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Echoes of Your Voice, Part 1

Posted on Mon Mar 31st, 2014 @ 11:28am by Lieutenant Commander Vanora Stele

Mission: Photons Everywhere Part 2
Location: USS Gladiator/USS Bouzid
Timeline: Present/2387

Continued from “Night Sweats,” “Bonds,” and “Back in the Saddle”


“What was your first kiss like?”

Her eyes were closed, and the words fell over her like a light silk scarf, soft to the touch but instantly comforting as it reflected her own body heat upon her. She wondered if Tang knew that his deep, luxurious voice had this affect upon her. She smiled, taking too long to respond but not wanting that feeling, the one that came from the echoing in her ears, to ever end.

Still, the man who was keeping her warm in a much more real way did not say a word. He was, more than anything else, a man of great confidence, and her delayed response worried him not in the least. She could hear his steady breath keeping time as he waited without distress for her response.

“Short, hard, and fast,” Vanora grinned. Without looking, she knew that Tang was smiling back. He had this small smile that was absolutely genuine. It was one of the things that made her fall for him instantly.

“I was asking about your first kiss, not your first… hey!” he laughed as she punched him and then pounced, playfully attacking him.

Except… when Vanora rolled over to attack Tang, the bed was empty. As it was every night.

She was alone.

USS Bouzid, 2387

Beads of sweat flew out in an arc, painting gray cargo drums with abstract patterns of moisture. Vanora breathed heavily as she push kicked off the wall and spun into a roundhouse, all the while bouncing lightly on the balls of her bare feet. This is what she had been reduced to, shadowboxing with a wall in a cargo hold. Apparently there was no proper gym on this Excelsior-class vessel, despite being one of the largest ship-types in the fleet. The lack of proper exercise facilities would not have irked the Elasian civilian as much were it not for the fact that it was impossible to get any regular holodeck time. Seven hundred crew and a hundred civilians would do that. So it was that Vanora had no more than an hour each week to sprint a dozen five-minute miles along the Great Ravine in Fareas. The rest of her leisure time, she feared, was to be spent in Cargo Bay 2, surrounded by crates and the stale stench of scores of crewmen who somehow managed to overwhelm the environmental controls with body odor.

The bright crimson sports bra and white vale tudo shorts were purposefully formfitting, but they clung tightly against her skin now as she accelerated her routine. She normally worked out in a simple white gi, but that was still sitting in storage somewhere, out of sight and mind. Instead, she was sprinting now with much more skin exposed, in this "zone" of focused, intensive punches, kicks and weaving. It was still far from the runner's high that kicked in on the seventh mile of a marathon, when it seemed as though most of her senses had inverted and the universe was sensing her. Her current workout, however, had sent enough endorphins to her mind that she was at least momentarily distracted from the numbing pain that she woke up with every morning, the pain of having lost both her lover and her beloved ship. Such it was that Vanora was not completely aware of the various other crew taking advantage of the ad hoc athletic facilities.

It took a few moments, but Vanora eventually felt the someone's eyes undressing her, in the same way that seasoned officers claim to be able to feel when approaching vessels' scanners sweep across their body. A bit eerie and certainly unwelcome. She quickly spun about, scanning the room, her bright brown eyes meeting a stare she could take as either a complete absentmindedness or stunned lechery. She relaxed a bit upon seeing the wiry human male, and the two lieutenant’s pips on his collar. "At least it's not another thick-necked, brash human Ensign trying to ‘comfort’ me," she sighed to herself, not eager to repeat yesterday's incident again so soon. The lecture she got from the medical duty officer after sending the Yellow Shirted ensign to Sickbay with a pair of shiners and a bruised ego had been absolutely exhausting. As far as Vanora was concerned, she had done the ensign a favor and doubted he would be lowering his guard against potential enemies in an attempt to cop a feel anytime in the near future. The nurse had been less than understanding, and had filed a full report to Captain P’Trell. Lana was pretty sure that Keval wasn't a "strictly by-the-books" sort of commanding officer, but the disorderly conduct report certainly did little to help the crew feel welcoming about having this grieving freighter captain aboard, using up their limited resources and testing their patience.

More than a little irritated, Vanora made her way over to the skinny fellow, continuing to bounce from foot to foot to maintain her heart rate, which had the unintended but inevitable effect of causing her chest to bounce slightly but continuously as she approached the gawker. She squinted in minor recognition. Vanora recognized his face from the blurred memories of the Bouzid’s rescue of the SS Lady of the Lake, but could not place his name or what he did. "Can I help you with something?" Vanora asked.

The man’s eyes widened as he approached her, and his mouth moved, slack-jawed, as she spoke to him.

Ah, 'stunned lechery' it is then, Vanora thought. It was one character after another on this ship. She was beginning to seriously doubt the efficacy of Starfleet in screening its staff. "Well, I was quite enjoying my workout until I realized that you may have needed some assistance, as it seems that you have mistaken these facilities for some Ferengi-run peep show." She narrowed her eyes questioningly. "Or did you not realize that these are serious training facilities?" Her eyes flickered to his less-than-peak physique. "From the looks of it, maybe you don't know where you are. In that case, let me welcome you to the gymnasium, formerly known as Cargo Bay 2. I'm Vanora Samsoe Stele, and if you wouldn't mind, I would appreciate if you could tone done the ogling. I wasn't planning on any sparring today, and I'd like to keep it that way... if possible."

"Lieutenant Leroy McMore," the human squeaked automatically in response, "Chief of Operations. And, uh… I’ll pass on the sparring, I think?" The lieutenant’s words seemed always to sound like a question. “I’ll… I’ll come back later, then,” he squeaked again, backing away slowly.

“Just speak your mind, McMore,” she sighed, finally stopping her movement, annoyed as she felt her heart rate receding.

McMore cleared his throat. “Captain P’Trell ask that I speak with you. About what your plans are next.”

“I think I’ve been pretty clear with Keval,” Vanora gritted her teeth. “I’m going to keep looking for my husband until I find him. Why? Is Keval going to pull my shuttle use authorization?”

“No, no, nothing like that!” The lieutenant’s expression was a cross of excitement and fear. He also seemed unable to keep his eyes from wandering down to Vanora’s cleavage. “It’s just… it’s been three months now. And the Captain and Counselor both think you would benefit from some… other activities. If you would consider spending some time working with the crew… the Captain thinks your skills might be of great help to us. We’re short-handed as it is. Perhaps in Operations?” McMore licked his lips.

Ugh, Vanora thought to herself. She could think of nothing less appetizing than spending her days with this creature staring at her. She shook her head once. “Tell Keval I respectfully decline, and tell him the next time… never mind,” she sighed. “I’ll tell him myself. Now, if you’ll excuse me.”

She did not wait for a response, turning around and running to the opposite end of the cargo hold, as far from these unappealing ideas of working for Starfleet as she could get.

~To be continued~


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