S.S. Fawkes - CF-142AC
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P.S. Bring food plz!

Posted on Tuesday June 23rd, 2020 @ 09:41 hours by Kari Pahlmihr & Alexandria Farron

Mission: Safe Passage
Location: Alexandria's Quarters
Timeline: MD02 - 1945 hours

Alexandria was exhausted. Exhausted, but triumphant. It had taken three straight days, and two sleepless nights, but she'd finally done it. She was the ultimate Star Crusader. The Grand Slime Xorplu was dead. And Princess Saya Iridialis was free! But not all was well in the star kingdom. Alexandria had made it a point to not read up on any of the strategies related to defeating Xorplu. She'd wanted that victory to be all her own! But she had heard a rumor that once freed, the princess would be unlocked as a potential love interest for the player character.

Unfortunately, she'd just found out that Princess Saya was only interested in dating men.

Alexandria's wail of despair had been long and loud. Of course the princess was under no obligation to date anyone, even her brave and loyal rescuer, but the game hadn't even given her a chance. The navigator could understand someone not liking her personally, but all girls? Everyone liked girls! Practically every guy did. She did. Along with her wife, and Captain May, and Kari, and all those girls she'd been matched with on that stupid dating simulator game. That was practically most of the girls she knew.

It was so unfair. All that hard work. And all the letdown, over what surely had to be a simple coding error. Alexandria slumped back to say on her bed. Pulling her beanie over her eyes to wipe away her tears.

Thoughts of Kari and that dating game brought her out of her dark reverie, however. She'd almost forgotten. She never forgot anything. Sleep deprivation was real. But then again... so was something else! Alexandria tossed aside her gaming pad, and reached for her work pad, which was definitely the less sophisticated of the two. She typed out a quick text message to Kari. It was a crude method of communication, but she preferred it over voice or... ugh... video chat. She never know who might be overhearing the conversation. And she was fairly certain that Kari had a roommate.

Hi Kari,

Plz come over, I have something to tell u.


P.S. Bring food plz! ♥♥♥

Alexandria typed out the message very quickly, and didn't bother to proofread before sending. Her stomach was growling! But perhaps she should have double checked. She didn't notice that her finger had slipped off the exclamation, and put in a bunch of heart symbols too. She put down the pad, and almost immediately fell asleep.

[Kari's Quarters]

It had been some time since Kari had sat with Alex in that nook that was apparently her special hideout. She never really thought much about the bridge crew. Both the navigator and signaller did their own thing up there. They barely bothered to come down to their areas. Kari did meet with the different people that had come and gone as Master-at-Arms though, the Captain required them to be up to date on the security protocols, and the different MaAs seemed to enjoy putting the deckhands through all sorts of simulated calamities.

She had just finished cleaning up after the last such drill when the message came in from Alexandria. She quirked an eyebrow at the odd message but realised it was Alex sending it and it was actually quite friendly and cute. The mention of food made her realise she was quite peckish herself. She wondered what kind of food Alex liked, but wasn't sure she had ever seen her eat anything other than oatmeal at breakfast. She shrugged it off and made her way over to the mess hall to put an order in with the replicator for two.

[Fifteen minutes later, Outside Alexandria's quarters]

It was difficult to ring the chime with both hands occupied holding a hot steaming meal. Kari had decided to select something very tasteful from Earth. She seemed to remember Alex being from around there. An ever so slightly spicy Indian curry was the result. She had quickly given it a taste and loved it. She hoped that Alex would feel the same. Awkwardly balancing the tray as she reached for the chime she managed to press it without spilling anything.

Alexandria awoke with a lurch upon hearing the door chime. Someone was at her door? Someone had actually come to visit her? She realized a moment later that she'd sent Kari a message instructing her to come by. Would there be food? She sat up in anticipation. And then remembered that she didn't really like food. Did Kari know that? Probably. Among the crew, Alexandria had been aboard the longest, so the rest of the crew had had ample time to learn things about her. Right?

Standing, Alexandria made no attempt to make herself more presentable aside from a quick swipe to clear away a few locks of hair that had gotten stuck on her face during her impromptu nap. And as always, she was not really dressed to impress, wearing a green, oversize Marine Corps tee shirt, short athletic shorts, and her now-lucky pair of black pantyhose. She'd worn them as part of her city official disguise to rob that museum, and also during the shootout escape after rescuing Kari. She'd also been wearing them afterwards, when she'd convinced Captain May to not have her killed, during the inevitable housecleaning of potential traitors and snitches. All of those endeavors had required as much luck as skill. And now she could add defeating the Grand Slime Xorplu to that list as well. The baggy shirt hid her short shorts, making it seem like she was just wearing hose and no pants.

The door slid open just a crack as Alexandria confirmed her visitor. As if she didn't intend to let anyone else in. Seeing it was Kari, she let it slide open the rest of the way and stepped aside to let her in.

Alexandria's quarters were sparse, impersonal and sterile. The deck plating was smooth and shone brightly from regular cleanings, along with her desk top. There were no pictures of family or friends, mementos or decorations of any kind really, save for whatever tools and literature she used in her work. The bed was made, but a bit ruffled form her gaming and nap. The most noticeable thing was a basket full of neatly folded laundry in the corner, as if she hadn't put it away yet. Actually they were all dirty and she'd folded them anyway, because... reasons.

Even though the room was meticulously cleaned, and the room seemed very well maintained, there was a certain smell that came with someone being stuck in the same room for a day or more. Kali was glad to have brought food, the smell quickly filling the small quarters, "I like what you've done with the place," she joked at the total and utter lack of personalised items, "I was expecting anime and T-Pop posters all over the walls. But this works too." She pushed the food out in Alex' direction so that she could take another good look around the room, and just stood there as they exchanged an awkward glance, "I brought you food. Indian Curry."

Alexandria found herself holding the plate of food all but thrust in her direction. She smelled it, and a momentary look of concern crossed her face before she suppressed it. It smelled spicy. She had a history with spices. She and black pepper weren't on the best of terms, and mustard had recently joined the list. Her survival instincts made her want to set the plate down and not touch it again, but if she did, there was a good chance that Kari would never come to hang out with her again. Alexandria realized that she was not an easy person to be friends with. But that didn't mean she didn't want friends... or at least a friend.

"It smells... spicy," Alexandria said, trying to make that sound like a compliment. She didn't know what else to say. It felt too early to say thanks, not knowing if she was about to pay a visit to the medical bay. She set the plate down on her desk, and reached in a nearby drawer. She handed Kari two single-use hyposprays. "You may need to poke me with these. This one in my neck, this one in a port under my armpit. You'll know if you need to." As for the remarks on her quarters, she didn't comment. She preferred a digital existence. Tangible things were like... well, the more things she had, the more things life could take away. Plus... she had a history of people regularly asking or telling her to pack up and leave. So why get unpacked in the first place?

When the two hypos were put in her hands Kari looked up in a bit of surprise, wondering what could prompt her to have to use them, if she needed to use them both at the same time, whether something terrible happened if she mixed up the order. She saw that thankfully they were slightly different in design, one made specifically to work together with some sort of port, as Alex had indicated, "Oh, allergies, right?" she remarked absentmindedly.

Reaching into another storage cubby, Alexandria pulled out her sleeping bag and laid it out on the floor next to her bed. Unlike Captain May, she did not eat breakfast in bed. Or lunch or dinner. What time was it anyway?

"So uhh.... how does one eat Indian curry?" Alexandria asked. She knew that the place was next to China, the land of her ancestors. Well, one of them, anyway. Her grandmother liked to serve meals with chopsticks, but Alexandria had never been fond of them. It was hard eating oatmeal with chopsticks.

"I'm guessing with a spoon, it looked rather liquid," Kari looked at the bedroll being spread on the floor and sat herself down in a lotus position. She had also sprung for some side dishes like naan and poppadoms, although she wasn't quite sure what all of that was until it materialised. Bread and crisps. Not too bad she had thought to herself. "Come, sit, tell me, what's on your mind?"

Alexandria picked up one of the crisps and poked the soupy curry dish. It had noodles, sort of like ramen, and what looked like bits of chicken or some other kind of light meat. There were vegetables in there too. The meal was... problematic. Too many unknown variables. Plus Kari didn't seem as confident being tasked with the contingent life saving measures as Alexandria would've liked. But it had been a while since since she'd suffered a memorable allergic reaction. She'd gotten so good at avoiding them. Normally her sharp memory rarely let her forget anything, but many of those reactions had become repressed memories, buried in hidden subdirectories so that she could more easily go about moving forward with her life without having to relive all of it.

Which, of course, in its own way, had a way of making her relive those mistakes by not remembering, but repeating them.

In an effort to look brave, and not act like the cowardly weasel that she so often was, Alexandria took a bite of the curry-soaked crisp. She didn't immediately die. The flavor was... complex. A bit too complex for her tastes. But it wasn't bad. "It's acceptable." She said, sensing that Kari would ask her how she liked it.

"So uhh... what are you doing when we reach Betazed?" Alexandria asked as she tried some more.

"Oh... ehm." Kari took a bite of naan with the curry, she really liked the flavours and hummed a bit more as she enjoyed the meal and the extra time it bought her to think, "I hadn't really planned anything yet. Don't usually think that far ahead, to be honest." She spoke honestly before taking another bite of the curry.

Alexandria nodded, as if that made perfect sense to her. Her various health issues had ruined many plans, to the extent that she saw little point in having goals. Plus there was also the matter of their present employment. She didn't really see working for pirates as an indicator of strong long-term planning.

"There's this gaming convention going on there. FantasyCon 2395. It's big with expats. I guess not many Betazoids are into roleplay. But I--" Alexandria was cut off mid-sentence by the strong urge to sneeze. The spicy meal was clearing out her sinuses. She suppressed it with an awkward squeak.

"--I want to be in the cosplay competition." She finished, reaching for a napkin. "Do you--" She was cut off again, and brought up the napkin to her face just in time as she let out an epic sneeze, totally drenching the napkin in goo.

"Are... are you okay?" Kari eyed the two hypos nervously, "Do I need to stick a needle in you?" A cold shiver ran down her spine as the napkin was filled with goo. She hated bodily fluids, especially those from nasal cavities. The whole thing made her resist a gag. "If the food is not to your liking, I can probably reclimate it." She gently pulled the food closer to herself to indicate that she was willing to go back and return it at a quite hefty loss to her own credits.

"What? No... not yet." Alexandria said as she looked away from the gooey napkin. "I'm just not used to spices." Kari was looking at her like she'd never seen anyone sneeze before. It was just a little snot. Well, more than a little. She tossed the napkin into a nearby trash bin. She actually felt better. Just two bites of the curry dish had cleared out her ever-congested sinuses. It would've taken fifteen minutes hunched over a steam vaporizer to achieve the same effect.

"So, do you want to go?" Alexandria repeated, even though she'd never really gotten the question out fully in the first place. As she spoke she subtly reached with her hand and tried to snatch the food back from Kari.

"I only just got here. I mean..." Kari looked as Alex took back the food and smiled a bit as they continued eating. She had felt some rejection when it seemed as if the food wasn't agreeing with the navigator's delicate senses. She knew that it wasn't fair to hold her responsible but that didn't stop the sinking feeling. It was a bit of a relief to see her take the food back and continue eating.

"but if you want me to go, I'll go." She pointed a thumb over her shoulder, "though I think you should finish the meal in a public place then." She pointed at the hypos that lie between them.

Alexandria had taken another bite, and as she listened to Kari her mouth slowly went agape. Some of the food slipped from the bread that been pressed to her lips, landing on her leg. She realized that she had not been very clear with her question. Never mind a date, she couldn't even invite a friend over for dinner without it ending awkwardly within minutes. "Don't go... I meant do you want to go to FantasyCon with me?"

"Oh. Ah. FantasyCon," Kari took another bite, happy that she could still finish her food, "Ehm. Do I need to dress up?" She wondered, knowing those types of 'Cons' only from hearsay.

"Well... you don't need to, but its more fun if you do. And I finally defeated Xorplu, so of course I'm going as my Star Crusader character." Alexandria said, doing a little seated victory wiggle. "Plus, someone you know is going to be there." She added in a mysterious tone, then muttered an expletive under her breath as she noticed she'd spilled food on her lucky tights.

Kari frowned a bit, "Someone I know?" There weren't really any people in her sphere of friends and family that would frequent that sort of thing, especially not all the way over on Betazed. Even ignoring that fact, how would Alexandria be aware of the people she knew? Was it a common acquaintance? Someone from Betazed, "No way, is the Captain attending?" It seemed like the only logical conclusion. She stifled a bit of a chuckle when she saw a splash of the curry land in Alexandria's lap, "Here. Use this," She handed her another napkin, "apparently curry is a treacherous beast."

"Thx." Alexandria said quickly as she tried to wipe off the curry sauce, but it had already seeped into the dark fabric and left a spot. She tried to be a neat eater, but between being busy, tired, and/or distracted by being around people in the mess hall, she was always getting food on herself. Mostly her hair, which was long enough to fall on her plate if she ate with poor posture... which she almost always did. She could see the benefit in having a friend like Kari... not someone to clean up her messes, but to point them out at least.

"It's not Captain May." Alexandria said with a shake of her head. She'd seen May roleplay before, but it was more of a way of life than a hobby... costumes and roleplay were a way to take advantage of people, get paid, and not get caught. May also seemed like a person very grounded in reality. Aside from fantasy zero-g football maybe, she doubted the Captain had ever played a fantasy game in her life.

Leaning toward Kari, Alexandria reached her arm out behind her, almost appearing to try for the classic arm snake maneuver, used in the holovids by nervous youngsters trying to get closer to their dates. In fact she was reaching for the datapad on her bed. Turning it on, she held it out for Kari to look at. Displayed was an advertisement for the convention, which featured notable attendees. One of them was an Orion professional cosplayer named Kiezi Rulemi. She had unruly, fiery red hair, and was wearing a purple and green striped beanie.

Kari tensed up a bit as Alexandria's arm snaked around her, she wondered what she was trying to do. She had shown no earlier interest in any kind of romantic involvement and now she was trying to get close to her? There was almost a bit of relief when she pulled back and showed the PADD to her. Relief but also disappointment, "Oh, hey, I do know her!" She pointed at the woman in the picture, "didn't we date her in that game?"

Alexandria's cheeks flushed for a moment and her eyes darted awkwardly for a moment. It was close enough to embarrassment. There would've been a second date if she hadn't ruined it for them. "Uh... apparently some of the people in the dating simulator game are based off of real player profiles. With names and some other personal details changed. I don't know if she's actually a quiet homebody who loves to snuggle, but apparently she plays video games." Alexandria shrugged. Her face glitched a moment later, with a disturbing realization. "Wait... that means I.... I might be in the game! Me, but not actually me! It could say I like cats and bacon pancakes! Maybe I threw a drink in Kiezi's face!" Alexandria let out an anxious whine as the flood of unknown variables threatened to melt her brain.

Frowning a bit, "I'm sure you're not the drink throwing type, in-game or out of it." Kari patted Alexandria's knee, "I'll come with you to the thing." She wasn't sure she was the right kind of audience for the thing but if it helped Alex be more among her own people and build some confidence it would definitely be worth it. "So, if you're going dressed up as your own character. Who am I supposed to be?"

Alexandria flinched slightly when Kari patted her knee, but only for a moment. And the reassurance did seem to calm her down. She seemed pleased that her friend was interested in going. "You can go as whoever you'd like. Our costumes don't have to share a theme. But many groups do. If you did want to do the Star Crusader theme, you could be... the Princess?" Alexandria brought up a game image of Saya Iridalis Princess of the Star Realm of Lumnara. She had several different outfits in the game, depending on the Star Crusader's standing with her, and whether or not she'd been rescued from the Grand Slime Xorplu. The outfit in the picture Alexandria showed was only seen if the Star Crusader--a male Star Crusader--had rescued Saya, and proven themselves loyal and worthy enough to be her companion. Anyone playing as a female hero character would never get to see it.

"The princess?" Kari knew the type of princesses that were in these games, and their outfits usually left very little to the imagination, "I could go as the Giant slime maybe?" She proposed only half-serious, then Alexandria passed the PADD to her and it was displaying a royal garment, a very nice elaborate dress with a corset and a heart shape neckline, "Oh, wait a minute. I think I could agree with this." It seemed as if the game rewarded the player with a royal wedding and it was clear this was the outfit that the princess would wear. It had been quite some time since she had properly dressed up and this seemed as good a reason as any to wear a super elaborate ballroom gala dress.

Alexandria didn't say anything at first, she was too busy eating, trying to clear the dinner plate before Kari could beat her to it. Not that it was a contest really, but she was very hungry and it appeared that the meal wouldn't immediately kill her. By the time Kari was done looking at the datapad, there wasn't much food left. Alexandria shrugged as the swallowed down the last of 'her share'

An awkward silence followed, as Alexandria didn't really know what to say next. Kari had agreed to go, they'd settled on costumes, dinner was pretty much done... business was settled. What more was there to say? It was easy to invite a friend over, she'd learned, but how did one suggest that they leave? Not that Alexandria entirely wanted Kari to leave, but she was of half a mind to just quit while she was ahead. But there was something else on her mind.

"So... uhhh.... would you like to stay here tonight?" Alexandria finally asked. She looked at Kari, but nervously broke eye contact halfway through the request, staring at her emergency hyposprays instead. That was why she'd asked. Though for her they all tended to occur sooner rather than later, not every allergic reaction had been immediate.

Kari was happily fantasizing about the costume and what they would do during the conference, eating the last bits of her curry, when Alexandria asked her to stay the night. A piece of the food shot down the wrong hole and she coughed violently to dislodge it. Her eyes watering as she struggled for a moment to breathe. The last bit of replicated chicken landed back on her plate before she looked up at the navigator, eyes watery from the whole situation, "are... what.. do you want..." another cough and she put up her hand to ask Alex to wait before responding as she picked up her drink and tried to wash away the awful feeling in the back of her throat.

Taking the time it took her to drink down the glass to consider her options and the request that was made of her, Kari couldn't quite figure out Alex' angle before finishing her drink, "I mean. Okay. Sure. Ehm... I probably need to get some stuff from my quarters though." She shrugged with a half smile, "Toothbrush and such."

Alexandria had been a moment away from throwing her arms around Kari and squeezing her until the bit of food she'd been choking on popped out. Thankfully she'd gotten it out on her own. The navigator wasn't even sure if that technique would work on a Trill, and in fact, she reasoned that a joined Trill probably wouldn't appreciate it one bit. She perked up when Kari mentioned her toothbrush. Of course! Who could forget their toothbrush? She was impressed with Kari's dedication to oral hygiene. And luckily for her the navigator had several backups in her room... in case her fancy electronic one ever malfunctioned.

Scurrying to her feet, Alexandria reached into one of her storage cubbies and produced a handful of packaged toothbrushes. "What color would you like?" She asked, flashing a rare smile, and her immaculate, bright white teeth.

"Oh. Nice. Do you also have pyjama's in there? Fresh underwear?" Kari was starting to panic a bit, she really wanted to freshen up a bit before climbing into bed with someone. It had been a long day, well actually a fairly long week... ok. Month. She really needed to freshen up.

Alexandria's smile slipped a tad, and she couldn't help but glance at the full laundry basket in the corner. No she did not have much in the way of pajamas or clean underwear to spare. She'd planned on sleeping in what she was wearing. She had an outfit for her shift tomorrow, but afterwards she definitely had to do laundry. "Uh... not really." She said awkwardly. "Umm.... see you soon, then?"

"I'll be right back!" Kari got up from the floor and headed for the exit, rushing to make her way back to her quarters, leaving Alexandria behind with the mess of the curry dish. She felt her heart was racing, she didn't quite know why, but it felt nice to be invited over into someone's quarters like that. She duck into her shared room. For a second she felt a bit jealous of Alexandria having her own private room, but ignored her snoring roommate as she grabbed some fresh clothes and a towel before rushing for the showers.

[45 minutes later]

All fresh and in nice pyjamas Kari showed back up in front of Alexandria's door. She hit the chime. She wondered if she should lean against the door post, or prop a hand in her side, for when the door opened. Not really knowing where to put her hands. She decided to put them behind her, pushing her shoulders up and her chest forward. A wide, pearly white, smile formed as she waited for the doors to open.

After Kari left, Alexandria spent five minutes or so staring at the empty dinner plate, wondering if this curry thing would be the harbinger of her doom. After a few more moments she summoned the energy to drop it off back at the replicator. She went to use the bathroom to brush her teeth and... well, Kari was in there, taking a shower. Nope. She might have invited the other woman to stay in her room, but sharing a bathroom? Some things were too much. She used the mens' room.

It seemed like she'd waited forever. Had she fallen asleep? Maybe. Alexandria heard the door chime and sat up, running a hand through her tangle of hair. She was still wearing the same thing as before. She'd considered taking off her lucky tights, but didn't. If she did, luck would abandon her and the curry would get her in her sleep.

"You... have nice teeth." Alexandria said, after a moment of trying to decipher Kari's smile and stance. Another person--a guy--probably would have been staring at other things than her teeth, but well... to each is own. She stepped back, showing that aside from the now missing dinner, her room was exactly as it had been before. The bed sheets were still ruffled, but made, and the sleeping bag they'd been sitting on was still on the floor.

So uhh... bed or sleeping bag?" Alexandria said. She knew she should be a good host and just offer her bed, but well... the sleeping bag was a lousy alternative. Part of her did want to share the bed, but that would be an awfully indecent thing to ask! And besides, her bed was small. Unlike Captain May's bed, which could comfortably sleep four or five people.

Kari's shoulders immediately slumped and she smiled, shaking her head slightly, "I'll definitely take the bed, no way I'm sleeping on the floor," she stepped past Alexandria, brushing a hand over her shoulder, "you don't have to sleep on the floor either." She gave a wink before quickly making her way into the bed and sliding as far back to the wall as possible to make it inviting for the other woman to join her. She knew how awkward Alexandria was, so after a momentary glitch in her brain had decided that she would be the one to push this forward.

How indecent! Alexandria thought as she heard the proposal, even though the same thought had in fact been swirling through her head only moments earlier. But she hadn't voiced it aloud. She couldn't. All she could hope for was to hint and nudge, and hope that the other person was braver than she was. But that didn't mean it wouldn't take a lot of bravery to accept Kari's suggestion. Waking up in someone else's bed was one thing. But to have someone else sleep in hers? She kinda sorta shivered at the thought. But then again, Kari wasn't a stranger. She probably knew more about her than anyone. Plus Alexandria could confirm that she had just taken a shower. And she also didn't really want to sleep on the deck.

"Mmmmmhmmm... ok." Alexandria mumbled, trying to summon some courage as she looked around shiftily. She wouldn't have been able to answer looking Kari in the eyes. Dimming the lights and setting her alarm, Alexandria tried not the think about the consequences and just crawled in under the covers. She had no illusions about this not being awkward, so she just tried to make herself as comfortable as she could from the start. The immediate problem presented itself: two heads, and one pillow.

"Are you.... still sure one of us ... doesn't need to sleep... on the floor." Alexandria said, with momentary pauses as she squirmed herself into position right up against Kari, arms wrapped around her, their noses all but pressed together.

Kari gave a modest smile and leaned in to plant a kiss on Alexandria's lips, "Are you sure you want one of us to sleep on the floor?" She wrapped her hands around the young navigator and pulled her in as close as she could. It had been a long time since she had been this close to another being. It felt nice to be intimate with someone.

Alexandria quivered slightly, taken by surprise with the sudden kiss--her first real kiss. It was wet, but not unpleasant, like she'd been expecting. Still, what would happen? Would she get sick? Of course feelings overruled what she was thinking, and before she knew what she was doing, she'd returned the kiss. The moment of romance was brief though. Against her wishes, Alexandria's earlier exhaustion returned, demanding immediate payment of slumber. She had, after all, spent the last three days straight playing video games. Before Kari could get a reply to her question, Alexandria's face had nuzzled against Kari's, and her breaths took on the slow, steady rhythm of sleep.

Letting out a subtle sigh, Kari snuggled close to the girl in her arms and closed her eyes as well. This wasn't such a bad deal.


Alexandria Farron


Kari Pahlmihr (NPC)
Deck Hand (Ordinary)
(Written by Mayterial)

S.S. Fawkes


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