax."] Authoritative and commanding it stays the man leaving, the large being looking over.
[+gold "Yes Cappy?"]
[b "Where are you going?"]
[+gold "To eating room Cappy."] A finger pointed out the door.
[b "Are you going for your cookies?"] A restrained look on the man's face as he nodded guiltily, caught out in his plan.[b "Just remember, one box. And only after you fix the lighting glitch in Rhea's room."] The lumbering man sighed, a little downcast but nodding nevertheless. After all, if he controlled his greed he would have cookies for much longer.
[+gold "Oh-kay Cappy."] He nodded and left the Pyrenian trio alone with the Captain.
Sighing softly Dante left the comfort of his seat and stretched out, arms reaching up for the ceiling panels and rolling his head as he let out a groan. He was rather tall for a tiefling and there were subtle touches to him that gave the impression he had been altered from a typical being of his race. His stomach rippled under the conforming shirt before he turned and stepped toward the Rhea. Grasping her arm, albeit lightly, he pulled her closer to him though his golden eyes observed the two girls.
[b "I will give you an introduction now. Then you will take them for a short lesson. perhaps the very basics to your joint culture. Likely they will bombard you with questions and feel free to answer what you like. However, refrain from talk of why you are here. Make up whatever excuse you deem appropriate but do not bring suspicion on yourself."] It was perhaps a given she would not want others to know the reason for her being on the ship.[b "These girls mean a great deal to me. Do not become disheartened if they fight your teachings at first. They are rebellious in spirit though if they become too much then call for me immediately and I will come to calm and focus them."] His hand remained on her arm a few seconds longer, hovering almost as he considered whether it was right to allow her to tutor the girls. She could easily lead them towards anarchic teachings or give them the education he had been unable to give them. Teaching mechanics and systems was simple and straight forward but languages, culture, philosophy and the arts where out of his domain. Looking to Rhea they met eyes once more, it was a common thing lately. He felt he could trust her judgement.
[b "Pyrenian Cohort! Attention!"] Not loud, more barked like a military instructor and he stepped forward a foot or so, the girls like his charges and quickly turning and jumping up in their long seat; specifically lengthened to allow them to sit and work side by side. Turning and saluting at him with warm little smiles. Seeing the woman stood not far behind him they quickly took one another hands, a faint look of worry at what was about to happen.[b "At ease girls, you're not in trouble."] A further step brought him before them and he moved to one side of the duo, raising a hand to Rhea who stepped forward shyly.[b "I've decided that our new crew mate will be tutoring you both for the foreseeable future. Oni. Ino. This is Rhea."]
The two looked at Dante with skepticism at first but it was set aside as they waved shyly at the woman they had been so adamant in wanting to meet for the last few days.
[b "Now, be respectful of Rhea and learn all you can from her. She will be a much better teacher than I. Go to your quarters, I had Tera get you some supplies for your lessons. Rhea will be along shortly."] They were still for a moment but edged down off their seat and with a deft wave they walked off, continually looking back until the door closed behind them. Dante watched them closely, hands coming to rest on his hips once they had left. Looking over at Rhea he only now just noticed her clothing and frowned a fraction, though a smile tugged at the corners.[b "A shame you had to change."] Walking around her he made for his own quarters.[b "I found your old outfit rather fetching."] He called back over his shoulder just before leaving.
/ 3y 101d 14h 54m 18s
Silence, for the longest while of her life, that was all there was. Not even Tera spoke. When Rhea looked at her she appeared perturbed. Dante on the other hand looked calculating. If he was sympathetic at all it did not show. Along with him no longer looking her in the eyes, things did not look like they would be going in her favor. It was like in a courtroom, the jury never looked at a person they condemned after the decision had been made. Breathing deeply, her hands grabbed at the end of her tail. Wrapping around the appendage tightly, her knuckles were white.
Watching the man who held her delicate fate in his hands was too much. All four of her eyes dropped to the table between them. Eventually she closed them. She was tired of how bright everything was. They stayed this way until he commented on the money again. Seeing the poster in his, she watched as he tore it to pieces. Her eyes widened. She would live a short while longer. Her confidence in much more than that had been broken. Just because he was this generous did not mean others would be.
Rhea was about to thank him when he stood. Her mouth closed again. She would do it another time, when he had come to accept his decision more thoroughly. At the time being he looked as though it was eating away at him, so she let it be. Tera looked as though she was giving him more thanks than he wanted anyway. It was funny to see him shy away from her like he did, but Rhea did not laugh.
Shortly he gave orders to her overjoyed friend. They would be leaving as soon as possible. It was in her best interest. Rhea felt bad, she was still practically a stranger. The feeling did not last long as she heard Tera exclaim the amount. She was correct, that was entirely too much for two weeks journey. The Pyrenian was mildly concerned until the captain began to explain. Her brain was still foggy from all that was going on. His intentions were not reaching her. Apparently it was not hard for him to tell. She thought she must have had a terribly stupid look on her face to make him roll his eyes so.
Eyes widening at his declaration, Rhea was stunned. In a matter of minutes she had gone from nearly priceless cargo to an official crewmember. Why was he so difficult to follow? Not that she was going to complain about the development. This was more than she could ever have asked for and far more than she would ever be able to repay.
Captain Varias made himself scarce, leaving the two ladies to figure out the rest. Tera pulled a seat next to her rose-colored crewmate and wrapped an arm around her. It was uplifting. There was not much time however so the moment was short. Rhea made a short list of things she needed or wanted. It comprised of a desk and chair, writing supplies, a bookcase, any book that pertained to Pyreen or the star system it was in, a large hooded cloak, loose fitting clothes, and Pyrenian centipede flakes. In her state of mind, it was all Rhea could think that she would need.
Tera left quickly after the list had been compiled. This left Rhea alone, to replay everything that had happened in the last forty minutes in her head. There was so much. Finally the magnitude of it all caught up with her and she wept. They were tears of both fear for her future and relief for the now. A hard combination to stomach.
By the time everything was in place to depart, Tera had returned. Most of the things Rhea ordered were stowed in her living area. She would figure where she wanted them at a later time, but for the time being she would change. The clothes were perfect for their function, though they did nothing for Rhea’s figure. The shirt had long sleeves in order to cover as much of her as possible. It was long, making more of a tunic than a shirt. It worked nicely so that she could wrap her tail around her waist and torso to hide it. She would only have to do this outside of the ship, but it was important all the same. The pants were tighter fitted. Clearly more Tera’s taste than her own. There were also boots. Rhea had a great dislike for shoes, but once again she would only have to wear them when leaving the safety of the ship. Lastly there was a light gray cloak, just as she had requested it had an overly large hood. While the monochrome color scheme was drab, she didn’t mind. With everything on, she could barely tell she was a woman let along a Pyrenian. Now knowing that everything fit fine, she kicked off the shoes, let her tail free, and pushed the hood back.
She fixed her hair and glasses on the way down to the bridge. Just about everyone was there when she made it. Rhea smiled pleasantly at the girls for the first time. It would be wonderful getting to actually speak with them. Not to mention she now had someone who would be forced to listen to her ramblings about Pyreen and all the theories on menial things about Pyrenians. She already knew what her first lesson would be.
There was a lot going on, Rhea stayed out of the way so that everyone could continue to be productive. Quietly letting everyone do their thing. She didn’t really have the skill to be supportive in this situation. It was mildly disheartening, a tutor and translator was not necessary here.
Exodus of planet was complete and the Enduring Odyssey was on its way. Rhea was itching to go and talk to the twins, but she thought it might be best to wait for the captain to make the introduction. She was not sure if he had told them the news yet. Tera, who looked back at her from her seat as the pilot laughed. Rhea was unsure if it was because of the outfit or her anxious shifting from one foot to the other.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat His hand had left her mid-way through her ramble, the woman eloquent enough that even the throwaway details were brought into consideration. Dante kept her gaze, watching her intently as he was, due to not fully trusting in what she could be hinting at. She was calm and quiet as she had always been, though she started in a faint tremor and he put this down to his own actions.
When she finished and looked away, he sat back in his seat, mouth hanging ajar at all she had said. His hand slid off the table, interlacing atop his head as he stared across to the timid woman. The full scope of things lain before him was troubling and it required him to come to a resolution immediately. He was not yet in too deep with this. Likely, he could claim plausible deniability that he knew the woman. Merely taking a passenger with him. Not knowing she was a criminal in hiding. A five million credit reward would pave a golden path into the future for him. He could afford to buy a completely new ship. A larger ship. Capable of taking more cargo on board and travel further and therefore increasing his profit for every trip.
He could play into the reward, Jax and the twins would be disheartened only a short time. He could convince them it was right to do. A good deed. But the trouble with that is Tera had heard every single word of the Pyrenian's speech. She had heard it all and he turned to gauge her reaction. Immediately he was regretful for looking. She looked as worried as the Rhea and her ears had folded down flat to her head, her body language turned inward as if she were trying to make herself smaller. She could not be trusted to follow his lead or accept credit payment to stay quiet. She was outspoken. Even if she did not intend it, Tera would inevitably blurt out what had been said.
His mind raced through several options, darting between each and applying reasonable theory to each. Everything had to be considered however and he came up with things that were outlandish to even consider. Things such as handing her over and in turn being arrested, disposed of as an accomplice. Perhaps they would rig his ship to detonate so that they would not have to pay the reward fee and be absolutely sure what she had found had not been passed on - such as in the diary she kept. His mistrusting nature was put to straining point.
With an exasperated sigh his hands fell limp at his side, eyes returning to the table so that he could once more gaze on the unimposing woman opposite him. It was several minutes of silent deliberation before a hand reached up and gently took a hold of the paper between them. Lifting it up he gritted his teeth a moment.
[b "Five million credits is life changing money."] He muttered aloud though to no-one in particular. For a brief moment a blue finger ran across the number, as if caressing the credits themselves. Yet the paper is folded over and consequently torn into several pieces. With each tear the pilot at his side smiled a little more hopefully and looked at him as he dropped the shredded remnants onto the table.[b "Please don't make me regret this Rhea."] Observing her closely, she remained silent, opening her mouth but it snapped shut immediately when he stood abruptly.
Tera had been hovering close and as he stood she leapt forward, wrapping her arms around him tightly and drawing herself up close to him. His tail froze at the touch and he quickly batted at her hands, cheeks flushed as he pulled away from her and stepped over to a dispenser, facing her again.
[b "We can't afford to stay here. We need to leave immediately. Tera go get Jax, he should be done with the traders. Get provisions for a fortnights journey and have the refilling crew start immediately."] He took an empty credit stick and connected it into a screen. Transferring across funds he handed it over to her.
[+red "Ten thousand Cap?"] She looked incredulously at the stick in her hand. Roughly twice the amount needed to buy food and drink for their journey.
[b "I want you to purchase new clothing for Rhea and whatever Pyrenian's desire. Whatever she says, get the same again for the twins."] He turned on the red-skinned woman at that.[b "I'm not an expert like you on Pyrenian culture. Tell her what your people prefer to eat and drink. And give her a list of things that will make your quarters more hospitable for you."] His hand rose to brush over his face, rubbing at his eyes as he considered what he was agreeing to. Seeing the look of confusion on her face at his order, he rolled his eyes.
[b "You are going to be with us a while longer and therefore a part of my crew now. As such, I would rather have my crew in a content and relaxed mood."] Tera nodded in agreement.[b "You will be tutoring the twins too. For which we will discuss later. But I want them to embrace their culture and so would rather you did so with the correct literature and supplies."] Puffing out his cheeks he had wandered during his talk and now stood on the opposite side of the room. Patting the doorway he stood before he looked over the ship as if he were about to lose it forever.[b "Have the twins close up the cargo hold before you leave and come to the bridge. I'll be plotting our course."] He left the two to hash out what exactly she would like to eat, drink, how to decorate her room and how she would go about tutoring the twins. Dante only paused at the drink dispenser to retrieve a strong alcoholic beverage, taking it with him to begin his calculations.
/ 3y 103d 13h 16m 33s
All the terror she had felt but weeks ago returned in one solid wave. It was so much money. They wanted her that badly. With a bounty of that size, there was no place safe for her. Nowhere to hide. The paper stated she was to be alive, but she knew if she went back her life would be forfeit after they had the journal. Tera had the two of them stop by a shop, purchasing an overly large hat. It covered her well. Most of the looks stopped. The ones that persisted were due to the strange outfit she was in. Overall it had been nearly half an hour before they made it back to the ship. There was a small sense of solace there, but not enough to bring the color back to her face. Dante waited for the pair.
Following the motions, Rhea sat when told and listened to the man across from her intently. It was a little hard to focus, between the crushing weight of her impending death and the pained look on his face. She had hurt him with this. Perhaps she’d been very wrong in thinking that he had disliked her so much. He spoke of her over reacting, and being naive. It was not entirely wrong. She was often told she was too innocent when it came to her thinking of the world. She knew she was, but it helped her through life, keeping optimism that she might succeed in her life’s work one day.
She was already nearly on the verge of tears when Tera came to her aid trying to keep the captain from becoming fully enraged. The anthro really was too sweet. Trusting her to such an extent, even with something this large loomed over them all. Although Tera had tried to prevent it, he snapped. There was a searing pain at the nape of her neck as she was once again uncomfortably close to Mr. Varias. The water welling in her eyes was threatening to spill over. Rhea struggled to hold it back. If she cried it would only look as though she was trying to play off the little sympathy in the room.
Somehow, Tera brought him back to his senses enough that his grip loosened. The pain faded. Once again, she was required to put everything on the table. This time, in more detail. There would be no slipping by with vagueness. “I-i-it wasn’t a plague.” Her blundered speech had returned. On top of that there was the fact that it was just so hard to say it out loud. It made it all the more real. “It is commonly known that the Pyrenians were blighted with a terrible plague, killing everyone. The Termani took us in, raising us as we regenerated, but everything was lost. There was no knowledge of our species fundamentals, the culture, and the language all gone in one fell swoop.” Tension grew that told her that she was taking too long to get to the point, but this was the only way she could do it properly.
“I swear; I never lied to you. What I came across was evidence that this was all a farce. There was no plague.” Her stomach was turning; she felt sick. “It was genocide. The Termani systematically rounded up all 10,000 Pyrenians and executed us 150 years ago. I can only imagine it was too install the current government they have in place and have power over our planet and people, but beyond that I have no idea why…” Now if she died, someone else in the universe at least knew the truth. It was an empty consolation.
Dante’s hand fell from her neckline, dragging down her collar as it came to the table. Once again she was able to sit in her seat appropriately. His movements were slow as he moved back, as if he were taking in the information, processing it to see if he believed it.
She allowed herself a pause. Rhea was struggling to go on, but she forced herself to keep level. Staring into his soothing golden eyes helped a bit. “Genocide is an S class offence, and without just cause interfering with a planet that has yet to develop interplanetary transport is an A class offense. If this gets out, the Termani are going to lose a lot. Allegiances will be broken and they will be shunned form many parts of this galaxy. In order to keep this under wraps, 5 million credits must seem very small to them.” It was a little far fetched. One of the farthest reaching and well-known groups of people in galaxy, allied with at least one planet in every star system, were behind something so atrocious. Even if the common Termani citizens were not privy to it, the reprimand would be heavy on their leaders. The hammer would come down on the entire race.
“If I am taken back there is no doubt in my mind that I will die. With my death around 120 years of research will be gone. I am the leading expert, of very few, on old Pyreen. Even with this it has taken me a hundred years to decode enough of Pyrenian writing to be able to understand it at an elementary level.” After that she was quiet and allowed her central eyes to leave the tieflings. They stared down at her shaking hands as she waited for the horrific silence to end.
Rhea mentally prepared for what was to come. If the money was too enticing a prize, she had decided beg for him to take the diary and her notes. That way it may be given to another linguist at the very least. There would still be hope that this might be brought to light even if her current self would not see it.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat A translator would have their uses in the future. At the mere mention of the profession he is conjuring up ideas for how best to utilise her skill. Having an unassuming female on the ship would be useful too. But not in this system where a common tongue was spoken. She would help him to take cargo further afield and not be swindled by the local traders. He kept a golden eye on her as she mingled with the other two. It was disquieting to him that they took so quickly to her. Those two took to anyone hastily however. Dante felt she was being coy and deceptive with her soft voice and shy body language. She would have to be watched. Closely.
Their warp drive was currently non-functional, so they would have to travel at max drive to the next port. It was two weeks of travel away and would give time for the crew to relax and Dante to think over the woman's fate. He had given her a reprieve but to accept her as a crew member meant so much more. Not least she would be entitled to a share of the profits. His profits specifically.
During their short trip she became endeared to Tera and Jax like they had been old friends. She took to Tera's teasing and playful nature well and Jax was always happy to have someone whom he could play games with, share his bolt collection with, and repeat jokes long since considered old material. And she took it in good humour. Dante could see she was fitting well with them. The twins however were constantly badgering at him to be allowed to talk to Rhea. They complained, whined, threw tantrums and devolved to holding their breath or ignoring him for minutes at a time. Whenever they were all together, he kept their heads down, focused on something else though they would push their look at times. Despite his attempts to maintain control over the situation, he could see something would give soon. He couldn't keep them apart always.
Dante was sitting in the cockpit, his head propped up with a hand, taking a little time to himself. The night previous, or what passed for night on the ship, he had barely gained any sleep. Oni and Ino had been sickly the day before and he suspected it was down to a spoiled provision. Though there had been no vomiting, thankfully, the girls would retch weakly and had been close to tears at times. He had spent the night sat beside their bunk, keeping a watchful eye on them. They woke frequently and he was often up by their side pressing a cool hand to their foreheads or letting them hold onto his hand. It made little sense to him but their entire race was a mystery to him. He was learning on the job so to speak.
When she entered and spoke to him, his fingers fluttered in the air to imply she continue. She had bought his ear with her soft tone which brought him closer to sleep. It was singsong and gentle. Likely it would have soothed the twins during their troubled sleep. It helped to set a relaxing tone as she apologised for taking his kindness for granted. He had to concede that the twins were already fond of the woman simply for her matching race and that they would be sad for her to leave, even though they had yet to meet her formally.
His head lifted at her pleasant words and as golden eyes gazed over toward her she was gone, a tail whipping around behind her trailing form. She seemed intent to be away and leave him be and his lips curled ever so slightly. He left it alone, preferring to sink into the silence in the room and be lost to a light slumber..
As they pulled into the port Dante left Tera to request landing permissions and take them in. He in turn stepped out and into his quarters to change. When he returned, he wore pristine and radiant white clothing. The pants were figure conforming up to the knee though up to his waist they were of a looser weave. Across his waist a smoky grey belt sat, more for style than any practical use. His upper half is covered with a tight shirt which leaves little of the contours of his torso to the imagination. The sleeves tapered off just after the elbow, the collar an inch or two below his jawline. The white contrasted starkly with his brilliant cerulean skin and from a fold at the back a blue tail swished about lazily.
As he stepped out, Tera let out a low whistle, laughing gently before her elbow nudged into Rhea's side. The Pyrenian looked up in curiosity at the woman's reaction, though a little intrigued at the change in clothing.
[+red "Cap doesn't like to change clothing all that often. But when he does.. well, let's just saying he's being conservative today."] A devilish smile turns her lips.[+red "I remember one time, I swear you could see the outline of-"] Dante turned sharply on the duo, particular Tera, but she winked playfully at him in return.
[b "I was going to give you two some credits to go about the port with. I thought you deserved some relaxation. Clearly you are content enough already, so you can remain on the ship until the cargo is sold."] His eyebrows rose as if imploring either of them to complain or take issue, yet neither did and he nodded his approval of their choice. Taking a data pad he sauntered out of the ship, taking a deep breath of the fresh air. Recycled was fine for health, but could never beat the fresh stuff.
They were a mixture of races waiting at the end of the cargo ramp, some who's names he couldn't fathom though their appearance was familiar. As local buyers they knew each other rather well and a cheery mood shrouded them all. Approaching an electronic stand to one side, Dante connected his tablet to it briefly and transferred across his itinerary. The ship name flashed up in bold letters before the contents began to flash on sale in quick succession. At once there was a heady clamour to see what was for sale, several leaving quickly when they saw nothing they wanted.
Satisfied they had had enough time, he tapped at the pad. It was a form of quick sell auction. Prospective buyers would link wirelessly to the stand and bid for chosen goods. No matter their chosen dialect, his itinerary would be translated for them. It lasted only five minutes before the tiefling nodded his head calmly and turned back to the doorway. Dante waved his hands for Rhea and Tera to go ahead and go about their business. Jax stood at the end of the cargo ramp, standing in the way of the unloading crews of the buyers. The twins were in the cargo hold, watching everything with fascination. They were always keen to see new races and new planets.
It was going rather swimmingly, up until the moment Tera buzzed him on his communicator. He sighed deeply and pressed at his ear to activate it. At the mention of a problem he inquired if it involved their recent acquisition. When it was confirmed, he didn't hesitate and changed his channel.
[b "Ino, come down here please."] Walking away from the buyers the little girl came bundling down excitedly, stopping when she reached Dante who took a knee before her.[b "Here."] He handed her the tablet.[b "You've done invoicing before. I need you to finish up here whilst I deal with a problem. Can you do that for me?"] She nodded vigorously, his hand brushing her cheek softly. Tugging at Jax's leg, the giant turned to look down. A large dumb smile spread over his face.
[+gold "Hi Ino. Ino want up?"] She nodded again and up she went, lifted to sit on his shoulder. Leaving them be Dante calmly walked back up onto his vessel, changing back his communication channel.
[b "Bring her back to the ship now Tera. And keep her head down. I don't want people seeing her board."] He was surprisingly calm, though worried that what had gone wrong would cause him to lose reputation. If she had started an argument, caused offence to an elder, broken something. It didn't bother guessing blindly at.
Twenty minutes of fretting over outcomes went by before Rhea and Tera returned, a large brimmed hat pulled over the former's head to hide her face. Immediately he pointed for the gentle speaking Pyrenian to take a seat at the galley table. She humbly did so, head bowed a fraction, and he turned to Tera.
[b "What did she do?"]
[+red "Well Cap, it's less what she did. More what she done."] Delving into her cleavage brought a bemused look from the tiefling male before the piece of paper was eventually fished out.[i 'It's a wonder she found it at all in that bosom.'] Handing it over he took it with a hesitation. It [i had] been pressed against her being.[+red "Seems our lil' girl here is a proper genuine crook Cap."] She smiled as if she were proud, folding her arms under her chest which only pushed them up and made them more prominent. Dante couldn't help but notice and a light red hue brushed over his cheeks. Turning away to unfold the paper he read it over, eyes scanning over it several times. When he finished, he fell into a seat opposite of Rhea and his fingers ran lose in his white tufts of hair.
[b "Why?"] It was soft. Not demanding. He looked up at her with a pained expression. He looked into her only visible eyes. It irked him that her hair had come down. The quad-optical appearance was much more appealing. Pushing the paper toward her he sighed.[b "Five million. Five. [i Million]. Not hundred, not thousand, not hundred thousand. But [i million]."] He closed his eyes, letting out a moan in discomfort as he sunk down and let his forehead rest against the table for a moment. It rose immediately.[b "You know what I made today? What all that cargo got me? One hundred thousand credits. And that's only because the Utilian wine sold well. At a rough guess; minus running costs, Tera and Jax's fee and the twins' share, that leaves me with barely ten thousand. Ten thousand Rhea, for a whole shipment. And yet here I was, transporting something worth five million!"]
Still there is no anger.
It was rare for Dante to remain so calm, yet the look in his eyes as he stared across at her was filled with discomfort. He was clearly holding a lot in and the woman remained silent. She seemed not keen to irk him more by interjecting in his talk. She simply folded her hands together and sat meekly before his gaze. A hand slapped against the table abruptly. Not hard, but enough to frighten Tera who stepped forward and placed a hand on his shoulder, perhaps to stem him striking out. He shrugged it off hastily.
[b "Why did you lie to me? You tell me you're wanted because you read something you perhaps shouldn't have. A misdemeanour crime. Something I was going to put down as you overreacting, taking out of context, fearing the absolute worse and running from shadows. A mistake. A fault. I can accept faults. I'm very reasonable, I have my own faults and I know that. Everyone here has them."] Tera nodded in agreement, stood at his shoulder. His voice dropped to a whisper.[b "But simply reading something you shouldn't have? Let me tell you something, perhaps you're naive or just innocent to the world at large, but that? That's not worth a five million credit bounty."] A sneer tugs on his lips as he reaches quickly across the table and grasped the back of her neck, pulling her forward so they are once again mere inches apart, as it had been a few days prior.
[+red "Cap! Stop it! Don't hurt the girl!"] Tera's worry for the girl stems no further than words, keeping her hands to herself though she leans forward. He heeds her words, his grip loosening minutely.
[b "Rhea. I want one, single, perfect, believable reason for why I shouldn't turn you in. Because I have five million reasons why I should."]
It was genuinely surprising when the tiefling came closer into her. Something she said set him off yet again. Now, she was not generally a real articulate person when it came to sensitive situations like this one, but it astonished her how she was able to say just the wrong thing at every chance she received. If she kept it up she could put it on her resume: expert destroyer of all hope in a life or death situations.
As long as she stayed quiet things started to look up. Although, those moments did not last long until she had to give answer. Noticing the trend, Rhea chose to nod instead. It pained her to promise to stay away from those girls. Younglings were so rare. There was seldom the chance to study this part of the Pyrenian life cycle. Alas this would not be hers. Hopefully now that she had given her word, she would live to see others.
His hot breath on her was oddly calming. It reminded her of her desert home. As the berating of cold words came to an end, her gaze came back to his bottomless golden eyes. Even when he reached out, letting his dry hand graze across her smooth marble skin she was able to hold composure. It was such a gentle display form such a fierce man. The contrast was mesmerizing, hypnotic even. Another long moment later, he backed away and announced she would be allowed to stay. This was followed by rapid-fire introductions. The atmosphere had changed in the blink of an eye. She gave a shallow bow to each person in the room as their name was given. Taking in each of their features more carefully she put their faces and names to memory. The people here would serve as her saviors in a great time of need regardless of whether they wanted the title or not. “Thank you, Captain Vari-“ her heartfelt gratitude was interrupted by Jax’s large hand on her back. The action nearly toppled her over. It was quite the feat. Pyrenians were a dense people. Practically made of stone, so there were not too many with the strength to accidentally send them over themselves. “A pleasure to meet you as well, Jax.”
The other woman, Tera came into the conversation naturally. The teasing tone she had made Rhea feel as though the people in front of her had been together for a very long time. It was a close-knit group. A tired, but humored smile came upon her face. Apparently Dante served as guardian to the mismatched family. Once he was done refereeing the other two, Rhea received a stern reminder of her own rudeness. “Oh, sorry for the delay. My name is Rhea and I think I could be a useful translator if you need one."
Rhea spent most of her time either by herself or with Jax or Tera. When she was alone, all her attention was to the diary she constantly carried with her. In order to not miss anything she started from the beginning. There were many entries, most of which were of no use to her. But she would not know when the confrontations started if she jumped to where she had previously been. It was tedious to say the least. The others acted as de-stressors of sorts. When in their company, there was never a dull moment. Although though she had fun, Tera gave off the distinct feeling that Rhea was her new plaything. Much like Jax, she was constantly pestered. It did not bother her though. She found it more endearing than anything. While she was always happy to be near the engineer and pilot, Rhea spent a great deal of her time avoiding the other inhabitants of the Enduring Odyssey.
With time, Rhea understood how she had offended the captain on that day. It was clear he was very partial to Ori and Ino. Her audacity to use them as a reason to be kept in the ship was low. In hindsight it was obvious and now she felt the need to apologize. It took a while to build the courage to speak with Dante, but eventually she came across him sitting by himself. She decided to initiate the conversation.
“Excuse me, Captain.” Her voice was naturally soft, but it was even quieter now. “If you have a minute, I wanted to speak with you.” As usual he seemed disinterested in her, but he gave small hints that she had his attention. “I would like to apologize for my boldness when we first met... It was not my intention to act as though I knew those little ones.” Regret showed on her face. She could feel it in her stomach as well. Truly she had been worried for their wellbeing, but it was still brass of her to bring children into it. “You have done so much for me. It pains me to think that I may be held in incredulously low regard because of a careless comment on my part. I just wanted to let you know I am reflecting on it.” After mentally rehearsing for this moment over and over, it had come out nothing as planned. “Anyway, that was all I wanted to say. Sorry to take up your time.” Rhea practically ran from the room once she had finished with what she had to say.
Although it had not been as eloquent as she had initially planned, Rhea felt better after blurting the whole mess out to Dante. Honestly, it may not have helped him see her in a better light, but now there was hope that he might not hate her. She was able to relax more when he was in the room. There was still some avoidance, but she was much less nervous.
It was an exciting day when Rhea discovered they would be taking port. Not that space travel was terrible, but she really did like a break every now and again. Visiting new places and seeing how they functioned was a great love of hers. Not to mention it was free. The Pyrenian had not checked, but she assumed her credit account and other assets had all been frozen. Not that she was stupid enough to try and use the inter-galactic money transfer system. That would only act as a beacon to the Termani.
There were orders to stay on ship until the shipment had been dropped off. And so Rhea stayed by the doors as crates were removed from the ship. The fresh air licked through the open cargo hold. The atmosphere on this planet was thick with water. Humidity was not her favorite, seeing as she was used to an arid desert. It would not take long to grow used to the mugginess. Acclimation was always the worst part though.
After Dante had thoroughly intimidated all those who had tried to scam him in some way or another, the work was done and it was time to play. Rhea wanted to run off and do her own thing, but that came with a possibility of being left behind if she were to become lost. Instead she tagged along with Tera. That came with the perk that she looked like she would be useful if anything happened. More likely than not, Tera would be starting trouble, but at least she would finish it. Who knew, it could be fun.
As they made there way through the town, Rhea oo’d and ah’d at the small things. Anything particularly interesting behaviors she saw led to her spouting tidbits of information. “That man there, he is of the Morantz race. They slouch like that because their ancestors had tails to balance themselves. After a rather detrimental, but dominant mutation they lost the tails. It worked out alright in the end because they tend to be sweet in disposition.” Smiling brightly, she waved at the man.
“Yer just full of all sorts of info, ain’t ya?” Tera laughed like she always did, but then smirked. “Too bad you draw so much attention.”
The comment confused Rhea. Now that her attention was on it, there were a couple of people with their eyes on her. Ranging from full on stares to sideways glances, it was beginning to make her feel uneasy. She was beginning to have inkling to what was going on. Rhea removed her glasses and undid her hair clips. The fringe came down to cover her secondary eyes. Still there was a man that came up to the pair.
“Hey little lady, what might your name be?” He was a greasy sort of fellow. The type that made you uneasy just being in the same space as him.
Tera spoke up for Rhea, putting her arm around her. “This here is my friend, Artemia.” Her smile was abrasive. The kind that tells you to leave her the hell alone or there will be a problem. “What’s it to ya, bud?” Her tactic worked surprisingly well. The man backed off, glaring the whole time.
They didn’t walk a hundred steps more before they saw it. Outside of one of the local hot spots there was a board donning the faces of those with outstanding bounties. Rhea’s eyes met her own face. Even without her spectacles she could see it was hers. After a moment of silence, Tera whistled, impressed. “Ya musta stumbled on somethin’ real sensitive if the tight ass’ are willing to part with 5 mil just to get their hands on ya.” Then she tore off the piece of paper, folded it, and stuffed it in her cleavage.
“I think I should go back to the ship.” Rhea’s face had drained of color as her companion nodded in agreement.
The anthro pulled out a communicator. Hitting a single button she was through, “Cap, we’ve got a problem.”
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat [+red "Do I need to answer them in that exact order?"] His look changed from anger to incredulous shock at her response. Was she mocking him? Did she think her safety was so guaranteed that she could openly ridicule his questions? His temper flared and the Captain grasped his hands tightly by his side, looming closer to her she covered her face with her hands and Tera stifled her laugh, averting her gaze to the floor when the Captain had looked over at her. Turning back the red skinned woman finally spoke some sense.
Working for the Termani made sense for her level of access in their systems. As an anthropologist she would be left alone, keen to remain hidden and her nose firmly placed within the folds of a book. And to run when she had discovered something unsavoury to the Termani image was highly likely; they were a stubbornly proud group. To have smuggled herself on was simple enough. Jax had not secured the ramp before it was closed and it was with luck they hadn't lost any cargo to thieves. Yet to have a being sneak aboard made a mockery of him as a Captain, unable to control whom came on or left his ship. Well if her answer for his third question was not satisfactory, then he would remedy the problem with a visit to the air lock.
Granted he didn't feel like he could go through with it. Likely he would scare her and then have her bound until they reached the nearest system to offload her. Yet to go lightly on her and show her any passiveness in dealing with her would backfire with stupendous results. There was still cause for concern as she worked for the Termani and may be lying simply to catch him out at a later date. But he would have to take that chance.
Her reason to be allowed to stay was humourous; because she didn't have one. She was close to literally asking to be ejected. And he stared at her in mild confusion, his face conveying naught more than distaste for her, as it had for most of his interrogation of her. When she mentioned the twins he felt his body bristle at the implied notion that she knew those two young Pyrenians. Regardless of what else she said he leaned in closer, their warm breaths intermingling between them.
[b "No matter what happens, you will not speak a word to those girls. They may be from your race, but you do not know them nor their background. If I catch you speaking to them, I will do a lot worse to you than simply dropping you out into that that cold, dark expanse out there."] The hushed volume, severity of his tone, it would not be lost on her that he was displeased by her comment. Though truth be told the two girls would be unhappy to lose someone of their own race so quickly, he could not afford to allow them to grow close if she did turn at some point and reveal her original plan. If they ended up in some jail because of her they would never be the same again.
A silence between them grew and she sensed it was not a time for her to speak, merely nod at this tieflings words with haste. There was no waver in his gaze and when she did look away, she felt drawn to look back at him. The short distance between them was uncomfortable to say the least. But after great inner monologue and deliberation, he raised a hand up to her face, deft fingers brushing across her cheek before sweeping up and brushing through her hair. Had it not been an anxious situation between them, one may take the movement as a show of sexual intent, lust, emotional interest. Yet he merely nodded, body relaxing and the same hand falling back to brush along his right horn.
[b "No slave mark. So you are not a runaway. Therefore I'll believe your story for now and you will be allowed to stay. That is Tera our pilot. The man behind you, Jax our engineer. The twins are Oni and Ino, our computer and systems specialists. And I am your Captain, Dante Varias. Welcome aboard the Enduring Odyssey."] He took a single cautious step back, though still faced her. The other two in the room relaxed immediately and Jax sprung to his feet, patting the woman on the back heartily with a large grin stretching over his face.
[+gold "Jax pleased to meet lady. Gonna be good to have lady on ship. Tera scares Jax."] Immediately the pilot jumped to her feet in defense of her own character and she stepped over, waving sweetly before clasping her hands behind her back.
[+red "Jax is an idiot. He thinks I'm after his bolt collection."] There is a worried look on the mans face at the mere mentioning of his collection.[+red "And I'll get it one day!"]
[+gold "No! Jax not let you take his bolts. Bolts belong to Jax. Jax found them! Cappy tell Tera to leave Jax bolts alone!"] By now Dante had turned away, sulking back to his seat where he threw himself down and rubbed at his temple. Today was not his day and he waved off the others dismissively.
[b "Tera, leave him be. Jax, no-one wants your bolt collection. And you.. woman."] He looked over to her though now there was only weariness in his gaze. It had been a tiring hour and he had little need for those two to begin bickering worse than the twins.[b "I want your name. I don't fancy called you woman for your foreseeable stay with us."] He rested his chin atop his hand, before speaking up a final time.[b "And as a anthropologist you won't be much use to me. I am in no mood to attempt at thinking what you can possibly do. So tell me some things that you believe will adhere you to me and this ship."]
/ 3y 104d 16h 29m 30s
Getting to see the two youngling’s celebrating at their success made Rhea smile. Clearly they were a clever pair to be able to get into the defense system as quick as they did. She was impressed. It was a little disappointing to see them go. The lack of children in the room put butterflies in her belly. Things did not bode well for her if the conversation was not for the ears of little ones.
At the man’s first utterance of a syllable she could tell he was outstandingly angry. One look into his piercing eyes let her know he was sizing her up. Doing her best to hold her ground, she steeled herself. Rhea committed to keeping eye contact. A sinking feeling told her he could tell it was for show, but she was determined all the same. Their eyes were locked as he menacingly moved in on her. The urge to back away and hide away someplace was real. Almost tangible even. Only when she felt his finger pressing into her chest did her resolve waver. While her secondary set of eyes stayed fast to his, her main pair followed down to his hand. It felt as though he was prodding into her very being. The discomfort this brought was distracting, making it hard to form coherent lines of thought. And she most definitely did not have time to be lost for words.
As her mouth opened to sputter poorly worded excuses, the huge guy behind her chimed into the conversation. After that the anthro gal did as well. It was a tad embarrassing, but extremely touching. The azure fellow did not find it as endearing. His snapped at his crewmates; it gave the Pyrenian some crucial time to compose herself once more.
When he turned back to Rhea, his expectant gaze told her that she was to be truthful. Lest he keep his word and have her expelled from his ship. The hush hung in the air as her mind worked out her story properly this time. She found her voice again moments later.
“Do I need to answer them in that exact order?” It was not her intention to be a smart ass, but it was being taken that way. Tera’s stifled laughter was the only reason Rhea realized her near fatal mistake. “Ah,” She let out an exasperated noise and covered her face with her hands briefly. “That came out wrong. I mean, it would be a little easier if I could start with the passcode question…” A few moments ago she had believed the tiefling was as livid as he could be, but that was not the case. She was pretty sure now he was as mad as he could get. At least without her being tossed out the air lock.
Rhea began to answer his questions hastily. It caused her to fumble over her words. “I work for the government on Pyreen. Well, I did… You see; I am an anthropologist. It is my job to try and figure out more about my people. This was given high priority so I essentially had access to whatever I wanted.” It was a nice perk to be able to do whatever she wanted whenever she wanted. Good thing too cause apparently the job came with some big risks. Including but not limited to being hunted down when you discovered the wrong thing. “While working, I stumbled onto some sensitive information. So far I don’t know how deep it goes, but it is clear that they don’t want me to find out. In order to get away I boarded the soonest departing ship I could find. It just happened to be yours.” That answered both how she knew what she did and how she had gotten where she was. The only thing left was why she should stay. That was the most difficult by far.
“To be honest, I am not sure there is a very good reason for you not to just be done with me here and now. None of this affects you.” Rhea paused yet again. While waiting for the verdict another thought came to her. One that might save her neck, “…but it might affect those girls.” It was not a lie necessarily. She did not have anything to back it up, but there was also nothing refuting it. “And if you do chose to let me stay, I promise I will do whatever you ask of me so long as it is in my capabilities.” That was it. That was all she could do. Her fate was in the hands of the fierce captain before her. If the idea of helping a stranger did not sit well with him, she prayed that those two Pyrenian girls were important enough to sway him.
For what felt like the millionth time that day, no one made a sound. She felt the two spectators eyes flicker from her to their captain. It was apparent the woman wanted to put her two cents in once again, but the direct order for her silence held her tongue fast.
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