The night club that T’Ael had selected for those partaking in shore leave was not the most respectable location within the city. It was also a considerable distance above the worst such location in the city. Banksy City had a rather thriving population of three million individuals, so finding a good night club wasn’t difficult – it was the getting in that was.
She’d been the one to lead the charge in finding a place for the majority of the crew to relax. She’d managed to drag her brother along, most of the engineers, both helms people, and a majority of the ship’s muscle along. Of the ship’s crew she had over half of them with her.
“I said!” Trid shouted in her ear over the music, both women on the dance floor, “Look at him!”
Not only had she heard that, but so had Orelia, the single orion female on the security teams and the third of their trio on the floor. All three were soon enough looking at the specimen of humanity that Trid had spotted. A tall man with obviously tanned skin, even in the rapidly changing light of the club, his muscle tone couldn’t be denied through the rather tight shirt he had somehow squeezed himself into. An argument, T’Ael thought to herself, could be made for having it beamed onto him.
“Girl,” Orelia laughed, “you got taste. Shame he’s got a boyfriend,” she said pointing to an equally handsome, if not gorgeous young man who approached and wrapped his arms around the first’s neck, drawing him in close as they joined in on the dancing.
“Fuck that,” T’Ael said as she pushed Orelia and Trid apart so she could walk through, turning to look at them with a smirk. “Gonna go see if they want some company. Failing that, plenty of other gorgeous men about. Don’t wait up!” And with that she disappeared into the crowd, looking for the two gorgeous boys she had shown by Trid.
It was a few hours after T’Ael’s disappearance, though frankly Trid wasn’t entirely sure with who, or how many really. She parted ways with Orelia when the orion had found herself a gaggle of interested individuals that reminded her more of how Freshmen all clamoured around the few orions in her first year at the Academy, all smelling of desperation and hoping that stereotypes rung true.
All the men that had come with them planetside had obviously found distractions of one form or another and so she had finally given everyone the slip. She was alone and unaccompanied and that was when she had made her way, circuitously mind you, to the local planetside Starfleet office.
That shining office block that served as an interaction point between the common populace of the Federation and its preeminent uniformed service. She wasn’t exactly aware of what went on inside the facility, but such offices existed on most worlds with decent populations. Information collection, liaison offices for merchants, recruiting centres, educational outreach, interactions with planetary defence forces – all of that and likely more.
Striding in the door at 0127 local time, she was greeted with the smiling, welcoming face only a well-rewarded recruiting officer could pull off. Someone willing to take down details of the half drunk to call when more sober and give them the good speech, or to listen to those with questions at odd hours in the hope of convincing them the Fleet was in their future.
“Good morning ma’am,” the man said as he stood from behind what likely served as a reception checkin desk during normal hours of operation, “how can I help you?”
“Lieutenant Jenu Trid, Starfleet Operations, I need to speak with your section head immediately.”
“I’m sorry, but you’ll have to forgive me, I need to verify…” he started, an eyebrow rising in incredulity at Trid’s statement.
She had come prepared for this however and set the commbadge she’d been hiding on the counter. She’d hid it in her personal belongings for six months now, only recently reassembled to give off any signal. She waited for the man to see it, recognise it for what it was, a Starfleet commbadge and then check the screen that was just out of sight for Trid. His expression changed as he took it in.
“Uh…certainly Lieutenant. Please, take a seat, someone will be with you shortly.”
“Not often Lieutenant that I get called in after Interval,” Commander Jacob Ragnarson said, sitting himself down in the interview room opposite Trid, a cup of something warm and earthy in front of him. “Sorry, the name for the odd hour between 2559 and 0000.”
“I get the name sir,” she said, having sipped at the bottled water she’d been given when shown to this room to wait for Commander Ragnarson to arrive. “Just this was the only time I could find to get away and get here.”
“It’s appreciated. So, what have you got for me about the Vondem Thorn and her crew of pirates? Enough I presume to put them away for good?”
“Unfortunately, no sir. A few months, perhaps a couple of years at most. In the last six months they’ve committed one singular act of…extortion. The Avalon Prince I assume has filed a report with Starfleet.”
“That they have. They’ve already been compensated by their insurers.”
“Everything else they’ve done of questionable morality and legality they’ve done just outside of Federation borders sir. Technically the laws we can prosecute don’t apply.”
“Semantics,” Ragnarson said, waving the point away with his hand.
“Legal technicalities that exist and I assure you sir, Captain Sidda will hang her defence on.”
Ragnarson stared at Tida for a good long while, lifted his coffee and sipped it thoughtfully, staring at her. For her own part she returned it, equally as stoic, head tilted just slightly to the left in consideration of the man.
He was easily in his forties, maybe even fifties and only a Commander. In Command red, though that could be and has been used as a cover so many times, simply for the air of authority it granted. No, this man wasn’t a Commander, he had just introduced himself as one, wore the rank pips of one. He was something else, that much she was sure.
“They fought a D’Ghor ship, this you know, but they also have at their disposal their own communications array for tracking ship movements,” she finally said, breaking the silence.
“Can’t say,” she lied. Telling this man would mean someone going to investigate. Ayer’s Rock was just too small a pond for strangers and Pete would likely scream about it. Then Sidda would know and her mission would go to pot.
“Don’t lie to me Lieutenant,” Ragnarson said quietly as he set his coffee down. He pointedly didn’t ask again and she wasn’t going to answer unless asked.
The silence carried for a full minute before he was the one to break it. “Fine. Keep your details. Stick with the Vondem and report in when you can. You know your orders.” He went to stand but stopped when Trid rose her hand enough to get his attention.
“There is one more thing. A crew member aboard ship that wasn’t on my original dossier. Though, crewmember is likely incorrect. A romulan woman, about the same age as Sidda I’m assuming, name of Riven.”
Ragnarson settled back down and then tapped on the table, a holographic interface coming up and he tapped in a series of commands into the keyboard, bringing up security footage of the transporter hub the crew had all beamed down to. He focused on Sidda and the woman beside her, both dressed to impress and nodded his head as if to ask ‘this her?’
“What’s she do aboard ship?”
“Captain’s woman as far as I can tell.”
Ragnarson gave a short huff at that. “What of her?”
“I haven’t been able to get much details out of anyone on who Riven really is. I was hoping that Operations could ask around and do some digging, perhaps identify her and get back to me, just so I know who I am really dealing with?”
“Oh, we’ll investigate, no worries their Lieutenant,” he said, not confirming she’d be kept in the loop. And likely wouldn’t be either, as a not-so-subtle response to her refusing to disclose where the Vondem Thornhad been.
She stood against the railing of the balcony, facing into the wind as she just listened to the city around her. The wind blowing at this altitude, the sound of ground and hover vehicles, party goers at an open-air park far below. It was a life all its own and she was standing near enough to the centre of it, just enjoying it.
When hands found her waist and she felt her love press against her from behind, she just tilted her head to the right to expose her neck, to let the gentle brush of lips against skin be just another experience to add to the all she was absorbing.
A whisper soft kiss, then other, then a light nipping of the bottom of her ear started a series of kisses to the tip of her ear before a soft whisper broke the silence. “Am I distracting you?” Sidda asked as her arms wrapped around her waist and held them both together tightly.
“Hmm…only from the sounds of a city,” she responded, rolling her head back to rest on Sidda’s shoulder. “Though my love you are just a perpetual distraction.”
There was a gentle murmur of agreement as Sidda just held her tight. Her own hands let go of the railing and reach back to take in a handful of Sidda’s dress each, fingers running the texture of the dress between them. She enjoyed this dress on Riven, the variety of textures and feel in the material where the joins had been carefully hidden from sight, but not from touch.
She just stood there, enjoying the embrace, the sounds below, the club behind them, the sounds of Sidda’s heart, her breathing. But alas all peaceful eternities must end though as she let go, pried Sidda’s arms open just enough to her turn around to face her orion lover and then reached up carefully to cup Sidda’s face. Fingers quietly explored her face before she stopped, just cupping Sidda’s face in her hands.
“You’re worried about something. I can feel it here,” she said, adding emphasis by running a running along the bridge of Sidda’s nose.
“No…just thinking about something.”
“House D’Ghor?” she asked, her pronunciation a practised perfection of someone who spoke Klingonese with skill. To better know your enemy my dear, she could hear her father say.
“A little bit. Got a bit of news about some of the merchant activity, even a copy of an advisory notice to shipping in the sector. Planetary defence is being a bit cagey, but a friend of a friend has said they’ve been advised to be on guard. Reports are starting to filter down about attacks on colonies and shipping across the border. Avalon Prince likely owes more than our protection fee from the sounds of it. Talmiru was hit pretty hard according to what I just heard.”
“And the rest?”
“Ah,” she said, smiling. “Our little Federation spy. You know, we could just leave her behind.”
“Yah, we could,” Sidda said as she examined Riven’s face for the millionth time, looking for some sign that Riven’s gaze was actually on her, not past her, but also just absorbing the beauty that she was. “But then we lose a potential resource and they’d know that we know.”
“Ah…a game…to drag your mother along with?”
“Or which ever uniform mannequin has decided we need squishing this week. Maybe a way to work as well with the uniforms if things get real bad.”
Nothing was said, nothing needed to be said as the two women just simply enjoyed holding onto each other on that balcony for what was an eternity. Or five minutes, which ever comes first. Truthfully Riven didn’t care, for she could feel the love, the strength of character radiating off of Sidda that had attracted her in the first place.
“You know,” Sidda said, ruining the silence and drawing a defeated little whimper from her, “if we got your eyes sorted love, I’d let you on the bridge.”
She smiled, then just nuzzled against Sidda’s neck. “I can see clearly enough love.”
“Kyban has one of the best doctors in the sector,” Sidda continued.
She sighed, then kissed Sidda’s neck. “I’ll think about it. But only if you think about something for me.”
“What would that be love?”
She didn’t answer, just smiled before she gave Sidda a not so gentle kiss on the neck, enough to leave a mark in the morning, if not in a few minutes. The sudden squeeze of her person by her love told her that thinking was likely not going to be happening.