Previous Next

Full Steam Ahead

Posted on Thu Jan 5th, 2023 @ 6:45pm by Captain Akiva ben-Avram & Captain Mrazak & Lieutenant JG Jaya Maera Garlake & Lieutenant Colonel Storr Garlake & Commander Arianna Frost & Lieutenant Commander Finley Chu
Edited on on Thu Jan 5th, 2023 @ 6:45pm

Mission: Season 1 Interlude II (E5.5)
Location: Grotto of Delights | Tembiti Lagoon, near Villa 17
Timeline: ID 4 - Late Morning

Presidential Spa Package - it sounded grand, and it looked to be grand as she arrived to the building. The others had gone a little ahead, whilst Ari stayed back having had to unpack late. That and she'd also wanted a few moments to herself before venturing into yet another inferno, the prior one being the lovely little Murphy's law twist on whom she had to share her hut with due to 'last come last serve.'

So now, she approached barefoot, wearing a loose dark blue shirt of a very light material and a blue sarong, and what looked like black tight shorts and a cropped sports tank top underneath the shirt and sarong.

"Sorry about the delay, I'm here, and I promise that bit about being afraid of you was just me taking the mick, Jaya." She said with as relaxed a smile as she could muster as she focused on her Deltan friend rather than the two attractive men, one surly Vulcan and the beautiful raven-haired spook known as Finley.

Fin was comfortable in swimwear, be it a bikini or a wet suit. Wearing it meant she got to pursue one of her favorite passions. Yet now she was wearing a modest black bikini under a loose t-shirt and some exercise shorts, feeling very awkward indeed. Her attempt at small talk with Akiva had fizzled quickly when Mrazak gave her a withering look. The look had made her feel more uncomfortable still, but apparently, it was one of those mandatory fun days.

Walking side by side and trying to ignore one another were Akiva and Mrazak. It was not often that Akiva was seen out of uniform as it often defined his identity after leaving Hebron Colony, but today he walked along in a quarter-sleeve cashmere tunic that fell to his mid-thighs where his swim shorts barely exceeded. The thong sandals he had found in his room were a good enough fit that he saw no need to replicate another pair. Beside him was Mrazak in a black, skin-tight, neck-to-wrist-and-ankle diving suit that left nothing to the imagination. His long, confident strides did nothing to maintain gravity's hold on his extremities.

Leading the way was Jaya pulling Storr along in her Deltan sari that fell off one shoulder and exposed her midriff. She had it rolled and tied between her legs for easier movement. "Nonsense, Ari! Come on, everyone! We haven't a moment to lose!"

Storr dutifully followed, brown soft-footbed sandals, mid-thigh seersucker swim trunks, and an open white camp-collar button-up shirt with red and yellow palm trees showing his ready embrace of the tropical life. The sunglasses were a help too, not just to shade his eyes from the obvious brightness but from the feminine accompaniment as well. Unfortunately, they could not block out the crime against humanity the Vulcan's outfit was...all technology had its limits.

As they went to the far end of the boardwalk, they were greeted by Izsal the concierge from the previous day.

"Welcome, honored guests," she said with her palms forward in front of her chest. "I trust you slept well!"

Jaya shot a guilty glance at Storr and smirked, but said nothing. He winked back in a mischievous, knowing reply.

While Akiva made a gesture that was somewhere near a shrug and a nod, Mrazak stared straight at the concierge as if to will her to get on with it.

"Bloody ripper, mate," Arianna said, though whether she truly meant great, or whether she meant awful was left to self-interpretation.

"Risa welcomes you to a special treat," Izsal continued with a wave of her hand. "Behind me is the Grotto of Delight, a fully automated luxury spa where your every whim is catered to and your privacy respected to the utmost degree. Once you cross the threshold, you will be treated to our amenities without another soul present, including a full-featured sauna, a jetted pool, an all-natural and fully organic food spread, and private rooms for partner manicure-pedicure and massage treatments."


"What did you say?"

Akiva and Mrazak had spoken at the same time, each shocked but for different reasons.

Izsal the Concierge kept up her professional smile, but worry lines still peaked at her the edges of her face. "Yes... the Grotto of Delight's luxurious Partner Spa Package offers the most intimate--"

"That's what I thought you said," Mrazak interrupted. Taking one look at the other five individuals and quickly doing the math that Fin would be his partner, he made a sharp jerk of his head. "No. No way in cold fusion am I getting massaged by an Intel pawn." And with that, he dove off the boardwalk into the pristine aquamarine water for an unplanned endurance swim to parts unknown.

"Is... is there a problem?" Izsal asked.

"Yes..." Jaya said graciously. "We had booked the Presidential Spa Package."

Eyes growing wide at the realization, Izsal went into damage control mode. "Oh, I see! There has been some mistake. You were scheduled for the Partners Spa Package which has replaced the staff aestheticians and therapists with virtual assistants who will guide your partners every step of the way for the deepest satisfaction." Looking at the odd number, though, she saw the problem. "But I see you are now one partner short. Would you like me to summon anyone else? The automation requires two for the virtual amenities to function."

Garlake quickly looked around as well and saw the multitude of problems, not the least of which was the poor Risan suddenly between the rock and the hard place of having the wrong service prepped for a group that obviously wasn't expecting it. It was an odd personality quirk, but he couldn't stand making or seeing other people uncomfortable in a social situation.

"Two, or at least two?" he asked, taking Ari's hand in his with a smile and decisively ushering the two lovely ladies past Izsal. Mrazak had put them in the lurch (again, surprise surprise) and the Marine needed to protect his friend while at the same time ensuring that things went as well as they could. Akiva wouldn't relax on his own if he turned around and left but he also wouldn't relax if he went in with Ari. Storr had no idea what the Hebron's standing was with Fin but figured it wouldn't be worse than the other two options.

"The Partners Spa Package operating system pairs two at a time on entry," Izsal explained. "Crossing over the threshold together will pair your biometric values together for use of the Grotto."

Jaya jumped into Storr's arms and wrapped her arms around his burly neck. "Carry me over the threshold!" she begged. "I'm sure we can sort this out inside."

Arianna blinked trying to make heads and tails of the sudden confusion. "Okay," she said with a slight side wave of her hands, "obviously Storr and Jaya are a pair..." she flashed Storr a grateful smile, "...and whilst I'm most grateful for your invitation, Colonel, and I was actually looking forward to getting my hands on those biceps..." she threw both Jaya and Storr a grin before turning to Akiva and Fin, "let's just decide. I'm happy to sit this out or have someone else summoned for me, or pair up with either of you, just so we don't have to make this awkward. Or if you guys would rather - I'm good with everything. Let's just pick and go with it."

Someone had to be the adult here, so it may as well be her. The fact that she would rather avoid the unavoidable awkwardness of the situation if she did get paired up with Akiva was something she would acknowledge but not admit to publically, hoping the choice would be made differently.

"Awkward? No need to feel awkward," Akiva lied. "We are all just friends and colleagues enjoying the gracious courtesy of Starfleet Admiralty." He forced his best smile at Izsal the Concierge in hopes of heading off any unpleasant notations thatade their way into the record.

"The last thing we want at Temtibi Lagoon is for any of our guests to feel uncomfortable," Izsal said. "Allow me to get to the bottom of this. Once I discover how and--"

Akiva knew he needed to act quickly before this spiraled into yet another meeting about Memory Theta getting unwanted exposure and for the most frivolous of things.

"No need, ma'am," Akiva said as he accessed the communicator hidden in the folds of his tunic. "Our friend is surely done with his warmup swim by now."

Turning about, Akiva whispered into the combadge, "Ben-Avram to Phan--Smedley Butler. Mrazak has fallen into the ocean near my position. Lock on with transporters and beam him back to this location. Ben-Avram out."

By the time Akiva turned back around, Mrazak was already energizing into place.

"What is the meaning of this?" barked the dripping Vulcan. He was the one who beamed people to and fro, not the other way around.

"Sorry to cut your warmup short, Mrazak, but we have an appointment to keep," Akiva said as he stepped into Mrazak's personal space.

Before Mrazak could make further protest, Akiva leaned forward to whisper at length into the Vulcan's pointed ear. The gamut of expressions on Mrazak's face ran from annoyed to worried to angry to weary resignation with a touch of the original annoyance.

"Fine," Mrazak groused. "Everything is fine, madame," he repeated with a little more emotion to Izsal. Hopefully, she did not know about V'tosh Ka'tur and would mistake his surly demeanor for normalcy.

"In that case, I will leave you all to it," Izsal said with a clap of her hands and a sigh of relief. "Please call for any assistance should you need it, but the automation as I said can handle almost any whim. Enjoy your spa time!"

As the concierge excused herself, Jaya began to all but whimper. "Can we please go inside now?!"

"Yes, clearly we are not all bloody schoolies." Frost groused internally. "Yes, let's go!" she said and turned around and started walking towards the entrance. "Whoever comes with me gets rubbed by these babies!" She raised her arms in the air as she walked, wiggling her fingers for emphasis. "So pick well and come on!"

This was already going to shit, so she hoped the other three would finally decide and come, so they could get on with this...charade. A well-meaning charade, but a charade nonetheless.

"I'm taking you up on that offer. I'd rather not get any Intel Pawn cooties on Mrazak," Fin said, taking several quick steps after Ari into their own cabin of awkwardness. If anything she'd feel less uncomfortable in her bikini with another woman than with a man.

Jaya had hopped out of Storr's arms in order to drag him over the threshold like a mule who wouldn't move fast enough for her wishes. Storr made a quick exclamation before catching up to his bride and taking her pregnant body into his arm. "I love it when you beg," he said in a low, sultry voice, waggling his eyebrows at the clearly motivated Deltan. He was equally ready to get inside as his wife but felt that the confusion needed to be taken care of first. Jaya obviously disagreed so he acquiesced to her superior counseling abilities.

Casting a look at one another, Akiva and Mrazak exchanged scowls before they followed suit.

"Greetings," said the disembodied VI voice in Federation Standard a light hum with faint musical strings in the background. "Please state your preferred language options now."

"Why is that necessary?" Akiva asked. "Federation Standard should suffice."

"I will only respond to statements made in the selected language of each individual," said the VI, "in order to avoid heuristic confusion caused by involuntary speech during activities within the spa."

The scandalous implications reddened Akiva's cheeks as he understood. It would be imprudent for the VI to be left to decipher a legitimate command from a passionate outburst. "Ah, yes, I suppose that would be a necessary safeguard..."

But Mrazak just grinned. "Computer, install Proto-Vulcan as the preferred language for all users!"

"Proto-Vulcan selected for all users," said the VI. "Please confirm."

"CONFIRM!" Mrazak's shout fell into diabolical laughter.

"Gen-lis dvel nam-tor i' svi' daya," said the VI.

Akiva looked horrified. "What did you do, Mrazak?!"

Frost didn't hear half of what was said.

Garlake blinked twice, completely taken aback by Mrazak's actions. Was he really...?

"Shif kanok-veh na' kafunik svi' kafunik wak tvi-wak," Mrazak commanded the computer.

Everybody vanished in transporter energies which deposited them into assorted rooms.

Private Room 1

When Akiva appeared, he was staring at Fin. "Uh..." He looked to and fro, confirming they were alone. "It looks like Mrazak paired us together for some reason..."

"You... were not the person I expected in this booth." Fin replied as her eyes adjusted to the lower light settings. Her eyes danced across the room, picking out the table, a few cabinets, some towels, and a large collection of oils. "Computer, why were we transported?" The computer's Vulcan gibberish meant little to nothing to Fin. She glanced at Akiva, "Do you have any idea what just happened?"

"It seems like Mrazak managed to set all of our preferred language settings to some obscure Vulcan dialect," Akiva replied. "I'm not sure how to fix it without knowing the language or having access to the computer core--wherever that might be..."

With Akiva talking, Fin started exploring the tools available to her. In a small cupboard that was down low she found a few PADDs and, of all tools a Starfleet standard issue hyperspanner. "How did that get there..." she mused out loud. With her back straight and spanner in hand she glanced around the room again. "Is this his kind of usual retaliation, or is this special?"

Akiva chuckled and shook his head. The look on his face was an even blend between fury and amusement. "No. I once filed an Article 15 on him for beaming two naked officers into a briefing they were late for. The mamzer managed to slip out of that one through some last-minute backroom deal." Noting the hyperspanner in Fin's hand, he asked, "Think you can get us out of here?"

"There are few things I can't do with a hyperspanner." Fin said as she started scanning walls. "I've even used one to bake a cake when both the replicators and oven were offline. Do you see any access panels, maintenance hatches, things like that?"

"Nothing that stands out," Akiva said. "There's probably a hidden server room that runs hard lines to each room. They're not going to make them any junction panels obvious." He put his hands on his hips in frustration. "For all I know, there might even be a sublevel for maintenance of each room. Either we trigger some kind of emergency event or we find a way to establish remote acce--"

The transporter whisked him away in mid-sentence.

Private Room 2

Jaya appeared and let out a quick squeak of surprise. Her Deltan calm soon returned, though, as she realized she was paired with Ari. "Well, I guess it could be worse," Jaya said with a shrug.

Arianna blinked, then looked over at Jaya. Then she leaned her head sideways, "I promise I'm not gonna judge you, my friend. What are you up to?"

"I know as much as you," Jaya said. "All I did was book the reservation. Now Mrazak has managed to hijack it." She did her best not to pout. "Still, I want a damn massage! I'll do you if you do me."

Ari chuckled, "alright." She looked around the room, "uh...okay. That looks like a bed...seats..." She stepped further into the room. "Uh, computer?"

The computer did not respond.

"I think it will only listen to Proto-Vulcan," Jaya suggested. "Whatever that is..."

Ari nodded, "okay. Proto Vulcan means it's a common language that would have bits of Vulcan and Romulan..." Her fingers wiggled as she tried to remember. "Hvaer-tol? Sus'raw te?" (Computing device? What first?)

"Lafosh: deshker fam-tor nenik vel-zhit." The VI's tone was brisk but cordial.

"So... did you make anything from that?" Jaya's brow arched to one side. "Because I sure didn't."

"Something about a first pronoun?" Frost blinked, trying to recall words of a language she hadn't used in years. "Okay, you know anything about spa's and treatments? Do we want to just pick something up and try or do you want me to pidgin romulan at the computer?"

Jaya pointed at the cabinet. "Just grab something hot and rub me down! My shoulders are killing me!"

Arianna laughed, "you're such a demanding woman!" The blonde shook her head and went over to the cabinet that looked to have creams and bottles. "Alright, get on the table. Something something heavenly soother coming up." Frost said as she turned around with a bottle and stepped over to the proffered table.

"Oh, yeah, that's it." Jaya let out a soft groan as Ari's hands began to spread the oil.

Private Room 3

In the final room, Mrazak and Storr materialized mere inches away from one another. Mrazak blinked as he got an eyeful of Afrikaner chest. "Bah!" he shouted as he pushed Storr away. But the body mass differential moved Mrazak rather than Storr. "You big, oversized brute!" He hammered his fists against Storr's chest. "This wasn't how it was supposed to be!"

Storr couldn't help but belt out a massive roar of laughter, the moderate-sized room reverberating along with his cheer. " hijacked this whole thing in the mad hope of getting stuck with..." he stopped, suddenly clear-eyed as he rapidly re-closed the distance between them with a slitted gaze. "WHO were you hoping to be in this room with, Vulcan? And why is my wife not still in my arms?"

"Because I out-smarted you stupid humans yet again," Mrazak boasted. "My only regret is not being able to enjoy my own company."

"I'm not sure placing yourself into a room where you could be strangled without any recording due to extreme privacy concerns would qualify as 'out-smarting.' Now," Garlake said, his voice lowering as he brought up his hands to crack his knuckles, "playtime's over. Fix this, or else it would be unfortunate for everyone to be informed of your auto-asphyxiation perversion post-mortem."

Mrazak gasped in horror and outrage. "How dare you threaten to murder me?!" Jaw set in anger, he said, "Tum-vel! Da-tor tersu!"

The computer obeyed the command given in Proto-Vulcan and randomized the occupants of the rooms. Transporter energies dissipating, leaving everyone in their new configuration.

Private Room 1

When Mrazak rematerialized into a different room, he was relieved to see that Storr was nowhere in sight. However, his new 'partner' was not much more welcome. "You..." Mrazak said through squinted eyes. "I jumped into a veruul ocean to avoid being touched by an Intel operative."

With hyperspanner still in hand Fin reappeared before Mrazak. She was half way through figuring out how she could tap into the transporter system. She looked down at the hyperspanner, a cylinder of metal, approximately 40 centimeters long, and 3 centimeters thick. Internally it was filled with ruggedised equipment. Fin herself had used it as her tool of choice for some percussive maintenance. Then she looked back the Vulcan without logic. "I've always wondered what the charges for striking a senior ranking officer would be."

"You are assuming, Commander, that you would be brought up on charges." Mrazak's tone lowered to a baritone as his eyes narrowed. "I have watched planets die without blinking. Upstart little females like you aren't worth the calories to remember your name. Rest assured, if you touch me, I will personally see all evidence of your existence wiped from the face of the galaxy." A twisted smirk played at his lips. "And that is when the real fun begins. There are depths to Memory Theta that not even you have access to."

"An impressive threat." Fin replied dryly, clearly unimpressed. "How about I use this hyperspanner to beat you until you can't talk anymore. We can stow what will be left of you on Tartarus." Fin gave Mrazak a once over. Her voice dropped the amused tone, "You are so wrapped up in your own ego that you think it's a suit of armour that makes you untouchable. I'm beyond your reach Mrazak. You think that because you can dance around ben-Avram you can do that with me, but I'm not beyond simply shooting you in the back and throwing your corpse out of an airlock."

Mrazak just smirked back. "You and what phaser? I can have you beamed wherever I want. You have a monkey-wrench. We are not the same."

"No, Mrazak. We are not the same. On that we agree." And without any further warning Fin closed the two steps distance and swung the hyperspanner in a swift and brutal manner at Mrazak's head.

"Tum-vel! Da-tor tersu!"

Private Room 2

One moment Jaya was laying flat on a table getting the tension rubbed out of her now oil-coated shoulders that this ridiculous day had deposited there. The next moment she was on her feet in a nearly identical room staring at a very familiar physical profile.

"Storr!" she exclaimed, throwing her arms around his torso. "If anybody can get away with interrupting my massage, it would be you!"

Storr laughed and hugged Jaya joyfully. "I'm glad to be so privileged!" Drawing her away from the hug by placing his hands on her shoulders and setting her arm's length, Garlake pretended to look her over with a frown. "This...this will not do. You are far too overdressed and overstressed for such a place as this. Tut tut." The Afrikaaner winked at his bride and spun her around, leading the diminutive Deltan to the massage table before easily sluffing her sari off her shoulder where it puddled around her ankles. Lifting Jaya from the ground, he helped her onto the table, lowered the lighting (thankfully manual controls were available), and grabbed a bottle of massage oil from the case.

"This is long overdue, boervrou" he said, trailing kisses along her spine as he rubbed the oil in his hands to warm it up.

"Oh, that's good," Jaya crooned. "Do more of that. It's worth whatever Mrazak did to us."

Storr chuckled as he stood up, the oil now warm in his hands. "Agreed. I'm glad he saw reason to fix things." The Lieutenant Colonel splayed his fingers apart as he slowly ran both hands up and down his bride's back, effortlessly gliding over her supple skin. He pressed in a little more on the upstroke, the oil heating even more from the friction and eliciting a very satisfied groan. Storr had thought the pregnancy would have made her more delicate and careful but Jaya had oddly started wanting everything...rougher. Another groan. "More?" he playfully replied, moving his hands in wide circles to now include just below her waist as well as her sides up to her arms. He didn't mind at all but did somewhat worry that he would break the poor woman, let alone hurt the triplets. The moment wasn't one for worry, though, as tingles of excitement and anticipation ran through his hands due to closer and closer more-intimate contact.

"Oh, my steed, my wild stallion! Roll me and fold me like you do so well!" Jaya screamed.

God, he loved it when she talked dirty! Storr's skin nearly crackled at the extreme rush of Deltan pheromones and amplified desire for Jaya, his vision pulsating and turning red-tinged at the edges, the passion sweeping over him like a torrential flood. The Afrikaner sluffed off his shirt and removed his shorts in one smooth, practiced motion before reaching out to grasp at Jaya...

But the transporter intervened at his touch.

Private Room 3

Akiva blinked and Fin was gone. Now he was looking at the floor from a prone position, propped on a table with small but strong hands kneading his back. "I am afraid to ask what happened and who is touching me," Akiva said with a groan. "Each moment is getting more unbelievable than the last..."

Arianna sucked in a breath as the bald-headed, supple-bodied Deltan disappeared from beneath her hands and kept sucking it in as the tanned shoulders and dark hair made a connection in her brain.

"FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCCCCCCCCCCCCCKKKKKKKKKKK!!!!!!!!!!!!" A single thought permeated her thoughts as he spoke.

Frost scrambled for a reply as she kept kneading along Akiva's upper back. "Don't' ye worrey, laddie. Just close yer eyes an' pretend I yam who'e'er ye want it ter be." She broke out in the most singsongy irish accent she could muster, trying to ease the tension she felt and the tension she was pretty sure he felt too. "Me name's Aisling, an' I'm yer masseuse fer the day." Her lips quirked up in a smile at the ludicrous situation they got caught in.

The realization of who was touching him made Akiva nearly seize up with panic, but the quirky and adorkable routine made him start laughing. " that you? It has to be." He still felt anxious at her touch. The massage, though, was hard to stop. "Oh, Adonai, that feels so good..."

"Can you see Fin or Jaya pulling on an accent in two seconds flat?" Arianna chuckled.

When Akiva's words reached his ears, though, they reminded him of the last time he'd said that very thing to a woman. A very specific woman. And the context was only slightly different than it was now. Highlight reels triggered in his mind's eye against his will, inundated by the sensual dismantling of his rational mind by Ari's magic fingers. What else on her might be magic...

"Uh oh..." Akiva jolted as he felt himself rise to the call of nature. He involuntarily shifted his prone position and propped himself up on his shoulders. "Yeah, I'm good. I think I'm good..."

In truth, Arianna felt relief, as she took a step back, raising her still somewhat oily hands. "all good." She said in a conciliatory tone, keeping her eyes firmly on his face. "Sorry, didn't mean to make you feel any more uncomfortable than this situation already is. Figured we're both adults who can get on with it because we have to is all." Then she shrugged, "and I figured humor was preferrable to discomfort and tension. We both know Jaya and Storr are the only people that want to be here. Although I do prefer you over any of company, I mean. Take that how you will, but I mean it."

"YOU DID NOTHING WRONG," Akiva said far too loudly. "Believe me, I didn't want you to stop. Just... I can't... it's just..." Words failed when the speeching no worked so good. "I enjoy your company as always."

"I know I didn't." She looked around for a towel to wipe her hands. "And I'm not asking anything of you, nor for you to do anything."

Aha! A towel!

She stepped over to the side cabinet and grabbed it, then turned back to him. "I'm okay. But I also know my very presence is causing you stress. And I need you to know I'm doing my very best to keep it minimal." She gestured around them, "can't be helped in our current predicament, I'm afraid. Sorry..." Ari finished with a semil helpless shrug.

"It's not your presence that distresses me," Akiva simpered. "Quite the contrary. No, my distress is on me, not on you." On her. Now there was a thought Akiva had to push away. "'I made a covenant with mine eyes; How then should I look upon a maid?'..." And close his eyes he did. "I'll be fine," he groaned. "Just fine. Keep talking. How can we counteract what Mrazak did?"

"Jezus, seriously?" Frost stifled a laugh, then took a deep breath and exhaled. "I can understand some of what it's saying. The language being proto Vulcan, and I speak Romulan, but I'm rusty as hell. So we need to come up with a command or sentence that I can put into pidgin Romulan in hopes the computer understands me. If it doesn't work, I'll just get the Colonel to do my back when he zaps in. With all this helping everyone else my back's started to kill me."

It was too late to take her words back so she barrelled right on through.

"But I digress. I need a short but concise enough line to get the computer to do what we want. With your training, what's the best line to use for the heuristics to translate the right meaning?" She said as she leaned against the other table, still trying to rub the grease off of her fingers.

"Oh, I think a basic reset would be best," Akiva suggested, glad to give his mind another avenue of concentration. "Mrazak locked in an unknown language as the preferred one for all users, so restoring the default language settings should do the trick." He got up from the table and made swift use of the towel. Wrapping it around his waist, he walked over to Ari. "Turn around," he said. "You look stressed and I didn't help matters, so I'll return the favor while you think up a verbal reset command."

Frost looked up from her hands, "think on the words, think on the words, think on the words." What didn't help was the agonizingly slow microsecond it took for her eyes to reach his face.

"Uh yeah..." she managed to say before she turned around and took off the light material shirt, being left in the crop top only. "Thanks..."

Why was the universe so damn cruel?

"Romulan, think romulan!"

"Okay..." She forced herself to dig through her mind palace, and searched for the basic most words. "Hvaer-tol...kamrak vatul amat'el var-na sha-ik Fedrayzun." (Computing device, reset language to Federation standard.)

"Tor du istaya tor fun gen-lis pazekaya tor tsuri?" the computer asked in an unsettling sing-song Vulcan tone.

"Whoa!" Akiva startled for a moment as tattoos began to appear on Ari's shoulder. "You are just full of surprises, aren't you?" Incredible things apparently happen when a woman gets rubbed the right way... Stop it! "Wait! My combadge! I used it to order the ship to transport Mrazak back to us. It must still be in the first room where I appeared with--"

Akiva vanished in a wisp of energy but Ari remained.

"Gen-lis pazekaya hafau Wuh'rak Vuhlkansu," the computer stated.

Arianna sighed, "fuck's sake...."

Private Room 1

When Akiva appeared, his towel slipped away before he could secure it, leaving him fully compromised in the presence of his new company.

"What the Fusion!" Mrazak shouted. "Get away from me!" The Vulcan backed into a corner and thrust an imperative, possibly terrified finger at Akiva. "You get that thing away from me this instant or by my honored ancestors I will have you brought up on sexual assault charges, Captain!"

Akiva looked down out of reflex even though he already knew what he would find. "That's... I wasn't.... you aren't..." Red in the face from anger as well as humiliation, Akiva snatched up his towel and tied it back around his waist. "We wouldn't be in this situation if not for you, Mrazak!"

"I see how it is--'blame the victim'," retorted Mrazak. "Is that how all Hebrons think or just outcasts like you?"

It was one thing to hear Laena constantly badger Akiva over his culture and heritage, but it was quite another to be accused of sexual assault as a cultural distinctive by an arrogant, ignorant, smarmy little bastard Vulcan that--

"You think you're the victim?!" Akiva exclaimed. Before he knew it, his hands turned to fists as he charged Mrazak in the corner. "I'LL SHOW YOU 'VICTIM'!"

"Tum-vel! Fosh-vunai!" Mrazak exclaimed.

At the last second, Akiva slammed against a force field hard enough to scald his fists. "Ben-zonah!" he shouted.

"That's better," said Mrazak, having resumed his trademark smug demeanor. "You can stay in there until you cool do--" But as he took a step away from Akiva, he walked directly into the force field.

It didn't take either of them long to realize that it was Mrazak who was encased, not Akiva. And that turnabout made Akiva laugh deep from his belly.

"I have had my fill of being laughed at by barbarian humans who think to use fists whenever their intellects fail them," Mrazak seethed.

Realizing he had been beamed back into the original room where he had lost his clothing, Akiva ran for his tunic and fumbled through it for his hidden combadge. "Yes!"

"What are you doing?" Mrazak called back.

"Fixing what you did," Akiva said. He accessed the analog manual control of the combadge through a series of recessed button presses until it chirped at him in protest. "Set UT output to Proto-Vulcan," Akiva instructed.

Mrazak's eyes went wide. "No!"

The combadge chirped in confirmation.

"Tum-vel, bau-tor ek' khartau--" Mrazak began to say.

"Computer, return language settings to default for all users!" Akiva yelled into his combadge. It repeated his words back in Proto-Vulcan. "Tum-vel, fun gen-lis pazekaya tor tsuri na' kanok-veh."

"Federation Standard selected for all users," the computer asked. "Please confirm."

"NO!" Mrazak shouted.

"CONFIRM!" Akiva shouted. He threw a smirk at Mrazak who failed to think like a computer and phrase his response correctly.

"Default language settings restored," the computer said warmly.

"Mute force-field!" Akiva said.

"Force-field muted," the computer confirmed.

Mrazak kept yelling but nothing escaped the force-field. The room was just blessed silence.

Private Room 2

"Oh, my steed, my wild stallion! Roll me and fold me like you do so well!" Jaya screamed.

But it was no longer Storr standing over her, but Fin who had been swapped by the transporter yet again.

Fin's swing had built up momentum and crashed into the wall of the new room she suddenly found herself in. The hyperspanner made a crack at the point of impact. Then she realised she wasn't in the same room as Mrazak anymore and cursed. She turned around, surprised that there was nobody at eye level, until she glanced down. What she saw was the rather naked back of a petite woman. Since the hair wasn't blonde she quickly realised who she was sharing a room with. "Aah, Jaya." Fin said belatedly and with plenty of embarrassment in her voice.

The impact of the swinging hyperspanner made Jaya squeal. She rolled over and made no attempt to cover herself. Deltans knew nothing of body-shyness. "Yeah, I was talking to someone else."

"And I was trying to solve one of our problems." Fin put the hyperspanner down on a nearby work surface before turning her eyes on the Deltan. They lingered for a moment as her adrenaline-filled brain registered that said Deltan was quite exposed. Fin's cheeks flushed as she turned her head again.

Deltans empathically knew when others were thinking thoughts of attraction toward them, and this was no exception. "Oh, Fin, I am so sorry. I didn't realize--" She cut herself off as she made herself more modest with a nearby towel. "Just a secret between us girls," she said with a wink.

Private Room 3

While Ari had been getting a massage from Akiva, his words had been cut off in mid-sentence.

"Gen-lis pazekaya hafau Wuh'rak Vuhlkansu," the computer had stated.

Larger and more oily hands replaced Akiva's on Ari's tattooed shoulders, however.

The tingling of the transporter or sparkled vision didn't even register to Storr, his entire sensory perception skewed towards eager consummation with the woman he loved. His hands firmly grasped warm, defined yet feminine shoulders that he squeezed intimately, the feeling of soft, smooth hair brushing against his No matter. Gorgeous, intricate black tattoos ran across....tattoos? Continue. Turning her around, Garlake, sweet from her face and looked into her green-gray...not brown? Stay on target! The rush is slipping! Placing a hand behind her head and curling his fingers deeply into her locks, Storr brought the beauty in his arms into a deep, passionate kiss, his free hand moving to her crop top-covered breast while pressing his manh....covered? Danger, Danger, DANGER!

The pheromone-driven electrical sensation ended in one massive jolt, its last pulse across his completely exposed body caused him to shiver mightily. His tunnel vision at first slowly retreated before rapidly returning his full faculties. Storr blinked. While he held a beautiful woman, it was not Jaya. And she was at least somewhat clothed, whereas he was...not.

"Uhhh....hi, Ari."

Things happened so fast that Ari did not have time to react in any way, shape, or form. With her hands pressed against Storr's chest, Ari's heart thundered in her chest, in her ears, in her head.

"What the almighty fuck just happened?" Her mind screamed at her while she struggled for words.

While she expected the Colonel to be somewhat indisposed and likely indecent if and when he zapped into her room, or she into his, she did not expect this outcome. This was the Colonel, the trustworthy, reliable battle buddy whom she was happy to call a friend, this was Jaya's husband...her best friend's husband! And he'd just...

"Fuck!Fuck!Fuck!Fuck!Fuuuuuuuccccccckkkkkkkk!" The screams in her head changed.

He was talking!


Being so close to all that muscle...after the session with Akiva wasn't helping. While she herself was not attracted to the Colonel in the way she was attracted to Akiva, there was no objective denying that the Colonel was one extremely fine specimen of a man that any woman would be glad to take advantage of.

But this was not just any man, and what just happened was going to complicate things so ways she could not predict.

She patted Storr's right outer pectoral with her hand and swallowed hard. "Hi, Storr..." To hell with ranks and titles. "How about I step away and turn around and we can talk about this?" She said thickly, feeling both on fire and guilty as hell at the same time as she stepped away and turned around so that he may find something to cover himself.

"I...I think that's a good idea." Storr's heart was pounding in his chest like a jackhammer and as he turned away from the Commander, was sure that his entire body turned as red as his cheeks. His lips still tasted the lingering foreign yet intoxicating flavors of almonds and honey. He instinctively licked them in pleasure before berating himself on the way to the linens. The Lieutenant Colonel was breathing heavily as he took a large white towel and wrapped it around his waist, thankful that the sudden and embarrassing realization of his situation had...lessened things down below. What had just happened? How had that happened? Taking two deep breaths and exhaling them both, he turned around to face Arianna.

"Look" "I" "You" "No, You" Storr and Ari tripped over each other's words, both clumsily trying to speak at the same time. Garlake chuckled and held out his hand towards Frost.

"Comma...Ari, I owe you a deep and sincere apology. I had beamed back with Jaya, and we thought everything was fixed. One minute I was reveling with my Love, the next I'm here with you. This was a moment of mistaken identity alongside not being in my right mind." He winced inwardly, thinking back to the conversation he had had with Akiva on this exact same subject regarding Cal. He had been less than charitable to the man initially but my, how the tables had turned. "While I can, and will, blame her pheromones and my abandonment to them, I also know that I'm responsible for my actions, no matter what. You're a beautiful woman, and while I enjoyed that more than I should have, know that I value your friendship and respect far more than a moment of chemical indiscretion. Please forgive me."

Arianna chuckled, raising her hands in a sort of friendly surrender gesture, "you owe me no apologies, Storr. And yes, it's out with ranks after this." She said with a grin, "and I can't say that was entirely unpleasant..." she made a rounded gesture in the air in his direction. "You're a mate, and I have even more respect for you now after this. Seriously though, there is nothing to forgive, and I have had far worse make-out sessions than that one."

Frost gave him a friendly wink at that, "we both agree to blame Jaya for it, and that's that. Speaking of which, I do think we should tell her because I don't think either one of us wants to keep secrets from her unless the job demands it. She is my closest friend."

Storr laughed at Frost's comment concerning blaming Jaya. "We hold no secrets, as we're one flesh, though I do think I should apologize first and alone in case there needs to be...further discussion." The last two words held a number of meanings, none of which the Afrikaner felt needed elaboration.

And then she remembered what happened in this room just before the Colonel's séance.

"And also, I need a huge favor. Like huge, because I'm likely to be in a lot of trouble and not from Jaya." Frost gave him an exaggerated puppy-dog look.

"Of course. And watch it with that face or you just might get a repeat," he said with a wink and a grin. Nothing like some strategic joking to try and undermine any continued tension.

"Oh no, not the snog attack! Oh, whatever shall I do!" Arianna laughed for a moment before she sobered up. "Akiva was in here before you were...and things were...tense..." Frost sighed, "and knowing him, this is going to get back to Laena and since all of us share a hut...let's just say I don't want to be there the rest of the day. So can you, Jaya, and I go for lunch or something for a few hours I've got plans for later, so I don't harass you guys too much either."

"Well, you seemed to enjoy it quite's one of my best moves, too! Show some respect, woman." Storr couldn't help but laugh at himself. Listening as Ari finished her request, he nodded along. "I understand, and that shouldn't be a problem at all. You were good with him, yes? I don't cover for homewreckers." As soon as he finished his sentence, though, the Marine entered into cognitive dissonance for a moment. It was only for a moment.

He smiled at Frost in the friendliest way he could but knew that that toothpaste was out of the tube. "I...umm...yeah. Quite the words from the man that just kissed a lovely woman that's not his wife. I didn't mean to, though, but you..." Storr's voice trailed off as he looked Ari deep in the eyes.

He sighed deeply and audibly. "Again, I'm sorry; I'm really making a gat out of myself today." Looking at the floor between them and taking a breath, Storr collected his thoughts and looked back up at the Commander. "I know you're not trying to hurt Akiva, Leana, or yourself and just want the best for him. You've told me as much twice now. I want the best for him and his marriage but am conflicted because you're a great girl that would be a great girl with him, as much as Laena is." Garlake chuckled and shook his head before reaching out, firmly but tenderly placing a hand on Frost's upper arm. "If I'm having trouble, I can only imagine how much you are."

"I was the epitome of restraint," Arianna said, placing a hand on Storr's as she looked up at him. " conflicted, Storr. I'm not so naive that I don't see it. And he was conflicted, mentally and physically. I kept apologizing, and he kept saying it wasn't my fault. I know that it is, on a subconscious level, just me being here. And I reiterated to him I want nor need anything from him. Somehow I think that made it worse."

Frost shrugged.

"And I understand your conflict too...but like I told Jaya, I don't matter in this situation. I refuse to be the one who's responsible for any wrecking. What just happened between us doesn't count," she added with a laugh. "And thank you for doing me a solid. I appreciate it."

The Commandant nodded. "Anytime. Now, let's see what we can do about getting out of here..."

Arianna nodded, "yes, please."

The doors to the private massage rooms opened all at once.

"It's all right now," Akiva called out from the central area. "Everything is back to normal, but I need everyone's help with something."

Arianna breathed a sigh of relief and followed Storr out, who whistled as the ad hoc couple exited their room into the larger main area.

Akiva stood alone, arms crossed over his chest, and wrapped with a towel and a cat-ate-the-canary grin. "It seems that Mrazak's audacity has blown up in his face quite spectacularly. What lies before us now is deciding what to do about it." He extended his hand toward the first room, where flashes of light flickered through the doorway. "He put himself inside a forcefield that I muted, and now it seems the computer can't hear his command to lower it. What to do? What to do..."

"Strip him of his clothes and leave him in there till the next lot arrive. Who knows, the next poor soul might actually like it." Arianna commented dryly as she pulled the shirt back on. "Obviously, make sure he's got an air supply, but yeah, leave the fucker to stew. I'll see you guys at the resort." With that said, she made a beeline out of the area.

Garlake shrugged. Seemed good enough, and it gave him plausible deniability.

"You guys do whatever you want with him. I'm going to find myself an actual masseuse." Fin grumbled as she threw the wrench away and then walked to the exit.

"I am inclined to agree with Ari," Jaya said, "but I still want my massage!" She snapped her fingers. "Come, Storr. We have precious time left, and I want to make the most of it."

The Afrikaner's eyebrow cocked up. He wasn't sure if it was the pregnancy, her interrupted massage(s), or Risa, but something had gotten into his little Deltan, and he needed to nip it right in the bud. "I'll give you your massage when I'm good and ready, which is after you've calmed down," he said sternly. Taking Jaya's hand in his, he spun her towards him and kissed her deeply, their hot lips pressing so hard against each other that their teeth hurt. He held the embrace for a few moments before retreating his face away a few inches from hers. "And don't worry, it'll be worth your wait."

When Storr told her to expect another unnecessary delay, Jaya's face flared from ears to nostrils. She was summoning the bitch fit to end all bitch fits. But then his strong hand grasped hers, spun her into his burly embrace, and held her captive while his lips put hers own lockdown. Every last part of her melted like butter on hot toast. "... okay," she whispered breathlessly.

Storr drew away and grinned, looking over his shoulder as he took his smiling Deltan by the hand into the next room. "I think my wife deserves some quality massage time; see you later." The door closed behind them, separating the two lovers from the rest of the crew for what they should have been enjoying from the start. So much to do in so little time...

"Seems we have a consensus," Akiva muttered. With that decided, Mrazak was going to stay put and Akiva was going to have himself a long soak in the hot tub. Alone with naught by this thoughts. Preferably not even with those. Presently they were dangerous.


Previous Next