USS VINDEX - NCC-2474-A
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All's Well That Ends Well

Posted on Wed Jan 11th, 2017 @ 7:38am by Major Storr Garlake

Mission: S1E3 - Operation Adrestia
Location: MCO's Quarters
Timeline: Mission Day 18 - 21:00


Jaya should not be here. She knew that. Every ounce of her professional training and common sense told her to leave at once. However, she was already beginning to lose herself. Simple pleasures had become hurdles. The wine from before hadn't helped either. Unless she took drastic measures, then everything she had worked toward would unravel.

There were some professional boundaries she had crossed which perhaps she should not have, but they were necessary at the time. One boundary, however, was sacrosanct. Were it to be breached, she would lose everything.

Were she to break her Oath of Celibacy, then she could not return home.

It was with a heavy heart and sullen countenance that she rang Storr's door. She cast a guilty look over her shoulder at the nearby quarters to the command officers, as if one of them was about to leap out and point an accusing finger at her.

The lights were low in the Marine Commander's room, his copy of "My Reminiscences of East Africa", a book detailing the WWI campaign of Imperial German General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck (to which his family has a far, far, distant relation) laying face down as he thrummed his fingers on the desk, deep in thought from what he had just read. A light haze of Rum & Maple tobacco smoke wafted up from a cigarette perched precariously on a black carbonite ashtray; Storr preferred cigars (and even the occasional pipe) but his supplies were running low thanks to his originals being "rerouted" by some thieving Ferengi quartermaster back in the Alpha quadrant. The warm, pleasant and rich smell reminded him of his Uncle, who smoked them religiously despite his profession as a shipyard mechanic...something about keeping his hands steady as he worked to precisely fit the massive vessels with their protective "skin".

Garlake chuckled as he thought about Uncle Tiaan, his Aunt always pestering the poor man that the "smokesticks" would kill him and how Tiaan would smoke with Storr any chance that he got. As the MCO continued to reminisce about his family, his thoughts were interrupted by the door chime.

"Come," he intoned after a few moments, standing and making his way towards the door. He wasn't expecting any visitors and despite appearances, his marines were well disciplined and required very few "command interventions"...that, and looking at the chronograph sitting on his desk, it was far too early for any drunken & disorderly conduct.

When the doors open and the smoke came billowing out of Garlake's quarters, Jaya almost turned on her heels and left. But she had come this far. If she failed her Oath and could have done something to prevent it, she would never forgive herself.

"May I come in?" Jaya asked, brushing past Storr before he could answer. Before anyone might see. She observed the general appearance of his quarters and wafted away enough pipe smoke to give her some breathing room. It wasn't so bad. She could get used to it.

Storr blinked, for many reasons, not the least being that Jaya was now in the middle of his room, her anxiety easily apparent to even him. Seeing her discomfort, the MCO immediately felt unease and tension, his skin crawling with anticipation. It was almost as if a switch had been turned on. Was it simply a latent reaction to their link? He shook his head and replied.

“Of…of course, please. Sorry about the smoke…it reminds me of home and calms the nerves. Computer, begin medium ventilation, quietest level.” Immediately and nearly imperceptibly, the vents over his desk opened and the air began exchanging through the filter system, the pall lifting in mere moments though the warm smell still lingering as he took a deep breath.

"I need to ask a favor of you, and I must beg your forgiveness before I even do." She turned a circle, rapidly pacing and staring at the floor, walls, desk, anywhere but Garlake. "I keep melding with people in order to help them, and each time I'm getting further and further along. That would be a good thing, except... it's leaving me... unfulfilled."

Captain Garlake narrowed his eyes and…was angry. Who was she melding with? And Why! *Wait…* he thought, trying to slow the horses of his mental wagon. Anger? Why was he angry? Because…because he felt that she shouldn’t be melding with others? What right did he have to make her exclusively his? And why was he feeling this way at all? Trying to shift his focus, he managed to do so but went from the skillet right into the fire by concentrating on the “unfulfilled” portion of her statement.

She looked up at Storr at last. "When I helped you find peace before, Captain Garlake, it was not without cost. It has been several years since I have known the loving touch of another's body and soul." She could not help but trace a finger along his chest outside his shirt upwards to his neck and chin. "And I dare not tempt you with something you cannot have. That I cannot have."

The MCO shivered as the Counselor’s fingertips left a trail of molten fire on his skin, the warmth radiating through his body. His hearing became dull from the sound of his heart hammering in his ears while his breathing became more shallow and rapid. Electricity surged from her touch on his chin before she ever-so-slowly drew it away, eliciting a near-whimper. Small beads of sweat formed on his forehead while he did everything in his power not to ravish the woman right then. *Tempt?!* How did she not know what she was doing NOW? And how could she not know that she COULD have it now?! In another place and time, Garlake knew that it was the pheromones talking but he was not there.

"I have helped a friend in a similar way to you, yet that left me the one who was out of sorts." Jaya frowned. "Had she pressed me, I don't know that I would have resisted. It would have ruined our friendship, to say the least, and gotten me kicked out of Starfleet. Exiled from my home." Her eyes began to tear up. "Deltans might have a reputation for hypersexuality, but we aren't Risans," she sobbed. "We have expectations of ourselves when off-world."

When she looked back to Storr, her eyes shed tears openly. "Your race, like most, is viewed sexually weak and undeveloped. Even one act of indiscretion could cost you your sanity, your career, your very soul." She hugged herself with shame. "I am such a monster for wanting to take that from someone for my own selfish needs."

Captain Garlake’s emotional state seemed to turn on a dime, from raw passion and desire to protectionism and devotion. Storr wanted nothing more but to safeguard Maera from whatever it was that had put her in such a position. Reaching out, he took her in his arms, his large frame enveloping her petite form. Her soft curves and subtle features were inviting under his gentle touch as feelings of security and safekeeping washed over him, though an undercurrent of desire still flowed easily at their connection.

He wanted to refute her “selfish” comment but stayed silent, knowing that she had more to say and that his interruption might derail her prematurely.

"I came here because there might be a loophole," she said, wiping her face with her fingers. "Marital institutions are unknown on Seyalia... Delta IV. We choose who we love and love whom we choose, bearing children and living freely in idyllic bliss with one another." She heaved a couple sighs, catching her breath. "Our Oaths of Celibacy are required to serve in Starfleet, but should a compatible mate be found from another species, then that mate's cultural institutions could override the Oath."

Jaya laughed wryly and took Garlake by the hands. "Captain Garlake... Storr... I'm asking if you would risk marrying me, that I might have an outlet for these burgeoning desires. We're compatible enough psychically that we were able to meld, but..." She blushed at her next words. "I suspected that, in addition to risking your life on a regular basis, your temperament would be better at maintaining a... platonic aspect... to our sexual activity."

Jaya hung her head. "I would release you from any expectation once we returned to the Alpha Quadrant. We could remain married, or not, but I intend to return home, and you can continue your career." She took a breath and exhaled.

The bottom dropped out of Storr’s stomach as he looked into Jaya’s eyes. Hope, fear, desire, shame, longing, expectation, uncertainty…all these emotions and more seemed to scream from the Deltan’s tear-soaked gaze. Or were they what he was feeling? The MCO looked down at their hands, lightning seemingly flowing back-and-forth between their fingers and palms, his forearms raising in goosebumps.

Suddenly, his mind cleared like a morning fog burning away as the sun burst over the distant horizon, its warmth flowing between their touch.
Here he was, in his room, with a stunning woman that he had known for less than a week literally throwing herself at him because they could barely keep their desires for the other in check. He had never felt this way about a woman before, let alone Clara…*Frak, Clara!* He hadn’t purposely given much thought to her for some time, as it seemed like such a lost cause. But where was she? Had she not written him off after his bachelor ways at Sandhurst, calling off the engagement because of his carousing? And now? Why return to an unknown when he had what was known right in front of him? And yet….

*frakfrakfrakfrakfrak*

“I….I….” Storr Garlake, Starfleet Marine Captain, Marine Commanding Officer of the 2/5 aboard the premier ship in the Gamma Quadrant, was speechless. In the gym, his physical prowess was second to none; his skill at combatives and small arms marksmanship no less than commendable; his ability to lead small and large units having promoted him through a grueling system far higher than he (or many others) thought possible. Yet, a ninety-five pound, less than five and a half foot tall bald Deltan was causing him the most crisis he had ever faced in his life. Branches and sequels flashed before his eyes: Their marriage, his death. No marriage, his sanity. Their marriage, his life, their child. No marriage, jealousy and rage. Their marriage, their painful separation. No marriage, returning to Clara. All these and hundreds more played out in his mind.

When faced with Storr's silence, Jaya knew his inner turmoil and all it entailed, both superficially through her empathic senses and internally through their lingering bond. That still did not make his stony expression any softer to handle.

"Perhaps I must show you," she said softly. Screaming at herself for the eternal instant it took to close the gap between their lips, Jaya pressed her mouth against Storr's. It was only a peck, but she clasped his lip with both of hers--clutched his soul with her own, venting just an instantaneous surge of her pent-up desire for unity with another--and let him feel the knife's edge that was her proposal.

The instant their lips touched, shockwaves of light pulsed through his vision and electricity cracked like a whip from his toes to his hair and back again. Images of a nude Jaya screamed through his mind and a yearning for intimacy unlike any he had ever known knotted his stomach to its core, tears forming at the edge of his eyes. As she moved away, her lips released his and left warm, lingering shocks pulsating through his now flushed face.

"You don't have to decide now," Jaya said, pulling away and giving Storr her back before passions rose any further. "In fact, it would take some time to satisfy your people's courtship rituals--a few weeks? Even months? Any sexual encounter in that time would defeat the purpose of our... arrangement." She only half-turned back to Storr. "I know the burden I have placed upon you, Captain Garlake," she said with timorous apprehension. "The risks you would pose are perhaps greater than the benefits, as you now know, our relationship would hardly be romantic in light of..." Her throat quivered with a gulp. "After all these years separate from my people, only to suddenly awaken my higher senses, touching people to their core without myself being touched... I feel as a boat on dry land, or a desert wanderer parched with thirst."
She managed to meet Storr's eyes once more as he slowly regained himself. "You would be as an oasis for me in my sweltering wilderness of isolation," she said in a guilty admission, "but every indulgence would literally be risking your sanity, your very identity. I am ashamed to even ask because I know the situation is already balanced in favor of you accepting."

Her shame came to a head. She gasped, on the verge of crying again. "I should go..."

Jaya's words echoed vaguely in his mind, almost as if he were underwater. Ever so slowly, her voice became more and more clear just as she panted in a seemingly vain effort to control herself. Storr blinked twice to vainly compose himself and took one step forward, taking her forearm in his grip. It was not hard, but it was filled with desire and...demand. He swore that he saw smoke rising from where their bodies touched and he loosened his grasp, though the burning passion lessened only minutely.

"You're not leaving me," the MCO said. It was a statement, not a request. "Jaya, you talk out of both sides of your mouth. You desire to protect me from your passions, yet tempt me with your lips. You come to me with a request to wed so that we both can find solace in each other's arms yet you know that it could be my death. How do I know that what I'm feeling is love and desire born of my heart and not just manipulated from your pheromones and our bond? Am I simply the most manipulated by you and the easiest target of opportunity?" Garlake took a deep breath, nearly failing at keeping the molten fire in his hand from bursting forth and consuming him. "I can't deny the incredible hunger I have for you but my heart is crushed at the thought of your inadvertent desire for another or need to bond for a counseling purpose simply because we have to keep our passions at a distance for fear of harm. I want to be that cool, refreshing spring to you and that ocean tide that takes you out to sea from that parched land of loneliness...I would be your Atlas, to bear this burden that you carry so wearily on your shoulders."

With that, and without warning or time for a response, Storr spun Jaya to face him and swept her into his arms, planting his lips fully on hers. The stars from before returned, this time with a vengeance; their physical connection point was lost and Garlake couldn't tell where he ended and the Deltan began. Reality and imagination swam by him like a torrential stream after a flash flood, memories and fantasies popping in and out of existence so fast as to barely register their presence. Spinning, whirling...blackness. Like a marionette with its strings cut, Captain Garlake crumpled to the floor.

Jaya's eyes bulged, then closed, as the torrent of repressed passion forced its way through her and into the able and willing Afrikaner who had taken her into his arms and his kisses. But it was too much. She felt the threshold, and pushed back against it. The longing of Storr's soul was desperate and pushed for what she had offered. In a final, last-ditch effort to save herself and him along with her, she emoted one savage blast of resistance.

NO.

Jaya stared down at his prone form, her face wrought with pity and regret. "I'm sorry, Storr." After checking his pulse and determining he would be fine, she huddled against the wall and hugged her knees to her chest, shaking. Thinking. Deciding. Waiting.




Jaya had waited an hour. In that time, she had deliberated with herself and realized that as hard as this was, nothing had changed. She could feel Storr rousing before his breathing changed, though it soon followed. His long, deep breaths turned irregular and shallow. In a moment, he would be conscious; soon after, lucid.

"This is a taste of what might come," Jaya said, her tone cool and low. "I stand by my proposal, though you had better think it over. No more hasty answers." She stood, her shapely form rhythmic in its rise from the floor. The doors parted before her and she left without another word.

Storr stirred, his hand coming up to his head. He had never had such a headache even after that epic pub-crawl back in...*Uuggh* he thought, his eyes still closed in a vain attempt to squeeze out the painful light. Shaking his head, the Marine Captain immediately regretted it as it felt as if his brain had suddenly been put in a shuttlecraft that lost its inertial dampeners while in a flat spin. After several moments, his mind cleared enough that he sat up and opened his eyes, though raising his arm to still shield them.

"Ja...Jaya?" he called out, to no reply. Simply folding his arms over his knees and resting his head upon them, Storr closed his eyes and sat in the middle of his room. Alone. "Computer...lights."

 

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