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The Chase Begins

Posted on Sat Nov 11th, 2017 @ 7:44am by Lieutenant JG Jaya Maera Garlake & Lieutenant Colonel Storr Garlake
Edited on on Sat Nov 11th, 2017 @ 7:46am

Mission: Everybody Has A Story
Location: USS Vindex
Timeline: 2388

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."




Sometime Later...

"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse. A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."

Storr's eyes re-read the quotation by John Stuart Mill, a nineteenth-century Earth philosopher, before gently closing the book and placing it on the pile to his left. The stack of books contained military theory by Jomini and Clausewitz; philosophy by Stoics; and poetry by Whitman, Breytenbach, Byron, and more. His time at Sandhurst opened his mind to thinkers of the past but he only hoped to be able to understand them. Truth be told, as much as the Afrikaaner took away from these historical authors, he equally enjoyed the reprieve they afforded him from his paperwork.

Ah, paperwork...the job isn't done until the paperwork's complete. Quartermaster reports of used consumables, lost equipment, injury reports sustained during the fighting, after-action reports, decorations, personnel performance reports, letters to two sets of parents thanking them for the service and valiant sacrifice of their sons. It didn't stop and it didn't get any easier. The honor ceremonies in the Marine team room for their lost comrades had come too soon after the previous one and there were fewer dry eyes than their previous time together.

The MCO sighed and rubbed the bridge of his nose between his eyes as he envisioned the two pictures that now accompanied Lance Corporal Blake. Death was a real part of their job but that didn't mean that losing someone under his command was ever something he expected, let alone hoped would be simple. The worse part, he supposed, was that both of them died while not under his direct supervision. He didn't really blame Tolan and Bella; they had performed exemplary given the situation. Still, he wished that he could have been there so that he could have had more of a personal role in their passing. He, after all, was their commander and responsible for their well-being. Right? He shook his head as he cleared his mind. Yes, but his presence wouldn't have made their passing any easier. At least he hoped so.

Captain Garlake sighed as he scrawled his signature on the last PADD. Looking at the chronometer, he tapped his foot on the ground. Storr didn't want to put off what he knew he needed to do, but...

Standing, the Marine CO exited his office. He had one last mission, and this time it was personal.




Storr waited outside Counselor Maera's room, imagining himself the nervous schoolboy. Here he was, the MCO, standing in the junior officer quarters deck for all intents and purposes, "robbing the cradle". *What does it matter?* he thought, standing up straighter and reaching for the call button just astride the Ensign's nameplate. What mattered was that he knew what he wanted and that he meant to obtain it.

His finger depressed the button firmly, eliciting a barely audible chime within.

There was only one visitor who would be stopping by at this hour, and Jaya did not need her empathic ability to know who. Women's intuition alone could feel the tempest on the other side of the door. She took a moment to press her uniform into its most flattering position before opening the door.

Garlake took an involuntary breath and entered the room. Surveying his surroundings, he was immediately put at ease by the calming (though subtly otherworldly) decor and disarming smile of the Deltan before him.

"Good evening, Counselor," the MCO said with a genuinely pleasant smile. He was glad to see her, and hoped that this meeting would go as well as he had played it in his head hundreds of times over.

"Good evening, Captain Garlake." Jaya dipped her head in greeting, then raised her chin to present a sly smirk to the taller man. "Won't you come in?"

She raised her hand in welcome, then let her fingers trail the air from her dangling hand as she turned around and went back inside. She put extra sway to her hips as encouragement for Storr to follow.

Garlake was many things, though at this moment "man" was near the top of the list as his eyes happily rested on the Ensign's various...redeeming qualities. He gladly followed the counselor further into the room, her splayed fingers seemingly leaving eddies of energy in their wake.

When she had reached the center of the room, Jaya made a sharp about-face, her countenance turning from flirtatious to all business.
"I can only assume that you are here to render your decision with my proposal." She folded her arms under her breasts. Her kind face masking her eyes which pierced as daggers. "Well?"

Storr blinked as the warmth of attraction he had previously felt turned to lead in his stomach. He had thought that HE was the vacillating one but could the positions have been reversed?

Taking a deep breath, he closed his eyes and lowered his face for a moment before raising back up and meeting Maera's gaze. "Ensi...Jaya, I want you to know that I've given this significant thought, so don't think that it was hastily come to under your influence. You desperately need a release for your mental and physical yearnings and I want to meet that need. But you must realize that there is more, much more to this. While your proposal is a facade relationship to uphold some level of perceived propriety, I crave the real thing. I don't commit to half-efforts in my life and until now, I didn't realize that marriage was one of the things that has been missing in it." Storr took a step closer to Jaya, the heat and desire from her body radiating against him, his blood pumping faster in a seeming reply. He desperately pushed down his body's primal response to the nubile young woman only inches away from him, needing to keep his head clear at least until the end of his pronouncement.

"When the time comes, I'm going to publicly ask for your hand in marriage and with that I expect all of you, no exceptions. You will be my wife and I will be your husband; there will be no secrets, no separate rooming arrangements, nothing held back and no returning to Delta IV. In return, I promise you my undying devotion, love, adoration, praise, and intimacy." For all intents and purposes, he was asking for her hand here-and-now...or was he? No, he was setting the boundaries of their courtship by defining the end-goal. It was bold, foolish even. Still, Storr knew that expectation management was critical and if you didn't know where you were headed, you'd never arrive.

As he looked deeply into the deep, piercing brown well of the counselor's eyes, he hoped beyond hope that she understood what he...and she, was asking.

Jaya listened to Storr's words, hating them for their sincerity which she could not deny. "Do you understand, Storr, that I could never love you? If I ever let myself go completely and touched another soul with the full weight of who I am... Storr, I am so ashamed." She hung her head, though she kept her tears subdued. "I will please you and honor you, Storr, but don't make me love you. Please. Were anything to happen..."

The lead in his stomach began to melt, then percolate as he thought back to his resolution on Gavara and the horse analogy that he realized this relationship would be. "Jaya," he said, reaching up and cupping her cheek in his hand, his attempts at keeping the swirling tempest of emotions from crossing through his skin mostly failing, "You can love me, and I think that you will love me, you just don't know it yet. You can't imagine allowing yourself to love me but you've never been up against a hardheaded Starfleet Marine, either."

He smiled warmly as he continued. "And yes, I DO know what could happen if you were to let yourself go completely to me. But if I were to die in your loving embrace consummating our marriage, is that not my choice? Are you not being selfish by not allowing me the ability to chose for myself what risk I will take in my pursuit of you? Just...give me this chance. Please."

The sincerity was hard to deny. Jaya knew the very premise of what she was suggesting was wrong, but she had already reeled Storr in. What would it say about her to bring him to this point only to back out now? No, nothing had changed since she first put herself on this course and set events into motion. She was unstable, and even a pretense of marriage would save her homecoming among her family compared to the infidelity of being an oathbreaker.

Jaya put her arms around Storr's shoulders and hopped up to wrap her legs around his waist. Staring at him eye to eye, holding him around the neck, she allowed herself a smile. "I suppose we both are risking everything. What is the expression? 'In for a penny, in for a pound'?"

To say that Jaya's reaction was not what he anticipated would be an understatement. To say that he didn't enjoy it would also be one.

The young Deltan was quite light and it was no effort at all to snake his arms around her hips and hold her close. His heart started to pound as the playful, though intimate embrace made him very aware of every curve from her ankles to breasts. The simple heat from their bodies made his temperature rise as he felt his cheeks flush. Her sparkling, playful eyes didn't help matters, either.

Before Storr could reply, she kissed his words into gibberish. His lips fought against hers for just a moment, but she persisted until they surrendered in synchronous motion with hers. Her hand slid up the back of his head and grasped his hair. The shake of his quivering legs only confirmed what she already felt through their kiss.

Stars...he saw so many stars he thought that his mind was swimming in the center of the galaxy, their lips pressing together seeming both so close and so far away. A playful, seductive smile more felt than seen toyed at the edges of his mind as his scalp sang in pleasure from the attention that it was receiving. Despite his strength, he felt his legs protesting not in pain, but pleasure.

Jaya pulled away from his lips and nibbled along his jawline. "I promise to be gentle," she whispered into his ear.

At that, Storr's legs gave out, and Jaya found herself crashing to the floor on top of him. She rolled over to the side, her mouth spread wide in hysterical laughter. When she could barely breathe, she turned back to Storr who still laid breathless himself, although for an entirely different reason. The sight rekindled her laughter all over again. She held her ribs until she laughed away her second wind.

Stars...stars so warm and bright...then blackness. But not like the blackness from before, the banishment from pleasantries. Garlake knew where he was, that Jaya's tinkling laughter was directed at their fanciful situation and that he was literally beside himself mentally. Suddenly, his breaths came back in heaving gulps, his eyes shooting open and bouncing about, trying to take in the entire room at once. Calming himself took several deep gasps as he rolled his head to the side so as to look into Jaya's face. Her heavenly, beautiful face.

Jaya forced herself to sit up and breathe before she hyperventilated. "Oh, yes. I will never forget that." She kept giggling, though she managed to hide her mouth behind the back of her hand. "Maybe we should go someplace more public. Have you had dinner?"

The MCO blinked as he literally willed his body to prop itself up on his elbow. Dinner...sounded good. Great even. "I think that that's an excellent idea," he said, now holding himself over her with his hands straddling her shoulders and lightly kissing her bald head, sending a short burst of stars again into his vision. He was beginning to feel an otherworldly need to be ever closer to her and for both their safeties at the moment, fresh air would do them well.

Jaya moaned beneath Storr's kisses, then bit her lip. "In that case, soldier boy, we'd better get a move on. You're buying."



Storr sat back, moving his napkin from his lap to the side of his nearly-licked-clean plate. The meal, as always, had been excellent. The company even more so. Looking across the table, he watched as Jaya demurely dabbed the napkin at her pursed lips, her eyes flickering upward to catch his as she tantalizingly ran her finger back over them, first the top and then the bottom. Storr bit his own lip as he covered his mouth with his hand before running it through his beard, hoping that the latter action covered over the former. It seemed his dinner partner was gladly taking every opportunity to continue feeding his sensual engine; his body in many places was nearly in pain from the tension.

"I can see that you really hate my cooking," Paul said, removing the two empty trays with a smile. Garlake nodded to the chef, returning the smile. "I wish you both many more nights here together," he said before leaving. Storr almost retorted back before realizing that the ship's cook really meant it. Taking a deep breath, the marine chuckled. Paul had never done that before. He was doomed now.

"I see we've made quite a sir," Jaya said. "Everybody's staring. Imagine the rumors we've started tonight."

Garlake looked around and indeed, there were a few furtive glances their direction now and then but they quickly broke contact as soon as the MCO glanced their way.

"You almost sound proud of yourself, Miss Maera," Storr said with a smile, it becoming all the wider as he felt her shoe seductively slide up and down his calf. "And if I didn't know any better, you're doing your best to make sure that those rumors are as salacious as possible."

"Now, now," she said coyly, "it's not as if we'll be seen leaving together. That would be improper. But the sooner we can be taken seriously, the sooner we can make it official." She shook her glass and found it empty. "After tonight's appetizer, my appetite is whet for the main course." She snatched Storr's glass out from in front of him, put her straw in it, and sipped the last.

Storr blinked at her words, his heart pounding in his ears. Surely she didn't...that minx! Well, two could play at that game. Captain Garlake leaned over towards her, his frame covering up most of the table as he lowered his voice in reply to the Deltan. "Well, thirsts can be slaked in a multitude of ways, Jaya...be sure you're specific," He winked slyly and barely resisted the urge to kiss her before pushing up from the table and nodding, bringing two fingers up to his forehead as if tipping an invisible cap. He sucked in a breath as well, given that his vantage afforded quite more...viewing pleasure.

"Counselor." With that, the MCO left, a whistle on his lips and a spring in his step.

Jaya sat alone for several moments to ensure several witnesses could verify she had not left with Captain Garlake. She would even file a report or two from her office before going back to her quarters, just for good measure.

Sitting alone with her thoughts, Jaya looked down from the door which had long closed behind Storr and wrung her hands together. This was a dangerous game they were playing. In fact, she realized the game was over -- they were no longer playing. As mad as it sounded in her own mind, she was beginning to fall in love with a brute of a human.

One of the kitchen staff began to bus the table next to hers, pretending not to ogle her. She cast him a wink, which nearly made him drop the dirty plate in his hand, before returning to her thoughts.

Should they succeed in their plan, the battle for acceptance would still be an uphill one. That made her want to drag out the courtship, but that could prove disastrous. Even a single slip up, and her home would become little more than a memory.

 

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