USS VINDEX - NCC-2474-A
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Welcome Home! (Don't Worry. I'll Deal With That Guy Later.)

Posted on Sun Jul 9th, 2017 @ 9:00pm by Lieutenant Commander Arturo M'Rohass & Lieutenant JG Xiulan Song

Mission: S2E1 - Secrets
Location: Shuttlebay/Deck 4
Timeline: MD 99; 1700

Xiulan hated shuttles; irony of ironies that her boyfriend had been a pilot aside, but shuttles were cramped and she always got a little space-sick if she was in one for too long. She also hated going to new places, it meant memorizing a new layout, which made arriving at her new destination full of that much more suck. And to add salt to her wounds, she was arriving alone; Arturo had said he would get reassigned here with her, but he hadn't managed to do so before her shuttle departed...

The cramped shuttle glided through space on the final stretch, and Xiulan was going out of her mind. She didn't get the luxury of watching the stars speeding by, she couldn't listen to her music (at least not at the volume she preferred), and she was ready to blow chunks at the next available target. So when the shuttle finally reached the end of its journey and touched down on the shuttle pad, Xiulan was ready to jump for joy, if she was into that sort of thing. Actually, she could go for a workout right now, so maybe after she checked in and found her room, she could find her way to the gym and go blow off some steam. Yeah, that sounded like fun... With her cane in hand, Xiulan followed the pilot to the hatch so she could finally be done with this little tin can!

Ryland waited until the shuttle was safely landed and the protective screens reactivated before stepping out into the hangar floor. It technically would've been safe, but there were only so many risks a man could afford to take in life before going bust.

PADD in hand, he walked up to the shuttle to exchange flight logs with the pilot for entry into the official record. When the door opened, he exchanged pleasantries with the pilot in the little Flight Control ritual. And then his eyes fell on the passenger. Despite everything that had happened, Ryland found himself instantly smitten with Yellow Fever.

"Ni hao, mademoiselle," he said with a wriggle of his eyebrows. "Allow me to be the first to say welcome aboard the Vindex. May I help you with your gear?"

"Mandarin and French? Classy..." Xiulan replied with a snicker. She of course couldn't see the waggle of his brow, but there was no mistaking the self assurance in his voice as he spoke. "I got my gear, but I will need help finding my quarters," she added. With the way her shaggy bangs fell over her eyes, he may not be able to see the pale green implants or recognize her blind stare, so she raised her white cane to clue him in to the reason why she needed help.

The white cane evoked an awed expression of understanding from Ryland. And a sly grin.

"Why, of course, m'lady." Ryland snapped his fingers and beckoned for an anti-grav sled to be brought over for her luggage. "Let me just take you by the arm here and help you down from this awfully high shuttle."

As he slipped his arm around Xiulan's elbow, Ryland also took her by the hand with his alternate arm as he guided her down. "Watch your step now--she's a doozy."

"I'm blind, not helpless," Xiulan said in a grumpy tone. Seriously, why did everyone feel the need to treat her like she was fragile. "And there's only one person in this universe allowed to call me 'M'lady', and it ain't you." Pulling away from him, then used her cane to find the step he mentioned and stepped down with well practiced ease.

The quartermaster's team from Operations had already unloaded the luggage from the cargo area and had it sorted onto various carts. Some of them were even on their way out of the shuttlebay and onward to their destinations. Ryland whistled at one of the Ops personnel to come over.

"Gimme' a gander at that there work order so I know where to escort this lovely lady."

The petty officer in Operations yellow scowled at Ryland, but presented his PADD without protest. Ryland took it with his now free hand and had to read it twice.

"Deck 4?" he muttered aloud. "That can't be right. Deck 4 is senior staff."

The petty officer shrugged.

"Well, let's put a halt on sending her gear off until we get this straightened out," Ryland said.

"Lieutenant Song's possessions were on the first cart to go out," the petty officer said.

"You have got to be shitting me," Ryland said.

"Can we just get a move on?" Xiulan groaned with exasperation. Seriously, what was the problem! And if she got one more 'lovely lady' comment from him, then he was getting an elbow to the nuts.

The petty officer shrugged again. "We go where we're told."

"Ah, hold up," Ryland said as he took a closer look at the work order. "Room 404. That's cute. That's just brilliant. Standard computer error put in as a cabin assignment." He looked up at Xiulan. "Looks like Sweetpea here let a glitch in the system get past him. What's say you we track down your luggage before it gets lost in the hustle and bustle? I'll be more than happy to light your way."

"404, nice," Xiulan said with frustration. "We'd better hurry up then; we can sort out the room assignments later, but I've got an irate reptile who needs to get back under his heat lamp. So show me the way."

"Small world! I got me a lizard who's liable to get a might testy as well." Ryland bit his lip and led Xiluan toward the nearest turbolift. Once they were out in the corridor, he looked back over his shoulder.

"That pretty Science blue sure suits you. Do you have a specialty or are you more of a general know-it-all?"

Breathe in, breathe out; don't hit him, don't wanna lose this shiny new promotion... "I'm a Linguist. I can also handle communications and cryptography," Xiulan answered. Remain calm, he's just an idiot dick-waffle probably looking to get into her pants, she could handle this without resorting to violence, everything is under control...

"Another coincidence," Ryland said as the turbolift doors parted. He could tell the blind, so he waited before adding, "I fancy myself a cunning linguist as well." He all but hopped into the turbolift to put space between them. "None too good at the cryptography though. Computer, Deck 4."

That was it! As soon as she heard the doors to the lift closed, she struck the back of his leg with her cane, sweeping his feet out from under her him. As he hit the floor, she moved to kneel over him, pressing a knee into his groin. "I am not some game you can play, so cut it out before I do something you'll really regret," Xiulan said with a scowl.

Ryland grunted from the pressure on his groin. "Darlin', I don't know how they do things on New Manchu or wherever you come from, but I need to be wined and dined before we just jump into a mustache ride. How's about you let me up and we can take it slow like?"

She pressed harder, really grinding her knee into his groin. "For your information, I was born on Earth, not New Manchu, not to mention I'm spoken for, so cool your engines, Turbo, or you'll find yourself missing a nacelle," Xiulan said with a wicked grin, just daring him to test her further.

Ryland grunted through the pain, then closed his eyes and sighed. "So that's how it is?"

He chopped her in the throat--not hard enough to injure, but enough to make her suck wind. He crabwalked away from her and inched his back up the side of the turbolift to a standing position. When the turbolift door, the two of them were halfway bent over, trying not to gasp for air.

"404 is that way," Ryland said through a grimace. He did his best to hide a limp as he walked in the direction he'd pointed.

Xiulan rubbed at her throat as she stood. "Yes, I know, I can hear the grav-lift moving," she said, then followed him out of the lift. Before they reached their final destination, however, she raised her cane once more to give him a good whack, the cane sounding off against his backside with a satisfying THWACK! That was going to sting for a while... "That was for pointing the way to a blind girl; don't lie, I know you did it."

"Wait just a minute here," Ryland said with a growl. "You're blind?!" He rolled his eyes and scoffed his sarcasm loudly for her benefit.

"Here you are, Highness," Ryland said with a mock curtsy outside the door. "Hope your stay is a pleasant one." His scowl suggested otherwise, though he did not remain long enough to let it linger.

"Dumbass," Xiulan scoffed under her breath as he walked away. The crewman bringing up her stuff were just coming out of room 404 now, so she decided to deal with this instead of continuing to trade barbs with whats-his-face.

"Hey, you," Xiulan said to the heat signature operating the lift. The heat signature stopped. "I think there's been a mistake; these quarters should be reserved for Senior Officers, and I'm not. The guy who showed me up said something about an error?"

"Huh... Well let me check my work order," the crewman replied as he pulled out a PaDD to check the work order. "404, I can see how he might think it's an error, but if there was an error in the system it would appear differently. As far as I can tell, these are your quarters, properly assigned and authorized."

"Okay... so what am I supposed to do? These quarters are way above what I'm cleared to have, someone is bound to notice this eventually," Xiulan said with frustration.

"I can look into this and see about getting you into another set of quarters. Until then, go ahead and make use of this one while I straighten this out," the crewman said, stepping aside and moving the grav-lift so that Xiulan could get in. He was having a hard time concealing his smile; he had been told this occupant would be blind, so he knew she couldn't see him smile, but a smile could lead to a laugh and he didn't want to give the game away. "I'll contact you later once I know more about what happened with your room," he added; he would not be calling her back.

"Alright, fine," Xiulan replied, and moved to the door. Her hand found the wall, then the door, then the access panel, and when the door slid open she entered the room. Using her cane, she surveyed the room, finding her crate in the middle of the main room. Her hands slid across the surface, finding another object on top, her krait's travel case.

"Hey Gerri, let's get you out of there," Xiulan said with a grin, unaware of the surprise that was waiting to be sprung on her. She collapsed her white cane and tucked it into her belt, then set the travel case onto the floor, then found the key pad on the large crate and unlocked it, removing the top. Her hands searched through the crate's contents for Gerri's terrarium, but she stopped when she realized that something else was missing. Where was the hat that she had stolen from Arturo? It should be right on top everything else, where was it?! Her hands searched and searched, becoming more and more frantic; where was his hat?!

"Oh no..." she muttered when she realized it truly was not there. "Did I leave it behind?" she mused aloud. "Shit..." she said when she realized that this must have been the case. Arturo was gonna kill her, that was one of his favorite hats! More to the point, she did have it to ease the distance between them now... That hurt so deeply that her eyes began to sting as they watered up. "Stupid, stupid!" she muttered under her breath as she wiped the offending moisture away, then set about pulling out the terrarium as a distraction; hat or no hat, Gerri still needed to get back under his heat lamp...

Hauling the terrarium out of the crate, she felt around for a table and set the terrarium down, then went back to get Gerri out of his travel case. The winged fire Krait groaned as she coaxed him out of the case. "Yeah, I know buddy, I miss him too," she said with a sigh, then got Gerri into the terrarium and turned on the heat lamp. Now that Gerri was taken care of, she retrieved her cane and snapped it back open to begin exploring the room; once she had the dimension in her mind, she wouldn't need the cane to navigate the space, but until then the cane was a necessary evil...

Xiulan found her way to the bedroom. Nothing out of the ordinary, it was a bedroom, with a bed, pretty standard. But it wasn't until Xiulan sat down on the bed and laid back did she notice something that should not have been there, causing her to sit back up with a start. She felt around on the bed, and lo and behold, a hat! Xiulan picked it up, the confusion etched clear as day on her face as her hands explored the hat. This was Arturo's cavalier hat! She knew this hat, it was his hat!

"What-" she said in disbelief, running her fingers through the feathers tucked in the brim. "How..." Her crate had been locked, how did this hat get on the bed?!

Lieutenant Arturo M'Rohass had stepped out of the sonic shower not long before Lieutenant JG Xiulan Song arrived in the quarters that she thought were hers, that he knew were his, and that, as soon as Xiulan confirmed for the Captain that they actually wanted to live together, would be theirs. He had been quietly but quickly finishing his grooming routine in preparation for Xiulan's arrival, when he heard someone enter the quarters. His sensitive ears recognized the sound of Xiulan's cane being collapsed. She was here! He heard her talking to Gerri and then heard her chastising herself for something. Then he heard her moving about the space, eventually coming into the bedroom. Arturo knew that he had just been working on his hat and had left it on the bed. When he heard her find it, he exited the head wearing a robe.

"Welcome home, my Graceful Orchid," he said, barely stopping his voice from breaking. "Or to what will be our home once you confirm for the captain that you want to live here. I gave you my word that we would be together, did I not? You of all people should know that to Arturo M'Rohass, a person's word is their bond! I'm going to come over their and kiss you now. Please don't hit me."

Arturo walked up to her and, taking her face in his hands, kissed her.

"Arturo?" Xiulan gasped in disbelief, her voice breaking with all the emotion she had a hard time voicing. Then his lips were on hers and all was right with the universe, causing her to melt in his arms... until she remembered that he stole his hat back, at which point she pulled away and gave him a bruising punch to the arm. "What the hell, Arturo!" she exclaimed. "You stole my hat!"

Arturo rubbed his arm and smiled.

"Ouch," he said. "So much for not hitting me. And, not to be too nitpicky here, but technically it looks like I stole MY hat, which might not be considered stealing. But it only looks like that. What really happened was that I simply packed the hat in my bag so that you would not have to carry it. After all, I knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that our separate trips would have one and only one destination."

"It's my hat, I stole it first!" Xiulan reminded him assertively. "I thought I lost it, thought I wouldn't have anything of yours to keep you close to me," she followed up in a small voice.

Arturo sat on the bed next to Xiulan and put his arms around her.

"I am sorry, my love," he said. "I didn't mean to make you sad. But I, Arturo M'Rohass, is here close to you now, in the flesh. Rest assured that I intend to do everything in my power to stay close to you for as long as I can possibly manage to do so."

Arturo leaned in towards Xiulan and kissed her on the cheek. Just as he knew that she was not big on too many public displays of affection, he knew that she really liked it when he showed his affection for her in private.

Xiulan turned away from him with a feigned scoff. "No, I'm still mad at you," she said, trying not to smile.

Aturo grinned.

"Well," he said. "I suppose I shall have to make it up to you somehow. Maybe I replicate a couple of roses...or better yet a pair of those soft ostrich plumes I use in my hats...I'm sure by tomorrow morning, I would be completely forgiven. In the meantime, did I hear Gerri? Maybe I should go talk to him. Maybe he's happy to see me."

As Arturo stood to go see Gerri, Xiulan grabbed him by the arm and pulled him back, grinning as she laid back on the bed pulled him down atop of her. "Hey, this is about me, not Gerri," she remarked. "Anyway, you're not done apologizing yet," she insisted with mock seriousness.

Arturo chuckled. He kissed her lips.

"I'm sorry," he said. He kissed again, on the forehead, on the cheeks, on the tip of the nose, and again on the lips, the neck, the throat, one kiss for every word."I'm, very, very, sorry, how, can, I, ever, make, this, up, to, you?"

"Well for starters, you could lose the- are you wearing a robe?" Xiulan said as she tugged at the garment separating them.

 

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