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Enchanted Journey

Posted on Wed May 10th, 2017 @ 2:52am by Commander Tyro Adina

Mission: Winter Shoreleave
Location: Rixx, Betazed
Timeline: Final

Though seemingly quiet and tranquil by day, the city of Rixx dispelled its civil reputation during the night, hosting a number of clubs and other nightlife venues that often drew crowds. Club Modesjara was not the trendiest of locales, but by the line of clubgoers snaking out the door it was evidently one of the popular ones. Modesdara, or enchanted journey in the local dialect, had recently started hosting the famed Orion composer Shar've, a popular electronic dance musician, and her music could be heard even at a distance approaching the club. Even Starfleeters had to wait in line, which was rare in a city that was often said to cater to the Federation 'elite.'

"We'll get in, trust me." Kaelin said to her companion in a confident tone, knowing that there was little chance the other woman would tolerate waiting in such a long line. Kaelin certainly wouldn't, not with her shoes she had on. The line of clubgoers eyed them with a mixture of disdain and jealousy. It was always strange to see such conflicting emotions. Who were they to cut in line? Probably someone important, if they had the nerve to pull such a move. And Kaelin was right. Once they reached the front of the line and the club entrance, staff opened the doors and ushered them inside without a word.

"Drinks or the dance floor?" Kaelin asked, regarding her captain. She was surprised the other woman had come. The two of them were cordial, but had never been especially close. Tyro didn't seem like the fraternizing type. She eyed the crowd as she waited for a response. Betazoid men and women were renowned for their elegance, and that encompassed their fashion themes. By contrast, Kaelin's Earthling attire marked her as one of the trashiest-dressed there. She wore a short, black club dress made of some satiny material, sheer black stockings, and a gaudy pair of red glittery pumps with heels that made her almost as tall as her captain. Betazoid women didn't wear heels, nor did they show off so much leg... unless they were at a wedding.

When she was at the Academy on Earth, her friends always expected Tyro to change her look up whenever they went clubbing. That was because she usually first needed to cut the mud out of her hair the night before.

Most of Tyro's free time when she was younger was spent exploring, and discovering new places while she had the chance, and only sometimes she slotted in a night out with her friends under the music and surrounded by dancing bodies. The truth was Tyro was a little awkward. She was confident sure, and beautiful, but she had an intensity that was better suited to a close group of a few friends. She didn't like lines, or being part of a herd. Tyro liked the feeling of being significant, which probably turned out to be a common problem for Captains in bars.

Unlike Kaelin however, Tyro's preparations had been remarkably easy. She spent many mornings with accidental free time, because she tended to assume she needed more of it to get ready than she did. Anymore, at least. Also unlike Kaelin, the chances of Tyro finding someone here to spend more time with were... super slim. The implant in her neck wouldn't last until morning on its own, an anxiety she'd be thinking about all night anyway, and even if the 'tradition' of stoic command celibacy felt stupid to her, she actually did have a lot of responsibilities in the morning. So Tyro felt like a pretty lame girlfriend to Kaelin, and answered-

"Drinks, please. Just one?" -even though she didn't have a taste for alcohol. She let Kaelin lead the way, but put her hands on the smaller woman's shoulders as they navigated away from the entrance hall to the club. Tyro wanted to look around and not get lost, so she followed but made sure Kaelin wouldn't drift away. Even though the captain was letting Kaelin front the train, she was still pushing a little bit...

Surprisingly, Kaelin never missed a beat as Tyro's hands on her shoulders triggered her touch telepathy. Sometimes the connection was abrupt, like an electric shock, or otherwise rough on the soul. Other times the link was as smooth as honey on satin. This time it was closer to the latter. Surface thoughts, feelings and memories seeped from Tyro's fingertips into Kaelin, forming a gentle pool. Kaelin was careful not to dip into that too forcefully, lest she leave ripples in her wake. The captain was a woman of many masks... both literally and figuratively. Kaelin would have never guessed the transformations that had taken place. There was also pain there... deep pain, the kind seared onto one's soul like a brand. She was determined to try and help the captain forget about it... if only for one night.

Kaelin swayed to the beat as she moved to the bar, letting Tyro maintain contact as long as she wished. Some people found the link comforting, even if few non-Betazoids could get much through it.

The intrusion was like a floating ball of light in the distance, sinking past the bodies in the club with Tyro trying to follow. Her mind was... contained, dammed and stepped with layers built over the course of her life -difficult to breach or penetrate against enormous pressures building on just the other side. But Tyro had a curious, inquisitive mind as well, and it made the connection like a breath. Tyro's mind held Kaelin's at a distance, learning it, deciphering its language. When Kaelin's mind withdrew from contact, Tyro allowed the walls to subside a little, drawing the other in once again.

She didn't know where it came from, and her grip tightened on Kaelin so that Tyro wouldn't lose her in this moment of displacement. It was unlike what she'd felt before, having never made telepathic contact with another being in her life. Tyro looked around her, ignoring the music, applying her senses to one thing at a time. She focused on the sensation, felt and explored the presence of this stranger. It was entirely automatic, without regard to her own safety, deciding without deciding to explore this, damn the danger. The presence didn't feel threatening, in fact it seemed reserved and withdrawn. Tyro pursued it, imposing the breach to open more, fragments of her own mind escaping through the link.

Kaelin's senses were familiar, and at the same time nobody was familiar to the captain. Memories and emotions from Kaelin masqueraded as Tyro's own, shame and indifference toward her family, detachment, abandonment. The club around her brought out a sense of danger, glimpses of Betazed under siege, the sense of needing to prove unconquerable. Through the exchange, Tyro fortified herself with her own mind, the nothingnesses that haunted her, shielded and scarred by sociopathy, ego death, until she finally released Kaelin's shoulders.

She had a hand over her mouth in contemplation, looking at the other, to Vex' shoulder. The music was airy and cerebral but it still brought Tyro to her senses, and she wandered off Kaelin without another word to get their drinks. Something the bartender said made her smile, but not laugh.

Tyro wore a collared dress with a sash around her waist. It was grey coming from an icy world, and she moved a pair of wooden sunglasses from hooked into her collar to in her hair. She wore brown, textured tights and a pair of ankle-high boots with blocky wooden heels -shorter than Kaelin's. Other than her simple bracelets, it would take an astute observer to notice her earrings, flattened disks made from the pair of her half-pips.

"Here," said Tyro softly, handing Kaelin the same drink she had. It was something with lime and gin, almost medicinal with hints of ginger. "Also," added the commander, splitting a bar of chocolate in half.

Though it had been nice to finally connect with the captain in the manner she was used to, Kaelin was a little relieved when the moment passed. She'd known better than to delve to deeply into the other woman's mind. It was a fine line to walk, with possible fraternization on one side and borderline treason on the other. Both were long falls from grace for an aspiring Starfleet officer.

"Why captain, I never knew you felt that way." Kaelin joked as she took the bit of chocolate, as if the sharing of chocolate on Betazed had more intimate connotations than on Earth. In a way it did, but not in the present context. She batted her eyelashes with innocent flirtatiousness as she took a bite, seeming on the verge of a giggle. "I like your dress. It's very pretty." She added with honesty. She wouldn't have paired the gray with brown tights though, or wooden heels. She favored sleek and flashy outfits. And metallics. Tyro would have looked right at home among traditionalists on Betazed, but not many of them frequented this particular district. Which was another way of saying that Tyro stood out even more than Kaelin did. But not in a bad way.

Yet Kaelin was right. Tyro dressed modestly. Her style was measured and tuned to a quiet channel. Like social camouflage. The youngest Adina had never wanted to stand apart from other women more than she already did. The same attitude that made her a star officer didn't fall off when it came to her presentation, to the performance of gender and culture that was inherent to human relationships. This was a puissant intellect, and she was in control.

"This is complicated," said Tyro, somewhat sternly, breaking from the moment she suspected Kaelin wanted to have with her captain. She hadn't considered any of these things since her accident. It seemed so long ago now, but it continued to consume her thoughts regardless. In the past, wherever it had gone, Tyro had come to understand a unique reality about people like her, and it repelled her. She was fascinating to people.

It would seem like a small thing, but to Tyro it meant the difference between knowing she was an outsider and feeling she could belong anyway. Because she was born Tyler, Tyro had an appeal to some people because of the circumstance of her life, and not the substance of it. Curiosity she understood, but over time as her partners obsessed and distracted themselves with something Tyro wished so badly could be insignificant, it only looked to her like a fetish. Ultimately, it was always her that couldn't accept the bargain. As an adult and an officer now, she'd adapted to place near zero priority on personal romantic affection.

"I get the joke, I know," she said. "But you're not attracted to me." This wasn't an observation. It was a request from Kaelin's captain, whether or not it was possible to follow.

She looked around, suddenly wondering what she thought she was doing out at a club with one of her subordinates. She never liked to feel like a captain, but the limits of the job were now pulsingly obvious under the music. She looked down at her drink, and then just set it on the bar again, untouched. "There's nothing to say, lieutenant." It was apologetic, but bitter all the same. She looked into Kaelin's eyes. The hazel was real and untouched by what made up her false-face, unmoving as she watched Kaelin. "I'm not your boss, like I could be one of these people off the ship? The difference is that if I die on the bridge, the idiot in the chair after me won't sound like me, won't act like me. But they must still get absolutely all of your loyalty."

"Oh come on now... there's nothing complicated about it." Kaelin said teasingly. She plucked at Tyro's sash, as if to keep her close. "Nothing's changed. We've got a mission, and I'm your wingman. Here to make you look good... and steer you clear of perils and future regret." She raised her glass, motioning for Tyro to take up hers once again. " This is Rixx, the city of sisterly love. And I'm pretty sure I just made that up. Come on! Let's have a drink. Then I'll try to get you to dance with me again... or, failing that, dance with someone else."

The aftertaste of their brief connection continued to develop in Tyro's mind. Her emotional reaction was that Kaelin had misunderstood her, but thinking a little deeper she recognised something else. Why did Kaelin need this? What was Kaelin trying to distract herself from? Tyro looked around the club, but found people were looking at them as discreetly as they could. The betazoids in the audience could tell something dramatic was going on.

Tyro looked back at Kaelin, then reached out and pulled her drink out of her hand. She set it on the bar next to her's and then occupied the shorter officer's arm by weaving it under her own. She made sure not to force skin contact again, but smiled, pulling Kaelin in next to her.

"Let's do something else," she suggested. "It's just not my scene. Let's... let's go meet the band." Fun for Tyro was doing what they weren't supposed to.

Kaelin smiled at Tyro, surprised at the diversion but confident that she could make it happen. The Orion lady spinning her dance beats at the other end of the club was well isolated from the bar and dance floor, but in this particular club that wasn't a problem for Kaelin. Plotting a course, she steered them toward the VIP area, a cordoned off area for select club patrons who didn't seem inclined to brush elbows with the other club-goers. It couldn't have been that exclusive an area though, as the pair were immediately let through without a word or second look from the club staff.

Exquisitely dressed men and women glanced at them, but didn't appear overly interested in anything but their own cliques. The men had immaculate hair and neatly trimmed triangular goatees in the latest fashion. Some of the women had their hair sculpted into impossible bouquets of ringlets and braids that must have taken hours to arrange. Kaelin seemed envious of them.

"I'm getting married... tomorrow." The diminutive helm officer said all of a sudden as they worked their way through the VIP area. "I guess this is what my dad would call my... bachelor party, though that's not really how things are done here."

Tyro nodded to herself. She felt a little bad. Of all the people Kaelin might have chosen, for some reason she'd picked Tyro to spend what much feel like her last days of freedom. Tyro, being a romantic illiterate, didn't know what she could say or do to help Vex through, especially with the nature of their relationship.

"I thought it must be something..." she confessed, though it might have been too quiet for the other to catch. Tyro was very interested in the well dressed strangers. She made several attempts to wander toward them, but was caught in Kaelin's gravity both times, content to let the woman lead in her own home turf.

"Well let's fucking trash this place then..." said Tyro off-hand, still quiet enough that she imagined it was too herlself.

"I think that would be frowned upon." Kaelin said just as softly, as if taking the comment seriously. "This is my step-father's club." Kaelin had never been the club before, but she'd promised her mother's new husband that she would check the place out the next time she was on Betazed. Apparently he'd made sure the staff knew who she was.

Shar've was not exactly a known celebrity on the galactic stage, but that certainly wasn't due to a lack of effort or presentation on her part. She was up and coming, and quite popular on Betazed, and she knew it. A quite different creature from the Orion-hybrid Nu'Havri, Shar've was a much darker shade of green, like that of a lush forest. She had lavender eyes, and silky jet-black hair that seemed to form a perfect elliptical orbit around a pretty face. She was all elegant lines and had a sense of fashion that most of Betazed would probably find tragic: a shiny paisley minidress, paired with combat boots and a soft-pink glow in the dark fishnet bodystocking.

Glancing over at the approaching women, Shar've adjusted what appeared to be a set of gold-plated headphones and expertly fiddled with her equipment, subtly swaying her hips to the beat. She almost seemed shy.

Shifting her stance to give Tyro the lead, Kaelin discretely urged her captain forward, eager to see how the other woman went about initiating first-contact.

As they approached Tyro tried to figure out what was going on Shar've's soundboard, stopping next to her and swaying naturally. She put her hands up to signal the orion she wasn't going to mess with the equipment without permission, then looked back toward Kaelin. The commander laughed and looked down again after an encouraging glance, but she was uncomfortable that they'd even come this far. She felt very out of place, but she had rhythm and more than some of the members of the audience.

She tapped on Shar've's headphones to get her attention and pointed to the dials. "Hey there! Can you show me? I'm a major fan."

Shar've must have noticed their approach, but she seemed surprised that someone had come to share her spotlight. Casting a shay smile in the captain's direction, Shar've offered a slight curtsy in appreciation, and with a gesture that was half dance and half beckoning seemed to try and pull Tyro closer by gravity alone. Her soundboard was a simple but elegant device, with readouts for several audio tracks and samples, with options to slow or speed up the beats and phase them seamlessly together. She seemed poised to guide Tyro's hands over the controls, but didn't seem inclined to force a proximity that might be too close for comfort.

With a voice soft enough for Tyro alone, Shar've whispered near her ear. "You carry the scent of one of my kind... another woman. It is a part of you, so I know you must be close to her." She glanced at Vex for a moment, though what she thought of the other woman was not apparently clear. "I hope she would not mind you wanting to make music with me..."

Tyro blushed and touched her face, but replied angrily. She looked at Kaelin first, and pulled her hand off the music table. "You think I'd let anybody dictate who I'm to talk to or not?" she hissed. "That's not what I had in mind, even if you could smell what you thought you did..."

For a moment Shar've looked stunned. It seemed no one had ever confronted her in her own professional space in such a manner. And she wasn't the only one who seemed stunned. The room quieted noticeably--the buzz of the club patrons died down, leaving only Shar've's music.

"Much too aggressive for me, and not just..." The Orion said cautiously, with a measure of distaste. She made a soothing gesture in Tyro and Kaelin's direction, where a muscular man had just taken up position behind them. He seemed ready to dictate who Tyro would not be talking to any longer. It seemed angry outbursts in a room full of empaths did not go unnoticed.

Without saying another word, Shar've faced the crowd, pressed fingers to her lips and blew a kiss, flourishing a wave to those below. Most took that as a cue to pick up on what they'd been doing a moment earlier. It was also a pretty clear dismissal for Kaelin and her captain.

"I think we should be going now..." Kaelin said softly to Tyro, gently tugging at the sash around her waist.

Far be it from a Starfleet captain to recognize danger. Following Kaelin's lead only until she turned and saw the bouncers threatening them, Tyro did not appreciate thugs flexing like any normal person would. It downright triggered her. Instead of sensibly escaping with what quiet dignity the pair had, Tyro stepped back toward Shar've. With the smoothest non-violent motion her training could summon, she swiped a microphone off the Orion woman's collar and began circling the other way while the bouncers cornered.

"Any assumption that steals my agency away is insulting," she told the crowd. A bouncer was about to cut her off, but she climbed through the railing off the DJs platform and in among the dancers. "You can blame me for being ignorant, but not for speaking my mind. I would never shut down an argument because I disagreed, and especially not after I felt I had insulted someone! It isn't insens-" Tyro had a little trouble now that the bouncers were coordinating, and began maneuvering terrified clubgoers between her and the security, talking faster and faster!

"It's not insensitive to be genuine of your opinions! A person ... can still keep an open mind! I'm not someone's sexual property, and how is that the beginning and end of our conversation? If that's your first problem with me... I mean, come on guys, some of you can be outraged about it with me."

Kaelin watched the scene unfold with horror, rooted with shock and unable to move from her spot near the DJ. Shar've glowered with fury as she surveyed the chaos. If Kaelin had ever seen the face of a woman intent on killing another, it was hers. The helm officer was torn between laughing out loud, and burying her head in her hands to cry. Tyro was her captain, but quite possibly the worst wingman ever.

As the captain was led out, she was in no position to disagree.

:: OFF ::

Tyro Adina
Commanding Officer
Commander, USS Tranquility

Kaelin Vex
Chief Flight Control Officer
Lieutenant, USS Tranquility


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